Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kentucky Blue redux

Check out these two Sports Illustrated covers depicting the Kentucky Wildcats' NCAA victory. The one above was in 1996 when Rick Pitino coached the squad. That team had a bunch of NBA stars led by Antoine Walker (Boston), Ron Mercer (Boston), Walter McCarty (New York), Mark Pope (Indiana), Tony Delk (Golden State), Nazr Mohammed (Philadelphia), Derek Anderson (Cleveland), Jeff Sheppard (Atlanta), and Wayne Turner (Boston). That's nine NBA players on this team! Pitino not only coached Boston after but a number of his former wards suited up for the Celtics eventually -- Walker, Mercer, McCarty, and Turner.

Cut all the way to 2012 and this new Wildcats team as coached by John Calipari are now NCAA champs. And the new cover of Sports Illustrated looks very much like the 1996 version. Hopefully, Anthony Davis, who will go to the NBA will not see his post-NBA career go bust like Walker's did. So who else will make it to the Association? 

1 comment:

  1. Talking about old magazines and books,,, When you posted some time ago about old editions of Best Sportswriting books selling at Booksale, I immediately started looking and eventually found a few, including the 2008 edition. It turned out to be a great find, specially since the editors included personal tributes for David Halberstam, my all-time favorite sports writer, who had been killed in an accident the previous year. Halberstam and his Breaks of the Game introduced me to what has become my favorite genre of literature, sportswriting. I read the editors' , tributes, then put the book aside, and only occasionally went back to it to read a piece or two at a time.

    Little did I know that the 2008 edition contained another great gem of writing,among the many other entries. I found this out in eerily coincidental fashion. Sometime last year I found a last remaining copy at Fully Booked of the Best American Sportswriting of the Century, - whose guest editor was none other than David Halberstam. Wonderful anthology, with series editor and Best American Sportsriting moving force Glenn Stout. Among the many memorable pieces, and for me one of the finest sportswriting of all time was Mark Kram's 1975 Sports Illustrated piece on the Thrilla in Manila.

    Still, then, the name Mark Kram did not stick in my head. It was only when I bought another book, Ghosts of Manila- a real wow book on the Ali Frazier trilogy climaxing in the Thrilla in Manila - did I realize that Kram owned, in words, the Ali-Frazier rivalry. The book, among others, clarified many things, chief among them the not so virtuous side of the otherwise hero-worshipped Ali, and the true nobility of Frazier. Kram's style soared - "a poet in prose", someone once said of him.

    Finally to the gem in the Best American Sportswriting of 2008. Two days ago, I started to read a piece under the title Forgive Some Sinner, and realized it was written by Mark Kram Jr, He wrote about his father. It was a poignant and painful, ultimately redeeming memoir written by son about father, with so much honesty, and a strong trace of the father's writing wizardry. . As the Senior Kram humanized the great Ali, so did the Junior Kram humanize his own father. And it was great to see the gift of writing pass on.

    It was quite indirect, but your tip on Booksale somehow led me to this trio of great sportswriting.