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The Bear Market Has Seen Better Days

The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

April 27, 2003|Mike Hiserman

A high school in Tuscaloosa, Ala., that took the name of legendary Alabama football Coach Paul W. Bryant is having a bear of a time settling on a nickname and colors.

The original nickname, Titans, was scuttled because it had been taken by a neighboring school, and any thought of Bears -- after Bryant's own pet name -- was thwarted by a federal court order that prohibits colors or mascots used by the city's once-segregated schools to be used by a new school.

Some parents wanted colors similar to Alabama's crimson and white and the nickname to be the Stampede -- as in a stampede of Crimson Tide elephants -- but school officials were leery of violating trademark laws because an elephant is the university's mascot. For now, they are the Paul W. Bryant Huskies, and they'll wear blue and gold.

At least those aren't Auburn colors.

Trivia question: What 1961 Chicago Bear draft choice out of the University of Pittsburgh went on to become a Hall of Fame player?

Side benefits: Appearing on NBC's "Last Call," Jim Courier acknowledged there are "tennis groupies," but said it's not like the NBA, "where you literally have 25 ladies waiting ...

"Tennis is not quite like that. We're a little more subtle than that. Pick them out in the stands when you're sitting on the sidelines."

And you always thought he was resting.

More Rickeys: Rickey Henderson won't retire from baseball until Rickey Henderson is ready, that much is clear.

The 44-year-old big league record-holder in runs scored, stolen bases and walks has signed with the Newark Bears of the South Atlantic League, an independent circuit that is the lowest rung of professional baseball.

He'll earn the league-maximum salary of $3,000 a month.

"He wants [major league] scouts to see that he can still make a contribution," agent Jeff Borris told the Associated Press.

Henderson needs five more home runs for 300, and there is speculation that goal is his motivation. That and the chance to add to his world record for third-person Rickey references.

Smile, please: Actor Alan Thicke, television dad on "Growing Pains," looks like a real pro these days.

Pro hockey player, that is.

Thicke, 56, was playing hockey at an ice rink in Burbank this week, practicing for a fund-raiser next month in New York that will benefit the city's police and fire departments.

You might guess the rest. He was iced by a puck, resulting in five lost teeth and 30 stitches.

Thicke, who has played hockey since he was 5, told Associated Press that he still hopes to participate in the charity game, but he probably won't be working for a while.

Of this he's certain: "I won't be playing any leading men roles in the next couple of months."

Unless it's "Slapshot" II.

Trivia answer: Mike Ditka.

And finally: The United States Olympic Committee says it hopes to restore sports programs in Iraq.

"We will see what we can do to rebuild Iraq's sports structure," acting USOC President Bill Martin said.

Sure, and when they have it just right they can help with an ignore-and-deny drug-testing program.

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