Last night I reported that Grant Hill would be publishing an editorial in the NEW YORK TIMES this week that responded to ESPN’s recent documentary about the Michigan basketball team of the early ’90s.
I also noted that in that piece Hill retold an anecdote about trying to help former Wolverine Jimmy King at Pistons training camp in 1999. (You can read about it here.)
Because of that NBA episode between the two former collegiate rivals, I reported last night that in Hill’s NYT piece, he mentioned his disappointment at King calling him a “bitch” in the ESPN documentary - which King himself helped produce. Read more…
An ESPN documentary on the 1991-93 Michigan basketball team premiered last Sunday.
Contained in the retrospective was former Wolverine Jimmy King offering this analysis of former Duke Blue Devil Grant Hill:
“I thought Grant Hill was a bitch.”
Hill, whose two NCAA basketball championships at Duke included a 71-51 tournament final win over King’s Michigan in 1992, is currently enjoying the 16th season of what has been a remarkable NBA career.
Meanwhile King, after leaving Michigan, played one season in the NBA before being released in 1996 by Denver. Though in ‘99, King was invited to training camp by the Detroit Pistons - a squad led at the time by perennial all-star Hill.
A source at the NEW YORK TIMES told me late Tuesday that Hill has submitted an editorial to the newspaper to be published this week that will detail his feelings about the aforementioned Michigan team. Included in Hill’s piece is an anecdote about King attending Pistons training camp in 1999. Read more…
One of the most jarring aspects of the Stanley Cup finals, other than the ease with which the Red Wings dispatched the Penguins on Sunday night to push the series to 3-2, has been NBC’s hardball with fans in Detroit and Pittsburgh. For the duration of the playoffs, both teams have been able to hold massive viewing parties in and outside their arenas. It was such a wonderful, organic expression of the communal nature of fandom that it was basically destined to be ruined by business in short order.
(Thousands of fans watching the game with each other? Nope, can’t have this!)
A near-sellout of Joe Louis could shave a ratings point off the local television ratings measurement, and such ratings are used to establish advertising rates.
So to that, if the all-important ratings model can’t deal with 8-10 thousand people watching a show in one place on one screen, you know what? The ratings model is completely worthless. Seriously. How can NBC or Nielsen not figure out what to do with a giant honking party of some of the most hardcore fans all watching one screen? Is that really a deal-breaker?
And if so, if they’re really curious as to what the ratings would look like if everyone stays home, away from the shared community aspect from which most of the value of a ticket to a game is derived, there’s a really easy answer to all of this. You ready? Dick Ebersol, you taking notes?
All NBC has to do is announce that in exchange for showing the game outside both arenas, attending fans have to fill out a simple, anonymous survey about where they would otherwise watch a game (their place or someone else’s), with how many people, and whatever other information the network needs to most closely approximate what ratings would look like. Use that and Nielsen data to extrapolate what the final ratings would be with that many eyes on a TV, and adjust. That’s it. Easy.
This is a rare, rare opportunity for the NHL and NBC. At no other point are they ever going to be able to get this kind of a free pool of television watchers from whom they can mine valuable demographic information. Forcing them back into their homes and away from a group of thousands of like-minded, passionate fans for the sake of moving a needle one or two points does the city, fanbase, and team a disservice. It’s so easy to work around. Figure it out.
Kaka, a sensational striker from the one-word-name factory that is Brazil, will reportedly command a 6-year, $94 million contract. That’s enough to make it the most expensive in soccer’s history, barely beating out Zinedine Zidane’s 6-year, $65 million deal with Juventus from eight years ago. Meanwhile, David Beckham is running around for a crappy MLS team in Los Angeles for 30 cents on the dollar and going home to a bag of antlers with oversized sunglasses and the “I’m married, but still vain” haircut straight from Jon & Kate + 8. Sic transit gloria mundi: Glory is fleeting.
But as we (rightfully) focus on the three people killed far before their time, we should point out that one passenger in Adenhart’s car, 24-year-old Jon Wilhite,has, in fact, survived the crash that left him in critical condition (via the RIVERSIDE PRESS-ENTERPRISE). Wait, that doesn’t appropriately convey the gravity of what happened. He survived internal decapitation.
As MANOLITH explains, internal decapitation, which is exactly as horrifying and life-threatening as it sounds, happens when the skull detaches from the spinal column. It’s usually fatal. Wilhite somehow survived without total paralysis, which is unbelievably rare, and he’s now in rehab with the help of several major leaguers. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s on the right track.
This is Dahntay Jones, Chris “Birdman” Andersen, Grant Hill, and Amar’e Stoudemire playing “The Team Mating Game” on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE. Big ups to BALL DON’T LIE for finding the video, and yes, you are watching this with rapt attention. Don’t lie and say you’re not; yes, you are.
David Ortiz’s stupid excuse to blame his eyes on his slump didn’t work; they’re fine. Is Rafael Nadalgoing down the same road with his knees?
#3 Orlando Dwight Hasn’t Figured Out a Costume Change to Make Him a Point Guard, Toos vs. #6 Philadelphia So Glad We’re Paying Elton Brand $18 Million in 2012-2013s
#4 Atlanta Name Three Players vs. #5 Miami Name Twos
#1 Los Angeles Kobe Clubs Baby Seals with Portuguese Water Dogs Wrapped in Veals vs. #8 Utah Deron Williams Falls Asleep Every Night Clutching a Copy of His Tear-Stained Contract After Failing to Find an Out Clauses
#2 Denver You’ve Got to Be Kiddings vs. #7 New Orleans Seriously, Aren’t These in the Wrong Orders
#3 San Antonio Flashbacks vs. #6 Dallas Hey, At Least We Haven’t Traded for Shaq Yets (Note: the above series has been moved to CBS and the Hallmark Channel as per FCC regulations around programming for the elderly.)
As always, it’s the gift you didn’t even have to ask for. Or didn’t want to.
Major League Baseball tried yet again yesterday to provide another round of gifts to Jackie Robinson, who has been feted nearly as often as Frank Sinatra since his death. Yesterday, every player in baseball wore number 42 in his honor to avoid the embarrassment of 42 wearer infighting last year.
Ian Kinsler followed up on this attempt with his own success: 6-6 at the plate with a cycle attached. If the opposing team last night (the Orioles) happened to be your sleeper team this year, you may want to check just how deep that sleep is.
Speaking of deep sleep, former Illinois governor (and current Illinois chew toy) Rod Blagojevich apparently didn’t feel it necessary to stop at meddling with the affairs of Tribune Co. when he didn’t get his way. He also sent a note to Cubs manager Lou Piniella to recommend a lineup change in 2007.
S’funny; we don’t remember Blago being so receptive to a lineup change at the state level earlier this year. Perhaps he isn’t a big fan of having his moves micromanaged by impotent whiners who never held the position dictating his actions from afar when they’ve never been in the trenches, y’know?
Kobe Bryantand Elmo beatboxing. Look… to misquote David Mamet, that’s why they call it ‘video’:
Congratulations on playing all 82 games this season, Grant Hill. Also, congratulations on getting your wife, Tamia, a spot at All-Star Weekend and various local charity events in Arizona. Strong season all ’round.
Now that the WALL STREET JOURNAL has a sports section, expect to see sabermetric notions exposed to a larger audience. That might explain why the guy in the cubicle next to you suddenly wants to talk about batting the pitcher eighth.
Phoenix Suns guard Grant Hill, he of Duke and “the next Jordan” fame, made one of his occasional appearances on the DAN PATRICK SHOW, but the cameo brought out some surprisingly good dirt. He had some strong stuff on Shaquille O’Neal, but nothing topped what Hill confirmed about former Duke teammate Christian Laettner: He’s just a big, pompous jerk.
According to Hill, Laettner spent his college years bullying his teammates, including former all-everything point guard Bobby Hurley, and would be a perfect candidate for his own reality show. Possibly even a show where he travels through Kentucky making fun of the natives. Hill thinks he’d be a natural for it. Why?
“Laettner is a little bit of a jerk,” Hill said. “And I mean that in a nice way.”
Sure, Grant. Sure you do. Of course, he had some good ideas for even more nicknames for Shaq, too.
Deciding to listen to Tim McCarver blather his way through World Series commentary on TV or turning the sound down and listening to the dulcet, confused tones of Joe Morgan on the radio is like choosing between swallowing broken glass or sliding down a razor blade hill - both choices hurt. But I went with the radio guys for Game 2, mainly because of Jon Miller. And as usual, Morgan got stuck on a mantra he kept repeating over and over throughout the game, this time about the Phillies’ not being able to hit with runners in scoring position.
Unlike many of his obsessions, he actually was right about this. But it doesn’t take a Hall of Famer to know that hitting 1-for-15 in a game (and 1-for-28 for the Series) is bad. And while they were able to find a way past the Rays in Game 1, they couldn’t on Thursday, as Tampa Bay held on for a, frankly, uninspiring 4-2 win to tie the Series at one game each.
Anyone who kept claiming that this was going to be the most entertaining Series possible can shut up now - of course Red Sox vs. Dodgers would have been more fun, and it couldn’t have been played at a more average level. This Series is less sizzling through two games as it is melting. At least we have things headed over to Philadelphia, where I’m sure the fans will be in fine spirits. Enjoy the trips, Rays!
Meanwhile, Auburn was busy just plain fizzling against West Virginia, as Noel Devine made “SEC speed” seem like a stoner going 20 miles per hour on his way to Taco Bell for some munchies. It was big run after big run, as Devine wound up with 207 yards rushing as the Mountaineers throttled the Tigers 34-17.
Think the fact that a supposedly “quality” SEC team just got waxed by an underachieving Big East squad will lead anyone to start questioning the conference’s credentials? Nah, didn’t think so either.
The BOSTON GLOBE has a new online Adidas ad featuring Kevin Garnett taking a group of kids on a tour of the Garden and the city. It’s a good thing several people happened to have video camera to record this clearly spontaneous event.
San Jose State with a piece of college football history? The LOS ANGELES TIMES says so, as the Spartans’ “Nacho Brothers” are the first siblings to lead college football in statistical categories during the same season (in this case, tackles for loss and interceptions).
ESPN says that Florida has exonerated EliteXC of any wrongdoing in Kimbo Slice’s loss to Seth Petruzelli. I’m sure the owners will be thrilled once word reaches them in the poorhouse.
It’s the end of the road for Allan Houston’s comeback, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says he’s been cut by the Knicks and offered a role in the front office. Because he knows a lot about how to watch out for ridiculous contracts.
NBA veterans Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill are openly discussing the possibility of buying the Orlando Magic after they retire. The Phoenix Suns teammates and close friends, who are both long in the tooth, are former Magic players (though not at the same time) who live in the Orlando area.
According to the SACRAMENTO BEE:
They have already talked about it together, a lot. They have already made their feelings known to CEO and president Bob Vander Weide, the son-in-law of owner Rich DeVos. They have, both report independently, already lined up additional investors.
Of course, none of this means anything until the Big Goober weighs in: