And no, it is not the guy in the picture, I am fairly certain. But the beauty of Malcolm Gladwell is, I now know who Adonal Foyle is!
Disclaimer: A lot of people assume I have some axe to grind with Malcolm Gladwell, just because I wrote this 8,000 word essay about him in which I threw around a lot of descriptors along the lines of "fatuous" and "vacuous" and "vapid" and "banal cliche" w/r/t his writing, and you have to read approximately 6,500 words into the piece to realize I actually think Gladwell is arguably of doing the world a service in the process of servicing his bank account, and who has time to do that, which is btw the point, but which is also why whenever the name "Gladwell" comes up, as it did today when ESPN posted his emails with sports savant Bill Simmons, people assume I will have something angry/critical/overwrought to say about it.
But the truth is, when (as it goes with me and sports) you are fully ignorant about a subject, the insight of Malcolm Gladwell can be indispensable. Where else could I have learned, in a single painless session, that:
- Allen Iverson's relationship with Philadelphia is totally like the plot of "Boogie Nights."
- Nolan Ryan:baseball :: Sandra Bullock:chick flicks.
- Put another way, Dara Torres:swimming :: Sandra Bullock:chick flicks.
- A lot of auspicious developments seem to be afoot in Seattle. (Like in the early nineties, only with baseball.)
- Lebron James could turn out to be the Bruce Springsteen of basketball, or he could give up the sport altogether for yoga and Jaguar commercials. The jury is really still out on that one.
- Being in the NBA (and more broadly, American professional sports in general) is at this moment in history almost the polar opposite of being a physicist in sub-Saharan Africa.
- If he had had his druthers, Tupac Shakur would have been just as happy releasing an album called, say, Hug Life, but that probably would not have sold five million copies.
- Goldie Hawn would be a lot richer, if cosmetic surgery techniques had been better when she hit her early Botox years.
- BIll Simmons saw Katie Holmes emerge from a port-a-pottie once, taller and more beautiful than she ever seemed on Dawson's Creek. They had a moment.
- Malcolm Gladwell once met a guy once at a party who told him he had had an affair many years ago with a guy who turned out to be in the NBA. Bill Simmons knows who it is, but is not telling. (No doubt to protect his sources, Malcolm Gladwell recently denied going to publishing parties ever, but ask anyone in publishing and they will tell you that is a lie.
- Malcolm Gladwell saw Orlando Magic center/amateur poet Adonal Foyle making arrangements to tour the Louvre once.
The full text of the Simmons-Gladwell correspondence can be found here.