- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 10, 2007

Who do you figure is going to get it worse tonight, LeBron James from Bruce Bowen or Tony Soprano from Phil Leotardo’s henchmen?

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Incredibly, the NBA has decided to go head-to-head with the final episode of “The Sopranos.” Memo to David Stern: If “Heidi” can shoo Joe Namath off the air, there’s no telling what Tony can do to “Boobie” Gibson.

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Maybe, just to hang on to a few viewers, the league should have Jamie-Lynn Sigler sing the national anthem.



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Three Other Famous Sports Boobies Besides the Cavaliers’ Hotshot Guard:

1. Charles “Boobie” Clark — The Boobie by which all others are measured. A 12th-round steal of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1973, Clark finished fourth in the conference that season with 988 yards rushing and was voted AFC Rookie of the Year by UPI. Alas, he battled weight problems and injuries after that and was never quite the same player.

2. James “Boobie” Miles — The stud running back in the 2004 movie, “Friday Night Lights,” who suffers a career-ending injury in Odessa Permian’s first game. (The real “Boobie” Miles starred at Permian in the late ‘80s.)

3. Ann-Margret — Played Lady Booby in “Joseph Andrews,” the 1977 flick based on Henry Fielding’s 18th-century comic novel. (What does Ann have to do with sports, you ask? Well, she was Namath’s romantic interest in the 1970 biker classic, “C.C. and Company.”)

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Am I the only one who thinks Manu Ginobili looks like Roberto Benigni’s more athletic younger brother?

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My favorite part of the Billy Donovan Saga:

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Donovan called his father at 10:30 a.m. last Saturday — the day after he was introduced as the Orlando Magic’s new coach — and said he thought he’d “made a major mistake.” His father, who was on a golf course in New York, told Billy he’d get back to him.

Two-and-a-half hours later, he did — by which time Billy had talked to the Magic and begun to pull out of the job.

So I guess we all know how the first call ended: “I feel your pain, Billy, I really do, but we’re just teeing off on the back nine. What number can I reach you at?”

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My second favorite part of the Billy Donovan Saga:

That same morning, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley flew to Richmond on a private jet to talk to Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant, a former Gators assistant. When Donovan’s wife, Christine, phoned and told Foley of her husband’s second thoughts, he immediately returned to Gainesville — after being “on the ground less than 30 minutes,” the Times reports.

In other words, Billy not only left the Magic in a lurch and gave Grant false hope, he also contributed unnecessarily to global warming.

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I’m not sure what to make of this, but:

The Magic had a coach back out on a contract … after firing a guy who had led them to their first playoff berth in four years (Brian Hill).

The Arkansas Razorbacks had a coach back out on a contract (Creighton’s Dana Altman) … after firing a guy who had led them to two straight NCAA tournaments (Stan Heath).

Last year, the College of Charleston had a coach back out on a contract (Winthrop’s Gregg Marshall) … after firing a guy with a 80-38 record at the school (Tom Herrion).

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Can’t wait for the showdown — or is it chowdown? —between Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi in the July Fourth hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. Michael Vick has even agreed, I hear, to throw out the first bun.

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Unless, of course, they decide to switch to PETA bread.

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If Vick’s lawyers are smart, they’ll videotape the event and label it “Defense Exhibit A.” I mean, talk about dog abuse.

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Next to Chestnut, who wolfed down a record 59½ weiners in 12 minutes recently, Vick will look like Mother Teresa … or at least Sally Struthers.

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As my colleague Thom Loverro pointed out Friday, southpaw Ross Detwiler, the Nationals’ top draft pick, hails from the same town as Chuck Berry — Wentzville, Mo. Hopefully, Ross will turn out more like Chuck and less like his “cousin Marvin,” whose band got stuck playing at the prom in “Back to the Future.”

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Remember? Michael J. Fox got locked in the trunk of the band’s car, and Marvin cut his hand jimmying the door open. So Michael, a time traveler from 1985, took over at lead guitar and played a rendition of “Johnny B. Goode” that was positively Jack Black-esque … even though Chuck’s famous song hadn’t been released yet.

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Sorry, can’t help it. “Back to the Future” is one of my favorite movies.

Ranks right up there with “Bedtime Story.”

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Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential hopeful, has even more jock ancestors than he’s admitting to. In addition to being related to Milt Romney, who played football for Amos Alonzo Stagg at the University of Chicago and with Red Grange on George Halas’ Chicago Bears, Mitt also has ties to Milt’s accomplished brothers, Ott and Lowell (aka Dick).

In fact, if you were perusing a sports section on Dec. 4, 1922, you might have been greeted by the headline: “Three Brothers Star As College Coaches On The Gridiron” — beneath which were pictures of the Romney boys and a brief story mentioning that Milt was a football assistant at Texas, Ott the director of P.E. at Montana State and Lowell the football coach at Utah State.

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The next year, Milt launched his NFL career with the Racine (Wis.) Legion. (He joined the Bears two seasons later.) As for his brothers, they enjoyed success as both football and basketball coaches.

Ott moved to Brigham Young and guided the football team to an 8-1 record in 1932, a mark that wouldn’t be topped by the Cougars until LaVell Edwards came along 40 years later. Ott was also the first college hoops coach to post 10 consecutive 20-win seasons (four at Montana State, six at BYU).

Lowell’s 1936 football team at Utah State, meanwhile, went 7-0-1 and shut out seven opponents. As the Aggies’ basketball coach, he won 225 games, which is still the school record (though Stew Morrill is closing in on it). He served, too, as Utah State’s AD — and even as the commissioner of the Mountain States Conference from 1949 to ‘59.

One more note: There’s a Romney Gymnasium at Montana State named for Ott (it’s now used for intramurals) and a Romney Stadium at Utah State named for Lowell (it’s still used for football). Yup, the Romney family has some sports in its blood.

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Elsewhere in athletics, USA Water Ski named Freddy Krueger its Male Athlete of the Month for May. USA Hockey, meanwhile, continues to snub Jason Voorhees, the hockey-mask-wearing maniac in the “Friday the 13th” series.

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The Anaheim Mighty Ducks dropped the “Mighty” from their name and won a championship. Wonder whether the Albany Great Danes, recent NCAA basketball tournament participants, should do something like that.

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Heck, if I were Albany’s AD, I’d sell my teams’ naming rights. Why not the Albany Claire Danes?

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And finally …

Just saw “The Schwab” wearing a Lance Alworth throwback jersey on TV. Soon enough, I suspect, an ESPN.com poll will be asking: Is answering trivia questions a sport?

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