Weekly media column version 05.16.14: How to dissect Dr. Robert Klapper beyond his weekend warriors at 710-AM

Dr. Robert Klapper has taken the Saturday morning "Weekend Warrior" show to must-listen status on KSPN-AM (710). (Photo courtesy of KSPN)

Dr. Robert Klapper has taken the Saturday morning “Weekend Warrior” show to must-listen status on KSPN-AM (710). (Photo courtesy of KSPN)

What made it into this week’s column (now posted):

Dr. Robert Klapper is in.
klapper1-231x300His Saturday morning “Weekend Warrior” show on KSPN-AM (710) has evolved into much more of a place for the Cedars Sinai orthopedic surgeon to explain why your knee is jerking again after hearing the latest on Kobe Bryant’s recovery from his own knee issues. Klapper, who has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter, works his outstanding bedside manners to take this show to a level that has got TV execs now wanting a piece of it.
We’ve also got notes on the HBO “Boxing After Dark” card that’s coming back to the Forum in Inglewood and the new format for Indy 500 qualifying that gives ABC two days of time trials this weekend, with new IRL broadcaster Allen Bestwick describing it

What could have but will have to be satisfied in being classified as blog material: Continue reading

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More on Kareem as the center of attention on an HBO doc project: Part of Cap’s media rehab process?

Getty Images

Getty Images

They’ve got a working title for a new HBO Sports-driven  documentary on the life and times of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, targeting a launch around the 2015 NBA All-Star game in New York.

How does “Kareem: A Minority Of One” sound?

“To me, that says a lot, because I know the impression of him is this lone wolf — but he’s really a gregarious, affable, social guy,” said Mike Tollin, the sports TV and movie exec who will serve as executive producer for the project through the Studio City-based Mandalay Sports Media.

Which is the company he co-founded with Peter Guber. Who is one of the Dodgers minority owners, and must be aware that Kareem, with his Brooklyn Dodgers cap, frequents the owners box at Dodgers Stadium hanging out with Magic Johnson.

It’s not that complicated, right?

abdul-jabbar-608Tollin said he understands that Abdul-Jabbar has had a less-then-affable relationship with the media during a basketball career that spans a three-time national college player of the year run at UCLA (1966-’69) and five NBA championships during his 14 years with the Lakers (1975-89).

Can this doc be part of his media rehabilitation process?

“I think I’m like a lot of people who have an impression of him based on nothing, and I can take a fresh look at this,” said Tollin, who had only briefly met Abdul-Jabbar prior to this project that has already began filming. “The challenge is always to tell the story that people think they know and then have a version which they had no idea about. The plan is to make this far-reaching and free-wheeling – jazz, literature, politics, yoga, martial arts, baseball. He’s in a pretty comfortable place in his life. I hope this will open a lot of eyes.”

Tollin’s resume includes an Oscar-winning documentary on Hank Aaron, as well as the former HBO series “Arli$$” and sports-related feature films “Coach Carter,” “Radio” and “Varsity Blues.”

HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said in a press release: “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary figure and an American sports icon. While he has lived so much of his life in the media spotlight, his extraordinary story has never been explored in depth, and we are grateful to Kareem and his team for allowing us to bring this story to life.”

51x5hVGCa6L._SY300_Part of Kareem’s “team” includes Deborah Morales, the Manhattan Beach-based rep for him who acts as the producer of the project through her Iconomy Multi-Media & Entertainment company. She was involved with him during the making of the 2011 documentary “On the Shoulders of Giants.”

Abdul-Jabbar, who has a writing and acting credit for “Shoulders,” has been recently outspoken about the Donald Sterling matter in a Time magazine opinion piece. The magazine has given him plenty of room to share his views recently.

Apparently HBO is also fine with Abdul-Jabbar despite his recent review of the network’s show “Girls.” Just all part of that complex media persona.

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Play It Forward: May 12-18 on your sports calendar — Better Duck, there’s a Royal feast taking place


d12f4f10-d616-11e3-87d1-a1fee1a2173b_BnDMbBbCYAANMtcNHL PLAYOFFS: WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS:
Details/TV: Honda Center, Monday at 7 p.m., NBCSN:
ce63b860-d789-11e3-8da1-8190fa7d3c85_fdggdfgFrench chef Ludo Lefebvre was shown on the Staples Center scoreboard preparing roast duck during the first intermission of the Kings’ eventual 2-0 Game 4 loss to Anaheim. That followed up from another videoboard demonstration during Game 3 where celeb Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, wearing a Kings jersey, demonstrated the best way to prep “Anaheim Duck Soup” in her kitchen. “I always use Anaheim Duck because they’re slow, they’re lazy and they have thin skin,” she said. The Kings were cooked in that game as well – a 3-2 loss. As the series builds toward a boiling point with a return to the O.C., we can’t help but also recall seeing some strange “Go Kings Go” billboards popping up in the 714 area coach, one of them with a large black dog holding a dead duck in its mouth. Whatever keeps fans salivating for more.
The series concludes (times updated Monday morning):
Game 6: Wednesday at Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., NBCSN
Game 7: Friday at Honda Center, 6 p.m., NBCSN

Details/TV: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., TNT:

thunder-super-fansThe thundering noise that can erupt at Chesapeake Energy Arena creates  one of the better home-court advantages for Oklahoma City in the NBA – the team had a 34-7 mark there in the regular season, matching the Clippers for best record on the home floor. But according to TheLostOgle.com, two rather notorious Thunder fans are making noise for themselves in a ruthless kind of way. Garrett “Thundor” Haviland, who shows up shirtless with a cape and mask, and Nauzi “Thunder Princess” Jagosh, with her blue and orange tutu, tiara and ruby red shoes, have parked themselves in the pricey Section 101. But they’ve now taken to a public funding website to raise $10,000 so they can get their season seats renewed for 2014-’15. So far, they’re at $851. But not everyone is buying in. “I sat next to this annoying a$$hole one time,” said one fan. “Never again. He ruined the game and entire experience. Jerk!” See how much of an impact they do or don’t have when this series returns to OKC, where the teams split their first two games of this series.
The series concludes:
Game 6: Thursday at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 7: Sunday at Oklahoma City, time TBA, TNT

BEST OF THE REST Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 05.09.14 — Anson Carter’s dreadlocks may be gone, but his TV career has locked on NBC’s NHL coverage

Anson Carter  sails across the net in front of Calgary Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff and Flames' Denis Gauthier during a March, 2004 Kings game in Calgary.  (AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh)

Anson Carter sails across the net in front of Calgary Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff and Flames’ Denis Gauthier during a March, 2004 Kings game in Calgary. (AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh)

What made it into the online version posted this evening:

vstyrtto Anson Carter’s 15 games of not-much fame with the Kings came 10 years ago, as the team picked up the veteran right winger at the trade deadline to help with its push toward a post-season spot.
Not only did the Kings come up short — they ended the season on an 11-game losing streak — but Carter had just one assist total during his stint, slowed by a bad shoulder and sports hernia. He was gone the next year — to score 33 goals on the Sedin brothers line in Vancouver.
But L.A., or more specifically Marina del Rey, where he kept an off-season home, never left him.
As an NBC Sports Net studio analyst on the NHL during these playoffs, particularly visible trading opinions with Jeremy Roenick during intermission breaks in the Kings-Ducks Western Conference semifinal series, Carter’s experience from an 11-year NHL career (1996-2007) has given him more confidence to approach a burgeoning TV career.
Carter, the booth analyst with Dave Strader (above) during the Kings-Ducks outdoor game at Dodger Stadium last January, talks to us about that and his continued work in the entertainment business in this week’s feature. Also, we have more on ESPN’s coverage of the WBC heavyweight championship fight from USC’s Galen Center on Saturday, DirecTV’s latest blast on the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. negotiations, and wondering if L.A. will get up early enough Sunday to follow the final day of the Premiere League 10-channel coverage.

What didn’t quite make it but is worth posting here:

== Trivia question: Who scored the first NHL goal in Staples Center history? Anson Carter, on Oct. 20, 1999, as a member of the Boston Bruins. The game against the Kings ended in a 2-2 tie.

== Carter returns to the NHL studio show in Sunday after working on the NBCSN coverage of the IIHF World Championships this weekend. U.S. takes on Belarus on Saturday (10:30 a.m.) and Switzerland on Sunday (10:30 a.m.). Continue reading

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Play It Forward: May 5-11 on your sports calendar: A manic Cinco de Monday for Kings, Ducks, Clippers, Angels, Dodgers and those trying to follow it all


Kings goalie Jonathan Quick skates during warm ups before Game 1 against the Ducks on Saturday in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick skates during warm ups before Game 1 against the Ducks on Saturday in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Honda Center, Monday at 7 p.m., NBC Sports Net:
You may have read about what’s on the line for this series, as the mayors of L.A. and Anaheim put up one of those “friendly wagers” before the opening puck dropped in the Kings’ 3-2 overtime Game 1 win. L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti said if the Ducks win the series, he’ll give a lesson in music appreciation to the Guinn Elementary School in Anaheim.

A Kings fan goes through a security check before entering Saturday's Game 1 between the Kings and Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

A Kings fan goes through a security check before entering Saturday’s Game 1 between the Kings and Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

If the Kings win to advance to the conference finals, Anaheim mayor Tom Tait promises to come to the L.A. River Clean Up Day. Assuming there’s enough water in the river bed to actually help with the clean-up process. Throw in a couple extra healthy defensemen for the Western Conference finals, and it’s a deal. Actually, that was a much classier approach than what transpired a year ago, when the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings faced the Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel was so confident that he put up 25 Italian beef sandwiches from Al’s Italian Beef, three cases of Goose Island’s 312 Lager beer, one case of Robinson’s Ribs Barbecue Sauce, 25 slices of Eli’s Cheesecake and one copy of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” so that Antonio Villaraigosa could have something to read “in his forthcoming retirement.” Then-L.A. mayor Villaraigosa could have looked the other way, but he tried to match that by offering nine #19 Pastrami Sandwiches from Langer’s Deli, nine French Dip Sandwiches from Phillippe’s, a case of Morehouse Mustard, a case of beer from Golden Road and Eagle Rock breweries, three Hollenbeck Burritos from El Tepeyac Cafe, 12 bottles of Sriracha Chili Sauce and a DVD copy of “YogaWorks for Everybody” so Emanuel could “maintain” his “newfound inner peace.” And you know who got the best piece of that heart-burn proposition. Today should be the day when you bet a friend he can’t go down to Homegirl Cafe in L.A. and eat a half-dozen red mole chicken tacos in one sitting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
The series continues this week:
Game 3 at Staples Center, Thursday at 7 p.m., NBC Sports Net
Game 4 at Staples Center, Saturday, to be announced

cinco-de-mayo-t-shirt-bustedtees-2THIS WEEK’S BEST BET II:

Monday at 6:30 p.m., TNT:
You can thank Donald Sterling for Kevin Durant’s inability to soak up the accolades of the 2014 NBA MVP award by now. Because of the Sterling scandal that erupted some 10 days ago, leading to a lifetime ban and fine for the Clippers owner, the league decided it wasn’t appropriate to start handing out its annual individual honors and pushed it back a week. That could have led to an uncomfortable scenario – had the Thunder failed to pull out a Game 7 win against Memphis last weekend and lose their first-round series, there would have been Durant, dubbed “Mr. Unreliable” by the Oklahoman newspaper for his performance up to that point, answering awkward questions as his press conference. Instead, Oklahomans will get to likely hear the news of Durant’s honor on Tuesday and have him available for a round of applause by the locals before Wednesday’s Game 3. Durant average 32.8 points in four games against the Clippers during the regular season. The teams split the four games, and won one game on the other’s home court as well. The last meeting was less than a month ago: April 9 at Staples Center, when OKC got 30 points from Russell Westbrook in a 107-101 win. The Clippers rallied from 15 down in the fourth quarter to cut it to one, but Blake Griffin (30 points, 12 rebounds)  missed two key free throws down the stretch.
The series continues:
Game 2: Wednesday at Oklahoma City, 6:30 p.m., TNT
Game 3: Friday at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4: Sunday at Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7


Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 05.02.14 — A Sterling performance by the ‘new’ media, with TMZ (too much zeal) behind it

DonSterlingAndGFWhat’s in this week’s media column (linked here):
The mainstream media reporting for years on Donald Sterling’s attitudes toward minorities couldn’t have been more detailed. So why the reaction now to an audio tape with perhaps dubious connections? We’re trying to make sense of that in this week’s media column.
Also more on the Clippers’ TV ratings during the playoffs since the story broke, could the Clippers fit well into the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. programming some day, why would the WNBA Sparks’ new ownership (Magic, that’s you) decide to drop Larry Burnett as the play-by-play man for TWC SportsNet just a couple weeks before the season starts, and how NBC plans to cover the Kentucky Derby with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir riding shotgun.

What could have but will have to learn to live here: Continue reading

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A quick wrap of the 30 baseball books for April, 2014

4c9xXXncESorting out what we’ve sent out after day for the last month:

A long shelf life:
== “Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball’s Greatest Home Run” by Ed Sherman
== “Mover & Shaker: Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers, & Baseball’s Westward Expansion” by Andy McCue
== “Bigger Than The Game: Restitching a Major League Life” by Dirk Hayhurst
== “Up, Up & Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi! The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-Fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos” by  Jonah Keri
== “Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played” by Jason Kendall, with Lee Judge
== “Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher” by Rob Goldman

Going yard:
== “Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball” by John Feinstein
== “Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson” by Doug Wilson
== “Nine Bucks A Pound” by James Bailey
== “How Baseball Explains America” by Hal Bodley

Extra-base hits:
== “Bring In the Right-Hander!: My Twenty-Two Years in the Major Leagues” by Jerry Reuss
== “Jackie & Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line” by William C. Kashatus
== “Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ’76″ by Dan Epstein
== “1954: The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever” by Bill Madden

Those books we either did not get to, arrived too late to review, or we know are out there but have not seen them: Continue reading

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Day 30: 30 days of baseball books in April 2014 — Explain yourself, baseball


  • The pitch: Back near Thanksgiving of 2008, Sal Paolantonio explained to us how football explained America. And we saw the connections clearly.
    Soon afterword, we eventually figured out how hockey explained Canada.
    At long last, the full Bodley contact version of baseball and America’s pastime.
    Like Chapter 6, how “few people can go a full day without using a baseball term in their conversation. Baseball is truly our national pastime, but it’s also an integral part of our vocabulary … it’s light and fits well in our society.”
    Like a guy who talks to his friends about going out on a date and not being able to get to first base? Continue reading
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Day 29: 30 days of baseball books in April 2014 — A guy can still dream


  • The pitch: The tip off to what this is all about is from Berger’s dedication: “For all those kids, like me, who grew up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and dreamed about being a major league baseball player but didn’t have the talent or ability to make it past Little League. Don’t ever let that dream die.”
    Instead, go to a fantasy camp.
    Berger got turned on by the idea back about 20 years ago when a friend, Lou Cohen, told him about the Dodgertown camp he attended in Vero Beach, Fla., a few years earlier. Another friend was telling Berger about his experience at a Yankees fantasy camp in 2009.
    Would Berger ever get to scratch the itch and finally go to one? Or four? Continue reading
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Day 28: 30 days of baseball books in April 2014 — Denehy’s rage against the baseball machine, in recovery mode



  • The pitch: If you’ve got yourself a 1967 Topps #581 rookie card of Tom Seaver — which, on the collectors’ market can go beyond $1,000 — hang onto it. The value may have just gone up.
    The guy on the left has a story to tell, too. Perhaps no two players appear on the same card but go opposite directions. Fast.
    “Tom Seaver won 311 games with an ERA of 2.86, pitching himself into the Hall of Fame,” Denehy explains on page 6 of this book. “I, on the other hand, finished my career with a one-and-ten record and a 4.70 ERA.
    “And yet, compared to Tom Seaver, my life was far more entertaining and interesting … With my career over in the mid-twenties, I had to figure out how I would live the rest of my life, and that hasn’t been easy. …”
    It gets more heartbreaking from there. One page over, still in the first chapter:
    1968 Bill Denehy (r)“I was a dreamer. And time after time I figured that if I could come up with some grandiose idea, some magical plan, I could provide my family with all the trappings of success for a person no longer in major league baseball. I felt driven and under tremendous pressure to succeed, in part because my ex-wife’s mother thought I was a loser. I suffered great agony having never been able to prove her wrong.”
    He had anger issues, a “wicked temper,” as he puts it. He was self-destructive. He became addicted to the amphetamines that were prevalent in the ’60s for MLB players. He drank way too much.
    “The root of my anger and my trouble with women began with the nuns in Catholic school,” he confesses. “These sex-starved sadists never should have been allowed around children. I thought they were a menace to society.
    “Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.” Continue reading
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