By Tom Hoffarth
Our latest sports media piece for the Los Angeles Times has our consernational compass pointed at Stephen A. Smith and ESPN’s plans to keep him gainfully employed, Jessica Mendoza’s confusion over a gray area in what kind of access she can get as an ESPN employee, stories that try to keep normalizing gambling, and a new Lindsey Vonn HBO documentary.
And one more thing while we’re thinking about it:
* If you’re going to be honest in advertising, David Feherty’s “Brilliantly Stupid Not So Special Year End Special” (Golf Channel, Tuesday, 6 p.m. with several replays) does a swell job when compared to other programming on the network that has one believing his golf game will actually improve by investing an hour into an infomercial/how to improve your short game.
Monthly Archives: November 2019
By Tom Hoffarth
A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: WHEN ‘FORD V FERRARI’ SPINS AWAY FROM HOLLYWOOD’S FAST-N-FURIOUS WAYS OF DEALING FACT VS. FICTION
By Tom Hoffarth
As the cover story for the March 25, 1957 edition of Sports Illustrated, Carroll Shelby is called “The Gentle Leadfoot,” and referred to as “America’s hottest driver” as he headed into a big race at Sebring.
“You know, when I’m driving a race car I feel like I don’t have a problem in the world,” Shelby says in the piece. “I haven’t even tried to analyze why I do it. I guess there is just something there — a certain challenge.”
All the while, he wore these bibbed, striped carpenters’ overalls he says he bought for $3 at J.C.Penney’s “when I was in the chicken business.”
The beauty of the story is writer Kenneth Rudeen allows Shelby to talk through most of it, in his voice. That’s part of the Shelby sales pitch charm, playing up his Texas-bred stereotypes that followed him to a car designer, salesman and legend.
(Just for some context in that 1957 SI issue, the magazine also has a piece about the new Major League Baseball rookies who were likely to do well in the upcoming season. That included Baltimore’s Brooks Robinson and Cleveland’s Roger Maris. In its preview of the NCAA basketball final four — Kansas, San Francisco, North Carolina and Michigan State — there’s a story about how Kansas sophomore Wilt Chamberlain has become a “magnetic obsession.”)
In an expansion of our piece in Monday’s Los Angeles Times about how the new box-office hit “Ford v Ferrari” has been viewed by those who like to separate fact from fiction — it is a “based on a true story” about how Shelby and driver Ken Miles battled with Ford executives trying to beat Ferrari at the coveted 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960s, finally coming through at the end of the decade with four straight wins — we had a conversation with Shelby’s 48-year-old grandson, Aaron, about this. Read more
A SIGN OF THE (L.A.) TIMES: WAS NOAH EAGLE BORN TO BE AN NBA BROADCASTER? THE CLIPPERS HAVE A NEST FOR HIM TO PROVE IT
By Tom Hoffarth
Was Noah Eagle born to be an NBA play-by-play man?
On the date of his birth — Dec. 11, 1996 — his father, Ian, was there in the hospital that morning. But his load management (OK, it wasn’t a thing then) called for him to call another New Jersey Nets game that night.
The 4-11 Nets were up against the 16-6 Seattle SuperSonics, George Karl’s team with Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Sam Perkins and Detlef Schrempf. The Nets were trying to find their way with coach John Calipari’s roster of Kerry Kittles, Robert Pack, Kendall Gill and Shawn Bradley, and Ed O’Bannon off the bench.
The Nets kind of surprised the Sonics by pinning a 110-101 loss on them.
Noah Eagle can tell you about that game as if he was there, he knows it so well. And it has shaped his career path to calling games now for the Clippers.
“I believe I’ve basically studied the NBA since Day 1 on this Earth,” he says. “From that day, the NBA has been my biggest love. Movies, TV and music are right behind it. It’s all about finding a way to show I know the history of the game and pop culture and staying current. If I can blend it and be creative, that’s what I’ll do.”
The Clippers’ 22-year-old radio play-by-play man is our weekly L.A. Times media column profile. In the process of pulling this piece together, we’ve got our writers’ cut of notes, quotes and more antidotes worth passing on to add more context.
(But first, check out this clip below: On Feb. 17, 2018, Ian and Noah Eagle were both calling a Syracuse-Miami college basketball game — Ian for CBS; Noah, a junior at Syracuse, doing it for the school’s WAER-FM radio station. They met up for a pre-game segment.) Read more