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Friday Flashbacks: Wilt the Stilt Coaches (Sort of) in the ABA

For the 1974 season, Wilt Chamberlain signed with the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association as a player/coach. I think we can guess that most of that $600,000 contract was for him to play. Well, the Lakers sued and got a restraining order that prevented him from playing in the ABA. Wilt was free to coach. By late February, though, he must have been losing interest. He missed some games without explanation, and the highlight was this quote: “He often skips practice, but up until this week, had been making it a point to be at the games.”  

Tom Landry, the only coach the Dallas Cowboys had ever had, dumped by new owner Jerry Jones (1989) . . . Al Michaels joins ABC Sports full-time (1977) . . . Riddick Bowe’s brief stint in the Marines (1997) . . . Calls for suspension of Bobby Knight after the chair-throwing game (1985) . . . Browns seek to evict Cardinals from Sportsman’s Park (1949) . . . Team Canada wins the much-anticipated gold medal match with Team USA in Salt Lake City (2002) . . . Koufax and Drysdale are holding out together for longer than 1-year deals (1966) . . . Tim McCarver’s turn as Winter Olympic Host received some criticism (1992) . . .

Kentucky goes to the NCAA tournament because Mississippi State refuses to play teams with black players (1959) . . . Mickey Mantle retires (1969) . . . A Big Three of Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, and Daunte Culpepper has emerged (1999) . . . College football not exempt from rules requiring equal expenditure on men’s and women’s programs (1979) . . .  Ray Meyer thinks basketball needs to slow down (1946) . . .A sixth grader is suspended for bringing Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to school (2004) . . . Sugar Ray Robinson avenges earlier loss to Jake LaMotta (1943) . . . Eddie the Eagle (1988) . . .

Wayne Gretzky breaks Phil Esposito’s season goal scoring record (1982) . . . Steve Carlton traded to the Phillies for Rick Wise (1972) . . . The day the Southwest Conference died (1994) . . . Drexler, Olajuwon, Micheaux, Young and company get ready for showdown between #1 Houston and #4 Arkansas (1983) . . . Russians dominate first ever Winter Olympics appearance (1956) . . . Six killed in Bluffton University team bus accident (2007) . . . Hispanic group wants ouster of Orioles’ scout who made remarks about Mexican players having rhythm (1993) . . . Angry Lakers fans attack referee after loss to Celtics (1963) . . . SMU football gets the death penalty (1987).

[photo via Getty]

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