The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

People tend to love lists. But the thing with lists is that too often people use them as a crutch and hastily throw together their "Best [insert anything under the sun] of the decade" without much time, effort or thought put in to it. Lists are just like anything else, if they're done right, they can be both highly entertaining and tremendously useful.

Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow's "The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time"
is done right. It obviously lists what they've decided are the best sports movies of all time, but it's the interviews and quotes with the people who were actually involved in making the movie that makes this a good read. It's the scratching beneath the surface that makes their book so enjoyable.

We had the chance to ask Glen Macnow a few questions about the book.

Enrico: The book is clearly more than just one
long list. The mini interviews with athletes, actors, and celebrities
are some of the most entertaining parts of the book. What was the most
fun aspect about doing a book like this?

Glen: Going back and seeing movies that I've seen a dozen times or more and studying both the movie, the history of the movie, and talking to people in the movie and learning things about the movie that I never knew. That was the most fun.

Moments in the book where you tell of classic scenes or throw in
a money quote almost transport you back into the movie, where reading
the book is a similar escape to sitting in a movie theater. Was that
something you were aiming for or something that just happened along the
way?

I don't know if it was something we were aiming for but we really wanted to give people more than just a list and we really wanted to give people something that was more than just a recapitulation of the script. We wanted to take works of art that we know people love and really give you stuff that is interesting and fun and different about them that you didn't know. If it allows you to get caught up in it in a way that you felt like you were watching a movie then that's great, then it worked.

If Rocky would have won against Creed in their first bout, does it even crack the top ten?

That's an interesting question because the whole point of Rocky is that he doesn't win -- except that he does. If he wins the fight, in many ways it becomes just another movie. So the beauty of it was in the ending. No, had he won the fight it wouldn't have been Rocky, it wouldn't have been the movie, it wouldn't have been half as good.

I
wasn't totally in agreement with your inclusion of a few quasi-sports
movies. Are chess and poker really a sport whereas the incredible
bowling skills of Donnie and The Dude are overlooked?

Well, the Big Lebowski wasn't really about bowling. I love the Big Lebowski but it was about guys that happen to get together and bowl. There is a chapter on sports scenes in non-sports movies. We went with poker with the criteria that if ESPN airs it and sports pages cover it, we'd consider it.

Finally, best sports movie that didn't make the book, The Cutting Edge?

[Laughs] Yeah right. Actually we did mention The Cutting Edge in the book in the "sports date movies" section. I can tell you the last movie in and what it knocked out. The last movie in was number 55, called Sugar, about Dominican baseball players that don't become the stars. It knocked out Ali with Will Smith which we had in the last spot. It was ultimately a disappointing movie but there was enough about it that we liked.

You can pick up a copy at your local book store or order it on Amazon here: The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

Best of NBA: Wall, Wizards top Knicks for 4th straight win

NEW YORK -- John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists, scoring Washington's final four points in the last 32 seconds as the surging Wizards beat the New York Knicks 113-110 on Thursday night.

Otto Porter Jr. made six 3-pointers for the second straight night and added 23 points, but the Wizards needed big plays from Wall down the stretch to win their fourth in a row.

He made two free throws to put Washington back on top after New York had rallied to take a 110-109 lead, then rebounded Carmelo Anthony's miss and left all the Knicks in his dust as he raced down the floor for a dunk with 13.7 seconds to play.

Anthony finished with 34 points but Wall stole the ball from Brandon Jennings to prevent the Knicks from attempting a 3-pointer that could have tied it (see full recap).

Leonard scores 34 to lead Spurs over Nuggets
SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points, rookie Dejounte Murray added a season-high 24 and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a pregame injury to Pau Gasol in beating the Denver Nuggets 118-104 on Thursday night.

Denver's three-game winning streak was snapped despite a career-high 35 points from Nikola Jokic.

Leonard had his fifth straight 30-point performance, right after learning he will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.

The Spurs were unexpectedly without Gasol, Tony Parker and then coach Gregg Popovich. Gasol and Parker were both late scratches due to injury, and Popovich was ejected for the first time this season.

Gasol broke the ring finger on his left (non-shooting) hand by jamming it against Kyle Anderson's shoulder during pregame warmups while attempting a running hook. The 16-year veteran center immediately clutched his hand and left the court.

X-rays revealed the break, and the Spurs said there is no timeline for Gasol's return.

Irving, James lead Cavs over Suns
CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, All-Star teammate LeBron James had 21 points and 15 assists, and the Cleveland Cavaliers looked more like themselves at home in a 118-103 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

The Cavs were back in Quicken Loans Arena following a six-game road trip (their longest of the season) that concluded with an embarrassing 35-point loss at Golden State. But on their home floor, they had better offensive balance and ball movement while improving to 30-11 -- the same record Cleveland had at the halfway point of its 2016 NBA championship season.

Channing Frye scored 18, Iman Shumpert 17 and James Jones 14 while filling in for star forward Kevin Love, still bothered by back spasms.

Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds, but the Suns lost for the fourth time in five games (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

Best of NHL: Surging Capitals rock Blues in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov each had a goal and an assist to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Jay beagle, Brett Connolly, Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams also scored, and Alex Ovechkin and Daniel Winnik each had two assists to help Washington earn at least a point in its 12th straight game (10-0-2) for an NHL-best 66 points.

Braden Holtby bounced back from his roughest outing of the season with 22 saves. Holtby was pulled after giving up a season-high five goals on 26 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. He improved to 22-8-4 and 5-0 lifetime against St. Louis (see full recap).

Grabner scores 2 goals, Rangers top Leafs
TORONTO -- Michael Grabner scored two goals against his former team, helping the New York Rangers snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller added goals for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves following a series of rough outings.

Tyler Bozak and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak stopped. The Maple Leafs had earned 21 of a possible 26 points in their previous 13 games (10-2-1). Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 40 shots (see full recap).

Tavares leads Islanders to shutout of Stars
NEW YORK -- Getting a new coach this week didn't change things much for the Islanders -- and oddly enough, that's a good thing for New York.

John Tavares narrowly missed out on his second hat trick in a week, Thomas Greiss got his second straight shutout and the Islanders beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Thursday night in their first game since firing longtime coach Jack Capuano.

New York canned Capuano in the middle of his seventh season Tuesday, replacing him on an interim basis with Doug Weight (see full recap).

Niederreiter, Wild dodge letdown, edge Coyotes
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Nino Niederreiter had two power-play goals and an assist, including the go-ahead score for the Minnesota Wild with 7:06 remaining in a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Thursday night after the Coyotes came back from a two-goal deficit.

With Shane Doan in the penalty box for hooking, Niederreiter knocked in a nifty redirect of Mikael Granlund's slap shot for the winner. Devan Dubnyk stopped 20 shots for the Wild, who are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.

Louis Domingue made 21 saves for the Coyotes, who lost their fourth in a row and fell to 2-12-1 in their last 15 games starting with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in Arizona on Dec. 17 (see full recap).