by John Walters
Tweet du Jour
Amber is too real for this. pic.twitter.com/unXydD7rBA
— kt👑 (@KatieKummet) April 14, 2018
In the same New York City court room this morning, at a hearing presided over by the Honorable Kimba Wood (for whom the NBA’s Adam Silver once clerked), both Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels will appear. Cohen was ordered to appear appear as his lawyers try to hold off prosecutors from reviewing documents and other materials seized last week in raids on his home, office and hotel room.
Coincidentally, it is the stormiest morning of the year in New York City. A hard rain is not only gonna fall, it is falling. Same deal in Boston, where marathoners are about to take off:
Boston Marathon pic.twitter.com/624jMKKQBu
— Alistair Cragg (@alistaircragg) April 16, 2018
Monday morning, Boston.
2. To The Victor Go The Spoils
The Indiana Pacers strutted into Quicken Loans Arena, took a 20-point first quarter lead, and gave LeBron James and the Cavs their first first-round defeat in 21 games. LeBron has never lost a first-round series: 12 of them. The Pacers were simply the (far) superior team, as the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Victor Oladipo, finished with 32 points. It’s just one game, but the Pacers will win this series. The Cavs, as we wrote last summer, should never have traded Kyrie Irving.
Other first-game first-round highlights: James Harden scores 44 as the Rockets rout Minnesota….Anthony Davis scores 35 and 14 as the Pelicans win in Portland…Kris Middleton hits a 35-footer to force overtime for the Bucks in Boston, but the Celtics win in the extra period…Paul George got sick of hearing how the Pacers fleeced the Thunder in last summer’s trade and scored 36 for his Thunder buddies in a win…
3. Philadelphia Freedom
Not the greatest weekend for racial relations in the U.S. In Philly, at least half a dozen cops were called in to arrest and handcuff two black men who were seated there but had not purchased anything (they were waiting for a friend to arrive). Welcome, by the way, to every Starbucks in Manhattan.
As a nearly daily Starbucks customer, I sympathize with the company on these (coffee) grounds: people should not be allowed to loiter there or simply to use their bathrooms without paying for anything and if you don’t agree, then you’ve never had to enter a bathroom that a homeless man just used as his Air BnB. I mean, c’mon: buy a $3 cup of coffee and linger as long as you like. Go to town in the W.C. If you don’t do that, they should be fine to kick you out. The problem is when you call in half a precinct to do so and they cuff you. I guess, given the climate, these two men may feel fortunate they weren’t shot.
Worse, much worse, was the incident in Detroit in which a 14 year-old black boy, Brennan Walker, missed a bus, went to a nearby home to ask directions to his high school, and was shot at by the homeowner, retired firefighter Jeffrey Ziegler, 53.
A few weird facts of this case: Walker woke up late and missed the bus to school. His mom works and his dad is DEPLOYED IN SYRIA WITH THE U.S. ARMY. When Brennan knocked on the door, Ziegler’s wife answered and yelled (this is on tape), “Whey did these people choose my house?” Ziegler than came downstairs with a shotgun and fired at Walker as he ran away; only the fact that he forgot to turn off the safety kept Walker from becoming a hashtag.
It’s completely disturbing, and most disturbing, that the initial thought of this homeowner is to shoot at a human being as if he’s a raccoon getting into the garbage before he knows a single fact. Less disturbing, and yet I feel I should mention it, is that Brennan was asking for directions because his mother had taken away his smart phone and he had no idea how to get to school without it. It’s April! Are we so reliant on technology that after eight months of attending school we don’t know how to get their on our own unless we stare at a screen.
I know, small potatoes by comparison. But I think I’ll be the only one who mentions this.
4. Nack For Writing
We lost an SI legend this weekend: William “Bill” Nack. Not only was Nack, who passed at the age of 77, one of the five best writers ever to have a byline at SI, but he was a wonderful and unique character, a charmer and a man without airs. There are so many Nack stories, but some of my better memories happened once one of my best friends ever at SI, Mark Beech, and Bill became close friends.
Despite a 30-year difference in ages, Bill and Mark bonded because Mark was his reporter on the horse racing beat and genuinely loved the sport and Mark was a West Point alum while Bill had served in Vietnam. They had markedly different personalities, and Bill was a rock star at the mag while Mark was just starting out, but that never kept Bill from sleeping on Mark’s couch in his one-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen when he came to town.
Before long it was like an episode of The Odd Couple but it was hilarious to watch Mark go from the awe of thinking Bill Nack was his friend to the “aw” of Nack is crashing at my apartment again. But that was Bill; it never seemed odd to him and we all just loved having him around when we’d head over to The Emerald Inn, where he would invariably, at some point in the evening, recite the final page of The Great Gatsby.
Bill was a true romantic, a lover and a fighter, and no one at SI ever spilled more blood, sweat and tears for his prose. He will be greatly missed, but all of us, every single one, are so glad that we knew him.
Read these two stories to get a feel for who Bill was, how he wrote: Pure Heart,
on the death of Secretariat and one man’s coming to grips with getting old; and A Name On The Wall, on Bob Kalsu, the only U.S. pro athlete to die in Vietnam.
5. Hell’s Angels
Last Saturday night we were flipping through TCM (because no one rocks the way we do) and a 930 film titled Hell’s Angels was on. We’d never seen it, but wanted to learn more. The film was directed by Howard Hughes (yes, the future eccentric billionaire) and while part of this World War I epic is about two English brothers being in love with the same woman (Jean Harlow, in her film debut; she’s just 18), what completely stands out….
…is an aerial battle between British planes and a German zeppelin that was decades ahead of its time. Really. It’s Michael Bay-worthy. James Whale, who would go on to direct Frankenstein, directed the non-action sequences but Hughes, using the skies above Van Nuys, Calif., directed the epic dogfight using 137 different aviators. Four men died making this film and Hughes, who directed the action sequences by flying overhead and providing direction by radio, nearly did when his own plane crashed.
It’s a sappy love story. But it’s a far-ahead-of-its-time action film, the type from which current films such as Dunkirk owe a great debt. I’ve provided as much as the action sequence as YouTube would allow above. Enjoy.
Walking On A Thin Line
In his remarks before this performance, Huey Lewis (and the News) remind their fans that this 1984 song is about the Americans who crossed the Pacific in service to their nation in the Sixties and early Seventies. The fifth and final single from the monster 1983 album, Sports, it hit No. 18 on the Billboard charts.
Heat at Sixers, Game 2
8 p.m. TNT
Spurs at Warriors, Game 2
10:30 p.m. TNT
The pleasant surprise over the weekend is how quickly the next generation (Ben Simmons, Anthony Davis, Giannis, Victor Oladipo) put their imprimaturs on the playoffs. But the Dubs are still the Dubs, even without Stephen Curry.