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TOTALLY RANDOM

Let's cut it out with this Michael Jordan myth

Turns out that Friday's new Hall of Famer wasn't cut from his high school team.

September 11, 2009|Mark Medina

Beware of the story that might be shared today when Michael Jordan is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame: the one that involves him getting cut as a sophomore from his high school varsity basketball team.

It is inconveniently false, Ruby Sutton, physical education teacher at Laney High in Wilmington, N.C., told the Charlotte Observer.

"Back then, [most] 10th-graders played JV; that's just the way it was," Sutton said. "Nobody ever 'cut' Michael Jordan."

Laney High Athletic Director Fred Lynch, who was then an assistant basketball coach, told the Observer that the team did make an exception that year, though, permitting one sophomore to play on the varsity.

"Leroy [Smith] was not a better basketball player than Mike, he just had size," Lynch said. "We didn't have a lot of tall kids, and Leroy was 6-6, 6-7 . . . and [head coach] Pop Herring thought we had plenty of guards but needed size.

"The Hollywood version is that Mike got cut, came back the next year, and was great. That's not true. He played on the JV team, was our best JV player, and played on the varsity his final two years and scored more than 1,400 points [including a triple-double average his senior season: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists]. It was never a situation where Mike was ever a bad player."

It is unlikely that version will be told during the induction.

Trivia question

What three things do Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, former MLB center fielder Rick Monday and former MLB catcher Paul Lo Duca have in common?

Telltale number

With surveillance cameras in tow, it didn't take long for Baltimore police to find the four men believed to have stolen Cal Ripken Jr.'s statue that stood in front of Camden Yards.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Baltimore Sun there was another clue that made the case easy to crack after investigators located the suspects' truck.

"They saw the No. 8 and knew that was the property."

Easy does it

In a round-table discussion with NFL quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo, Sports Illustrated's Peter King asked each of them what an ideal job would be.

"I'm going to go with [Lakers forward] Luke Walton's job," Ryan said. "Play eight minutes a game, win an NBA ring. He's got it going on."

Trivia answer

All three have played for the Dodgers, wore No. 16 with the Dodgers and played college baseball at Arizona State.

(Question and answer provided by reader Mark Cortes of Northridge.)

And finally

After shortstop Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig's Yankees hit record (2,721), Jeter's high school coach, Don Zomer, told the New York Daily News about a conversation he had with Jeter 17 years ago when he struggled in the Yankees' minor league system.

Said Zomer: "I remember him saying, 'The Yankees wasted a lot of their money.' "

--

mark.medina@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesmedina

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