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Veteran sportswriter Sam King brings 'Tiger Beat' to Shreveport

The Baton Rouge newspaperman who covered LSU football and basketball for 35 years is coming to Shreveport. From Sam King’s beginnings in the mid-50s at the "State-Times" before it merged with "The Advocate," he’d spend night and day hammering out stories. His signature cigar in his mouth. He’s the author of  "Tiger Beat." It’s an illustrated history of LSU’s football and basketball programs through King’s eyes.

He finds that sports coverage today is a very different animal. Coaches don’t hang out with reporters and the players’ social media posts are a bigger draw for readers. As a result, the print story, he said, is no longer about who won the game.

"When I started it was all who, what, where, when, why. You had to have it in the lead. Now, you find that buried three paragraphs into it," King said. "They tell you about what the guy’s life was like as a child, and then all of a sudden he’s a hero. And then, by the way, they won the game.”

King regrets not keeping a better record of his clippings over a half century of storytelling. He was too busy, he said, with writing and raising four kids. His most memorable story to write was not exactly about sports.

"It was a long interview with Gov. Jimmie Davis about the first time he ever saw a basketball. It was a laugh. Of course, with him telling it, you can see how he got elected governor," King said.

King turns 75 Friday. On Sunday, he’ll be signing books at the Barnes and Noble in Shreveport beginning at 2 p.m. The book is titled “Tiger Beat: Covering LSU Sports for 35 Years,” published by Acadian House.