* The sports fans of Berlin, Germany have spoken and Henrik Rodl has taken third place after 14,000 votes were cast among nominees for Berlin's 2002 Sportsman of the Year. Rodl, with 1,604 votes in the poll conducted by several media outlets in Berlin, was in good spirits after finishing behind boxer Sven Ottke (4,381) and cyclist Erik Zabel (3,065). "This is a great honor for me," Rodl said at the awards presentation. "I am lucky to stand here at this time and be recognized as an individual athlete. Particularly because the Sportsman Award is a choice of the fans."
The team that Rodl plays for and captains, ALBA Berlin, was honored as Berlin's Team of the Year for 2002. Former Tar Heel Derrick Phelps was the starting point guard for the 2001-02 ALBA Berlin championship squad.
FORTE DECLINES SONICS 'INJURY LIST' INVITE
* After his rookie season with Boston was dominated by being on the Celtic's injury list for 56 games, Joseph Forte has made the Seattle SuperSonics aware that he doesn't want that to happen again.
The NBA's injury list is intended for players that are injured, but it is well known that teams place uninjured players on the list in order to expand rosters, since up to three players can be on a team's injury list in addition to 12 on the active roster.
In Forte's case, he was asked by Seattle to go on the injury list, where a player must miss at least five games, so forward Reggie Evans could return to the active roster. Forte declined the request and explained to the Tacoma News Tribune that, "This is a business. It is not about Reggie. It is not that I don't like Reggie. It is a business. And my career demands that I take care of my business. I don't think I would be in-tune as much being on the injury list as if I wasn't."
Forte went on to say that the Sonics have not talked to him since he declined their request. "What can they do?" Forte told The News Tribune. "It's not insubordination, you understand? I made a decision and they don't hassle me anymore."
NBA rules state that a player can't be placed on the injury list without his consent unless the injury would make it impossible to perform, according to Associated Press.
Forte has played just 32 minutes in eight games for Seattle, scoring 11 points. This is Forte's second year on a three-year contract that is guaranteed for just over $3 million ($1.009 million this year).
Tacoma News Tribune columnist John McGrath is in support of Forte on this issue. In his column last week McGrath thanked Forte for being a "stand-up guy" and not going along with management's plan to "pretend he was hurt," and because he "wouldn't fake one for the team."
Forte thinks he put in his 'injury list' dues with Boston as a rookie. He is now ready to move forward. "This is not a job with me, it's a career. And being 21 years old, I need to be out there showing people what I can do, not on the injured list. My goals are going to be my goals, and I will reach them, whatever it takes," Forte said.
* NBA TAR HEEL PROS TRIVIA: Joseph Forte led UNC in scoring as a sophomore in 2000-2001 with 19.7 points per game becoming the fifth sophomore to lead the team in scoring. Who were the previous four sophomore Tar Heel scoring leaders? Answer below.
WELCOME BACK, CARTER
* Vince Carter played for the Toronto Raptors yesterday, on his 26th birthday, for the first time since December 8, after missing 23 games with a strained rigt knee. Carter led the struggling Raptors to a win over Sacramento with 22 points on 8-of-16 from the field.
Carter considered his performance to be "a very nice birthday present" and more. "It wasn't just a present for the team, it was a present for the fans," Carter told the media after the game. "It was an opportunity to show that we can play with one of the best teams in the league, and show that when we get the majority of our guys back, we're a pretty good team ourselves."
OKULAJA LEADS GERMANY TO EUROBASKET 2003
* National team play once again put a halt to play in the European pro leagues over the last 10 days. For Ademola Okulaja it meant playing again for Germany as he took over as their scoring leader in the absence of Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.
Okulaja concluded the European Championship for Men Semi-Final Round on Saturday with a team-best 18.8 points per game.
Germany finished 9-1 in group qualifying to earn a spot in the 16-team field for Eurobasket 2003 to be held during September in Sweden.
STATS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
* Here's a look at the current stats of the Overseas Tar Heel Pros ---
STEVE BUCKNALL (Iraklis - Greece): 11 Games, 29.5 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.5 APG
DANTE CALABRIA (Benetton Treviso - Italy): 10 Games, 21.4 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.0 APG
ED COTA (Zalgaris Kaunas - Lithuania): 19 Games, 28.8 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.0 APG
VASCO EVTIMOV (Asvel Villeurbanne - France): 13 Games, 18.5 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.8 APG
KRIS LANG (Anwil Wloclawek - Poland): 15 Games, 26.9 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
MAKHTAR NDIAYE (Vichy - France): 5 Games, 24.8 MPG, 6.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.0 APG
ADEMOLA OKULAJA (Unicaja Malaga - Spain): 15 Games, 23.3 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.5 SPG
DERRICK PHELPS (CSP Limoges - France): 13 Games, 34.7 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.8 APG, 2.2 SPG
HENRIK RODL (ALBA Berlin - Germany): 12 Games, 23.7 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.7 APG
DONALD WILLIAMS (CSP Limoges - France): 13 Games, 18.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 2.3 APG
Current stats from Euroleague games ---
DANTE CALABRIA: 5 Games, 22.0 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 2.2 RG, 1.4 APG
ED COTA: 11 Games, 35.4 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.3 APG
VASCO EVTIMOV: 11 Games, 17.9 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.0 APG
ADEMOLA OKULAJA: 11 Games, 24.8 MPG, 9.5 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.2 SPG
HENRIK RODL: 9 Games, 26.1 MPG, 5.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.9 APG
TAR HEEL PROS TRIVIA ANSWER
* The sophomore scoring leaders at North Carolina prior to Forte in 2000-01 were Michael Jordan (20.0, 1982-83), J.R. Reid (18.0, 1987-88), Jerry Stackhouse (19.2, 1994-95) and Antawn Jamison (19.1, 1996-97).