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The SportsThink Weekly Review #40
March 26, 2021
Hello and welcome to the fortieth edition of the Weekly Review! Feels like a milestone. NFL legend Gayle Sayers was probably the best to wear #40, but for an NBA obsessed 90s kid, the number belongs to Shawn Kemp. One of the best dunkers of all time, I always loved the animosity he seemed to hold for the rim. Here’s a pretty good top 10:
On to the content!
Playing the Long Game
As I mentioned last week, I’m thrilled to be organizing the inaugural Playing the Long Game conference at UT, running from April 12-15. Featuring a keynote conversation with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, we’ve also got an awesome slate of thought leaders from across the sports world. We’ve got our full site up now, so head there for a complete list of sessions, panelist biographies, and registration, which is FREE. And if you know anyone else who might be interested in attending, I’d love it if you’d share with them.
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
The Smoothest Con Artist in the World (April, 1985), by Michael Weinreb, via his Throwbacks newsletter. Timely during the NCAA tournament. On Villanova’s Gary McLain, sports in the 80s, and cocaine. Ronald Reagan’s dandruff makes an appearance. Short piece, but really good.
The Deepest Diver in the History of Free Diving Goes Below the Ice, by Adam Skolnick, via the NYT. Great profile of absolute badass Alexey Molchanov. Just reading about this sport makes my palms sweat. Pretty cool visuals too.
Most TV Completely Ignores Women’s Sports, a 30 Year Study Finds, by Sarah Scire, via NiemanLab. Nice summary of recent research; unfortunately not shocking, but disheartening. Women’s coverage continues to hover around 3-5% of total sports programming, depending on the year. We’re back to the chicken or egg: is there no coverage because there is no market, or is there no market because there is no coverage? I lean to the latter and I’ll have some more thoughts on this in a blog post next week. Here’s the full study if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll need institutional access, or just send me a note.
Man Says He Lived in Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium For Years, by Alan Yuhas, via the NYT. I once asked NFL legend Rod Martin about the worst place to play and he didn’t hesitate to say the Vet. I recall reading about an NFL survey that suggested most of the league agreed. Whether it was the horrible playing surface, the in-stadium jail, fans throwing batteries at players (or snowballs at Santa), it truly was a magnificent dump. Now, we can add to the legend the story of Tom Garvey, a Vietnam vet and stadium employee who built a secret apartment in the stadium. I love stories like this.
The NCAA’s Shell Game is the Real Women’s Basketball Scandal, by Sally Jenkins, via the Washington Post. A lovely evisceration.
Keeping Up With The Sports Page
Tweet of the Week
This is just great.
Really enjoyed this piece by Scott Hines on dealing with the “end” of the pandemic. And this interview with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison is simply great in scope and insights on technology, the future, and more, even if it made me feel poorly read at times.
As always, thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble accessing any articles, happy to send them directly your way. And, if you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone else who might like it.
See you next week,