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He's Gotta Pitch It
Rick Reilly
May 27, 1991
FILMMAKER AND SUPERFAN SPIKE LEE HAS THROWN SOME NEW CURVES INTO SPORTS ADVERTISING
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May 27, 1991

He's Gotta Pitch It

FILMMAKER AND SUPERFAN SPIKE LEE HAS THROWN SOME NEW CURVES INTO SPORTS ADVERTISING

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WEDNESDAY

Now you can see him. Now you can see where he gets his drive. And all that anger, too. And brilliance and doggedness and burden. A legacy of will began with Mike and Phoebe, ran through Willie Edwards (the fallen prince himself) and Bill Lee and now courses through Spike Lee. He springs from American black royalty.

In Spike you see Bill, the purist. Spike will not move to Hollywood and make big-studio pictures. He will not let the studios tell him what to write. He is hell-bent on pressing racial issues. "[Racism] is the cancer of America," he says.

In him you see Willie and Mike and Phoebe, too, unwilling to quit. Make a smash hit without a typewriter, a phone and two nickels to rub together? No problem. "He has an unshakable will to be heard," says filmmaker John Sayles.

In him you see his mother, the survivor. He controls his company like a warden. If the electrician comes to fix the light, Spike writes the check. "I want to be here for the long run," he says.

It has to be this way. Like the ones who came before, Spike chiseled through great walls to get to where he is. In their memory, he is serious. There's too much to lose now. Too much has been fought for already. Got to do the right thing.

And you wanted him to do Mars Blackmon? Yo, scribe, blow.

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