Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Random TV Recommendation

Carve out some time to see a rerun of Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks if you get a chance this week. So far as TV sports documentaries are concerned, it's exceptional.

I was worried that the director was going to heavy-handedly play the Reggie Miller = the good guy, Spike Lee = the bad guy card -- but that didn't happen. Instead, Miller and Lee are portrayed as impish rogues cut from the same block. The documentary may as well have been called "Two Former Rivals Smiling Knowingly Whilst Waxing Nostalgic." Obviously, there's a lot more to it than just that, but the interviews with Miller and Lee are a lot of fun to watch and probably could have stood on their own in a more minimalist cut of the program.

One thing that I had forgotten about the early/mid-1990s NBA was just how physical the game was back then. The 1980s were like the Dark Ages of NBA defense, a time when teams scored 120+ points a game fairly regularly. By the time the '90s rolled around the League was ready to overcompensate. Centers and power forwards started hitting the weight room and sharpening their elbows and the game got rough. Today's ballers are far more balletic on D then their brethren of 15-20 years ago -- LeBron James blocks shots today that Dennis Rodman would have ignored for the sake of taking out the shooter yesterday.

Anyway, you don't have to enjoy basketball to like it. In a lot of ways it's just a good old fashioned story about two of the game's most exceptional trash talkers. In fact, that might by the film's most glaring flaw: there just isn't anyway to learn what was actually said between Miller and Lee and still be appropriate for basic cable. It may not be all that important in the end -- the telling glances that Miller and Lee throw at the camera are fine substitutes.

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