'Tis a bleak day for sportswriters. We'll lose our appetite for the free pregame buffet, set our seat backs at half mast, sing dirges at the karaoke. The world's greatest quote has hung 'em up. Charles Barkley ruptured the quadriceps tendon in his left knee last week, ending his NBA career with 23,755 points, 12,544 rebounds and 3,241 They Said Its. Sales of recording tape and notepads immediately plummeted.
But the Round Mound of Sound lives on in the Chuckies, the annual celebration of the people we would most like to chuck through a plate-glass window, just as Barkley once tossed an annoying but aerodynamic sports fan in Orlando. Asked if he had any regrets afterward, Barkley said, "I regret we weren't on a higher floor."
Really gonna miss that man.
The envelopes, please....
Chicago Bears rookie Cade McNown, the former UCLA quarterback who, after pleading no contest to illegally possessing a handicapped parking placard, showed up for his first day of NFL training camp and, you guessed it, parked in a handicapped spot.
Evander Holyfield, who came out of his losing championship bout with Lennox Lewis as unmarked as a mobster's mistress. "It makes me think I should have fought a little harder," Holyfield allowed. "Maybe I'd be sore and sick, but I'd have the victory." And maybe we should ask for our money back.
Golden State Warriors forward Chris Mills and Dallas Mavericks forward Samaki Walker. In the dumbest NBA moment of the year, Mills attempted to make a layup at the wrong basket. Luckily, Walker fouled him as he went up. For them, a double pane.
Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal, who said, "I'm like the Pythagorean theorem. Not too many people know the answer to my game." Actually, Diesel, the answer is c�. Feel free to hurl yourself through any sixth-grade classroom window and let the kids clue you in.
Auburn athletic director David Housel, who paid $500,000 to get the Tigers out of playing Florida State this fall. After football coach Terry Bowden resigned in October 1998, Housel said that without Terry on the Auburn sideline, playing against dad Bobby Bowden's powerhouse Seminoles didn't seem so appealing. Duh.
The Grand Viking, a.k.a. Minnesota Vikings fan Brian Siegmann, walked the streets of Eau Claire, Wis., asking, "Who's a Packers fan?" When one couple said, "Us!" Siegmann set the man's pants leg and the woman's jacket sleeve and hair afire. Neither fan was seriously injured. Hey, Grand, we're chucking you through the front window of the nastiest Harley bar in Green Bay. Ask if there are any Packers fans in there.