Publish date:


Saturday 6/21

Liberty at Sparks

In the same week that one of its marquee players, Sheryl Swoopes
of the Houston Comets, is due to give birth to a son she'll name
Jordan (and you thought the Mailman delivered!), the WNBA, or
Fem-BA, will itself emerge from the womb. Statuesque Rebecca
Lobo, who stands 6'4", will carry the torch for the New Yorkers,
while 6'5" native Angeleno Lisa Leslie, one of Lobo's 1996
Olympic teammates, will ignite the Sparks. Keep an eye on Los
Angeles's 6'8" Zheng Haixia. The Great Wall of China, as she is
known, is equal in height to the tallest player to appear in the
first NBA game 51 years ago, Toronto Huskies center George

X Games

Was it only last summer that San Diego played host to the Zzz
Games (i.e., the Republican National Convention)? Who wouldn't
love to see a few of those GOP members return for the third
annual X Games, relocated from Rhode Island? "Jesse Helms needs
to catch some big air if he's to have any hope of overtaking
Strom Thurmond in the barefoot water-ski-jumping
competition.This just in: Gen. Colin Powell has been
disqualified from the sky-surfing event for ordering
antiaircraft missiles to be aimed at his fellow competitors."
Now those would be extreme sports! But there should be thrills
and spills enough in the events (such as street luge, below)
telecast nightly this week on ESPN and ESPN2.
ABC, 5 PM; ESPN, 10 PM

Sunday 6/22

World Bowl '97: Fire at Dragons

Never mind the sun, the Fire also rises. From the embers of a
3-7, last-place finish a year ago, Rhein emerged as a WLAF power
and will invade Barcelona's Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic with the
league's best record (7-3) and a bullish offensive line that
stampedes defenders as if they were feckless tourists in
Pamplona. Not only did the Rhein line help the Fire set a World
League rushing record (155.5 yards per game) this spring, but it
also allowed only one sack--that a slip by quarterback T.J.
Rubley. Barcelona (5-5) must also contend with Rhein kicker
Manfred Burgsmuller. The fourth-leading scorer in German soccer
history, Burgsmuller is second among WLAF kickers in scoring (44
points) and first in birthdays (47).

AVP Miller Lite Open

At age 36 Karch Kiraly finds himself deposed as King of the
Beach and playing the role of his sport's King Lear. Kiraly,
volleyball's highest career money winner, missed the first seven
stops of the '97 AVP Tour while he was recovering from shoulder
surgery. In Kiraly's absence, his 29-year-old partner Kent
Steffes paired up with Brazil's 27-year-old Jose Loiola--who
came out on top in the King of the Beach tournament in March--to
win seven of those events. Now Steffes-Loiola is touted as
potentially the best duo ever, and Kiraly (above, in hat, with
Steffes) admits, "They could break all the records." But
remember, as the Bard said, "Striving to better, oft we mar
what's well."
NBC, 3 pm

Monday 6/23


Wondering how those two ebullient French Open champs, Iva Majoli
and Gustavo Kuerten, will fare at the All England Lawn Tennis
Club? She has never won a match at Wimbledon. He has never even
played a match on grass. Majoli enters a women's field that is
minus defending champion Steffi Graf, who is sidelined by knee
surgery. Kuerten will shed his blue suede shoes in favor of the
required all-whites, but he and the rest of the men's draw will
not be rid as readily of three-time champ Pete Sampras (below),
who's hoping to bounce back after his early exit in the French.

Wednesday 6/25

NBA Draft

Until President Clinton reverses himself on cloning, and carbon
copies of Michael Jordan become an option, the draft remains the
best way for the NBA to replenish its talent. Wake Forest center
Tim Duncan will be selected first, by the San Antonio Spurs, but
after that not even God (Shammgod), the sophomore Providence
point guard who declared hardship, knows how the night will
proceed. (For Jackie MacMullan's predictions, see page 50.)
TNT, 7:30 PM

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.

COLOR PHOTO: CHARLIE SAMUELS [Man riding street luge]

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG [Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes playing volleyball]



Holy Toledo...and Dayton...and Peoria. After 36 years
together, ABC and the Pro Bowlers Tour are suddenly farther
apart than a 7-10 split. The network, averaging a 2.0 Nielsen
rating this season, has announced that it has no plans to renew
the pact with the tour, thus silencing announcer Chris Schenkel,
73, whose balmy baritone has graced this series since its
inception. What can be done to prevent kegling's on-air demise?
Interleague play against candlepin bowlers? "What would Wide
World of Sports do without us [as a lead-in]?" Schenkel asked
only four years ago. "They'd die." We'll see.