Bruce Webster, who coached 7-foot 6-inch Manute Bol at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, recalled the Sudanese center’s arrival in New York.
Webster told Bob Sakamoto of the Chicago Tribune that a little old lady at La Guardia Airport kept tugging on Bol’s pants at the baggage section.
When Webster asked her what she was doing, she said: “I’m trying to find out if he’s on stilts or whether I’m standing in a hole.”
Add Webster: He said Bol, who has been drafted by the Washington Bullets, told him: “I can block anybody’s shot except Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook.”
Webster added: “He’ll eat up Patrick Ewing. You know that little jump hook of his in the lane? Manute won’t have any trouble with it. He thinks he can block Ewing’s shots without much problem.”
Last Add Bol: He said he recently got a letter from his sister Abute in strife-torn Sudan, and he’s hoping to bring her here soon. He won’t have any trouble picking her out at the airport. She stands 6-8.
Trivia Time: What pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, in 1964, gave up the only grand-slam home run Pete Rose has hit? Hint: They later were on the same team in a World Series. (Answer below.)
At a roast of Rollie Massimino, the roastmaster was Pat Williams, general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, who said in introducing the Villanova coach: “Normally, we roast people because we like them. In your case, we made an exception.”
Introducing Jim Valvano, Williams said: “At North Carolina State, they give their kids a letter as soon as they can tell which one it is.”
Would-you-believe-it dept.: In the last 20 years, only two players in the National League have hit more than 50 home runs. Willie Mays hit 52 in 1965, and George Foster also hit 52 in 1977.
When Mays hit his 600th homer, for the San Francisco Giants in 1969, he did it as a pinch-hitter. The man he pinch-hit for was George Foster.
Jack Nicklaus missed the cut in both the U.S. Open and British Open, but Lee Trevino wishes people would quit asking Nicklaus when he’s going to retire.
“Quit? Why should he?” Trevino said. “Listen, the man is the best player who ever put on a pair of cleats. You talk about Jones, Hagen, Hogan. I’m sorry, but Jack would have walked though them all. He would have beaten their butts. He might have made them quit.
“He’s the best who ever came down the road.”
What does Bob Knight think of himself as a basketball coach?
Said Knight, who played for Fred Taylor at Ohio State: “Coach Taylor has reminded me a time or two that my experience in coaching will never be totally fulfilled until I have to coach someone like me.”
From the Sporting News: “Commissioner Harry Usher, always talking about the quality of play in the USFL, did not attend either semifinal game. He was at home in Los Angeles.”
Mark Moseley, on his competition with Tony Zendejas to win the Washington Redskin placekicking job: “They are talking about this thing going on all summer, but I’m going to run this guy out soon, real soon.
“I took up Tae Kwan Do (a martial art) in the off-season, and it helped my flexibility. I’m faster and stronger than I have been in the last 10 years.”
Trivia Answer: Dallas Green.
Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Sixto Lezcano, asked if a sore arm would keep him out of the lineup a few days: “I wouldn’t be in the lineup for a few days, anyway.”