Tonight’s episode of Terp Talk should be a good one. Terp Talk host Bruce Posner is welcoming Kirk Fraser, director of the “Without Bias” documentary, to the show. Fellow blogger Chris Stoner is going to be on as well, along with yours truly. Hope you tune in. Those not in the Baltimore area can listen here.
Posts Tagged ‘The Media
As you know, the documentary Without Bias debuted on ESPN last night.
I’m going to resist the urge to write a bunch of flowery prose about “Everyone Knows Where They Were When They Heard Len Bias Was Dead,” “He Could Have Been Better Than Jordan,” etc. It feels a little superfluous at this point. I’ll just say that it was sad, is sad, and will continue to be sad. I think what will always grab people is the timing, happening just two days after the draft. It’s a little like if someone won the lottery, decided to celebrate by going skydiving, and died in the air before they could cash the ticket. It was a promising life snuffed out as it passed through the doorway to greatness.
Okay, I said I would resist. I didn’t say I would be successful.
As for the movie, I thought it was pretty good, even if it generally lacked fresh insight. The reporting was comprehensive, and included a lot of familiar faces for D.C. dwellars — John Thompson, Michael Wilbon, Jim Vance, Steve Buckhantz and, of course, one Charles “Lefty” Driesell. After reading countless column inches on Bias over the years, it was interesting to see the story told in pictures. Here are some of the pictures that will stay with me for a while:
— The game footage. If he had played baseball, he would have been a “five tool” player. He was ferocious around the rim on both ends, his legs were industrial springs, he played tough defense, and he was a good teammate. And finally, the jump shot, which I had forgotten about. That thing was pure sugar.
— The stoicism of Bias’s mother
— The wrenching, almost convulsive weeping of Len’s brother Jay at Len’s funeral
— The reminder that Jay was murdered in a local mall parking lot just a couple years after Len’s passing
As for the film itself, there is some commentary about the harsh, knee-jerk drug sentencing policies that came into place after Bias’s death. Many of these policies, often referred to as Len Bias Laws, remain on the books. But other than that, the movie didn’t really offer any new perspectives. On the other hand, I’m not sure a new perspective is necessary. The story and its characters are all as compelling as ever, and that’s probably, and rightfully, the way it will always be.
Like every other sports fan who was alive in 1986, Len Bias’s death is still a mile marker on my own personal
sports landscape. More than 20 years later, his death and life still strike a chord. (See iconic image on the sidebar to your right.) Tomorrow night at 8, a new documentary called Without Bias will air on ESPN. It’s part of the network’s “30 for 30” film series.
Sports Guy and Boston Homer Bill Simmons, who masterminded the whole “30 for 30” concept, has previously lamented Bias’s death and What Could Have Been for the Celtics. It’s a good (or maybe bad) read for getting into the Bias mood.
“Without Bias” is directed by Kirk Fraser who, as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, is the brains behind “Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown.” For truly, hers, too, was a life interrupted. (He also did “American Gangster,” which was a good movie.)
We’ll be back to share some reactions to the film Wednesday morning.
I want to congratulate the Maryand football team, with every sarcastic fiber in my being, for losing to Duke 17-13 today. That’s the same Duke team that hasn’t made a bowl game since 1994. The same Duke team that, between the 1999 season and this very game, has gone 19-101. Seriously.
Not to go over the cliff too much, but I think it’s safe to say we’re currently the worst-performing team in the ACC.
There’s no single remedy for Maryland. We won the turnover battle 4-3 (yay, only three turnovers!) but couldn’t capitalize. Didn’t score a TD until late in the third quarter, and it was our only one. 67 total rush yards, 182 pass yards to Duke’s 23 and 371. At least we stopped their running game. Not that that was a “key to victory” or anything. It’s like saying we stopped a cat from barking.
Questionable coaching calls everywhere. Another too-little, too-late, stat-padding comeback attempt. The Terps actually ended this one themselves by coughing it up twice in the final five minutes. Torrey Smith caught a grand total of two balls for 13 yards. 38% third down conversion rate. What else do you need to know? Thanks to good old ESPN360, I didn’t actually watch the game. But judging by the various updates and discussion boards, that is a good thing. Thanks, ESPN360! I never thought your evil would pay dividends.
Oh, were you thinking Duke is up this year? Bzzzzt. No they’re not. They’re still Duke. Duke sucks. Fu*k Duke. If they make a bowl game then I’m Shirley Chisholm.
As for Maryland, I’m just searching for a phrase right now. What’s the phrase I’m looking for…noodle dicks? No, that’s too mean. I wouldn’t want to call these guys noodle dicks in a forum that is at least technically public. If I were to call them noodle dicks, which they are, that would be an insult to The Kids. You gotta respect The Kids. Especially the kind of kids that bench 250 and run 4.5 forties.
Oh, wait, I’ve got the phrase now. Losers.
It’s nice down here with us losers, isn’t it? Sometimes, they drop a bucket of fish heads on us. That’s when we party!
At 2-6, the absolute best-case scenario is a 6-6, .500 finish. Raise your hand if you think they can do that. If you have your hand raised, please keep it up while I come around and collect your wallets. After all, I have a bridge I need to sell you. I’m going to assume you’re interested and just take your money. Your raised arms enhance the convenience of my doing so.
The best thing we can do is just move on as a people. Loitering only contaminates the crime scene. Let’s do the decent American thing and just pretend the rest of the season isn’t happening. Deal? Deal.
Back in April, everyone agreed that the Raiders selecting former Terp wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey seventh overall was the swiftest move in the 2009 NFL draft. For owner Al Davis, it was a legacy builder. A masterstroke, even. Dan Snyder chartered Big Boy I to fly out there and pick Al Davis’s brain. And I don’t mean figuratively.
The world was excited. We watched and we waited. With DHB, quarterback JaMarcus Russell, and pugnacious new head coach Tom Cable, Oakland had visions of glory. Maybe .500? Don’t jinx it, they cried! It’s too sweet to even mention.
But now, oh, how the mighty have fallen. Heyward-Bey is currently tied for 118th among NFL receivers with two receptions. Just a few days ago, Chris Berman and Peter King — the Mount Rushmore of football journalism intelligentsia — both observed that DHB has fewer catches than he has names. Oh, oh! My goodness! One teensy little problem, though. His last name is hyphenated, making it one word. That means his reception total is TIED with his name total. So there. Hey, guys, I’ve booked a third-grade-level grammar class for you. My treat.
People might be quick to blame DHB because he was picked higher than people thought he should’ve been. I guess he should have refused the money and the big-time spotlight, huh? It’s not helping that DHB is saddled with another Al Davis masterstroke, JaMarcus Russell, who is just about the worst quarterback in the NFL (thank Gosh for Derek Anderson!). He has thrown four interceptions and precisely one touchdown. His completion percentage is 42 — good for worst in the league. In technical terms, he couldn’t throw it into the ocean from a rowboat. He couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. And let’s not even bring up the narrow side.
This is also not to mention the general suckitude of the entire Raiders organization. Oh, and the pesky little fact that Cable may soon be facing felony assault charges. But as always, time will tell where the blame lies for DHB’s stumble out of the gate. After Al Davis ships him to Indy in two years for a seventh-round draft pick and two units of plasma, we’ll see who is right and who is wrong.
So Shell Games is up for a Mobbie Award…woo-hoo! It’s an award the Baltimore Sun gives each year to the best blogs in Maryland. Shell Games is in the Best Terps Blog category (duh). We’re definitely the underdog, but we really want to win. Reader votes determine it…so we’re asking for yours. If we’ve ever made you laugh, or even informed you in some way, we’d love to get your vote. And if not, perhaps I can appeal to your pity. That is not something I am above. Doesn’t a well-rounded person…like you…want to help out…a pathetic blogger…like me? Come on. The Terps stink right now. I have so little. And if I win, we’re all going to Sizzler!* I’ll even make it rain on the sneeze guard.**
To vote, click on the link above or the Mobbies widget to the right. Thank you so very much.
* — I may not be able to pay for you. Actually, maybe you could spot me, bro? I’ll get you back I swear.
** — May not rain dollars.