Tuesday, March 17, 1998 | 11:14 a.m.
It was February of 1996 when boxer Tommy Morrison was diagnosed as HIV positive before a scheduled fight in Las Vegas. That was the end of his career as a fighter and, predictably, as time has passed it's clear he has AIDS.
Yet Morrison is refusing medical assistance of any kind.
"That's just the way I feel about it," he told ESPN of his disdain for treatment. "My mind works in a different way."
Morrison says he became infected with the AIDS virus from eight years of steroid abuse and needles. Once a bruising 235-pound heavyweight, he's currently at 200 pounds and was told "nine months ago that I had only one year to live."
He lives with his wife in Oklahoma, although their home in Jay burned to the ground in January.
"I'll smoke a cigar but I won't take an aspirin," he said, predicting he'll exceed his doctor's expectations despite mounting evidence -- and opinions -- to the contrary. His father, Tim, said "I see my son deteriorating. I hate to say this, but I see him blowing his head off. It's an awful thing to say, but if a gunshot works for him, it works for me."
Morrison is also profiled in the debut edition of The Magazine, a new twice-monthly periodical from ESPN that just hit the stands. Initial impression: lots of ads. ... The Los Angeles Clippers played consecutive games Thursday and Friday that had widely divergent results. Thursday they lost 108-85 to the Los Angeles Lakers and as a team they failed to record a triple double, as they had only seven assists. One night later they drubbed Toronto 152-120 and had 34 assists. ... No coach has ever won the NCAA Tournament in his first full season as head coach. ... Former LSU head coach Dale Brown advocates a full-field NCAA Tournament, meaning every team -- not just the select 64 -- is in. Geez Dale, there are enough bad games as it is with the top 64. ... Why can't the NCAA Tournament be spread among the TV networks so that every game can be seen in its entirety? If you're a fan, of say, Rhode Island, you want to be able to see Rhode Island play in the tourney without hoping the game might be available in your region. ... Jerry Tarkanian was right when he told the SUN earlier this month that "60 Minutes" wasn't about to show him in a favorable light when it aired a segment on him. It didn't.
Greg Maddux is trying glasses while pitching in spring training. He had been wearing contacts. ... Chad Hermanson and Chris Lathom, two other locally produced baseball players, were sent down to the minors in the last week. Pittsburgh wants to give Hermanson another year in the minors, while Minnesota considered keeping Lathom before farming him out Sunday. ... With 52 million participants last year, bowling is the No. 1 participation sport in the United States. ... Olympic figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski is going to skip the World Championships later this month, which means that for only the fifth time since 1908 the World champion will not be the Olympic champion. ... Update from last week: Edmonton rallied to raise enough money to keep its NHL franchise for at least another year. ... The Hockey Hall of Fame will decide March 31 on whether to retain Alan Eagleson as a member. He's serving an 18-month prison term for defrauding the NHL Players' Association, and all but one of 44 fellow Hall of Fame members who were surveyed want him kicked out. Some members, including Gordie Howe, have said they'll boycott the Hall if Eagleson isn't deleted.
Las Vegas Thunder G.M. Bob Strumm on having a player under contract, losing him to the NHL and then seeing the player return with another IHL team: "I know it frustrates the fans and I think the league should tighten up its rules. As it is, we lose all rights to a player once he goes to the NHL." ... Strumm on the Thunder's relationship with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes: "To be honest, after two years I don't think we're any farther ahead than we were without them." ... Patrice Lefebvre and Ken Quinney are the only Thunder players who own homes in town. ... Larry Bird has done a great job in his first year as head coach with the Indiana Pacers. They missed the playoffs last season and have only three players averaging in double figures in points, yet they're 45-19 and in second place in the NBA's Central Division. ... Australia's Nicole Lowien caused a stir when she said "50 percent" of the players on the LPGA tour are lesbians.
It's the equipment: Gil Morgan, 51 and a star on the PGA Senior Tour, has added 17 yards to his average driving distance this year. ... Of the top 125 money winners on the PGA Tour last year, 30 had a cumulative score that was over par. Of those 30, Frank Nobilo ranked the highest -- No. 23 -- on the money list. ... The new Nebraska head football coach, Frank Solich, will be paid $50,000 more than his legendary predecessor, Tom Osborne. Solich will get $200,000 this season ... The Houston Astros may go into the season with an all-right-handed starting lineup. ... Of the 40 players on the Montreal Expos' roster, only two were alive in 1969 when man first walked on the moon. ... Carson City's Donovan Osborne is back on the St. Louis Cardinals' disabled list with the same injury that shortened his season last year: a torn groin muscle. ... If Mike Tyson and promoter Don King get locked into a court struggle, Iron Mike won't be facing King-controlled heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield this year, as had been expected. That would open the way for a Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis clash however. ... The lowly Philadelphia 76ers have three players on their roster who were taken with the first pick in the NBA draft, while standout teams Chicago, Seattle and Utah have none.