That’s What They Said, for Better or for Worse, in 1988

Before filing it away forever, the old quote collector takes one last look back at 1988 in the world of sports . . .

Magic Johnson, after a 17-point Laker win, upon hearing that Coach Pat Riley was depressed at the team’s not-so-fast fast break:

“I don’t know what it’s going to take to please him.”

Billy Martin, hired by George Steinbrenner, again:


“And we’re not going to let the press come between us this time.”

Don Mattingly, on signing his 1988 contract with the New York Yankees:

“There’s not a club out there that can beat us. I guarantee it.”

Defensive end Walter Bowyer of the Denver Broncos, asked during Super Bowl week what kind of tree he would be if he were a tree:


“A cheese tree.”

Owner Harold Katz of the Philadelphia 76ers, announcing the firing of Coach Matty Guokas:

“This is not to put the blame on Matty.”

Robin Givens, on her marriage to Mike Tyson:


“You see, women are in love with him everywhere. But now I’m Mrs. Tyson. The game’s over.”

Assistant coach Hank Bullough of the Green Bay Packers:

“We keep beating ourselves, but we’re getting better at it.”

Katarina Witt, on her ultra-skimpy skating costume:


“Why not stress what we have that is attractive?”

Kirk Gibson, after he was was the victim of teammates’ pranks in spring training:

“Basically, I don’t want to be part of their fun and comedy act.”

Pat Riley, after a loss at Portland:


“Our players are not taking the challenge. This team is not playing with any purpose.”

Wally Joyner, on contract negotiations with the Angels’ general manager:

“Mike Port started off the meeting, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying.”

Lineman Dave Cadigan, admitting he had used steroids while at USC:


“I will do anything to become the best lineman in the NFL. . . . I’d tell the NFL the same thing. If they don’t like it, screw them.”

William Perry, reporting to the Bears’ training camp at 377 pounds:

“I ain’t in the best shape ever.”

Chili Davis, Angel outfielder, after making a leaping catch:


“My claim to fame is not leaping. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure what my claim to fame is.”

Brian Downing, Angel designated hitter, on why he was not saving the baseball he hit for a milestone home run:

“I don’t have a scrapbook, I don’t have a trophy case. Of course, I’ve never won any trophies.”

Billy Martin, explaining his side of an incident involving umpire Dale Scott:


“He said, ‘Throw some more dirt on me,’ and I did.”

A bookstore manager, after kids had brought in baseballs and bats to be autographed by Willie Mays, who was at the store to sign his new book:

"(Mays) told people, ‘Ten dollars for an autograph.’ Those were his exact words.”

Tim Flannery of the San Diego Padres, after Kirk Gibson had belittled the Padres in the press and then went 0 for 4 and misplayed a ball in the outfield:


“It’s an honor to be on the field with Kirk Gibson.”

Soviet pole vaulter Sergei Bubka, after winning a meet with a vault of 18 feet 8 1/4 inches:

“It’s terrible. It’s terrible. I’m sorry.”

Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth’s alleged statement to baseball owners, from a memo that surfaced during the collusion controversy:


“Be honest with each other, exchange information.”

East German sprinter Marlies Gohr, reacting to the news that Florence Griffith Joyner had shattered the women’s world record in the 100 meters:

Sie hat duesen en den fuessen! " (She has rockets on her feet!)

Manager Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds when the Dodgers had a 5 1/2-game lead over the Houston Astros in mid-August:


“I personally don’t think the Dodgers are going to win it. . . . I think the Dodgers are going to miss Fernando Valenzuela.”

Ben Johnson, on a scheduled match race against Carl Lewis:

“There’s no match there. As soon as the gun go off, the race be over.”

Lineman Joe Borders of Clark College in Atlanta, who jumped off the bench to tackle Alabama A&M; ballcarrier Cornelius Cooper and prevent a touchdown, an infraction that went undetected by game officials:


“It was an impulse. . . . In a nutshell, I was disgusted with the whole season. Nobody was paying attention.”

Ron Grinker, agent for Danny Manning, commenting on negotiations with Clipper owner Donald Sterling:

“He’s mad at me because I called him a buffoon. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. He’s only acting like a buffoon.”

Dana Kirk, former Memphis State basketball coach, upon his conviction for cheating on income tax and obstruction of justice:


“I have never shot, raped or robbed.”

Mike Tyson, on Robin Givens and her mother, Ruth Roper:

“These two are the slime of slime. . . . And anyone associated with them is slime.”

King Coach Robbie Ftorek, on what happened between Ftorek and Wayne Gretzky during a rumored locker-room confrontation:


“Maybe something happened, maybe nothing happened. Nobody knows.”