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Names In The Game

December 28, 1991

ATLANTA (AP) _ Sports psychologist Jack Llewellyn is in demand.

Last week, the Atlanta Braves hired Llewellyn to work with its players. He is credited with turning pitcher John Smoltz into a second-half sensation.

Now, the Atlanta Hawks have hired him. Both teams are owned by Ted Turner.

The Hawks hope Llewellyn can focus the squabbling NBA players on how to win. Players have accused teammates of quitting or playing individual playground basketball instead of working as a team.

It doesn’t matter whether Llewellyn knows anything about basketball, Blair Rasmussen said. ″If he can get inside our heads and figure out what makes us tick, that’s what’s important.″

Rasumssen said some players quit in Thursday’s 122-111 loss to Chicago.

″We were down 9 with a minute to go and we were gonna let them run out the clock,″ he said. ″I was angry, really angry.″

Coach Bob Weiss admitted he doesn’t know what caused the shift in a team that started out a winner, but lost six of its last seven. He agreed the players ″have to hang together.″

He did get a bit more specific after the Chicago loss.

″There’s a lot of complaining out there,″ Weiss said. ″Everybody has an idea of what’s wrong, but none of them say anything about their own game.″

″Each of us has to look to ourselves.″


PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Wayne Fontes is so happy his Lions are in the playoffs he hawked tickets for the Jan. 5 game.

″Lions’ ticket office,″ boomed a voice answering the phone Friday. When a reporter for the Oakland Press asked if the playoff game at the Silverdome was a sellout, the voice chortled.

″Well,″ it said, ″this is Wayne Fontes, and I want you to do everything you can to help us sell these tickets.″

That’s right. The NFL Coach of the Year was answering phones at the Silverdome ticket office.

The tickets went so quickly the scalpers are already getting premium prices, about $50-$75 per ticket. Regular tickets sell for $30 each, $20 for bleacher seats.

Silverdome suites can also be rented, but marketing director Joe Tsao warned that the prices are a bit steep.

A 12-seat suite rents for $4,000, a 10-seat suit goes for $3,500 and an eight-seater costs $3,000. The fee includes seats, game tickets, VIP parking passes, snacks and soft drinks.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - After pleading guilty in federal court to a cocaine charge, drag racing champion Darrell Alderman offered advice for those who use the drug.

″If you’re a user right now, go seek help immediately because you’re on a dead-end road,″ Alderman said. ″And if you’re just thinking about using, come and talk to me for a couple of hours because I’ve got a heck of a story to tell you.″

Alderman, the national pro stock drag racing champion for the last two years, faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. He will return to court March 6 for sentencing.

After the court appearance Friday, Alderman described himself as a ″binge user″ and said he had undergone treatment for drug addiction. He said he hoped to resume racing in January but that would depend on the reaction of the National Hot Rod Association.

Alderman was indicted earlier this year with two other men.

Alderman said in court he had used cocaine and had shared it with others.

His lawyer, Derek Gordon, said his client had never sold cocaine.


ST. LOUIS (AP) - Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls gained another prestigious honor on Saturday when he was named ″Man of the Year″ by Sporting News.

Earlier, Jordan was named ″Sportsman of the Year″ by Sports Illustrated.


PARIS (AP) - The sports newspaper L’Equipe made an exception this time in its Champion of Champions award for 1991. Davis Cup heroes Henri Leconte and Guy Forget were given the honor usually presented to one person.

The newspaper explained it decided on two because ″one without the other, they would never have done it.″ They gave France the Cup with a victory over the United States.

Update hourly