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It turned into great idea

From wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Former Los Angeles Times sports columnist John Hall, who first met longtime boxing publicist and promoter Don Fraser when both were students at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, recalled how his lifelong friend always was coming up with wild ideas to publicize fights.

Hall said when Ali, then Cassius Clay, was to fight Alejandro Lavorante at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in 1962, Fraser, the fight’s publicist, staged a news conference at Union Station.

“On the way to the press conference, Don stopped off at a dime store and bought a badge for Ali to wear,” Hall said. “It read, ‘I am the greatest.’ “

Two years later, before he fought Sonny Liston, Ali proclaimed to the world: “I am the greatest.”

Better than Ringling Bros.

The New York Knicks have provided David Letterman with plenty of fodder. With the circus making its annual New York stop, Letterman said, “You know, I was thinking, if I want to see clowns at the Garden, I will just go to a Knick game.”

Tension is relative

Being a snowboard mom is nerve-wracking, said Anita Jacobellis, whose son Ben and daughter Lindsey are aspiring Olympians from Vermont.

Anita recalled her daughter’s first Winter X Games experience four years ago, when Lindsey was 16. She lost control on a jump and landed on her head.

“I was biting my nails so hard I chipped my front tooth,” Anita said. “I couldn’t take it anymore so I said, ‘I’m going to go over and watch those guys that are flipping motorcycles.’ “

She quickly learned that being a snowboard mom is nothing compared to being a freestyle motocross mom.

“I found out that there were no mothers watching that because they couldn’t bear it,” she said. “I’m just glad my kids don’t want to flip motorcycles.”

He won’t take the leap

North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams was asked by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter whether he could retire without winning a national championship and still feel fulfilled.

His response: “I think I can. It is something I do want. It’s something that I hope happens. But if it doesn’t, I’m not going to jump off a building. If you find me at the bottom of a building someday, you can believe that somebody pushed me. I didn’t jump.”

Keep them in diapers

A controversy erupted in Japan involving sumo wrestlers and their attire.

They’ve always clashed wearing only wrapped loincloths, but an amateur association has suggested allowing shorts as a means of attracting younger participants, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported.

The professional sumo association is having none of that.

“We have no intention of allowing children in pants into the ring,” a spokesman said.

Name that nightmare

A recent item in the Los Angeles Times referred to Maui High School’s Kalaika Kahoohalahala as having the kind of difficult name sportswriters dread. Wrote Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“Our guys here at the Times have a similar challenge, what with a tennis player from West Seattle’s Chief Sealth High School named Xaysanamoungkoun. At least Xaysanamoungkoun goes by the first name of Montana.”

The Last Word

Jay Leno on the state of baseball in light of all the steroid allegations:

“This is the first time in baseball history the players have more additives in them than the hot dogs.”

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