BOOK REVIEW: “JEWISH JOCKS: AN UNORTHODOX HALL OF FAME”

Check out my book review for Ron Kaplan’s website, “Kaplan’s Korner.”  I review Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame, Edited by Franklin Foer and Mark Tracy
Twelve Books, 304 pages, $26.99.

By Dave Hollander

“It’s gotten thicker” said a colleague when I flashed him my review copy of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame. He was, of course, referencing the old joke, told in some variation or another:  Q “What’s the thinnest book ever written? “ A “Jewish sports heroes. “ There lies some historic truth in the jest.  In 1948 (hard to believe the annum was coincidental) when Harold Ribalow convinced Bloch Publishing to print  The Jew in American Sports, Hebraic boxing legend Barney Ross (included in Jewish Jocks) wrote in the book’s preface  that he “wonder[ed] that any publisher should consider [the book] sufficiently salable to risk the publications costs.” Ribalow’s compendium provided glorious sketches of twenty-eight athletes. Sixty-four years,  later Jewish Jocks offers fifty different writers on fifty  different sports figures.  I guess it has gotten thicker.

Or is pro-sports finally post-Semitic? When I grew up, it used to be that anytime anyone in our family noticed a potentially Jewish sounding name in a sports page – Cohen, Shapiro, Grossman or a last name suffixed  with a -stein, -berg, -taub, etc.  –  we’d postulate with cautious optimism:  “Is he Jewish?” But since then, haven’t enough sons and daughters of Abraham come along that it’s not a really a big deal any more if someone in the NFL, NBA or MLB is Jewish?   To wit, I offer a tipping point.  During an August 16, 2006 Red Sox telecast  ( I urge you to YouTube this now) , actor/comedian  Denis Leary joined the broadcast booth for some banter at which time he was informed that Kevin Youkilis, the Sox first baseman, was Jewish.  On cue, Youkilis made a defensive gem; a diving stop of a hard ground ball in the hole on the second base side, then neatly tossing  to Curt Schilling covering first base to complete the out.  Leary erupted in a hilarious tirade against Mel Gibson, whose inebriated Jew-hate  rant toward a California police officer only two weeks earlier conclusively  bestowed the rank of anti-Semite upon the Aussie actor.  “Where’s Mel Gibson now, huh?” crowed Leary, channeling a little Sam Kinison.  “He’s in rehab, and Youkilis is at first base! Alright, Mel?  You happy Braveheart? You see that grab, Mel?”  It goes on for a good several minutes .  The sight of the hulking , hyper-competent, World Series champion Youkilis set against the sounds of the honest, edgy, Irish Leary’s riff said clearly to me:  it’s over.  Jews in sports are no longer a surprise.

Click here to read the rest of my article.

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RIVALRY A “POSTIVE THING” FOR THE KNICKS/NETS

I was interviewed by Marc Berman of the “New York Post” for an article he wrote on the New York Knicks/Brooklyn Nets rivalry:

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NBRPA TO LAUNCH TV-STYLE LEGENDS TALK SHOW ON HUFF POST

NBRPA TO LAUNCH TV-STYLE LEGENDS TALK SHOW ON HUFF POST

March 27, 2012

For Immediate Release

CHICAGO, ILL. – The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), the only Association comprised of NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters alumni, has announced the launch of a new TV-style talk show that will air regularly on one of the most-visited news web sites in the world – the Huffington Post. Holding Court – presented by the NBRPA’s Legends of Basketball will debut in April, 2012 at HuffingtonPost.com – a web site and community that boast more than 50 million users each month.

“The NBRPA and Legends of Basketball brand is all about our members – former NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters players that literally built the game of basketball into the worldwide industry it is today,” said Arnie D. Fielkow, CEO for the National Basketball Retired Players Association. “Holding Court will help us deliver our Legends of Basketball to the Huffington Post’s captive worldwide audience.”

Holding Court will be hosted and co-produced by Huffington Post sports writer Dave Hollander, who will work in tandem with Paul Corliss of the NBRPA to put each program together. Hollander is the author of 52 WEEKS: Interviews with Champions! (The Lyons Press) – his collection of personal stories and stunningly candid interviews with fifty-two famous sports figures including Lawrence Taylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Rickey Henderson, George Plimpton, Mariano Rivera, Steve Nash and John Wooden. Hollander was the Executive Producer, Creator and writer for Gate D, a hip, fast-paced variety show for young fans of the New Jersey Nets, which aired on Fox Sports New York in the late 1990s. Hollander was also Co-Creator of Album Covers on MTV2, featuring Dashboard Confessional, Michael Stipe, Guster and The Violent Femmes, 2004.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Hollander said. “Colorful stories you just don’t hear anymore, super-honest and relevant commentary – there’s a huge audience of smart sports fans who want to hear from these guys.”

Holding Court will feature NBRPA Legends of Basketball in candid and lively sit-down interviews on camera with Hollander. The show will debut with Hollander’s interview of Otis Birdsong, a four-time NBA All-Star and the first guard in NBA history to be paid $1 million per season.

Holding Court will air regularly on the Huffington Post and archived episodes will be available at the NBRPA’s official web site – LegendsofBasketball.com. According to eBizMBA.com, the Huffington Post is the sixth-most visited news web site in the world, with 54 million monthly users. Great Britain’s Observer – the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world – recently ranked the Huffington Post as the most powerful blog in the world.

About the National Basketball Retired Players Association
The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters. It is a 501(c) 3 organization with a mission to develop, implement and advocate a wide array of programs to benefit its members, supporters and the community. The NBRPA was founded in 1992 by basketball legends Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson. The NBRPA works in direct partnerships with the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. Arnie D. Fielkow is the CEO, and the NBRPA Board of Directors includes President & Chairman of the Board Robert A. (Bob) Elliott, Vice President Otis Birdsong, Treasurer Marvin Roberts, Secretary Steve Hayes, Past President Dr. George W. Tinsley Sr., Thurl Bailey, Harvey Catchings, James Donaldson, Johnny Newman, LaRue Martin and Danny Schayes. For more information, please visit www.LegendsofBasketball.com.

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My Sister, the Cover Girl

Check out my sister making waves first in Denver and now going national on the August cover of Spry Magazine.

Read the article here.

And watch the truly super video: http://www.spryliving.com/videos/view/1089778677001/.

Learn more about her here: WWW.GALSCHOOLS.ORG

and say hello to her here: www.facebook.com/GALSCHOOLS.

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The Best 9/11 Book…Ever

I am really proud of this book.

I don’t say it’s “the best ever” because I wrote it, or because hyperbolic subject lines make people open emails. I say it because I believe it. This book is important. It says things that need to be said; things, I think, that will help a lot of people.  Michael is brave to tell it.  I am fortunate to simply be included.  But I can do more. I can ask you to read it, ask your friends to read it, ask your mayors, your congressman, and your clergy to read it.  Because on September 11, 2011 it’ll be 10 years since the attack, and you can be sure there will be articles and interviews and video tape and, well, then there’s this book. Please read it.  Then you tell me – please tell me – where do we go from here?

For more information about the book, click here.

Purchase your copy today!

Click here for the Reluctant Hero Appearance Schedule.


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