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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right about the lack of hype - I didn't even see an add for it. Instead, ESPN kept hyping the new Greenie Show. :(

I'll check this out. Sound really good.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also watched the documentary The Legend of Swee' Pea that I rented on Vimeo. This is the story of basketball street legend, Lloyd Daniels.

I first came across Lloyd when I was 8 or 9 years old. A good friend of mine's father was a college coach at Hunter College and he would take us to watch a lot of the top talent around the 5 boroughs to scout other players. At that time Lloyd was playing for Jackson High School out of Queens and outside of Lebron he was the greatest high school basketball player I had ever seen.

The only thing I wish the documentary had was more footage of Lloyd in high school because he was a sight to behold. He had a far better jumper than Lebron did in high school and was a far better passer. He was often said to be 'Magic Johnson with Larry Bird's jumper.' I don't think he quite had Magic's ballhandling to really lead the point, but if he played the point forward spot he could have been devastating because his ability to shoot, create his own shot, pass and general feel for offensive basketball was incredible.

Later on he was publicized as a myth, even when he made it to the NBA. But he was no longer the same player he was when he got to the NBA. He clearly lost his burst and his vertical. IIRC, there was one game we went to where he score 22 points, pulled in like 20 boards and had 16 assists. He wasn't selfish on the court and in high school he was a tremendous rebounder. When he got to the Association he was more or less a jump shooter coming off the bench and people really missed out. Lloyd often said that he was only at about 60% of the player he was in high school and I think that was a fairly accurate assessment.

But as far as a doc...this is really one of the best I've ever seen. This one stuck with me for a few days. I've followed Lloyd's career as intensely as I've followed any athlete...which is saying a lot as I've followed countless athletes quite intensely.

For me, it is almost like I've known Lloyd my entire life and the documentary went into things that I never knew about Lloyd, but felt that I had experienced with him.

He was certainly a product of his environment. And as John Lucas said so well 'he raised himself the best way he knew how for him.'

It's certainly not a pretty picture throughout the documentary. Lloyd has so many friends, in part because of his basketball, but he has a genuine personality of being a kind, loving person when he's sober. He starts to get into drinking here and you see the uglier side of Lloyd as well as the hustling side of Lloyd because ever since he was a kid he grew up around people trying to use him and he learned how to return the favor.

Tark makes an appearance here and Lloyd treats him like a father-figure. This is where Lloyd gets at his most emotional because he does realize that he should have gone further with his NBA career and how much he hurt the people that really loved him. And despite the ugly side of Lloyd, you do see that glimmer of hope for him in the end as he gets off the booze again and is very articulate and reflective about his life and situation and just has a good attitude about it.

And that, while it gives hope also gives a lot of trepidation. I see Lloyd as somebody who was likely a high IQ person if he ever had some sense of education and had his dyslexia diagnosed. So, he could have been even more than a basketball player and he not only didn't live up to his potential on the court, but he had so much more to give off the court.

And I just keep thinking what could have been with the hope that finally overcomes all of his demons and is happy with himself and his life.







YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched the doc, Love Means Zero, last night on Showtime. The life and career of tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri.

I usually have an interest in documentaries about coaches because I’m always interested in how they think and what their core beliefs are that separate them from other coaches. I tend to believe that coaches could be extremely successful in other occupations because they usually have an innate ability to motivate people whereas most bosses, managers, VP’s, and CEO’s do almost nothing in the way of motivating their employees.

I do not know a lot about tennis. I played it for a little bit for about 2 years and enjoyed it. But, I enjoyed playing golf and basketball even more. I still enjoyed watching it quite a bit, particularly in the late 80’s and early 90’s when you had great players with so many differing styles. Now the game is more about serving and being able to return the serve. Back in the days I watched tennis, you had players like Sampras with his wicked serve, Agassi and Connors ability to return the serve, the all around smooth game of Lendl, Michael Chang’s ability to chase down everything, Goran Ivanisevic’s serve and odd angles, McEnroe’s serve and volley game, etc.

As I got older, I started to get more involved with golf instruction and the personalities and skill levels of golf instructors as well as how they build their business. I certainly became more skeptical of golf instructors to the point that I think what separates the truly great instructor over the rest is the ability and willingness to leave well enough alone. And I can count on one hand the number of golf instructors in the world that do that.

It’s a real shame as well because I have plenty of friends in golf instruction, some of them have reached that level of true greatness as I ascribe to. But, they often times develop a young kid into a great golfer…even the best in the world for their age group. And then the student’s parents take them to one of the top instructors in the world, their swing gets changed and often times they either get worse and never recover or they get worse and recover, but are not on the same trajectory path they were with their old instructor.

And it’s amazing how many of the big time golf instructors can get things ‘wrong’ from a scientific standpoint, but their student’s ability is so strong that it somehow overcomes that. For instance, I’m not a big fan of Hank Haney, but Tiger Woods had tremendous success with him. I’ve also seen top golfers be taught something that is ‘wrong’ by the instructor and still go about their swing not doing what that teacher told them. Eventually, like Tiger, things tend to come crashing down on them but by that point they’ve already had enough success to call it a great career and the teacher’s lesson book and academies are full.

Bollettieri comes off like this type of teacher in tennis. He says he doesn’t understand biomechanical terms worth a lick and he didn’t know anything about teaching tennis when he became a tennis coach. He explains some of his story of his coaching career where he had a popular school in NY and needed more land to build more courts and his uncle, who had dubious connections, got that built for him in a shady way.

So a lot of it comes off like a used car salesman that is somehow the head sales guy at a Mercedes dealership. Having said that, he appeared to give a lot of kids scholarships to his tennis academy and didn’t have any contract with them stating that they had to give back or stay with the academy when they turned pro.

I’m not sure that it was ever about money for Bollettieri when watching this. He seems like a bit of ham and often refers to himself in the third person. He was clearly in certain players’ box suites when they were playing against fellow academy players and clearly seemed to favor the better player. A lot of people look at that as Bollettieri playing the side that he thinks will give him the most money, but I think it was more about Bollettieri wanting to be viewed as the premier teacher in tennis and being somebody of great importance. He really dug the announcers talking about him and the cameras panning to him in matches.

I never liked Agassi. I thought he was overhyped for much of his career and I don’t think he comes off well here (Agassi refused to be interviewed for the doc). Bollettieri wasn’t bashing Agassi at all, but it was clear that Agassi was a prima donna and the rules didn’t apply to him and he didn’t think they should.

Whenever I think of pro tennis, I think of John Feinstein stating that the worst two years of his marriage were the two years he worked on his book Hard Courts which followed the pro tennis circuit. Feinstein found that most tennis players were awful to deal with and you can kinda see why as I don’t think a guy like Bollettieri was going to make Agassi into a good, down to earth person.

Jim Courier comes off really well here. He was a victim of Bollettieri’s favoritism of Agassi. I started to see that Courier’s biggest asset may have been his maturity as he was able to rationalize the situation that Bollettieri put him in, overcome it and handle it like a gentleman and professional.

The difficulty for the doc maker, Jason Kohn, was that Bollettieri pretty much does not remember anything in the past that was negative. When he ‘fired’ Andre with a letter FedEx’d to him or interviewing with USA Today about ‘firing’ Andre before the letter or numerous other things… Bollettieri doesn’t remember and basically dismisses it. I actually believe he does not remember. I don’t think he’s being a complete asshole, I just think that’s how he copes with mistakes and bad things. But, when you have situations that are critical to the subject matter and the subject matter won’t recall them…it hurts the documentary. It may make for a fascinating aspect of the man, but overall it hurts the film.

I will say that Agassi had a real nice letter written to Bollettieri that Bollettieri read. It’s a touching moment.

Overall, it’s a decent doc. It’s well constructed with a lot of good people to interview. But the lack of being able to go into Bollettieri’s past and with no Agassi in the documentary there was some things left to be desired.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Agassi grew up when he started dating Graff. She retired right around the same time. She'd been through the circus and game through it sane, while Agassi admits that he lost his mind for stretches.

Not much of a fan of Agassi in his rivalry with Pete and others in the era. Once Pete retired I came to appreciate Andre a bit more, and got his shit together from 1999 on.

Never was a big fan of Bollettieri. He came off in the way you described him - chasing fame rather than coaching.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched 'The Last Days of Knight.' This had been out for a while. I think it originally came out in April, but it was on Amazon. I was eager to watch it, but too lazy to get on Amazon to do so. So, I was very happy to see it aired on ESPN last night.

The movie was put together by Jeremy Schaap, but it followed Jeff Abbott, a former correspondent for CNN who also worked with Sports Illustrated. He was the first to really investigate the matter with Neil Reed and he still has the notes and recordings of sources in his investigation. It's very akin to the 'From Elway to Marino' 30 for 30 doc in that sense.

Bobby Knight has always been an enigmatic personality. He had a lot to offer the athletes, not only from a basketball standpoint, but also preparing them for life out of college. However, his anger issues and his out-of-control rise to power in the state of Indiana got him to where many, myself included, didn't think that the wins and the graduation rates made up for it.

This was a very good documentary because it had a ton of footage and great inside details that we didn't know about along with an interesting subject matter. But, what was really surprising was just how much fear Knight struck into people. Former players were afraid to go on the record because they were afraid of how it would hurt them and their family financially, even though they were far removed from the school. Years later, I got to know Myles Brand's best friend since childhood and he told me how Brand was in a no win situation despite trying to help Knight. And the doc showed that Brand greatly (and justifibably so) feared Knight. They even showed the interview with Murray Sperber, a professor at IU, who just said that if he had pulled some of the stunts that Knight pulled, he would be fired before he got back to his office. Sperber later quit the school and moved across the country as he received death threats after the interview. To this day, Sperber is still averse to being interview about Knight.

Personally, I've always wanted to understand the man that could do so much good, but his anger was so out-of-control that he would rather piss it all away. It was almost like if he didn't get his way, he would show just how much power he really had in making everybody else miserable.

The infamous viral video speech he gave to his team in the locker room was stuff that never bothered me. Hell, I had heard worse and felt just fine with stuff like that playing high school sports. But, forcing kids to transfer, physically abusing kids, etc. I just could never handle.

While I liked the documentary, they tip toed around the fact that everybody at ESPN constantly apologized to Knight. And one of the things that really angers me to this day is the narrative that ESPN helped create…that Reed was just being vindictive and chose to wait at the right time to screw over Knight. Hell, I was watching ESPN's Fabulous Sports Babe show when Reed while still enrolled at IU, discussed over a phone call to the show his issues with being forced to transfer and Digger Phelps blew off Reed and stood steadfastly behind Knight. I was so enraged that I actually called the show and got on the air with Phelps and questioned the gall he has to have seen Reed as the problem.

In the end, Bob Knight was a bully. When he didn't get his way (winning), he picked on those that he knew would not fight back. And that's why he bullied Reed…he knew that Reed was a Knight fanboy, and the son of a basketball coach that also adored Knight. That's why he didn't pull that stuff with a Myron Guyton or an Isaiah Thomas. They were too valuable to the team and they would have fought back. That, by the very definition, is a bully.

I think Knight was really glad to go to Texas Tech, thinking that conservative Texans would see things his way. But, I hate to tell him that Hoosiers saw things his way as well…he just happened to move to a football state where he couldn't get talent. And for all of his brilliance and supposed discipline, he couldn't compete because he didn't have the horses.

After Texas Tech, ESPN wasn't afraid to employ Knight who continued to make an ass out of himself. And then in 2016 when IU had a 40th anniversary for their undeated 1976 team, Knight still refused to show up.

To me, that is what bullies are…they act like petulent children and Knight continues to act like a bully….but the problem is that he has nobody to bully around anymore.

Maybe some of his diehard supporters will finally see the light.







YR
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