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JERRY CROWE

Dunk shot reinstated in college basketball 35 years ago this week

Text messages from press row …

April 04, 2011|Jerry Crowe
  • Clippers power forward Blake Griffin throws down a dunk during the NBA All-Star game.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin throws down a dunk during the NBA All-Star… (Mike Nelson / EPA )

Here's something Blake Griffin might not know: The dunk shot, once banned from college and high school basketball, was reinstated 35 years ago this week. …

Fans applauded the move as long overdue, but John Wooden lamented, "I think it would have been better to leave it out." …

Banished in March 1967, two days after sophomore Lew Alcindor led UCLA to the NCAA championship, dunks were not reinstituted until after the Bruins had won seven more. …

"I hated to see them put the dunk out at the time," Wooden told the New York Times in 1976. "But shortly after it was done I told Lew, 'It'll do nothing but make you a better basketball player. The things you will have to do will help you.' "…

He was right, of course. …

Butler's returning to the NCAA final after losing top player Gordon Hayward from last year's team reminds that Cincinnati reached the title game in each of the next three seasons after Oscar Robertson left school. …

Twice, the Bearcats won titles. …

Derek Fisher is not the NBA's top "flopper," according to a poll of 152 players conducted by Sports Illustrated, but the Little Rock, Ark., native ranks first among U.S.-born players. …

He finished fourth overall behind Brazilian Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Argentines Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs and Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets. …

Matt Kemp and the Dodgers won't be able to keep this up, of course, but a promising first weekend against the defending champions put them on pace to win 120 games. ...

Torii Hunter and the Angels are on pace to lose 120 after falling on their faces against the Kansas City Royals, who at 200-1 rank as the longest of longshots to win the World Series. …

Slow-starting Angels newcomer Vernon Wells, due $26.1 million this season, is baseball's highest-paid left fielder, according to USA Today's annual salary survey. …

Five New York Yankees are the top earners at their positions: first baseman Mark Teixeira ($23.1 million); shortstop Derek Jeter ($14.7 million); third baseman Alex Rodriguez ($32 million); starting pitcher CC Sabathia ($24.2 million); and closer Mariano Rivera ($14.9 million). …

Tom Brady, rehabbing in the Southland after off-season foot surgery, showed an interest in women's softball long before he attended a game at UCLA over the weekend. …

The MVP's sister, Maureen, was an All-Western Athletic Conference pitcher at Fresno State in the mid-'90s. …

NFL draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, describing Cam Newton as "disingenuous," wrote recently of the Heisman Trophy winner's "fake smile" and added that Newton "comes off very scripted and has a selfish, me-first attitude." …

Sadly, that hardly makes him unique. …

Fulham Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed, blistering critics who questioned his unveiling of a statue of Michael Jackson outside the English Premier League team's stadium in west London: "Why is it bizarre? Football fans love it. If some stupid fans don't understand and appreciate such a gift, they can go to hell." …

Department of Bad Ideas: The Dodgers' "Throwback Days" promotion, in which all food and drinks will be sold at half-price during midweek day games, includes alcoholic beverages. …

Perhaps no one would be more excited about the Sacramento Kings' moving to Anaheim than 72-year-old Gary Weaver of Upland, who emails to note that he was the Rochester Royals' scoreboard operator in the early 1950s, replacing cardboard numerals at the Edgerton Park Sports Arena as the score changed. …

"That meant climbing a wooden ladder to a perch hanging precariously over one end of the court," writes Weaver, noting that he was 12 when the franchise won its only title in 1951, predating moves to Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha and Sacramento. …

Olympian and World War II prisoner-of-war survivor Louis Zamperini, whose remarkable story is told in Laura Hillenbrand's spellbinding "Unbroken," will sign copies of the bestselling book as well as his autobiography, "Devil at My Heels," on Saturday at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum in Torrance. …

Information: (310) 328-5392. …

Phil Jackson, asked whether anyone had told him he was wrong as often as straight-talking former assistant Tex Winter: "My mother."

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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