Friday, April 08, 2011

Thomas Lake on the Death of Darrent Williams

Really good long form piece from the latest Sports Illustrated.

Written by Thomas Lake, "Bad Nights In The NFL" is a narrative report (yes, I just made up the description, but me thinks it fits) on the circumstances surrounding the New Years Eve 2007 death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Wiliams.

It features some pretty lyrical and interesting prose from Lake, but also a ton of detail around his killing and what led up to it. With this, one thing that stood out in the piece was the telling of secondary story arcs to contribute to the whole. Best example of this was the focus around teammate and friend Javon Walker. As someone who had lived the star athlete life for a few years longer than Williams, Walker's tale was an excellent one to tell around this "celebrity with new money to show off" lifestyle.

The one qualm I have about the story is I found myself getting lost as Lake recounted the minute by minute events immediately before Williams was shot. It could well be that I should have paid better attention, but that's the thing about great writing... it's great writing for the individual person reading it. While someone else may have had the same level of interest and appreciation of the story as I did, but not had the same issue around following the details... I did and so, there you go.

All in all, an excellent piece on a tragic event that hopefully (but, not likely) serves as a cautionary tale for someone else in the public eye with money and acclaim.