- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2002

Tickets are now on sale for the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships at MCI Center. For an additional $5, they'll tell you who's going to win.

Former NBA star Spencer Haywood wants to make a movie about his life, the Seattle Times reports and has enlisted the help of super-agent Leigh Steinberg. "Spencer had a Forrest Gump-like quality where he ended up in the middle of some of the most interesting sporting events in American history," Steinberg said. "From the turbulent times in the '60s that included those Summer [Olympic] Games in Mexico City through the changes in the '70s up until the '80s. Spencer has seen the best and worst this country has to offer."

And the country, I might add, has seen the best and worst Spencer has to offer, given the cocaine habit that curtailed his career.

The man might have had a "Forrest Gump-like quality," but somehow I don't envision Tom Hanks in the lead role.

Since Haywood spent one year in junior college, one year at the University of Detroit and then drew paychecks with six different ABA and NBA teams including the Bullets in 14 seasons, a good title for the movie might be "Spencer for Hire."

In what's surely a sports first, the New Orleans Hornets retired Pete Maravich's No.7 jersey last week, even though "Pistol Pete" never played a game for the club (though he did play several years for the New Orleans now Utah Jazz).
That means there's still hope for Haywood, who appeared in 34 games for New Orleans in '79.

Now that it finally has instant replay, the NBA might be going a little overboard. I hear the league used it the other day to determine if the Phoenix Suns' Gorilla was guilty of traveling while doing one of his famous trampoline dunks.

This may not mean anything, but Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley are exactly the same age collectively as Dr. Jack Ramsey (77).

Confessions of a Sports Addict, No.351: Watching "Insomnia" on the VCR the other night, I actually found myself thinking: Nightmute, Alaska [the setting of the movie], hmmm I wonder how far that is from where Mark Schlereth grew up.

Confessions of a Sports Addict, No.352: Later, when no one was looking, I got out an atlas and checked. Nightmute is about 440 miles west as the reindeer flies of Anchorage, Schlereth's hometown.

You forget how close Alaska is to the Former Soviet Union. In fact, if it hadn't been for the heroics of Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove," Mark probably would have been the first Russian-speaking NFL player, not the first Alaskan-born one.

Hootie Johnson strikes me as the kind of guy who, if Augusta National is pressured into admitting a woman member, would extend the first invitation to a transsexual.

News item: College coaches will now be able to recruit athletes who don't answer a single question correctly on their SAT, according to new guidelines approved by Division I schools.
Comment: Don't worry, our universities aren't throwing all their standards out the window. To be eligible for a scholarship, you still have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Of course, a year from now, that last rule will undoubtedly be amended to read "walk and/or chew gum."

And the year after that, it will be changed to: "stumble and/or chew gum."

And before long, all you'll have to be able to do is take the wrapper off the piece of gum.

I see old friend Jeff George has signed on with the Seahawks. Which do you think bugged Jeff the most in his "retirement" Tommy Maddox starting in Pittsburgh, Rodney Peete starting in Carolina, Gus Frerotte starting in Cincinnati or Shane Matthews starting in Washington?

Or was it Matt Hasselbeck starting in Seattle?

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com painted a rather sympathetic picture of George recently. "Labeled by some as a 'coach killer,'" he wrote, "and viewed as unable to get along with his teammates, George is actually known by those close to him as a devoted family man who is fiercely loyal to a small group of confidants."
Of course, you could say the same thing about Saddam Hussein.

Sorry, I'm just not a big Jeff George fan. The day after Mike Holmgren added him to the roster, the two Seattle papers ran similar headlines "By George, he's a Hawk" (Post-Intelligencer) and "By George, Hawks get a backup plan" (Times). My headline would have been a little different, something along the lines of: "This Jeff's a Mutt."

The late hit the Eagles' Brian Dawkins laid on the Giants' Ike Hilliard on Monday night was strikingly similar to the one the Cowboys' Omar Stoutmire laid on the Redskins' Leslie Shepherd back in '97. (Shep, too, was knocked out for the season, you may recall with a broken wrist.) The biggest difference between the two: Stoutmire was fined $5,000 (because he was making a rookie's salary), and Dawkins was fined 10 times that (because he's making a Pro Bowler's salary).

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. That's the NFL.

Dawkins, by the way, had a great quote about his hit."If I could see the game in slow motion [like the league's head of discipline does]," he told the Philadelphia Daily News, "I would have stopped, yes. I would have tied my shoe."

The Quote of the Week, however, might have come from Philly linebacker Shawn Barber, the ex-Redskin, who said of mouthy Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, "He just talks and talks, but I can't understand what he's saying with his mouthpiece in, anyway."

It was a rough week for former Florida (and Steve Spurrier) receivers. Hilliard got KO'd by Dawkins, Seattle's Darrell Jackson got KO'd by Dallas' Darren Woodson and, in Atlanta, Willie Jackson got waived in a dispute over playing time. Of course, Willie's travails had a happy ending because he rejoined Spurrier in Washington.

I still think the Redskins erred by cutting Kevin Lockett to make room for Jackson. I mean, Lockett had the highest passer rating on the team the last two years (a perfect 158.3 both years, on the strength of two passes for two touchdowns).
And Spurrier complained about not having an all-pro quarterback

Neal from Gaithersburg offers another "Famous Moose in Sports History" (to add to last Sunday's list): Lawrence George "Moose" Stubing. Stubing went 0-8 as the Anaheim Angels' interim manager in 1988 he was previously their third-base coach but his big claim to fame, Neal says, is that "at the time, he was refereeing basketball games in the Western Athletic Conference. I'm pretty sure he's the only manager/ref combo of recent vintage."

Sid from Silver Spring writes: "I had this funny dream. Cal Ripken got hired as GM of the Orioles, there was this joyous news conference and the next day he called in sick."

Did you hear the Florida Marlins' mascot, Billy the Marlin, might take the team to court for firing him in a supposed cost-cutting measure?
I'd love to be there when Billy is on the witness stand, and the judge cautions the defense attorney about "going on a fishing expedition."

And finally, I'm sure the Marlins' legal team will come up with a plausible explanation for the mascot's dismissal. You just hope the jury doesn't swallow it hook, line and sinker.

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