Honestly, Paul Pierce still wants to tell the truth. As a TV talking head, that’s important and refreshing. Pierce, the former Inglewood High star living in Calabasas, and having just turned 40 last week, explains why he feels it’s a good time for him to take ESPN up on his offer to join them as a studio analyst. He got two years of practice working as a guest for ESPN during the NBA Finals (see video above)
So in addition that Pierce post linked here, we have this to serve up at almost mid week:
== ESPN has a “docuseries” that will debut Thursday at 4 p.m. called “Chris Paul’s Chapter 3,” where ESPN Films follows Paul in the offseason as he contemplates leaving L.A. for Houston, talking to everyone from Jay-Z to Bob Iger, and finally relocating his family right before Hurricane Harvey hits. The three episodes will air Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 5-6:30 p.m. on ESPN and be available on the ESPN App and on demand. More background at this link.
== NBA-related books worth finding as a prep for this season:
= “Basketball (And Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated,” by Shea Serrano, illustrated by Arturo Torres (Harry N. Abrams, 240 pages, $19.99). Amazon.com already lists it at the best seller in the “sports humor” category — there really is one? — and it’s geared for the 8-to-12 year range (third grade to junior high). No wonder it’s our guilty pleasure read already of the season, worthy of a New York Times piece when it came out on Oct. 10.
As Serrano explains in the intro, this 33-chapter book (with Reggie Miller writing the foreword) that tackles a different question. Such as: “How many points should a shot actually be worth?” Or “How do players’ legacies change if we change their names?” (For example: Irvin “Magic” Johnson could have been “the third biggest illusionist in the Midwest”). Or spending six pages to determine: “Was Kobe Bryant a dork?” (answer: Yes). The “10 greatest hairstyles of all-time?” Bill Walton’s hippy ponytail seems to top Allen Iverson’s cornrows or Artis Gilmore’s Afro.
Our favorite: What are the 5 Best Playoff Buzzer Beaters of all time?
Serrano answers this with five slots that read: “I don’t know, but not the 0.4 shot Derek Fisher hit against the Spurs in 2004. That one was stupid.”
Serrano, if you can’t tell, grew up a Spurs fan.
(Also: Special editions of the book sold at Barnes & Noble include four player cards in the back of “players” you might not otherwise consider players).
= “Golden Days: West’s Lakers, Steph’s Warriors, and the California Dreamers Who Reinvented Basketball,” by Jack McCallum (Ballantine Books, 336 pages, $28). As was shown in an excerpt in SI last week, McCallum takes the dominant West-Baylor-Chamberlain Lakers of the 1970s and connects them to the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson Warriors of today, with Jerry West as the golden thread and, really, a deeper bio on the Hall of Famer than you could have imagined going into this. It comes out Oct. 24.
== “Betaball: How Silicon Valley and Science Built One of the Greatest Basketball Teams in History,” by Eric Malinowski (Atria Books, 400 pages, $26). More on how the Golden State Warriors were created by the writer who covers them for Bleacher Report.
= “Hard Labor: The Battle that Birthed the Million Dollar NBA” by Sam Smith (Triumph Books, 368 pages, $24.95). Set for a Nov. 1 release, Smith, the author of “The Jordan Rules,” goes back to a lawsuit filed by the NBA Players Association against the league in 1970 trying to stop the mergers with the ABA. As a result, Oscar Robertson puts his legacy on the line much like Curt Flood did with the MLB right about that time. We learn much more about what Robertson sacrificed, and 14 in total, from that move that really did lay the foundation for the current NBA.
= “Hoop: A Basketball Life in Ninety-Five Essays,” by Brian Doyle (Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction Series; University of Georgia Press, 240 pages, $28.95) This one may sneak past you. But be aware of the bounce pass coming your way. Doyle explains: “A few years ago I was moaning to my wry gentle dad that basketball, which seems to me inarguably the most graceful and generous and swift and fluid and ferociously-competitive-without-being-sociopathic of sports, has not produced rafts of good books, like baseball and golf and cricket and surfing have . . . Where are the great basketball novels to rival ‘The Natural’ and the glorious Mark Harris baseball quartet and the great Bernard Darwin’s golf stories? Where are the annual anthologies of terrific basketball essays? How can a game full of such wit and creativity and magic not spark more great books?” “‘Why don’t you write one?’ said my dad, who is great at cutting politely to the chase. Here it is, with critical acclaim.
= “This Book Has Balls: Sports Rants from the MVP of Talking Trash,” by Michael Rapaport (Touchstone Books, 304 pages, $26.99). Because the actor-turned-TV talking guy-turned podcaster about sports presents himself on the cover as if he’s part of the old ABA dunk contest, we’ll lump it in here. Now he rants about how his New York Knicks will someday win the NBA championship. So, yes, there’s a lot of fiction to deal with. Amazon has it No. 1 in “sports essays” — again, that’s a category?
== “How to Dunk Like a Pro: The No-Bullshit Guide to Jumping Higher Regardless of Age or Height,” by Jason Wilhelm (CreateSpace Independent, 62 pages, $9.99). Seems like something Rapaport might want to read before he does another book cover.
== “Alley-Oop to Aliyah: African American Hoopsters in the Holy Land,” by David A. Goldstein (Skyhorse Publishing, 256 pages, $24.99). Goldstein, a journalist and COO of U SPORTS (the Canadian equivalent of the NCAA), tells us about Israel’s unique basketball culture and the American imports that try to succeed in it. Again, Rapaport may benefit from this …
== “And really, as sportswriters, you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly.”
The words of Cubs maddening manager Joe Maddon prior to Game 3 of the NLCS. Just FYI.
== There’s this:
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) October 16, 2017
== Fox speaks up about its World Series presentation that begins Tuesday, Oct. 24: It is most proud of eight Super Slow Mo and Hyper Motion Cameras, including something called the Fox “Phantom Cams” at both sides of the plate to capture at-bats and close plays at 1,500 frames a second.
“Quite simply, it’s more Motion Cameras in play than at any other baseball game on any network this season,” says Fox Sports senior VP of field and technical operations Michael Davis.
That adds to the 41 total cameras and 121 mics planned to be used, many with players, mangers, coaches and umpires.
Fox is also getting help from SMT and MLBAM Statcast radar technology to get in-perspective strike zone for both live action and replays.
== Ever wonder where the phrase “walk-off,” as it pertained to what Justin Turner did in Game 2 last Sunday? Credit still goes to a current TBS MLB playoff broadcaster who did the NLDS Dodgers-Diamondbacks series and has first-hand knowledge of it 29 years ago, as the New York Times explains.
== And this:
— Jason Weller (@JasonCWeller) October 16, 2017
== Our weekly comments about L.A.’s Week 7 (Rams … London … 10 a.m. kickoff, not 6:30 a.m.) and how Week 6 played out.
== And this:
Seriously, NBC was asked if this might happen? What would say is a proper “punishment” if they were that inclined? https://t.co/cHyaemnHTN
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) October 17, 2017
== Our weekly notation of what’s going on in Week 8 works highlighted by USC at Notre Dame with NBC’s Mike Tirico on the call for the first time.
== The Pac-12 Net games of note this week:
= USC women’s soccer at Washington, Thursday at 5 p.m. (Rich Cellini, Mark Rogondino)
= UCLA women’s soccer at Washington State, Thursday at 7 p.m. (Elise Woodward, Danielle Slaton)
= UCLA women’s volleyball at Utah, Friday at 5 p.m. (Thad Anderson, Mike Dodd)
= USC women’s volleyball at Colorado, Friday at 7 p.m. (Krista Blunk, Camryn Irwin)
= UCLA men’s water polo vs. Cal, Saturday at 11 a.m. (Greg Mescall)
= UCLA women’s volleyball at Colorado, Saturday at 6 p.m. (Krista Blunk, Kelli Tennant)
= USC women’s volleyball at Utah, Sunday at noon (Thad Anderson, Holly McPeak)
= USC women’s soccer at Washington State, Sunday at noon (Elise Woodward, Temryss Lane)
= UCLA women’s soccer at Washington, Sunday at 2 p.m. (Ann Schatz, Christopher Sullivan)
= USA Swimming College Challenge at UCLA Uytengsu Aquatics Center (members of the USA Swimming National team faces competitors from the Pac-12), Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. (Rich Burk, Rowdy Gaines)
== Meanwhile, who is Justin Karp and why the things he’s doing at the Pac-12 Net matters.
== Sam Farber, John Jackson and Chris Rix call Serra of Gardena against Bishop Amat in the Fox Sports West prep football game of the week Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Streaming on PrepZone (all Friday at 7 p.m.)
= JSerra vs. Mater Dei (Fred Salas, Ralph Brown)
= Palm Desert vs. La Quinta (David Gascon, Brock Vereen)
= El Segundo vs. Lawndale (Paul Westphal, Chris Hale)
= Santa Ynez vs. Lompoc (David Caldwell, Tony Moskal)
== As he recovers from colon cancer, Eddie Olczyk is scheduled to work alongside Doc Emrick for Wednesday’s 4 p.m. NBCSN national telecast of the Blackhawks-Blues game from St. Louis.
== A recent Bob Miller TV sighting:
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) October 16, 2017
== CBS Sports Net says it plans to do a live simulcast of Jim Rome’s syndicated radio show for its TV audience starting Jan. 2, airing from 9 a.m. to noon. Rome’s show has been syndicated by CBS Radio since 2012 and was for a brief time picked up in the L.A. market on the now-defunct The Beast 980-AM.
“This is something I’ve thought about and have wanted to do for a long, long time, but never at the risk of compromising the radio show,” said Rome, who has always kept his TV studio shows separated from simulcast of his radio shows. “It has always been vital that we do it the right way, with the right people. Having extensive experience with the folks at CBS Sports Network, I know they can support the radio show and develop a television component that will make the Jungle bigger and better. I can’t to wait to roll this out January 2.”
== USA Today’s Ted Berg posted a tweet, Keith Olbermann responded smugly, and things went weird
== Bill Simmons decided to ring in on the Jamele Hill/ESPN situation: “I like Jemele, but she was definitely out of line. She could have used her platform for a greater good. Instead, she sabotaged it. …
“When Jemele called Trump a “white supremacist,” I didn’t necessarily agree, but she made me consider it in a new light. Over the next two weeks, I read everyone’s takes, including this Ta-Nehisi Coates piece, which affected me the most. Jemele Hill got my brain going. That’s what smart people are supposed to do right now. We need dialogue. We need help. We can’t marginalize our most distinct voices. …
“The bigger questions: Does ESPN’s failure to back Jemele run the risk of talent losing faith in the company (and the people running it)? How will up-and-comers like Pablo Torre and Katie Nolan thrive creatively in a company that couldn’t handle Jemele? Could any ESPN talent emerge organically as a meaningful voice for the country, the way Kimmel has these past few months for ABC, or will the Worldwide Leader continue to undermine that ever happening? (Bet “yes” on the latter.) And if ESPN couldn’t govern authenticity during calmer times, what makes us believe the company could succeed during our most anxious domestic moment in 50 years?”
(So there, we just saved you 25 minutes of reading Simmons’ predictably long rant to get to the nut graphs).
== The headline Monday: Jemele Hill’s Future at ESPN Remains Unclear After Suspension.
The narrative from the author: “But I believe her tenure as a SportsCenter anchor is effectively over. I also think her time as an ESPN employee is down to months rather than years….
“I’ve reached out repeatedly to ESPN to speak with the senior management who made the decision on Hill. That includes ESPN president John Skipper and ESPN executive vice president Connor Schell. I’ve been repeatedly declined. Hill is also declining comment. The end of SC6 is simply my prediction from observing ESPN for years. I have no specific reporting that says it is done.”
Then by all means, report as if you know ….
== This meeting is duly noted:
— PasadenaQuarterbacks (@PasadenaQBs) October 16, 2017