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February 18 , 2009

The Most Interesting People in Sports: 250 Anecdotes


A few samples: 1) The father of Boston Celtics great Bill Russell didn’t want money from his son, even though Bill was making good money as a star for the Boston Celtics. Whenever Bill wanted to give him money, he would say, “I got a job. I got my own d*mn money.” Bill would then say, “But that’s a terrible job. You work in a foundry. All your pants have holes in them from the sparks. There’s dust and metal particles in the air. And you’re by furnaces and then you go outside and it’s freezing. It’s terrible.” Bill’s father would reply, “I can’t quit this job.” Then he would explain why he couldn’t quit: “Listen, son. I’ve given these people thirty-five of the best years of my life. Now, I’ll give them a few of the bad ones!” Even though Bill’s father never would take money from him, Bill figured out a way to give him a new car. He simply paid for the car and told the dealership where to deliver it. When the brand-new car was delivered, Bill’s father cried. A little later, he called Bill to say, “I’m really p*ssed off at you.” Bill asked, “Why?” His father explained, “Because I just got the first speeding ticket of my life!” 2) Australian Murray Rose and Japanese Tsuyoshi Yamanaka were teammates together at USC, but they swam against each other at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. Although a Japanese team was competing in Australia, World War II had been over for only 11 years, and many people remembered when Australians were worried about being invaded by the Japanese during the war. Mr. Rose and Mr. Yamanaka competed in the 1,500-meter freestyle, and despite a strong finish by Mr. Yamanaka, Mr. Rose won by two meters. The two men then embraced each other in the water, resulting in a photograph that was widely reproduced in Australia and elsewhere. One of the captions in Australia said, “The war is finally over.” 3) Groucho Marx once made a hole-in-one while playing golf. Because he was a celebrity, the newspapers made a big deal out of it, and the "Boston Globe" ran a visual aid of three photographs—one of Groucho, and two others of Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, both big golf stars of the day. Appearing alongside the three photographs was the headline “Groucho joins the immortals.” The next day, Groucho played golf again, but this time several members of the media followed him. Because of all the attention, his golf game suffered and Groucho was many, many strokes above par. The next day the "Boston Globe" ran roughly the same visual aid, but a blank space appeared where Groucho’s photograph had been. This time the headline was “Groucho leaves the immortals.” 3)

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The Funniest People in Music: 250 Anecdotes

Some samples: 1) Blues singer Muddy Waters first heard his voice on a recording in the early 1940s. His impression of his voice was positive; afterward, he said, “I thought, man, this boy can sing the blues. And I was surprised because I didn’t know I sang like that.” 2)At age 13, William F. Buckley was sent to an English boarding school, where…

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