A surprising byline decorated the Los Angeles Times' coverage of the NBA's opening night last week. That would be Mark Heisler, a marquee name for the Times' Sports section for many years until he was laid off with some other stars in 2011. That separation was hardly clean and easy after 32 years at the paper — Heisler learned of his layoff while on vacation, and came back to find his parking card turned off and his computer log-in locked. He went on to write about basketball for the New York Times and the Orange County Register, then suddenly last week he was back with the LA Times writing about LeBron James' homecoming in Cleveland.
It seemed like Heisler's own surprise homecoming. He took to Twitter to celebrate:
But it didn't last. Heisler's column did not run this past Sunday. He tweeted that he was dropped without explanation. The internal gossip mill at the Times blames top editor Davan Maharaj for simply deciding it wasn't going to work. There currently is no permanent editor at the Times sports department.
Oops: If you can’t find 2nd piece of my LATimes return, there isn’t one. I got canned. I can’t tell you why; they didn’t tell me. #NoPut-on— Mark Heisler (@MarkHeisler) November 2, 2014
Please understand if I can’t go into LAT demise further w/140 characters. I’m cool. Thanks to all who welcomed me back. #FunWhileItLasted— Mark Heisler (@MarkHeisler) November 2, 2014
Heisler still has a gig writing for the Forbes website. He also has written several books, including on the Lakers, and in 2007 received the Naismith Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award.