By Tom Hoffarth
If only this was a simple Hollywood relationship that occasionally had its dramatic ups-and-downs based on insecurities, jealousy and side-ways assumptions.
But when you’ve got the Clippers involved as a partner and you can’t moonwalk quick enough when they drag you onto the dance floor, you aren’t realistically prepared for what can come next.
Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket still has not responded to reports that surfaced Monday in that its NBA broadcast partner, so unhappy with Bruce Bowen as the team’s game analyst after just one season, “withheld approval” of a contract extension based on critical things he said in a late-June Siriux XM radio interview about former San Antonio teammate Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers contended that Bowen’s comments could compromise the team’s possible signing of him as a free agent next summer.
The quoted words appeared in a story first reported by the ever-reliable ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But that story quickly morphed into a narrative that became: The Clippers had fired Bowen.
But could they?
Bowen has since confirmed the report … read more about it here at FartherOffTheWall.com.
The official arrival of LeBron James in Hollywood, versus simply living in Brentwood and commuting to Cleveland, has taken on a new dynamic that we have covered in recent weeks.
Back in early July, we wondered if James would take that awful next step and remake “Space Jam,” with him in the role of Michael Jordan. But it got even a little crazier.
A media notebook posted last week took note of all the new media ventures that James has launched with Showtime, HBO, CBS, Netflix, etc., making him a true Tinseltown titan.
We discussed it further on an Aug. 8 episode of TheDrillLA Morning Briefing, where Steve Lowery deftly pointed out that James’ out-reaching projects contrast interestingly to Kobe Bryant’s inner-facing pursuits as far as what he wants to put out there in his media empire.
After talking this through with Dr. Dan Durbin, the director of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society, we felt we had enough to get a piece in about this in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. We even went onto the Petros And Money Show on KLAC-AM (570) on Tuesday afternoon to discuss it more.
Here you go …
You probably know the story by now: Four Dodgers losses in a row, all four a result of a bullpen member imploding upon entering a game with the final score in the balance. And four different men have gone on this mission, only to fail. It has come about because All-Star closer Kenley Jansen is having a relapse of a heart irregular beat issue, brought on by the thin air in Denver last weekend. He’s on the DL with a four-to-six week waiting period before returning.
So what do the Dodgers do in the meantime? Implode?
Jim Thompson drew this one up Tuesday AM as a reflection of what could come for Dodgers starters who can’t make it past the fourth inning. Monday night, Clayton Kershaw went eight full innings, giving up four hits with one run and nine Ks. Could he have saved himself in a 2-1 game? Perhaps, but the pitchcount said otherwise, and he came out, replaced by Scott Alexander … and the rest is an historical meltdown.
“From the Baez to Alexander to whomever, the relief pen is a case of dynamite. It’s not a matter of it, but when…” Thompson writes on www.thompsonsportsart.com as he describes what brought on this illustration:
The small irony to Monday’s loss, perhaps, is that Pedro Baez was brought in to get the final out of the top of the ninth inning against the Giants.
And he succeeded. Usually, it ends up like this previous Thompson illustration of what a Baez bobblehead promotion could someday look like:
There’s a reason why the Manhattan Beach Open is referred to as the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball. Ironically, it all has to do with the fact the event is played on grass. And there’s a concoction of strawberries and cream served at the local pizza place.
No. That’s not true at all. Read more
By Tom Hoffarth
At one point in Sunday night’s season opener of HBO’s “Ballers,” lead sports agent Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) takes business partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) to a spot below the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.
Strasmore sadly explains how this was the place where his older brother, a onetime USC quarterback headed for fame but derailed by the NCAA, ended his life with a tragic fatal leap.
“That’s pretty heavy, even for me,” says Krutel, trying to break the tension. “And I learned how to cremate my wife on a do-it-yourself website.” Read more
By Tom Hoffarth
A few years before LeBron James’ decision last month to take his talents to Los Angeles and effectively gain one of those coveted courtside seats to Laker games, his not-so-subtle decision to take his family to Brentwood and immerse himself in the La La Land mystique as a burgeoning media mogul took shape.
As we discussed in today’s episode of The Drill Morning Briefing 08.08.18, the acceptance of Showtime, HBO and CBS to partner up with an assist from James’ Burbank-based SpringHill Entertainment company could be the ultimate buzz of the TV Critics Association gathering in Pasadena this week. And that’s without James even showing up to do one of the mass interview sessions that tries to generate paragraphs and sound bites that start to trend on Twitter and make people curious.
Here’s the column posted at another branch of our current media empire, FartherOffTheWall.com.
“I (try to) stay clear of the online outrage mob – too depressing,” Jim Thompson writes on his website www.thompsonsportsart.com as he posts this piece. “But when the Insulter in Chief tweets out a midnight insult missive at a sports mega-star who just bankrolled a school for disadvantaged kids, the timing could not be more rotten.
“I won’t punch my monitor or scream at the sky when he tweets garbage. I do wonder when this president will stop acting like a potty-mouthed 4th grader, and cease stepping on rakes at midnight and, maybe, maybe act like LeBron James?”
On our Morning Briefing podcast of TheDrillLA.com, Tom and Steve also talk about the best way to react to this — as LeBron James is now an L.A. guy, right? Do we defend him? Do we follow his lead?
Some of those who responded on Twitter:
* Golden State star Stephen Curry: “Keep doing you @KingJames!”
* Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell: “Helping kids & their families work towards a better life. All done with his own $$, for anyone to criticize that is shameful & lacks compassion.”
* Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King: “Athlete activism can affect positive change and should be celebrated, not derided. Thank you, @KingJames.”
We said the best way is probably follow what some are doing: Make a $23 donation to the LeBron James Family Foundation in honor of the work it is doing.
Or make it $45.
Here’s Thompson’s posterized response: