From a Jock to a King
Twenty-five years after he left the building for the last time,
SI celebrates Elvis Presley's wide world of sports
Elvis loved sports, it's just that he had other interests. So the
story goes, he got cut from his high school football team in
Memphis for refusing to shave his sideburns. But he played touch
football passionately throughout his life--often as a quarterback.
He had bad hands but loved diagramming plays and mimicking his
idol, Jim Brown, on the field. While stationed in Germany with
the U.S. Army in 1959, soldiers gave him the MVP trophy in their
Bad Neuheim Sunday Afternoon Football Association. Back home, his
pickup games were famously rough and drew such stars as Pat
Boone, Ricky Nelson and Jan and Dean. One rule: When tagging
Elvis, Don't touch the face.
Never mind the red sash, Elvis had a black belt in karate, which
he began studying in the Army. He trained with several mentors,
one of whom dubbed him Master Tiger.
As a heartthrob driver in Speedway (1968), Elvis runs from an IRS
agent played by Nancy Sinatra. Richard Petty--the King of
NASCAR--and Cale Yarborough had cameos.
Elvis's 1962 musical remake of the boxing film Kid Galahad was a
hit with moviegoers but not with the critics. Said The New York
Times, "The expanses of flesh that he exposes when he gets into
boxing togs are a fair indication that most of his muscles have
come from punching a guitar.... Mr. Presley does not make a very
The King and the Sultan
Elvis died in 1977 on Aug. 16--the same date on which Babe Ruth
died in '48.
Kirk Alan Presley, a third cousin of Elvis's, was a Mets
first-round draft pick in 1993 after starring as a high school
pitcher in Tupelo, Miss., (Elvis's hometown). The 6'3",
195-pound righty had an 8-10 record in parts of five minor
league seasons before retiring with injuries.
Guard Brent Price has become famous around the NBA for his
renditions of Elvis's Blue Christmas and Teddy Bear during his
10-year, four-team career. Who's he with now? The Kings.
Don't Cry, Daddy
In 1995 former NFL coach Jerry Glanville stopped his
long-standing practice of leaving passes to football games for
the King: "I haven't heard from Elvis since his daughter married
Michael Jackson," Glanville said. "I think it killed him."
All Shook Up:
On April 5, 2002, the Grizzlies hosted Elvis Bobblehead Night at
The Pyramid in Memphis.
Players who crossed the picket line in 1995 are still searching
For about two dozen major leaguers, there's something more at
stake in the ongoing labor negotiations than their paychecks. The
surviving members of baseball's Replacements--the strike-breaking
minor leaguers who participated in spring training in 1995--are
hoping to finally win admittance to the players' union and erase
their scab stigma. "The replacement players have always had the
option to petition for membership," says Greg Bouris, the union's
communications director. "But no player who has petitioned has
The still active replacement players--among them Braves reliever
Kerry Ligtenberg, Twins starter Rick Reed and Yankees outfielder
Shane Spencer--hope that if they support the Major League
Baseball Players Association by participating in a strike,
they'll be welcomed into the union under a new collective
bargaining agreement. (All of the active replacement players
contacted by SI refused to be interviewed for this story.)
Already, they receive most of the benefits of union members,
including major league salaries. They have health insurance and
pension plans, and they get assistance from union lawyers on
appeals of league discipline and salary arbitration. Still, they
are sometimes treated coolly by certain teammates and are often
left out of strike-related clubhouse meetings. "Damian pays for
his decision every day," says one Diamondbacks player of
teammate Damian Miller, who worked out in the Twins camp during
the strike. Miller, like the other strikebreakers, also pays
more tangibly: He's not eligible to share in the union's
licensing revenue (which can exceed $30,000 a year per player),
and his name and likeness may not appear on any memorabilia
approved by the players' association. After the Diamondbacks won
the World Series last year, Miller, a catcher who played in all
but one postseason game and had keyed Arizona's Series-winning
rally in Game 7, was the only player whose name was not on the
team's official championship T-shirt. Bouris acknowledges that
players might be able to join the union under a new agreement
but says, "That's a decision for our executive board at the
While the scabs have their share of supporters in the union,
they're also up against some staunch opposition that has neither
forgiven nor forgotten the spring of 1995. "If we welcomed guys
who crossed the picket line, we'd be setting a bad precedent,"
says Indians reliever Mark Wohlers. "Would I let them into the
union? Absolutely not." --Mark Beech
10 Athletes who have played in both the NBA and major leagues,
including 6'9" lefthanded pitcher Mark Hendrickson, who made his
debut with the Blue Jays last week and who played forward for
four NBA teams in the late '90s.
$264,591,168 Career purse earnings by jockey Pat Day, who last
week became thoroughbred racing's alltime leading money winner.
91.9 Average score of the average golfer, according to a Golf
Magazine survey of people who play at least 25 rounds per year.
43 Percentage of golfers who admit that they have thrown a club
in anger, according to the same survey.
0 for 6 Final batting stats for 33-year-old John Henry Williams,
son of the late Ted Williams, who announced he will not return to
play for the Red Sox' rookie league team in Fort Myers, Fla.
97 Age of Glenn Presnell, the oldest living NFL player and the
league leader in scoring while playing for the Portsmouth (Ohio)
Spartans in 1933.
WHO IS... MARGO DYDEK
Why they call her Large Marge
Dydek, at 7'2", is the tallest player in WNBA history by four
inches. In her fifth season playing center for the Utah Starzz
she was leading the league in blocks (3.71 per game), flagrant
fouls (three this year) and suspensions (two). She's
spearheading the Starzz into a first-round playoff matchup that
starts this week.
Why she calls herself a good girl
Is it her fault that she looms large in the low post, she
wonders. This year the WNBA has been cracking down on fouls, and
each of Dydek's flagrants (and suspensions) has come, she
insists, as a result of her elbows being face-level with most
players in the league. "It's not intentional," she says. "Most
times, I don't even see the other player coming." The
suspensions haven't spoiled her best all-around season: In
addition to her blocks Dydek, 28, was averaging 13.3 points a
game and was third in the WNBA in rebounding (9.1).
Her father is 6'7", her mother is 6'3", and Margo has an 85-inch
wingspan.... A native of Warsaw, she played six seasons of pro
ball in Europe before jumping to the WNBA, and she still plays
in the old country during the off-season.... She once dunked in
a game in Madrid but says she's still waiting for the right
opportunity to do it in the U.S.
Down & Out
Beverly Hills 90210 actor Jason Priestley crashes
On screen and off, Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley has
always come across as a guy who loved fast cars. That need for
speed caught up with him (again) on Sunday, when he was seriously
injured in a one-car crash during practice for an Infiniti Pro
Series race at the Kentucky Speedway.
At 8:50 a.m. Priestley apparently drove through a patch of "oil
dry," a drying agent, and his car spun out. He hit the wall at
180 miles per hour, fracturing his spine, breaking both feet and
injuring his head. On Monday he was hospitalized in serious
condition, but he was conscious, breathing on his own and was not
What was Priestley doing on the same track with men named
Luyendyk and Foyt? In fact, he was no dilettante. The actor
began racing in 1992 and finished third on the 1995 SCCA Pro
Rally Circuit before moving to the more competitive IMSA sports
car series. True, Priestley, 32, did lack experience in the
open-wheel Indy-type car that he crashed in, but that's not
uncommon in the Infiniti Pro, an IRL developmental series. "His
day job is different than my day job," says Ronnie Johncox, who
is fifth in the series standings and co-owns a metal stamping
company in Michigan. "But we both choose to race cars along with
that." Priestley was sixth in the standings.
In 1999 Priestley made headlines after totaling his Porsche, then
pleading no contest to DUI. In April he crashed a powerboat while
racing in Miami. But he was a model of safety on the track and,
when he crashed, was wearing a nonmandatory head-and-neck
restraint. Says Johncox, "He's a clean racer. I'd race
wheel-to-wheel with him anywhere." --Mark Bechtel
TOP U.S. SURFER HOLLY BECK, REVIEWS THE MOVIE BLUE CRUSH
Hollywood loves surfing but usually gets it wrong. Sandra Dee
looking all cute and giggling in Gidget back in 1959? Keanu
Reeves trying to look tough in 1991's Point Break? Please. True
surfers watched and laughed. Now Hollywood has finally produced a
film that may be the best surfing movie since The Endless Summer
Blue Crush is the story of a woman overcoming fear and danger to
reach a goal, and also a girl-meets-boy story set against the
backdrop of big-time surf contests on Oahu's North Shore. The
filmmakers--and actresses like Kate Bosworth (lower left)--do a
fine job of portraying those competitions at the famous break at
There are problems, though. Pipeline is extremely dangerous, and
pro surfers Rochelle Ballard, who is excellent as a stunt double,
and Kate Skarratt, who plays herself, suffered minor injuries
during filming. Thus, an assortment of doubles are recognizable
when the final wave is shown repeatedly from various angles; in
one scene Ballard was actually replaced by a male surfer in drag,
which led to some awkward edits.
Still, despite its imperfections, this film succeeds where
previous Hollywood creations fell short. When I saw Blue Crush,
I felt I was seeing my life on the big screen.
To attend anger management counseling, NASCAR driver Tony
Stewart, 31, who punched out a photographer after the Brickyard
400 on Aug. 4. Stewart, who's had several previous public
eruptions, was fined $10,000 by NASCAR and put on probation for
the rest of the year; he was also fined $50,000 by his sponsor,
Home Depot, whose Pontiac he then drove to victory in the
Watkins Glen International.
Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov against
Israeli-designed Deep Junior, the world computer champ. The $1
million match takes place Oct 1-13 in Israel; it will be
Kasparov's first computer foe since his 1997 loss to IBM's Deep
Jacqueline Boanson of Cheltenham, England, a deposit of $444.21
in her bank balance after a thief used her stolen debit card to
place two bets on horse races. When the horses won, the
bookmaker sent the payoffs directly into Boanson's account.
Of undisclosed causes, baseball Hall of Famer Enos (Country)
Slaughter, 86. The 10-time All-Star outfielder batted .300 in 19
seasons, played on four title teams and scored from first on a
shallow outfield hit to win Game 7 of the 1946 World Series for
Of heart failure, Darrell Porter, 50, an All-Star catcher who
hit .247 with 188 homers and 826 RBIs in a 17-year career.
Porter, the June 9, 1980, SI cover subject was found next to his
car outside Kansas City; an autopsy revealed traces of cocaine in
his blood. The MVP of the '82 World Series as a Cardinal, he was
one of the first athletes to admit to substance use, which he
discussed in his 1984 book, Snap Me Perfect!: The Darrell Porter
In a plane crash near his home in Bishop, Calif., Galen Rowell,
61, the great adventure photographer. A strong climber, Rowell
took his camera to vantage points where few others could go. He
published 18 books, and a 1989 SI article on Rowell noted, "He
transcends the genre to emerge as an artist capable of telling
truth more deeply than mere representation."
THE WEEK IN TELEVISION
SATURDAY 8/17--ESPN Classic 6 PM--The Flutie Game: Boston
College vs. Miami
See Doug Flutie as a young man in 1984, scrambling to his right
before throwing the most famous Hail Mary in college football
SUNDAY 8/18--CBS 2 PM--PGA Championship Final Round
The milestones keep on coming: If Tiger Woods finishes on top at
Hazeltine, he'll become the first golfer to twice win three
majors in a season.
SUNDAY 8/18--ESPN2 3 PM--Rogers AT&T Cup Final
Serena Williams is the tournament's defending champ, but all eyes
will be on Martina Hingis, who returns to the tour after missing
three months following ankle surgery.
SUNDAY 8/18--ABC 3 PM--Arena Bowl XVI
Forget those low-scoring NFL preseason games: The winning team in
the Arena Bowl has put up 50 or more points in four of the past
five years. This time the San Jose SaberCats, who average 63
points a game, are favored to beat the Arizona Rattlers.
TUESDAY 8/20--HBO 10 PM--Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
Can mercurial Terry Glenn make it in Cheese Land? Mary Carillo
talks with the former Pats receiver (now with the Packers) about
playing for his new, conservative bosses.
THURSDAY 8/22--CBS 9 PM--Chargers at Rams
See Doug Flutie as an old man scramble to ward off the challenge
of second-year pro Drew Brees in the battle to be the Chargers'
WEDNESDAY 8/21--ESPN 4 PM and 7 PM
Little League World Series, American/International Semifinals
No more kids' play: Following 17,000 games over six weeks on six
continents, the Little League World Series gets down to its final
eight teams as single-elimination play in both brackets begins at
Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa.
Tyson: Reality Bites
How to Follow a Chick
If you think the lives of Ozzy Osbourne and Anna Nicole Smith
have a surreal appeal, imagine The Mike Tyson Show. When it comes
to a reality show involving an athlete, the boxer tops the wish
list for Mark Shapiro, the ESPN vice president in charge of
program development. "We would absolutely be interested in
exploring Tyson's world," says Shapiro. "But I'm not sure of his
interest level. He could be worried about what people might see."
Or maybe not. Shelley Finkel, Tyson's adviser, says he has been
contacted by several producers and agents about a Tyson reality
show and would consider the right offer. "If you come to me with
something real like number of episodes, guarantee per episode and
upside, then we can go to the next step," he says. "It would be
of interest if it was ESPN, similar to how MTV was great for
Ozzy." Stay tuned.
Mike Breen will be able to empathize with whomever inherits the
tall task of succeeding Chick Hearn on Lakers broadcasts. Five
years ago Breen replaced Marv Albert on the MSG Network when the
beloved Knicks broadcaster resigned after pleading guilty to
misdemeanor assault and battery. "It was bittersweet for me
because I was benefiting from Marv's troubles, and he was someone
who had befriended and mentored me," says Breen. "You have to try
not to think of it as replacing someone like Chick Hearn or Marv,
because it's impossible. The fans know it won't be the same, but
if you're good at what you do, they'll accept you." It turns out
it will take more than one man (or woman) to replace Hearn. The
Lakers are not expected to continue using a simulcast on
television and radio, as they did with Hearn in the booth, but
will, like most teams, have a designated play-by-play broadcaster
for each medium. --R.D.
wingspan." --WHO IS...Margo Dydek, Page 20