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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

The King of Fashion, but in His Own Style

October 31, 2005|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Bill King, the legendary Bay Area announcer who died Oct. 18, would have had trouble adhering to any dress code.

Rich Marotta, who was tabbed to be King's broadcast partner with the Raiders when the team moved to Los Angeles from Oakland in 1982, vividly recalls the first time he laid eyes on King.

"I went up to the Raiders' training camp in Santa Rosa to meet Bill," Marotta said, "and there he was on the sidelines wearing Speedo swimming trunks and flip-flops. I knew right then I would be hooking up with an unusual individual."

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Trivia time: King worked in Peoria, Ill., early in his broadcasting career. So did more than 20 other sports announcers who went on to major-market jobs. King was one of six working in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Can you name the others?

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Hairy situation: Rules regarding facial hair were something King did have trouble with.

In 1962, while with San Francisco radio station KSFO, King went on a two-week sailing trip and didn't shave.

Upon returning, he played around with his beard, trimming it into a goatee and waxing his mustache.

King was not planning to keep the beard -- until his boss told him it had to go. The goatee and waxed mustache remained in place the rest of King's life.

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This should suit 'em: Before the NBA announced that its players must adhere to a dress code, Marcus Camby of the Denver Nuggets said the league should provide a stipend for new threads.

That may not be necessary. Take, for example, what is going on in New York. JA Apparel, which owns the Joseph Abboud brand name, announced plans to supply Knick players with custom-designed suits. The deal was worked out through Knick point guard Stephon Marbury, who has done some advertising work for the company.

Marty Staff, JA Apparel president, said, "We understand that some players may disagree with the new changes. ... However, I think they may start to like the new dress code."

Free designer suits -- yeah, this may work out.

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Legal procedure: After ABC sideline reporter Todd Harris referred to the USC offensive line of Sam Baker, Taitusi Lutui, Ryan Kalil, Fred Matua and Winston Justice as a "big ugly law firm," commentator Dan Fouts said: "If you've got a law firm, you better have Justice, and they've got him."

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Looking back: On this day in 1987, the Los Angeles Rams traded Eric Dickerson to the Indianapolis Colts.

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Trivia answer: Chick Hearn, Lakers; Ralph Lawler, Clippers; Bob Starr, Angels and Rams; Tom Kelly, USC; and Bob Steinbrinck, UCLA.

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And finally: TBS announcer Ron Thulin, on Texas football Coach Mack Brown: "He says he has lightened up this year. In fact, he has downloaded about 2,000 songs on his iPod. He says, 'I now know who [rapper] 50 Cent is.' "

Said broadcast partner Charles Davis: "Mack Brown is now Mack 'Daddy' Brown."

Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.

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