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The side of Kobe Bryant you may not know about

EP8onAVU8AA_4ojTom Hoffarth and Steve Lowery worked hours together last week, with editor Pablo Kay in Rome, not long after reports about a helicopter crash in Calabasas, to produce this cover story for the Feb. 7 edition of Angelus News.

Bryant took his Catholic faith serious. He was at his home parish, Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach hours before he left from John Wayne Airport in the final trip to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks.

Where did his faith come from? Did it help him come to terms with his rape trial in Colorado? Did it help him reconcile his marriage?

In 2001, Bryant married his wife, Vanessa, herself a Catholic, at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Dana Point. Father Sallot at OLQA said that he and Kobe had chatted about his desire to receive the sacrament of confirmation in the future.

We try not to judge, but report the facts.

RIP, Kobe, Gianna and all their friends, parents, coaches and families.

 

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: Covering Kobe Bryant, and what the media does following a TMZ lead

By Tom Hoffarth
Jim Hill rushed into the KCBS-Channel 2 studio in suit and tie and had Magic Johnson on the phone while other local TV crews were scrambling to do fan-on-the-street reactions. That was impressive but not unexpected.
Liz Habib’s voice cracked before she had to stop and wipe away tears, abandoning a KTTV-Channel 11 live standup. That felt appropriate.
ESPN and ABC continued to televise the NFL’s Pro Bowl in a simulcast, a meaningless exercise, while pushing its live coverage of events to ESPN2. That was beyond awkward, bordering on disrespectful.
Media outlets trying to disseminate what TMZ first reported Sunday morning as a helicopter crash in Calabasas that took five lives, including that of retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant, ignited the comprehension, disbelief and misinformation anxiety that often permeate the first 24 hours of a news cycle.
More in our weekly Los Angeles Times piece here… 

Also:
== Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: “If the media world were ruled by thoughtfulness, rigor and ethics, TMZ wouldn’t have broken the news about Sunday’s helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others before all the families were notified.”

Sports and the media: Bucking the trend of prop bets Fox may offer up for Super Bowl LIV

By Tom Hoffarth

The Sports Media Misery Index moves into the fringes of a 2020 landscape and lives to see a new way of looking live at Super Bowl LIV:

NOT-SO-LOW THRESHOLD

== Fox Sports’ fluid investment into the burgeoning age of legalized sports wagering, yoked with a pledge to make Sunday’s NFL championship game in Miami a national unifying moment, gives us an odd family bonding experience. Read more

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: The 2020 vision for the sports media year ahead

Our latest L.A. Times sports media piece focused on the 20 things that would be nice to occur in 2020.
What we edited out:
== KABC-Channel 7 sportscaster Ashley Brewer finds a fulfilling role on the next incarnation of “Wheel of Fortune.”
== SportsNet L.A.’s Alana Rizzo comes to the realization she isn’t a reporter. She just plays one on TV.
== With all due respect to our elders, a moratorium on getting “Steinered.”
Here is the rest of what got in. And if Bill Walton wants to eat peanut butter while he’s on NBC’s Olympics telecast, all the better.

Let’s (Long Beach) Post it: How Tampa Bay Rays’ veteran scout R.J. Harrison keeps his baseball roots relevant

scoutsBy Tom Hoffarth and Steve Lowery
Our latest for the Long Beach Post celebrates the baseball life of Tampa Bay Rays senior advisor for scouting and baseball operations R.J. Harrison, who has had 44 years in the  business, 30 years as a scout and the last 25 years with the American League East team that he helped stockpile for a run to the 2008 World Series.
The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation will honor him at their annual fundraising gala at the Beverly Hilton, amidst many baseball luminaries. If you want to rub some elbows, it’s not too late to crash this big-time party. We have connections.

 

A sign of the (L.A.) Times: What major moments did the 2010s decade bring us from a sports media platform?

By Tom Hoffarth
Whether it was the retirement of Vin Scully, the lagging distribution of SportsNet LA, or LeBron James’ “Decision” that launched his career as a media-content producer, the decade of 2010-’19 made some waves in Southern California, and created ripple effects elsewhere.
In addition to this Top 10 list we compiled for the Los Angeles Times, we thought of a few others worthy of note:

== Aug. 19, 2017: Jose Mota becomes the first to broadcast an MLB game as an English and Spanish play-by-play man as well as an English and Spanish analyst. His scorecard made it to Cooperstown as noted in this L.A. Times piece. Read more

Giving you the (L.A.) business: Santa Anita’s upcoming season is already on hold … can it hold off more skepticism?

The start of the 83rd Winter/Spring season of Santa Anita won’t start as scheduled on Dec. 26 — it’s been pushed back already to Saturday, Dec. 28 because of pending rain.

Rain has been the pain of  issues at the track for the last 12 months, and is the reason why we felt it was necessary to look into how the thoroughbred race track planned to stay in business with our latest piece for the Los Angeles Business Journal, now on newstands, and also at this link. Read more

A deeper slice of Adam Sandler and ‘Uncut Gems’ … and a Kobe Bryant connection?

By Tom Hoffarth

There’s far more to spin from our latest Los Angeles Times sports media column, the monthly Sports Media Misery Index where we lead off with some perspective on the new Adam Sandler film “Uncut Gems,” already out in L.A. and New York with a national release on Christmas Day.

p17345031_v_v8_aaDirectors/writers Josh and Benny Safdie admit they never thought they’d allow an actual Celtics player to be in their project — but Kevin Garnett has a major role.

Their goal from the start was to have a player from their beloved Knicks, Amare Stoudamire, play the NBA star role. Not at all a cameo role.

Some media reports mention that Kobe Bryant was originally attached to this script.

Yeah, well. Kinda.

From our conversation with the Safdie brothers: When they were shaping the script in 2010, their agents at WME suggested they aim big when it came to casting an NBA star to fill the key role in their story. Conveniently, Bryant was also a WME client.

“The way it works is, they throw out names (as suggestions for the film),” said Benny  Safdie. “But that’s a different way of how we work. When we’re writing the script, we find out – this is the person who wants the role, and we’ll spend a ton of time making it just for them, then hand it to them.”

Read more

The 2019 holiday sports book guide: We’ve got more good reads if you’ve got the time

By Tom Hoffarth
We managed to get in about a half-dozen titles in our holiday season Los Angeles Times’ media piece. But there are, of course, more worthy of consideration:

Bookcover.Upset.Chaminade== “The Greatest Upset Never Seen: Virginia, Chaminade and the Game That Changed College Basketball,” by Jack Danilewicz (University of Nebraska Press, 232 pages, $27.95)
As we watched UCLA’s recent trip to the Maui Classic, which found them in a 22-22 tie with Chaminade early in the second half, we couldn’t help but think: Wonder if anyone remembers the time when …
Seems our memory was a bit fuzzy as well.
We were in college ourselves and heard about No. 1 Virginia getting taken down 77-72 by this tiny NAIA Catholic school right before Christmas, 1982. We had always thought it was in the Maui Tournament (or the Hawaii Rainbow Tournament as it was called), but it wasn’t — Ralph Sampson’s Cavaliers were coming back on a stop in Hawaii after a trip to Japan for this one-and-done deal. It became a global story at a time when we had to wait for the news to catch up to us as the game ended past 3 a.m. on the East Coast and wasn’t televised.
Now, it’s more than a Wikipedia entry. Read more

Let’s (Long Beach) Post up: The power of the Pyramid at 25 years young

By Tom Hoffarth/Steve Lowery
Our latest for the Long Beach Post sizes up how far the Long Beach State campus Walter Pyramid has come a quarter century after its open — a Top 25 list of events we’ve decided to rank based on hindsight and proper context.
(With apologies to Kobe Bryant, slipping from No. 1 to No. 2 based on how this really has to be a Long Beach State-heavy-duty list).
Considering how many centuries other pyramids have survived, it has a lot of history to catch up on.
Jordan Lance. Pyramid. 2015As an inspiration for artistic interpretation, illustrator Jordan Lance, who graduated from the CSULB art program in 2015, feels it belongs with a series he was once commissioned to do on city’s prominent touchstones along with the Breakers Hotel, Villa Riviera, the International Tower and the Queen Mary. Read more

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