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Showing posts from June 3, 2007

Sports Fading Into Memory

In this week's copy of ESPN the Magazine, Bill Simmons published a great article on "the depreciation of sports memories" that almost makes me forgive him for the hatchet job he wrote on the Patriot League after the NCAA tournament. Its subject matter is really the NBA, but it's really the subject of sportswriting and sports memories that is the subject matter.

One of my favorite books is Wait Till Next Year, in which a sports columnist (Mike Lupica) and a Hollywood screenwriter (William Goldman) trade chapters about a particularly crazy year in New York sports. Writing as a fan, Goldman submits an impassioned defense of Wilt Chamberlain's legacy, called "To the Death," which is one of my favorite pieces. He argues that great athletes fade from memory not because they're surpassed by better ones but because either we forget about them or our memories are tainted by things that have nothing to do with their career (like Bill Russell's being a lou…