Los Angeles Lakers: Podcast
Click here to listen to the full interview.
Click to listen to the full interview.
To hear the full interview, click this link.
The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a breakdown of talking points is below:
- (1:57): Last season, the minutes logged by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were, shall we say, high and the toll was obvious. To some degree, this was the byproduct of Mike Brown trying to maximize the best players from an imperfect roster. But there were also situations where, with an eye towards the bigger picture, Brown could have limited that PT and chose not to. This preseason has offered mixed signals about Brown easing up on a veteran roster. Will he take cues from his mentor Gregg Popovich and occasionally risk a loss for the sake of keeping his team fresh for the playoffs?
- (8:40): The New York Yankees were recently swept out of the ALCS by the Detroit Tigers (editor's note: HA!), and no player ended up the face of this disaster more than third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who was eventually lifted from the lineup altogether. However, the slump can't be blamed on Kobe Bryant's lack of concern. The Mamba and A-Rod have been friends for a while, and 24 attempted to give his fellow superstar a pep talk.
Per Ramona Shelburne:
"I just say to him, 'You're Alex Rodriguez. You're A-Rod. You're one of the best to ever do it,'" Bryant said. "I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, 'Hell with it' and just do your thing.
"We're different. But you're talking about, 'He's one of the best to ever play.' I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he's the best. ... Where, I don't."
Those words of encouragement also offer a revealing glimpse of the psyche that makes Bryant the unflappable player he is. The guy never stops believing in his abilities. Period.
We also marvel how, at least as of a few years ago, Derek Fisher had never been to Bryant's house. I don't doubt the sincerity and depths of their friendship, but still, that's just so "Kobe."
- (19:00): Could Bryant's ferocious confidence result in one day mistaking himself for an elite player when the numbers and performances irrefutably say otherwise?
- (21:31): ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst recently reported how several league execs think the Lakers, with several contracts expiring after the 2014 season, plan to make a run at LeBron James, should The King opt out of his deal. This scenario remains highly speculative for now, but here's a question worth pondering. Many a Lakers fan has resented LeBron over the years for what's been perceived as a premature coronation that stole some of Kobe's rightful thunder. After despising James for so long, could they learn to love him in purple and gold?
Also, were the Lakers able to land LBJ, does that make Kobe more or less likely to return?
First, the always awesome Bryan Cranston returned to the show ahead of "Argo," based on the true story of six American diplomats forced to hide at the home of Canada's ambassador to Iran during the hostage crisis that began in 1979. (I saw a screening earlier this week, and it's very good.)
CLICK HERE OR THE INTERVIEW. Among the topics of conversation:
- His memories of the hostage crisis.
- Ben Affleck the leading man was frequently the object of ridicule. Ben Affleck the director, however, has built an impressive resume. Cranston's impressions after working with him on "Argo."
- The experience as an actor of tackling such an important part of American history.
- "Breaking Bad" is nearing an end, with the final eight episodes coming after the first of the year. His feelings on having to soon put Walter White to bed.
- When Cranston -- a die-hard Dodgers fan -- first came on our show, he expressed interest in taking ownership of the Dodgers in a post-Frank McCourt era. Obviously it didn't happen. Any disappointment? How quickly could he take Ned Colletti's job if asked?
Kevin James opens "Here Comes the Boom," in which he plays a teacher moonlighting as a low level MMA fighter in order to raise money to save his high school's extracurricular programs.
CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW. Among the highlights:
- James is a card-carrying member of Gang Green. His thoughts on the Jets and Tim Tebow.
- James named his daughter Shea, after the now-gone Mets home stadium. Lovely name, but was there any hesitation naming her after a building universally seen as an eyesore? In the process, we learn the name of James' hypothetical autobiography.
- How difficult was it for James to dive into the MMA world for "Here Comes the Boom?" How good did he get?
- This is the second time he's worked with Salma Hayek ("Grownups" being the other.) Fair to say she's following him around?
Few producers have racked up his level of critical acclaim, for shows like 'The Unit,' 'Terriers,', 'Lie to Me,' and his signature show, 'The Shield,' which ran 88 episodes between 2002 and 2008, easily ranking among the elite shows of the last 15 years. Ryan's newest effort, 'Last Resort' starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman, premieres Thursday night at 8 PT on ABC.
(If you're impatient or have plans that night, you can watch the pilot by clicking here.)
'Last Resort' centers on the U.S.S. Colorado, a (fictional) nuclear submarine captained by Marcus Chapman (Braugher) and his XO (Speedman) fired at (after a series of commands delivered in unorthodox fashion) by another U.S. vessel, damaged, and then forced to go rogue, so to speak. It's a complicated hour of television with a lot of information packed in, but very entertaining and a potential standout on the new fall calendar.
We spoke with Ryan -- a Chicago native and huge sports fan -- about the show, his career, and his take on everything from the NHL lockout to the NFL. Click on the module to hear the show, and use the handy rundown below as a naviational tool, should you be so inclined.
- (3:00) In L.A., the NHL lockout hasn't moved the needle, despite housing the Stanley Cup champion Kings. In Chicago, however, people are very upset, reflecting a difference in the sports cultures of the two cities.
- (6:50) Without getting too political, Ryan laments the efforts to bust employee unions in sports, not just in the NHL but also the NFL with the referees. (And keep in mind, this was recorded before the Week 3 debacles.) He draws on his experience working for the Writer's Guild as a reference point.
- (10:00) As a long suffering Bears fan, what does Ryan make of Jay Cutler, as a quarterback and a leader? Any evaluation, Ryan says, has to be put into context. Specifically, the cavalcade of awful signal callers they've had over the last 15 years, along with a horrible offensive line.
- (17:15) Turning to the show, Ryan explains the inspiration for 'Last Resort,' and how the show developed from concept to full blown production. From there, we discuss the challenges of making a great pilot, particularly one requiring a great deal of exposition.
- (23:00) Like many of today's successful shows, 'Last Resort' is a serialized drama. How does Ryan strike the balance between rewarding loyal viewers and moving a show along while making sure nobody is punished too harshly for missing an episode.
- (26:00) How political a show is 'Last Resort?' Ryan acknowledges the show certainly delves into politics, investigating the distrust of politicians and politics shared by Americans from both sides of the aisle, but believes it's more about power at multiple levels.
- (31:00) Ryan talks about the always outstanding Braugher, what does he bring to the show, and whether there any concern about casting a guy who might still be seen in a certain way by TV fans. A lot of TV honks (Andy, for example) still identify Braugher strongly with Lt. Frank Pembleton, his character on 'Homocide.'
- (37:00) On a show like 'Last Resort,' taking place on a nuclear sub, how much specificity and true-to-life detail is required, but is there such a thing as too much accuracy?
The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a list of talking points is below:
- (1:30): Basketball players are often reticent to shower the opposition with more than generic or obligatory praise. Thus, eyebrows raised when Chris Bosh of the reigning champion Miami Heat recently declared the Lakers the best team "on paper." Interestingly enough, Academy Award front-runner Kevin Durant, whose OKC Thunder squad took out the Lakers en route to reaching the Finals, seconded that statement.
Is this a case of gamesmanship or self-motivation from Bosh and Durant or just a begrudgingly honest assessment? In a world made of paper, are the Lakers really the best team?
- (10:50): Seven years ago, I conducted a wide-ranging interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but forgot to seek a critical bit of clarification about his role in 'Airplane.' This brain cramp has eaten away at my soul ever since. Kinda like the way not having a statue in front of Staples Center seemed to have eaten away at Cap's soul. That honor is finally (and deservedly) a scheduled event, but it's fair to wonder if Kareem's previous complaints will put a damper on the impending ceremony.
- (20:16): The Lakers loaded their roster this offseason, but with those stars comes the fear of clashing egos. Factor in the Lakers' well-documented history with this problem, and it stands to reason the media is licking its chops in anticipation of an implosion.
As part of its "Summer Forecast" series, 100 ESPN.com "experts" (quotation marks added since Brian and I are part of that panel) voted on which team would be most likely to experience turmoil this season. Not surprisingly, the Knicks led the pack with 41 votes. But in what might be considered a minor shock, the Lakers only received two votes. Whether that's because smooth sailing is expected or the talent on hand is simply immune to tension, the results caught BK by surprise.
(And speaking of surprises... Ramon Sessions: Team killer? It feels like one voter considered this a very real danger.
We caught up with Mount in Calgary, during a break in his shooting schedule. Among the topics discussed...
-- Mount's unique upbringing in sports. Raised in a small town in Tennessee, his mother was a professional golfer, while his father was a prominent sports editor at Playboy, at a time when that magazine was a major voice particularly in college and pro football. Mount explains why his father, privy to enormous amounts of inside information in both NCAA and NFL football, never gambled on sports despite some criticism from colleagues (7:00).
Anson Mount stars as Cullen Bohannon on AMC's 'Hell On Wheels,' now into its second season.
-- Mount explains in detail how the show's setting creates a spectacular framework for a dramatic series. The history of the transcontinental railroad naturally lends itself to complicated questions of ambition, race, and corruption. (21:35)
-- The role of race in the show, particularly in his character's relationship with Elam Ferguson, a former slave working on the railroad, played by Common. (23:30)
-- What is the moral core of Hell On Wheels, a show in which the lines between "good guys" and "bad guys" is blurry at best? (31:30)
Finally, did Robert De Niro actually convince Mount to take a role in the Britney Spears big screen epic 'Crossroads?' (34:00)
Donald Faison, best known for his role on "Scrubs," now stars on TV Land's "The Exes."
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW
We covered a lot of ground, starting with his role as a sports agent on "The Exes." Does he draw any inspiration from current members of the profession? From there...
- The mess that (still) is his beloved New York Knicks, and whether he thought Phil Jackson ever might end up there. (2:30)
- After playing such a well-known character on "Scrubs," how hard is it for fans to buy him in another role? (5:45)
- His role in "Remember the Titans," and what he learned from working with Denzel Washington. (8:10)
- What makes for a successful TV comedy? (10:30)
- Finals talk, and why he's rooting for OKC. Keep in mind, he's a Knicks fan. Plus, some love for Kobe Bryant. (12:00)