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KING OF THE SPORTS PAGE
Rick Reilly
April 21, 1986
Jim Murray, who reigns as America's premier sports columnist, keeps 'em laughing despite a series of tragedies that have burdened his life
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April 21, 1986

King Of The Sports Page

Jim Murray, who reigns as America's premier sports columnist, keeps 'em laughing despite a series of tragedies that have burdened his life

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What was hard was trying to write over those infernal voices, trying to forget the doctor's voice on the phone. The first X rays showed the cancer hadn't spread. But there had been a mix-up at the radiology clinic, just like in the movies. What in fact had happened was just the opposite. "Sorry," the doctor said. The cancer has metastasized."

The cancer has metastasized.

"The most terrible collection of syllables in the language," Murray says.

Gerry died on April 1.

That figures. You write punch lines your whole life and then the last joke is on you.

Writing a column is like riding a tiger. You don't want to stay on, but you don't want to get off either.

March 12, 1961

Not 10 minutes down the hill from Murray's house is the Hotel Bel-Air, where a famous low-calorie beer company is holding a dinner for the stars of its next 60-second sports celluloid extravaganza. Murray is invited, so he arranges for a ride (he can't drive at night) and makes an appearance. What the hell, as Murray says, might be a column in it.

Walking in, Murray turns heads. For some in the sports world, seeing Murray come into a room without a guide is sufficient reason for a celebratory dinner. "How ya' feelin', Jim?" asks Red Auerbach. "How you makin' out, Jim?" asks Bob Lanier. "Everything O.K. with you, Jim?" asks Bob Uecker.

Over in the corner, Boog Powell cannot quite get up the courage to say hello. "I haven't ever met him," says Powell, "but I've been reading his stuff for many years. And he's written about me, I don't know, half a dozen times, but I've seen him in a locker room only twice. He's a great man. I'm one of his biggest fans."

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