Friday, 16 October 2015
Holmes Court Advantage.
Magnified words from the legendary Arthur Conan Doyle of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are read by a young man enthralled with the mysteries and stories to be solved from the famous Baker Street boy and his Mr. Watson doctor assistant. Yet these legendary tales aren't magnified by glass...but a pair of goggles.
A pair of iconic goggles that would take to the 80's Forum floor for the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers, as legendary NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky-hooked his way to recording the all-time most points in his sports league history. This iconic number 33 would use the Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction that he read before games as inspiration in sussing out his opponents during contests. The way Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer's knee is knocking and locking one night and his history of injuries in that area point to a weakness down low. The way the infamous Boston Garden parquet floor splinters in that particular position means Celtic Kevin McHale will go right. And if Cap himself just gets into that position under the baseline, extends his arm to an almost perfect right angles and pitches the ball like a putt it should glide into the basket like that, every time, without fail.
Now in retirement Kareem is using those great powers of vision to deduct something even greater. His biggest challenge yet. We all know this thoughtful and wise man can write, just like he can act in things from 'Airplane' to the 'Game Of Death' fighting martial arts legend Bruce Lee. The 'Time' columnist is the best of the best when it comes to pros who have now turned their hoop hand to prose. Following his self-titled, acclaimed autobiography, 'Kareem' had wrote many a New York Times bestselling, published classic. From 'Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants' to writing children's story's based around the game with the life metaphors and lessons that run through it from teamwork to individuality.
But now Kareem is entering a whole new arena all together with his salute to Sherlock...or should we say his military brother 'Mycroft Holmes'. Abdul-Jabbar's new novel is a spin-off success like the Robert Downey Jnr films and the Benedict Cumberbatch T.V. shows. Keeping the detective alive like the spy of Ian Fleming's 007 Bond in this British intelligence age of 'Spectre'. Far from glorified fan-fiction from a celebrity this is an original alternative like Mitch Cullen's older 'Mr. Holmes' work which was turned into a movie with Sir Ian McKellen. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud. This original story that sees Holmes heading to Trinidad to investigate a haunting horror on the shores of its beaches is a deep story of investigation and influence that not only understands the Holmes family, but the military grade character of the elder Mycroft too. Sherlock makes some highlighted appearances to for all the hat and pipe fans but this inspired book is something fresh and new altogether. With all that's on the bookshelf of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's library this may just be his best work yet. Not only does he craft a sensational story, the American's command of the old English style, language and Holmes narrative is perfection. This old school Lakers player leaves Hollywood for Baker Street and the elementary result is one that is dear. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Tuff Gets Going.
Shots have been fired across the headlines this week as former Washington Wizards All-Star Gilbert Arenas has hit out at Caron Butler for his account of the Agent Zero's infamous locker-room gun-incident with former NBA player Javaris Crittenton (who is now serving 23 years in prison for a separate, manslaughter crime. Such a waste of such raw talent) over an unresolved gambling debt in his new already, Pat Riley to Mark Wahlberg acclaimed 'Tuff Juice' autobiography. Just for both sides of the argument, Butler states that after some gun talk threats from either sides, Gilbert laid out four guns and asked Javaris to pick one to be shot with. Arenas says he laid those guns out for Crittenton to choose which one Gilbert would be shot with. The whole situation was a mess!
Either way we are seriously digressing. That's not the issue here. The issue here is this annual. This amazing autobiography from Mr. Tuff Juice himself, Caron Butler is what we really need to focus on and how he turned away from the life of the streets to ball...something his teammates shouldn't have reversed once they made it too. Caron Butler's autobiography is inspired and the perfect influence for any young players looking to get into the game of basketball...not "the game", which in reality is anything but one. This is more. More than being a star under Coach Calhoun for UConn. More than the potential of being a top ten drafted star for the Miami Heat. Or more than being trade worthy for the Lakers Shaquille O'Neal with big-man Brian Grant and fellow underrated modern swingman Lamar Odom (thoughts and prayers...get well L.O.). More than what could have been in Hollywood. More than that was in Los Angeles as a Clipper. More than the ring as a Maverick in Dallas. More than the homecoming in Milwaukee as a Buck. More than the forecast for Thunder in Oklahoma City. More than this valuable veteran becoming a Piston in Detroit's Motor City machine. More than what could be as a Californian King on the throne in Sacramento. Even more than a powerful foreword from former teammate Kobe Bryant...now that's one hell of a co-sign from a guy where all waiting for him to be writing his own career tome. And of course more than what happened in D.C. More than all of this. But it's all here. All Caron has become. Because of all he has overcome.
Guns...gangs...drugs...death and all the wrong side of the street in-between. Substance abuse, not of his body...but others. Selling drugs and running with gangs. All until it stopped, not with a prison sentence, including the solitary, cruel confinement of 'The Hole', but when Caron decided enough was enough. He wasn't going out like that. Even if he could make a million on the street before he hit the stage of the NBA Draft, he wasn't going out like that. There was only one court Butler wanted to get caught up with...and he's been at its veteran, journeyman service ever since. But for a man whose played for almost ten teams over a decade and has found a home where he'll always belong to each respective city with each franchise, he never left the streets of Racine. He's never forget them, showing this NBA player more than cares with all the extra-curricula activities he's doing with the boys and girls to keep them off the streets and in the education of schooling everyone else from the books to the gym. And if you want to get there...you could start with this book. The NBA career may as well be the exceptional epilogue, because the life and times of young Caron Butler is what this is all about and it's life worth living and learning from. So you can do it too. Or he or she never has to. The struggle to survive behind the stratosphere if success. Caron Butler has overcome so much and the outcome is more than inspired...it's influential. It's not scripted on dry-erase...it's a real hit to the hardwood. It's not Hollywood...it's Racine. It's not Kobe...it's Caron. It's not the NBA....it's life. This is what it's all about. This is the juice. You don't think so? You don't like it? "Tuff"! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 5 October 2015
THE BLACK DAHLIA: Dripping in noir and dark red blood. Part of 'American Tabloid' writer James Ellroy's quartet set in Los Angeles is off the Q.T and very "hush, hush" like 'L.A. Confidential'. Based on the real Black Dahlia murder mystery in Los Angeles this Hollywoodland homicide was adapted into a movie starring leading men Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart and femme fatales Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank. Read with slick, classic lead cop investigative narration like its been ripped fresh off the typewriter, you feel how all drawn out this is like the case of the unsolved 'Zodiac' killer that demonised the angels of the city of Los Angeles. With brilliant boxing ring asides with the fire and ice of two partner cops in busting crime in the jaw, like the fire and ice of classic Laker Baylor and West this rages like a bull. All the way until the end which seems to go on until one of California's cruellest mysteries is brought to a light realer than a cinematic one. Until then the death of the Dahlia will never fade to black. TIM DAVID HARVEY.