BASKETBALL—NBA: In a verbal war that overshadowed their opening game, the Seattle SuperSonics settled a contract dispute with star Center Bob Rule. The 6'9" Rule, whose 24.6 points and 10.3 rebounds led the team last year, was rebuffed by management when he sought a raise from $28,500 to $75,000. Instead, Owner Sam Schulman offered $60,000 this year and $80,000 by 1973 and took the opportunity to launch a few verbal thrusts as well. "He is the only Sonic to miss a plane flight in three seasons," said Schulman, who also charged that 30% of Rule's scoring came after games had already been decided, whatever that means. Rule, after once asking to be traded and threatening to play out his option, finally came to terms that were not disclosed. On the other coast the New York Knickerbockers opened defense of their NBA title by whipping Boston and Cincinnati before losing to the Chicago Bulls 99-96. It was Chicago's first victory over New York in two years and it came on what Knick Willis Reed termed a "playground shot." Bob Weiss, who made the key basket, countered, "Just say we had incentive." Chicago did not fare as well against the Knicks' 1970 championship opponents, Los Angeles. With Jerry West scoring six points in the final 90 seconds, two on a 40-foot jumper, the Lakers won 106-102. Atlanta's Pete Maravich, who signed his contract for more than a million bucks, found some other Bucks he couldn't handle; he scored just seven points in his pro debut and helped the Hawks lose to Milwaukee 107-98 (page 28).
ABA: A television contract in hand and a merger with the NBA already approved in principle, the American Basketball Association enjoyed an optimistic 1970-71 opening. The three-year-old league even trotted out a few prize rookies of its own to counter the Maravich-type Wunderkinder across the way. The most talked about was Ralph Simpson, who about this time last year was still anticipating his sophomore season at Michigan State. Now a Denver Rocket, Simpson quickly assumed a major scoring role, although it did not offset the absence of the league's Most Valuable Player, Spencer Haywood, whose broken finger caused him to miss the losses to Kentucky, Indiana and Utah. Indiana, one of the ABA's best teams and now stronger than ever, didn't really need its million-dollar-baby Rick Mount. So, feeling no pressure at all, Mount made late appearances in two easy Pacer wins (against Kentucky and Denver) and scored 22 points. The Virginia Squires' Charlie Scott began earning his fat salary in his first game. The North Carolina rookie paced a 133-116 win over Pittsburgh with 29 points.
FOOTBALL—National Conference: In the last five years the Dallas Cowboys had only twice lost a football game by more than five touchdowns, and they had never lost, period, to the MINNESOTA Vikings. Both misfortunes befell them this week as the Vikings won 54-13, thanks in part to a stellar performance by Defensive Back Ed Sharockman, who scored two touchdowns on a deflected punt and an interception. While Dallas stumbled, ST. LOUIS took over the Eastern Division lead by defeating Philadelphia 35-20 behind the four-touchdown performance of MacArthur (I Shall Return) Lane. The Eagles, pro football's only winless team, led 10-0 at one point. Green Bay, which defeated San Diego 24-22 on Monday night and toasted Quarterback Bart Starr at a testimonial dinner attended by President Nixon on Friday night, was beaten by LOS ANGELES 31-21 on Sunday afternoon. John Hadl threw two scoring passes to Gary Garrison and SAN DIEGO won its first, 20-7, over Chicago. NEW ORLEANS' Bill Kilmer also passed for two touchdowns in the only period he played to clinch a 20-20 tie with SAN FRANCISCO. The second score was a 13-yarder to ex-49er Dave Parks with 42 seconds left (page 20).
American Conference: DENVER and MIAMI, winners of four out of five games so far in 1970, established themselves as teams to follow in the West and East with wins this week. The Broncos broke open a close battle against Atlanta with a 51-yard field goal and a fumble recovery that set up the clinching touchdown in a 24-10 victory. The Dolphins, meanwhile, were having an easier time of it with Buffalo as Larry Csonka scored twice and Garo Yepremian kicked four field goals to lead a 33-14 triumph. BALTIMORE kept pace with Miami in a wild shootout at Shea Stadium by sending the New York Jets to their third straight loss 29-22. Although Quarterback Joe Namath set a club record with 34 completions in 62 attempts, he was also intercepted six times, Jerry Logan and Bob Grant returning two of them for touchdowns. There were fireworks in Cleveland, too, as DETROIT posted three touchdowns in 150 seconds of the first half to blow open a 17-14 game and go on to defeat the Browns 41-24. KANSAS CITY Quarterback Len Dawson returned to action after a week's absence to spark a 17-point second quarter that erased a 9-0 Cincinnati margin and permitted a 27-19 Chief win. The NEW YORK Giants recorded their first shutout victory in nine years, 16-0, spoiling Quarterback Joe Kapp's first start at Boston. Terry Bradshaw's first touchdown pass as a pro, a 67-yard bomb to Ron Shanklin, gave PITTSBURGH a sluggish 7-3 win over Houston. Oiler Quarterback Charley Johnson suffered a broken collarbone that will put him out six to eight weeks.
GOLF—TONY JACKLIN scored an eagle and a birdie on the last two holes to defeat Arnold Palmer and Ramon Sota of Spain by one stroke in Le Tournoi des Champions in Saint-Nom-la-Bret�che, France (page 60).
HORSE RACING—In the 1�-mile $82,000 Champion Stakes, his final start before retiring to stud, Nijinsky lost his second race after 11 consecutive victories, to 100-to-7 long-shot LORENZACCIO (page 56).
Favored FORT MARCY ($3.40) won the $116,000 Man o' War stakes over a 1�-mile grass course at Belmont Park, finishing nearly two lengths ahead of Loud.
ICE HOCKEY—Les Canadiens, flashing the style that once made the Stanley Cup a Montreal Forum centerpiece, got their National Hockey League season off to a winning start. With a staunch defense that included a shutout of Buffalo by Goalie Rogatien Vachon and three consecutive games of two goals each by Yvan Cournoyer, MONTREAL zoomed to the East Division lead. The four-game showing was especially notable following the unexpected retirements of rugged John Ferguson and his roommate, Center Ralph Backstrom. BOSTON, with holdout Derek Sanderson in the fold for a reported $40,000, opened its Stanley Cup defense with three straight wins, one of them an 8-5 decision over Los Angeles that featured a three-goal hat trick by Phil Esposito. Esposito also had two assists against the two-year-old Kings. Los Angeles' northern neighbor, Oakland, predictably drew attention under new Owner Charles O. Finley, who changed the name of the Seals to the California Golden Seals. What he couldn't change was the results. The team lost four straight.
MOTOR SPORTS—CAL RAYBORN of San Diego set a land speed record of 255.373 mph for motorcycles aboard his 1,480-cc Harley Davidson at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
The BLUE FLAME, a rocket-propelled vehicle fueled by natural gas, bettered Craig Breedlove's land-speed record of 600.601 mph on two separate one-way trips at the Bonneville Salt Flats, but each time mechanical trouble aborted the return try required to create an official combined clocking.