Not so malicious.

Made some time to watch “Malice at the Palace,” a short (about an hour) documentary about the infamous brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers. It was Nov. 19, 2003, and I remember it mainly because Alan had a job interview in Detroit that day, and they’d made him an offer. We were moving to Detroit. Then I came downstairs that Saturday morning, turned on the TV and found it looping on almost every channel.

We laughed and laughed – hey, it’s our new home! What a crazy place! And beyond the usual anniversary pieces, the tiresome Albomesque chin-scratching about Our Violent Society and Won’t Someone Think of the Children, I haven’t thought much about it since.

So I’m glad I watched. And I came away feeling bad for laughing. I hadn’t thought enough about what it meant to the players who were suspended, losing millions of dollars and being derailed for an entire season. And I certainly hadn’t given enough consideration to the jerkoff fans who started the thing, in particular the guy who threw the cup that set things off. His name is John Green and while he expressed regret, I can’t say I felt much of it coming through the screen.

The players, though – that was rough. Ron Artest, who appeared to have a few mental health issues. Jermaine O’Neal, all sweetness and regret. Stephen Jackson, still pissed. And so on.

Of the woefully unprepared security team, we will say little, other than to echo O’Neal’s contempt that one of the cops didn’t recognize Reggie Miller and came close to giving him a mace facial. True, he wasn’t dressed in his uniform – he had a broken finger – but he was in a very nice suit and trying to break things up; you’d think even a suburban cop would realize a 6-foot-7-inch black man in a suit with courtside access was not just another rioter.

(I once stumbled across a stray piece of video from a couple years back. Miller, who has moved on to sports broadcasting, was walking across a court in an empty arena, hours before a NCAA championship game was to start. A few balls are scattered around the floor. Miller is, again, in a nicely tailored suit. He picks up a ball, dribbles twice, shoots and drains it, from well into the three-point zone. Does it again, does it again, does it five times, each time nothing but net, outside the line. All of this is captured by a photographer he doesn’t see. After he’s shot all the balls within reach, he walks off to wherever he was headed. It’s such a pleasure to watch someone who is that good at what he does, doing what he does. And I’m not even a sports fan.)

The worst offenders, of course, are the media. The word “thug” comes up again and again in the coverage, while people in suits sit in front of cameras and opine straight out their asses. Having been an out-the-ass opiner myself, I know the job often requires you to have opinions about shit you know little to nothing about. Still. Man, I’m glad I don’t have that job anymore.

Anyway, it’s on Netflix, and well worth an hour of your time, sports fan or not.

And with that, we await the weekend. The sunrise was lovely this morning, but it’s gonna be a hot one. Stay cool.

Posted at 9:26 am in Detroit life, Media |

40 responses to “Not so malicious.”

  1. Jenine said on August 20, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for the beautiful sunrise shot. We’ve had beautiful clouds in the sky this week but the high humidity is pissing me off. I’m in Kansas, it’s expected but bleah.
    Thinking of Alex – hope you can get rid of the cigs. That is a tough change.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on August 20, 2021 at 10:40 am

    We’ve discussed in my public speaking classes how the meaning of words can change with time and circumstance. Thug is one of them. It’s now shorthand for urban black people. Case in point: Were any of the seditious rioters who attacked the Capitol called thugs? Wasn’t their behavior the very definition of thuggishness?

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  3. Julie Robinson said on August 20, 2021 at 10:49 am

    And in really important news, Mike Richards has stepped down as host of Jeopardy. No word on a new host.

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  4. alex said on August 20, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Thanks Jenine for the well wishes on the smoking and Jeff (tmmo) re: the upcoming surgery.

    I’ve quit before on Wellbutrin and I know I can do it again. I just have to avoid picking the habit back up once and for all.

    So, Jeff, I’m curious why one would need a repeat septoplasty. Do nasal passages grow shut again over time?

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  5. David C said on August 20, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    I didn’t think Mike Richards would ever host an episode. You can’t replace Alex Trebek with a dirtbag. You just can’t. He Cheney’ed himself in and like Cheney there was nobody to say, “Nice try, not gonna happen”.

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  6. Heather said on August 20, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I love that Jeopardy thought that choosing a mediocre white man (who essentially hired himself) for a beloved game show would pass muster in 2021. (Translation: I do not love it.)

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  7. candlepick said on August 20, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    My go-to example of painful cognitive dissonance remains the fact the Jeff Bezos (aka Voldemort) rescued the Washington Post.
    But now I’m having trouble with my opinion that Mike Richards’ week as Jeopardy host was excellent and that people with game-show expertise make really good game-show hosts. (Matbe even white males who’ve said crappy things in the past.) See also, Verbal Framing: Cheneying vs. Hiring Within.
    Also, while I enjoyed watching Alex Trebek, he was often a huge Underminer of female contestants. Wow, how that has been forgotten.

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  8. LAMary said on August 20, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    I sort of liked Aaron Rodgers hosting Jeopardy but I might be the only person who did. I liked Mayim Bialik too. I didn’t like LaVar Burton. Ken Jennings who has a producer job on Jeopardy could pick himself and I’d be ok with that. I’ll probably watch it whoever takes over. I enjoy the geezer focused pharmeceutical commercials too much to stop.

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  9. David C said on August 20, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Are you Mike Richards’s mom, candlepick?

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  10. Julie Robinson said on August 20, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Mike Richards was competent but there are just too many nasty comments by him for it to be acceptable. Just joking around isn’t a good explanation. Not now, not ever.

    LeVar wanted it so bad but I think he froze up. I wondered if he had practice ahead of time; did they prep the guest hosts or just toss them out there? Aaron was charming but stumbled over his words. I only caught Mayim once and she came across as annoying.

    Dr. Oz I refused to watch.

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  11. Sherri said on August 20, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    It can be true that Mike Richards did an excellent job in his week as Jeopardy host and that Mike Richards is an asshole who should not be Jeopardy host. Both things can be true at once. And, it should be noted, the issues with Mike Richards go beyond just have said some crappy things in the past.

    I watched “Malice at the Palace” as well, and was really struck by the fan who went onto the court to confront the Pacers during the altercation. This was a fan who was already so problematic the Pistons were going to pull his season tickets, yet even now, he thinks he was a victim.

    I also compare this incident to the time some Boston Bruins went into the stands at Madison Square Garden in 1979, which is sort of fondly remembered as one those quirky hockey things. Mike Milbury, who beat a fan with his own shoe, went on to have a long career as a coach, GM, and TV analyst until finally making one sexist comment too many and being fired last year.

    Another documentary I can recommend is Women of Troy, about the USC women’s basketball team and Reggie Miller’s sister Cheryl.

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  12. Deborah said on August 20, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    “Having been an out-the-ass opiner myself…” made me snort laugh.

    Doing last day stuff before heading out to NM tomorrow. I’m trying to get everything in one small carry on. I keep stuff there but invariably I have stuff that I have to cart back and forth.

    The Blue Angels were practicing over the lake this morning for the air and water show tomorrow. It went on and on for well over an hour, back and forth. They weren’t really flying in formation but 2 were flying pretty darn close to each other a few times. Really loud. There are quite a few boats out on the water, I guess they’ll be out there all night.

    So here’s a first for me, I had to go down to the loop for an errand. On the way back I was crossing State at the corner by the former Marshall Field’s, I guess it’s still Macy’s but I don’t pay much attention to it. So there’s a nice looking well built young black man on the other side of State, he’s shirtless so you noticed his build. He walks over to the corner facing the State, reaches in his pants, pulls out his dick and pees right there on the crosswalk. He’s looking right at the people walking towards him, including me. I saw the forceful stream of water first and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from and then I saw it and quickly looked away and behind me at the other people crossing. Everyone was shocked. I’m lucky I didn’t get splattered. It was weird and unnerving. What a world.

    And now the Blue Angels are back.

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  13. ROGirl said on August 20, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Alex didn’t undermine me when I was a contestant.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Polyps can regrow and earn you repeat septoplasties, esp. when the 2nd one triggers major deep infections up where the difference between sinus lining & brain covering is roughly equivalent to a thick damp heavy duty paper towel. All well now, but it was a nasty couple of years, and likely the trigger for my spasmodic dysphonia. So follow all the post op instructions carefully & thoroughly, Alex!

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  15. susan said on August 20, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Deborah, stuff

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  16. LAMary said on August 20, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Same here, ROGirl.

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  17. Tajalli said on August 20, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Not only is this not so malicious, it’s downright captivating enough to look forward to the DVD from the library.

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  18. alex said on August 20, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Yikes, Jeff. It hadn’t occurred to me how vulnerable that area might be. I generally don’t like going under the knife, but my life more or less depends on it in this case. I’m not breathing properly and it’s affecting my overall health.

    Deborah, I’m not sure if what you witnessed was an exhibitionist or someone showing utter contempt for the world, but ick.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on August 20, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Mentally ill, homeless, exhibitionist, contempt for the world–the possibilities are endless. My new haircut lady, who works from home, told me she let her little boys pee against the tree when they were alone in their fenced off yard. They repeated it when they had little girls over and she had to put the kibosh on. But then her 3.5 year old decided to come out from his bathroom trip without any bottoms on and she was embarrassed. I told her my little boy did the same thing at that age. I mean, everything is so…accessible that way.

    After spending 90 minutes registering for a teledoc call, it lasted all of five minutes. But I got my meds refilled which was all I needed. I’m trying to find another doctor but it’s an excruciatingly long process without knowing what Medicare supplement I will have. Our nurse friend told us most docs won’t accept you without a supplement. Life, she is complicated.

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  20. Deborah said on August 20, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    The peeing young man did not look homeless. He was tall and muscular like he worked out. He had athletic shoes and shorts, no shirt as I said. It was just so weird because one doesn’t expect to see that. He looked people right in the eye, no particular menacing expression on his face but the action was more like total disdain. He made a point of walking toward the street and it was around lunch time in the middle of the loop.

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  21. LAMary said on August 20, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Someone can look sane and healthy and have mental health issues.

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  22. Suzanne said on August 20, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    We watched Malice in the Palace tonight and it is definitely worth the time. I don’t follow pro basketball much but I do have a vague memory of the incident. I always liked Reggie Miller, who seems like a decent guy, and it was sad that he never won a championship after this melee derailed the team. The faux remorse from the guy that started the mess was maddening.

    We also started watching The Komisky Method also on Netflix which starts kind of slow, but by about the 4th episode, had us laughing out loud. It gives a great depiction of aging.

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  23. Dexter Friend said on August 21, 2021 at 3:38 am

    I watched the Indiana vs. Pistons game live and watched the docu a few days ago. I became a Metta World Peace fan before that night, when he was still called Ron Artest. Artest got the lion’s share of heat from the fans and people I knew then. The docu reveals how troubled he has always been. That night, in my opinion, was when calling violence in sports or on the street “thug behavior” took hold. Black folks hate that, now and then. Thug became the new phrase for much more awful words to describe Black men. We all knew what white people meant when they used “thug”. John Green started it, and until the TV show, I never knew his name.
    Hell, when I stormed the court in Philadelphia 45 years ago to congratulate Bob Knight for winning the 1976 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, no security stopped me. I reached Knight, said congratulations, he shoved me away while calling me a goddam son of a bitch, and I instantly switched allegiance to the team he had just vanquished, the U of Michigan. That’s still “my team”. For whatever it’s worth, my actions that night were caught on tape and decades later I saw myself, a mobile 26 year old, leaping over scorers’ tables and running onto the sidelines. All my friends saw it as well, as did Carla Lee. My only moment on national TV. Big deal.

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  24. Deborah said on August 21, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Dorothy, how did opening night go?

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  25. Deborah said on August 21, 2021 at 8:48 am

    We’re at Midway waiting at the gate. We went through a horrible experience going through TSA, we still haven’t figured out how to update our pre-check after it expired. All I could think of while standing in endless lines was how many people were probably shedding Covid. We absolutely have to get our pre-check figured out before we have to go through that again.

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  26. Dave said on August 21, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Dexter, I’m guessing that you already know that you can watch yourself on YouTube. You can advance it right to the end of the game.

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  27. Suzanne said on August 21, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Dave, i just did what you suggested and watched the last few minutes of the game. Dexter, was that you that jumped over the scorers table?

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  28. Julie Robinson said on August 21, 2021 at 11:42 am

    Deborah, I just asked our friendly Uncle G and it looks like if Pre-Check has expired you may have to start over, although you were supposed to have gotten an email or phone call. If it hasn’t expired, you can reapply here: There’s a place on that page to look up your expiration date, so I did and I have a little over a year left. I should probably thank you for making me look it up. Who knows where that original letter is now.

    If you plan on traveling out of the country there’s a different program called Global Entry. IIRC it costs a bit more but is maybe good for longer. I bet our Proprietress knows.

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  29. alex said on August 21, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Looks like we have us some swimming weather. Today gonna go jump in the lake.

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  30. beb said on August 21, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Juan Colem professor of History at U of M explains why we were doomed to lose Afghanistan from the beginning. It’s a quick read but identifies all the principle schisms that makes Afghanistan unrulable.

    When did rap singers started singing about “the thug life?” Was it before or after the “Malice at the Palace (which, by the by, no longer exists).

    I was underwhelmed by the summer of guest hosts on Jeopardy. Too many of them, like Anderson Cooper or Savannah Guthie had day-jobs they were never going to leave. And Dr. Ox…. That was so much in bad taste. Also it didn’t seem like they had enough black of women hosts, or black women hosts. I don’t have a favorite but I did dislike Richards for what looked like self-dealing. I am astonished how quickly he fell.

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  31. Sherri said on August 21, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    My husband and I went down to Portland for a few days. Portland in the pandemic is not quite the same; fewer people around, more things closed. But Powell’s is still open, and it was nice to get away for a few days. We ended up coming home a day early, though, because there’s a big right wing rally tomorrow planned in downtown, and we were staying in downtown. I didn’t want any part of the stupid Proud Boys, and I don’t trust the Portland police to do anything about them.

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  32. Deborah said on August 21, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    We’ve been back in NM since about 10:30am MST. It’s glorious weather, coolish and dry. Lovely to sit outside until my husband and I took a drive up to the ski basin where the temps were 15 degrees even cooler. We were a little perplexed that the aspens don’t look so good up there right now. I know they turn fairly early in the fall, but it doesn’t look like the typical fall changes, seems way to early and bleak. Oh no.

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  33. Dexter Friend said on August 22, 2021 at 1:53 am

    I’ll be damned…I had only seen my appearance on espn hi-lites about 15 years ago…I had forgotten YouTube had it. Yep, that was me in that brown patent leather jacket who jumped the table and congratulated Knight. 2 years later I encountered him at the old St. Louis Checkerdome , 1978, the year Kentucky won. We passed in an empty hallway on open practice day…I was not about to try to say hi to the miserable prick.
    For a 6 year span I attended all Final Fours except 1979 when my plane was cancelled and I would have had to drive to Salt Lake during a raging blizzard. So yeah, I was there, again in Philadelphia, in 1981 when IU beat North Carolina, 67-50, the day Reagan was shot in D.C.
    That time my buddy Murray and I Amtrak’ed it there.

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  34. ROGirl said on August 22, 2021 at 10:00 am

    My Covid test was negative. It had been 6 days since my exposure and I didn’t have any symptoms, but that didn’t preclude me from having it. They did the 24 hour test, so I self-isolated until I got the results. I was extremely relieved that an unvaccinated asshole didn’t give it to me.

    The guy actually texted me later on the day I got the news about the exposure, and said that he hoped I didn’t have Covid. I responded that I had the test and was waiting for results. He hoped I was feeling OK. I felt fine, but I also told him that I had chosen to protect myself and could still get sick.

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  35. LAMary said on August 22, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Sherri, the roadie son had a show in Portland this weekend. I could have scored some freebies for you. I bet you wanted to go to a giant heaving concert after visiting Powells, didn’t you.

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  36. basset said on August 22, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Only in Nashville… went to an estate sale this weekend, turned out the place belonged to a musician who had played on many famous records, including the dobro part (twangy stuff at the beginning) on “Harper Valley PTA.”

    Which was written by Tom T. Hall, who died Saturday… and lived not far from Harpeth Valley Elementary School, widely thought to have been the inspiration for the song’s name. Close to our house too, Basset Jr. went there for grades K-6.

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  37. basset said on August 22, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    And Don, the surviving Everly brother, has died.

    These things come in threes, who’s next?

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  38. alex said on August 22, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    I keep reading bits and pieces here and there that all in Afghanistan is not what it seems.

    Consider this:

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  39. Dorothy said on August 22, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for asking, Deborah. It went very well. I had one or two flubs on Friday and last night, but today (matinee) no one messed up even once, so I’m feeling pretty great this evening. I’ve missed being in a show and it’s almost 7 years since I was in one.

    Thx for the rec about Malice in the Palace. We watched it this weekend too. Very eye-opening. My husband does not like the NBA – basketball is his favorite sport but he only follows college ball. So he said he only remembered ESPN clips of Ron Artest charging the seats. He was glad to find out the truth about it all.

    Tomorrow is the first day of classes and I know ahead of time that I’m going to be absolutely wiped by 2PM. I have to work until 4:30 though. Ha. I came up with a description of first day of classes several years ago. “Head in a blender day” – I can barely keep up with the walk-in traffic in the office, faculty asking questions, emails, etc. And we have a new faculty member coming from Ireland who is starting this week. She interviewed virtually of course, and so that will bring a new layer of fun to the week. But after faculty returned last Monday and I was really busy all week, I have to admit it’s MUCH more fun to be busy like this than working from home. It’s taking time to get my energy level back up. At the end of this week my daughter is flying into town just to see me in the play so that’ll be a nice treat after a predictably rough week.

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  40. Deborah said on August 22, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    ”Head in a blender day”, I’m going to remember that.

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