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TV Talk

April 22, 2002
April 22, 2002

Table of Contents
April 22, 2002

Golf Plus

TV Talk

Former NBA scrub Tom Tolbert is an All-Star on the air

This is an article from the April 22, 2002 issue Original Layout

Tom Tolbert doesn't take himself too seriously, which is good
considering that during his seven-year NBA career, neither did
his opponents. A bench warmer, Tolbert averaged only 6.5 points
per game. These days he's a regular on NBC's NBA studio show.

SI: You're 2 1/2 years younger than Michael Jordan. Does it
bother you that no one asks if you're coming back?

Tolbert: Actually, since I shaved my head, I was hoping some
people would confuse us.

SI: How would you describe your hairstyle?

Tolbert: I'd call it necessity. The trees are not as dense as
they once were.

SI: Why did you get into radio and TV?

Tolbert: So I wouldn't have to sweat when I was working.

SI: You said in an interview that you didn't know how to spell
work. What if I spotted you the w?

Tolbert: If you spotted me the w, I could get close. I might end
up spelling a Japanese cooking tool.

SI: During your career you were called everything from James
Dean to Alfred E. Neuman to Butt-head. Which do you prefer?

Tolbert: Butt-head. We had some things in common. I'm a little
bit goofy like he is.

SI: Why did you wear a neon-pink cast when you sprained your
ankle early in your career?

Tolbert: I wasn't playing much before the injury, and I wanted to
get a little attention.

SI: Did it bother you when Robin Ficker, the player-baiter,
confused you with Ray Tolbert?

Tolbert: Yeah. Ray was about 10 years older and 10 shades
darker. I told Ficker to get my name right. Then he screamed,
"You're terrible, Tom Tolbert."

SI: How did you know it was time to retire?

Tolbert: It could have been playing for four teams in four
years. You can rent things like furniture, but you keep buying
new kitchen stuff. Eventually I had seven blenders. When I could
make a margarita on the toilet, I knew it was time to go.

SI: You played a year in the Canary Islands. How was that?

Tolbert: The area around the airport was a wasteland. I expected
to see Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes riding across the
sand.

SI: You once took 25 batting-practice swings against Mike Krukow
at Pac Bell Park but didn't hit one out. How many swings would
you need to go yard?

Tolbert: Just one. Krukow didn't want me to hit it out. If the
pitch was over the plate, Yellowstone is the only park that
could hold me.

SI: Finally, were you underrated as a player?

Tolbert: I didn't know I was even rated.

--Pete McEntegart

COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL A. JONES/SACRAMENTO BEE