Weekly Features Across ESPN Platforms
May 21, 2009
OTL: NBA’s Mobley’s Heart Condition, Grant’s Parkinson’s Disease
Sunday (Outside the Lines, 9 a.m. ET ESPN; noon, ESPNEWS)
“Grant’s Parkinson’s Disease” companion piece on ESPN.com
Mobley’s Heart: Cuttino Mobley’s potentially fatal heart condition affected his contracts throughout his career, and contributed to his retirement after November’s trade to the Knicks. The team’s cardiac specialist told him that he had a congenital heart condition known as HCM. But a copy of Mobley’s medical records obtained by OTL reveals that Mobley was diagnosed with the life-threatening heart condition nearly 10 years earlier, and he signed a liability waiver with every team he played for (Rockets, Magic, Kings, Clippers).
Mark Schwarz: “Most trades are not allowed to even continue when one guy doesn’t pass a physical, how come this was so different?”
Cuttino Mobley: “I don’t know (looks down) I don’t know. I mean it’s, the only, (looks back up) only the people who made it happen knows, deep down inside.”
Grant’s Parkinson’s Disease:
In this exclusive interview with ESPN The Magazine‘s Ric Bucher, 12-year NBA veteran Brian Grant reveals that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. What started with only a slight tremor in his left hand has become a life-changing diagnosis, and now that he has come to grips and gone public with his diagnosis, Grant’s greatest hope is to be able to give a voice to those suffering from same disease and to raise money to find a cure.
“In all honesty, my greatest fear is losing control of me…That was in the beginning and now that I’ve learned a lot more about it, over the past few months, having an opportunity to talk to Michael J. Fox, talked to Loni Ali, and people who aren’t in the public eye who have it, getting a sense that there are a lot of people out there who are afflicted with this and they deal with it.” – Brian Grant
“My state of mind at this particular moment? Relieved. When we first started this interview, it was like, I had just a heavy weight on me, sweating, nervous, but now as we’ve gone, and now that it’s out there, it’s a relief. It’s almost like a door opening up to a new chapter of my life.” – Brian Grant
Indy 500: Allure of Indy; Helio Castroneves; Go, Daddy’s Girl
Sunday (noon ABC)
Allure of Indy: From Gasoline Alley to the winner drinking milk, the Indianapolis 500 evokes indelible images for fans everywhere. But for the drivers, Indy can mean devastating crashes, heartbreaking losses or thrilling victories. That seems to be the allure of Indy — to defy the odds and beat the best of the best — and raise that glass of milk in Victory Lane.
“Would I rather win 10 championships or one Indy 500? I think that the answer has to be you’d rather win the Indy 500.” — Graham Rahal
“It’s a place that can strip all the life right out of you but it can also put that much more back into you.” — John Andretti
Helio Castroneves: The two-time Indy winner talks about the publicity he’s received from his consecutive victories and his appearance on Dancing with the Stars, as well as from the charges he faced for tax evasion before his acquittal in April.
“My skin definitely got a little thicker. I think people should be yourself. That’s the way I am. Sometimes I do make mistakes. Sometimes I do things right. I’m human. You’ve got to do what you love, and for me, racing is what I love.” — Helio Castroneves
Go Daddy’s Girl
At every turn of Danica Patrick’s every race, her father has cheered her on. During a visit to her childhood home, Danica talks about how her father’s support and encouragement has helped her throughout her groundbreaking career, from her first race at age 10 to her first win last spring.
“My dad would say something like ‘I remember I’d come here (Indy 500) with my friends when I was in high school.’ It makes me think how cool it is and how far it’s come for my dad to see this stuff and have it be such a tradition and such a passionate thing for him… and then to have his daughter here. Not only like his kid but his daughter here, racing the Indy 500.” — Danica Patrick
Donald Sterling: The Clips; The Feds ESPN The Magazine (on newsstands Friday)
Peter Keating writes Donald Sterling’s decision-making in hiring administrative and playing personnel has been filled with controversy, and his personal life runs along the same lines. ESPN The Magazine obtained depositions – including a suit with one of Sterling’s former property supervisors – revealing many of Sterling’s prejudices, and a sexual harassment case where the defendant claims Sterling offered her clothes and an expense account in return for sexual favors. Sterling declined to be interviewed for this story.
Excerpt: “Champagne and caviar, paying for sex, millions in profits…. Donald Sterling loves it all. As the NBA playoffs move forward with out the Clippers again, who cares if his team is a perpetual loser that he’s charged by the feds with racial discrimination? No, really, who cares?”
Tim Howard: Profile of the American-born goalkeeper Outside the Lines piece runs Sunday (SportsCenter 10 a.m., 11 p.m.)
New Jersey’s Tim Howard, U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper, may be one of the most famous athletes few Americans have heard of. However he is well known in England, having led his English soccer club, Everton, to the FA Cup Finals — largely regarded as England’s Super Bowl – with two stops during penalty kicks against rival Manchester United. Chris Connelly chronicles Howard’s rise to soccer’s grand stage in England despite battling Tourette syndrome.
“If it was a movie, you wouldn’t believe it, right? So, here I am, I left Manchester United (released by the team), we’re at Wembley, 90,000 people, half the fans are Everton, half the fans are Man United. Of course, it goes to penalty kicks, all right, and I’m thinking about it in my head, ‘If you win, what a story.'” — Tim Howard, on the match against Manchester United in FA Cup Semifinals
“People think they’re hiding it, but it’s very obvious to someone who has Tourette syndrome that they’re being looked at and made fun of. I remember being so exhausted at the end of the day, trying to suppress it or maybe wait ’til I could get home in my room to really have an outburst.” — Tim Howard, on life with Tourette’s
Cuban Defector Faces Pro Boxing Career Without Family ESPN Friday Night Fights (Friday, 9 p.m. ESPN2)
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondiaux, one of the Cuban boxing team’s brightest stars, could have remained in his country living the life most Cuban athletes lead on the island, but his goals were elsewhere. In 2007, he tried to defect unsuccessfully while competing in the Pan Am Games in Brazil. Nearly two years later he managed to leave Cuba, but now faces the challenges of a pro career without his family. Claudia Trejos reports. On May 22, Rigondiaux will face Juan Noriega at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
ESPN Deportes Visits Julio Franco’s Baseball Academy
ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter (Sunday, 11 p.m., full story on espndeportes.com)
When Julio Franco retired from professional baseball at age 49, he did not retire from the game. His choice was to remain involved in the sport, developing young talent from such far away places as Japan at his Florida-based academy.
Three Pieces on Vick’s Release from Prison: ESPN.com
Michael Vick is out of prison, but his life is in disarray and his financial affairs are badly in need of rehabilitation. Lester Munson’s ESPN.com investigation examines the unraveling of a fortune and a future.
Although friends, Vick declined to join Aaron Brooks in a successful real estate investment.
EXCERPT: “Michael Vick’s homecoming will be a bittersweet return to an old reality that led to one of the most dramatic downfalls in the history of sports.”
The man who ran the dog fighting operation for Michael Vick for four years tells ESPN.com’s Lester Munson the inside story of how it worked.
The operation started slowly, but grew to three sheds for the dogs while Taylor was there.
EXCERPT: “(Tony) Taylor trained as many as 20 dogs during his four years there, operating under a county-issued kennel license that allowed for as many as 40 dogs on a property of that size. “We took good care of the dogs,” Taylor says. “They had their shots, and we watched their fluids and their electrolytes and their food.” Following advice from (Benny) Butts, Vick and Taylor put the dogs through rigorous fight training, working them into shape and rehearsing for fights in a process known as “rolling.”
While Michael Vick’s incarceration has ended, he’ll likely live the rest of his life behind a figurative set of bars. ESPN.com’s Howard Bryant reports.
EXCERPT: “Over the coming months, Vick will provide a living illustration of life after Leavenworth, of just how severe the gap really might be between the ideal of having paid one’s debt to society and the reality of life on the outside as an ex-convict — even as an ex-con who once ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, who once signed an NFL contract worth $130 million.
ABC’s NBA Western Conference Finals (Saturday, 8:30 p.m.)
Success hasn’t come easy for Chauncey Billups, who spent the first four years of his NBA career playing for four different teams. In 2002 he signed with Detroit and felt he had found his place and success. But last November, Billups was traded yet again, this time returning home to Denver where family and friends are watching to see if he can lead his hometown team to victory. Colleen Dominguez reports.
“I couldn’t write a better script, me coming back home (Denver) in my prime of my career and being able to help lead a team that struggled.” — Chauncey Billups
“In just a few short years he (Billups) went from being labeled a bust and a malcontent, and now he’s like the poster child for a teammate and a winner. And it’s amazing how things can change.” — Sam Mitchell, Billups’ former teammate in Minnesota