Fast Break

FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2009


Former Bull Van Lier dies

Norm Van Lier, one of the most popular players in Chicago Bulls history and one of the NBA’s top defensive players in the 1970s, was found dead in his home just blocks away from the team’s arena Thursday. He was 61.

The cause of death was not immediately known, authorities said.

Van Lier, who most recently worked for Comcast SportsNet Chicago, had been scheduled as a pregame and postgame analyst for Wednesday night’s Bulls game with the New Jersey Nets.

Van Lier began his NBA career with Cincinnati in 1969. He later spent more than six seasons with the Chicago Bulls before finishing his career with Milwaukee in 1979.

A three-time All-Star, Van Lier played on five playoff teams.

It was Van Lier’s time with the Bulls for which he was most vividly remembered.

Van Lier was a defensive standout and a fan favorite who was given the name “Stormin’ Norman” for his fiery play and defensive tenacity.

Part of the NBA’s All-Defensive first or second teams eight times, Van Lier and longtime teammate Jerry Sloan, now the coach of the Utah Jazz, formed one of the top defensive guard tandems in NBA history.

Van Lier’s death was a double blow for the Bulls. Johnny “Red” Kerr, the former Bulls coach who spent more than three decades as a broadcaster for the team, also died. He was 76.

Bulls spokesman Tim Hallam said Kerr died Thursday at his home. He had been battling prostate cancer.

College basketball

GM turns down a suite deal

General Motors Corp. says it will not be using its company suites during the NCAA Final Four at Detroit’s Ford Field this year in light of the turmoil in the auto industry.

The automaker was offered the seats as part of its sponsorship of the basketball event. The announcement follows GM’s report of a $9.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter.

The company also says it burned more than $6 billion in cash and may need up to $30 billion from the U.S. government to survive.

GM says the company is in talks with the NCAA over what to do with the suites. GM has had a sponsorship deal with the NCAA since 1985.


League plans to help teams

SportsBusiness Journal reports the NBA plans to borrow $175 million to distribute to teams in need of additional cash.

The deal comes at a time when leagues are laying off staffs and cutting ticket prices. It will allow the NBA to distribute up to $11.66 million to 15 teams that responded to a league survey gauging interest in the money.

The report says the league plans to borrow the money today. Teams can use the money for any purpose.

Associated Press Associated Press Associated Press


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