Craig Ehlo discusses “The Shot” and “The Last Dance”

Craig Ehlo discusses “The Shot” and “The Last Dance” in an interview with Chris Fedor in The Wine and Gold Talk podcast. It’s an amazing story, as Michael Jordan explained in “The Last Dance” that he felt that Lenny Wilkins made a mistake putting Ehlo on him over Ron Harper. Harper claimed that he asked Wilkins to guard Jordan but claimed that Wilkins said no.

Ehlo took no offense by anything in the documentary but didn’t remember Harper saying anything like that, though Ehlo concedes that Harper may have said something directly to Jordan.

It’s a great interview, as Ehlo is a class act, and he tells some great Jordan stories that show a good side of Jordan.

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“I don’t believe what I just saw!” – Jack Buck and the greatest call in baseball history

The video above contains the audio for Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s. Jack Buck is calling the game, and if you pick up the sound at the 2:44 mark, you’ll hear Buck’s legendary call of Kirk Gibson’s shocking home run.

Here’s a great ESPN documentary about that game:

HBO presents the Thrilla in Manilla

Tomorrow night (April 11 at 8 pm ET/10pm PT), HBO will premiere the Thrilla in Manilla, a documentary covering the third and final fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The documentary “tells the story of two great fighters forever linked by three epic bouts, and looks at their final fight, considered the most brutal, from Frazier’s perspective for the first time.” Check out the trailer:

Martin Johnson reviews the film.

Thrilla in Manila tells the story with alarming detail and hilarious commentary. The film is much less observational than Leon Gast’s superb When We Were Kings which captured the scene in Kinshasa for the Ali-Foreman fight in 1974. Instead, Dower arrays a cast of talking heads between them so that a dialogue emerges from the commentary. Ali’s cornerman, Ferdie Pacheco, is almost as brash and outspoken as his fighter was. Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, is a charming curiosity. Frazier’s son, Marvis, is calm and insightful. “I like to have a Robert Altmanesque ensemble,” said Dower of his motley crew of commentators.

The film will rub hard-core fans of Ali the wrong way, but Dower says it wasn’t his intent to tear down the great heavyweight. “I came to this with no agenda about Muhammad Ali at all,” he said at a post-screening press conference in New York this week. “It’s just that in telling this story you keep butting into the myth of Ali.”

Ali takes a few on the chin, but he has only himself to blame for some of it. Dower and his crew unearthed footage of Ali boasting about his agreements with the Ku Klux Klan on camera from the early ‘70s. And during his stay in Manila, he is caught womanizing.

However, Thrilla in Manila is far more effective as a portrait than a rebuttal or a diatribe. Frazier is the quiet focus of the film. He is shown in his gym, and he’s coaxed into watching the third fight for the first time. “I lost the fight. What would I have learned from watching it again?” he asked without the slightest hint of wistfulness.

Frazier, both in the movie and in person, seems like a man stuck in the wrong era. His humility and background were easily confused in the ‘70s for subservience, a time when outspokenness was the norm. He wasn’t media savvy in a moment when his opponent was charismatic and savagely sarcastic.

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