The Olympics have provided great entertainment and drama for many years, but in this fractured media environment it's clear these mass events are growing in importance. There's no denying the London games have had many great story lines, particularly for American fans, but I don't think that's the primary reason viewers are flocking to NBC's prime time coverage and the assorted cable networks' daytime airings.
These large-scale live (or "semi-live") events provide us a chance to share what we've seen and to connect with co-workers, family members, and friends. Whether it's social media or in-person conversations, these shared experiences are invaluable. They're part of how we bond and build a sense of community and shared interest.
It's nice to see American athletes compete at such a high level in this first week of the Games. It's even more fun to see and take part in the shared experiences they provide.
I wasn’t a child who actively looked for heroes. I was enamored enough with my parents and friends that I didn’t feel the need to put my hopes and dreams onto a public figure. However, that didn’t keep me from putting Jerry West on a very high level.
In reading West’s first autobiography from 1969, “Mr. Clutch,” I was riveted by his descriptions of life in West Virginia and his total dedication to basketball. As an eleven-year-old enjoying a balmy Southern California life, West’s story was a world away from my experience.
However, I related to his work ethic and desire to master a skill as thoroughly as possible. It impressed me and allowed me to further appreciate what he did on the court.
In his new autobiography, “West by West: My Charmed and Tormented Life,” the reasons for his obsessive escape into basketball become clear. Reading it over this past weekend, I felt like that boy again reading “Mr. Clutch.”
This afternoon we welcomed heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko to our studios for an interview to be aired in a few weeks. The brothers are doing interviews in advance of the opening of the new documentary, Klitschko, which features the back-story of how the pair became the first brothers to ever simultaneously capture all the heavyweight titles available.
I won’t bother recounting the interview, as you’ll have a chance to hear it in about three weeks. However, I wanted to share with you what the brothers were like off-mic during their visit.
Wladimir greeted me by saying how much he appreciated my willingness to interview them, given how hard he’d heard it was to get a booking on AirTalk. I told him the pleasure was mine and that I’d seen many of his and Vitali’s fights over the years. I’m a big fan of both boxers and thanked them for coming to talk about the documentary and their careers. Over the course of our 45-minutes together, I understood why the Klitschkos are generally well-liked in boxing. They were pleasant and gracious.
Thursday morning on AirTalk I had the chance to continue our coverage of the Dodgers saga with team vice-chairman, Steve Soboroff. He’s a familiar figure in Los Angeles from his run for mayor and his leadership of the controversial Playa Vista project.
Soboroff is now Dodger owner Frank McCourt’s right-hand man, having taken the job just a couple of days before Major League Baseball appointed a monitor to oversee the team’s financial operations. Though most of us would’ve considered that bad timing for our new job, Soboroff seems to be relishing his new underdog role as defender of McCourt.
Our half-hour conversation Thursday was wild, with Soboroff launching a passionate defense of his boss, complete with the charge that MLB is engaging in a sham investigation of the team’s finances. He went on to describe MLB monitor Tom Schieffer as hobnobbing with players instead of doing the job commissioner Bud Selig assigned him to do.