54-Year-Old Bill Sharman Outduals Magic Johnson

September 21, 1980

Magic Johnson challenged 54-year-old Bill Sharman to a foul-shooting contest. Shooting three rounds of 10 shots each, the Magic Man made 23 of 30. Sharman countered with 28 of 30, including his last 16 in a row. "I lost to the best," sighed the gracious loser

Agent Donald Dell is offering Larry Wright around for a mere $190,000 or so a year, guaranteed, for three years. Now, there are teams in need of Larry's services, but not at that price. "What will undoubtedly happen," says one coach, "is that he'll wind up being signed for about $25,000 less than he's worth." . . . We know he won't wind up back in Washington, not after the Bullets finally sprung for first-round pick Wes Matthews, a 6-foot-1 point guard, After clinging to a two-year offer of $60,000 and $70,000 for Matthews, Washington will now start the Bridgeport (Conn.) product off in the six figures . . . Paul Silas is touting fourth- round pick Ed Odom as a player. The 6-3 guard from Oklahoma State was the 76th man taken in this year's draft.

Dave Cowens wandered over to the sidelines during an idle moment of a morning practice last week and said, "Too much ability out there." . . . Could Utah honestly have offered Darrell Griffith $145,000 a year to sign? And, if so, is the Jazz ownership serious about trying to compete in this league? . . . Denver's first pick, James Ray, who was supposed to be an instant starter, has practiced once since he signed due to a sore knee. They're already down to 13 men, and it looks as if guard Ken Higgs, whom Bill Fitch had two years ago in Cleveland, will definitely make the club . . . With Paul Silas and Rick Barry retired and free agent Earl Monroe apparently finished, that means only Elvin Hayes and Westley Unseld are left to tell tales of what it was like to play against Bill Russell . . . What Else Is New? Dept. John Williamson showed up fat in Washington, where he's currently alternating as a third-team guard . . . Here we go again, Bill Calhoun.

Hubie Brown's woes, which begin with Eddie Johnson, are now extended to his pivot stuation. Neither Tree Rollins nor Tommy Burleson is working out with the team at the present time. The Tree is coming off a knee operation and the present hope is for him to be ready for "part-time duty" by the Oct. 11 opener. Burleson, meanwhile, sustained a broken right wrist when he fell off a bicycle while attempting to recuperate from his own knee operation. Looking at the bright side, Burleson says the injury will strengthen his offense. "I always have been able to shoot a lefthanded hook, but now I'm getting range in my lefthanded shots." . . . Chicago will certainly be a more interesting team this season, given the addition of Larry Kenon and Ronnie Lester. The big hurdle in Lester's contract was, of course, his injured knee. The club wound up guaranteeing $250,000 of his multiyear contract should he go down with the knee . . . Paul Westphal's initial obvservation on playing for the Sonics: "It's fun to play with a bunch of brutes." . . . Was friction with George McGinnis part of the reason why Indiana was willing to trade high scorer Mickey Johnson to Milwaukee?

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