Tag Archives: Magic Johnson

It’s Arsenioooooooo Hall, back again! Mike Tyson coming to Broadway. And when your stolen goods show up at a neighbor’s house

Big news this week about two late 1980s/early 1990s stars, returning to the spotlight yet again.
First, and I don’t care how uncool this makes me seem, I used to be a huge Arsenio Hall fan. Like, I would sneak the TV on on school nights sometimes just to see who he had on.
Yes, I was a short, goofy white kid from suburbia, but I loved Arsenio. Just thought he was cool, and funny, and different, especially with the crazy outfits the dude used to wear.

He had different guests, he totally shook up the boring late-night TV scene, and he just seemed like a cool guy.
I will never forget the night he had Magic Johnson on, the day after Magic announced he was HIV positive. It was unbelievably compelling TV.

After starring in some movies and having his show cancelled, Arsenio sorta disappeared for a while. But now he’s back, and he’s getting a late-night show again.
Yep, the “Dog Pound” and the fist-pumping and all that is coming back. Arsenio will be  getting a talk show starting next fall (as in, fall, 2013), and sure, I know it won’t be the same.
But I still can’t wait.

**Then there was this: Mike Tyson, coming to Broadway, in a one-man show directed by Spike Lee. Right now Tyson is someone I’d watch do anything. He’s totally reinvented himself as a comedic performer the last few years, like when he did this hilarious spoof of “The King’s Speech” on Jimmy Kimmel.

It’s only running for a week, but watch this interview on “The Today Show” and tell me you don’t want to see Iron Mike on Broadway, talking about his life in front of a live audience.

**Finally, this sounds totally made up but it’s true. A couple in Utah was robbed recently, losing $6,000 worth of goods.
Yet when they returned home, they noticed their next-door neighbors were having a garage sale.
With some of their stolen items for sale. The thieves were arrested and charged with felony burglary and theft.

Though sadly, an additional charge of “absolute stupidity” was not pressed.

The original basketball “Dream Team,” in their own words. The joy of buying a parking space in New York. And The Daily Show mocks Fla. governor.

A tip of the cap today to the late Henry Hill, who died Tuesday night. Hill was the basis for Ray Liotta’s character in “Goodfellas,” which is the best mob movie ever made (and yes, I’ve seen “The Godfather.” It’s a fantastic movie. “Goodfellas” is better. Here’s hoping wherever Hill eats his next meal in the afterlife, the chef doesn’t use too many onions. 

I did something I never thought I’d do on Wednesday. But I guess it officially makes me a real New York City resident.

I bought a parking space. Yep, in a couple of weeks it’ll all be mine: a wonderful 12 feet by 20 feet piece of concrete, with one line on each side letting the whole freaking world know that THIS space belongs to me.
It’s always sounded crazy to me, buying a parking space. It seemed so silly; purchasing a hunk of ground when my whole life I’ve always found free spots.

But you know, I’m moving to Manhattan, I’ve got a car, and, well, it’s next to impossible to regularly find a legal parking space near my new apartment-building home.
And so I talked to a guy, got a great Groupon deal on a monthly rental, and here we are. (Hey, at least I didn’t have to pay what this guy is asking for a spot.)

So I now own a space. I feel like such a grown-up. I think I’ll just drive around and park in it for hours on my first day. Or maybe I’ll run outside on the street and yell at those  poor schlubs trying to find a legal spot “Hey buddy, can’t find a spot? Sucks for you, I got one right here!”

Nah.

**So there’s been a whole ton of hype lately about the 20th anniversary of the greatest basketball team ever assembled, the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team.
It was the first time NBA players were allowed to play in the Olympics, and there’ll never be a better collection of hoops talent: Magic. Bird. Michael. Charles Barkley. Patrick Ewing. Karl Malone. And so on.
Their games were a joke, so lopsided were they. Their opponents were in awe, and the basketball they played was so beautiful.

The NBA TV channel did a fabulous documentary on the team last night (it re-airs  Friday at 10:30 p.m., and a bunch more times after that), the gifted SI writer Jack McCallum has written a book about the squad, and my old colleague at SLAM magazine, Lang Whitaker, has penned this terrific oral history of the squad. There are some fantastic stories in here, about the day a team of college players whupped the Dream Team, about the egos that clashed at the beginning, and other good stuff.
Definitely a great read about a team that was truly the greatest ever.

**Finally today, I ranted a few weeks ago about the awful governor of Florida, Rick Scott, and his attempts to purge voters from the rolls in the state. Fortunately, we have The Daily Show and John Oliver on the case. Enjoy the hilarity here.

R.I.P, one of the two Coreys. And the Magic-Bird rivalry gets a great documentary

Ah, Corey Haim. What can I say about the dear departed star of “The Lost Boys,” the kid who made me think it was possible for ME to be a football player with his heroics at the end of “Lucas?”

What can I say about the man who had a “License to Drive,” and whose poster hung in the

bedroom of millions of teenage girls?

Well, I can say a lot of things. First of all, it wasn’t a shock to me when I heard he died this morning, but it is a tragedy when someone dies at age 38. That’s ridiculous, that a kid who had so much going for him at such a young age, could see his life snuffed out before he hits 40.

Second, Corey Haim came around at exactly the perfect time. He became a teen idol with his alter-ego Corey, Corey Feldman (who I always thought was obnoxious), and he cashed in on his looks and limited acting ability in the 1980s in a very short amound of time.

He made a few movies, dated a few babes (I was always jealous that he got to make out with super-gorgeous Nicole Eggert in the awful movies “The Double-O Kid” and “Blown Away”), and then descended into a world of drugs and pills.

Third, the unintentionally hilarious reality show “The Two Coreys,” was like a train wreck, but it showed just how much pain Corey Haim was in. He seemed to have no real friends, no idea, even in his mid-30s, that the glory days of Hollywood were over for him, and no direction in his life. You watched and you just felt there here was a guy who desperately needed something to cling to, yet he just kept drifting.

I never thought I’d utter this sentence, but Corey Feldman was dead right when he said something today. He was told that all kinds of Hollywood actors, like Alyssa Milano and Ashton Kutcher, were expressing their utmost sympathy over Haim’s passing.

Feldman’s reply: “”Where were all these people the last 10 years? Where were all these people to lend a handout, to reach out ot him and say, you’re a legend, you’re an amazingly talented wonderful person who’s never really gone out of his way to hurt anyone, other than himself?”

“In this entertainment industry, in Hollywood, we build people up as children, we put them on pedestals, and then, when we decide they’re not marketable anymore, we walk away from them.”

He’s exactly right.

R.I.P. Corey Haim.  Your star burned out so fast, and you never seemed able to find the light again.

**OK, on a much happier note: I watched the new HBO documentary this week on the incredible rivalry and friendship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and it was fantastic.

Those two got me hooked on basketball more than anyone else. I loved Magic and the Showtime Lakers. I wanted to BE Byron Scott and James Worthy, filling the lane on a fast-break and knowing Magic was going to put the ball in the exact right spot.

The movie is 90 minutes and it was so good, I wished it was longer.  I learned a lot I didn’t know, like that Bird was obsessed with checking the boxscores in the newspaper each morning to see what Magic did, and that the two never really got along until a 1985 Converse TV commercial forced them to spend time together.

Anyway, I’m guessing the doc somehow coincides with the new book Magic and Bird wrote with the great sportswriter Jackie MacMullan.

But I would definitely go out of your way to see the HBO movie; it’s re-running all month, and it tells the great story about how one tall, doofy-looking white guy, and one smooth as butter African-American, saved the entire NBA.

An inglorious end for the Great Gretzky, and a hilarious Ricky Gervais rant

gretzky

Sports fans have been incredibly lucky over the last 30 years.

Let’s say you’re like me, and started to become interested in sports around 1983 or so. Just since then, we have been privileged to watch the greatest basketball player of all-time (Michael Jordan), the greatest tennis player of all time (Roger Federer) and, apparently, the greatest golfer ever (Tiger Woods. I say apparently because I loathe golf and refuse to care or pay attention to it).

Maybe you could get an argument on a few of those from people. Some will argue Rod Laver or Pete Sampras is better than Federer, and there was a golfer named Nicklaus who seemed to be pretty good once.

But no one, I mean NO ONE, argues that Wayne Gretzky is the Greatest Hockey Player of All Time.

Name a record in the NHL record books, and he holds it. I don’t know if I’m so into hockey because of No. 99, but he certainly had a big part of me loving the sport as a child (And yes, there will be hockey on this blog. That and college basketball are my other winter passions. )

I loved it that my beloved New York Rangers were Gretzky’s final team; I can still see him skating around MSG one final time after his last game in 1999, as the adoring masses cheered.

Fast forward 10 years, and Gretzky is hardly being adored. Thursday he resigned as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, who are in the midst of a truly messy ownership squabble, even by NHL standards. Gretzky may have been fired by a new ownership group, which is battling the NHL to own the Coyotes (why anyone wants such a pathetic franchise is beyond me, but hey, it’s not my money).

So instead of being pushed out, the Great One jumped. Truthfully, his stint at coaching was a disaster. In four years he had a 143-161-24 record, and Phoenix missed the playoffs all four years. Did he have much talent to work with? No. But he certainly didn’t make the talent any better.

Gretzky joins a long list of superstar players who were bad coaches. Magic Johnson. Ted Williams. Larry Bird. Bill Russell. These guys were legends, but they just couldn’t translate their brilliance onto others. I remember Magic vividly becoming angry after one Lakers practice, saying he just couldn’t understand why Point Guard X didn’t see that coming, or why he didn’t make that play.

The answer, of course, is that the guy wasn’t Magic Johnson, and Magic never could come to terms with coaching players who just didn’t have his gifts.

I hope Gretzky is back in the NHL at some point soon; he deserves a hallowed place in the game for as long as he lives.

But no hockey fans in Phoenix are boo-hooing his departure today. As a coach, Wayne was a failure. Maybe that’s the real reason he left: He knew he wasn’t getting it done, and it was killing him.

***I know there are a legion of Ricky Gervais fans out there, but I’m not really one of them. The British comedian who starred in the original The Office”  in England just isn’t usually my pint of ale.

But I thought this was truly hilarious, a brief discussion of the terrible lessons we get from nursery rhymes: