Only Magic Would Pass the Wrench

Norm Nixon said he would be a dentist and Rolando Blackman said he would be in marketing. Jack Sikma would be in accounting and Calvin Natt would be learning the restaurant trade.

The question, as posed by Tony Kornheiser of the WashingtonPost, was: "What would you be doing if you weren't playing pro basketball?"

Robert Parish said he would be selling real estate and Isiah Thomas said he would be in law school. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thought he would be teaching, probably history.

Some were vague in their answers. Some might have been guilty of wishful thinking. Not Magic Johnson. He had no illusions.

"Working on the line at GM," he said.

Says Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway, who underwent knee surgery after the season: "I can't run yet, but I can swing a golf club."

In the American Airlines tournament at Orlando, Fla., Elway won the hole-in-one contest by coming within 70 inches on the 175-yard sixth hole. His prize was a lifetime membership in The Old Course Golf and Country Club at St. Andrews, Scotland.

"I'm going to use it, too," he said.

While taking a lesson at the Studio City Golf Club, Ted Ryan of Los Angeles asked teaching pro Mike Austin to hit a drive--to show him how it's done.

Ryan: "Using my driver and an old range ball, he hit a drive that was just taking off as it went over the 240-yard sign. The ball must have gone 325 yards."

Before you say, "So what?" here's the bottom line: Today, Mike Austin becomes 75 years old.

Happy birthday!

It-had-to-happen dept.: "Look how easy he makes it look," the announcer said as Switzerland's Pirmin Zurbriggen flashed down the course in the World Cup ski race in Yugoslavia. With that, Zurbriggen lost his balance, lost a pole and lost the race.

St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca, on the 10-game winning streak since he started wearing that red, turquoise and brown creation: "The sweater is doing it. This is getting like the Twilight Zone. I'll fade away, and the sweater takes over."

From Arizona Coach Lute Olson, saying Saturday's 60-55 win over USC wasn't as close as the score indicated: "USC went into a zone about four or five trips down the court, and I think we knocked it down every time. I think I saw Steve Kerr licking his chops when he saw the zone. If we had hit our free throws, the game would have been over 10 minutes before it was."

After all is said and done, Missouri Coach Norm Stewart says, "The game is still dictated by players whose heads are closest to the basket."

Don't worry about Sam Snead ever getting bored if he decides to hang up the clubs.

Says The Slammer: "The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish."

Quotebook

ESPN's Dick Vitale, predicting Mike Giomi will transfer to North Carolina State, where he would play under Jim Valvano after playing under Bob Knight: "That's like going from Gen. Patton to Gomer Pyle."

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