By commissioner David Stern about reported terrorist plots throughout Europe, the three NBA teams—the Knicks, Lakers and Timberwolves—traveling the continent as part of the NBA's annual European preseason tour. On Sunday, before the Knicks beat host Armani Jeans Milano 125--113 (above) in Italy, Stern said he was taking appropriate actions based on a Sky News report that al-Qaeda was plotting attacks in France (where the Knicks and Timberwolves play on Wednesday), England (where the Lakers played the Timberwolves on Monday) and Germany. No plan has been set to curtail team activities (on Sunday, the Lakers attended a soccer match between Chelsea and Arsenal in London), but Stern assured reporters that the league was coordinating security with the State Department (as well as the CIA and Scotland Yard) for all of its traveling party. "Believe it or not," he joked, "including the media."
At age 44 of ailments resulting from his size, 7'7" Jorge Gonzalez, better known to wrestling fans as Giant Gonzalez. Born in Formosa, Argentina, Gonzalez made a splash first as the tallest pro basketball player in his country. His performance for the national side at the 1988 Tournament of the Americas inspired the Atlanta Hawks to make him the first Argentine ever drafted, in '88. That Gonzalez never logged an NBA minute hardly fazed then Hawks owner Ted Turner, who shifted the big man over to one of his other ventures, World Championship Wrestling. Gonzalez debuted as El Gigante in '90 and feuded with Ric Flair. In '93 he moved to the WWF, where he spent three years donning an airbrushed muscle bodysuit as Giant Gonzalez. (The Wrestling Observer named his rivalry with the Undertaker as that year's worst.) Gonzalez later returned to Argentina, where he was eventually confined to a wheelchair and a dialysis machine, the result of his diabetes.
With minimal injuries after being pistol-whipped, Jaguars receiver Kassim Osgood. According to Jacksonville police, Osgood, 30, was watching TV at the home of 19-year-old Jaguars cheerleader Mackenzie Putnal on Sept. 27 when the girl's ex-boyfriend, Julian Bartletto, entered the room with a plastic bag over his head and struck Osgood and Putnal, as well as her dog, before Osgood jumped out a second-floor window. Putnal escaped by jumping downstairs, over a balcony, and used a laser-sighted pistol to trade shots with the intruder, who eventually fled. Bartletto was later arrested and was being held without bail while facing charges of aggravated battery, false imprisonment, armed robbery and burglary.
Following a disappointing 2010, Rachel Alexandra, who earned Horse of the Year last season in part by becoming the first filly since 1924 to win the Preakness Stakes. As a 3-year-old in '09 Rachel Alexandra (above) won all eight of her races, including the Preakness and the Woodward stakes, always with jockey Calvin Borel aboard. The latter race, a grinding effort against a field of older males, would prove her toughest win—and also the last of her streak. Perhaps the result of being run too hard at Woodward, she lost her first race as a 4-year-old, the New Orleans Ladies Stakes, to the long shot Zardana. That defeat scuttled a much-anticipated showdown with Breeders' Cup Classic champion Zenyatta, and after just two wins in her next four outings, owner Jess Jackson decided last week to retire his horse from racing. "I believe it's time to ... reward her with a less stressful life," said Jackson, who plans to breed Rachel Alexandra with another of his horses, 2007 and '08 Horse of the Year Curlin.
For elimination by the University of California, five varsity sports, including the men's rugby program that won 25 national championships over the past 30 years. Citing severe cuts in state funding that led to reduced enrollment and climbing tuitions, the school announced on Sept. 28 that it planned to ax men's and women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse and men's rugby, though the latter is expected to carry on at the same level as a self-supporting club sport. Also gone is the baseball team, which won the College World Series in 1947 and '57 and produced 2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent. The cuts are expected to reduce Cal's athletic commitment from $12 million to $5 million within four years.
At age 78 of lymphoma, esteemed sportswriter Maury Allen, whose exhaustive coverage of the Yankees was unrivaled in his time. Born in Brooklyn and raised a Dodgers fan, Allen nonetheless parlayed his position as an enlisted man writing for the U.S. Army's Pacific Stars and Stripes during the Korean War (as well as two years at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED) into a 27-year career covering the Yankees for the New York Post. Over the span of 39 years he also published 38 sports books, tackling not only the Bombers (bios of Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson and Roger Maris) but also his beloved Dodgers (Jackie Robinson and Dixie Walker). Later in life Allen wrote for the Journal News, in Harrison, N.Y., and for the website The Columnists, where in May he published his last piece, on the death of former Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts.
Bill for a team dinner at a Dallas steakhouse presented to Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant last week by veteran wideout Roy Williams, who'd promised in training camp to pay the newbie back after Bryant weasled out of a rookie hazing ritual.
Bryant's 2010 salary before signing and performance bonuses.
Americans who have captained the Montreal Canadiens (out of 28 total) after Brian Gionta, a winger from Rochester, N.Y., was awarded the position last week.
Batting average in 2010 of Angels infielder Brandon Wood (33 hits in 224 at bats), who became the first player since Ray Oyler in 1968 to hit under .150 in more than 200 plate appearances.
Consecutive games in which Alabama has held each opposing rusher under 100 yards, a D-I-leading streak that dates to Oct. 13, 2007.
Free tickets handed out by the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 29, one day after third baseman Evan Longoria complained about empty seats at Tropicana Field.
THEY SAID IT
TNT basketball analyst, on LeBron James's suggestion that race was a contributing factor in the public animosity over his departure from Cleveland:
"It's like watching a movie. Just when you think it couldn't get any stupider, it gets more stupid."
NATHANIEL S. BUTLER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (KNICKS)
BILL FRAKES (RACHEL ALEXANDRA)
LEON BENNETT/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (BARKLEY)