Thankfully, within the worldwide abyss of darkness, there are a few examples of joy that make the filth seem tolerable. The thing about these pockets of good, however, is that the best ones are not found on purpose. They can't be sought out. You have to accidentally stumble across these goldmines.
This was the case as two sports-related events accidentally led me to the Internet's Eighth Wonder of the World. The first: Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, in his spare time, interviews athletes on his web series, The Real Rob Report. This became big news earlier this week, as he landed an interview with Darrelle Revis, who spoke candidly with his fellow NFLer about his willingness to play for the Jets or whomever decides to take him.
Athletes interviewing athletes. Very interesting.
The second: Kobe Bryant, responding to questions about Ibaka's cheap shot on Blake Griffin, said, "I probably would have smacked him in the mouth."
Kobe being Kobe. Very interesting.
So we have athletes interviewing athletes, and Kobe being Kobe. What about, say, an athlete interviewing Kobe? That's surely never going to happen —
What is this? Where are they? How did this happen? When did this happen? Do either of them know they're being filmed? Who paid for this? Did anyone pay for this?
Pardon the headline, stolen from one of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's earliest masterpieces, but there's a situation brewing. The Cincinnati Reds are 33-27, and hold a one-game lead in the NL Central. The last time the Reds won the division was 2010, but the last time they actually won a game in the postseason was 1995, when they swept the Dodgers in the wild-card round before falling in four to the Braves in the NLCS. Is this year's club poised to end almost two decades of futility? Are the Reds for real?
Let's ask ourselves some important questions to unravel the mystery. After each, we'll give the Reds either 0, .5, or 1 Real Point, and we'll see where they stand at the end.
It's Monday, which means it's time for the next installment of Readers' Revenge, the weekly feature in which we turn Grantland over to you, the unpredictable reader. This week's topic was most fireable offenses, and the response was awesome. And also, terrible. (It's always disturbing to read about workers at a popular fast food joint putting dead rats in the fryers and urinating in the lemonade bubbler — thanks for nothing, guy.) But mostly awesome.
I apologize in advance for anyone who sent in a great story but wasn't included. Sorting through so many e-mails, I'm sure I made some dumb exclusions. This could easily be a top 50 list without missing a beat, and you're all winners.
Below are the top 15 e-mails. The topic for next week will be: your worst encounter with an animal. Send your story to email@example.com for a chance to make the list and become a hot Internet celeb. Special consideration given to stories that are terrifying and/or hilarious. They can be about you or someone you know, and anonymity is allowed. In today's edition, names have been erased to protect the guilty.
It's Daylight Saving Time, and things are about to get weird. All this extra sunlight must have given us a touch of the Vitamin D Madness that's going around, because we're about to turn Grantland over to you, the unpredictable, erratic reader.
"Reader's Revenge" is the most basic of concepts — I ask you to write in with your personal stories on a weekly topic. Examples used in the past have been "worst date," "coldest breakup," etc. You e-mail, I read, and we print the top 15 every Monday. Those of you who have already joined the About Last Night party will recognize this as Participation Friday, re-branded. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the gist is that we've already done this a few times within the About Last Night columns that run every morning, but now it has its own post. Turns out there are some funny SOBs among Grantland's readership, and y'all just couldn't be contained.
Caught up? In a sidebar with this post, you'll find links to the older columns if you care to check them out. (In those old posts, the reader stories are at the bottom of the news items.) ALSO, at the bottom of this post, you'll find this week's question along with the e-mail address where you should send your stories.
There is some great basketball being played by gifted athletes right now. I’m not talking about the games at Rucker Park or in the lockout-free gyms of L.A., Houston or Philadelphia, where the likes of Melo and La La are speed-dialing their press agents following every neo-conversation … No, these contests are on live on network TV from Minneapolis and Atlanta: the WNBA Finals. And it’s now way past the time that news media get hip and give these women their due. The league has teams in 12 cities, and most hometown dailies don’t assigns a beat writer to all of the teams' games. Well, it’s time to wake up, dudes. (And don’t blame this on the fact that the sports world is run by men.)
But why change now? The WNBA (in my opinion, by far the most meaningful legacy of the ballsy and ingenious NBA commissioner David Stern) needs to survive and thrive. The fact is, thousands of women and families attend games in major cities every year, and that means there are consumer products to be hawked and revenue to be generated. But the “old way” of selling the league needs to die.
The opposing coach of the 13-year-old AAU boys basketball team screamed a homophobic slur at one of my players during a tense moment at the National Championships in Memphis a few weeks ago. The child from the Bronx, raised by his grandparents, was shaken and unnerved. After we won the game, a near brawl ensued between coaches, players, and parents. Thank god it was contained. But ugliness leads to ugliness, and the words of imperfect pop culture heroes such as Kobe, Joakim Noah, Roger McDowell and James Harrison have a real effect on children. Unfortunately, the sports media, uncomfortable with the subject matter, ignores the larger societal story. Instead, they report on the obligatory fines, apologies and suspensions, consistently sweeping the larger narrative under the carpet. Well fellas, hang on to your straps.