Why Not Lakers Vs. the World?

U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, a former University of Maryland All-American and a member of the 1972 U.S. basketball team that lost to the Soviet Union in Munich, watched on TV while the Americans lost to the Soviet Union again in Seoul.

“I kept thinking, ‘Why aren’t the Los Angeles Lakers over there?’ ” said McMillen, from Maryland’s 4th district.

Could the United States send pros rather than collegians to Barcelona, Spain, for the 1992 Games?

If McMillen has his way, it’s going to happen.


McMillen plans to introduce a non-binding resolution in Congress this week, calling for the U.S. Amateur Basketball Assn.(ABA-USA) and the U.S. Olympic Committee to take a long, hard look at changing the system.

“Why should 20-year-olds be playing against men in the prime of their careers?” he asked. “If we get rid of the distinction, you can make it economically advantageous for the NBA champions or a team of NBA All-Stars to play. That’s what is happening around the world. Why not here?”

When John Feinstein, then a Washington Post sportswriter, wrote, “A Season on the Brink,” his best-selling book about Coach Bob Knight and the Indiana University basketball team, it didn’t take long for Feinstein to make Knight mad at him.

But then, sportswriters never have been Knight’s favorite people.


Here is what Knight said about them in Joan Mellen’s new book, “Bob Knight: His Own Man”:

“Constantly last year, writers would write things about how fat I was, or about how out of shape I was. Do I look like I’m . . . I would say to (Bob) Hammel (sports editor of the Herald Telephone in Bloomington, Ind.), ‘Have you ever seen a normal sportswriter? They’re little short guys, or they’re bald-headed fat guys like you, or they’re guys with some kind of a physical handicap--they’ve got a bent arm, they limp, they wear thick glasses.’ ”

Hey, Bob, hold it a minute. Where did you get that round shirt?

Little-known fact: The Lakers are holding training camp in Hawaii this year, but this isn’t the first time they’ve gone Hawaiian.

Before the 1971-72 season, the Lakers also held training camp in Honolulu. They prepared for the National Basketball Assn. season by practicing in the National Guard Armory there.

Besides the training camp combination of hula and hoops, that season was noteworthy for something else: The Lakers had a 33-game winning streak and won their first NBA title since moving to Los Angeles.

Mahalo. And better let McMillen know where the Lakers will be in the coming weeks.

Extra topping: Jack Fertig, an associate basketball coach at Toledo, told listeners on his daily radio show that each new season-ticket buyer would get a free pizza. Fertig also said that the fifth ticket buyer would get the free pizza delivered by Athletic Director Allen Bohl.


Guess what. The scheme was a complete surprise to Bohl, who nevertheless had the good grace to go ahead with it. Bohl made the pizza delivery to the home of a judge. Afterward, though, Bohl pleaded for better communication.

“I hope any future ideas will be cleared with me,” he said. “I like making dough for the university, but delivering it is another story.”

Quick, give that man some extra anchovies.


From Coach Bill Parcells of the New York Giants, when asked if he thought linebacker Lawrence Taylor was rehabilitated from drug abuse: “I’m not convinced of anything. All I’m saying is he’s undergoing the prescribed treatment. I didn’t prescribe it. Hopefully, it will work out.”