Hoops and Music

by Jay Nordlinger

Toward the end of Impromptus today, I have a remark on Jeremy Lin and Linsanity. And I take a little walk down Memory Lane — to 1987, when Isiah Thomas said that, if Larry Bird were black, rather than white, he’d be considered just another good player. Nothing special.

A reader writes,

Jay,

Dennis Rodman said the same, more loutishly. And the irrepressible Frank Layden, a Brooklyn boy, rejoined, “I think we need to get Dennis a better seat on the bench. He’s not seeing the game too well.”

Layden, at the time, was coach of the Utah Jazz (née the New Orleans Jazz). (Some team names cease to make sense — as in the Utah Jazz, and the Los Angeles Lakers.) (The Lakers started out in Minnesota, where they have lakes out the wazoo.)

On another note: In an Impromptus last week, I mentioned the conversion of Oliver Stone’s son to Islam in the Iranian city of Isfahan. I then recommended Fauré’s immortal song “Les Roses d’Ispahan,” linking to this recording by Elly Ameling and Dalton Baldwin. Several readers said, “Hey, how about equal time for Duke Ellington?”

Quite right: Here is “Isfahan,” from the Ellington-Strayhorn Far East Suite.