The day in sports: Jim Murray scores, and so does Jerry West

Lakers' Jerry West cuts through the pack to take charge of a loose ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on  Jan. 21, 1974.
Lakers guard Jerry West cuts through the pack to take charge of a loose ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 21, 1974.
(Associated Press)

On this date in 1989, Jim Murray writes a column for The Times on the NFL’s then-commissioner Pete Rozelle, whom he describes as “the supreme Organization Man. Madison Avenue times two. As a PR man he is without equal. He could make Castro president of the U.S.”

“The Super Bowl is his monument,” Murray writes. “It exists because of Pete Rozelle. He built it from scratch. Michelangelo has his David, Da Vinci has his Mona Lisa — and Rozelle has the Super Bowl.”

We miss Murray’s wit and humor. We’re missing games too. Today, the Lakers were to travel to Toronto for their second game of the season against the Raptors. The Lakers lost 113-104 to the defending champions in November at Staples Center.

The coronavirus pandemic has scuttled the sports calendar, but here’s a look at what was supposed to happen -- and has happened -- on this date.


The Kings were supposed to be in Dallas for a game against the Stars. The teams met Jan. 8 and the Stars won 2-1, their fifth consecutive victory.

The Dodgers and the Angels should be preparing for their season openers Thursday, the Angels at Houston, the Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants.

Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1936 — Detroit’s Mud Bruneteau ends the longest game in NHL history with a goal after 116 minutes 30 seconds (six overtimes) to beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in the semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.


1956 — The University of San Francisco’s Bill Russell scores 26 points, grabs 27 rebounds and blocks 20 shots to lead the Dons to an 83-71 victory over Iowa and a second consecutive national title, and 55th consecutive victory, then an NCAA record.

1956 — Jerry West leads East Bank (W.Va.) High to the state championship. The victory prompts the school to change its name to West Bank High on this date every year.

1970 — West wins the only NBA scoring title of his career, accumulating 2,309 points in 74 games for a 31.2 points-per-game average.

1973 — Nate “Tiny” Archibald of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings is the first player in the NBA to lead the league in scoring (34.0 points per game) and assists (11.4) in the same season.


1975 — Muhammad Ali knocks out Chuck Wepner in the 15th round to retain the world heavyweight title at Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland. The fight, which becomes the inspiration for the 1976 movie “Rocky,” includes Wepner, known as the Bayonne (N.J.) Bleeder because he was prone to cut easily, knocking down Ali in the ninth round. Times columnist John Hall describes the scene as “Vampire Central.”

1979 — Indiana State, led by Larry Bird‘s 35 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, advances to the NCAA championship game against Michigan State and Magic Johnson by squeezing past DePaul 76-74.

1994 — Askia Jones scores 62 points in 28 minutes in Kansas State’s 115-77 victory over Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. Jones makes 18 of 25 shots from the field, including 14 three-pointers in 18 attempts, and makes 12 of 16 free throws.


2017 — Devin Booker scores 70 points, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to reach that mark, but the Boston Celtics get 34 from Isaiah Thomas and outlast the Phoenix Suns 130-120.

2018 — Nathan Chen, 18, completes six quadruple jumps in the men’s free program to become the first U.S. winner of the world figure skating title since Evan Lysacek in 2009.

2018 — Loyola of Chicago sails 78-62 over Kansas State to cap a stunning run through the NCAA South Regional. The Ramblers (32-5) match the lowest-seeded team ever to reach the Final Four, joining Louisiana State (1986), George Mason (2006) and Virginia Commonwealth (2011). The South is the first regional in tournament history to have the top four seeds, including overall No. 1 Virginia, knocked out on the opening weekend.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press.