Could Duke's Hurley be Estevez with wig?

Phil Jackman

February 04, 1993|By Phil Jackman

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The more I see Duke play hoops on television -- how can you miss the Blue Devils, they're on three times a week? -- the more I'm convinced Bobby Hurley is really Emilio Estevez wearing a dark-haired wig.

* The 84 free agents signed by baseball teams this winter have a combined age of 2,708 years, averaging 32-plus years per man. Which certainly doesn't speak well for the ability of clubs to develop their own cheap (for a while) talent.

* How naive were kids back in 1950? Dick Modzelewski, a former great college and NFL lineman from Maryland who will be inducted into both the Terp and National Football Foundation halls of fame, tells of Jim Tatum coming to recruit him a year after brother and fullback Ed had matriculated to College Park: "I told Tatum I had an offer from Notre Dame. But he told me all they turned out there was priests, so I went to Maryland. Heck, what did I know?"

* One of the most moving stories I've ever heard while hanging around sports pages since Roger smacked 61 was related by Andre the Giant, who died of heart failure at age 46 last weekend.

The wrassler, who stood 7 feet 4 and weighed well in excess of 500 pounds, grew up in the farming community of Grenoble, France, but it was not a happy childhood. Andre Rene Roussimoff was a giant, literally, from the beginning, and children and adults alike were always making fun of him, especially his huge head, which resulted from this boy producing an excessive amount of growth hormones.

As a lad of 13, Andre fled to Paris where, without a work permit, he was forced to scrounge an existence out of the streets and sewers of the city. He became a good boxer as an act of self-preservation, but the only work he could find was as a subject for people to gape at in a traveling freak show.

I'll never forget this huge, soft-spoken and soft-hearted hulk of a man, tears welling in his eyes, saying sadly, "I hated not being like everybody else. I thought about ending it."

There was a life to be lived, however, and Andre learned to enjoy himself as a professional wrassler and gentleman farmer here. Actually, all he ever wanted to do is teach school at home in Grenoble.

* There's a certain amount of irony to Riddick Bowe's first defense of his heavyweight championship against Michael Dokes Saturday in New York being dubbed "The Homecoming."

Remember, teams always line up patsies for homecomings so they can perform heroically in front of the money-donating alumni, and Dokes certainly qualifies for the term patsy.

* A couple of Maryland residents, sprinter Charlie Greene of Columbia and long-sprinter Charlie Jenkins of Sykesville are among five inductees to The Athletics Congress Hall of Fame. Jenkins, a double gold-medal winner at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 while attending Villanova, later coached at the school when son, Chip, attended there before going on to match his dad's gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay last summer. Greene, a retired Army major, held world records at 100 and 200 meters and won two medals at the 1968 Olympics. Both are still active in track as administrators and officials.

* Still on Halls of Fame: Good thing I'm not a committee of one to elect guys to the NFL hall in Canton; the place would be a high rise by now. I would have voted thumbs up on all 15 guys nominated. What names missed out: Lynn Swann, Dick Stanfel, Carl Eller, Bob Brown, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, Jackie Smith, on and on.

* The NFL is showing how phony its patriotic posturing has been over the years with its plan of encouraging New England to jettison the logo of a Patriot (Minuteman) it has carried since the team was founded in 1960. It's the old "a more dramatic symbol could enhance the marketing of the team" excuse. Maybe somebody in the league office isn't up on his history, all that one-if-by-land, two-if-by-sea stuff. Bow your head, America, another tradition bites the dust.

* Reaffirming the obvious, a couple of old-time NHL goaltenders got together and testified Bobby Hull had the hardest slap shot known to primitive or modern-day measurement. Actually, the guys humping up these days aren't even in the same gear, and the best thing about it is the laser beams of the "Golden Jet" usually went in the net.

* Three cheers for golfer John Daly at least thinking he might have beaten any problem he has with alcohol after a quickie rehabilitation. But what do you think the folks down at the University of Arkansas thought when alumnus John said a book he read during the three-week program was the first he had opened since his junior year in high school?

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