Revenge, the Coldest of Dishes

missinginactionThis year, I have been blessed to see three live NBA basketball games, witnessing Lebron, Kobe, and Melo. As a result, I have made a resolution with my future self: the expendable money that future me makes will be spent on going to NBA games, with the goal of attending a game in every arena.

The NBA, more than any other American professional sport, thrives on the marketing of their superstars. Unlike football, where their players are helmeted and only a handful of quarterbacks or skill players are known, most people recognize NBA players, largely because there is little separation between the players and fans (editor’s note: NBA players also sell and endorse everything under the sun). NBA players wear tank tops and shorts and periodically dive into the stands. After a big shot, they interact with the fans, who are a few feet away from the court, reducing the space with their outreached hands, hoping to touch a player at some point throughout the game. Even the fans seated on the periphery, nearly touching the arena’s rafters, are able to see the player’s winning smiles and ever-changing emotions via the jumbotron. While this close proximity encourages a euphoric, if only fleeting, connectedness, the monetary cost of experiencing it can be costly for some families.

Enter billionaires and millionaires and their egotistical feelings.

On November 29th, Greg Popovich, who I think is a phenomenal coach and does not receive the national attention he deserves because he coaches in a small market, decided to send his top four players home, even though they had a game against the Miami Heat that night. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobilli, and Danny Green went back to San Antonio on a commercial flight, instead of suiting up and playing the scheduled game. This move caused understandable uproar because Popovich did not inform the league of his decision until shortly before the start of the game. More importantly, the Miami Heat fans, who paid top dollars to see what many believe to be a NBA finals preview, were unable to see San Antonio at full strength. Remember, the NBA, more than any American professional sports, makes the bulk of their money on the marketability of their superstars, of which Duncan, Parker, and Ginobilli are. As a reprimand, the commissioner fined the Spurs organization a quarter of a million dollars. A gentle slap on the wrist for an organization that makes over $135 million in revenue annually.

Last night, the Miami Heat returned the malicious favor to the San Antonio fans by sitting both Dwayne Wade and the superstar amongst superstars, Lebron James. Each were sidelined with an injury. Interestingly, the league will have a difficult time fining the Heat because, unlike the Spurs, they followed protocol and reported that their players would be out due to injury. However, even a blind man can see that this move was also motivated by  revenge; the Heat organization wanted to payback the Spurs and their fans for the indiscretion and insult to the Heats fans back in November. For example, if the Heat’s winning streak was still intact and they were still chasing immortality, Wade and James, regardless of injury would have played. But the circumstances allowed for them to “take a night off” against the team who “robbed” their fans the pleasure of seeing the Spurs’ top players.

Lost in all of this tit for tat egotistical, billionaire mind war are the fans, specially the families that save their money to treat themselves or their children to a special outing. The kids (and adults), whose San Antonio rooms are covered in Lebron or Wade posters and defend them to their friends, who belittle them for liking anyone else not named Duncan, Parker, Ginobilli, or some other Spurs player, missed out on an opportunity to see their idol(s) defy gravity, shoot jumpers, and play tenacious defense that would surely lead to a highlight worthy moment on Sportscenter. Those voices, though they blend into one cacophonous sound for the players and the owners, need to be heard and recognized.

For a player like Lebron, who is finally starting to shed the venomous hate that surrounded his decision to play for Heat, this moment pushes him backwards as he (re)gains fans. If only the fans could boycott the owners and not attend a game to physically voice their displeasure with such childish behavior among the one percent. Unfortunately, it won’t happen because the experience is worth the cost.

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LeBron, DeAndre, and Mothers of the 80’s

“What have you done for my lately” dominates our mental capacities. As much as we romanticize the past and fantasize about the future, the present remains and tyrannizes (Editor’s note: I wanted to keep the -ize verbs going…you’re welcome) our thought. Thus, this week, all of the NBA talking heads (read: commentators) will focus their fleeting attention on two furiously thunderous dunks and argue which one is better because that’s what talking heads do; they talk, often to each other and to video cameras which blast their loquacious personalities throughout the world and interwebs.

The dunks are the following:

DeAndre

LeBron

Random sidenote: Both of the dunkers have multiple capital letters in their first name. Once again proving the English language to be a farce because every grammatical rule has, can, and will be broken. This moment in history may also be a shout out to the mothers of the mid 80’s who purposefully, for good or bad, decided to give their children more ethnic sounding names AND spell them phonetically AND added capital letters. As a child of the 80’s with a boring plain name like Dwight, I used to dream, not really, about the names that my mother could have given me instead (Editor’s note: I wanted to change my name to Rasheed just to have a more ethnic sounding name, but the feeling did not last long).

While both dunkers victimize the helpless, leaping defenders (i.e. Brandon Knight and Jason Terry) and ignite the respective crowds, the one that is most impressive is easily the DeAndre Jordan dunk. It looks nastier, even though he gives the best “Did I do just do that” a la Steve Urkel face while walking away from the scene of the crime. The mid-air contact and then burst of athleticism as DeAndre empathically slams the ball makes anyone shudder. At the same, one cannot discredit LeBron’s body knocking dunk. His dunk took place in a playoff intensity-like game between two teams that absolutely, without any equivocation, hate each other. That adds to the dunk. And how can one not discuss that look filled with utter disgust and unlimited braggadocio that LeBron gave as he paid his last respect to the body as it lay on the hardwood court.

Either way, both dunks were great, but neither should be called the “Greatest Dunk of all Time.” Give it some time and let’s revisit them when we are nostalgic and see if they can hold up next to these dunks.

The Curious Case of Honey Nut Cheerios and Carmelo Anthony

honey nut“Call me Cheerios, the way I nut in these honeys”–a rap line from a friend many years ago.

Last night, during the contentious basketball game between Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony, KG apparently said to Melo that LaLa, Carmelo’s wife, “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.”

Wait, what?!

Aside from being oh so thought-provoking (what does that even mean?), the comment was easily one of the most disrespectful ways to imply sexual infidelity with the utterance of a cereal, beloved by many and recommended by doctors.

KG forced Melo’s hand. There was nothing for Carmelo to do but react. If he did not react, then he would be deemed soft and dishonorable for being cuckold’d (real word, look it up). Thus, he reacted. He and KG both received technical fouls as they continued to jaw and taunt each other during the fourth quarter.

Yet, that was not enough for Melo. Nope. Not even close.

After the game, after the cold showers have been taken and fresh clothes adorned, Melo waits for Garnett outside of the Boston team bus. Yes, you read that right. Melo, wearing a burgundy beanie and clothes that I probably cannot pronounce nor afford (*patiently waits for that tax return money*), waited to “talk” with KG.

Camelo, as a man I understand how your mind must have been confused after Garnett’s comment. It was probably completing awash with hatred if Honey Nut Cheerios was your favorite cereal (sidenote: you must denounce all love and affection for Honey Nut Cheerios…It’s so necessary). As a veteren disser, I’ve spent countless hours going back and forth with friends and enemies alike alluding to outrageous claims and never once heard, “[insert name] tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.” So, I get it. You wanted clarification about KG’s comment (what does that even mean?). But as a potential NBA MVP candidate, leading your team beyond many’s expectations, this faux bravado misfits and, more importantly, is despicably unbecoming. Let me be clear, the incident is down right ugly. And it is even uglier because you play in the media capital of the world, where every mole hill is made to be Mount Everest.

Solution: Throw out all Honey Nut Cheerios from your house. Never eat it again…like ever. Your child should never from this day forward know the sweet joy what it tastes like. And make sure that KG has never liked one of LaLa’s pictures on Instagram because we all know that those likes are really heart-shaped thirst torpedos, begging for attention. And remember, you must turn down any endorsement deals from Honey Nut Cheerios. In fact, just leave the cereal money pile alone.

Looks like Garnett already had it anyway.

KG

 

That’s Dope…That’s Not Dope [late August]

Let’s jump into it…

That’s Not Dope

  • Settling for what’s not yours
  • Parking Tickets
  • Claiming to be a realist to justify one’s fear of risk
  • No wifi
  • The sneaker game (Lebron and Paranorman Foams… unfortunately there will be a story where some young male loses his life over these sneakers)
  • The second amendment and the countless amount of lives lost as a consequence (Prayer for the victims of the Empire State Building shooting and their families)

That’s Dope 

  • Taking a risk
  • Seeing the results of one’s hard work
  • Brooklyn (I’m hesitant to proclaim this because all of the Brooklynites I know will act even more pompous)
  • Celebrating the little things in life
  • Clarity
  • Aaliyah

That’s Dope…That’s Not Dope

You know the drill: Each week I chronicle what’s dope and what’s not.

That’s Not Dope

  • Rumors that Nas, often considered one of the best lyricists in the rap game, may have used ghostwriters. In other words, someone else wrote his lyrics.
  • Dwight Howard joining the Lakers
  • Replacement referees for the NFL…could alter the integrity of America’s most popular/successful sport
  • Love and Hip Hop Atlanta…smh. I already know I will receive a message about placing that show here.
  • Spam email from Africans asking for help recouping their millions
  • Domestic violence

That’s Dope

  • Being a parent
  • Dancing to Michael Jackson songs in public
  • Weddings
  • Unapologetically being yourself
  • Manners
  • Cuddling during rainstorms (personally not doing it, but it’s still dope)

Random Questions and Hella Links

Please feel free to answer any of the following questions in the comments section. Happy Friday!

  • Could Drake be a bigger star if he made better music videos? Remember when Kanye sabotaged directed Drake’s first career hit, “Best I Ever Had
  • If Lebron and Kobe finally face each other (seems more likely after this trade for my seven foot namesake), will Nike bring back those lovable puppets? Those commercials were dope.
  • Do New York middle school English students still comply their weekly vocabulary lists from listening to Clyde Frazier’s auspicious commentary for the New York Knicks like I once did? “Winning and grinning.” <— That link made me laugh.
  • How can one argue that racism and stereotypes are dead when NBC aired this commercial after Gabby Douglas, an African American woman, won the gold medal in gymnastics? Somebody needs to be fired for this egregious mistake act.
  • What do Jamaicans find their men to have them dominate these short sprints?
  • Who would win a street fighter styled, NCAA tournament bracket-esque battle between N’Sync, The Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, and New Edition while their greatest hits played in the background? Crown your champion in the comments section.
  • When will Justin Timberlake make new music? We I’m waiting like a cracked out crack addict for that crack, JT!
  • What’s the best HBO series ever? Before I would have said Entourage, but The Wire is doper. After I finish the series, I’ll start the Sopranos? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. Sidenote: I fully recognize that not everyone has the privilege of cable television and movie channels.
  • Why aren’t all museums free? The one in the Bronx is!
  • What inspires you?

My Son, Larry Bird, and Boston Market

Last winter, my son received an animated book about basketball, For the Love of Basketball from A-Z, which highlights the best players in NBA history while reviewing the alphabet, from his “uncle” (aka my best friend). His “uncle” is a huge Celtics fan; makes no sense to me because as a New Yorker, I hate all things Boston (blame it on my love for the Yankees) and think that all other New Yorkers feel the same way. I’m wrong; he bleeds Celtic green.

Earlier this summer, my son’s interest in basketball spiked. He wants to look at games with me; he practices his dribble; he watches his uncle, my youngest brother, play an NBA video game. Hence my excitement when he grabbed this book off the shelf, while we were getting ready to leave the apartment. Walking down the hallway to the elevator, my son fumbles with the book as he tries to read it and put on his book bag at the same time. In the elevator, he flips the pages to the letter B; there is a huge picture of Larry “Legend” Bird. “Larry Bird was one of the greatest Celtics players of all time,” I share with him. He does not look up, yet responds confidently, “I know, but I don’t like him.” Confused as to why he so adamantly dislikes Larry Bird, a player that he has never seen play, and more than likely never heard of before this book, I ask him, “Why not?”

He finally looks up at me and responds, “I don’t like Boston. I only eat from their market.”