A sign of the (L.A.) Times: USC’s women hoops from the ’80s resonates as a history lesson in HBO doc — and Doris Burke swears by it

By Tom Hoffarth
Cheryl Miller was, by all measurements, the greatest women’s basketball player. Not just in her time — the 1980s with USC — but for all time.

Skillful, explosive, matching it all with a bit of a showboating display she never ran from.
In all estimates, she was …

“She was a bad … mother … fucker,” says Doris Burke at one point in the new HBO documentary “Women of Troy.”

We include the quote not for shock effect. It seems there are some who can handle the language, and others who care to change it, or alter it, so that the meaning is diluted.

Our latest piece for the Los Angeles Times goes over the HBO doc and what makes it a compelling watch.

As part of a special 24-page section that ran in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times called “Game Changers,” a story by Stephen Battalio titled “Making Streams Come True” covers the way women’s sports can navigate around whatever space and time challenges there are with today’s cable TV menu to get its games out to the public in ways it never could before.

The media has always been a huge game-changer for any sports — men’s or women’s — to gain traction and attention. For the females, the challenges have been somewhat audacious.

1 miller tnt

Cheryl Miller’s role as an NBA sideline reporter for TNT, which ran 17 years, included many visits with LeBron James (photo: TNT/HBO Sports)

In “Women of Troy,” it’s a reminder about a time when attention to how the sport wasn’t adequately there compared to the men’s game, which had just seen the explosion of the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird NCAA final.

In 1983 and ’84, USC won the NCAA title — not long after it had gone away from the AIWA — and  Miller’s arrival was tipping point for the roster already built with the McGee twins and Cynthia Cooper to change the way the game was played.

That’s all we’re trying to convey here. Please read the LA Times piece and understand what’s there, and what’s missing.


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