- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Leonard Asimow, an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Wyoming, runs six or eight miles every day across the rolling plains of Laramie. Frequently, to add spice to his workouts and to take his mind off the 30-mph winds and temperatures in the 20s, he pretends he is in a race to the finish with Steve Prefontaine. A couple of weeks ago, not having seen a living creature on the plains since the last pronghorn antelope departed for the winter, he was managing by heroic effort to stay a few steps in front of Pre when he was startled by a noise behind him.
Asimow looked back warily. It was a runner. "Do you compete?" he asked after a while, appreciating a stranger's stride. "Yes," was the reply. "Are you from Oregon?" The suspicion was dawning on Asimow. "Yes," said the runner. "You wouldn't happen to be Steve Prefontaine?" He was, just out for a 20-mile spin while his Dodge van was being repaired in a local garage. Pre loped the last mile to the Wyoming gym. Asimow ran for his life.
THAT'S EARL, BROTHER
When last we left him, Earl Anthony (SI, Nov. 25, 1974) was moving—exorably, as it turned out—toward becoming the Professional Bowling Association's first $100,000-a-year man. He missed his goal by $415, but rather than deflate him the setback seems only to have turned a whetted appetite ravenous. This year Anthony opened on a tear every bit as devastating as Johnny Miller's in golf.
After nine tournaments, he has two wins, two seconds and a third. His earnings—$33,500—are ahead of the $19,110 he had made by the end of nine tournaments in 1974. His scoring is up, too. Two years ago he set a season record with a 215 average. He improved that to 219 last year and this week was a mite over that.
It all projects out to at least eight and possibly 10 wins in 1975 and the kind of money that was making Arnold Palmer rich only 12 years back. While Anthony won six of 28 tournaments last season, he will have from 32 to 35 to aim at this year and some $200,000 more in purses, which are expected to total about $2.5 million. Because pro bowling now outdraws college basketball and golf on Saturday afternoon TV, ABC has extended the winter series from 14 to 16 weeks. Anthony doubtlessly would be verging on national celebrity were he not hopelessly uncharismatic. To improve his image, his children persuaded him to grow his hair a while ago. He tried but soon was back to the old crew cut. Said the hair tickled his ears.
RATINGS AND CREDIBILITY
Several weeks ago the CBS-TV vice-president for sports, Robert Wussler, worried publicly that the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks would not make the National Basketball Association playoffs. His problem: markets—and the two biggest are New York City and L.A. As Wussler says, "People in Los Angeles are less apt to watch, say, a Buffalo-Boston playoff game than if the Lakers were involved." Milwaukee is a special case. It has Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who would be box office if he were playing for the Bemidji Blue Bottles.
CBS is in the second year of a three-year $27 million contract to televise NBA games and playoffs. Without television revenues a number of the teams would be in serious financial trouble. And without solid ratings there possibly will be no further TV after the contract expires.