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Knicks’ Gene Conley Questioned by FBI over “Bomb” Remark

Dec. 10, 1963 - Gene Conley, the Red Sox pitcher and New York Knicks’ center, has a habit of getting into unusual situations. Like the time he walked off the Red Sox bus that was stalled in New York traffic and next was heard from trying to catch a plane to Israel. But his latest occurred in New York last night as he got ready to board a plane for Boston and a visit with his family. Conley wound up in the clutches of the FBI who were asking him about a bomb threat. Four hours later, he was released. “I travel so often,” Conley explained today, “that I know all the guys at the airport, and we kid around a lot. One of them said, ‘How’re things going, Gene?’” Conley replied to the baggage agent: “It looks good, we’re going to bomb Boston.” He meant, in common basketball parlance, that he expected the Knicks to defeat the Celtics. However, the verb bomb was injudicious. It is a word that is anathema around airports, be it a verb or a noun. Anyway, Conley boarded the plane when a guy came up, tapped him on the shoulder, and identified himself as an FBI agent. Someone had overheard the word “bomb” and reported it. “I felt pretty good about it at first,” Conley said, “because I travel a lot, and it’s nice to know they’re on the ball.” Four hours later, Conley discovered he could not get back to Boston as planned and had to stay in a New York hotel. No flights were affected. P.S. — Conley was wrong even figuratively; Boston bombed the Knicks, 132-113. The Celtics’ record is now 18-2.

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