People talk 04/21/03

Monday, April 21, 2003

Next season may be last for 'Raymond'

LAS VEGAS -- Emmy award winning comedian Ray Romano is hinting next season, the ninth, may be the last for his "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Answering a question on how he keeps the TV series fresh and original, Romano joked: "You stop after one more year."

Romano, attending a concert Saturday to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation, indicated he wanted the popular CBS show to end on a high note.

"It's hard work," Romano said. "You start repeating yourself."

But Romano credited his writers for always drawing on their own lives and bringing new material to the show.

"The trick is to get out when you're still wanted," said Romano, 45. "Not too soon, but not too late."

Concert raises money for Tiger's foundation

LAS VEGAS -- Despite a disappointing loss at the Masters, top-rated golfer Tiger Woods was all smiles at a benefit concert to raise money for his Tiger Woods Foundation.

"I'll tell you one thing, losing is not fun," Woods said of the Augusta National, where Canadian golfer Mike Weir won the green jacket. "But you learn from it and move on."

The sixth annual Tiger Jam concert featured Bon Jovi and a performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.

"To be able to help kids, it's a dream come true," the 27-year-old Woods said. "It means everything."

With funds raised from the concert, the Tiger Woods Foundation will partner with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation to adopt the music program at Jim Bridger Middle School in Las Vegas.

Actor Buscemi fighting for NYC firefighters

NEW YORK -- Before he made it in Hollywood, Steve Buscemi was a New York City firefighter from 1980 to 1984 -- and he continues to be a vocal and high-profile supporter.

The actor joined about 50 demonstrators Saturday to protest a cost-cutting proposal to close eight firehouses.

"I think it's a slap in the face, after all that they've done and all that they continue to do. They're just starting to come back," Buscemi said, referring to the 343 firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "This is just terrible -- a terrible message to firefighters because they want to save $10 million or $11 million a year."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seeking to close a $3.4 billion budget deficit, has proposed eliminating eight firehouses and said last week at least 30 more may have to be closed if the city does not receive state or federal financial assistance.-- From wire reports


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michael Jordan, in a letter addressed to the game of basketball, insists his NBA playing days are "definitely over, but our relationship will never end."

In a full-page notice Sunday in newspapers including The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Jordan's letter was a cross between a valedictory address, an Academy Awards acceptance speech and a love letter to the sport he began playing when he was 12.

It begins: "Dear Basketball, It's been 28 years since I saw you in the back of our garage. 28 years since our parents introduced us."

The 40-year-old basketball great played his last NBA game Wednesday, ending his career with the Washington Wizards after leading the Chicago Bulls to six titles while becoming the league's third-highest career scorer and perhaps the most celebrated figure in all sports.

"In some respects, you've become my life," he wrote. "My passion. My motivation. My inspiration."

Jordan recalled the time he was left off the high school varsity in North Carolina: "I was crushed. I was hurt. I think I even cried."

He also recounted making it onto the collage team with coach Dean Smith at North Carolina, culminating with his winning shot in the 1982 NCAA title game against Georgetown. Basketball, he says, discovered him then.

"You found me in the corner and we danced," he wrote.

He went on to thank fans, five coaches by name and 10 NBA teams he played against for "teaching me the game behind, beneath within, above and around the game."

The letter was signed: "Much Love and Respect, Michael Jordan."

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