Media column version 02.13.15: There are constant epic Kings reveals from the EPIX Stadium Series documentary series

An "LA" piece of art with stacks of pucks created by Dustin Brown is included in the EPIX Road to the Stadium Series look at the Kings and Sharks as they prepare for their Feb. 21 outdoor game in Santa Clara.

An “LA” piece of art with stacks of pucks created by Dustin Brown is included in the EPIX Road to the Stadium Series look at the Kings and Sharks as they prepare for their Feb. 21 outdoor game in Santa Clara.

What’s part of this week’s column posted here:

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 4.16.15 PMThe sparkle of a Kings’ outdoor NHL game may have come and gone with last year’s appearance at Dodger Stadium against the Ducks. But as the lead-in for their Feb. 21 encounter against the San Jose Sharks in Santa Clara, this four-part EPIX “Road to the Stadium Series” series from Ross Greenburg Productions has plenty of behind-the-scenes revelations that fans of the team will appreciate if they have yet to access it. Most noteworthy: coach Darryl Sutter’s inside the locker room demeanor versus what kinds of non-sound bites he usually gives the media.
Meantime, access the first two episodes at, with episodes 3 and 4 coming the next two Tuesdays.

What else we felt was right and just to include:

coltudor-0718_gsd1h0ubq-1dean2-jpeg-embedded-prod_affiliate-156== A documentary that Greenburg’s production company began on the life of former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith in early 2014 will become a one-hour Showtime special to premiere on March 25, the network announced this week. George Roy directed and edited it, and Steve Stern wrote it.
Among those who will appear in the doc are Charlie Scott, the first African-American scholarship athlete at UNC, and former Tar Heel stars Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Antawn Jamison, Eric Montross and J.R. Reid.
Smith died at the age of 83 last Saturday and, while there was no cause of death given,  his family said five years ago that he suffered from a progressive neurological disorder.
“We did understand that he was not well, and I think the fact he struggled with  Alzheimer’s has not been talked much this week,” said Greenburg, who did not interview Smith for the piece. “We didn’t know he was going to pass just before we would air this. It’s kind of amazing. We were planning on doing it for March, right around the NCAA Tournament, but it’s interesting to do this now because instead of a documentary it becomes an obituary.”

WHITLOCKlaptop== is the impactful name they’re going with at ESPN for the new site devoted to sports, race and culture that will launch this summer and lean on the voice of  columnist Jason Whitlock as its editor-in-chief.
Whitlock explained in a statement that the name is inspired by a famous quote from poet Maya Angelou: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
So no more do we lazily just call this the “Black Grantland.”
“Maya’s quote perfectly captures the African-American journey and the spirit athletes and all Americans try to embrace,” said Whitlock. “It’s wonderful to see our collective vision coming together.”
As something of a test run for the site, posted a 9,000-word profile of Charles Barkley, the Turner Sports analyst and NBA Hall of Famer, by writers Jesse Washington and Justin Tinsley, who pose the question: Is Barkley the modern day Muhammad Ali, a voice for the ages on race. Or Jack Johnson, a provocateur with no real agenda?
ESPN also warns the story contains “explicit language.”

086== As much as we enjoyed honoring the life and times of former NFL Films chief Steve Sabol upon his passing occurred in 2012, we tend to smile even more reading about the ground-breaking accomplishments of his father, Ed, the actual NFL Films creator and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee who died this week at the age of 98.
Sabol founded NFL Films in 1964 and ran it until ’95, winning 52 Emmy Awards in the process.
Here is his obit written by the Associated Press.
ap383386239744_custom-78fabe3f4df30c839cd96fe0b4346630fa732aef-s800-c15As Steve once said: “My dad has a great expression. He always says, ‘Tell me a fact and I’ll learn, tell me the truth and I believe, but tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.’ Interestingly enough now, my dad’s story is going to be in Canton and hopefully that will live forever, too.”
Here’s a column on Ed Sabol by the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Rosenbloom is entitled “I love this man (even though I never met him)”
In a discussion on “Pardon The Interruption,” Tony Kornheiser said: “I always wondered why it took the NFL so long to put Ed Sabol in the Hall of Fame. He got in at (age) 94. Who was more important than him?
Added Dan Patrick as he made it the first topic on his Tuesday radio show: “(Ed and Steve Sabol) are the most important people in NFL history. If I said (Ed Sabol) transformed the NFL, I’d be shortchanging his legacy. He didn’t change the way we think about football, he changed the way we view sports. He also changed movie making as well. …
edsabolx-large“Other leagues have tried to copy NFL Films, but it’s not easy because you have to try to copy the passion of the Sabol family. They turned a hobby into a company. And they’re gone, but the legacy will live on. … The Sabols, and rightfully so, they’re Hall of Famers. People may say it’s Joe Namath or Pete Rozelle or Vince Lombardi … they made the game bigger, but I thought the Sabols made the game better.”
Bob Ryan, the former VP of NFL Films and the company’s fourth employee hired, told Sports Video Group that “Ed loved Hollywood movies, and that’s what he wanted our movies to be like — as did Steve. The sports fan will always like your movies, but he wanted little kids and women who didn’t give a damn about football to see the artistry and majesty of the game. John Facenda, original music, sideline sound — all were innovations of his.”

Obit Dave Goldberg== One more AP obit, this time about one of its own — NFL writer Dave Goldberg who died Sunday at 73. It points out that his pet peeves about the business concerned “if reporting was losing its standards, with less fact-checking and excessive use of anonymous sources.” We checked that out, and it’s true.
Goldberg described himself on his Twitter account: “old guy who is said to know a lot about football (and futbol) but hopes he knows about other things too. Retired (almost) so I read a lot.”

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Play It Forward Feb. 9-15 on your sports calendar — Want to wake up in a city that never sleeps and see some NBA All-Stars? Funny you should ask …

Thanks for stopping by to pose for the 2015 NBA All-Star poster. Now, take a seat with the other injured L.A. stars.

Thanks for stopping by to pose for the 2015 NBA All-Star poster. Now, take a seat with the other injured L.A. stars.


Details/TV: At Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., TNT:
countdownweb8s-1-webStart spreading the blues. The sights, sounds and smells of Christina Aguilera kickin’ it with the Rockettes aren’t that the genie-in-a-bottle moment we need to bring Kobe Bryant or Blake Griffin back into the starting lineup for the Western Conference in this annual exhibition. Last time we spotted the Black Lama, he popped up on “The Tonight Show” last week with his right arm in a sling, then reminisced with Jimmy Fallon about how back in the day they were sent on a late-night beer run together and had to bribe the guy inside a Pink Dot on Sunset Blvd.
461979452_10Griffin, meanwhile, has this crazy elbow thing come up at the wrong time and he could be slinging it as well for awhile. Substitute picks DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard directly benefit from the Bryant-Griffin excused absence. But that doesn’t excuse why DeAndre Jordan, the league leader in rebounds and second in blocked shots, still isn’t here. At the most very least, L.A. will be represented by the Clippers’ Chris Paul – unless he gets expelled for another rant about a rookie referee. What else could possibly draw you into this one? Try to spot Phil Jackson moping around in the stands. Maybe Pau and Marc Gasol exchange some short-pants tugging – two former Lakers, as they were. And if you happen to spot Luke Walton on the West bench, it isn’t a mirage – he’s Steve Kerr’s assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. Anyone else gets hurt, we’re counting on Kerr to have Walton suit up. Anyone else gets hurt, we’re counting on Kerr to have Walton suit up. So if you’re jonesing for some All-Star memorable moments, maybe check this out in the meantime.
Dunk contest (with Minnesota rookie and former UCLA player Zach LaVine competing against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee), 3-point contest (with the Clippers J.J. Reddick against a field that includes Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Steph Curry), skills challenge and shooting stars competition is at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Rising Stars Challenge in Brooklyn is Friday, 6 p.m., TNT


The Clippers’ final stop on the eight-game Grammy road trip at Dallas (Monday, 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) will hit a huge sour note for if they can’t stop a four-game losing streak …  The Kings also have one more roadie to play, in Columbus (Monday, 4:30 p.m.) before returning home Thursday to face Calgary (7:30 p.m., FSW) … UCLA lost by 18 last time in Oregon, but have a Valentine’s Day date prepared this time around at Pauley Pavilion (Saturday at noon, Channel 11) …  Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine get one more shot at No. 2-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday and Saturday … The PGA Tour’s stop at Pebble Beach for the annual pro-am brings Bill Murray back into the mix … More at this link.

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Media column version 02.06.15: A notebook, written on onion skin, and whatever’s left of Hannah Davis’ groincloth

No official column online or in print this week, so just filter through these items of note:

== Count us as surprised by the CBS/Turner Sports had the onions to officially announce this week that Bill Raftery and Grant Hill would effectively replace Steve Kerr and Greg Anthony as Jim Nantz’s analysts on the NCAA Final Four and April 6 national title game.
Raftery has put 33 years into calling NCAA Tournament games and 23 years on radio during the Final Four. The 71-year-old is well deserving of the elevation to this perch after all these seasons. His long-time commitment to CBS, while also doing games for ESPN and, lately, Fox Sports 1, on the Big East is finally being rewarded.
“I’ve been there a long time,” he said of the Final Four in an interview with USA Today.
“Unfortunately when I coached (at Seton Hall, from 1970-81) I couldn’t get my team there so I’m making it up for it now.”
635585554461327138-USP-NCAA-BASKETBALL-LOUISVILLE-AT-PITTSBURGH-70305400Raftery would have been the likely choice to replace Kerr. But with Hill, however, he has only worked in the studio and still seems to be getting his broadcasting feet wet. The former Duke star parlayed a famous college career into 18 NBA seasons, his last with the Clippers in 2013. Raftery actually called some of Hill’s games at Duke, including the 1994 Final Four when Hill’s Duke team was in it.
You’re not asking us, but someone like Reggie Miller would have made a bit more sense than Hill for the third chair. Unless TNT saw too much of a conflict with him doing NBA games — which would not make sense because Kerr had the same issue a year ago.
Kerr since left the group to coach the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the Western Conference this season; Anthony was suspended by CBS after his arrest last month for prostitution solicitation and he entered a not guilty plea in the case this week.
The new Nantz-Raftery-Hill will appear for the first time on the Big Ten tournament semifinals and title game March 14-15, which does not give the trio much time to find its chemistry.

IMG_2955== Has anyone been able to explain yet how Sir Nick Faldo went bangers-and-mash on his Super Bowl pick — correct team and score — hours before the game was played, as it stood there in graphic form on the CBS’ PGA Tour telecast from Scottsdale that morning? Maybe he gets his rightful recognition when he joins Golf Channel on the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines on Thursday at noon.
(When I pointed this out to Jim Nantz earlier this week via email, he replied: “Just one of the many reasons why Her Majesty deemed him worthy of Knighthood.”)
FYI: A year earlier, David Feherty correctly predicted the Seahawks would win Super Bowl XLVIII — and even had the 43-8 win over Denver right.

== The day after, Cris Collinsworth still couldn’t believe the Seahawks’ play call. And the media sure piled on. And on. And on. And on. And on. And on, even with the Today show flying Matt Lauer to Seattle for an ‘exclusive’ followup?

== How did Al Michaels figure out off the top of his head that little-known New England rookie Malcolm Butler made the game-saving interception at the end of the game? He explains on an interview this week with the Mighty 1090 in San Diego. But Michaels won’t finish the conversation until he talks about minor-league hockey and how the NHL top affiliates are dotting Southern California cities.

== In light of the story about how the Atlanta Falcons pumped in crowd noise during their games, Michaels recalls a similar issue when he covered the 1987 Twins-Cardinals World Series.

doug-baldwin-dump-1== NBC Sports’ own “Pro Football Talk” blog gives Super Bowl producer Fred Gaudelli another opportunity to dispute a Deadspin take on why the network decided to cut away from the touchdown celebration by Seattle’s Doug Baldwin. “In every telecast there are always decisions we would like to have back,” says Gaudelli. “This isn’t one of them.”
Our only issue with this decision is there was no verbal explanation by the broadcasters why the Seahawks were given a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. It kind of glossed over that aspect.

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Buck the stereotypes: Brazilian domination and the Pro Bull Riding tour returns to Anaheim

p2_story_MoraesEight years ago, we recall having an intriguing hotel-room sit down with pro bull riding star Adriano Moraes. It sticks with us because of how deep this athlete got about his faith, his immortality and his pride in what he was accomplishing, considering his roots from poverty in Brazil.

Turns out, they’ve put up a statue of Moraes in front of the PBR headquarters in Colorado (above).

“That son of a gun did good…I am not scared of saying he is the greatest guy that ever rode bulls until somebody proves me wrong, but they haven’t done that yet,” says a beaming Moraes, who was world champion three times, during an episode of Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports” that airs tonight at 10 p.m.

This also comes up as the PBR Tour makes its annual visit to the Honda Center in Anaheim this weekend. Brazil’s Valdiron de Oliveira won last year’s Anaheim stop, with countrymen Emilio Resende and Claudio Crisostomo finishing second and third. Five of the top-10 riders last season on the PBR were from Brazil.  Five of the last seven world champions have been Brazilian.

Americans may outnumber Brazilians on the PBR Tour, but as far as who is the toughest, U.S. rider JB Mauney says in the piece about the riders from Brazil: “They don’t give up. They don’t quit. They try hard every single time. And in my eyes, that’s what a cowboy is.”

Moraes, who first rode on the PBR tour more than 20 years ago, says in the story with reporter Bill Whitaker: “Most of us, like me, I was born on a shack of dirt floor, didn’t have running water, didn’t have electricity and I made it to this.”

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Play It Forward: Feb 2-8 on your sports calendar — John Force more than equals mass times Funny Car acceleration

1444-000709THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Details/TV: At Pomona Fairgrounds, Thursday-Sunday:
PC1-450x225Never thought we’d admit it, but the most-missed reality show from our DRV stash is the one a few years back called “Driving Force.” It lasted just two seasons, but in the process, Funny Car legend John Force became the A&E Network’s funny man, appearing to be a flame out as the high-profile dad of a high-octane family. Maybe it didn’t look like he could handle being the father of four girls – especially three daughters who followed him into the sport – but that was the charm of it. Dude really tried. Somewhere in the mess was John’s wife, Laurie. She lived in the family house in Yorba Linda with the daughters, while John lived in a condo up the street because “he’s impossible to live with,” she said on the show. ESPN described the series as “Charlie’s Angels in fire suits going head-to-head with a dysfunctional dad who’s a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and A.J. Foyt.” Not to mention someone who looked as batty as Gary Busey constantly thrown under the family bus.
driving-force_L If there were another Family Force reality show in the makings – and they’ve supposedly reconnected with some Hollywood types to look into that – this would have been a great way to reset it, in the 2015 NHRA season opener. Here’s the storyline: The 65-year-old Force, who is the all-time NHRA wins leader (141) and 16-time champion, was dethroned from the Funny Car division last year by Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan. But he ditches his former ride and comes in with supped-up Chevy Camaro, wanting to defend his Winternationals title and telling everyone: “There isn’t anyone who loves drag racing more than I do. I’m like a little kid. I feel like I’m 16 years old again. … I’m a bad hombre when you put me in a fire suit.” Now can you not be fired up? ESPN2 has the Sunday finals airing on tape at 4:30 p.m.

la-sp-sn-nhra-force-chevrolet-20150115-001THE REST OF THE WEEK:

The latest list put out by of its Top 25 signing day high school football classes has listed USC at No. 5 in the country, best in the Pac-12, and UCLA at No. 13, second in the conference. We’ll find out Wednesday … The Clippers are at Oklahoma City (10 a.m., Channel 7) and the Lakers are at Cleveland (12:30 p.m., Sunday) when the 57th Grammy Awards takes place at Staples Center … the Kings’ road trip includes a stop at the White House before visiting Washington’s Capitals (Tuesday, 4 p.m., FSW) … And if you’re apt to take the bull by the horns, then the Pro Bull Riding stop in Anaheim over the weekend is where to go. More at this link.

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