SBD/June 14, 2013/People and Pop Culture

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  • Jimmy Connors' "The Outsider" Gets Mixed Reviews; Overshadowed By Agassi's Book?

    As Tennis HOFer JIMMY CONNORS' autobiography "THE OUTSIDER -- A MEMOIR" continues to rank among the N.Y. Times' Best Sellers, THE DAILY offers a grouping of reviews from the past few weeks. The GUARDIAN's Tim Adams wrote Connors' memoir has "little of the tortured introspection of the best example of the genre, ANDRE AGASSI's 'OPEN,' or the self-aware wit" of JOHN MCENROE's "SERIOUS." But in its place is an "examination of a legendary American pugnaciousness, which veers often, authentically, into boorishness or sentimentality." The book is mostly written in a "testosterone-induced spirit" (GUARDIAN, 5/26). In St. Louis, Joe Williams wrote Connors' book is a "disappointment" when compared to those by McEnroe and Agassi. While we "get blow-by-blow accounts of epic matches, we never get inside Connors' cranium." But that is "not surprising, because he made a fortune as a defensive counter-puncher" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/29). In N.Y., Peter Lattman wrote Agassi’s book was "groundbreaking in its raw, complex, dark examination of a major athlete’s life." Connors in his book "tries to dig deep," but it "lacks the insight and nuance of Agassi’s book" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/2). In London, Mike Atherton wrote, "Of Connors and this era, there is a great book to be written, but this is not it, being as it is a straightforward version of events, whose enduring tone is sour and bitter, except where his family is concerned." Connors "has his head stuck too far up his own ass to find anything really interesting to say about the players he played against, or the era he played in" (LONDON TIMES, 5/25).

    CHEERS & JEERS
    : In Portland, Douglas Perry wrote Connors' book "tends to read like an endless Facebook post -- a score-settling, triumphalist personal history blissfully free of context or meaning." The "one exception is Connors' memories of his late mother GLORIA, who built his game and his persona." Agassi's "touchy-feely 2009 bestseller 'Open' can be a bit much for some tastes, but at least Andre put it out there." There is "something to be said for being introspective and thoughtful when you're writing a book about yourself." Connors "has no interest in being open," and "worse, he either doesn't know how to tell a story or he can't be bothered" (OREGONLIVE.com, 5/10). But TENNIS.com’s Steve Tignor wrote the book is “worth the time of any tennis fan, especially any fan of the game’s Wild West and early 80s.” The book “glosses over many of his familiar on-court triumphs fairly quickly.” Tignor: “What we get more of is Connors’ off-court life.” But he does “confess his share of his own sins and embarrassments” (TENNIS.com, 5/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Edward Kosner wrote Connors “serves up a memoir that, like his game, makes up in energy and focused force what it may lack in finesse” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/25).

    CHRIS CROSSED? In London, Celia Walden wrote there are "touching passages" in Connors' book about his mother, grandmother and wife. But they are "largely overshadowed by his unchivalrous portrayal" of his former fiancée CHRIS EVERT as a "controlling, promiscuous young woman who bore little resemblance to the softly spoken all-American girl with whom the world fell in love" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/31). Also in London, Julian Hall wrote Connors’ suggestion that Evert had an abortion is a “rare wrong-footed moment” for him. It is a “pity, as it is clear that Connors has an enduring affection for her.” Hall: “Jimbo wouldn't be Jimbo unless someone was pissed at him” (London INDEPENDENT, 6/1). 

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  • Executive Transactions

    Sharks Sports & Entertainment named General Counsel JOHN TORTORA COO. He will continue to report directly to the company's BOD. SSE also gave Exec VP/Building Operations JIM GODDARD the added responsibility of overseeing all revenue and marketing activities. He will report to Tortora. The company currently has no plans to hire a president or CEO (SSE).

    EXECS: Coyotes VP/Hockey Operations & Assistant GM BRAD TRELIVING agreed to a multiyear contract extension (Coyotes)....The Int'l Motorsports Association and United SportsCar Racing announced a new senior leadership team and overall organizational structure, naming ED BENNETT CEO. Also comprising the team will be President & COO SCOTT ATHERTON, VP/Racing Operations RICHARD BUCK, VP/Competition & Technical Regulations SCOT ELKINS and VP/Marketing DAVID PETTIT (THE DAILY)....XOS Digital named SEC Digital Network GM BEN GODWIN President of Licensing (XOS Digital)....Rice Univ. AD RICK GREENSPAN will "leave the school effective June 30 to pursue other professional opportunities" (CHRON.com, 6/13)....The Univ. of the Pacific named DAN CHAPMAN Associate AD/Marketing & Media (Pacific).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Names In The News

    Jordan is seeking $5M in damages for a one-page ad in an SI issue

    U.S. District Judge MILTON SHADUR ordered Basketball HOFer MICHAEL JORDAN to "appear in court this week for an off-the-record settlement conference in a locked courtroom" for Jordan's $5M lawsuit against Chicago-based Dominick's food stores. Jordan is seeking damages "for a one-page ad that ran in a Sports Illustrated commemorative issue" celebrating Jordan's induction into the Basketball HOF. Shadur wanted Jordan to "appear in person to hear the judge's views on what reasonable damages would be." Shadur called the lawsuit "greedy" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/14).

    FOREVER IN BLUE JEANS: Levis President JAMES CURLEIGH said that the company's 20-year, $220M naming-rights deal with the 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara was a "wise marketing investment." Curleigh: "In the overall scheme, it's a manageable number if we execute it properly." He said Levi's was "looking at some big ideas," and "trying to figure out how to put some big league plays in for Levi's" (OREGONLIVE.com, 6/12).

    NAMES: NHL Jets LW EVANDER KANE "apologized late Thursday evening for what he agreed was a 'homophobic term' he had used on his Twitter account" earlier in the day. Kane "criticized a Heat player for driving to the basket like a 'fairy.'" He "issued an apology" after speaking with Flyers scout PATRICK BURKE, who works with the You Can Play organization (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 6/14)....Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN is "interested in developing the Shipyards property, a 40-acre plot of city-owned land that has been mired in lawsuits, bankruptcy, grand jury investigations and broken promises." It is "unclear what Khan's plans are for the space" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 6/13)....Northwestern Univ. alumni RICHARD and ROXELYN PEPPER have pledged $5M to help "renovate the university's baseball stadium" (DAILYHERALD.com, 6/13)....Former NBAers OTIS BIRDSONG and MICHEAL RAY RICHARDSON, and Univ. of Tulsa men's basketball coach DANNY MANNING held a basketball clinic for "about 50 students" from Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools, affected by the recent Oklahoma tornadoes (AP, 6/13).

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