By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Curt Schilling, hoop god

No doubt the first thing you did after reading the papers this morning was log on to Curt Schilling’s blog so you could get the full rundown on his criticism of Kobe Bryant. It’s good stuff. Schilling even knows how to be disingenuous. While claiming that he’s a newcomer to basketball, and hey, maybe NBA players are supposed to act like self-centered crybabies, he offers this:

Kevin Garnett, and not that this needs to be stated, but I’ll say it anyway, is as focused and locked in as any athlete in any sport I’ve been around. From pre-game shoot around to last seconds on the clock, this kid is legit. The intensity and reputation are there, wow. His eyes are on the floor, or the ball, all game. What an incredible pleasure it is to watch and be a fan of. I am blown away in that he came out of high school, something that can be a huge disadvantage, and has ALWAYS maintained who he was purported to be.

The first game I saw from these seats the Coach for Washington was basically taunting KG when he was at the line, saying a bunch of things, KG was ignoring him for the most part until he said something that must have been a bit too much, KG pauses, looks over and basically tells him to go piss up a rope.

Last night KG goes to the line, Lamar Odom (who I became a fan of last night) is saying “Hey KG why don’t you help on the ball down here?” Pointing to the paint, and I am guessing he’s referencing the fact that KG wasn’t down in the paint mixing it up. He says it again, loudly, KG doesn’t even acknowledge him, and sinks both. Impressive, total focus.

Schilling also offers a spirited defense of Garnett over that technical that got called Sunday night: “These guys are playing for a world championship, they are as amped up as you expect the best players in the world to be, they are grown men, there’s going to be some PG-13 language, and you are giving a T to a guy for dropping an F bomb? Stupid.”

The section on Bryant comes shortly afterward, and the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

Schilling’s a pretty good writer. He’s got a way with words — who can forget his invocation of Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s “inherent ‘toolness,'” a phrase I swear I’m going to steal one of these days. He needs copy editing (who doesn’t?), but other than that, I’d think editors at the Globe or the Herald would jump at the chance to have him in their pages.

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  1. mike_b1

    Dan, I’ve spoken with some editors who are unhappy with Schilling, claiming he is breaking an unspoken trust by repeating what he’s hearing while sitting in (possibly comp’d) premium seats on his blog. My reply: That makes him different from a sportswriter how? Consider how several Boston writers repeated an offhand (and according to Nomar, private) Garciaparra complaint (“Our doctors are killing us”) over and again until they drove him out of town.What’s your take?

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: This should be an easy call in Schilling’s favor. But I’m currently thinking through the implications of Mayhill Fowler’s citizen journalism. She’s the Off the Bus lady who reported Obama’s remarks about “bitter” white people who “cling” to guns and religion, and who then recorded Bill Clinton going off on Todd Purdum.In Obama’s case, the fundraiser she was attending had been closed to traditional media*. If she’d been wearing a credential around her neck — as I would argue she should have been — then she probably wouldn’t have been admitted.I think the Clinton case offers a close analogy to Schilling. It was actually Fowler who got in Clinton’s face on the rope line and started goading him about the Purdum article. He went off, and she recorded it.But if she were merely standing in a place where any ordinary person was standing and overheard what Clinton was saying, then I think she’s absolutely free to use it, whether Clinton realized she was there or not. Although, again, I think she should have been wearing a credential. Maybe Clinton would have seen it and curbed himself.Now, to Schilling. Because he was receiving no special access of any kind (other than being a rich, famous athlete who was able to score amazing tickets, whether he paid for them or not), I think he’s free to repeat anything he overhears, whether to his family, his friends or readers of his blog. I don’t even see how it’s an issue.No one would think Schilling was doing anything unethical if he gave an interview to a sportswriter in which he reported what he’d overheard — again, as a fan, sitting in his expensive seat. Why shouldn’t he be able to write it up?That said, I understand the frustration of professional sportswriters. If the Globe stationed someone behind the Lakers bench to listen in on the players, the NBA would go berserk.*In my original version of this comment, I mistakenly wrote that the Obama fundraiser was off the record. Jay Rosen sets me straight here. However, I would suggest that by writing it up for the Huffington Post, Fowler was, in fact, acting as a member of the “traditional media,” which had been barred from attending. HuffPost is as “traditional” as it gets in 2008.

  3. Steve

    Here’s an interesting diavlog where Matt Yglesias ( and Jane Hamsher ( discuss various aspects of journalistic ethics from Tim Russert to Mayhill Fowler. (It’s got video, but the video is pretty boring. It works perfectly well as an audio-only mp3.) The journalist discussion is pretty much the last 12 minutes of a one-hour program.

  4. Suldog

    As big of a baseball nut as I am, this is the first time I’ve visited Curt’s blog. That’s because I’m even a bigger basketball nut.It’s interesting stuff. He does have a way with words, as you say. As an unabashed bleeder of green, I’m tremendously heartened by his take on Bryant, of course 🙂

  5. Woody Bombay

    So, let me get this straight: – Celtics stars are just special guys who are focused and unselfish and do things the right way and smart and thoughtful and caring. Did I say “special guys”? I meant “special, special guys.” Because they are really very special.- Lakers star is a selfish prick who don’t understand the team concept. – A fan whose favorite Celtic appears to be Kevin Garnett writes without a trace of irony or self-awareness that the Lakers got a suspicious fix of a deal with Gasol. Is Curt really that oblivious and lacking in self-awareness? (Rhetorical question – of course he is!)

  6. Suldog

    Speaking to the Garnett deal:There were quite a few Celtics fans (myself included) who weren’t overjoyed with getting rid of Al Jefferson. Some of us felt we were trading a guy who would become a premier player, a force for the next 10 or 12 years, for a limited (perhaps one-time) shot that had a good chance of ending in the semi-finals.Of course, I was wrong. As things turned out, I’m thrilled. However, it wasn’t as cut-and-dried, to some of us, as you make it out to be.

  7. Anonymous

    Shilling gets paid to throw a baseball. I’m not interested in anything he has to say other than about his baseball playing. That includes his thoughts on the Celtics playoff performance, the latest presidential race, or the fish at Legal Seafood. I tolerated him until the day he used the fame of the ’04 World Series win to shill (sorry I couldn’t help myself) for George Bush.

  8. j g

    “Schilling even knows how to be disingenuous” You just catching on that now- or is it relative to Roger Clemens and his time here?

  9. mike_b1

    anon 11:39: That’s easy, then: Don’t read him.

  10. Dexter Westbrook

    I’m wondering, really, just what would be wrong with the Boston Globe or any other newspaper buying seats behind a team’s bench and reporting what is said during the game?

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