All posts by Nate Schwartz

Chicago street artist pays tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant through new mural

By Nate Schwartz
Medill Reports

The untimely deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna sent a shockwave around the world that transcended the sports community and continues to reverberate today. Over the past month, street artists and muralists in Los Angeles and beyond have taken their talents to the streets to pay homage to the NBA icon — including Chicago’s own Rahmaan Statik.

Medill Reports spent an afternoon with Statik at the now-defunct Overton Elementary School in Bronzeville as he worked on a mural commemorating Bryant. Between brushstrokes, Statik, a graphic designer and art instructor by trade, shared why the late five-time NBA champion’s character resonates so strongly with him and his approach to his craft.

Photo at top: Rahmaan Statik’s mural to Kobe Bryant on a gym wall at Overton Elementary School in Bronzeville. According to Statik, this image depicts the mural only 50% completed. (Photo courtesy of Rahmaan Statik)

Snapshots from Tiger Woods’ not-so-lovely Valentine’s Day round at the Genesis Invitational

By Nate Schwartz
Medill Reports

Early Valentine’s Day morning, at a time when many happy partners around the world were giddily preparing breakfast in bed for their loved ones, Tiger Woods was on the 10th-hole tee at the Riviera Country Club with his playing partners, Justin Thomas and Steve Stricker, gearing up for the second round of the Genesis Invitational.

The morning seemed promising for Woods when he birdied his first hole of the day, but things began to spiral when he logged a double bogey on hole 15 and then a string of bogeys to close out the round. The late-game collapse left Woods with a final score of two-over-par and dropped his place on the leaderboard from 17th to 45th. Woods, whose TGR Foundation hosted the tournament, did not equivocate as he broke down his underwhelming performance in a post-round interview. Continue reading

Lakers fans share the significance behind their Kobe attire

By Nate Schwartz
Medill Reports

On Feb. 10, 2020, two weeks after Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, hundreds of Lakers fans donned Kobe t-shirts and jerseys for the team’s final home game before the All-Star break.

Medill Reports spoke with a few of the fans and asked them to share why Kobe was so meaningful to them.

Photo at top: Four Lakers fans sporting Kobe Bryant jerseys at Staples Center on Monday night. (Nate Schwartz/MEDILL)

Film criticism in 2020: A sit-down with Chicago’s star critic Brian Tallerico

By Nate Schwartz
Medill Reports

Brian Tallerico serves as the president of the Chicago Film Critics Association and is the managing editor for the film review website RogerEbert.com. He and I chatted at a coffee shop across the street from Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre before he met up with some friends for a night of poker. We talked about Netflix, his approach to film criticism, the need for Rotten Tomatoes, Ebert’s legacy and more.

Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre at night (Nate Schwartz/MEDILL)

What is the purpose of a film critic?

It’s someone who gives words and vocabulary to what people already know and think about movies. You know if you like a movie. You know if you think a movie is bad; you know if you think it’s good, but you don’t know why. A good film critic can help explain the cinematography choices or the music choices or the lighting choices and make you go: “Oh, that’s why I think The Godfather is good!” When I was growing up I loved movies, but I found that I lacked the vocabulary. People like Roger [Ebert] gave me the vocabulary to discuss them. I’m not a consumer guide; I hate consumer guides.
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Food, family and the future: A Q&A with Chicago native and Lakers’ G-League standout Talen Horton-Tucker

By Nate Schwartz
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – Talen Horton-Tucker was something of a legend in the Chicago high school basketball world. The Uptown native garnered national accolades throughout his career at Simeon Career Academy High School where he held a 20.5 ppg/8.7rpg/4.8apg stat line his senior year and led his team to a 29-4 record, but that was merely the prologue to his career story.

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