Rick Reilly’s Piece on Matt Howard Strangely Similar to Someone Else’s Piece on Matt Howard
Hey look! Rick Reilly wrote a column about Matt Howard that’s basically the same as a column written by someone else about Matt Howard two weeks ago, except it’s worse…but the same. And yet worse. Fantastic.
Fresh off a controversial week about one white college basketball star, we go straight into another.
Interesting that Reilly touts Matt Howard, but disparages Jimmer, and the differences seem to be mostly because Reilly thinks Howard is goofy, awesome, and a grinder. Whatevs. The larger point in this instance is that Reilly’s latest sure looks a lot like another column…written by someone else…some time ago.
Here’s the article by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DCSportsBog.
And here’s Reilly’s article.
They’re both about Matt Howard and his eccentricities, and they are, um, similar.
Steinberg broke his column down into categories. I’ll go ahead and use his categories because they’re good ways to keep track of it all. To wit:
Steinberg: “Howard is famous for riding his bicycle around Butler’s Indianapolis campus, no matter the temperature or weather conditions. This is apparently quite a sight ‘If it’s like 15 degrees outside, he’s riding his bike around campus, wind blowing in his face, eyes tearing up,’ Ronald Nored said….Shortly before the Horizon League tournament, Howard was on his trusty bike. Then the unthinkable happened. ‘The bike crash? Who told you about that,’ he said with a laugh Thursday afternoon.
Reilly: “He rides a rusted-out bike to Butler’s 6 a.m. practices, even in the dead of winter, even through ice storms, even though the handlebars suddenly bent under him the other day catapulting him onto the ice.”
Steinberg: “‘I overuse things,’ Howard admitted. ‘Again, like I’m saying, I’m low-maintenance, is how people describe me….The socks are not tight to my leg. They call ‘em the floppy socks and turtleneck socks. I think they’re jealous, personally.’
Reilly: “Look at those socks. They lost their elastic years ago.”
Steinberg: “’He has a ton of tennis shoes,’ Nored said. ‘We get all kind of shoes. Matt wears one pair. He’s wearing the same pair I think that he got freshman year. We tried to get him to wear these Kobes, because they’re pretty nice. He didn’t want to wear them. He’s ok with what he has, and that’s all he needs.’
Reilly: And those sad shoes! If those shoes were your couch, it’d be in the alley now. ‘He has six pairs of brand-new shoes in his locker,’ teammate Shelvin Mack says. ‘But he won’t wear them! He just keeps wearing those ratty old ones.’”
Steinberg: “Indeed, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder — that would be Howard — hasn’t cut his hair since before the season started. Teammates said they thought he was too lazy. Or maybe he was just being low-maintenance. ‘His hair is nasty,’ Nored said. ‘It’s just everywhere, all the time. And he doesn’t care. I mean, that’s just who he is.’
Reilly: “And what’s that on his head? Arugula? ‘That’s just the hair I woke up with,’ he says, trying to run his fingers through it and getting stopped by grease. ‘Whatever it looks like in the morning, that’s what I go with for the day.’
Steinberg: “Like, one of his favorite things is to reverse the first initials in two-word combinations. He calls Mack ‘Melvin Shack.’” … “’It’s kind of hard to have a conversation with him,’ Mack said. ‘You ask him what’s up, he’ll say the ceiling.’”
Reilly: “You ask Howard what’s up and he’ll say, ‘The ceiling.’ Tell him your name and he’ll reverse the letters the rest of your life. Shelvin Mack is permanently Melvin Shack.”
Steinberg: “’You can officially write Matt’s the weirdest person I’ve ever met in my life,’ Shelvin Mack said. ‘He’s just a weird dude.’”
Reilly: “Through it all, Howard kept on being what Mack calls ‘the weirdest person I’ve ever met in my entire life.’”
Reilly goes on to say that because Howard is full of heart and a “knee-grinder,” etc., it fuels Butler to victory. “He’s just a winner,” is the oft-repeated point of the article. Which, shudder, I hate that sort of Ecksteinian praise in the first place, but more importantly, as we can see, fully half the article is exactly the same as Steinberg’s.
Sure, some of the wording is different, but Reilly hits on all the same points, and even uses some of the same quote. And all this is beyond, you know, doing an article 12 days later on the exact, nichey topic that someone else did.
A lot of this stuff is “common knowledge,” meaning that more than one person can certainly find out about it, but Steinberg brought it all together and got all sorts of quotes, and Reilly basically just wrote a condensed version.
I, of course, have no way of knowing whether Reilly saw Steinberg’s piece. But it sure as hell looks like it.
Something’s up here folks.
And, you know, maybe Reilly should return some his $10 million to ESPN, or maybe Steinberg should get a raise, because his idea is clearly good enough to make it onto a multi-million dollar space.