* Henrik Rodl has ended his pro basketball career after 11 seasons in Germany with ALBA Berlin. Rodl, 35, announced his retirement last week after ALBA Berlin lost in the German League semifinals to Bamberg, 3-2, putting a stop to ALBA's run of seven consecutive league titles.
Rodl has accepted the position of head coach of ALBA's junior team, TuS Lichterfelde Berlin, for next season and also will be an assistant on the coaching staff of ALBA Berlin. Rodl ends his career having played more games -- 534 -- than any other ALBA Berlin player and his 5,228 career points total places him second to Wendell Alexis (Syracuse) on the team's all-time scoring list.
"My time as a player for ALBA Berlin was beautiful," Rodl stated, according to the team website. "I would like to thank the fans for always supporting me. I will never forget how they said goodbye to me after my last game."
Rodl's many honors as a player include being on North Carolina's national championship team in 1993, playing for Germany in the 1992 Olympic Games, from 1997 through 2003 playing on seven Germany League championship teams, and being named German Basketballer of the Year in 1996 (16.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.5 apg and 1.9 spg).
FOX BACK IN NBA FINALS
* The Lakers overcame Minnesota last night 96-90 in Game 6 of the West finals to take the series 4-2 and advance to the 2004 NBA Finals. Rick Fox continued in his limited role for the Lakers playing five minutes with one rebound and one assist. Fox scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds while playing 32 minutes (5.3 mpg) over six games against Minnesota.
Fox, recently named to the NBA's All-Interview 2nd-team, has been frustrated by his lack of playing time compared to previous playoff runs with the Lakers because he hurried back from foot sugery at midseason "to be ready to play at this time of year," Fox told the Boston Globe last week. "But considering where I could have been -- gone, career over -- I'm still part of this team."
The Lakers begin the NBA Finals on Sunday either hosting Detroit or visiting Indiana. All games of the Finals will be televised by ABC Sports.
WALLACE, PISTONS ONE WIN AWAY
* The Pistons ripped the Pacers 83-65 Sunday in Game 5 in Indianapolis to go up 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals. Game 6 is set for tonight in Detroit on ESPN. Rasheed Wallace supplied 22 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots to provide whatever scoring help Rip Hamilton (33 points) needed and whatever assistance Ben Wallace (12 boards, five blocks) needed around the basket.
The Pacers shot a chilly 33 percent (25-76) from the field and hit on only four-of-21 attempts for three (19 percent) in Game 5. If a Game 7 is necessary it will be back to Indy on Thursday on ESPN.
OKULAJA, BENETTON OUSTED IN SEMIS
* Ademola Okulaja, a late addition by defending champ Benetton Treviso, had his Italian League season come to an end last week as Benetton dropped a best-of-five semifinal to Skipper Bologna 3-0.
Okulaja, playing in six playoff games for Benetton, averaged 27.8 minutes, 12.8 points and 6 boards per game.
TAR HEELS BORN IN JUNE
2: Al Wood (46)
3: Billy Cunningham (61)
7: George "Blind Bomber" Glamack (1919, died March 10, 1987)
10: John Greene (36)
12: Eddie Fogler (56)
12: Antawn Jamison (28)
14: Sam "Big Smooth" Perkins (43)
14: Brian Bersticker (25)
18: Marty Hensley (37)
18: Chrystal Baptist (22)
19: Marvin Williams (18)
21: Tiffany Tucker (22)
22: Ed Wills (32)
25: Jennifer Nelms (21)
26: Raymond Felton (20)
28: Leah Sharp (25)