AN EAR TO THE GROUND

Notes from a reporter who spent the off-season swinging on the NBA grapevine
November 03, 1986

HEIR JORDAN
San Antonio's Alvin Robertson on Nike and its leading spokesman, Michael Jordan: "The company should change its name to Mike-y."

NO KIDDING
Piston rookie John Salley, trade bait the entire preseason, said: "I'm not going to come in and be a phenomenon like Michael Jordan."

AND THEY SAY THERE'S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

Portland's Clyde Drexler on new coach Mike Schuler's defensive system: "It's more of a five-man defense. It's a great concept."

After converting only 195 of 405 free throws last season for an execrable .481 percentage, Utah forward Karl Malone made 46 of 55 in the summer league. He gave credit to two revolutionary stratagems—added concentration and bending his knees when he shoots.

AND THE S WILL STAND FOR "SHOT"
The as yet unsigned World B. Free on his new role as Cavalier sixth man: "I can see it now. It'll be like a monster movie. As I go to the scorer's table, they'll play the theme from Jaws. When I get into the game, I'll rip off my warmup and there will be a big s on my chest."

I'LL TAKE WIMPY WHITE GUYS FOR 40, ART!

O.K., Jeopardy contestant, the rather long answer is: Alvin Robertson, San Antonio, 6'3" (6.29); Fat Lever, Denver, 6'3" (5.38); Isiah Thomas, Detroit, 6'1" (3.60); Sleepy Boyd, Golden State, 6'3" (3.62); John Bagley, Cleveland, 6'0" (3.53); Jay Humphries, Phoenix, 6'3" (3.17); Clint Richardson, Indiana, 6'3" (3.06); World B. Free, Cleveland, 6'2" (2.91); Maurice Cheeks, Philadelphia, 6'1" (2.87); Vinnie Johnson, Detroit, 6'2" (2.86).

The question? How many guards at least five inches shorter than Kiki Vandeweghe averaged more rebounds than he did last season? Kiki, a 6'8" forward, wiped the glass clean of a timid 2.73 caroms per game in 1985-86.

NO ONE EVER SAID CENTRAL PARK WAS SAFE
Norm Nixon participated in a celebrity Softball game in Central Park over the summer for the cast team of Sweet Charity, the Broadway musical starring his wife, Debbie Allen. While chasing a fly ball in rightfield, the Clipper guard tripped in a hole and ruptured the quadriceps tendon in his left knee. He will miss at least three months of the season.

WE UNDERSTAND EMMANUEL LEWIS IS AVAILABLE
Mike Fratello, who is listed in the NBA Register as 5'7" but is rumored to be a shade shorter than Spud Webb, who is either 5'7", 5'6" or 5'5½" depending on whom you believe, hired 5'9" Brian Hill as a third assistant for the Atlanta Hawks this past summer. Another Fratello assistant is 5'10" Brendan Suhr. Spoiling Fratello's bid for an alltime, all-diminutive staff is 6'10" Willis Reed.

FOR THE LOVE OF BOX SCORES, SOMEBODY PLEASE SIGN HIM
Ronald Joseph Oscar Camille Crevier played a total of four minutes last year for Golden State and Detroit.

THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
Over the summer, Seattle forward Tom Chambers assessed his team's prospects thusly: "Everybody in the league is improved, but we didn't make any improvements. We needed to bring in a couple of players. I'm normally an optimistic person, but I really question what we're going to be able to do. The forecast is real bleak."

IT'S ACADEMIC
At times this season, the Washington Bullets will sport a frontline of Moses Malone, Manute Bol and rookie John Williams, who combined for only three college seasons, two of them by Williams at LSU. Bol played one year at the University of Bridgeport, and Malone went to the ABA right out of high school.

DON'T BE CONFUSED—NUMBER 4 WILL STILL BE THE MAN TAKING ALL THE SHOTS
Ex-Piston Kelly Tripucka ruffled a few feathers in Utah when, after arriving in a trade for Adrian Dantley, he took Dantley's old number, 4. In Detroit, meanwhile, Dantley was unable to wrest number 4 away from second-year guard Joe Dumars and was unwilling to ask bruiser Rick Mahorn to surrender 44, Dantley's college number at Notre Dame. So Dantley will wear 45 in Detroit.

FORE!
Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer qualified for a national long-driving contest this summer with a 313-yarder. But it was the Phoenix Suns who were teed off when Laimbeer decked center Alvan Adams during a preseason game. "We're going to get him if it takes three games, four games or four months," said Phoenix assistant coach Al Bianchi.

CHIVALRY, THY NAME IS EDDIE
While playing against Nancy Lieberman in the Utah Pro-Am Summer League, Eddie Hughes, a CBA guard hungry for an NBA job, told Lieberman, "Do that again, and I'll slug you."

HE CAN CATCH THE TOUGH PASS OVER THE MIDDLE, TOO
During the annual Hollywood Stars exhibition baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 23, the Lakers' 39-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar belted a triple that reached the leftfield wall.

FUN COUPLES SPOTTED LAST YEAR AROUND THE NBA

Maury Wills and Vince Coleman—Madison Square Garden.
Whoopi Goldberg and John Travolta—the Forum.
Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal—Chicago Stadium.
Timothy Hutton and Debra Winger (who subsequently became Mrs. Timothy Hutton)—the Omni.
Busty Heart—Boston Garden.

A TRADE THAT WOULD HAVE SENT MULLIN AND HERB CAEN TO NEW YORK FOR BILL CARTWRIGHT AND JIMMY BRESLIN ALSO FELL THROUGH
To the best of our knowledge, here were the Warriors-Knicks deals discussed but never made involving Chris (I Love New York) Mullin: Mullin to Knicks for Darrell Walker and a No. 1 pick; Mullin and forward Larry Smith to Knicks for Bill Cartwright and Walker; Mullin and guard Lester Conner for Darrell Walker and forward-center Pat Cummings. Also, Mullin, Smith and Purvis Short were rumored to be going to Indiana for Steve Stipanovich, Clark Kellogg and the Pacers' 26th pick in the draft. The result? All hands are still in place, except for Walker, who was dealt to Denver.

DURING THE 1961-62 SEASON WILT CHAMBERLAIN ATTEMPTED A SHOT EVERY 1.23 MINUTES...BUT HE AVERAGED 50.4 PPG

The following NBA players were the leading candidates to contract bursitis during the 1985-86 season: Alex English, Denver, took a shot every 1.6 minutes and averaged 29.8 ppg (tied for second in league scoring); Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta, 1.61, averaged 30.3 (scoring champ); Walter Davis, Phoenix, 1.74, averaged 21.8(14th in league); Mike Mitchell, San Antonio, 1.75, and World B. Free, Cleveland, 1.77, both averaged 23.4 (tied for ninth).

Special Limited Time Bursitis Recognition: Quintin Dailey, Chicago, 1.54 in 35 games, averaged 16.3 ppg.

Totally Awesome Special Limited Time Bursitis Recognition: Michael Jordan, Chicago, took a shot every 1.38 minutes in 18 games, averaged 22.7 ppg.

Saving the Ol' Soupbone: T.R. Dunn, Denver, one shot every 6.34 minutes, averaged 5.0 ppg.

Irving Thalberg Lifetime Bursitis Achievement Award: George Gervin, took one shot every 1.69 minutes over 10 NBA seasons (26.2 ppg career average).

DON'T LAUGH—NOSTRADAMUS LIKED GOLDEN STATE
After observing the Lakers' 119-107 victory over Houston in the opening game of last season's Western Conference final, this observer's series analysis ran under the unequivocal headline: NO SHOT FOR THE ROCKETS.

DOWN, BOY
"Boston Celtics, world championship headquarters!"—Bill Walton answering his home phone throughout the summer.

YOU DIDN'T THINK WE'D GET OUT OF HERE WITHOUT A QUOTE FROM FRANK LAYDEN, DID YOU?
After trading his leading scorer and verbal sparring partner to Detroit, the Utah coach said: "I've already lost 220 pounds. We got rid of Dantley. I don't know that much about chemistry, but in terms of physiology, the Dantley trade probably saved my life."

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PHOTOCARL SKALAKBucks coach Don Nelson dropped 65 pounds—and his pants—before weighing in at the Mecca as part of his campaign that raised $475,000 to aid Wisconsin farmers. PHOTOPHIL HUBERThe Huttons take in the Hawks—sort of. PHOTOJOHN IACONO PHOTOBILL AUTH

VITAL STATISTICS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MANUTE BOL, WHO IS NOW ONE OF THE FATTEST PLAYERS ON THE WASHINGTON BULLETS ROSTER

Before

After

Summer, 1985

Fall, 1986

7'6½"

Height

7'6¾"

187 pounds

Weight

230 pounds

45 pounds

Bench press

120 pounds

35 pounds

Curls

60 pounds

65 pounds

Squat

225 pounds

45 degrees

Hamstring flex

90 degrees

14'½"

Vertical jump

17'¾"

2 (est.)

Pushups

10

8.8%

*Body fat

18.2%

*For comparison's sake, 7'4", 297-pound Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton's body fat was recently calculated at 11.0%.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)