Monday, July 30, 2018

Happy birthday, Billy Paultz (and send in your questions!)

This is the point in the program where I’m reminded that this is a newsletter, and thank goodness — the overhead on running two hoods over that oven would just be too dear. That’s not even getting into the juice that Elliott’s already talking about.

My family is still in the middle of a move and I haven’t had the time to sync up my thoughts on the Knicks signing Noah Vonleh and how it compares to the franchise’s time with Lee Nailon, or what maybe what Richie Adubato woulda thought of the Garrett Temple trade.

It’s in this absence of time — not future projects and features — that I’m asking for your help. I’ve never done a mailbag, let’s do a mailbag.

Send me an email — KDonhoops at yahoo dot com — or leak over to Twitter with a question and a #TSAbags hashtag. Anything goes, you can send more than one if you want and I never said anything about using your real names or locations.

Hell, I never even said anything about real questions. Let’s goof around — there’s a one hundred percent chance that your question will end up in what goes up.

In the meantime, somebody’s celebrating a 70th birthday today.

Billy Paultz’s nickname was “the Whopper.”

“Whopper was a great teammate, a guy who transformed himself from the fat guy at St. John's into the Whopper, somebody you had to deal with.

And it took two hands to handle the Whopper.” — Julius Erving, 2013.

In 1985, Utah Jazz president/head coach Frank Layden signed the 36-year old Paultz to his last pro deal, to act as Mark Eaton’s backup at center and “also because of his good luck factor," Layden pointed out.

“He had been to the playoffs every year of his career, and why should I think that was about to change?”

In the first round of the 1986 postseason, the Jazz drew up Houston. The series went five games, Rocket center Hakeem Olajuwon punched Paultz partway through the deciding game of the series, a Utah win.

It was Paultz’ third-to-last contest in a 1250-game career that spanned 15 seasons.

“Hey, if I did to you what I did to him, you'd punch me too,” winks Paultz.

“I kept distracting him in the most annoying ways. The refs didn't see it, but it sure bugged him!”

Here is a collection of Billy Paultz highlights:

(More to come.)