by John Walters
1. McDonald & Burger King
You can watch the video for yourself. The killing of Laquan McDonald — he was shot 16 times while brandishing a 3” knife — in Chicago took place in October, 2014. The officer who shot him, Jason Van Dyke, is 37, and has now been charged with first-degree murder.
The reason you’re hearing about it now is that a judge ordered the dash-cam video to be released.
Also involved in the case: police later went to a Burger King located less than 100 yards away from the scene and according to a BK district manager, deleted 86 minutes of video. McDonald, 17, was found to have PCP in his system and had slashed a police car’s tire with the knife. McDonald was shot numerous times while he was already lying on the ground.
2. Sweet! 16!
The Dubs embarrass the LOLakers, 111-77, to advance to 16-0. The Lakers are almost as bad as the Warriors are flawless (my story in Newsweek), and on the TNT postgame show Kenny the Jet hummed the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown as Ernie narrated the high- and lowlights.
GSW had 32 assists (and just 8 turnovers) while LOL had just 31 baskets –and shot 3 for 20 from beyond the arc. Kobe Bryant shot 1 for 14, tying his worst shooting % as a pro (minimum 5 shots) at 7.14%
Worth noting: Golden State is blessed with talent, the right attitude, a selfless and ego-free leader in Stephen Curry and, during its 16-0 run, a serendipitous schedule. The Dubs have yet to face Cleveland, San Antonio, Miami, Dallas and OKC, the teams with the next five best records in the NBA.
3. Top 5: Win and You’re In
The Selection Committee’s Top 10: 1. Clemson 2. Alabama 3. Oklahoma 4. Iowa 5. Michigan State 6. Notre Dame 7. Baylor 8. Ohio State 9. Stanford 10. Michigan
— If you are in the Top 5, it’s simple: Win out and you’re in the playoff.
–If you are Notre Dame, beat Stanford and hope Oklahoma State, at home, causes Bedlam.
–If you are Baylor, hope Oklahoma and Notre Dame lose and that Stanford does not destroy Notre Dame.
–If you are Ohio State, tell Skip Bayless to kiss your ass and get ready for the Citrus Bowl.
–This could shake out to a Notre Dame-Michigan Fiesta Bowl, which would be awesome ( I attended the last UM-ND game that involved Jim Harbaugh and my cross-the-hall neighbor in Dillon, John Carney).
–Irish fans will bleat, but in the last six quarters their team outscored Wake Forest and Boston College by a combined score of 26-23. Not impressive. You can’t just “Go! route to Fuller” your way to a national championship — though you can get further than most people might expect. Notre Dame didn’t exactly lose to Boston College, but had they played better –maybe convert 2 of those 3 inside-the-10 opportunities into TDs while holding BC to 10 or fewer points –they might still be No. 4. So, as my friend Tim R. noted to me, the BC game had same effect as in 1993 or 2002. This game was definitely more similar to the 2002 game: incongruous turnovers, screw-ups, etc.
–There’s no guarantee that Iowa will win at Nebraska, as far as the least solid bets among the Top 4. If Iowa loses on Friday, then Jim Delany will send out the memo to Iowa City that they MUST NOT win the B1G Championship Game.
–The Committee detests Baylor’s, OSU’s and TCU’s OOC scheduling. And this is how they’ve sent that message. Don’t be surprised if, should all the other pieces fall into place (OU and ND loss), the Committee leap frogs Stanford above Baylor. The Bears just announced their 2016 OOC sked: SMU, Rice and Northwestern State (that’s one word too many for respectability).
–I like Clemson but the Tigers’ two best wins are at home. They could be No. 1 but not favored in the semi-final, should they defeat UNC.
— There are 14 losses among the top 13 teams, losses that altered the course of seasons, and at least seven of them, by my count, happened in excruciating (but thrilling) fashion: The punt at Michigan (UM), the out-of-bounds catch in Lincoln (MSU), the Punt 6 at Georgia Tech (FSU), the failed 2-pointer at Clemson (ND), the failed fourth down at Stanford (Stanford), the game-winning FG in Columbus (Ohio State), and the end zone pick(s) in Charlotte (UNC).
–If Navy wins out they will have taken down a trio of late-season one- or two-loss teams (Memphis, Houston, Temple), be 12-1, AAC champs and have only a loss at Notre Dame. In my mind they’d deserve a New Year’s Day Six bowl, and no one would want to play them.
–If you ask me to list the top four teams, I’m saying Alabama, Michigan State, Oklahoma and then Clemson.
–SI.com’s bowl projections here…
4. Say ‘Hello’ To My Little Friends*
*The judges will also accept “Let’s Make Adele” or “Dude, You’re Getting Adele.”
The classroom instrument performances are my favorite thing that Jimmy Fallon and his crew does (granted, it’s really the only thing I like). Adele sat in with Jimmy and The Roots to perform Hello and to demonstrate, once again, that wherever she opens her mouth, she has a once-in-a-generation set of pipes.
5. The War
So in case we don’t see you again until Friday, here’s a pitch for one way to spend your Thanksgiving weekend/holiday season in terms of NetFlix: watch Ken Burns‘ 7-part series from 2007, The War. It’s all about World War 2 and it’ll make you marvel about the sacrifices that millions of Americans –and so many others — made in order to combat true evil.
The opening: “The greatest cataclysm in history grew out of ancient and ordinary human emotions: anger and arrogance and bigotry. Victimhood, and the lust for power. And it ended because other human qualities –courage and perseverance and selflessness; faith, leadership and the hunger for freedom, combined with unimaginable brutality to change the course of human events.”
I cannot think of a simply more worthwhile way to spend whatever leisure time you have than to watch this series. It’s more than a history lesson: it’s a primer for the current events of both the world and this country, and it’s a reminder of the best (and worst) in all of us.
I’ve already gotten too preachy on this (“On this!?!” On everything, but go on…), but I’ll just add that I absolutely love this song from it, written by George Scheer and sung by Norah Jones, “American Anthem.” And I’ll jot down the lyrics that really hit home below.
For those who think
They have nothing to share
Who fear in their hearts
There is no hero there
Know each quiet act
Of dignity is
That which fortifies
The soul of a nation
That never dies
Arlo Guthrie’s 1967 classic is a Thanksgiving tradition in many a home, including mine. Of course, it’s just me and a cat and the cat doesn’t really care one way or the other. Anyway, the Vietnam-era musical monologue is 18-plus minutes, so put your feet up. Related: Guthrie is performing the song this week in western Massachusetts, which is where the story is based.
Panthers at Cowboys
CBS 4:30 p.m.
Cam’s Crew is 10-0. Dallas is 3-0 with Tony Romo and 0-7 without him. Sort of a must-win game for the Stars Helmets, as bad as the NFC East is. Suggested complementary reading: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain, which chronicles a Turkey Day Cowboy game from the eyes of an Iraq War soldier home on leave. Jussssssst a tad cynical, but very good.