At age 58 after a battle with bladder cancer, Maurice Lucas (above), who led the Trail Blazers to their only NBA title, in 1977. A 6'9" power forward out of Marquette, where his Warriors lost the '74 NCAA title game to N.C. State, Lucas left school as a junior to play two seasons in the ABA, then landed in Portland through the dispersal draft. In year one there, he averaged a team-high 20.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, but he saved his biggest blow for the '77 NBA Finals. With the Blazers about to go down two games to none in Philadelphia, Lucas backed up a brawling teammate and punched the 76ers' Darryl Dawkins in the back of the head. Message delivered. Lucas bulled his way to 27 points in Game 3, and the Blazers won four in a row. A five-time All-Star, Lucas returned to Portland as a coach in 2005 before his condition necessitated a leave in November '09.
To a group of Roman Catholic nuns in Baltimore, a rare 1909--1911 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, now believed to be one of roughly 60 of its kind. The card, which is in poor condition (three of its borders have been cut off, and it has been laminated), was bequeathed to the School Sisters of Notre Dame by the late brother of one of its order, who'd kept the card in a safety deposit box along with a note that read, "Although damaged, the value ... should increase exponentially throughout the 21st century!" Indeed, the card has already been put up for sale by Heritage Auctions with a high bid on Monday afternoon of $180,000 ($2.62 million less than a near-mint Wagner card sold for in 2007). The proceeds of the latest auction, which ends Nov. 4, have already been earmarked for donation to the nuns' ministries in 35 countries across the world.
November 8, 2010
At age 2, the allegedly psychic German cephalopod known to soccer fans as Paul the Octopus. Hatched in southern England, Paul was moved in 2008 to Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, where he made his name picking 2010 World Cup games. For a prediction to be made, aquarium officials set up two see-through plastic boxes, each with a mussel in it, and each featuring the flag of an opposing team in an upcoming match; whichever box Paul ate from represented his predicted winner. In June and July, Paul correctly picked all seven of his homeland's games and had Spain beating the Dutch in the final, which it did. Paul was retired shortly after the Cup but not before being made an official ambassador to England's 2018 World Cup bid. On Oct. 26 Paul died overnight, matching his species' life expectancy. Sea Life has since chosen a successor: a French-born octopus also named Paul.
After a 13-year career in which she advanced the Russian tennis movement by winning Olympic gold (she beat Dinara Safina in the 2008 final in Beijing) and reaching two Grand Slam finals, including the first all-Russian final, at the '04 French Open (where she lost to Anastasia Myskina), 29-year-old Elena Dementieva. Trained as a youth by the mother of two other Russian tennis stars, Safina and Marat Safin, Dementieva (below) cracked the WTA top 500 at age 16, in 1997, and turned pro a year later. She would go on to win 16 main-tour singles titles, finishing inside the top 10 in six of the past seven years. On Friday, after losing at the WTA Championships in Qatar, Dementieva announced her exit, the likely result of a year spent battling injuries. "[Elena] has been great inspiration for a lot of young Russians," said compatriot Vera Zvonareva. "The whole country will be sad."
At Chile's National Stadium, an exhibition soccer game between the 33 men who spent 69 days trapped in a collapsed mine and a team of Chileans who were involved in their rescue. The two sides met on Oct. 25 in Santiago and played 40 minutes of 16-versus-16 ball, with the miners—who had emerged less than two weeks earlier—being allowed unlimited subs. Despite being led by miner Franklin Lobos, 53, who played for the national side in the 1980s, the recently rescued Team Esperanza (Spanish for hope) fell 3--2 to a group of rescuers and government officials, including Chile's president, Sebastiàn Pi√±era, who netted the deciding goal.
When a hydraulic lift from which he was taping a Notre Dame football practice on Oct. 27 was toppled by wind, Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old Irish junior who worked in the team's video department. Sullivan was manning a camera above a practice field when he expressed serious concerns on Twitter about gusting winds that reached 51 mph. "I guess I've lived long enough," he wrote. As winds escalated, he tweeted, "Holy f--- holy f--- this is terrifying." The scissor lift fell less than an hour after Sullivan's last post, and medics arrived within minutes, but Sullivan was reported to have not been breathing en route to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. On Saturday, after Notre Dame's 28--27 loss to Tulsa, during which players on both teams wore helmet decals in remembrance of Sullivan, Irish coach Brian Kelly took responsibility for the decision to practice outdoors despite the wind. No one has taken responsibility for Sullivan having been on the lift.
THEY SAID IT
Former heavyweight boxing champion, on last week's announcement that embattled actor Mel Gibson would not appear with him in a sequel to The Hangover, as had been previously planned:
"We all have that guy—a Mel Gibson—in us."
Viewers of the Oct. 26 NBA season opener between the Celtics and the Heat on TNT, making it cable TV's most-watched regular season game ever.
Points scored in the first quarter of that game by the Heat, the fewest by one team in the first period of an opener in the shot-clock era.
Goals per game averaged in the 2010 MLS regular season, which ended Oct. 24, the lowest in the 15-year history of the league.
Overtime periods played last Friday between Texas's Jacksonville and Nacogdoches high schools (in a game that lasted 5½ hours and saw Jacksonville win 84--81), the most OTs ever in a high school game.
Cost of beer, in cents per ounce, at the Montreal Canadiens' Bell Centre, the highest in the NHL in 2010--11 by a nickel, according to a recent survey.
Shirts that can be fired into a crowd per second—at a range of 150 yards—by Shockwave, a 10-barrel T-shirt gun designed by a group of students at Bellarmine College prep school in San Jose.