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August 25, 2017

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PAGE 12 BOSTON POST-GAZEI-FE, AUGUST 25, 2017 ~Z HOOPS and HOCKEY in the HUB by Richard Preiss JERRY LEWIS A Genius Leaves Us Smiling Jerry Lewis passed away this week at the age of 91. I don't think there has ever been a comic who has come close to the genius Jerry Lewis displayed for eight decades. While he was certainly best known for his comic acting, Jerry also showed the depth of his dramatic ability in the1983 movie The King of Comedy. He was absolutely brilliant in that Martin Scorsese film. Even in his comic roles, Lewis showed a deep sense of the dramatic, as in when he played the alter ego part of Buddy Love in The Nutty Professor. Nobody else could have done what he did. Also, watch a clip of him doing the typewriter routine from Who's Minding The Store? And also his lip-synching to the Count Basle Orchestra in The Errand Boy ff you want to see one of the most amazing talents of the past 100 years. Nor years, he was teamed up with Dean Martin and they made a lot of great movies together as well as numerous personal appearances. Lewis always played the fall guy to Dean's romantic leads. He usually looked rather wimpish and weak, but in realty he was actually bigger than Martin. He would slouch in order to make Dean look taller. Also, contrary to the weakling image in these movies, Jerry Lewis was a very tough guy. I have been told nobody messed with him. Lewis dedicated a huge part of his life to raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Labor Day Weekend was always known for his non-stop telethon. It was on one of these where Frank Sinatra arranged for Lewis and Martin to be united after many years of not speaking to one another. It was a very touching moment. On a personal note, I got to see Jerry Lewis perform in person twice. Once, when I was a kid and my parents took me to see him at the Monticello in Framingham. He put on a marvelous show of comedy and music. Yes, he could sing, too. In the '90s, I got to see him in Boston in a revival of Damn Yankees where he played a character called Applegate (The Devil). Not only was he great in this part, but midway through the play he stopped the per- formance and spent a half hour doing his comedy act complete with gags and juggling. What an entertainer. We will never, ever see his like again, and the world has lost a true original. I am sharing some photos of Jerry that are boxing-related. Some are of Lewis with Rocky Marciano when they put on a boxing exhibition to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. Lewis was a huge fight fan, but in life he fought his heart out for those kids who suffered so much. Rest in Peace Jerry Lewis. You left us laughing. You also left us with what it means to work hard and to be good to our fellow man. STILL STANDING AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE -- They may not necessarily be the most memorable four but they are the leftover four -- the small group of players still remaining on the Celtics roster from the 2016-2017 campaign. Yes, A1 Horford, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Mar- cus Smart are all that remain from a team that just three short months ago advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. They are the only ones slated to return to the parquet following the capstone trade that saw Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder sent to Cleve- land for star player Kyrie Irving. Now, it is they who must also feel somewhat different. Al- though they did not get traded to other teams, when they re- port to the opening of training camp in late September, it may well feel like they did. All the new players will be there, but the bulk of those who propelled the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals will be elsewhere scattered across the NBA during a summer in which the proverbial fireworks that were once promised by Celtics management finally came to pass. The new players won't really know what to expect right away in their new setting. To some degree, it will similasr for the four holdovers. It will be as if they are joining a completely different team. Both groups will have that in common. The point is that the 2017- 2018 Boston Celtics will bear hardly any resemblance to the team that left the floor following its final playoff game against Cleveland back in May. Fans essentially will be backing a different team than they did last year. This will be the second time in his coaching career that Brad Stevens will take the reins of a different team. It did not happen at Buffer University, because he was an assistant coach there who was promoted to head coach. Thus he had worked previously with the players and they with him. The real change came when he was hired by the Celtics and thus took over a whole new team on a whole new level. Stevens was up to the challenge as we all know the team has improved every year and went to the aforementioned conference finals last spring. While not as drastic as when he took over the Cs in 2013, the coming campaign also will present a challenge. The new acquisitions plus the hold- overs must blend together as a team in order to win. We think Stevens will be successful in orchestrating that because he has accomplished it in the past. Oh, and let's not forget that there is a huge free agency on the horizon. Stevens is enter- ing the fifth year of a six-year contract. It is often star play- ers that request so-called max contracts. As June 30, 2019, looms closer (the day Stevens' current contract worth $22 mil- lion expires), one can wonder about the size size of a financial increase the coach might de- mand -- especially ff he guides the Celtics to the NBA Champi- onship in either one or both of the two remaining seasons on his contract. Should the Celtics go all the way, you can bet his request will be for a significant increase in compensation. One can also argue that the current situation unfortunately sets Stevens up for "failure." With the new group of star play- ers, would Stevens be looked upon as "falling" if the team did not win an NBA Championship, but "only" advanced to the NBA Finals? Sadly, there will be a segment of those in Celtics Na- tion that would look upon such a scenario in that way. Expectations for postseason success by the Celtics in the upcoming season will be the highest they have been in quite some time. Danny Ainge has stocked the Celtics roster with a new group of players -- many with resumes full of significant accomplishments. The Celtics have been built to have a season to remember in 2017-2018. Whether that in- cludes hoisting the NBA Cham- pionship Trophy next June remains to be seen. Whatever takes place, it should be one exciting time. IS IT STILL AN AMATEUR TEAM? There was a time when big-time college coaches were somewhat more modest-- especially when it came to their compensation. It was the late Paul (Bear) Bryant, the longtime head football coach at the Uni- versity of Alabama, who refused a salary that would have made him the highest paid employee on campus. His reasoning: no one running a program at a university should be paid more than the person who runs the entire university (the president of the institution). Well, times have certainly changed. While it is still true that the players do not get paid salaries, it is certainly true that the compensation for coaches has increased significantly. All one has to do is contemplate the release put out by Penn State in mid-August indicating that it had signed head football coach James Franklin to a contract extension. The agreement means that Coach Franklin will be guar- anteed a total of $34.7 million through the 2022 season. That works out to $5.78 million on an annual basis. Of course, that's for coaching an amateur team. By the way, the contract contains incentives. What more incentive could one need after signing that large a contract? It appears that the days of follow- ing the reasoning of coach Bear Bryant are far behind us. The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and dece n. Call 1-877- -HELP [1-877-382-4357) or log on to gov.