The greatest Laker misnomer since Happy Hairston is James Worthy. But at least that perennial discussion -- celibacy as an athletic aid -- has been put to rest (twice over). . . .
The funniest thing the Harlem Globetrotters have done in decades (maybe centuries) is boycott the state of Arizona. What is more racially regressive than this traveling minstrel show of Amoses and Andys scratching their noggins and going "Yuk, yuk, yuk" for white folk? . . .
After Secretariat, Alydar was the people's horse. Always second, but always right there. Before Admiral Markey married Miss Calumet Baking Powder, he looked undressed without an ascot folded about his neck, a hound's tooth hat balanced on his forehead and an actress swinging from each arm. Markey named the showiest foal on the property after Rita Hayworth's throaty endearment for Aly Khan: "Aly Darrrrr-ling."
Steve Cauthen's old friend, Affirmed, whose 1978 Triple Crown was won at Alydar's expense (by a length and a half, a neck and a head), never could look his rival in the eye at stud, though they occupied adjoining paddocks. For romancing 80 mares a season, Alydar took in an annual $16 million.
When star center Patrick Ewing hears about this, he'll be even unhappier with his Knicks deal. . . .
The "Rocky" saga, coming to a merciful close in its fifth installment this week, was a tough buy from the beginning for anyone who remembered Chuck Wepner. He provided Sylvester Stallone the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. In reality, "The Italian Stallion" was "The Bayonne Bleeder." When Wepner fought, lobster bibs had to be issued at ringside. He started oozing during the anthem. "I can't hold him up much longer," Apollo Creed (Muhammad Ali) advised the audience in a dramatic aside before flattening Wepner in the last round. So Rocky didn't go the distance after all. . . .
Not since Ali and Howard Cosell has a television partnership played as felicitously as Glenn Brenner and the nun. . . .
Hands needn't be wrung so ruefully over the forfeitures at H.D. Woodson High School and the fate of Coach Bob Headen. If this is their fifth ineligibility rap in 10 years, what else needs to be said? . . .
The Faustian penalty heaped on Pete Rose seemed complete when Cincinnati swept the World Series and Lou Piniella was dubbed smarter than Tony La Russa. But quietly a move is afoot to circumvent even the chance that baseball writers might ignore their own morality clause and vote history's leading hitter into the Hall of Fame. Imagining the commissioner fidgeting on the same podium with a banished player, Cooperstown wants a hard and fast rule against felons. . . .
Sometimes, Marcus Dupree, Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, all of them numbered 34, seem to be the same southern fullback in a different stage of life. Dupree was the ultimate high school player, the hopeful symbol of Philadelphia, Miss., born less than a month before three civil rights workers were murdered there. But he was called a quitter in college.
Walker was the ultimate collegiate player, carrying an otherwise ordinary Georgia team to a national championship. But he is being called a quitter now in the pros. Jackson is the ultimate pro player and shoe salesman, the man for all seasons, who has written his memoirs at 27. Five years removed from football, Dupree is attempting a comeback with the Rams. Walker is trying to bounce back with the Vikings. And Jackson is hoping to avoid any sad sequels. . . .
A year ago, Tom Landry, Don Shula and Chuck Noll were being lumped together as out-of-date has-beens. Now that Shula and Noll are certifiably brilliant again, maybe Landry should reapply. . . .
If the Redskins thought Dexter Manley had anything left, they would be full of pious phrases about redemption and forgiveness. No coach holds onto old troops more resolutely than Joe Gibbs. Now that Russ Grimm has gone to the bench, a couple of seasons late, it could be too easy to forget he may be a Hall of Fame offensive lineman. . . .
"If he ever makes his foul shots," went the NBA saying in 1962, "Wilt Chamberlain is going to score 100 points in a game." Which was precisely what happened. Chamberlain hit 28 of 32 free throws the night he got 100. "If Paul Westhead lasts the season," goes the saying in 1990, "everyone's going to get 100." . . .
In case anyone has missed the bottom line of baseball's collusion mess, Peter Ueberroth has been reclassified a rotten commissioner. . . .
The saddest and scariest cocaine abusers in sports are the jockeys, some of whom use it primarily to make weight. So much of the stuff is on the hands of grooms and hot walkers, it's showing up in the feed of the horses. How can a jockey ride with cocaine? "There were times," says the reformed Pat Day, "when I couldn't have ridden without it." . . .
So, a new season has rolled around for the Capitals. Is anything forgiven? . . .
Come to find out, Roseanne Barr wasn't singing for herself in San Diego last summer. It was Milli Vanilli.