Suns News

Colangelo is No Easy Mark

Jerry Colangelo with wife Joan and daughter Mandy at the Hall of Fame induction reception.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE Photos)
Bob Young
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 14, 2004

A while back, we had a list of suggestions for Jerry Colangelo on how to use some of the spare time he might have now that he's no longer running the Diamondbacks.

We'd like to think he was taking our advice when he took his wife, Joan, on a European vacation.

How were we supposed to know there are muggers over there?

Turns out Colangelo and his wife went antique shopping in Paris and were returning to their hotel one afternoon in broad daylight, when a purse snatcher struck.

"I was taking care of the driver and heard something," he said. "When I turned, right in front of the door, this big guy in a motorcycle helmet and gear was all over Joanie, ripping her purse away from her."

Colangelo did what any product of the old Hungry Hill neighborhood would do - he jumped on the guy.

"I dove on him and had him in a bear hug," he said. "Two young guys, brothers, one a doctor and one a lawyer, happened to be walking by and they tried to help me."

The lawyer wound up with a broken hand, but we're guessing his brother offered him a deal as long as he promises not to sue.

Anyway, the purse snatcher managed to get an arm free and - what's the world coming to? - it was the mugger who was armed with pepper spray.


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He let The Big Italian have a blast of it, point blank, right in the face.

"I've never had that experience," Colangelo said. "I thought he blinded me."

We should mention that in the middle of this melee, Joan reached into the tangle of grappling men and yanked her purse out.

"I was pretty proud of her," Colangelo said.

The mugger got away, but only briefly. Someone got the license number on his bike, and police arrested the man and his accomplice, who turned out not to be Ken Kendrick and Jeff Moorad, the next day.

Meanwhile, after going to the hospital where Colangelo had his sizzling eyes flushed out, the couple returned to the hotel.

"I ordered a bottle of champagne and poured each of us a glass," Colangelo said. "I told her, 'Babe, this is for the two of us. We handled ourselves pretty well for a couple of 64-year-olds.' "

Hey, it's been that kind of year for Colangelo.

"We sold the Suns," he said. "I stepped down from the Diamondbacks. I lost my good friend Cotton Fitzsimmons. I was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. I had dinner with the President at the Tee Pee Tap and we got mugged in Paris.

"Other than that, it's been pretty quiet."

Ainge's assist

Boston Celtics fans have not been too happy with some of the moves Danny Ainge has made as the club's director of basketball operations, but the Boston Herald reports that Ainge might have been a key player in one big Boston personnel move.

By the Red Sox.

Ainge made a recruiting effort on the Red Sox's behalf when the team was trying to acquire Curt Schilling, with whom he had become acquainted during an Olympic torch relay in Arizona.

"When I heard he was considering the Red Sox and the Yankees, I had to talk to him," Ainge told the Herald. "I told him he'd love it here (in Boston) and that going to New York - so what, you're just another guy that has won a championship. But come to Boston and win one, and you'll go down in history as a guy that might have made the difference. We talked a little bit about Boston and the Red Sox and the rivalry. I don't think I influenced his decision; we just talked about it and he seemed pretty excited.

"I'm a big Curt Schilling fan. I think Curt is just a warrior. The bigger the game, the more fired up he is to pitch. I think he thrives in the pressure of the Boston-New York rivalry."

Of course, after Schilling got shelled in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, those Boston fans might be figuring Ainge is a bigger curse than the Bambino.

He doesn't putter around

Tiger Woods held a conference call with reporters from aboard his yacht in Barbados after he got married, and of course he was asked this question:

"Do you think the marriage thing will change the way you play golf?"

Tiger's response: "It doesn't change who we are or how we've been in our relationship the last couple of years. So from that standpoint, nothing will change. I just hope I can get the ball in the hole a little faster."

Well, sure. We wish him well in that endeavor.

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