What would possess Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (above, left) to revoke the locker room credentials of ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Tim McMahon? According to Cuban, the move has little to do with either writer’s work, but it’s all about winning the war against automation. From the AP :
The Associated Press, in a partnership with Automated Insights, produces automated stories on minor league baseball but does not use the technology for most of its sports coverage. The AP has at least one reporter at all games in the four major professional sports and most major college football and basketball games.
“Maybe I will be wrong but I see a direct path from the trends in coverage of games we are seeing over the last couple years to the automation of reporting on games and the curation of related content,” Cuban wrote in an email to the AP. “This isn’t a knock on wire services or their reporters. They are valued and valuable in sports coverage.”
Cuban said he responded after learning that ESPN was relying on wire services for game coverage on 19 NBA teams. Barry Bedlan, AP’s sports product manager, said ESPN “has relied on us for years.”
Though I’m sure the remaining working (human) journalists appreciate Cuban’s sentiments, it’s a rather curious strategy, particularly when ESPN’s actually assigns writers to shadow the Mavs. If Cuban’s beef is with the AP, it’s doubly curious he’d give said wire service the scoop on his motives.
Former power forward / fashion plate/gourmet chef / fountain of insight Charles Oakley has long been a thorn in the side of Knicks ownership, despite remaining a fan favorite with anyone other than, y’know James Dolan. In a Tuesday NY Times profile, Oakley, whose business prowess now extends to $20,000 cooking gigs and $35 “Oakley’s Kitchen” snapbacks, addressed the subject with Scott Cacciola :
“The boss don’t like me,” Oakley said last week. “I wouldn’t mind having a sit-down dinner with Dolan. I wouldn’t mind cooking him dinner.”
“Might put something in it, though!”
“I mean, I had at least 15 people try to set up a meeting. He won’t meet. I want to sit down to talk to him. I want me and him in a room. And lock the door. Lock that door!”
“I mean, he can have the police outside the door.”
Barry Watkins, a spokesman for Madison Square Garden, said: “The Knicks have fabulous relationships with almost all of our alumni. But when it comes to Charles’s relationship with the organization, he is his own worst enemy.”
Stopped for a speeding on the Walt Whitman Bridge early Tuesday morning, Philadelphia WR Josh Huff was found to be in possession of a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, six hollow point bullets and what’s said to be marijuana for an unspecified quantity. Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Huff insisted, “I’m not Gilbert Arenas,”, but was hardly apologetic about the firearms charge. From the Inquirer’s Zach Berman :
“I’m a professional athlete. What professional athlete don’t have a gun?” Huff said by his locker. “I have a wife and I have a son at home, and my job is to protect them at all costs. My job is to protect myself as well.”
“I felt my life has been threatened, and that’s why I have a gun and I have a license,” Huff said.
Huff, a Houston native, said “there’s always somebody out to get you” in his hometown, which is why he’s conditioned to carrying a gun. He said there have been several incidents in which he has lost friends to gun violence when they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How many pics of Newhart and Rickles celebrating will it take to erase the myriad images of Eddie Vedder and Billy Corgan we’ve been subjected to this autumn? At least several more, I reckon.
(OK, this entire piece is just a cheap excuse to post a link to the brand new Uniform 12″)
More than two years ago, the NY Times’ John Branch chronicled the story of Oklahoma City’s Skirin Hilton Hotel, an allegedly haunted establishment that had scared the pants off any number of visiting NBA players in town to contend with the host Thunder (“the Knicks blamed creaks and groans for a sleepless night before a loss. A Bulls player could not explain why his bathroom door slammed shut. A member of the Phoenix Suns woke to find his bathtub filled with water”). On Halloween morning, the OC Register’s Mark Medina quizzes current Los Angeles Lakers about their adventures at the Skirvin, and finds SF Metta World Peace, “tolerating the mystical presence.”
“The ghosts were all over me. I just accepted it,” Lakers forward Metta World Peace said. “They touched me all over the place. I’m taking one of the ghosts to court for touching me in the wrong places.”
World Peace insisted he was serious before explaining why he did not stay somewhere else.
“I was watching a good movie and I was tired,” said World Peace, who incidentally said he saw “Money Monster.” “I didn’t want to move.”
World Peace’s supposed experience aside, Lakers coach Luke Walton reported having a “safe trip.” He also never noticed anything spooky during his 10-year NBA career.
“Maybe some teammates drank too much and came back being loud a couple of times,” Walton said, laughing. “But no ghosts.”
Former Indiana center/forward Todd Jadlow (above) claimed that upon Bobby Knight’s dismal from Bloomington in 2000, “this is a guy that should have a monumet of him erected.” On Wednesday, promoting the release of a forthcoming memoir, ‘Jadlow : On The Rebound’, the new author tells WTHR.com’s Bob Kravitz that Knight’s reputation for abusing his charges was, well, entirely deserved.
Knight punched Jadlow in the back of the head with a closed fist during a walkthrough for an NCAA Tournament game against Seton Hall.
That inside a sideline huddle during a 1989 game against Louisville – the game when Sports Illustrated famously captured a photo of the coach pushing Jadlow back onto the court — Knight cracked a clipboard over Jadlow’s head.
That after an NIT game in New York City, an enraged Knight once dug his hands so deeply into Jadlow’s sides, he left bruises. Jadlow includes a picture of the bruises Knight left; “It’s weird because I never carried a camera,” he was telling me Friday over a Stromboli at Nick’s. “But I had this thought, ‘You know, if I ever write a book about my experiences, I want to have a picture of what he did to me.’ ”
That Knight made a habit, with Jadlow and others, of grabbing players by the testicles and squeezing.
That Knight continually called Daryl Thomas a “(bleeping) p—–” and once instructed the managers to wallpaper Thomas’ locker with pictures of female genitalia. Knight also liked to throw tampons at Thomas, who took more abuse than anybody on Jadlow’s teams.
That on the flight home after the 1986 NCAA Tournament loss to Cleveland State, Knight tore up the plane and ultimately grabbed Thomas by the neck and shook him violently.
That Knight made sport of Jadlow’s facial tic in front of the entire team; in the book, former IU teammate Mark Robinson wrote that Knight yelled at Jadlow, “If you don’t stop the (bleeping) twitching, I’m going to throw your ass out of here.”
That during a practice, Knight forced Dean Garrett and Keith Smart to run hours of sprints while barking like dogs since they were, in his words, “playing like (bleeping) dogs.”
But other than that, he was a wonderful educator!
Congrats to the Cubs and their legion of fans (who will have their work cut out for them if they want to be nearly as annoying as The Sports Putz circa 2004).
Big congratulations to the wonderful folks at Austin’s End Of An Ear on the opening of their new & improved (ie. a shorter drive from my house) Clawson Road shop, conveniently nearby Terry Sayther Automotive, Vulcan Video, Blazer Tag and one of Central Texas’ top A&W franchises.