If you've got HBO, it would be worth checking out one of the upcoming showings of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." There is something good in every segment of the show.
The review copy sent to me didn't have the feature, however, that I most wanted to see, the profile on Lenny Dykstra, who HBO's news release called "the business world's most unlikely mogul." Dykstra, who runs a large car wash/auto repair outfit in Simi Valley, has become quite an investment guru and stock columnist for TheStreet.com.
What I did see was very good. First, the feature on Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who has made men's basketball every bit a hot ticket as coach Pat Summitt's women's team. Summitt is interviewed by Andrea Kremer. While you've seen Pearl interviewed a lot lately, especially by ESPN, Kremer brings out elements that have been underplayed.
One is how Pearl blew the whistle on an Illinois recruiting scandal while he was still a lowly assistant at another school. Dick Vitale berated Pearl after that, saying Pearl had committed "coaching suicide." It took Pearl a long time to work back through the ranks in Division II before he finally worked his way up to Tennessee.
Another is that Pearl is the first Jewish coach Tennessee has ever had. Pearl wears his faith, as he says, "on his sleeve," and there is footage of the coach taking his team on a tour of a Nazi concentration camp during a trip to Eastern Europe.
Another segment is on Mike Marshall, the former Dodgers relief pitcher who has a doctorate in kinesiology. He is trying to promote a different kind of pitching motion that he says eliminates pitching-related arm injuries. But Marshall has received nothing but silence from major league pitching coaches and general managers.
The last segment is on Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer, who recently earned her 800th career victory. I didn't get a chance to see this segment (my DVD flooped out on me; if I get a chance to see it, I'll issue an addendum). But Stringer certainly deserves respect among her peers and among fans.
One thing that was impressive when Stringer won her 800th was that no wire story I saw stooped to mention the run-in her Rutgers team had last season with talk show host Don Imus. That whole incident was completely unsavory and certainly had no place in defining Stringer's career.