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Bottom Line in This Business: Don’t Sign Now, Get Paid Later

Bill Russell was in Boston recently with Wilt Chamberlain for a joint autograph session at a card show. According to Joie Casey, one of the show’s organizers, it was only Russell’s second trip in more than 10 years to the city where he and the Celtics won 11 NBA titles.

It was also only his second show after 28 years in autograph exile, said Casey, who ranked Russell alongside the Queen of England and the Pope as the living celebrities whose signatures are most difficult to obtain.

Why did he change his mind? A good guess would be money. He got at least $295 a signature, the price going up to $495 if it was on a basketball and $995 if it was on a jersey.

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Trivia time: Who are the four coaches who have won basketball championships in the NCAA tournament, NIT and Olympic Games?

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Showboat: Figure skater Toller Cranston, 45, who broke an ankle in warmups, on why he won’t let it end his career:

“I have no intention of retiring in such a modest, inconspicuous way. If I break my leg, it’s got to be at least in front of television cameras.”

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Twice-told tales: Steve Jacobson in Newsday: “From the great years comes the tale of how the throng welcoming the triumphant Green Bay Packers kept Vince Lombardi standing outside at the airport and when he got home and into bed, his wife said, ‘God, your feet are cold!’

“And the great man said, ‘When we are in bed, my dear, you can call me Vincent.’ ”

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Bound to lose: Sur Render is a 5-foot-6 point guard for Gunnison High School in Colorado.

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Two of a kind? Art Spander in the San Francisco Examiner: “Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil: Separated at birth? Both are coaching junkies, both were on John Ralston’s Stanford staff in the 1960s, and both have a love-hate relationship with the game/business.”

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Go for it: Cedric Ceballos of the Lakers when asked about his chances of being voted a starter in the NBA All-Star game:

“I don’t know. But I know my hands are tired from stuffing the ballot box.”

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Truly the pits: Pole vaulter Dean Starkey, who will compete in the Sunkist indoor meet at the Sports Arena on Feb. 11, was surprised when he showed up for practice at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and couldn’t find the vaulting pit.

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Gale-force winds had blown the huge pit over a four-foot fence and 50 feet away.

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Boys will be boys: While playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1978, Darryl Dawkins was pulled aside by Coach Billy Cunningham for messing up.

Cunningham told Dawkins that he needed to grow up--fast. Dawkins nodded solemnly. As Cunningham walked away, Dawkins stuck out his foot and tripped the coach.

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Looking back: On this day in 1984, the Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs, 163-155, in the highest scoring regulation-length NBA game.

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Trivia answer: Bob Knight, Pete Newell, Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith.

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Quotebook: Charles Barkley on why he wanted to beat the Philadelphia 76ers by 100 points: “Ex-teams are like ex-wives. Deep, deep down, you know you can’t stand them.”


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