by John Walters
Admit it: The Spurs, without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, defeat the Houston Rockets in Houston in a close-out game by THIRTY-NINE points, and you are not even surprised. I know I’m not. That’s Pop, baby.
LaMarcus Aldridge did score 34 points and pull down 12 rebounds, but hell, there are a few players in the Western Conference who can do that. There’s only one Gregg Popovich, though. And to think he’s been making Mike D’Antoni’s life miserable since D was back coaching the Phoenix Suns 10 years ago.
2. The New Yorker Takes Aim at a New Yorker
My words are not needed here. This is clever, except for the fact that all of the passengers have their shoes on and no one is wearing leggings.
Below: He never learns, does he? This isn’t, to use one of your pet phrases, small potatoes any more. You’re not hustling a contractor from Queens out the door.
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
3. SI Lays Off Five
On Tuesday I attended a lunch and sat next to someone from ESPN who is on-air. As he knew where I once worked, he asked me sincerely if I thought that Sports Illustrated could survive. Not having any inside info, I provided my standard response on print journalists/journalism: “We’re all just polar bears looking for an iceberg to stand on.”
Yesterday SI laid off five staffers. The only name I know of right now is Seth Davis, and he’ll be fine since he’s had his fingers in other pies for more than a decade. Seth is terrific on CBS’ college basketball coverage, so I think he’ll make his mortgage payment next month.
There are a lot of things SI has failed to do since former Time Inc. chief Norm Pearlstine famously uttered, “Print is dead” upon seeing a demonstration of the internet. Inevitably, though, the manner in which readers consume sports news changed. SI had a chance to purchase ESPN in 1987 and whiffed (this was before Pearlstine’s comment) and that was the first of many grave mistakes. But again, this is Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox going up against Bleacher Report. You know what I mean.
I still have many good friends at SI. Okay, I still have a good friend or two at SI. Most of the people I cared about are long gone, from someone who went on to write a story that turned into a book that turned into a Disney film (SI turned down his story pitch originally) to my current boss at Newsweek, who’s the best dude I’ve ever worked for in this business.
Will SI survive? I don’t know about the magazine. I do wonder when some of the writers from my generation and above will finally understand that Peter King is the only holdover from the 1990s who truly gets it. King, when I was there, was universally loved as a guy and respected as a reporter, but no editor ever swooned over his prose. Now the average joe thinks “Peter King” first if you ask about great SI writing. Why? Because he rolls up his sleeves and writes for the web prolifically. That should have been happening with all of SI’s top writers a long time ago.
Here’s fellow alum Jeff Pearlman’s “eulogy.”
4. But Whom Will They Call To Handle The Suit?
Everyone’s favorite cheesy law firm that advertises on TV (this side of Jimmy McGill), Cellino & Barnes, are breaking up. Ross Cellino is suing Stephen Barnes. This is, for those of us who watch too much TV, catastrophic. Next you’re going to tell us that the 1-877-Kars-4-Kids band is breaking up (there is only one VH-1 “Behind The Music” that I still want to see, and this would be it.)
5. Bunny Wisdom
Yes, I’m extremely late to the jam, but I’m finally working my way through The Wire (almost finished Season 3), which is absolutely, pardon the term, addictive. And because everyone who’s watched the HBO show has a favorite character from it, I’ll name mine so far: Howard “Bunny” Colvin, the police chief in charge of the Western District whose revolutionary plan to curb violent crime in his area scares the hell out of his superiors.
I love everything about Bunny: His integrity, his ability to place the needs of community over his career, his courage, his candor, everything. THIS is what a leader looks like (I don’t yet know what will happen to him, so no spoilers, please), but this is my favorite scene of his.
I Am The Key
Dang, but I do love The La’s. Lead singer and tortured genius Lee Mavers, who gave us There She Goes, also wrote this little gem. They never even released it on an album. The La’s would be by far the best band ever from their hometown if that hometown were not Liverpool, England.
Master Of None
So if you have the Netflix, Season 2 of Aziz Ansari’s terrific and comically unstable series drops today. You could watch Game 6 of Celtics-Wizards, but who cares? Cleveland is headed to the NBA Finals in, at most, five games.