How George Karl Broke My Heart

Book Discussed: Furious George by George Karl with Curt Sampson. Harper, 228 pages. January 10, 2017. Here are some recent headlines concerning former NBA head coach George Karl and his autobiography, Furious George: “Former players trash George Karl over new tell-all book” Sports Illustrated “George Karl sounds more deranged every day” New York Post “George Karl will not rest until EVERYONE hates him” SB Nation “Compared to vending machine by George Karl, Derrick Williams sitting out latest fray” South Florida Sun Sentinel In the era of Trump(ism), this kind of publicity probably augurs well. Yes, Furious George is an…

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The Ultimate Sports Villain

Many of you have probably seen one or more of the films in ESPN’s sports documentary line, “30 for 30.” Since a different person directs each film, they vary widely in style as well as substance and quality. Some of them rather blithely reinforce the notion that sports convey objective truths—in effect, that there is an empirically “correct” way to interpret these narratives. Others are more sensitive to the fans’ ability to make something more from the action on the court. “I Hate Christian Laettner,” a recent film in the series directed by Rory Karpf, provides an…

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An Ex-Fan’s Notes

I spent Thursday night moping around the house. The Seahawks were playing and I was not watching. Seven months ago, in a piece for this fair site, I vowed to boycott the NFL. As the season approached, despite Bill Simmons’ assertion that no one would, I was confident that I could do it. The news about CTE is too devastating, and the NFL’s efforts to address head injuries are too paltry, its leadership utterly tone-deaf. Firm in my convictions, I didn’t expect to react emotionally to cutting myself off. I think the comparisons between sports consumption and…

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Going out on Top

I’ve loved NFL football for 25 years. I have a collection of gumball mini-helmets representing all 32 teams. I once hoped that my children would have the initials “NFC” and “AFC.” When I was a kid, I used to play imaginary games in which the Seahawks finally won the Super Bowl. When I was a teenager, I bought season tickets in the Kingdome for $100 a seat (yes, $100 for the entire season) and hoped that I could witness a championship in person. In 2006, my father and I finished watching the Super Bowl in separate rooms,…

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