No sooner have I completed a mid-afternoon screening of “The Front”, than I learn from Phil Mushnick’s latest Sports Du Jour column that former Nets G Mike Newlin, “seemed naïve to the world outside of hotel rooms, airports and arenas.” Even worse, he took exception to Phil Jackson’s carefully cultivated fashion aesthetic :
One late afternoon in Indianapolis, I was on the team bus. Newlin was in the seat across from me, on the aisle. Jackson entered, walked past and sat toward the back. Jackson was wearing one of those fading hippie era Davy Crockett/Daniel Boone light brown leather jackets, with the leather tassels along the sleeves.
Newlin leaned over to me. “What’s his story?” he asked, obviously referencing Jackson.
“Whattya mean?” I asked back.
“Is he a Communist?”
I leaned in close to Newlin and whispered, “Card-carrying.”
Newlin nodded, as if he understood, then leaned back in his seat.
I figured or hoped that Newlin knew that I was kidding. But I’ve long — as in 35 years — had my doubts.
Did Mike Newlin believe Phil Jackson is a card-carry member of the Communist Party? Does he still believe that? Did he contact the House Un-American Activities Committee?