If anybody thought Celtic Pride would reassert itself in the aura of John Havlicek's announcement that this is his last NBA campaign for the Bostons, no such luck: the word this day and age is price, no pride.
Jo Jo White, whose 488 consecutive games played is a Celt record not even Iron John H. could match, says he is cutting the string right there - unless, as on Sunday, he is pressed into action against his wishes.
White, the nine-year veteran guard who was championship serives MVP two years back, is hurting, but he has played hurt in the past. Now he insists that because of his nagging left-heel ailment, result of bone spurs, and the management's insistence in negotiations on a long-term contract renewal that it won't insure his salary in case of injury later on: "They are giving me the business, and I'm not going to got out there and play for them and jeopardize my career."
Maybe you con't blame him, and he was saying much the same thing before Coach Satch Sanders ordered him to dress for Sunday's home game against Golden State and used him for 11 minutes of the second half. And White agreed to accompany the team to Springfield Civic Ctr. for tonight's game against Indiana. If Sanders feels he is needed and the team doctor again okays it. White may go into action again - but not if he can help it. Asked as he sat out Monday practice if he would play, White replied: "Nope, I'm going to take 10 days off . . .
An unwilling nonparticipant in tonight's game at Springfield (moved from the wrecked Hartford Civic Center) will be guard Ricky Sobers of the Pacers. Commissioner Larry O'Brien has suspended him two games without pay - lfor punching Tom McMillen for the Atlanta Hawks (and getting away with it at the time, Jan. 21, because the officials missed it). "Members of my staff and I," said O'brien yesterday,"reviewed a videotape of the game, which clearly showed the subsequent contact (the punch, after Sobers and the former Maryland forward collided as the result of a pick) . . . Questioning of Mr. Sobers confirmed the accuracy of the videotape. I have made it plain that actions of htis kind will not be tolerated in the NBA . . ." Kermit Washington knows that, and was reported the other day drafting the required letter of request for reinstatement when the first 60 of his "at least 60 days," is up Feb. 10 in hte Rudy Tomjanovich punching in the Dec. 12 Los Angeles-Hoston game . . .
The Post's Betty Cuniberti, back from Sunday's Maryland basketball visit to Notre Dame, notes that the charter plane carrying the team, cheerleaders, four radio men and one newspaper reporter (her) was the first jet to land or take off at the South Bend airport in four days; after dropping off the Terps, it picked up the West Virginia team that had been snowbound since playing the Irsh on Wednesday. The final decision to play (for a walk-in audience, no vehicle traffic moved) was made by the Rev. Edmund Joyce, Notre Dame's chariman of the faculty board in control of athletics.
"He had two concerns," said sports information assistant Bob Best. ". . . the students have been cooped up with nothing to do since Wednesday night, and we thought this would be a great outlet for them. We felt it would also be a good thing for the people who have been cooped up in their homes to watch the game on television." Ah, and it was a lucrative NBC-TV date . . .