For those of you who were fans of the old Women's Basketball Association (which apparently isn't many, since the league is out of business), there is a new league set to debut on Monday.
Labeled the Liberty Basketball Association, the league debuts with the Detroit Dazzlers battling the LBA All-Stars. The game is scheduled to air live on ESPN.Gimmicks? The all-female league features 9-foot-2 baskets so the players can slam and jam just like the fellas. Uniforms are designed by Danskin and are made by using, as one press release breathlessly put it, "circular knit supplex nylon and lycra spandex."
Players? If you know these names, this may be for you: Linda Marie Godby (Auburn), Tracey Hall (Ohio State), Tonya Edwards (Tennessee), Nikita Lowry (Ohio State).
Hot Rod Hundley, who has seen more than a few good guards in his day, says the Jazz's John Stockton is the finest point guard in history.
"I honestly believe (Stockton) is the best point guard ever to play the game," he said in a recent edition of Beckett Basketball magazine.
Hundley, who played against the famous Bob Cousy of Boston, continued by saying Stockton has "the eyes and hands of Cousy and the heart of Larry Bird."
A final note from the man who thought he had won the All-Star Game, Kevin Johnson: "I think Karl Malone is so used to blocking Kevin Johnson that he just couldn't help it."
After Malone leaped up and swatted away his teammate's last-second basket, Johnson hugged Malone, jumped on his back, then kicked him in the rear.
"Two kicks," Johnson would say later. "He needed a couple of kicks for that. There was no doubt the game was over. I would have been a hero."
The Jazz's arbitration hearing over the dispute with former player Eric Johnson will be this week.
At issue is whether the Jazz cut Johnson last fall due to his lack of skills, or whether he was cut before healing from a foot injury. League rules stipulate a player can't be cut while injured, so Johnson filed a grievance with the league and players' association.
With the Feb. 21 trade deadline nearing, the Jazz haven't stirred up much controversy. But if any Big Trade doesn't come through, it won't be for lack of effort. Jazz Director of Player Personnel Scott Layden says the Jazz have talked with every team in the league recently.
"But I wouldn't be surprised if nothing happens," says Layden.
Layden says their eyes and ears are open to reasonable offers, but breaking up what they have would be done with great caution.
And it is caution that has built the Jazz to where they are today.
You can get here from there. Of 17 CBA players called up to the NBA this year, five have received guaranteed money in the Big Show. Two of them with local ties are Jim Les (Sacramento) and the Jazz's Dan O'Sullivan.
Sports Illustrated is on the stands, its cover showing a projected 1992 NBA All-Star team. The proposed team includes Utah's Karl Malone, along with New York's Pat Ewing, Philadelphia's Charles Barkley, L.A.'s Magic Johnson and Chicago's Michael Jordan.
Of Malone, the article says, "He can run the floor, which is a must on a team that has Magic, and he's a bulldog of a rebounder. And if things get rough, as they often do in international competition, who wouldn't feel more comfortable with the Mailman around?"
Once struggling in oblivion, the Chicago Bulls are now the most popular pro basketball team in America, in terms of sales of licensed merchandise. A recent Chicago Tribune article profiled the Bulls' rise to fame.
Predictably, the article gave due credit for the Bulls' popularity to the inimitable Michael Jordan. But it also said there were some predecessors who came along to make Chicago a winner. Among those mentioned was Jazz Coach and former Bulls' player Jerry Sloan.
Sloan was mentioned in an accompanying sketch of "Bulls headliners." There he is identified as one of the original Bulls and the only player to have his jersey retired. He remains the Bulls' all-time leader in games (696) and minutes (25,750).
Also mentioned is former Utahn Dick Motta, now the head coach at Sacramento. Motta, who led Chicago 1968-76, took them to their only divisional title in club history and was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1970-71. His 356 coaching victories is most of any Chicago coach.
This column contains some materials gathered from other news sources.