The Clippers’ Staples Center meeting Wednesday with Golden State (7:30 p.m., ESPN, Prime Ticket) is the first of four regular-season “Game of Thrones”-type throwdowns – all scheduled to be nationally televised — arriving at the quarter pole of the season. Based on their current performances, the Warriors, playing at a .850 clip and winning 17 of their first 20, on a pace to sniff the 70-win mark, but with plenty of opportunity for a slip-and-fall along the way. The Clippers, who managed to turn out of a three-game losing streak after winning 14 of their first 16, already know what that means.
The storylines coming in: Warriors coach Steve Kerr admits to trying marijuana for his back pain after his recent surgery – it didn’t really work – and the Clippers’ Doc Rivers seems to have mellowed out and he’s now fine (and fined $15,000) after his outburst on the last road trip.
More for the week ahead for the Lakers (taking on the Knicks), UCLA (facing Michigan) and the MLB Winter Meetings at this link.
To set the scene for this sports media holiday gift-giving season, we talked to author Roland Lazenby about his project released in October called “Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant” (Little, Brown and Company/Hatchett Books, 625 pages, $32).
While the bulk of the Q&A with Lazenby will soon post online, here is more to the interview, as well as links to book reviews:
Q: There’s always a decision about whether or not to interview the subject in a project like this. Kobe has many media platforms, including ThePlayersTribune.com, to reveal himself. What are the pros and cons of doing a book like this without Kobe’s participation?
A: The pros are that it’s an independent book and in Kobe’s case, where he has already done a documentary on himself and would likely do his own book, a lot of people these days like to control their own narrative. That’s understandable. But a biography tries to get an independent look and explain the figure. And not just sports figures, but cultural figures who have a big presence in the life of a city. Continue reading →
Adding to what we’ve posted for the Sunday media: If you’re going strictly by what ranks highest for the moment on the New York Times or Amazon.com lists, these are worth considering but just be careful and don’t judge the book by … you know the rest:
== “Shaken: Discovering our True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms,” by Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory, WaterBrook publishing, 224 pages, $25 (released: Oct. 25). The blurb: Your circumstances do not define you,
your identity does. If he could make red caps and hand them out with that phrase, he probably would as he pursues his latest athletic dream of playing pro baseball. It’s a top seller in the “Christian Personal Growth” category.
== “Courage to Soar: A Body In Motion, A Life in Balance,” by Simone Biles with Michelle Burford, Zondervan, 256 pages, $24.99 (released Nov. 15). The blurb: It’s No. 1 in Amazon’s “Teen and Young Adult Sports Biographies” for her inspirational message of succeeding after a life that started with her on the Foster care system to a spot on the 2016 Olympic gymnastics team, and more gold medals.
== “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” by Jeff Pearlman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 448 pages, $28 (released Oct. 25). The blurb: “Grand, gritty, and revelatory, Gunslinger is a big sports biography of the highest order, a fascinating portrait of the man with the rocket arm whose life has been one of triumph, of fame, of tragedy, of embarrassment, and — ultimately — of redemption.” From the author of the 2014 hit “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” comes this predictably well research bio on the former Green Bay Packers QB one would have expected to come in a book jacket made of recycled Wranglers jeans.
We would not have mentioned them (some more in depth than others) if we didn’t enjoy them to start with and expand it into something more:
== “The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers,” by Michael Leahy, Harper Books, 496 pages, $26.99 (released May 10): From our review in March: “A lengthy read, but hardly a heavy one, with plenty of foundation and prose and content to carry it from chapter to chapter without any sense of getting dragged down by what might have kept some of these Dodgers less than happy at the time. The enlightenment is appreciated. If Roger Kahn can hang much of his literary success on the writing of “The Boys of Summer” about the 1950s Dodgers, then Leahy seems to take this to the next time period, letting the participants who were Los Angeles entertainers/residents/World Champions reflect in brutal truths about their connection to the O’Malley tradition.” We also had this Q&A with Leahy.
== “Dodgerland: Decadent Los Angeles and the 1977-78 Dodgers,” by Michael Fallon, University of Nebraska Press, 472 pages, $34.95 (released May 1): From our review in March: “So, if you’re looking at these Dodgers as if they were an artistic expression, you might say Los Angeles was going through its Blue Period. Within Fallon’s framework, you might be able to revisit it with a more critical eye and really see it for what it was – far more interesting than maybe we gave it credit for when we lived through it.”