Your Annotated Smartphone Bathroom Reader for Sunday, April 28th, 2013.

Did Shaquille O’Neal Just Box Out Mumia?
Dave Zirin
The Nation

Perhaps the average basketball fan (hell, the average American) hasn’t heard of Mumia Abu Jamal, who has spent the last three decades on death row for the alleged murder of a Philadelphia police officer before having his sentence commuted to life without the possibility of parole. Mumia has been a cause celebre for quite some time now, and many different activists have crafted campaigns to support Mumia and expose the inconsistencies of the State’s case against him. A documentary based upon the trial and imprisonment of Abu-Jamal, which has received critical acclaim from just about everyone who has seen it, has been criss-crossing the nation, and was slated to screen at a movie theater in Newark, NJ owned by former NBA center Shaquille O’Neal. Yet, for reasons yet to be explained, the theater canceled their screening. The Nation’s Dave Zirin takes the theater and the former NBA pivot to task, asking why the theater chose not to screen the movie and make their political intentions clear. Additionally, he tasks Shaq with a politically heady responsibility: show the film, regardless of the feelings of the theater’s management and board of directors. It’s incisive commentary from sport’s best political analyst.

–JG

Mumia, Zirin, Diesel and Everything
Bethlehem Shoals
The Classical

This piece was written by Shoals about an hour after Zirin’s piece (annotated above) came out. Shoals summarizes the content of Zirin’s argument, and offers one of his own: why do we need to politicize our athletes? Shoals points out that the canceling of the film screening is an ambiguous act; we don’t know if there was purposeful intention behind it. He argues that not showing the film isn’t an indictment of Mumia; rather, it is commentary on the complicated relationship between individuals and institutions. It is worth reading Zirin and Shoals’ pieces in tandem, as they speak to one another directly.

–JG

2013 NBA Anti-Awards!
Ian Levy
Hickory-High

In what is quickly becoming my favorite end of the season tradition, Ian Levy presents the third annual Anti-Awards. While the rest of the pundits blather about whether J.R. Smith really deservers the 6th Man of the Year award, Levy trawls through the statistical wastebasket to find the winners of these most ignominious awards. Winners include players like Steve Novak—who claims shockingly few rebounds for a tall guy—and Kevin Seraphin for being the worst rotation player in the league. It may make me a bad person, but I always enjoy chuckling at the shocking ineptitude of the Anti-Award winners.

–KD

You Realize How Badly the T-Wolves Screwed Up the 2009 Draft, Right?
Bill Simmons
Grantland

As a Warriors fan I am well attuned to the 2009 NBA draft, when Steph Curry was bypassed six times and landed with Golden STate. For the rest, the major narrative was this: holy crap David Kahn messed up this draft. In a style that only Simmons can pull off, he chronicles the fall out from the Wolves disastrous drafting of Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, and the subsequent David Kahn decisions that followed. The head shaking doesn’t come from the fact that Kahn did a terrible job, so much as his unparalleled ability to make a good decision (at various points Minnesota had the rights to Donatas Motiejunas, Chandler Parsons, Norris Cole and others) and then immediately screw it up by trading.

–KD

Behind the Interviews: The Elusive Pop
Jack McCallum

http://www.jackmccallum.net/

In this week’s Sports Illustrated, Jack McCallum has what is surely a wonderful profile of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. I’ll pick up a copy of the magazine and take a read later, but in the meantime McCallum has posted a fascinating behind-the-scenes look of what it is like to try and interview Popovich. As Pop is a borderline insulting curmudgeon with the media, McCallum essentially has to write a profile of Popovich without any participation from the man with himself. McCallum describes a meticulous process of gathering as much information as possible about the subject before utilizing a precious 20 minutes to get the job done.

–KD

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