QBs in the news
Let's start here: A couple of all-time QBs are heading in clearly different directions after the crowds quiet.
Yes, the crowds will still be in the background for Tom Brady this fall after he announced his return. (Side question: Did you see the photo of Brady at the Formula One event in Miami over the weekend with Lewis Hamilton, David Beckham and Michael Jordan? That much GOAT-ness has never been seen together outside of a petting zoo before.)
But Fox has reportedly come to a deal with Brady to be the network's lead analyst when his playing days eventually come to a close. And ask this pace, that will be after his 12th Super Bowl win to conclude the 2033 season.
Man, just writing that sentence makes me want to take another shower this morning, you know?
Ol' Brett was way more likable in his playing days, no?
Winning Time kinda ties
So the HBO venture of "Winning Time" concluded Sunday.
I watched it. I was intrigued by it, as I remembered some of the factual and historical sports stuff — Magic winning Game 6 with a historic performance in Kareem's absence for example — but was unaware of the background stories.
The series was based off a book about the Lakers and the beginning of its '80s dynasty by Jeff Pearlman. (Side note: Pearlman was the SI writer who John Rocker unloaded all of his hate speech to.)
The series has become a central talking point in recent weeks in large part because of Jerry West's objection to his portrayal as a drunken meanie. Real-life Kareem, who was depicted as the most respectable character in the series, said West had every reason to be upset, calling it a cartoon characterization. (Side note, part II: West has said he will sue the makers of the series and go to the Supreme Court if needed to get an apology and damages. So there's that.)
A few things struck me about the series, starting with West. First, the producers of the show say it was a dramatization and while 'based' on real events, the writers took certain liberties with various scenes and stories. OK, but when the actors look that much like the real-life people they are portraying, well, you're your own worst enemy in that contradiction. (Side note, part III: Magic was very Magic like, and the same with Kareem, but buckets of spitting images, John C. Reilly was a Dr. Jerry Buss doppelgänger.) I think the most interesting parts of the series, and if you have not watched and are planning to, you may want to skip to the next segment, centered on the foundations that were planted with that team.
There was the transition of the Lakers from being Kareem's team to being Magic's team, and that came through.
There was the development of arguably the two best NBA organizational leaders of the last half-century in Pat Riley and West, and how their early post-playing careers started. There was the certainly less-than-buddy-buddy rivalry between Magic and Bird that came across, at least in 1980, as some downright hatred.
But the questions that West raises sadly make you wonder which of those storylines were also distorted or even manufactured for dramatic impact. (Side note, part IV: For what it's worth, Spencer Haywood, who was shown being a drug addict and even contemplating a plan to kill Magic Johnson, told the Boston Globe that 95% of his storyline was accurate. So there's that.)
Still, one of the chief attractions to projects like this — at least for me — is being historically truthful. And the words of West and Kareem hurt the series in my view.
Yes, I was entertained, but the questions about accuracy shadowed the entire production in a lot of ways. So for me, "Winning Time" was, by comparison, the 1980s Jack Sikma Milwaukee Bucks more than 1980s Magic Johnson Lakers.
Good, not great, and in some ways actually disappointing if that makes sense.
NIL next chapter
So in today's Chattanooga Times Free Press, the AP shares a story about high school NIL deals, and frankly, it's a touch disconcerting.
Yes, I am likely more pro-NIL for the college athletes than you are. Heck, I may be more pro-NIL for college athletes than anyone you know. But the high school stuff seems out of place.
First, unless you are talking IMG or Oak Hill or one of those factories, high school athletics is not a monster money-maker. Far from it in most cases.
Second, a quote in the AP story from one of the teenage basketball players centers on all of his "hard work is finally paying off."
What? The kid is 15 and likely making as much money as his parents.
I know the trickle-down terminology in economics, and I know that this is far from an isolated case. But this is not the five-star Texas QB skipping his senior year because a car dealership owned by boosters of THE Ohio State are giving him a seven-figure promise on his college future.
This is a high school sophomore making thousands of dollars a month for T-shirt deals and social media promotion.
This is so far down the slippery slope that I shudder to think what could be next. A coach pitch shortstop asking for a piece of the "My son is No. 22" button business?
This and that
— Speaking of college sports, can you believe that NIL has been legal for only 11 months, and the transfer portal opened in earnest only 13 months ago? Wow, the changes those have brought to college athletics in roughly a year are staggering.
— "Better Call Saul" thoughts? Email is open at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— So how about this story in the Times Free Press about a man stealing a yacht and trying to outrun authorities? Yeah, the photo of the guy looks as drunk as the images you have from reading that previous sentence.
— So now Wordle is in the controversy crosshairs.
— Today's A2 column from some fat-faced fella.
— Speaking of NFL TV gigs, Amazon is in talks with Richard Sherman, who I think will be excellent as an announcer, about the future.
True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning Ern.
True or false, you play the Wordle.
True or false, Tom Brady will be a good TV analyst.
True or false, you watched "Winning Time." (If true, feel free to share your thoughts.
True or false, high school athletes should get the NIL too.
As for today, May 10, well, on a personal note, I accepted a job offer from the Times Free Press on this day 20 years ago. So there's that.
Also, Bono is 62 today. Does he make the Rushmore of actual one-name musicians?
Go and enjoy the day.