Response Was Child’s Play for Russell
Carl Boldt of Arcadia, a starting forward on the University of San Francisco’s 1956 championship team that beat Iowa in the title game at Evanston, Ill., recalls teammate Bill Russell leaving the hotel the next morning and coming across a young newspaper boy selling the Evanston Morning Star.
“Morning Star,” the kid barked at Russell.
Russell, according to Boldt, patted the kid on his head and said, “Morning, son.”
Trivia time: In that game against Iowa, Russell set a Final Four record that still stands. What is it?
Cold, hard cash: Boldt, telling another Russell story, said that earlier in the 1955-56 season, San Francisco played UCLA in the finals of a Holiday Christmas tournament, and the school gave each player a card and small gift. According to Boldt, Russell said, “How about a couple of bucks instead of this gift?”
Said Boldt: “A priest looks up and replies, ‘Bill, money is a cold gift and it doesn’t come from the heart.’ Bill sticks out his hand and says, ‘Freeze me, Father.’ ”
Shortfall: An eight-foot statue of retired Utah Jazz star John Stockton was dedicated at Salt Lake City’s Delta Center, and Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times claims the project apparently came in under budget.
“Seems the sculptors grossly overestimated how much bronze they’d need to craft Stockton’s shorts,” Perry wrote.
A bronzed steal: About 20 feet from the Stockton statue is one of Karl Malone.
Wrote Sam Smith in the Chicago Tribune: “No word on whether there’ll be a statue of Michael Jordan between them stealing the ball.”
Name game: Seattle Times copy editor Mark Akins, on Stockton, the NBA’s all-time assist leader, having a son named Houston: “Pardon me, but shouldn’t his name be El Paso?”
Street smarts: There’s an open-wheel Indy-car street race in St. Petersburg, Fla., this weekend, similar to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach the following weekend.
Travis Gregg, who is driving in a preliminary race at St. Petersburg, described the difference between a street course and a road course.
“Instead of a ‘run-off’ area, you have a jewelry store,” he said. “There’s a big difference in trying to work your way around a gravel pit and work your way past a Starbucks.”
Looking back: On this day in 1975, UCLA defeated Kentucky, 92-85, at the San Diego Sports Arena for its 10th NCAA basketball title. It was John Wooden’s final game as UCLA’s coach.
Trivia answer: 27 rebounds.
And finally: Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, an intimidating pitcher, didn’t back off when asked about steroids while being interviewed for the April 9 edition of “FSN Across America.”
“If they had steroids when I was playing, I may have done them, who knows?” Gibson said. “I wanted to win more than anyone else in the world, and if I thought that maybe it would have helped me win, I probably would have done it.”
Larry Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.