Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sometimes, March Madness Can Wait

By Charlie Scaturro

“Uncle Hank died,” My girlfriend said solemnly a few weeks ago as I walked into our apartment coming home from work. Hank was in his early 70’s and had been battling cancer, but you’re never quite ready to hear those words uttered about a person you know, especially when they’re a family member of someone you’re close to.

Though I had only met Hank a handful of times, that’s all it took for him to make an impression on me. Based on stories I’d heard, the man wasn’t without his flaws but whenever I encountered him at my girlfriend’s family gatherings he went out of his way to make me feel welcome. As someone who comes from a small family it was intimidating to interact with my girlfriend’s huge family when she initially brought me around. But Hank’s kindness those first few times went further than he ever could have known.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Mase

By Charlie Scaturro

“Damn. We lost Mase.” Is all I could think this morning when I heard Anthony Mason had passed away at the age of 48.

For basketball fans in the 90’s Mason was the epitome of the physical, hardnosed style of play that is a distant memory in today’s NBA. But for anyone who grew up in New York City in the 90’s, Mason was a bit more than that. From his iconic haircuts to his fur coats to being featured in music videos and songs by the Beastie Boys, Mason WAS New York City in the mid-90’s.

The fact that he was a part of some of the best teams in Knicks franchise history only further ingrains Mase in New York City’s ethos. I remember when the Knicks won the Eastern Conference Finals and subsequently lost to the Houston Rockets in agonizing fashion in the summer of 1994 and for me, at 8 years old, it seemed like that was the most important thing that had happened to the city in my brief lifetime.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tom Brady and Outside Forces Helping to Decide our Fate

By Charlie Scaturro

With 20 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLIX, an undrafted rookie cornerback from the University of West Alabama stepped in front of an undrafted wide receiver from Fort Valley State University and caught a football that was not intended for him.

Roughly 40 yards away stood Tom Brady, who, like the rest of the world, was fixated on what had just transpired between two players few people watching the game had ever heard of before. Though Brady was one of the 114 million spectators watching the Super Bowl at that point in time, he had far more on the line than those of us sitting in our living rooms.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Remembering Stuart Scott

By Charlie Scaturro

I suppose it’s fitting that I was at my parent’s house getting ready to work during the Colts-Bengals game this past Sunday when I heard Stuart Scott had passed away. After all, that’s where I grew up watching and listening to him on SportsCenter.

We didn’t get cable TV until I was around 10 years old and I actually remember the day the cable guy came to our house to install it. Suddenly having nearly 100 channels including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network was nice, but the real reason I remember the day we got cable was because it meant we got ESPN. And of course, at that time ESPN’s main attraction was SportsCenter.

Friday, December 5, 2014

How the 76ers could Actually Lose

By Charlie Scaturro

“Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win”

-Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t Jump

No movie quote better describes the current state of the Philadelphia 76ers than Gloria Clemente’s (played by Rosie Perez) take on winning and losing in White Men Can’t Jump. Though some of the players who currently reside on the Sixers roster weren’t even born when White Men Can’t Jump hit theaters in 1992, her famous quote outlines the mentality that General Manager Sam Hinkie and the rest of the 76ers brain trust has adopted.

The plan, while controversial, is simple: put together an embarrassment of a roster in order to lose as many games as possible thereby increasing the 76ers chances of securing the best possible draft picks (it’s optional for the Sixers executives to watch games from their luxury suites like the villain in Inspector Gadget).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Randy Moss and Outrunning your Margin For Error

By Charlie Scaturro

Randy Moss was one of the most dynamic athletes and enigmatic sports figures in recent history, and even with no shortage of interesting topics to cover from his professional career, the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Rand University” spent little time focusing on the future Hall of Fame wide receiver’s journey in the NFL, and instead concentrated on his time growing up in West Virginia as he navigated his way through turmoil to ultimately end up as one of the greatest receivers of all time.

The fact that Moss did things in the NFL that, in retrospect, seem almost impossible while also serving as a lightning rod for controversy both on and off the field make it all the more interesting that the documentary didn’t highlight much about his professional career.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kevin Durant and the Half Truth about ‘Do What’s Best for You’

By Charlie Scaturro

The phrase “do what’s best for you” gets thrown around all the time by people who care about our well being. And on the surface, the intent behind this advice, which is essentially saying ‘take care of yourself’, comes from the very best places of the human conscience. Even though you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t think that, in theory, people should do what they need to do to take care of themselves, it’s always interesting to see how we react when someone actually makes a decision with their health at the forefront of their thought process.

Enter Kevin Durant, who just a few days ago made the decision that he would not play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup citing the need to take a break from basketball, both physically and mentally, in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.

There are those who say this decision is more about Durant’s rumored 300-plus million dollar contract with Under Armour than it is about basketball. Maybe so. There are those who say this decision is more about Durant wanting to protect himself from injury after what happened to Paul George recently. Maybe so. There are those who say this decision is more about Durant simply not wanting to play for Team USA this summer. Maybe so. But it’s also perfectly reasonable to think that Durant would need a break after a grueling NBA season, which involved constant traveling, dealing with the media, and having his every move examined under a microscope, all while working to build himself into a brand off the court as well.