Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Speaking of Sports Illustrated... [J. Mark English]

...There were some great articles in the most recent issue of S.I. featuring stories on the local teams. Here are a few snippets:

  • New York Knicks, "Lord Jim", S.L. Price: Consider: Last January team president Isiah Thomas, after amassing the league's highest ($123 million) and most underachieving (14-30) payroll, was accused of sexual harassment by then Knicks vice president Anucha Browne Sanders, who charged that the married father of two twice told her he was in love with her and suggested trysts "off-site." Last spring the team's first-year coach, Larry Brown, engaged in a tabloid-fueled ripfest with his star player, guard Stephon Marbury, over Marbury's role on the team. In June, after letting Brown dangle for 40 days following the season, Dolan dismissed him and came dangerously close to suggesting that the coach had engaged in fraud by never intending to finish out his contract. Then Dolan announced that Thomas would coach the Knicks and, at the ensuing press conference, declared that he had just one season to demonstrate "significant progress" toward winning a championship. "If we can't say that, then Isiah will not be here," Dolan told the team's beat writers on June 26 as a stunned Thomas looked on. "It is his ship to steer, to make go fast, to crash."
  • Harry Carson, "One Big Headache", E.M. Swift: Harry Carson realized something was wrong when he was doing television commentary. The former Giants linebacker would be on the air, live, and he'd lose his train of thought. Carson suspected the concentration issue was connected to other symptoms he'd been experiencing -- headaches, blurred vision, a loss of his sense of smell, and sensitivity to lights and noises -- and he went to see a doctor. "I thought I had a brain tumor," he says. The problem turned out to be postconcussion syndrome. Carson, 53, now a member of the Brain Injury Association's Sports Injury Prevention Council, estimates he had between 15 and 18 concussions during his 13-year Hall of Fame career, though he never reported any of them. "Pain and hurt and being uncomfortable was ingrained in me as a player," he says. "No one knew because I kept it to myself."
  • Carlos Delgado, "More than a Big Stick", Karl Taro Greenfeld: How long does it take to drive from San Juan to Aguadilla? Ninety minutes? Two hours tops? Carlos Delgado has drive that route countless times: 22 west to Arecibo and the 2 along the coast, then right on 107, past the Church's Fried Chickens and Burger Kings and Taco Makers to the little cul de sac with the three-bedroom, orange stucco home in which he grew up, sharing a room with his younger brother, Yasser. On a weekday morning, with no traffic, the guy should have gotten to Aguadilla by now. Instead he is telling Delgado - again - that he is on the road, but the traffic...Dios mio. That's the same story he told an hour ago. Delgado sighs, hangs up and says out loud, but more to himself, "He's coming, he's coming, he's coming. That's all he says."....This is a special day - actually, Delgado will tell you that all his days are special, but today, he explains, is "especially special." He is going to surprise his mother, Carmen, with a new car: a silver Acura SUV with a big red bow on top that she will not be able to turn down because there it will be, on the road in front of her house. Carmen, a former medical technician, won't be able to look at it and say, "No, it's too big for me and Papi," as she did a few years ago when he offered her a new mansion a few miles from the modest house where she raised her family.

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