John McEnroe: ‘You Cannot Be Serious!’

As this year’s Wimbledon Championships get underway let’s recall one of the greatest professional tennis players of our time.

John McEnroe won 77 career singles titles, including three at Wimbledon. He also won 77 doubles titles, including five at Wimbledon. He is in fact the only male player to win more than 70 singles and 70 doubles championships.

Photo by Anefo / Croes, R.C.

It was at Wimbledon in 1981 that McEnroe came up with what has become his signature phrase – “You cannot be serious!”

As the years went on, he embraced and adopted the phrase, even calling his 2002 memoir You Cannot Be Serious.

Get your copy of ohn McEnroe’s book

He wrote candidly about his childhood, his career, and his 8-year marriage to actress Tatum O’Neal, which ended in a bitter 1994 divorce.

And we talked about all of those things when I interviewed him about his book. So here now, from 2002, John McEnroe.

John McEnroe is 65 now. He;s a TV commentator, and still plays in – and wins – senior tournaments.

Bill Walton: A Trailblazing Career on the Court and Behind the Mic

Hall of Famer Bill Walton was a 14-year NBA veteran. The #1 draft pick in 1974, he spent his early years with the Portland Trail Blazers, then the Clippers, then the Celtics. Nagging foot injuries eventually forced his retirement.

Walton then embarked on a successful career as a broadcaster.

Get your copy of Bill Walton’s book

I met him in 1994 when he wrote a book called Nothing But Net.

So here now, from 1994, just a few months after his induction into the Hall of Fame, Bill Walton.

Bill Walton died of cancer last week. He was 71.

Meadowlark Lemon: Beyond the Court to the Pulpit

For 22 years he was known as the “Clown Prince” of the Harlem Globetrotters. But for basketball Hall of Famer Meadowlark Lemon, there was a larger, much larger, purpose for his life.

When I met him in 1987, Lemon was eager to talk about not just basketball, but about God.

Just a year before our interview, Lemon was ordained a Christian minister. And proud as he was of his on-court accomplishments, Meadowlark Lemon had much bigger things on his mind.

Also, be aware that my very first question to him, as you are about to hear, was worded in such a way that his response was worded in the third person. I should emphasize that is not the way he normally talked about himself, but was simply answering the question the way I had framed it.

So here now, from 1987, Meadowlark Lemon.

Meadowlark Lemon died in 2015. He was 83.


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Super Bowl 21 Hero Leonard Marshall Reflects on the Giants’ Disastrous 1987 Season

This Sunday the San Francisco 49ers will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas This will be the Chiefs’ fourth Super Bowl appearance in five years. But big success one year doesn’t necessarily mean the next year will be just as great.

The New York Giants dominated the NFC in 1986, and they won Super Bowl 21 over the Denver Broncos in January 1987.

But the Giants began the 1987 season 0-5, and finished with a 6-9 record, missing the playoffs for the first time in four years.

A key player for the Giants at that time was defensive lineman Leonard Marshall. He had written a book in the offseason, called The End of the Line. I had the chance to talk with him about the book In early December just two days after the Giants lost an embarrassing game to the Washington Redskins. New York had a 16-0 lead at halftime, and lost.

but Marshall was in a surprisingly pleasant mood that day as we talked. So here now,
from 1987, Leonard Marshall.

Leonard Marshall retired at the end of the 1994 season. He’s 62 now and is involved in various business ventures.


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The Many Talents of Alex Karras: Athlete, Actor, Author

Alex karras was a star on the field for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s.

And then he tackled a new career challenge: acting. One of his most iconic roles was in 1974’s “Blazing Saddles.” He was, of course, Mongo.

And when I spoke with him about it, he almost sounded surprised at his own success as a writer.

Later Alex karras starred in the ABC sitcom “Webster,” and along the way he also joined the Monday Night Football broadcast crew. And that’s kind of where he got the idea for his 1991 novel called Tuesday Night Football.

So here now from 1991 Alex karras

Alex karras died in 2012. He was 77.


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Conrad Dobler

The NFL’s regular season begins tomorrow. By next February we’ll have another Super Bowl champion, And another year’s worth of memorable plays and thrilling endings.

But for today, let’s hit rewind and go back to an interview I did in 1988, with a 10-year NFL veteran, three-time Pro Bowl player, known for his alleged underhanded tactics on the field.

During his six years with the Cardinals, two with the Saints, and two with the Bills, his opponents often referred to Conrad Dobler as a “dirty” player.

So in 1988, when Dobler wrote his memoir, what do you think he called it? Its title is They Call Me Dirty.

So here now, from 1988, Conrad Dobler.

Conrad Dobler died last February. He was 72.


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Tracy Austin

Photo by Robbie Mendelson

To this day, no woman has ever done what Tracy Austin did at the US Open.

Austin won the US Open women’s singles title in 1979, when she was just 16, making her the youngest ever to win that title.

During her professional career, Austin won 30 tennis titles.

But by age 21, her career was all but ended by a series of injuries. That led to speculationand rumor about what was really going on with Tracy Austin.

In 1992 she set out to put those rumors to rest, and tell her story in her own words. Her book was called Beyond Center Court. And that’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1992, Tracy Austin.

Tracy Austin is 60 now. She works as a metwork TV tennis commentator.


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Cyndy Garvey

Photo by Cal Montney, LA Times

Major League baseball fans will remember Steve Garvey, the charismatic All-Star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s and 1980s.

On the field, Garvey was a superstar.

In his personal life, however, not so much, according to his ex-wife Cyndy Garvey.

There’s was a messy and public divorce in the late 1970s.

And, according to Cyndy, she took much of the blame from loyal Dodgers fan who couldn’t believe allegations accusing Steve of cheating and abuse.

Steve and Cyndy Garvey with their daughter, 1975. Photo: LA Times

She put it all in her 1989 book The Secret Life of Cyndy Garvey.

And that’s when I met her. So here now, from 1989, Cyndy Garvey.

Cyndy Garvey celebrated her 74th birthday this month.

More than 30 years after his retirement from baseball, Steve Garvey has not yet won election to the baseball Hall of Fame.


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Rafer Johnson

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Let’s go back to 1960, and the Olympic games. That was the year a 26-year-old named Rafer Johnson took the gold medal in the decathlon. Four years earlier, Johnson had won the silver.

But his achievements did not end when his athletic career was over. Johnson became a successful actor in the 1960s and ”70s.

Johnson also became politically active in the 1960s, and that’s how he found himself in the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, 55 years ago this week.

I met him in 1998, when he wrote his autobiography, called The Best that I Can Be:

So here now, from 1998, Rafer Johnson.z

Rafer Johnson died in 2020. He was 86


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Tamilee Webb

If you’ve ever seen the exercise video called “Buns of Steel, you” know exactly who Tamilee Webb is.

For over 30 years, Webb has been one of America’s leading and most popular fitness gurus.

Webb’s popularity as a television personality helped propel her to a series of best-selling books and videos.

I met her in 1995, when she was promoting her book Step Up Fitness Workout.

So here now, from 1995, Tamilee Webb.

Tamilee Webb is 64 now. And still going strong. She was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2008.


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