Quick Takes


    A basketball court can be found within the top of Matterhorn mountain at Disneyland. Although true, that statement requires explanation.
    The small area atop the Matterhorn is used as a rest and preparation area for the costumed climbers who sometimes entertain park guests by scaling the mountain. The basketball court came to be when one of these climbers brought in and installed a basketball hoop and backboard for use as an amusement to pass the time when inclement weather or other conditions prevented the climbers from working outside the mountain.


    Great line: NHL Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis was told he could win the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship. He responded, “I’d better get into a fight.”


    Clark Judge of CBS Sports stated this week that the NFL teams to watch next year are Indy, Chicago, San Diego, New England, Tennessee and Cincinnati. (I can think of others.) Tennessee’s a stretch, but Cincinnati? Half of the Bengals will be in shackles and chains by then.


    The Dallas Cowboys proved for years that the owner (Clint Murchison), the G.M. (Tex Schramm) and the head coach (Tom Landry) have to be on the same song sheet. Murchison, an oil man, was wise; he knew he should stay out of it, and he did. Schramm and Landry had a great working relationship; the latter included mutual respect and communication. Each and every team (and business) can learn from that old Dallas Cowboys management model of doing what you do best, and working together to one successful end. Without mutual respect and communication in any relationship, there’s nothing. Just ask the San Diego Chargers.


    If Pete Carroll takes the San Diego job, he’s absolutely nuts. He has the best job in all of football, college and pro included. He doesn’t have to deal with the NFL flakes and egos. He doesn’t have to worry about building a team; Trojan hopefuls knock his door down. It’s far less pressure than any NFL team; 25% of NFL head coaches are replaced annually. He’s a celebrity in the celebrity city. He has a potential dynasty. I suspect he’s paid plenty, not as much as he could earn at San Diego, but plenty. And he’s close to my favorite restaurant, Tail O’ The Pup in West Hollywood, the world’s best hotdogs. That's reason enough to stay at USC.  


    You want great sports radio? ESPN. 7AM-10AM Colin Cowherd. 10AM-1PM Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann. All times Western.    


Story of the Week



    This article is for James Hales, my long-time Salt Lake City pal and a big fan of Kresimir Cosic and Brigham Young University. James, thanks for reminding me of this pioneer.


    A hero on and off the court in his native homeland of Croatia, Kresimir Cosic's decision to attend Brigham Young University paved the way for international basketball players to come to America to hone their basketball skills at the collegiate level. Cosic, a 6-foot-11 center who was equally effective playing near the basket and on the perimeter, enrolled at BYU in 1970 after leading the former Yugoslavia to an Olympic silver medal in 1968. He is the first foreign player to earn All-America honors.


    The versatile big man led BYU to the NCAA Tournament Regional Finals and two Western Athletic Conference (WAC) titles in 1971 and 1972. Cosic led the Cougars in scoring (22.3 ppg) and rebounding (13.0 rpg) in his junior year and again in scoring in his senior year (20.2 ppg). In his three-year collegiate career, Cosic compiled 1,512 points (19.1 ppg) and grabbed the second most rebounds in BYU history (919 rebounds, 11.6 rpg). His combination of shooting skills and aggressive rebounding made him an All-America selection following his junior season and a WAC First Team All-Star in each of his three years. Upon graduation, he held six WAC records.


    After his outstanding college career, Cosic rejected pro offers from the teams that drafted him, the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the ABA’s Carolina Cougars, and instead returned home to Croatia, where his career continued to catapult. He played in four Olympic Games (1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980) and guided his team to the Gold Medal in 1980. Cosic led the former Yugoslavia to a pair of World Championship gold medals in 1970 and 1978. A seven-time First-Team All European selection, Cosic was a member of the former Yugoslavian team that won three European titles.


    Following his playing days, Cosic turned his talents to coaching, and led the former Yugoslavian team to a silver medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. A member of the BYU Hall of Fame, Cosic's years of hard work and commitment to his native land were rewarded with the presentation of the Freedom Award. The Award was presented to recognize Cosic's outstanding contributions to the principles of democracy and freedom.


    In the years following basketball, Cosic worked as a diplomat in the Croatian Embassy in Washington, D.C. On May 25, 1995, after a year-long battle with a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Cosic passed away. He was just 46.


    On May 6, 1996, the late Croatian basketball superstar became only the third international player ever elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

On March 4, 2006, he became just the second men's basketball player to have his jersey retired by BYU. (The other was Danny Ainge.)


    As James Hales stated to me, Kresimir Cosic’s career at BYU was great, but what he did in Europe for the face of basketball was his shining hour. Cosic is credited with inspiring European interest in the game. It is certainly visible in today’s NBA.


Last Week’s Trivia


    The 1957 All Star Game was played at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. The fans voted for the starting players. Cincinnati fans took matters into their own hands, stuffing the NL ballot box. An avalanche of votes (1/3 of the total) came from Cincinnati, and elected undeserving fourth-place Reds players to eight NL starting positions. The only non-Red voted in was 1B Stan Musial.

    Commissioner Ford Frick arbitrarily took Gus Bell and Wally Post out of the starting line-up in favor of stars CF Willie Mays and RF Henry Aaron. Frick also moved the voting responsibility to the players, managers and coaches the following year to avoid in the future what Cincinnati fans had done in 1957.


Trivia Question of the Week


He has the most RBI's of any MLB player in the 1950's.

He once hit four home runs in a game.

He hit 14 career grand slams.

He holds the World Series record for most games played at his position.

He wan three gold gloves at that position.

He played in seven World Series.

He played in eight All Star games.

He hit the first home run in Mets history. (This should give it away.)

He was the 1969 Manager of the Year. (Another give-away.)

He should have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame long ago.


    Who is this tremendous player? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.