Monday, March 04, 2013

Basketball writing from Sports Illustrated - by Jenkins & McCallum

There's been three pieces of basketball writing I've seen recently (all from Sports Illustrated) that struck me as particularly interesting.

The Feb 25 issue featured two of them with "Rondo" by Lee Jenkins and "Chaos Theory" from Jack McCallum. The Jenkins piece is a long profile on Rajon Rondo and does an excellent job delving into the extremely competitive injured Celtics point guard. The McCallum story was on the Los Angeles Lakers and what stood out in this piece was the construction of it. After an introduction in which he set the stage with expectations for the team going into the season measured against performance so far, McCallum threw down the sentence "Herewith, the main story lines and characters" and proceeded with short sections that had the following italicized titles...

No Country for Old Men - on former (and incorrectly assumed to become current) coach Phil Jackson
The Departed - on owner Jerry Buss who recently passed away
The Adjustment Bureau - on the team under new coach Mike D'Antoni
The Tao of Steve - on point guard Steve Nash and his play
13 Going on 30 - on mercurial (and perhaps immature) center Dwight Howard
The Dilemma - on the integration of all-star Pau Gasol into the offense under D'Antoni
The Italian Job - on Lakers guard (and one of the greatest players in the game) Kobe Bryant
It's Complicated - on the question of what exactly need be done to get the team playing as it should

Just a very innovative approach the story by McCallum and it felt to work perfectly.

The third piece of excellent basketball writing to mention here was also by Lee Jenkins and for the Sports Illustrated website. "Lakers' success a testament to best owner in sports history" was published online the same day Jerry Buss passed away and, in the same vein as he did on Rondo, Jenkins wrote a story which showed a great deal about the person it covered. Detail leading to with greater meaning all done with writing that flows well... very good stuff.