How tough was Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan back when he was a guard with the Chicago Bulls, now his opponent in the NBA finals?
Norm Van Lier, who works on Bull telecasts, remembers the days before he was Sloan’s backcourt mate in Chicago, when Van Lier played for the Cincinnati Royals.
The two got into a fight.
“In a preseason game, no less. . . . I think it was up at Northern Illinois University,” Van Lier told Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post. “We fought all the way out of the gym, right through the doors.
“But we shook hands afterward.”
And what does Sloan remember about Van Lier?
“We had a bond we developed over all those years,” Sloan said. “He baby-sat my kids. . . . Saved me a lot of money.”
Trivia time: If the Baltimore Orioles’ Mike Mussina had gotten two more outs last week, he would have had the first perfect game in team history and the club’s first no-hitter since four Orioles combined for one in 1991. Who were the four pitchers?
That explains it: Sportscaster Bret Lewis of KFWB, responding to a story that mice given steroids die sooner than mice not given steroids: “The problem is, once the mice get all pumped up on ‘roids, they go out and pick fights with cats.”
Three words to the wise: A comment in the Caught on the Fly column in the Sporting News on the hiring of Bill Hanzlik to coach the Denver Nuggets: “OK, so the No-guts may’ve made a gutsy choice in Hanzlik, but Fly’s gotta throttle down Hanzlik’s ex-boss, Hawks GM Pete Babcock, when he defends Denver hirin’ a guy with no head-coaching entries on his resume by sayin’, ‘Look at what Pat Riley did when he took over the Lakers (in 1981).’
“Three words-o-warning, fans: Kareem and Magic.”
No contest: Who’s the best player in baseball? If it’s between the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds and the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr., as most people feel it is, then there’s no question.
At least not in Bonds’ mind.
“What Junior is going to do throughout the course of his career is going to [be] well over anything I’ve ever done,” Bonds told the Sporting News’ Michael Knisley. “Junior is going to take the game to another level that I don’t think anyone is going to be able to catch up to. . . . Junior will surpass me throughout his career by a lot. Not by a little. By a lot.”
Trivia answer: Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined to no-hit the Oakland Athletics.
And finally: The picture that flashed around the world after Sunday’s showdown race in Toronto between Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey showed Bailey triumphantly chugging to the end of the 150-meter run with Johnson, who pulled a muscle, far back.
Johnson endorses Nike products; Bailey wears Adidas.
Bailey questioned whether Johnson was really injured.
One thing is beyond question. That picture of the race will never appear in a Nike ad.