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

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.

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

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

The crowd erupted as Joel Embiid stepped to the free throw line. They chanted a phrase Embiid has been repeating for the past two years, a fitting welcome to his NBA debut.

“That was great,” Embiid said after the Sixers' 103-97 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday in the season opener (see Instant Replay). “That’s my motto, 'Trust the process.'”

After two years of rehabbing foot injuries, Embiid has his first regular-season game behind him. Embiid scored a team-high 20 points, shooting 6 for 16 from the field, 1 for 3 from long range and 7 for 8 from the line. He also recorded seven rebounds, two blocks, four turnovers and four fouls in over 22 minutes. 

“The beginning I was nervous, but once you make that first shot, it just goes away,” he said. “The fans were so into the game that it was fun. I love having fun.”

Sixers head coach Brett Brown enjoyed watching Embiid on the court as much as the big man liked being on it. Brown has seen the 7-foot-2 center grow and develop during his rehab. Finally, he was able to utilize his versatile skills in a real game setting.

“I can't say this loud enough,” Brown said. “For the city to be rewarded with a player that we all understand has unique gifts, special gifts, for him to go through all the things he has been through and play like he did on opening night, the city deserves it. Most importantly, he deserves it.”

Now that Embiid has been cleared to play, he would like to do so for longer periods of time. He began the preseason at 12 minutes and was increased to 20 in segmented spurts for opening night. Even though he exceeded that limit by over two minutes, Embiid is itching to be cleared to play more extensively. 

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I feel like I could have played more but you know you’ve got to trust the process, got to trust those guys. If I have my minute restriction at 20 minutes, I guess I’m going to go with that. But obviously I want to play more and more and I think it can help the team better. But they have a plan for me and I’ve got to follow it.”

Embiid has maintained he wants to be a clutch player. Brown looked to him toward the end of the game as the Thunder pulled ahead late in the final quarter. He drained a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 97 apiece with 50.7 to go. 

Later trailing by four with 10 seconds left, the Sixers went to Embiid. While he was whistled for an offensive foul, Brown was glad to have a go-to unlike in years past. 

“You have a target,” Brown said. “We tried to get the ball to him a lot. … By and large, to have somebody like Joel, where the mystery is solved like, 'What do you do?' You get him the ball as much as you can.”

The more the Sixers found Embiid, the more the Thunder had to try to defend him. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan knew what his team was going up against. He watched Embiid as a high schooler and coached against him during his tenure at Florida. 

“He’s gifted and skilled,” Donovan said. “It was probably our guys' first time seeing him … I knew the talent, the gifts. The one thing with him is, he’s got great footwork. He’s hard to guard because he’s herky-jerky. He moves. He’s got a lot of [Hakeem] Olajuwon to him.”

Opening night had been two years in the making. Even though the Sixers didn't win, the significance of the evening didn't disappoint. 

"I thought this moment was going to be special," Embiid said, "and it was just great."

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points (see full recap).

Celtics top Nets in Horford's home debut
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and nine assists, Jae Crowder added 21 points and Al Horford pitched in 11 in his Boston debut on Wednesday night as the Celtics survived a late scare to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 in their season opener.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for Brooklyn, including a 3-pointer to make it 120-117 with 47 seconds left after the Nets erased most of a 23-point deficit against the Boston bench. But he missed one with a chance to tie it after Joe Harris intercepted Thomas' cross-court pass, and the Celtics were able to hold on.

Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Nets in coach Kenny Atkinson's debut (see full recap).

Turner's opening act leads Pacers past Mavs in OT
INDIANAPOLIS -- Myles Turner scored 30 points, tied his career high with 16 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 1:18 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run that allowed the Indiana Pacers to close out a 130-121 victory Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

Three-time All-Star Paul George added 25 points, including another 3 with 55 seconds left to seal Indiana's fifth season-opening win in six years.

Deron Williams scored 25 points, while J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki each added 22 as the Mavs lost their fifth straight in the series. They still haven't won in Indianapolis since February 2014.

Dallas didn't tie the score or take a lead until the fourth quarter, yet still forced overtime when Harrison Barnes' open 3-pointer made it 115-all with 2.3 seconds left.

Turner could have won it with a long buzzer-beating 3, but it bounced off the back of the rim (see full recap).