The theme of little guys overcoming big odds to succeed has long been an advertising staple. Naturally, it hasn't taken long for companies looking to merge that kind of story with sports to attach themselves to Washington Bullets guard Tyrone Bogues.
One of the first national endorsements for the 5-foot-4 rookie is an agreement with Welch's. A major figure in the sale of juices, the company has recently attempted to enter the soft drink market, bottling a number of flavors.
To help promote the idea of competing with the big boys, particularly Coke and Pepsi, the company has launched the Welch's/Tyrone Bogues Sweepstakes.
Four grand prizes of a one-day private basketball clinic with Bogues as instructor will be awarded, as well as 500 basketballs.
Bogues, whose fortunes also have started to improve on the court , is certainly competing with the big guys financially. His fee for the contest and clinics as well as a few personal appearances: close to $500,000.
The Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns are said to be discussing a trade that would send center John Salley and either Joe Dumars or Vinnie Johnson -- both guards -- to the Suns in exchange for forward Larry Nance and either guard Jeff Hornacek or guard Jay Humphries.
It is said the deal has yet to be completed because Phoenix would like to have Dumars and Detroit would rather part with Johnson, who is older and makes more money. If the Pistons part with Dumars, it would be a major mistake, according to one Central Division coach.
"If it's Dumars that goes, then I have a hard time believing it would happen, he's too important to that team," he said. "And then what do they do with Nance? Does he play big guard? I doubt it. Does he back up Adrian Dantley? It's hard to see him coming off the bench. Maybe they'll do what they did last year, when Sidney Green started all season and they dumped him for Rick Mahorn when the playoffs began."
The difference this year is that while Green was ineffective all season, making a switch easy, the former Bullet Mahorn has been having possibly his best pro season. Perhaps a bigger question is why the Pistons, at 26-16 the third best team in the East, would want to shake up their personnel in such a potentially risky move.
Although he's averaging 2.7 points and 3.1 rebounds since joining the team in a December trade with Golden State, former North Carolina State forward/center Chris Washburn has made a favorable impression with the Atlanta Hawks.
"He's still a little immature and has some growing up to do but our guys love him," said assistant coach Brian Hill. "He's been there everyday, busted his tail every practice. He's been wonderful. We're thinking that he's someone who just got caught up in the system."