Welcome to the latest edition of The Tapes. This one comes to you live from Janesville, Minnesota, where I’ve been for about a week. I’ve been relaxing, not writing. A few days ago I met up with Terry and it was the first time TV and Fury had been together in nearly five years. It was pretty momentous and in those 30 minutes we spent together, we came up with some big plans. Big plans. Big. Actually we just enjoyed each other’s company, I scarfed down fries, Terry ate fruit – the guy is very serious about his health – and we reminisced a bit. Now on to the links:
* Michael Wilbon admits he was wrong about Ricky Rubio. I admit I was too. Now, he’s become perhaps my second-favorite player in the league and he’s a blast to watch. I admit I was wrong on Wes Johnson too. Thought he’d be better than Kobe.
* Speaking of the Black Mamba, his latest scoring binge – back-to-back nights with 40 or more points – brought to mind one of my all-time favorite pieces about him, from Ralph Wiley in 2003. In the story, Wiley wrote that Kobe might be the greatest scorer in NBA history, better than Wilt, Jordan, Baylor, anyone. And this was before 62 in three quarters and 81 points and the streak of 50-plus games and everything else.
* More hoops, more great scorers. Sports Illustrated’s Thomas Lake produced a great feature on the coach who “cut” Michael Jordan, even though the guy actually did no such thing. It’s an incredible story about a very sick man – the coach – and an obsessed man: Michael Jordan.
* TV here. (For some reason, that doesn’t sound as cool as when Fury does is.) I have very little to contribute because I’ve been knee deep in Jackrabbits and Coyotes all week. Actually, I wasn’t actually surrounded by dead animals, which was a bit of a breakthrough.
See, the state’s two largest universities – South Dakota State and the University of South Dakota – had an eight-year break in their longstanding men’s basketball series. Basically, the school played in different classifications for a few years, and only now are things getting going again.
Back in the day, throwing dead and sometimes frozen animals – Jacks and Coyotes carcasses, of course – onto the field of play was the thing to do. Or so I’m told. Well, the powers-that-be are hoping to eliminate that tradition in this new era of the rivalry. It wasn’t a problem Thursday night in Brookings – everyone was pretty well behaved and SDSU won 86-56. But it was an interesting concept to discuss leading up to the game. Here’s a piece advocating for athletic hate and one opposing it.