Documentary Tuesday: “Paradise Lost” [1996]

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In 1993, three eight year old boys, best friends, from West Memphis, Arkansas were found murdered and hogtied. Although there was very little evidence (and several other more plausible suspects), three teenagers were arrested, charged, and ultimately convicted of the murders, which the prosecution claimed occurred as part of Satanic rituals.

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The 5 Best Peyton Manning Commercials

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It appears that one of the greatest sports careers in history is finally over. After an atrocious day with four interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating (and a torn plantar fascia), Peyton Manning was benched yesterday. Whether he plays again this season or not, it’s clear that age, injuries, and the punishing nature of the sport he plays have finally caught up with him.

Aside from Terrell Owens for a season-and-a-half, Peyton Manning is the closest thing I’ve had to a favorite football player since I was about 10 years old (ironically, it was John Elway). Just like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, it was a pleasure to watch Manning ply his craft with virtual perfection. Talk about Tom Brady and playoff chokes and ringzzzz all you want, but we all know how great Peyton has been.

And he was almost as good off the field. One of the most prolific pitchmen of this era, he made a ton of commercials. Like his game, the best ones happened a few years ago. Here are his five best.

Bonus: United Way

The Saturday Night Live skit of Peyton supporting children in the community with my former employer

5. Gatorade

If Pey-Pey were Mr. Miyagi.

4. Nationwide

This has been diluted by its ubiquity and its much lesser sequel, but the first time you saw this it was catchy as hell.

3. SportsCenter

Peyton and Eli doing what brothers do.

2. Sprint

The wig is funny, but his deadpan delivery when speaking about himself is what sells it.

  1. MasterCard

One of the greatest commercials ever. Hilarious concept with perfect execution. “Cut that meat!” entered the lexicon.

Thank you for the memories and the laughs, Peyton.


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Flashback Friday Flop: “Can-I-Bus”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Canibus’s Can-I-Bus (1998)

Towards the end of 1997, hip-hop was entering a transition phase, digging itself out of the rubble left behind in the wake of the East Coast-West Coast war that altered the genre forever. The deaths of 2Pac and B.I.G., Snoop’s decline, and the dominance of Puff’s shiny suit army left an opening for new artists.

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An Appreciation of Missy Elliott Videos

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To celebrate the release of “WTF,” the new video by Missy Elliott, I decided to compile some of my favorite Missy videos. She is a trendsetter that changed hip-hop when she entered the game. She can do it all – rap, sing, write, produce, dance, direct, whatever. One of the most innovative artists in rap history, here is just a small collection of Missy’s best visuals.

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Knicks Fans Owe Phil Jackson an Apology

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As a lifelong fan of Philadelphia sports teams, I’ve seen more than my share of unpopular draft choices. Of course, the one everyone remembers is a small segment of the fan base booing the selection of Donovan McNabb with the second pick in 1999. In recent years, the narrative has shifted to make it seem as if the fans hated McNabb personally or that the booing had a racial undertone, but that’s simply not the case. The fans – including me – desired Ricky Williams and believed he would change the direction of the franchise. McNabb, for all of his flaws, took the Eagles to 5 NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl. He and Andy Reid turned the franchise around. The fans – we – were wrong.

I was reminded of the McNabb choice in June when the proud but lowly New York Knicks chose Kirstaps Porziņģis with the fourth pick:

Look at those reactions. Porziņģis is 7’3, white, skinny, and from Latvia, so everyone immediately assumed he would be another project. A stiff. A European Shawn Bradley.

Here’s the problem: none of them had done their homework. It’s not like Phil Jackson was reaching with the pick. The kid could play. The Lakers nearly chose him with the second pick. He wowed everyone in his pre-draft workout:

This is why listening to fans is asinine. Most have no idea what they’re talking about, nor should they. They don’t have access to millions of dollars of tools and research and scouts that are available to team executives. They have their own careers on which they should be focusing and the only thing they know about most incoming players is what they’ve seen during March Madness or what Skip Bayless yells at them.

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It’s still very early and Knicks fans have a tendency to make huge judgments based on a small sample size (remember Linsanity?). He’s going to struggle. He’s going to get pushed around. But he’s only 20. He’s going to get better. And maybe, one day, he’ll earn the Dirk Nowitzki comparison.

Until then, just enjoy moments like this.

I was living near Philadelphia in 1993 when the 76ers drafted Shawn Bradley. I’ve seen Shawn Bradley. I know Shawn Bradley. We knew it was an awful choice. Kristaps Porziņģis is no Shawn Bradley.

Tweet your apologies to @PhilJackson11.


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Documentary Tuesday: “30 for 30: The Price of Gold” [2014]

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Some of my favorite documentaries, particularly of recent years, came out of the ESPN 30 for 30 series. I’m going to do my best not to let this space become inundated with them.

However, some are just too good not to share and the one that follows the Nancy Kerrigan – Tanya Harding figure skating saga is brilliant on several levels, most of all Harding’s brutal honesty.

Previously in Documentary Tuesday:

Room 237 | Exit Through the Gift Shop | The Death of Superman Lives


Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.