1995: Needing 11 assists to break Magic Johnson's all-time NBA mark of 9,221, Utah Jazz guard John Stockton passes Magic before the first half is over against Denver. And, appropriately, the record-breaking assist comes via a pass to Karl Malone. With a sellout crowd of 19,911 in the Delta Center in Salt Lake City standing and roaring in anticipation, Stockton's bounce pass to Malone comes off the floor just a bit high. But the Mailman snares it before it goes out of bounds, squares to the basket and delivers on a 17-foot baseline jumper with 6:22 left in the first half. Asked about Malone converting, Stockton says, "He's been responsible for so many (of the assists), it does seem fitting. Like I've said all along, this isn't my record. These guys have had to make the shots, and Karl has made a zillion of them." Stockton gets five more assists in Utah's 129-98 win, giving him 16 for the game and 9,227 for his 10½-year career. The record breaker comes in Stockton's 860th game; Magic needed 874 for his total. In a message to Stockton via Jumbotron, a smiling Magic says, "John, from one assist man to another, you are the greatest team leader I have ever played against."
1984: Executive vice president David Stern replaces Larry O'Brien, who announced his resignation last year, as NBA commissioner. The 41-year-old Stern is the league's fourth commissioner, with Maurice Podoloff, J. Walter Kennedy and O'Brien preceding him.Stern is an attorney who had worked on several cases involving the NBA before becoming its first general counsel. He was promoted to executive vice president in charge of legal and business affairs under O'Brien. Stern will develop and expand NBA Properties, the league's marketing arm, and NBA Entertainment. He will establish NBA International to focus on the league's role in the worldwide growth of basketball. He will oversee the launch of the WNBA in 1997. He also will be the NBA's key man in the lockout of the players that will delay the start of the 1998-99 season three months.
1949: Early one hazy Texas morning, about 150 miles east of El Paso, Ben Hogan almost dies when a Greyhound bus, swinging out to pass a truck, collides with his car. When it becomes clear a crash is unavoidable, Hogan heroically throws himself in front of his wife Valerie, who is in the passenger's seat. "It's a good thing he did, because the engine of our car was tossed back into the (driver's) seat and the steering gear was shoved into the rear seat," Valerie says. While she suffers only minor injuries, Hogan suffers a broken collarbone, a smashed rib, a double fracture of the pelvis and a broken ankle. Hogan will make a remarkable recovery and 16 months later he will win the U.S. Open.
1936: In the first voting for Baseball's Hall of Fame, a singles hitter beats out the sport's greatest slugger. Ty Cobb, who had 4,191 hits, receives 222 of 226 votes from players and writers. Babe Ruth, who bashed 714 home runs, and Honus Wagner are tied for second in the balloting, with 215 votes each.
1980: With two goals against the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers center Phil Esposito joins Gordie Howe as the only NHL players to score 700 regular-season goals.
1993: For uttering racial and ethnic slurs, Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott is suspended for a year, beginning March 1, from running the team by Major League Baseball. She can be reinstated in eight months if she complies with conditions of the suspension. She also is fined $25,000, the maximum permitted of an individual under the Major League agreement, and ordered to undergo multicultural sensitivity training. In a compromise -- Schott dropped plans for a legal challenge -- she keeps her right to attend Reds games, maintains her position as managing general partner, and is allowed to name her interim successor: general manager Jim Bowden. "I know Marge is laughing all the way to wherever it is she is going," says Hank Aaron, baseball's all-time home-run leader and a senior vice president for the Atlanta Braves. "She won this one. I'm very disappointed." Schott's lawyer says she is "very upset. Depressed. She feels that she has been singled out."
1990: Shoe's ending isn't Hollywood. At Santa Anita Park, in the last race of his illustrious career, 58-year-old Willie Shoemaker takes a brief lead on Patchy Groundfog with about an eighth of a mile to run. But late speed comes on down the stretch, and Patchy Groundfog, a seven-year-old chestnut, fades to fourth in the $107,850 Legend's Last Ride Handicap, a farewell that brings 64,573 fans to the California track.
1932: On the opening day of the 1932 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y., speed skater Irving Jaffee drives through a bitter wind and raging snowstorm to dethrone Norway's Ivar Ballangrud, the world record holder, in the 5,000 meters. Jaffee edges out fellow American Eddie Murphy. Jack Shea of Lake Placid is a popular victor in the 500 meters, beating co-defending champ Bernt Evensen of Norway by five yards. The subhead of the Olympic story in The New York Times says: "Jaffee and Shea Win Over Alien Skaters in Record Time." Both Jaffee and Shea will become double gold medalists, with Jaffee winning the 10,000 meters and Shea tacking on the 1,000 meters. The only U.S. setback today is a 2-1 loss to Canada in hockey.
1987: Four years ago, Dennis Conner was a goat, the first American skipper to lose the America's Cup in the 132-year history of the event. Today, he's riding the wave of success. The Los Angeles Times headline will proclaim: "Conner Re-Earns His Stripes as Star of America's Cup."
1943: Welterweight Sugar Ray Robinson, a 3-1 favorite, suffers the first loss of his career - both pro and amateur - when he's upset by middleweight Jake LaMotta in Detroit. Late in the eighth round, "The Raging Bull," who at 160½ pounds has a 16-pound advantage, belts Robinson with a right to the body followed by a left to the head that knocks Robinson through the ropes on to the ring apron for a count of nine. Robinson is saved by the bell. At the end of the 10th - and final - round, LaMotta hurts Robinson again, backing him into a corner and pounding away. LaMotta, just up from the preliminary ranks, wins a unanimous decision, avenging the setback he suffered to Robinson four months ago. Robinson had been 85-0 as an amateur and 40-0 as a pro. They will fight four more times, and Robinson will win each bout.
1948: At the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Dick Button enters the freestyle skating event with a commanding lead earned in the compulsory figures and a reputation as the best freestyle skater in the world. The 18-year-old from Englewood, N.J., does not disappoint the capacity crowd in the Olympic Ice Center.
1960: Grabbing three rebounds in the final 36 seconds, Bill Russell becomes the first player to pull down 50 in a game. The 6-foot-10 Boston Celtics center finishes with 51, breaking the NBA mark of 49 he set on Nov. 16, 1957.
1990: The Golden Brett joins the Golden Jet as the first father-son combination to score 50 goals in a season. Early in the third period, Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues scores his 50th goal on a breakaway. Hull, who is usually indecisive on breakaways, changes his mind before sliding the puck low to Toronto goalie Jeff Reese's stick side into the lower left corner of the net. Bobby Hull, who scored 50 goals five times for Chicago, is at the game in St. Louis. "I wasn't really nervous until I saw him in warmups," Brett says after the 6-4 victory. "I said, 'Oh, no, now he put a little pressure on me. I've got to do it.' It makes it all the better that he's here."
1988: Michael Jordan and Dominque Wilkins are involved in a high-flying battle for the Slam Dunk crown in Chicago. Wilkins holds a 100-97 lead going into the final dunk and then he makes a wicked two-handed jam coming from the left side. However, the five judges award him only 45 points (Jordan says he would have scored it 49), keeping alive his Airness' chances.
1993: Arthur Ashe, the first African-American to win the U.S. Open (1968), Australian Open (1970) and Wimbledon (1975), dies of pneumonia, a complication of AIDS, at New York Hospital in Manhattan.
1970: LSU's Pete Maravich comes into the game against Alabama with two pulled muscles and late in the contest hurts an ankle. Despite the injuries, he scores an incredible 47 points in the second half to finish with 69, setting an NCAA record for most points against a Division I opponent. Maravich breaks the record of 68 established by Niagara's Calvin Murphy 14 months earlier. Pistol Pete fires shots at a machine-gun rate, finishing with 57. He connects on 26 (45.6 percent). On the foul line he's 17-for-21. After LSU's 106-104 loss in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Maravich pursues a fan before being restrained. Press Maravich, LSU's coach and Pete's dad, says the fan had hit Pete on the back. Maravich's record will last almost 21 years, until Kevin Bradshaw of U.S. International scores 72 against Loyola Marymount on Jan. 5, 1991.
Track and field
1942: Cornelius Warmerdam is the first man to pole vault 15 feet outdoors. Tonight he becomes the first to reach that height indoors. And the California school teacher accomplishes this feat without his favorite bamboo pole, which was delayed in transit from the West Coast.
1975: Offering no explanation, former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell shuns the Basketball Hall of Fame, saying he will refuse induction. In his first year of eligibility, the five-time NBA MVP is voted into the Hall today. "For my own personal reasons, which I don't want to discuss, I don't want to be a part of it," says Russell, the Seattle Sonics coach. "I'm not going." Speculation is that Russell's decision has racial undertones since there are no other African-American players from the NBA in the Hall. "If that's so, then he (Russell) is wrong," says Lee Williams, executive director of the Hall. "We have the original Rens in our honors court. They were elected in 1961 and consist of seven black players. Also, Robert Douglas, owner and manager of the Rens, is in the Hall of Fame."
1936: After finishing with the worst record in the nine-team National Football League last season at 2-9, the Philadelphia Eagles have the first choice in today's inaugural NFL draft. They use it to select University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger, who had won the first Downtown Athletic Trophy as the best college player east of the Mississippi in 1935. (The name of the award will be changed to the Heisman Trophy in 1936.)
1991: At 34, Ray Leonard looks more sour than sweet. He is no match for Terry Norris, who knocks down the once graceful master in the second and seventh rounds on the way to a unanimous decision that enables him to keep his WBC junior middleweight title. One official gives the 23-year-old Norris all 12 rounds. "It just wasn't there," Leonard says. "He was too quick, too smart. He was a young Sugar Ray Leonard." It's no mas for the old Leonard. With his left eye swollen shut and lip split open, the former champ grabs the microphone in the ring in Madison Square Garden and tells the crowd, "This is my last fight. Thank you for coming." It is the fifth time that Leonard announces his retirement. It won't be his last.
1992: Three months after announcing his retirement from the Lakers because he had tested HIV positive, Magic Johnson returns to play in the All-Star Game. Voted a starter by the fans despite not playing a game, Magic puts on a clinic in Orlando.
1920: Attempting to provide hitters with help, Major League Baseball outlaws the spitball and all other "freak deliveries" that involve defacing or applying a foreign substance to the ball. This includes resin, talcum powder, paraffin, and the shine and emery ball. A pitcher caught cheating will be ejected and suspended 10 days.
1990: It's sayonara for Mike Tyson. The undefeated heavyweight champ is the victim of the upset of the century when journeyman Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, knocks him out in the 10th round in Tokyo. Tyson had been supposedly invincible, with 33 knockouts in his 37 victories. But at 220 1/2 pounds, Iron Mike appears flat and poorly conditioned against Douglas. Though Tyson knocks down the 232-pound Douglas with a vicious right in the eighth round, the challenger recovers. By the 10th round, Tyson's left eye is swollen, and he has difficulty seeing. Douglas throws two rights, a left, a right that sends Tyson spinning and finally a left hook that knocks Tyson's mouthpiece up into the air as the champ goes down. His face is a mask of pain and confusion as the referee counts him out. "I wasn't afraid of the man," Douglas says. "I'm only afraid of God."
1992: Exactly two years to the day later, Tyson suffers an even worse setback. An Indianapolis jury finds him guilty of raping an 18-year-old Miss Black America beauty pageant contestant who said he lured her to his hotel room and overpowered her.The jury of eight men and four women, which deliberated almost 10 hours, also finds Tyson guilty of two counts of criminal deviate behavior. Tyson, 25, stares straight ahead impassively as the verdict is read.
1949: Jumpin' Joe Fulks, a 6-foot-5 forward, obliterates the pro scoring record when he registers 63 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in their 108-87 victory over the Indianapolis Jets. Fulks breaks the mark of 48 set by George Mikan, set just 12 days ago, in the third quarter.
1949: Only 3 1/2 months after being knocked out by Sandy Saddler, Willie Pep regains the featherweight crown when he takes a unanimous 15-round decision at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Pep, a wily nine-year veteran at 26, comes out strong and shows a dazzling array of jabs, hooks and right crosses as he builds up a big lead. The artful dodger's counterpunching cuts up Saddler, who needs seven stitches to patch the wounds over his eyes. Pep doesn't come away unscathed. He looks as bad as Saddler after the bout, which Ring Magazine calls the "Fight of the Year." He has a mouse under his right eye and needs 11 stitches -- three over each eye and his left cheek, and two on his right cheek. "I don't think he'll fight me again," Saddler says. He's wrong. They will fight twice more, with Saddler winning both in bouts considered among the dirtiest ever.
1995: Five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair smashes her own world record in the 500 meters in a World Cup speedskating race in Calgary. She finishes in 38.69 seconds, beating her old mark of 38.99. "I knew the race was off to a good start," Blair says. "I don't remember missing any strokes. I had good contact with the ice. The ice felt good and it seemed like it gave it back to me as well." Blair goes head-to-head with Susan Auch, who also breaks Blair's old record as she finishes in 38.94 seconds. "Being paired with Susan was a big help for me," Blair says. "I knew I was close to Susan at the 100 (meters). That gave me somebody to chase."
1976: Before Dorothy Hamill takes to the ice for her freestyle routine at the Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, she starts crying after seeing a sign in the stands that says, "Which of the West? Dorothy!" At first, she thinks detractors made the sign and takes it as a message that she is a witch. In this Cold War era, what the sign-makers are cleverly asking is which Western skater - Hamill or Diane de Leeuw of the Netherlands - is going to defeat East Germany's Christina Errath for the gold medal. Then they answer by saying Dorothy. Once Hamill realizes the sign is held by her friends, who wanted to shake her out of her usual pre-competition jitters, the three-time U.S. champion feels better. A relaxed Hamill gives a clean and safe performance, skating to music from Errol Flynn movies. She wins the gold medal by a unanimous decision of the nine judges. At the medals ceremony, the 19-year-old Hamill cries again. "I couldn't help it," she says. "It wasn't because I had finally won the medal. It was seeing the American flag go up and hearing the band play, 'The Star Spangled Banner.'" Hamill will set a fashion trend as young girls will copy her 'do, which looks like a bowl haircut. She also will become the first female athlete to sign a $1 million-a-year contract, with the Ice Capades, which she will later purchase and manage.
1988: It is the worst day in Dan Jansen's life. In the morning, he speaks to his older sister Jane, who is dying of leukemia back home in West Allis, Wis. A few hours later, the speed skater learns of her death. He spends the afternoon in a quiet room at the Olympic athlete's village in Calgary speaking on the phone to family members. He decides to compete in the 500 meters, saying "that's what Jane would've wanted." He wants to win for Jane. But emotionally spent and physically tense, Jensen, one of the favorites, false-starts at the line, which he rarely does. This confuses him. When he sprints from the gun, he catches his blade on the first turn and falls, spinning across the lanes and knocking down the skater paired with him. "As soon as he fell, my heart sank," says teammate Eric Hendriksen. "I'm not used to seeing so many bad things happen in a short period of time."
1988: Growing up, Davey Allison had dreamed about racing against his father, going head-to-head with him in the final lap of an important NASCAR race. "In the dreams I always won," says Davey, smiling.
1998: Dale Earnhardt is first -- at last. The winner of seven Winston Cup championships, he was 0-for-19 at the Daytona 500. But that losing streak ends today when he wins NASCAR's most prestigious event before 185,000 screaming fans. Earnhardt leads five times for 107 of the 200 laps, but the victory isn't assured until John Andretti and Lake Speed tangle on lap 199 which brings out the caution lap. Earnhardt averages 172.7 mph and wins a record $1,059,105 as he ends his 59-race winless streak. Earnhardt savors his triumph. He takes a slow drive to Victory Lane, shaking hands and slapping high fives with dozens of crewmen from competing teams who line pit road at Daytona International. Halfway down pit road, Earnhardt, 46, rides his black No. 3 Chevrolet onto the tri-oval grass, between the pit lane and the front straight, etching a number three in the grass with a couple of joyous donuts. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Earnhardt shouts before hugging crew chief Larry McReynolds. "We won it! We won it! We won it!"
1981: A pit stop makes the difference when "The King" takes a gamble and it pays off royally at the Daytona 500. Richard Petty, in fourth place, stops only for fuel with 25 laps left and foregoes changing tires. The three leaders get gas and new tires.With his crew taking only seven seconds to fill his tank, Petty takes the lead. Running on the worn tires, he holds off Bobby Allison, who probably has the faster car, by four seconds. In winning an unprecedented seventh Daytona 500, Petty collects $90,575. He credits the victory to Dale Inman, his second cousin and crew chief, and Maurice Petty, his brother and engine builder, for their decision not to change tires. "Dale and Maurice put their heads together and figured that was the way we could win the race, so we took the gamble," Petty says. "Right off hand, I'd say we had the seventh or eighth fastest car out there. If it came down to three or four running for the lead, we probably wouldn't have been in the show. If it had been one on one, Bobby would have had the advantage."
1926: The long awaited match between France's Suzanne Lenglen, the queen of the tennis world, and her most serious challenger, Californian Helen Wills, finally takes place in Cannes. The New York Times, the New York Tribune and the Chicago Tribune put the story on the front page of the paper. In the final of the Carlton tournament, Lenglen registers a 6-3, 8-6 victory in a match the Chicago Tribune calls "the most dramatic, most grueling athletic contest ever played by two women." The New York Times calls it "a game which made continents stand still and was the most important sporting event of modern times exclusively in the hands of the fair sex." While Lenglen is the overwhelming favorite, Wills takes leads in both sets -- 2-1 in the first and 5-4 in the second. Each time, though, Lenglen comes back.
1972: While no other player in the NBA has yet scored 25,000 points -- and only five have 20,000 -- Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first to reach 30,000. The Los Angeles Lakers' 7-1 center, in his 13th year in the league, gains the milestone with 2:09 left in the third quarter on a goaltending call against the Suns' Neal Walk, who touches the ball while it's on the rim.
1975: Benny Parsons didn't have much success getting to victory lane in NASCAR competition, winning only two of his 175 races. But today the 33-year-old PTA president registers a major upset when he wins the Daytona 500.
1991: Ernie Irvan, winner of only one previous Winston Cup race, is today's unlikely winner of the Daytona 500. Known as Swervin' Irvan, he stays on the straight and narrow and takes advantage of Dale Earnhardt crashing into Davey Allison. Six laps from the finish, Irvan passes Earnhardt for the lead. On lap 198, Earnhardt and Allison are battling side by side for the right to challenge Irvan when their cars tangle and spin along the back straightaway. "I lost control and spun, and I spun right into Davey," says Earnhardt, who takes out strong-running Kyle Petty as well as Allison. Running the final two laps under a yellow caution flag, Irvan's yellow Chevy, which is running out of gas, barely makes it to the finish line. "I had to go down on the apron (to keep the car and its fuel tank level), but I figured I'd get to the finish then, even if I had to run past the pace car to do it," says Irvan, who wins $233,000.
1956: Carol Heiss, just turned 16, puts on the sweetest performance of her career. With her ponytail whirling like a propeller in the falling snow, she becomes the world figure-skating champion by finally defeating her arch-rival, Tenley Albright, who has beaten her in their first eight meetings, including the Olympics two weeks earlier. The 5-foot-2, 103-pound Heiss takes the crowd and the judges by storm in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, with her flawless four-minute performance. Wearing an emerald green dress and skating to Adolphe Adam's "If I Were King," she unreels a dazzling series of two double Axels, a double flip, double loops, a flying sit spin and other difficult figures. "Carol was great, better than ever," Albright says. "I have absolutely no complaints. The judging was okay." Heiss becomes the second youngest woman to win the world title. Sonja Henie won it when she was 15.
1990: It appears that Dale Earnhardt is about to end his Daytona 500 jinx. He's put on a commanding show all day, leading for 155 laps, and is a mile from victory ... when disaster strikes.
1970: One might have made money betting on Denny McLain in 1968, when the Detroit Tigers right-hander won 31 games, or in 1969, when he won 24. But the major league's last 30-game winner finds it's not rewarding to be involved with bookmakers, as McLain was in 1967. After meeting for 5½ hours with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, during which McLain candidly admitted his involvement with a bookmaking ring in Detroit, Kuhn says he has no choice and suspends the 25-year-old pitcher indefinitely. This is the first of three suspensions this season for McLain. He will return on July 1 and go 3-5 with 4.65 ERA before he will be suspended in late August by the Tigers for dousing two Detroit writers with ice water. Then in September he will be suspended for the rest of the season by Kuhn for carrying a gun and violating the terms of his probation. In October, the Tigers will inflict further damage on McLain by trading him to the Washington Senators.
1995: Playing on an empty stomach, Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon grabs the 10,000th rebound of his NBA career in a 122-117 loss to the Knicks this afternoon at Madison Square Garden. He is the 21st player to get 10,000 rebounds.
1995: Sterling Marlin is out to show his victory in last year's Daytona 500 was no fluke. He does it in convincing fashion, leading for 105 of the 200 laps in becoming the first driver since Cale Yarborough (1983-84) to win back-to-back Daytona 500s.
1998: Trailing favored Michelle Kwan after the short program, 15-year-old Tara Lipinski gives a brilliant freestyle performance and becomes the youngest ever to earn an Olympic gold medal in women's figure skating. Lipinski is two months younger than Sonja Henie was when she won the first of her three Olympic titles in 1928. The smallest American Olympian at 4-foot-10 and 82 pounds, Lipinski is technically superior to Kwan, faster, more aggressive and more exuberant in her skating. She consumes the ice in Nagano, Japan, with the sheer delight of performing. "It was amazing," Lipinski says of standing on the medal podium. "It went by so quick. I was happy, but a little sad, knowing I was going to have to get off. I couldn't think of anything wrong. Everything was perfect." Kwan, the 17-year-old silver medalist, says, "There's nothing more I could have done. It might not be the color medal I wanted, but I'll take it."
1977: Cale Yarborough goes from last to first. A year after finishing last in the Daytona 500, Yarborough wins the race on a windy day when papers are blowing over the track and causes at least one car to lose an engine.
1992: Sixteen years ago, when she was four years old and Dorothy Hamill was winning Olympic gold, Kristi Yamaguchi skated while holding a Hamill doll. Tonight, Yamaguchi becomes the United States' first women's figure-skating Olympic champion since Hamill, who visits Yamaguchi before she skates her freestyle program. After a near-fall on one of the easiest triple jumps in her 4½-minute program, Yamaguchi regains her composure and recovers nicely. Landing five triples out of the seven she planned, she is an easy winner in Albertville, France. In the last 11 months, Yamaguchi has won a world championship, a national crown and now the Olympic title. This is the first time three American women finish in the top four, as Nancy Kerrigan, Yamaguchi's roommate and good friend, finishes third, and Tonya Harding, the 1991 U.S. national champion, takes fourth. Japan's Midori Ito prevents a U.S. sweep by winning the silver medal.
1970: Bobby Hull always seems to score a milestone goal against the New York Rangers. His first 50-goal season came with a goal against Gump Worsley in 1962 and when he became the first NHL player to score more than 50 in 1966, the 51st was scored against Cesare Maniago.
1980: Do you believe in miracles? Almost nobody expected the United States hockey team, composed mostly of college players, to defeat the veteran Soviet Union juggernaut at the Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. But in a heated battle on ice, America's Team wins this cold war, shocking the Soviets -- and the rest of the world -- with a dramatic 4-3 victory. It's the Soviets' first loss in the Olympics since 1968. Just two weeks ago, the U.S. had lost to the Soviets 10-3. Today, though, it enters the final period trailing only 3-2 despite being outshot 12-2 in the second period. After not getting a shot on Soviet goalie Vladimir Myshkin for the first 7 1/2 minutes of the final period, the U.S. ties the game at 8:39 on a goal by Wisconsin fireplug Mark Johnson. Then halfway through the period captain Mike Eruzione's screened shot beats Myshkin and gives the U.S. its first lead. With the standing room only crowd wildly cheering them on, the Americans, who have just 16 shots for the game, hold on for the stunning upset. Goalie Jim Craig finishes with 36 saves, nine in the final period. In the locker room, the U.S. players sing "God Bless America," even though they can't remember all the words. Coach Herb Brooks locks himself in the men's room with his emotions. "Finally, I snuck into the hall," he says, "and the state troopers were all standing there crying."
1980: Celebrating with the U.S. hockey team last night after its stunning victory over the Soviet Union, speed skater Eric Heiden oversleeps before his 10,000-meter race. "I was supposed to get up at 6:30," he says. "At 20 to 8 they were pounding on my door, wanting to know where I was. So I ran by the cafeteria, grabbed three slices of bread and hurried to the track." And on his near-empty stomach, Heiden becomes the first person to win five individual gold medals in one Olympics by shattering the world record by 6.2 seconds. He finishes in 14:28.13. Sounding neither arrogant nor flippant, Heiden says about his five gold medals: "I guess I'll put them with the rest of the trophies and stuff. In my mom's dresser. They'll collect dust. The medals just don't mean that much to me in themselves. What can you do with them? "I'd rather win a nice warm-up suit, something I can use. Maybe I'll sell them when I get old and I need the money."
1987: The Seattle Sonics' Nate McMillan dishes out 25 assists to tie the NBA's record for most assists by a rookie in a game set by Buffalo's Ernie DiGregorio 13 years earlier. McMillan's previous high in a game had been 13.
1980: Even with its victory over the mighty Soviets two days earlier, the seventh-seeded U.S. hockey team still needs to beat Finland today to win the Olympic gold medal at Lake Placid, N.Y. A loss, and the gold goes to the Soviet Union. Left wing Rob McClanahan says he didn't sleep after the Soviet victory "and I won't sleep again tonight. Because if I sleep, there'll always be the chance that this was a dream." It's no dream, though it looks like a potential nightmare as the U.S. trails Finland 2-1 after two periods. But then Phil Verchota ties the game, McClanahan scores the game-winner and Mark Johnson tacks on a late short-handed goal to give Team America (6-0-1) the 4-2 victory and the gold medal. And when it's over, the country is treated to one more unforgettable moment. There's goalie Jim Craig, draped in an American flag, skating around the ice and searching the stands for his widowed father. In the locker room, the U.S. team receives a congratulatory call from President Jimmy Carter, just as it had two days earlier. Coach Herb Brooks tells the President, "This is a great win for the American people. It proves our way of life is the right way."
1964: Few give 22-year-old Cassius Clay much of a chance to dethrone heavyweight champ Sonny Liston. Only three of 46 writers covering the fight in Miami Beach had picked Clay, a 7-1 underdog. Most thought of him as a loud-mouthed braggart. But the kid with the quick quip, who kept insisting he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," lives up to his words, showing his hands are even faster than his mouth. His long left jab keeps bouncing off Liston's face. Clay's most troublesome time comes after the fourth round, when he is blinded by ointment applied to Liston's cut. He talks of quitting, but trainer Angelo Dundee forces him to continue. A round later, Clay's vision is clear, and he lands several solid blows, opening a cut under Liston's left eye. The fight is even after six rounds, according to the three officials. Before the seventh starts, a bleeding Liston remains in his corner, complaining of numbness in his left shoulder down to his forearm. Clay is the champion on a TKO. "I shocked the world!" Ali repeatedly screams after he, er, shocks the world.
1977: Midway in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks, a New Orleans Jazz teammate tells Pistol Pete Maravich, "You better get a new firing pin, Pistol, 'cause you're wearing that one out."
1978: Rookie Nancy Lopez gains her first victory on the LPGA tour. After bogeying the 10th and 11th holes in the final round, costing her the lead, Lopez recovers and birdies 17. This gives her a one-shot victory at the $100,000 Bent Tree Classic in Sarasota, Fla. Tied for the lead after the third round, the 21-year-old Lopez shoots a final-round one-over-par 73 to finish at one-over 289, a stroke ahead of playing partner Jo Ann Washam. Lopez earns $15,000.
1981: The Bruins usually try to intimidate the North Stars at Boston Garden, where Minnesota is 0-27-7. Tonight, the North Stars don't turn the other cheek, but seek an eye-for-an-eye -- or at least a penalty for a penalty. The result is the mother of all hockey brawls.
1901: The National League Rules Committee declares a foul ball not caught on the fly is a strike unless two strikes have already been called. To cut the cost of foul balls hit into the stands, the committee urges that "batsmen who foul off good pitches are to be disciplined." In 1903, the American League will adopt the National League's foul ball ruling.
1908: The sacrifice fly rule is adopted. No at-bat is charged if a run scores after the catch of a fly ball. The rule will be repealed in 1931, then reinstated or changed several times before it becomes a permanent part of the rule book for the 1954 season.
1959: Bob Cousy, the Celtics' magical playmaker, shatters the NBA record for assists by getting 28 in Boston's record-breaking 173-139 victory over the Minneapolis Lakers. The previous mark had been 21, set by the New York Knicks' Richie Guerin.
1977: Stalled at 499 goals for the past two games, Chicago center Stan Mikita wants to score his milestone 500th before the hometown fans. After tonight's game against Vancouver, the Black Hawks start a six-game road trip. Feeling edgy and "tight as a drum," Mikita arrives at Chicago Stadium at 3 p.m. "so I wouldn't be home yelling at my wife and kids."
1960: In the past three days, the goaltending of Jack McCartan had helped the United States Olympic hockey team upset co-favorites Canada, 2-1, and the Soviet Union, 3-2, at Squaw Valley, Calif. With a 6-0 record, the United States still needs a victory or tie today against 3-3 Czechoslovakia, which the Americans defeated 7-5 in their opening game, for the gold medal. After two periods, the U.S. trails 4-3. Soviet captain Nikolai Sologubov makes a surprise visit to the U.S. locker room, and using sign language (he puts his hands over his face and huffs and puffs), suggests the players take oxygen. The trainer runs to find a tank and when he returns, the Americans refuel. After almost six scoreless minutes, the energized U.S. team scores six goals in a 12-minute span to win 9-4 and capture its first Olympic hockey gold medal. Roger Christian scores three goals in the period, giving him four for the game. Bob Cleary scores two, including the game-winner. Sologubov and some of his teammates heartily congratulate the victors. Cleary says, "We've been playing those Russian guys so many times the last several years that we know them all. They're real friends. "Sitting around talking, they don't talk about communism. Like us they talk about hockey -- and girls."