A sweeping first for NBA, NHL

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To answer a question making the rounds, there have been five sweeps in the NBA final, including Houston's recent thumping of Orlando, and 17 in the NHL final going back to 1939 when hockey went to a best-of-seven format. But never before had the hoop and ice champs registered four-game blitzes in the same season.


The Red Wings, incidentally, knew what it was like to get swept, having gone down quickly to superior forces in 1941, 1948 and 1949 before doing so this season.

* Three cheers for the Continental Baseball League, which will begin play in April of 1997 (it hopes). The CBL will have a zero tolerance drug policy, which means a player caught using illegal drugs will be banned for life.


* Team USA didn't make the playoffs of World League Volleyball and ended the regular season with five straight match losses, finishing 3-8. Doesn't bode well for a medal in the Atlanta Olympics next summer, does it?

* Wouldn't it be appropriate if, after perusing the logo adorning the new uniforms of the Washington Capitals, a representative of the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles" called and said, "No way, copycats, come up with your own logotype."

* "Only in America: The Life and Crimes of Don King" is a book authored by Jack Newfield that will be out this fall about the time Mike Tyson is returning to the ring. It details all the skulduggery perpetrated by the fight promoter -- the alleged rigged fights, the alleged murders, the financial sleight of hand -- with

predictable reaction: Ho-hum. King refused to be interviewed by arch-enemy Newfield, explaining, "The day the book comes out, I want to be able to call a press conference and tell the whole world, 'That damn white boy didn't even have the decency to speak to this poor N-word.' "

* Macho Camacho takes on Juan Arroyo tonight on USA Network. Of his recent ring efforts (eight straight victories), fight analyst Sean O'Grady says, "Fear is a great motivator. Camacho challenged Julio Cesar Chavez and got beat. He challenged Felix Trinidad and got beat. So he's stepped back in competition to make some changes. Now it's time to step up the competition again."

* Seriously now, after putting up with Dennis Rodman while coaching the Detroit Pistons, then working with those misfits known as the New Jersey Nets, not to mention being in his 60s and enjoying an easy life as a TV hoops commentator, did anyone really expect Chuck Daly to leap into the cauldron again as coach of the New York Knicks?

* Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of Ingemar Johannson's landing his "Tonder" right hand upon the chin of Floyd Patterson and, in one of the biggest heavyweight title bout reversals of all time, lifting the championship. Old-timers will remember Ingo's somewhat strange training regimen of sneaking off with his girlfriend Brigitte each afternoon during camp.

And speaking of anniversaries, it was this month a decade ago that Angelo Spagnola shot a 185-over-par 257 to capture the coveted Worst Avid Golfer Award at a TPC in Florida. He lost five dozen golf balls on the day, carding a 66 on the rugged 17th hole. "I used to bowl, but my scores were so bad I took up golf," Angelo revealed.


* It probably took Villanova no more than a millisecond to decide it wanted Krissy Jost of Perry Hall High School for its perennial champion cross country and track teams. Besides winning a truckload of state, regional and county titles and setting records galore, Krissy carried a 4.0 grade-point average, taking physics, advanced calculus and English, trigonometry, etc.

* You have to love Sugar Ray Leonard's chutzpah, announcing he'll come out of retirement at age 39 if Marvin Hagler, 41, does likewise to oppose him in the ring. Hey, he could have suggested Jake LaMotta, 73 come July 10, as an opponent.