Mike Lupica's ego is to sportswriting what Milton Berle's cock is to comedy. It is an occupational totem, around which colleagues spin fantastical-seeming yarns that just so happen to be true. Here are a few such tales.
Ok, so Mike Lupica was attending a basketball game at St. Luke's in New Canaan, Conn., because his son Alex was playing for King, in nearby Stamford. (As a senior, Alex rode the bench ALL season.) The game took place either in January for February of 2006. So St. Luke's wins big because we always dominated King. After the game we are walking to our cars and a buddy of mine (who had a few drinks in him) sees Mr. Lupica in the parking lot and shouts "MIKE LUPICA IS A FAGGOT". Pretty funny stuff, however Lupica flips out, starts screaming because he's a little bitch and somehow manages to find my buddy. Now I don't know why my buddy didn't get in a car and leave but Lupica finds him and this idiot we also went to school with, who rats out his name instead of making one up.
So my friend apologizes and what not, while in the meantime he is looking down to this little punk Mike Lupica who is still flipping out and demanding this be taken to the headmaster. Instead of accepting the apology Lupica calls our headmaster the next day and my buddy has to go in and sit down with Lupica and a bunch of administrates and explain what happened. Meanwhile the entire time the administers are grilling my buddy about weather or not he was drinking or not, he denies everything and Lupica demands another apology.
My buddy gets suspended for a few days, however it was clear Lupica wanted him expelled but they couldn't prove anything besides lupica is a faggot, (which he certainly is). There was no reason for him to bring this to administration, all he had to do was accept the apology maybe add a few other comments and leave it at that.
After reading your last post about Lupica I had to send this in. I've been around a lot of jerks growing up in this part of the country, but Lupica stands out as one of the worst and this story certainly backs it up. [Editor's note: While the former may be true, we disagree on the latter point.]
I grew up in the metro New York area, reading Lupica pretty regularly as a rabid New York sports fan (and thinking I would be a sportswriter someday). Later in life, I was in the fortunate position of meeting a lot of sports figures/celebs at my job, but I always kept it professional. One day, work took me to the ESPN Zone in New York, and they were taping the Sports Reporters, and Lupica was on the panel. I figured, what the heck, I'd introduce myself to him and thank him for all his columns that I read as a kid.
So the show finished the taping, there's nobody in the place except for the crew taping the show, and Lupica is milling around. I go up to him, extend my hand and say "I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your writing, I grew up reading your stuff every Sunday." Not only does he not look up, he begins walking away from me in mid-sentence, mutters "I have to go" and leaves my hand extended in mid-air. I resolved to stop reading him after that moment. Bill Conlin and the late, great Dick Schaap were consummate professionals, btw.
Names redacted to protect the innocent.
We're comparing Winter Olympics accommodations for Albertville one morning. REPORTER #1 says he and the ABC News crew are staying at a resort in Annecy. REPORTER #2 says he's in a bed and breakfast type place straight up the mountain in La Plaine, where the bobsled and luge were running. Lupica says he's staying at a world class resort up above the MPC in La Lachere. "Five stars." I say I'm sharing a tiny media village apt with REPORTER #3 a short walk from the MPC.
So we all go to France. REPORTER #1's place is even better than he expected. REPORTER #2's is worse. An avalanche blocked the road for an hour the first Sunday and he almost misses the show, which we did live at 5 AM from the MBC in Moutiers. Lupica's digs? "It's fine," he snarls. "No complaints." So, the next day, I jumped in my tiny Peugeot and found his place. There was a goat grazing on what passed for a front lawn. It looked like there should have been a toothless kid on the porch picking "Duelling Banjos." It was one of my favorite Lupica moments. I'm not sure, but I think he quietly moved out and pulled some strings to get a hotel room someplace.
Illustration by Jim Cooke
Have you been berated, undermined or otherwise manhandled by sportswriting's cranky hobbit? Have you witnessed a Lupica tantrum firsthand? Tell us about it at email@example.com.