"I'll be very nervous when I get to Cleveland," said Walt Frazier. "It's a new situation, a new team, a new city. I'm 'Cool Clyde,' but I'm not that cool."
Frazier, the New York Knicks' all-time scorer, ofttime all-pro and fashion sytle-setter, injected a dash of irony yesterday to his farewell-to-New York press conference. He assembled the media at the offices of W.F. Enterprises, his principal business outlet, at just about the time Willis Reed, his coach and former teammate (championships 1970 and 73), was being inducted into the Madison Square Garden hall of fame across town.
Frazier, 32, admitted, "I was so dejected and disappointed over the deal (to the Cavaliers for Jim Cleamons in a changing of the guards) that at first I thought about giving Cleveland a hard time and asking for more money." But a talk with Cav coach Bill Fitch and "I'm not asking for money - I'm honoring my contract." That's for $400,000-plus a year, with the Knicks picking up part of the tab, and Frazier noting he is three years away "from financial indepedence."
Can Cool Clyde adjust from Manhattan to Richfield? Packing some prized possessions, he said he probably would maintain his sumptuous bachelor pad at least another year "because I love New York." But he guessed he could handle the move to Midwestern suburbia. "Remember, I've changed. I don't like to go out every night, like I did when I was 25" . . .
Did they mention on TV the reason Dave Johnson wasn't in the lineup for the Phillies rainy Saturday night against Tommy John, the Dodger he chased with a two-run single in the playoff opener? Back trouble up and whacked the old Oriole so bad he not only couldn't start at first base but couldn't pinch bat so the Phils had to fail with lighter-hitting Jerry Martin when their last good, two-on-base opportunity arose . . . Correcting an error (blush) in a Saturday report from Philly, Vic Davalillo didn't play in the '74 World Series, the A's let him go early that session. But P.S., Davalillo had been in three previous league playoffs (with Pittsburgh 1971 and '72, Oakland '73) without once getting to bat . . . A gag at the ball park was that the California town that named its junior high school for Steve Garvey and the school library for Tom Lasorda honored Tommy John by naming no rooms for him.
It's Dallas Week, so by way of helping the Redskins get up -
What's 10 feet off the ground, the same altitude as a basketball hoop? The crossbar on the football goalpost, that's what, so how can any red-blooded American athlete resist the chance to treat himself to not one thrill, but two in one? Yessir, the slam-dunk touchdown spike.
And who else but a guy who calls himself "Hollywood" to set the trend?
Soaring like the NBSA's Dr. J, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Dallas linebacker, Thomas Henderson, cleanly dunked the football over the bar after a 79-yard interception return in the Cowboy's 23-7 defeat of Tampa Bay. Pressbox types scored the act a perfect 10.
Later in that Oct. 2 game, Buccaneer linebacker Richard Wood, 6-2, 215, picked up a Toney Dorsett fumble, ran 37 yards for a TD and tried to slam-dunk. Tsk, ticked the bar. Score him a 5.
But patience. Henderson, on his first try after a 97-yard kickoff return in 1976, also nicked the bar.
"Copycat," jibed Henderson . . .
And basketball's version of copycat is the game called H-O-R-S-E. Which, sure enough, is the coming NBA season's designated halftime show, the successor to one-on-one and slam-dunk, and already taped last month in Atlanta. The Bullets sent Phil Chenier and Kevin Grevey as their duelists Chenier bowed to Atlanta's John Dres, but Grevey made as neat $5,000 by beating shooters in Rudy Tomjanovich, Bingo Smith and Jo Jo White. It finally took Pete Maravich's arsenal of tricks to beat Grevey in the semifinals. In the final - that will be staged live in late season - Maravich vs. Paul Westphal of Phoenix . . .