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May 12, 1979 - Image 13

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-12

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, May 12, 1979-Page 13

AaicActll
Johnson goes for NBA riches
T LANSING (AP)-Declaring suicide," Heathcote said wryly. "And I "I'm giving up a lot-the students, Lakers. Published repot
allenge of playing pro basketball might still do both." But he declared he my teammates, the chance to have a lot said Los Angeles propos
ghts even the millions of dollars was behind Earvin whatever his of fun," he said. "But I always want a contract worth at least $2
arn, Michigan State star Earvin decision. challenge-every year I want But Johnson stressed
n decided yesterday to cut short Johnson said he stayed up until 4 a.m. something to strive for." have dollar signs in his e
college career and turn Friday making up his mind-and there HE SAID HE expects "a nice con- lot of advice to grab them
sional. were plenty of arguments pulling him tract," in the range of $600,000 a year in can.
19-year-old sophomore, noting toward home. Midnight was the a four- or five-year pact, although he Johnson led Lansing I
ccomplished about everything deadline to announce. said he had "no commitment" from the state high school Class A

EAST
the cha
outwei
he'll ea
Johnso
his
profess
The
he's a

rts this week
ed a four-year
million.
he does not
yes, despite a
noney while he
Everett to the
championship

possible in two years as a Spartan, said
he would offer himself in the June 25
National Basketball Association draft.
The announcement came as no sur-
prise, since Johnson led Michigan State
to the NCAA championship this spring
after two straight Big Ten titles. But the
6-foot-8 "Magic Man" maintained the
decision still was not easy.
"IT'S BEEN ROUGH, you
know-I've been going through a lot,"
the Lansing hometown hero told a
packed news conference ablaze with
television lights. "I thought it would be
best for me. It'll be a challenge to me to
go to the NBA and test my skills. We did
a lot in college that I thought would take
four years-but it took only two."
"So next season . . . I'll be turning
pro."
The Los Angeles Lakers pick first in
the draft, and have indicated they are
keen on Johnson. He went to Los
Angeles earlier this week to get a look
at the city.
"It was nice-the only thing I don't
like is the gas thing," Johnson said,
referring to California's gasoline shor-
tage.
SPARTANS COACH Jud Heathcote
had a predictable reaction to Johnson's
announcement, which he said means
the Spartans "instead of a super club,
we'll be just a good club" next season.
"I thought of two things, vomit and

w74P1141 xiG 11Ci1.4 11V \,.Vllltlltl.111{-,.ll It Vlll LIM

his senior year, then strolled down the
street to MSU, sparking the Spartans to
their first national title. His statistics
were not breathtaking-17 points, 7.3
rebounds and 8.4 assists a game last
season-but his court quarterbacking
controlled game after game.
Johnson knew he could have two
more years as the top campus
celebrity, but there were few goals yet
to conquer.
"I've got to go sometime-it might as
well be now," he said.
"It's goihg to be hard-I'd like to stay
around, but I've got to go sometime."
HEATHCOTE, MEANWHILE, saw
his team lose its top stars. Graceful
forward Gregory Kelser, who turned
so many of Earvin's lob passes into
slam dunks, graduates and will go in
the NBA draft, too.
"The program will endure," Heath-
cote said. "We'll slide a bit ... into a
semi-rebuilding year." But he refused
to criticize Johnson's decision-despite
the fact he urged Earvin to stay in
school.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm thrilled
for' Earvin," Heathcote said. "He's ac-
complished a great deal. I wanted what
was best for him, and the only one who
could decide what was best for him is
Earvin Johnson. If anybody can take
things in life at a rapid pace, it's the
Magic Man. The Earvin era is over but
the aura stays with us."

AP Photo
IN A MOVE THAT surprised few college basketball followers and predictably
saddened Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote, Earvin "Magic" Johnson
announced yesterday he'll be playing for NBA riches next year, skipping out on
his last two years of college play. Johnson is now eligible for the June 25th NBA
draft, in which the Los Angeles Lakers have first choice. Laker owner Jack Kent
Cooke indicated yesterday that chances are "very good" that the Lakers will tab'
Johnson as their first pick.

SPORTS OF THE DAILY
Chicago sells Lagrow to Dodgers

ByThe AssociatedPress
The Chicago White Sox announced
yesterday they have sold the contract of
right-handed pitcher and former
Detroit Tiger Lerin LaGrow to the Los
Angeles Dodgers of the National
League.
LaGrow, 30, led the White Sox bullpen
in saves in 1977 and 1978, but got off to a
For more sports,
see page 14
slow start this year, permitting 27 hits
and 21 runs in 17% innings. He was 0-3
in the American League this season
with one save.
The White Sox recalled Joe Gates
from its Iowa farm club. Gates recently
was reinstated by Iowa after
recovering from a thumb injury suf-
fered during spring training. He has
been hitting .308 with Iowa and last
year led the Southern League in batting
with .333.
LaGrow has pitched in 243 major
league games, winning 29 and losing 51.
He was acquired by the White Sox from
St. Louis in 1977.

Walsh Nugget coach
DENVER - Donnie Walsh, an in-
terim coach who guided a troubled
team into the National Basketball
Association playoffs, officially became
the Denver Nuggets' head coach
yesterday for at least the next two
years.
The 38-year-old Walsh took over the
floundering Nuggets on Feb. 1 when
Larry Brown resigned. At that time the
Nuggets were 28-25 and struggling for a
playoff berth.,
He was reluctant at the time to accept
the job and said he had no intention of
coaching after the season was over.
But Walsh guided the Nuggets to a 19-
10 record the rest of the season and into
the mini-series with Los Angeles. The
Lakers won the series 2-1, but Walsh's
effort found favor with Denver fans and
the Nuggets' management.
Cotton coach of year
NEW YORK - Cotton Fitzsimmons,
who directed theKansas City Kings to a
first-place finish in the National
Basketball Association's Midwest
Division, was selected 1978-79 coach of
the year, the league announced yester-
day.

Fitzsimmons received 37 votes
from a panel of 66 sports writers and
sportscasters from the league's 22
cities. Gene Shue of the San Diego Clip-
pers was second with 11 votes, while
Atlanta's Hubie Brown and Seattle's
Lenny Wilkens tied for third with 55 /
votes each.
Others receiving votes were Jack
Ramsey of Portland, Dick Motta of
Washington and Kevin Loughery of
New Jersey.
Astros to be sold
HOUSTON - The parent firm
of the Houston Astros announced today
a substantive agreement has been

executed for the sale of the National
League club to John J. McMullen, a
New York naval architect and a linited
partner in the New York Yankee
ownership.
Astrodomain Corporation now is
owned and operated by Ford Motor
Credit Co., which assumed sole control
in 1978 after Ford and General Electric
Corp. took over the crumbling financial
empire of Judge Roy Hofheinz in 1976.
Hofheinz developed the idea for
building the Astrodome and was one of
the original owners of the Astros when
the team began National League play
as the Colt 45s in 1962.

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