HERE'S THE ANSWER
Where in the world has Allen Iverson been this summer?
Last Thursday flabbergasted 76ers general manager Billy King
called team president Pat Croce from his office at Philly's
training facility. "Guess who I have with me?" he said. "Allen's
Said Croce, "You're kidding!"
Allen Iverson was there to work out, but not before talking to
King for 40 minutes about his role with the 76ers. It was the
first time since the end of last season--during which Iverson was
fined at least 50 times and suspended once for being late to
practice--that he had met with a team official in Philly.
Disturbed by trade rumors, lingering bad blood between him and
coach Larry Brown, and threats to his family's safety, Iverson
spent the summer mostly in his hometown of Hampton, Va. His
absconding and Brown's apparent zeal to deal made Iverson's
summer harder to follow than the NASDAQ.
June 28: Brown selects 5'11" Hofstra guard Craig (Speedy) Claxton
with the 20th pick of the draft, saying, "You need people when
the shot clock's running down [who] can make a play or get
somebody else a shot, and we really don't have anybody that does
July 7: Amid speculation that Brown might bolt to coach North
Carolina, and upset about rumors of a trade to the Clippers,
Iverson says it would be "extremely hard" for him to play under
Brown next season.
July 11: Retired Leola, Pa., high school math teacher Jay Charles
is charged with transmitting threatening communications over
state lines for sending an E-mail to a Philadelphia radio host in
which Charles threatened to dismember Iverson's five-year-old
daughter. Charles would later plead guilty.
July 13: Brown tells reporters, "I wonder what your relationship
would be with any employee...if he doesn't choose to come to
work on time, doesn't choose to come to work at all, doesn't
choose to do the things everybody else in the organization does
and then says he's upset with the way he's being treated." That
day a voluntary workout for Sixers veterans begins. Nine players
show. Iverson doesn't.
July 28: The Lakers reportedly reject a four-team trade that
would send Iverson to Detroit and land Philly L.A.'s Glen Rice,
free agent Eddie Jones and the Pistons' Jerome Williams.
The trading season began in earnest on Aug. 1. Iverson and Brown
remain on the same team and, Iverson now insists, on the same
page. During an hour-and-a-half conversation with Croce earlier
this month, Iverson indicated that turning 25 in June had changed
his outlook. He understands, says Croce, the need to be, in
Iverson's words, more "professional" and said he wanted to be a
team captain. Iverson uttered the same thoughts to King.
"If he's on time and working 100 percent, it cuts out all chances
of his being traded," says Croce. He notes, with characteristic
optimism, that Iverson recently bought a house near
Philadelphia. --Jamal Greene
TAX YA LATER, GUYS!
In the NBA, in which single guys need four-car garages and a
house isn't a home unless it has at least one recording studio,
penny-pinching has never been a watchword. But soon players are
going to find their (over)spending power cut by one tenth, the
result of a provision in the January 1999 collective bargaining
agreement known as the escrow tax. It mandates that beginning in
2001-02, each player must give back 10% of his pay if salaries
in the previous season added up to more than 55% of the league's
basketball-related income. In 1999-2000 that figure was 61%;
projections peg it at 64% for next season.
Like a dentist's appointment scheduled for three years down the
road, the escrow tax didn't seem so bad to players when they
agreed to it, but now they're realizing the financial pain in
store. Said Wizards guard Chris Whitney, "I don't think anybody's
happy about it, but we agreed to do it, so what can we do?" The
biggest losers are fat-contract players like Kevin Garnett, Shawn
Kemp and Shaquille O'Neal, who stand to forfeit more than $1
million apiece. "It's a big hit, no question," says Tony Dutt,
Kemp's agent. "It was a pretty smart move by the owners, because
it wasn't facing the players immediately."
The Players Association points out that salary gains since the
'99 contract dwarf the escrow tax. "The players are collectively
still better off than under the prior deal," says spokesman Dan
Wasserman, noting that the average salary, which was $2.4 million
in '97-98, will be $3.9 million this season. But for the NBA's
upper class, the message is clear: Escrow means less dough.
What are the accommodations in Sydney for married couples such as
Marion Jones and C.J. Hunter (left)?
Like the U.S. teams in basketball, tennis and women's gymnastics
and a handful of other American athletes who have filed requests
with the USOC, Jones and her shot-putting husband will stay in a
hotel outside the Olympic Village. Otherwise, men and women will
reside in separate dorm-style village housing, leaving
lower-profile couples, such as rifle team members Nancy and Ken
Johnson and rower Jen Dore-Terhaar and her coach Tom Terhaar,
living apart. Still, some duos manage to meet. "We've often had
married couples, and we don't do bed checks per se," says Greg
Harney, managing director of Games and organizational support
for the USOC. "There have been some creative rooming assignments."
Get ready, sports fans. MVP: Most Valuable Primate, about a
hockey-playing chimp, and Air Bud: World Pup, chronicling a
golden retriever's exploits on the soccer pitch, are slated to
open this fall. Here are a few masterpieces in whose pawprints
Movie Athletic animal The critics said...
Air Bud (1997) Basketball-playing dog "I actually cared how
the game turned out."
Air Bud: Golden Football-playing dog "...too many people
Receiver (1998) and not enough dog."
(San Francisco Examiner)
The Cat From Telekinetic kitty "Enjoyable Disney fare."
Outer Space (1978) controls football (Video Hound's Golden
with its mind Movie Retriever)
Ed (1996) Baseball-playing "...one of the dopiest
chimp baseball pics ever (with
or without a simian...)."
Gus (1976) Field-goal-kicking "Lots of slapstick comedy
mule for the kids to enjoy..."
(Video Movie Guide 2000)
Soccer Dog: Take a wild guess "...made-for-tape
The Movie (1999) smarmfest with an ugly
and wayward pooch..."
(Contra Costa Times)
Teen Wolf (1985) Basketball-playing " ...a woof-woofer that
wolf-boy hardly deserved an
encore." (The Washington
Teen Wolf Too Boxing wolf-boy Hero resembles "an
(1987) escapee from a polyester
petting zoo." (The
Olympic officials who okayed the designs for the medals for the
2000 Games. Members of Australia's Greek community called the
design, which features a view of the Colosseum in Rome rather
than an image from Greece, home of the ancient Olympics, "the
ultimate ignorance." Sydney organizers blamed the IOC for
vetoing a plan to put their city's Opera House on the front of
the medals and requesting a "generic coliseum."
NBA fans, from some of the agony of the NBA endgame. Next season
teams will have six timeouts per game, not seven. They'll be
limited to three (instead of four) in the fourth quarter, and
only two can be in the final two minutes. Certain TO's will last
60 seconds, rather than 100.
On orders of Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, disciplinary
notices from the files of two City Hall workers who were
threatened with dismissal for wearing buttons critical of the
city's proposed $140 million outlay for a new Fenway Park. The
two had filed a federal suit.
Grasshopper sparrows and upland sandpipers, two endangered bird
species, on the site of UConn's proposed 40,000-seat football
stadium. Environmental experts hope to create a habitat for the
Bold Forbes, 1976 Kentucky Derby winner, who was suffering from
renal failure and gastroenteritis. That leaves '77 victor Seattle
Slew as the oldest living Derby winner.
It's a familiar scenario: Season-ticket holder can't make the
game, so he sells his seats to a middleman; middleman takes a cut
and resells to a desperate fan. Most would call this process
scalping, the venerable capitalist dance of the stadium parking
lot. The San Francisco Giants call it the Double Play Ticket
Here's how it works: A season-ticket holder logs on to
sfgiants.com and sets a price for his seats, provided it's above
face value. (The team doesn't want to alienate other
season-ticket holders by underselling tickets.) Fans can then
buy the tickets on-line and pick them up at the game. No shady
ticket brokers, no
are-you-kidding-me-these-are-worth-fifty-each! scalpers and
nowhere to go but your computer. The Giants, as middlemen, take
a 10% cut from both the seller and the buyer.
"Ball clubs should love this," says Matthew Freedman, editor of
Team Marketing Report. "They can fill their stadiums to capacity
and make good figures doing it." Indeed, the Giants have taken in
an estimated $150,000 since the program began on June 9, selling
tickets they'd already sold once. Giants brass maintains that
Double Play is foremost a "customer satisfaction service," in the
words of executive vice president Larry Baer. Still, the
projected income over a full season is $400,000 (at an average of
500 seats per game). That figure could top $1 million as the
Replicating such success elsewhere may be hard, however.
Reselling tickets above face value is illegal in 12 states, and
for the system to work, Freedman says a team needs the rare
combination of a high season-ticket count and high demand. The
traditional middlemen, the ones shuffling around the parking
lot, don't seem too worried. "This on-line thing is for geeks,"
said a busy scalper before a recent game at PacBell. "It's not a
problem for me, and it's definitely not affecting on-the-street
sales." Not yet.
Andre Agassi and Sammy Sosa have come down squarely on the side
of the Screen Actors Guild in its strike against the ad
industry. Agassi, a member of the U.S. Olympic tennis team,
refused a request to film an ad in Australia in late September,
and Sosa declined to shoot one for his sponsor Montgomery Ward.
Said Sammy, "I respect every union."...
Ty Murray has plenty of rodeo gold belts to go around his waist,
but he had a rare Jewel on his arm at his induction into the Pro
Rodeo Hall of Fame. At a reception afterward the Alaskan
chanteuse entertained Murray and guests with song, yodeling and
joke telling. The two (right) have been together since last
U.S. swimmer Amy Van Dyken often calls The Denver Post to
complain about negative comments written about her fiance,
Broncos punter Tom Rouen. She won't complain though, when she
picks up the gift Rouen promised her if she made the Olympic
team: the car of her choice. She settled on a Corvette
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is one of about 90 high rollers who
ponied up $15,000 apiece to attend Michael Jordan's basketball
fantasy camp in Las Vegas last weekend. "I loved it!" says
Cuban. "It was like being 18 and playing b-ball again." Cuban
and Wizards exec Jordan even enjoyed a little good-natured trash
talk: "He called me out to shoot a foul shot and said that if I
made it, we could switch draft picks," says Broadcast.com
billionaire Cuban. "I asked him what it felt like to be the
poorest guy on the court."...
Fish tale: Dan Marino has been named grand marshall of New York
City's Columbus Day parade on Oct. 9....
John Daly has recorded a country tune titled You Can Lean on Me,
which will be released this month. Said Daly, "My singing is
better than my golf swing's been lately."...
Scared by stories of surgeries gone awry, Reds third baseman
Aaron Boone took no chances before recent surgery on his left
knee. In bold letters on his right leg he wrote the word wrong.
B/W PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN BOUNCING BALL: Iverson's ups and downs have been tough to follow.
COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES Shaq will soon be giving back 10% of his salary.
COLOR PHOTO: PAUL SEVERN/ALLSPORT
COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY KEYSTONE ENT. (CHIMP) COLOR PHOTO: REUTERS
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY DANNY HELLMAN
COLOR PHOTO: CHARLES UPCHURCH
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS
Five Philly Would-be Sports Saviors of the 1990s
Next Jordan became first option for boo-birds.
Squabbles between Flyers management and famille Lindros have
caused as many headaches as Eric's concussions.
BYU bomber was going to make Eagles fans forget Rodney Peete;
instead he forgot to throw touchdown passes.
Fans watched $44 million 7'6" center get plowed under by entire
Desperate Eagles fans going down Detmer family tree, hitting
every branch en route.
Fifty-yard field goals kicked by U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm,
right-footed, in Chiefs camp, along with one 30-yarder
Top tax for which the world's athletes will be liable to the
Australian Taxation Office on any financial bonuses they receive
for earning a medal in the 2000 Olympics.
Weight in pounds of Julian Vandervelde, a 6'2", 12-year-old
first baseman for the Davenport, Iowa, team in the Little League
World record for cherry-pit spitting, set by Thomas Steinhauer of
Switzerland, eclipsing the mark of 72'11" established by Brian
Krause of the U.S. in 1998.
Players on the Buy.com tour with longer average driving distances
this year than Tiger Woods's 294.6-yard average on the PGA Tour.
Winning decibel level registered by Dagmara Stanek of Poland in
the European vocal noise championship, a volume comparable to
the sound produced by a pneumatic hammer.
Days it took for England to defeat the West Indies in a cricket
test match last week, the shortest international match in 54
Times that New York high school student Elizabeth Wrigley-Field
has seen the Cubs play in Chicago.
This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse
Two harness racing horses in New York this summer have tested
positive for sildenafil citrate, otherwise known as Viagra.
What a deal: The Giants take a cut from both buyer and seller.
They Said It
Angels manager, on his pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa's baffling
forkball-like pitch, which in Japan is called the shuto: "If
Shige was Italian, he'd call it a Prosciutto."