Posts tagged "Grantland"
Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

Russell Westbrook and the Arc of Expectation

This week, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been trounced in the two opening games of the Western Conference Finals, losing on Monday by 17 and on Wednesday by a whopping 35. Down 2-0 in the series and without injured starter Serge Ibaka, the Thunder will most likely be eliminated by the Spurs. Perhaps in an effort to celebrate the Thunder before their season ends, Brian Philips of Grantland wrote a brilliant piece on Wednesday about the career trajectory of Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.

Philips meditates on the perceptions of Westbrook’s unorthodox style of play. Early in his career, basketball…

Read More »

Ron Lester Has the (Varsity) Blues

Ron Lester Has the (Varsity) Blues

Palm Sunday is an annual reminder that what goes up must come down. As if we needed reminding.

Remember Varsity Blues? Honestly, I don’t. I never saw the movie. But it was a huge success at the box office, and, as a Friday Night Lights knockoff, it really couldn’t miss, especially since it starred Paul Walker, James van der Beek, Ali Larter, and Scott Caan. The most unforgettable performance, though, (I’m told) came from one Ron Lester, who played the enormous offensive tackle, Billy Bob.

At the time Varsity Blues was filmed, Lester weighed close to 500 pounds, which, combined with his…

Read More »

Which Do You Want? Legion of Boom or Sportsmanlike Conduct?

Which Do You Want? Legion of Boom or Sportsmanlike Conduct?

There is a lot of noise in football, and most of the noise says nothing. It is electric guitars in the television lead-in, jet plane roars, industrial sounds meant to signify manly manhoodness. It is loud suits, shouts of “Omaha!,” the groan and crunch of large men crashing into each other. It is Jim Harbaugh throwing temper tantrums and screaming and acting like a parody of a 3-year-old, for which he is considered to have a lot of passion for the game, because “passion” is apparently another word for noise. –Louisa Thomas, “Loud Noises”

Make it your ambition to lead a…

Read More »

Who Runs Toward an Injury?

Who Runs Toward an Injury?

During Louisville’s Elite Eight win over Duke, on their way to a National Championship, Kevin Ware experienced what is probably the most gruesome injury ever broadcast on live television. If you were watching, you’ll know what I’m talking about, and if you weren’t…there’s really no way to describe it. It will suffice to say that broken bone was visible through skin, and men young and old were immediately moved to tears at the sight. Everyone, coaches, players, and referees, instinctively moved away from Ware, horrified by his injury. Only one person, Ware’s Louisville teammate Luke Hancock, went the other way….

Read More »

Can You Boo a Player to Greatness?

Can You Boo a Player to Greatness?

The Toronto Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, the number 1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, is having a terrible season. So terrible, in fact, that he’s being loudly booed by his home fans. Check out this quote from Zach Lowe of Grantland.com: “Bargnani has been obscenely horrible on both ends since his return from injury, to the point that [head coach] Dwane Casey is sneaking him into home games after timeouts so that fans don’t have a chance to boo the Italian big man at the scorer’s table.” Bargnani’s case is certainly not unique; under-performing players…

Read More »

Royce White on the Human Condition

Royce White on the Human Condition

Royce White is a great basketball player. He led his Iowa State team in every major statistical category as a sophomore and was a lottery pick in last year’s NBA Draft, all while suffering from a serious anxiety disorder. He’s currently in the throes of trying to work out a mental health protocol with the Houston Rockets (the team that drafted him) so that he can feel comfortable playing. White was recently interviewed by Chuck Klosterman for Grantland.com, and had some very revealing things to say.

CK: Well, then what’s the lowest level of mental illness? What is the least problematic…

Read More »

A New Jeremy Lin Already?

A New Jeremy Lin Already?

There’s a Chinese player at Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy (a school famous for producing NBA talent such as Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith) named Chris Tang. He toiled in total obscurity until those magical nights last winter when “Linsanity” struck New York. Now, good luck finding his name anywhere on the internet without an attendant mention of Jeremy Lin. Tang has been labelled, for better and worse, “the next Jeremy Lin.”

It’s better for Tang now because his profile is exponentially higher. He has a much greater chance of attracting the attention of major college recruiters and NBA…

Read More »

Five Golden…Themes! What We Just Couldn’t Get Enough of in 2012

Five Golden…Themes! What We Just Couldn’t Get Enough of in 2012

One of Mockingbird’s most distinctive features is the repetition. Like Christmas itself, we’re trying to point that one “old, old story,” that ancient theme, as we see it dug up time and again. It’s dug up in all sorts of places, of course, from 18th century poetry archives to slasher films, from church basements to top-tier corporate office towers. But it’s still resonating a singular focus–the Gospel–from these unforeseen, albeit obscure, sources.

Despite the wide-spanning scopes and intentions of some of our favorite “news” sources, the same thing unwittingly tends to happen. After all, reporting the news means telling and retelling…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Post-Election Meekness and Melodrama, Googlepoetics, Psychopathic Stories, DFW Exists, The Testament of Mary, Episode VII, and Skyfall

Another Week Ends: Post-Election Meekness and Melodrama, Googlepoetics, Psychopathic Stories, DFW Exists, The Testament of Mary, Episode VII, and Skyfall

1. Definitely not the easiest week to write this column. The Interwebs, as one might have predicted, have been consumed by I-Told-You-So’s and The-End-Is-Nigh’s, neither of which are a whole lot of fun–at least not from the standpoint of grace. Who knows, maybe you found yourself staying away from screens altogether this week, biding your time until the sanctimony and self-pity dissipated a little…. Maybe you took the opportunity to read the new DFW collection, catch up on Bob’s Burgers, change an ungodly number of diapers, and possibly delve a bit deeper into the unreleased work of The Rolling Stones….

Read More »

Another Week Ends: F. Scott FitzDylan, Dormroom Surrender, Self-Fulfilling Paranoia, Caveman Vulnerability, Campaign Boredom, More Olympics and Air Conditioning

Another Week Ends: F. Scott FitzDylan, Dormroom Surrender, Self-Fulfilling Paranoia, Caveman Vulnerability, Campaign Boredom, More Olympics and Air Conditioning

1) The New Yorker recently released a very good (and very short) story from none other than F. Scott Fitzgerald, called “Thank You for the Light.” A “pretty, somewhat faded woman of forty,” a midwestern corset saleswoman, she cannot find a place to smoke a cigarette away from judgmental eyes. She is becoming desperate and in her desperation she finds, yes, a church. A small sampling here, but be sure to take the extra five minutes and read the whole thing here.

And to herself she was thinking, If I could just get three puffs I could sell old-fashioned whalebone.

She had…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, Batman and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

Another Week Ends: Fans and Debtors, Reverse Psychology, Brooks on Merit Power, Batman and Walter White, Spousal Surveillance and Christian Technology

1. From The Atlantic comes “Why Being an Obsessed Soccer Fan Can Make You Really, Really Happy,” a look into the camaraderie of fandom–which seems simple enough–but not only does fandom give purpose and an unusual chance to breach the confines of self-interest, it also provokes inclusion by way of exclusivity. People have the opportunity, despite their level of fandom, to be fans, together—to identify with something that’s not themselves, together.

The Penn State Nittany Lions Paternoville “White Out”

Trying to rationalize fandom can be a complicated, even futile process. But studies by psychologists have shown that identifying yourself with a…

Read More »

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

Another Week Ends: Moral Dieting, Self Illusions, Craig Sager’s Suits, Superhero Saints, LIBERATE, Prometheus, Drive-In Church, and MJ’s Bad

1. We’ve given him a rest for a few months, but the break is over! David Brooks wrote an another incisive column for The NY Times this week, “The Moral Diet,” reflecting on Dan Ariely’s new book on dishonesty. Brooks isn’t afraid to cast the research in historical-religious terms; indeed, the shift in Western self-perception, from fundamentally bad to fundamentally good, is one of his favorite subjects. But in this column he also touches on our proclivity for self-justification, questioning the unquestioned assumption that a good life is simply one where the good outweighs the bad, i.e. where the moral/political/achievement…

Read More »