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Original Issue

Under Review

Watching Isiah Thomas in Untold, Spike TV's series of athlete profiles, I wanted to implore the interviewer to ask, "So, Isiah, what are you gonna do with the Knicks?" But sports is not the main agenda of Untold. The hourlong episodes begin with narrator Marv Albert intoning ominously, "When the game is done, life continues." The series, which has featured Terry Bradshaw talking about depression and Darryl Strawberry on drug addiction, allows subjects to speak in more than sound bites. But on the Thomas show (Feb. 11), too much time is spent on his early years in a rough Chicago neighborhood (a story that feels generic), while questions of his not making the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and his difficult relationships with Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird remain unexplored. (O.K., so this is the Testosterone Channel, not Lifetime's Intimate Portrait.) An episode on surfer Laird Hamilton (Feb. 18) is more revealing. With help from his wife, Gabrielle Reece, a three-dimensional man emerges--one who, she says, is not always nice and "creates energy from friction," but one who could apply that friction to his death-defying barrel run at Teahupoo, in Tahiti, in 2000. Hamilton says he felt like Moses, "at the center of the parting of the Red Sea." Testosterone, anyone? --Nancy Ramsey