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Gussie Moran dies; skirt scandalized '49 Wimbledon

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Gussie Moran dies; skirt scandalized '49 Wimbledon

LOS ANGELES (AP) Gertrude ``Gussie'' Moran, who shocked the modest midcentury tennis world when she took the court at Wimbledon with short skirt and ruffled underwear, has died at age 89.

Moran had recently returned from a long hospital stay with colon cancer when she died Wednesday night in her small apartment in Los Angeles, said Jack Neworth, a tennis writer who befriended Moran in her final year.

As a 25-year-old seventh seed at Wimbledon in 1949, Moran made jaws drop and flashbulbs pop at the usually staid All-England Club in London when she showed up for her first match minus the knee-length skirt considered proper for women at the time.

She lost the match, but her striking fashion statement appeared on magazine covers around the world, the British press dubbing her ``Gorgeous Gussie.''

``She had no idea what she was getting into,'' Neworth said. ``She definitely liked fashion and was very attractive, but she was very naive and hadn't traveled much.''

Moran was ranked as high as fourth in the United States, would be a doubles finalist at Wimbledon and reach the singles semifinals at the U.S. Open., but would always struggle to be known for more than the skirt and the ``Gorgeous Gussie'' moniker she got from the British press.

``Gussie was the Anna Kournikova of her time,'' tennis great Jack Kramer said in 2002 in the Los Angeles Times, which first reported her death. ``Gussie was a beautiful woman with a beautiful body. If Gussie had played in the era of television, no telling what would have happened. Because, besides everything else, Gussie could play.''

She always preferred to spell her nickname ``Gussy,'' but reporters at Wimbledon spelled it ``Gussie'' and that version stuck, at least publicly, for the rest of her life.

Gertrude Agusta Moran was born in 1923 to Harry Moran, a sound technician at Universal Studios, and his wife Emma. They lived in a house near the ocean in Santa Monica.

Moran began taking tennis lessons at 11, and later played at Santa Monica High and on traveling junior teams with future luminaries like Kramer and Louise Brough.

After retiring from tennis, she toured with the USO, and was once on a helicopter that crashed in Vietnam. She did various stints on radio and television including a sports talk show for six years in New York.

Moran married three times, resulting in an annulment and two divorces, and had no children.

She returned to live in her childhood home in Santa Monica, but she could not afford to keep it and lost it in 1986. She spent her last years in a tiny, run-down apartment in Hollywood.

Moran could have called on any number of well-off friends in the tennis world for help, but she refused.

``She was quite proud,'' Neworth said. ``But she wasn't bitter.''

Moran always said she wanted red carpet in her house, loving the glamour it invoked.

Before she returned from the hospital for the last time, Neworth said, friends pitched in and had one installed. She died a week later.

Moran said she was happy that modern-day players like Kournikova, Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters were flashy and unashamed in their court fashion.

``What's wrong with having a good time with your clothes and your body?'' she said in 2002. ``I was not very comfortable doing so. Maybe it would be different now.''

Moran will be cremated, and friends plan to spread her ashes in the ocean, in view of her family home.

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Northwest Division...

Portland Trail Blazers, C+

2017-18 finish: 49-33, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Seth Curry, G Nik Stauskas, G Anfernee Simons, G Gary Trent, Jr.
Out: F Ed Davis, G Pat Connaughton, G Shabazz Napier

The Blazers are about as cash-strapped as anyone out there, so they had very little room to work with in free agency. They made some minor moves but nothing of real note. They had a solid draft, but picked Simons who is a long-term project. And they had to let some decent players go in free agency. The best thing that happened to the Blazers this summer was re-signing Jusuf Nurkic. Other than that, it was a pretty mediocre offseason for Portland.

Oklahoma City Thunder, A

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Dennis Schroeder, C Nerlens Noel, G Hamidou Diallo
Out: F Carmelo Anthony

GM Sam Presti deserves high praise for another strong offseason. Most of the acclaim comes from the Thunder re-signing Paul George despite the assumption of many he would leave in free agency. But OKC also snagged Noel on a cheap deal, adding more athleticism and depth behind center Steven Adams. And they got Schroeder back in the deal for Anthony when they could have shed his salary for nothing in return. They also added three second round picks, including Diallo who looked good in the Summer League. It's hard to imagine the Thunder doing better than they did, given the financial resources they were working with.

Utah Jazz, B

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 2nd round of playoffs
In: G Grayson Allen, F Tyler Cavanaugh
Out: F Jonas Jerebko

The Jazz get most of their points from re-signing players like Dante Exum, Raul Neto and Derrick Favors. Though the price tag for Favors is a little high, they did a nice job of bringing the band back together, knowing they have an opportunity to get better this season simply by having Rudy Gobert stay healthy. The Allen pick has potential to work out very well for them. He looked good in the Summer League and should complement Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio well at the guard position. All in all, there was nothing flashy for the Jazz but they made some solid, smart decisions.

Minnesota Timberwolves, C

2017-18 finish: 47-35, 1st round of playoffs
In: F Anthony Tolliver, G Josh Okogie, F Keita Bates-Diop
Out: F Nemanja Bjelica

The Wolves have enough salary committed to where they could only do so much this summer. Tolliver is a nice pickup and should add shooting to their frontcourt. Bates-Diop gives them nice value as a second round pick. It would have been nice to see the Wolves change something via trade, but they have reason to believe they can get better if Karl-Anthony Towns continues to ascend and Andrew Wiggins reclaims his form as a scorer.

Denver Nuggets, B+

2017-18 finish: 46-36, missed playoffs
In: G Isaiah Thomas, F Michael Porter, Jr. 
Out: F Wilson Chandler, G Devin Harris

The Nuggets had a solid offseason just as they get ready to make a big leap forward as a franchise. They re-signed Nikola Jokic to a long-term deal, added Thomas on a low-risk contract and took a chance on Porter in the draft. They lost Chandler in a salary dump, but have the tools to win 50-plus games next season. Thomas could be a big difference maker if healthy and Porter gives them another building block for the future. If he can get past his back injury, he will fit in nicely with their young core.

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Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Adrian Peterson is truly a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins. 

The 33-year-old running back signed with the Redskins for one year at the NFL minimum salary of $1.015 million according to Field Yates of ESPN

The contract structure means that the Redskins can have him practice for the next week and a half, play in the two remaining preseason games, and then let him go prior to Week 1 and walk away owing him nothing. 

If they do keep him for Week 1, his salary for the season will become guaranteed. But if they decide to let him go at some point in the season the payout of the remainder of his salary will be a drop in the bucket of a $176 million salary cap. There is no signing bonus, roster bonus, or other guaranteed salary. 

One more team friendly aspect of this deal is that Peterson will cost less against the cap than the Redskins are paying him. The NFL has something called the veteran minimum benefit, designed to encourage teams to keep older players rather than the younger and cheaper one. Under this benefit, Peterson will count just $630,000 in cap space. That is the same cap charge as Byron Marshall carries. So, if it comes down to choosing between the Marshall and Peterson for a roster spot, the salary cap will not be a factor. 

Apparently, Peterson is anxious to play football and after spending the entire offseason as a free agent who wasn’t drawing much interest, a player who received $11 million guaranteed from the Vikings two years ago will go to work for a fraction of that. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler