It’s more than just ‘The Game’

When Harvard and Yale’s football teams square off each year in “The Game” — which will take place for the 126th time today — there’s always the possibility of a prank being played.

One of the most memorable ones took place at the 2004 game, when a group of Yale students dressed as the fictitious “Harvard Pep Squad” convinced Crimson fans to hold up cards they claimed would spell out “Go Harvard.” Instead, they spelled “We Suck.”

That prank, which was ranked first in a list compiled by the Boston Globe, was a reprise of “The Great Rose Bowl Hoax” of 1960, when a group of California Institute of Technology students stole the show from Rose Bowl squads Minnesota and Washington.

The Cal Tech students convinced fans in the Washington section to hold up cards at halftime that spelled out “Huskies.” But instead, on national TV, the cards spelled “CAL TECH,” which didn’t even have a football team.

MJ TO LEBRON: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS — Michael Jordan might not have been gracious in his Hall of Fame induction speech, but he was when addressing LeBron James‘ recent suggestion that the NBA retire MJ’s former uniform No. 23.

James said he plans to change his number from 23 next season to honor Jordan and also suggested the NBA retire the number.

“It was very nice; I totally understand that,” Jordan said on “NBA Access With Ahmad Rashad.” “But I’m a guy that says there is no one great player in the NBA. The NBA lasts a lot longer than one particular person, so I understand what his point is.

Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, all those guys should have their jerseys retired, too. I understand his gesture, but I’m in the same group as those guys, so I wouldn’t want to see my jersey retired unless you retire those guys.”

James has been criticized in the wake of his comments, namely because the No. 6 he plans to wear next season was the same number worn by Russell, who, before Jordan, was considered by many to be the best player in basketball history.

A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, Russell led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons.

BIRD, WALTON, WILD TURKEY — In “When the Game Was Ours,” a new book co-authored by Bird and Johnson, Bird recounts the time, shortly after the Celtics claimed the 1986 NBA crown, when Bill Walton sat alone in Bird’s kitchen drinking Wild Turkey until dawn.

“Yeah, it happened,” Bird recently told Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. “Bill came over. It was late. Doorbell rang, and (my wife) Dinah answered, and she was like, ‘Hey, Bill. Larry’s in bed.’ I heard him, so I go out, and I said, ‘Hey, man, I ain’t doing this tonight. I can’t.’ He goes, ‘Don’t worry about it. I don’t even need you. I’m just going to sit down here at the table.’ He had a bottle of whiskey. And he said, ‘I’ll be here when you wake up.’ And he was.”

FOURTH-AND-D’OH! — DJ Gallo of ESPN.com, on Patriots coach Bill Belichick‘s fourth-down backfire: “The evil emperor has no hoodie. This is like if, in ‘Star Wars,’ Darth Vader said: ‘Luke, I’m … Rick Moranis from ‘Spaceballs.’ “

COMPILED BY TODD DEWEY LAS VEGAS-REVIEW JOURNAL

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