Knicks legend Patrick Ewing has never been known for having an easygoing personality. He would frequently glower at reporters in the hopes they would avoid conversing with him in the locker room during his playing days. His less than warm personality has been cited as the key reason he never landed the NBA head coaching job he craved.
Ewing’s alma mater, Georgetown University, hired him to be its basketball head coach in 2017. In fairness, Ewing showed a different side to him at the Big East media days each October at Madison Square Garden. He was accessible to writers and seemed to be enjoying himself as he smiled more than I can recall for all of his years with the Knicks.
Just when I thought Ewing had turned over a new leaf he complained at a press conference during last week’s Big East Tournament about the indignity he felt when an MSG security employee asked him to show his ID. The security guard in question was doing his job and Ewing did not say he acted rudely or unprofessionally. In this age of Covid everyone is on edge especially in an indoor arena. Ewing appeared to be chuckling when he said he was going to have to call Mr. Dolan (referring to MSG’s CEO) so perhaps he was having some fun with the media. Nonetheless it needlessly threw security personnel who were merely following protocol under the proverbial bus.
Ewing’s complaint about not being recognized reminded me of the time I was in an elevator with the late comedic legend John Belushi and we were both going to the offices of Atlantic Records. The receptionist, who knew me, smiled and said, “Hi Lloyd. Who are you here to see?” She then looked at Belushi and politely asked, “Who are you?” Belushi provided his name and with whom he had an appointment. I jokingly said to him, “John, you need to hang with me. I can get you into places!” He laughed and we shook hands.
Ewing left happy as the Hoyas won the Big East. Witty New York Post sports columnist Peter Botte tweeted, “Patrick Ewing won a championship at the Garden. Amazing.”
Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman made it clear she didn’t approve of the Texas Rangers expecting a sellout crowd for their home opener now that Covid restrictions have been lifted in the Lone Star State. “I’m glad I won’t be there. It’s stupid,” she said. Waldman is absolutely right. Many ballparks around the country, including Citi Field, are serving as vaccine hubs. Yes, we’re getting closer to getting our lives back but let’s not jump the gun.
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There wasn’t the traditional “Rising Stars” game at this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend but it did seem to be a strange oversight that exciting rookie guard Immanuel Quickley wasn’t named a member of the 2021 team by NBA officials.
The New York Islanders suffered a blow when their captain and leading goal scorer, Anders Lee, sustained a serious injury to his right leg when he collided with New Jersey Devils forward Paval Zacha in the Isles’ 5-3 win last Thursday. The Islanders are hoping he will be able to return for the playoffs.
Lee has earned the captain designation not just for his superb play on the ice and his leadership in the locker room but he is also very giving of his time with local charities.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson certainly knows how to keep busy.
He is trying to revive the spring pro football league, the XFL, and has been talking with Canadian Football League executives (he once played for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders) about merging when the XFL returns in 2022.
Last month NBC debuted Johnson’s autobiographical series, “Young Rock,” in which he and three other actors portraying him humorously recreate his childhood, adolescence and college years. To his credit, he is not shy about making himself the butt of the jokes. It’s also fun to see actors portraying such wrestling legends of the 1980s as Andre the Giant and the Wild Samoans. “Young Rock” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Life and style
CBS has always had terrific crime procedural series. Last month it debuted “Clarice” starring Australian actress Rebecca Breeds in the role Jodie Foster made famous in the 1991 film classic “Silence of the Lambs.”
“Clarice” takes place in 1993 roughly two years after her character’s interactions with both Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill. It’s a tribute to the cast and writers that the viewer doesn’t even think about Anthony Hopkins’ cannibalistic killer (legal reasons prevent this show from mentioning his character) and there is no drop-off in talent between Foster and her TV actor counterpart, who shows no sign of having an accent from “down under.” In fact, if you close your eyes Breeds sounds exactly like Foster’s Clarice Starling.
This is a taut drama, which always keeps you on the edge of your seat just as the movie did. The supporting cast, led by Queens native Michael Cudlitz as Starling’s boss and Kal Penn (star of last year’s NBC comedy “Sunnyside,” which did not get the ratings it deserved), are top-notch.
“Clarice” airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. but it will be on hiatus for two weeks as CBS will be televising the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If you haven’t caught the show, this is the ideal to binge watch on CBS on Demand or Paramount Plus.
There have been many books written on the history of sports teams, film studios and television networks but there have been few books published about record companies with the exception of Motown. Author Peter Ames Carlin, who has penned biographies of Bruce Springsteen and Forest Hills High School’s most famous alum, Paul Simon, successfully fills this void with his latest tome, “Sonic Boom” (Henry Holt & Co.), which examines how Warner Brothers Records rose from a sleepy subsidiary of a legendary film studio to arguably the most successful record label in history.
Yes, Warner Brothers has had plenty of boldface names on its artist roster over the years such as Allan Sherman, Tiny Tim, Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers, Prince, Chaka Khan and Madonna, just to scratch the surface. However, anyone who purchases this book in the hopes of getting gossip about some of his or her favorite artists will be disappointed.
Carlin wisely prefers to write about record company executives and the culture of the label, which encouraged artistic growth and freedom. Executives such as Lenny Waronker, Stan Cornyn, Joe Smith, Russ Titelman, Ted Templeman, Jimmy Bowen and most importantly the label’s former CEO, Mo Ostin, are the real rock stars.
“Sonic Boom” is a fun read for baby boomers who grew up listening to the great pop/soul/country music from 1960 to 1990. You will feel like you are a fly on the wall in one of the hippest boardrooms in the history of corporate America.