There’s always been an obvious connection between the NBA and the world of hip-hop. The music is played in the arenas, the players have it on in their headphones pre-game, and Lebron James is out here singing Fetty Wap off key on the sidelines. After years of watching the NBA, and after years of wishing the And1 Mixtape Tour would come back to ESPN, I’ve noticed that there a lot of players in the NBA who actually remind me of some biggest names in hip-hop. Continue reading
What we have here is the latest example of, “you can’t do both”.
You can either have off the field issues or have on the field issues. Problems in one area can earn you a second chance. Problems with both will get you fired. Sarkisian was the head coach of a USC Trojans team that was supposed to contend for a national title but has since slipped out of the top 25 in the polls. If he’s sober with a 3-2 record he has a job. If he’s drunk with a 5-0 record, he has a job assuming he doesn’t make a fool of himself in public again. But being an alcoholic with a 3-2 record and a loss at home to Washington will cost you your job. You can’t do both.
But, if you listen to Pay Haden talk about the straw that broke the camels back he does a good job of pretending this is the first time he’s noticed Sarkians health problems. Seeing Haden give that press conference reminded me of all the times I pretended I didn’t get a bill in the mail. He really tried to sit there and act like he didn’t witness or hear of Sarkisian being intoxicated at any point since he hired him.
Either he’s not connected to his football program or he’s acting like the special guest referee at WWE match who didn’t just see that guy get hit with the steel chair. Haden even had a “zero tolerance policy” regarding Sarkisian and alcohol like the only thing keeping Sarkisian from kicking his addition was his boss saying not to drink. I can’t tell if this is him not understanding the nature of addiction or if he was just looking for a way to cover his own ass by saying the prevision was in his contract.
How much effort was required by Haden to act like he didn’t see he had a problem on his hands? Was it like back in the day when I knew I failed a test and didn’t look at the grade like the F didn’t count unless I saw it? How many times did coaches say something to him about Coach Sark not looking well?
“Hey, Pat I don’t think Sark is healthy right now. He seemed really out of it today at the team meeting.”
“Yeah, well there’s been a cold going around campus so be sure to wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow.”
“I don’t know, I’m concerned he may be drinking again.”
“Well, the atmosphere on campus on game day is so intense its impossible to not get excited and feel intoxicated.”
And I would also love to hear what Haden had to say the boosters who questioned him when he announced the hire of Sarkisian:
“ Come on guys, I know he’s had his issues but I know a good coaching talent when I see one. Its not like I had to fire the last guy I hired in the middle of a blow out game or anything.”
(You can’t hire Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian back to back like you’re on the cover of Lethal Weapon, back to back like your Jordan ’96, ’97.)
To be clear, the fact that Sarkisian was battling with issues in his persona life and it went unaddressed for a number of years isn’t funny. But, I will not make any apologies for laughing at the level of denial that it must have taken to justify what was obviously the wrong choice in head coach. Haden made a move that was morally questionable and lost football games at the same damn time. He could have done either one of those things and not had people call for him to step down. But now, USC’s title hopes are virtually non existent and he decided to put the kids in that program under the care of someone battling with deep seeded personal issues.
If Haden wants to keep his job, he can’t do both.
There’s always been an obvious connection between the NBA and the world of hip-hop. The music is played in the arenas, the players have it on in their headphones pre-game, and somewhere in Toronto Drake is waiting for someone to come shoot with him in the gym. After years of watching the NBA, and after years of wishing the And1 Mixtape Tour would come back to ESPN, I’ve noticed that there a lot of players in the NBA who actually remind me of some biggest names in hip-hop.
Meek Mill and Mark Cuban
Nobody took L’s this summer like these men did. The sad part about it is I had associated these men with winning. Mark Cuban is a billionaire who owns one of the more successful franchises in the NBA. I don’t know what Meek Mill’s worth is but he gets to wake up next to Nicki Minaj everyday so even if his album flops he still winning the game of life. The summer of 2015 was supposed to be a good one for these guys. Cuban was gonna build his team back into a championship contender by signing DeAndre Jordan and Meek was dropping an album that was gonna have a feature from Drake.
And then two of the most hilarious beefs of all time started.
DeAndre Jordan had a handshake agreement to sign with Dallas, but had to wait until the signing period actually started before he could make it official. Before I was even done cracking jokes about Jordan seeing himself as a staple in the offense in Dallas, he had changed his mind and decided he wanted to play with Chris Paul’s angry ass again. Why he wanted to play with Paul, who talks to him like an angry parent who busts in your room without knocking to yell at you for not picking up those damn clothes off the floor, I’m not sure. But whatever the reason, Cuban was pissed. Allegedly pissed enough to make the trip to Houston and try to roll up on Jordan’s house and send some thirsty ass text messages.
We’ve all sent thirsty ass texts and gotten no response. But hopefully none of you guys have ever sent thirsty texts and then tried to catch the person you were thirsty for at their house and then had your thirst reported on by the sports media. Also, Cuban’s lived in Dallas for more than a minute. Texas is a gun loving state. Why is he showing up unannounced when one of Jordan’s neighbors may just have the chopper on deck? He should have known better.
Meek Mill’s wounds were more self-inflicted. Look, we know Drake doesn’t write a lot of that stuff he be sayin. And a lot of ya’ll don’t seem to care.However, I still care, and apparently, so does Meek. Meek cared so much, that he was decided to take to Twitter just to let everybody know how disappointed he was in Drizzy.
I’m not gonna talk about “Charged Up” too much because that was one of the weakest disses I ever heard. Even when Drake mad at you it still sound like a love song. But when Drake came at him with “Back to Back”…it was over. “Back to Back” wasn’t just your average diss record though. It was a package deal. He turned a diss into a multimeida event complete with powerpoint on the over head projector. Meanwhile both the diss tracks got higher on the Billboard list than any song off of Meek’s album and the highest ranking song of his album was “R.I.C.O..”which featured the verse that Drake hadn’t written.
I don’t normally give advice to celebrities but if Meek Mill or Mark Cuban are reading this you should give this blog a shout out. You should also both calm the fuck down. Every time I turn around Cuban’s getting fined for yelling at the referees. And Meek Mill needs to be fined yelling in general. Meek Mill rap like he know your headphones are shorting out and he wants to make sure you hear him clearly. As a matter of fact my favorite part of R.I.C.O is when he tells the listener to be quiet because the feds are watching when he was the one who just got through yelling for two minutes. Meek and Cuban also need to stop tripping on ghostwriters. People don’t care Drake isn’t a writer and no one cares if Jordan actually wrote his apology. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Quintin Miller wrote Jordan’s statement as soon as he recorded this reference track.
Flava Flave and Nick Young
In the context of Public Enemy, Flava Flav was this weird combination of goofy and socially conscious. If you listen to Public Enemy you get 80 percent Chuck D being angry and righteous like someone gave Huey Newton some hot beats to rap over. The other 20 percent is some dude with a clock around his neck telling you that he never dials 911.Listening to that for an entire album could get pretty tiring, so you need Flav for the comic relief. But who out there is trying to hear the Flava Flav solo projects? As of writing this I haven’t looked at his Wikipedia page to check, but I don’t know what he’s done musically since 1994. And I refuse to check his Wikipedia page to see if he tried to drop an album while he was doing that bullshit reality show on VH1.
Anyone who who saw Flavor Flav’s scripted search for love witnessed what happens when he doesn’t have Chuck D to cancel out his goofiness. And in LA, no one can cancel out Swaggy P’s goofy ass either. Kobe keeps trying to come back to lay down the law but old Kobe doesn’t have the same knees as young Kobe. The other problem is, as previously noted, Kobe isn’t a Chuck D type. No one in the NBA is. There is no rebellious, righteous figure who will stand up to the white establishment that runs the NBA. Chris Paul comes close just because he’s the head of the player’s association but he still hasn’t fought the power of David Stern to repeal those oppressive dress code rules that Allen Iverson faught so hard against. Nick Young and Flavor Flav have two main goals in life: get into questionable relationships with foreign white women and to show out as much as possible while they’re performing. Sometimes that means not knowing when a shot is actually going in, other times that means not knowing how many mid air spins is too many. Either way it’s been established, that you cannot leave these guys alone without another authoritative figure around. Chuck D leaves the studio for one second and Flavor Flav gets on TV long enough for this shit to happen. And Kobe was just sittin at home watching Nick Young be bad enough to make sure the Lakers miss the playoffs and the first overall pick in the draft. This is what happens when there are no adults around to supervise.
Earl Sweatshirt and Anthony Davis
These dudes must have sold their souls to the devil at some dusty crossroads in Mississippi to be so talented at such a young age. All they had to do was trade their good looks to be this good at their crafts before they were even old enough to drink. I’m not the kind of guy who likes to spend a whole lot of time focusing on how another man looks, but I’m still trying to figure out how Earl Sweatshirt looks old and young at the same time. He’s one of the most talented lyricists out right now and he looks like a middle-aged teenager. Anthony Davis is about to overtake LeBron as the best player in the NBA in a few years but his eyebrows have him looking like Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold. His eyebrows look like when children try to draw a picture with birds flying off in the distance.
If you put their awkward appearances aside though, it’s impossible to not recognize how good these guys are. I even heard that Davis was working on a three point shot in the offseason. If he starts hitting that shot with any consistency, no one will be able to guard him. You’re gonna have to treat him like we treated Mike Vick in Madden 2004. You cant be playing 2K with the Pelicans when you have the player that can score from anywhere, gets rebounds and blocks shots. You gotta put Luke Babbit in there just to keep things fair. Davis signed that ridiculously fat contract and he’ll be worth every dollar of it. I just hope the good people of Kentucky have stopped connecting their eyebrows with permanent marker for a player who kicked it in that backward ass state just long enough to take advantage of that NBA conveyor belt John Calipari built.
And at this point Earl is just as ungaurdable in the booth when it comes to the dark clever word play. Its rappers like him that make me thankful for Rap Genius because some of these lines would have taken months for my dumb ass to decipher back in the day. And I would love to keep cracking jokes about how this man got bags under his eyes and how his hair lines is rolling back like Walmart prices but I need someone to explain to me how someone so young comes up with something this dark?
I know why Earl got bags under his eyes. If that’s what he sees when he goes to bed I wouldn’t want to sleep either. Thats the shit nightmares are made of. Personally I hope every girl who curved these guys in high school is in their DMs on Twitter sounding thisrty. And I hope this was the response:
Jay Electronica and Derrick Rose
There are few things more painful than being supporters of Derrick Rose or Jay Electronica. You spend the majority of your time telling other basketball/hip hop fans to just wait. Just wait until he gets those samples to clear. Just wait until his knees fell 100 percent. Just wait until you hear the rest of the album. Just wait until the Bulls can get him on the floor for a full season. Waiting for Rose and Electronica to get their shit together is like driving at 2 a.m. and waiting for that flashing red light to turn green. You might as well just keep it moving.
I reserve the right to talk trash about these guys because I really like both of them. It’s impossible to not root for a guy like D-Rose. If you didn’t use the create-a-player function on NBA Live to put yourself on the roster of your favorite team then you’re a liar. Well, Rose is actually the star player on his hometown team. He also taught us a very valuable lesson about not listening to the team doctors. Ya’ll all jumped down his throat when he delayed his comeback from that MCL tear, but he refused to be rushed back. (And if you still think Rose was overly cautious for not playing when doctors cleared him, go ask John Wall and Kyrie Irving about how trustworthy the team medical staff is.)
On the other hand Jay Electronica has a sound that could seriously shake up the landscape if he wasn’t leaking one track off his long-awaited debut album once every 18 months. Even when’s sending his features on someone else’s record he’s late as fuck. The only reason I keep paying attention to this cat is that his leaks are fire. Jay Electronica has been torturing us for years by releasing one good track, hyping it up onw Twitter, then getting distracted from his music because he’s fucking some billionaire’s daughter. You’re better off hoping that Rose shows up to take his own SAT than expecting a concrete release date for Act II.
Don’t be surprised if you see Derrick Rose with an executive producer credit when the record drops. Because I’m pretty sure Rose rehabs in the same room Jay Electronica writes his rhyme. Every time he says he’s ready to release the album Rose rubs his knee and tells him to wait until he’s ready.
…Or his album release date could be getting delayed because he’s engaging in combat against Satan. You never know with this guy.
Chip Kelly is possibly, maybe, conceivably a racist in some way, shape, or form and we don’t want to talk about it.
When I say “we” I’m obviously excluding myself, LeSean McCoy, Tra Thomas and Brandon Boykin. What Boykin said wasn’t even that inflammatory. I wouldn’t expect a middle-aged white man to be able relate completely to a locker room full of young black men. You think Bill Belichick knows what it means when a Patriots player signs a new deal and says he’s about fuck up some commas with all that guaranteed money he’s gonna have? Belichick probably uncomfortably laugh/grunts and mumbles something about the importance of balancing your checkbook and walks away.
The fact that a coach is having a little trouble bridging a cultural gap isn’t really an issue. The fact that a coach is having trouble bridging a cultural gap and is possibly removing players for being part of that culture would be a huge problem. And since none of us are really aware of all the personal interactions in the locker room its impossible to say how much prejudice there is on the coaching staff.
However, the prejudice from the media is pretty clear. The way these accusations are casually and almost unanimously being viewed as nothing more than false accusations from bitter ex-Eagles is ridiculous. If there was a situation where a WNBA coach was being accused of sexism in any form by three or four players on his 15-woman roster it would be taken seriously. There would be an internal investigation of some sort. Maybe that coach faces some form of disciplinary action. But when three or four former Eagles say something about the white coach maybe having some racial bias affect his roster management, it gets swept under the rug and the only person who takes it seriously is Stephen A. Smith’s crazy ass. (If Smith really wanted to make the case that this should be taken seriously he should come out in favor of Chip Kelly. Having a cosign from Stephen A. has never helped anything in the court of public opinion.)
A big part of why Boykin and McCoy were openly mocked by a majority of columnists is that they don’t play hockey. They don’t play a team sport dominated by white folks. They play the second blackest sport there is. This provides an opportunity for people to say stupid stuff like “DeMarco Murray just got signed so Kelly can’t be racist.” Murray was the best running back in the NFL last year. And a much needed addition since the Butt Fumbler is their QB. If Kelly does have racism in his soul, he’s not about to let it get in the way of winning games. And I’m not quite sure where we got this idea that white people can be the overseer of black people and necessarily expect that the white man in charge respects the people who are doing all the physical labor. I don’t expect Kelly to try and field the first all white team since the days of leather helmets. But it at least appears that black players who step out of line on this team will receive less leeway than white players. Which, well, doesn’t sound too different from what regular nonathletic black people deal with at their regular jobs. As a matter of fact, I may or may not be experiencing that at my job right now. (I would never bring this up to anyone I work with, of course. Shady Mcoy has taught me two things: how to throw a good party, and that unless you have hard evidence of a burning cross in your locker, your accusations of racism will be ignored.)
This is compounded by the fact that no one currently on the Eagles will back up the claims of anyone who has anything negative to say about the head coach. Why would they? Who’s trying to be the next Huey P. Newton with his first up during two-a-days just so they can move down the depth chart? Why do that when you can just keep your head down and try to compete for one of these starting jobs? Mark Sanchez went and defended Chip Kelly in the press and if he was smart he went right into Kelly’s office to talk about how well he’s clicking with the first team offense. If we are going to question the word of players who have recently been removed from a team and may be upset, then we need to bring that same level of scrutiny when players still trying to impress the coach are talking good about the coach.
Chip Kelly isn’t a raging bigot. I feel pretty comfortable in that assumption. On a scale of 1 to Hitler, Chip Kelly is probably like a two or a three on the racism scale. The problem is, a lot of white people are two and three on that scale. If they were to acknowledge that Kelly is racist in some form, then they would then have to acknowledge some of their own racial bias. And why the fuck would you want to do that when you can ignore the social issues at play and just watch dudes hit each other really, really hard?
I wouldn’t call French Montana the voice of a generation or anything but as a Warriors fan, I really ain’t worried bout nothin.
I don’t even have the vocabulary to tell you how not worried I am about the Cavs evening the Finals but, I’m straight chillin. As a matter of fact, to drive home the point as to how unconcerned I am here’s a picture of how I’m feeling after the Warriors dropped game two at home.
Look at how much chill is in that photograph. Normally I don’t like to be photographed when I’m more than two weeks removed from my last hair cut but my squad is about to win an NBA championship in a week so I don’t even care that my line up ain’t the sharpest.
Whenever the Warriors lose this season one of my favorite activities is to make a list of everything that went wrong and determine how likely it is that those factors are going to become ongoing issues. Below is the list of everything that went wrong for the Warriors to lose game two:
Curry is 5-23 from the field from the field and two for 15 from distance
The Warriors were whack from beyond the arc as a team shooting 22 percent
Mathew Dellavedova looked like the Australian Gary Payton on defense
The Cavs got the Warriors to slow down their frantic pace, limiting points off the fast break
The Cavs outscored the Warriors in every quarter except the fourth.
The Warriors were guilty of all this fuckery at home, where they normally win.
As you can see from the list above, beating the Warriors requires several things that almost never happen to happen all at once. And even then, it takes over time to finish them off. The only thing that went right for Warriors is that LeBron had a really inefficient night while scoring 35 points. No one on that team is a consistent scoring threat to beat you every night outside of King James. James will get his points and hope that Iman Shumpert is feeling his jumper or that JR Smith is on a hot streak and giving the opposing defense the pipe.
The reality is, the Cavs aren’t even the best team the Warriors have faced in the playoffs. I would argue that the Grizzlies and Rockets are both better teams than the Cavs without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Grizzlies obviously presented the most match up problems with their inside scoring and perimeter defense but Steve Kerr found was to adjust. Thats when we saw Andrew Bougot gaurding Tony Allen. One of the most emasculating things I’ve ever seen on the black top was when we were playing with this kid who couldn’t shoot so we didn’t guard him and laughed every time he missed his wide open shot. I feel bad that we clowned that boy like that but when Kerr made that defensive adjustment I laughed at Allen the same way I laughed at that kid that was bricking on every shot he took.
Even though that Grizzlies team is not at all constructed like this injury plagued Cavs team, that adjustment shows the Warriors’ ability to adapt their game plan. The Cavs found success with Dellavedova guarding Curry and I expect to see more screens to get Dellavedova off of Curry and on to Klay Thompson in game three. I’m sure David Blatt was great in Europe, but this year he hasn’t even been the best coach on his own team. Remember when Blatt drew up a play where LeBron was supposed to inbound only to be quickly overruled? Remember when Blatt tried to argue a foul call and got pushed aside by the real coach?
LeBron could actually make a good coach some day but him having to take all the shots, make all the passes, get all the rebounds and outcoach his own coach is gonna make it real difficult to out coach Kerr who created the we-dare-you-to-shoot defense.
You’re also not gonna see Curry shoot that poorly the rest of this series. What Cury did on Sunday night was thoroughly sad. Dellavedova was all up in his jersey but Curry should be used to that by now. Curry making those circus shots isn’t a fluke, his poor shooting in game two was. He’ll be back and I’ll be yelling “STEPH CURRY WITH THE SHOT BOI!!”, every time he drains a three. (I hope everyone in the Bay Area is ready for 0 to 100 to become the theme song of the summer after the Warriors wrap this up)
I don’t plan on watching too much ESPN between now and game three. I don’t feel like hearing everybody who said the series was over back peddle like cornerbacks just because the team that was destined to win one due to the greatness of King James, actually won one. The things that made the Warriors great and the Cavs incomplete are all still there. The Cavs have been average at best defensively and put on a great defensive performance. The Warriors are great shooting team with the best shooter in the world and couldn’t hit their shots.
Game two was weird but it doesn’t change that one team is clearly superior. And that’s why I’m chillin with sunglasses on inside with unkempt hair; because the Dubs are still gonna win this in five.
I got one question for those of you that paid $100 for the fight hoping Floyd Mayweather would finally take his first L in the ring: u mad bro? Because I would be heated if I spent that much money to see one of the most hated athletes of all time get knocked out and watched him avoid punches for 12 rounds while commentators gushed over his defensive skill. I laughed so hard at all the people who got mad that the fight turned into counter punch battle that it took me two weeks to get around to making fun of ya’ll in writing. But I have another question for the people that that thought this match up would end in some kind of dramatic knock out: what the hell did you expect? I completely understand if the casual boxing fan heard that Maywerather and Manny Pacquiao were two of the best in the sport and assumed that they were knock out artists. Or at least that they were gonna be busy throwing punches. But apparently there’s a bunch of people who spent money on this fight not knowing what Mayweather fight looks like. Who the hell casually drops $100 on something without researching what they’re getting? Really? In this economy you’re gonna pay for the most expensive PPV fight of all time and not watch the Mayweather defensive highlights on Youtube first to get an idea of what you’ll be watching? The hardest punch landed in that video when Canelo Alverez thought he was gonna go up top with right hook but missed and hit the ropes because Mayweather is from the Matrix and had already teleported to the other side of the ring. Did you not take a moment to remember that he fought Shane Mosley and put such a good defensive round that Mosley only landed three punches in three minutes? Did you forget that the last time we had someone who’s style seemed tailor made to beat Mayweather the dude lost twice?
To be fair, I thought Marcos Maidana’s style was built to beat Mayweather. Maidana uses a style that every body who’s ever been in street fight uses. When you’re in the club this weekend and a fight breaks out look at the wild over hand rights that get thrown. Those are Maidana punches. Every time I watch this dude fight I imagine he’s mad that someone stepped on his new white sneakers on the dance floor and he wants to get his licks in before the bouncers break it up.
The fighting-over-scuffed-shoes-at-the-club style doesn’t work well with the precise defense technique of the Philly Shell and for a while in first fight it seemed like we were getting our first upset. The fight ended up being a majority decision win for Pretty Boy Floyd but with one judge scoring it a draw and the fight being the closest Mayweather has had in years, the rematch seemed like it was a good chance for that surprise knock out all of you guys wanted. And when Maidana got the rematch he wanted he got his ass whooped and reminded me of all the times I studied for a test by answering all the questions correctly on the study guide only to fail on exam day. The conclusion of the second fight made it clear that there was no one left for Mayweather to match up against that was going to challenge him in the way fans wanted. He had just defeated his biggest threat in years and it appeared that a match up with Pacquiao was something he was just going to shoulder roll away from. But I never lost faith in the super-fight. I knew it would happen because it was going to be lucrative It didn’t matter that booth fighters were five years past their prime.The hardcore boxing fan would watch it and the casual boxing fan could tune in, buy into the way-too-simplistic good vs evil narrative and hope for an arrogant man to be humbled. And as long as the casual boxing fan was willing to pay top dollar for a fight that everyone seemed to be talking about for years, The Money Team was always going to find a way to get the pay day. However, in order to get the pay day both fighters had to lie about how much action to expect in the ring. If the fight was ever going to go Pacquiao’s way it was going to be a lot of punches thrown, with Mayweather casually leaning up against the ropes in his Philly Shell shaking his head after ever flurry of punches he took trying to convince the judges and his opponent that nothing meaningful landed. And that would have been boring as hell, but it would have at least been entertaining for those who wanted to see a woman beater get beat. (On a side note, I’ve noticed that a lot of ya’ll seem willing to forget that the last big time fighter we cared about, Mike Tyson, was also accused of domestic abuse. But he seems like a really sad person who struggles with a constant existential crisis when he’s not starring in hit comedies so we like to give him the benefit of the doubt that we would never extend to Mayweather. A lot of people don’t really care about his abuse of women, they just don’t like how arrogant he is about it.) The thing that is amazing about Mayweather fights is that all his most dominant victories look the same. Its about two or three rounds of him feeling out his opponent and another nine or 10 rounds of counter punches and punches that land on his shoulder. If the fight is gong really well for Pretty Boy Floyd, his opponent gets frustrated and slows their punch out put because they’re tired f getting countered and/or can’t find an opening to land a shot of their own. The thinking with this match up however, was that Pac Man had the combination of power and speed to give him some trouble. And there is an outside chance that the fight could have been different five or six years ago when they were both in their prime but the result we got on May 2 was the result we were always going to get.
For someone just looking at his record over the past few years it would appear that Pacquiao has fallen off harder than Lil’ Wayne did after he dropped the Carter III. But the loss to Timothy “Pillow Hands” Bradley can be credited to one of the most egregious scoring errors of all time. The late round KO from Juan Manuel Marquez was a fluke knockout from someone who knew him better than anyone he’s ever faced. So, his last three losses have been caused by two random acts of God, and an in ring encounter with the god of defensive boxing. The recent losses make it seem as though Mayweather took advantage of an aging fighter with a rapidly diminishing skill set. This narrative ignores the fact that Mayweather is fighting father time as well and that while Pacquiao was losing some of his speed and power Mayweather was losing his as well. Pacquiao, who has no problem throwing more than 800 punches in a fight, wasn’t defeated because he’s lost a step. He was defeated because, like many fighters before him, he just couldn’t find a way to land anything clean without opening himself up for a counter and only ended up throwing 429 punches landing just 19 percent of them. What the haters actually saw wasn’t the fight of the century. They saw the defensive boxer of the century put on a $ 100 televised clinic. If the viewing public wanted a fight where two fighters came out to throw bombs and murder each other then they need pray for Maidana to fight Lucas Matthysse some day. But thats not what Mayweather fights are. They leave casual boxing fans looking at the person with the most boxing knowledge in the room for an interpenetration of what they just saw. Its smart intellectual boxing thats so highbrow that you should have to watch it wearing a top hat and a monocle with a glass of wine in your hand while you gentrify a black neighborhood. Its the slickest version of “hit and don’t get hit” you’ve ever seen and if you didn’t know that beforehand you’re better off helping me pay my student loans than wasting money on a boxing clinic that you didn’t actually want to see.
There’s always been an obvious connection between the NBA and the world of hip-hop. The music is played in the arenas, the players have it on in their headphones pre game, and the Warriors are apparently in love with coco. After years of watching the NBA and after years of wishing the And1 Mixtape Tour would come back to ESPN I’ve noticed that there a lot of players in the NBA who actually remind me of some biggest names in Hip-Hop.
Dr. Dre and Phil Jackson
When you think back on Kobe Bryants’ and Micheal Jordan’s championships and when you think back on how cool Snoop made it look to host a house party while sipping Gin and Juice you have to acknowledge the men behind the success. At this point I’m pretty sure Jackson is Dre’s spirit animal. Dr. Dre is known for making some of the hottest beats in the history of the rap game. He’s had such an influence as a producer that people are willing to over look the fact that he has people ghostwrite his verses. They’ll even overlook that Dre has spent years selling you fake audiophiles those whack ass name brand headphones that overemphasized the bass in every song on your iPod. But as long as it allows Kevin Garnet to hear what he wants when he’s putting up one of his worst statistical seasons then I guess folks are willing to give him a pass for the fact that he sold ya’ll headphones that only sound good when you’re listening to The Chronic or Doggystle.
Dre produced some classic records and is forgiven by all the fans who know that he can’t rap, that his headphones are overrated and that we’ve been waiting for his third album to drop for damn near 15 years. Phil Jackson has won so many rings that he has gotten a pass for every stupid move he’s made since he got Kobe his fifth ring. The Knicks wanted Jackson to coach the team and he told them that he didn’t really feel like traveling. Because those long road trips from New York to Toronto are just so hard on your body. The Knicks were struggling with Carmelo Anthony running the offense with Iman Shumpert and JR Smith. And since Smith and Shumpert were the only other exciting players on the roster they got traded to Cleveland for a third round pick in the 2019 WNBA draft. The Knicks look so bad right now its making me reconsider my stance on soccer-type league relegation in the NBA. If you think Carmelo looks good now, imagine how many points he’ll put up once he’s playing the Liaoning Flying Leopards in the Chinese Basketball Association. And meanwhile Jackson is just laughing to the bank with a team that is destined for a lottery pick. Even with every stupid move he has overseen or approved he’s done so much that people, myself included, will still call him a basketball genius. Jackson didn’t all of a sudden forget what good basketball looks like. He’s just supervising a rebuilding process. Which is hilarious since he got brought in so they wouldn’t have to rebuild. So, shoutout to the Knicks for holding out hope that Jackson was going to save their sinking ship of a franchise and shoutout to the fans who are still waiting for Detox to hit the shelves. Dre and Jackson already got their money so just enjoy watching high lights of a broken triangle offense on your laptop through your sub-par over priced headphones.
Zack Randolph and Nate Dogg
Honestly, I’m a big fan of both these cats. People like Z-Bo and Nate Dogg make me think that if I had just put in a little bit of work towards a more lucrative craft I could have found a way to make some real money. (In case your wondering, no. Getting a journalism degree from a small liberal arts college dose not allow me to make it rain at the club.) The reason these two give me hope is because on the one hand, we have the most un-athletic athlete in the NBA who has no business being as good at his job as he is. And on the other hand we have a guy who got famous singing on some of the most recognizable hooks in hip hop history when we all know good and damn well he can’t really sing. Randolph got your old ass uncle talking about how he can still hang on the court with the young folks at your local blacktop because he plays the game smart and has some low post post moves. That same old ass uncle thinks he can sing along with Nate Dogg on Deez Nutz. Now, depending on whether or not your uncle is 6 foot 9 with an awkward left handed style that no one really knows how to defend against your old uncle may not be able to put in work in a three on three half court game. But if your uncle ain’t completely tone deaf he can hang with Nate Dogg on anything he’s ever sung.
The thing that ties them together isn’t talent but the fact that they found ways to work around their natural ability. Nate Dogg’s persona is the precursor to modern day R&B singers who give you that crooner you don’t want to meet in a dark alley type of vibe and Z-Bo plays like one of those guys from an era where stuff like this happened.
If you ever find yourself on the black top with one of the old heads who compares his game to Randolph he should be pretty recognizable. He’ll probably talk about how soft the Modern NBA is and how all LeBron does is flop his way to the free throw line. Then he’ll mention how Randolph plays the game like a real man as the old man hikes up his shorts that are already way too short and plays tight man coverage at the top of the key because zone is for cowards. Then right as you drive past him and go for the finger role he’ll punch you in the kidneys and remind you that “there’s no easy layups, young blood.” As you take you’re foul shots you may even over here him tell someone on his team how important it is to regulate the paint.
T.I. And Kevin Garnet
Both of these guys have been in the game a long time in professions that have a tendency to produce short careers. But Garnet and and T.I have both crafted this tough guy image that no one seems to want to question. At first, it can be confusing as to why two guys who enjoy almost getting into physical altercations still get praised for their toughness. At least part of the reason is that their both crazy. T.I dropped an album where he was actively battling against himself and we all sat there and acted like this dude wasn’t showing early signs of schizophrenia. And while we were giving him a pass for having an entire album dedicated to his internal battle, he was also apparently gearing up for external battle. T.I got caught with all those guns in his house like he was expecting a raid on his compound. Unless you’re in the jungle asking the members of your cult to drink the Kool-Aid before the government shoots up your camp site, you don’t need the number of guns that T.I had and you don’t need the types of guns that T.I had.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to take a Timberwolves team past the second round on the playoffs despite the fact that you’re the lone good player you may need to be ready for an actual war.
Look at the seriousness in this man’s eyes. Battlefield metaphors are overused in sports. Close competitive games are called wars, players who play through injuries are called soldiers and players who show strong leadership skills are called generals. But, I’m not convinced Garnet was using any metaphors here. He knew his team wasn’t making any kind of a deep playoff run unless his enemy suffered heavy casualties. However, due to David Sterns strict no-semi-automatics-during-gameplay policy the T’wolves would fail to get deep into the playoffs and Garnet would have to wait a few more years to find out that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!
But, despite the fact that Garnet had guns that he may or may not have been borrowing from T. I’s crib neither of these dudes is actually trying to fight. Garnet is the king of “hold me back”. I’ve never seen anyone look so out for menacing, so dangerous, so out for blood while slowly backing a way with four of his team mates and two officials forming a human wall between and whoever fouled him just a little too hard when he went up for a lay up. At the same time we were all calling KG tough for getting into a pseudo-fight T.I was getting into it with Floyd Mayweather.
I know Mayweather doesn’t have any punching power to speak of relative to the people he’s competing against but for a random dude walking down the street, he’s liable to put your lights out like you were late on your electric bill. T.I is 5’9 and unarmed at the time of the altercation that allegedly involved his wife. Mayweather 5’8 and is so slick that professional punchers have a hard time hitting him. This isn’t a good match up for ya boy Clifford. Luckily, the entourage stepped in before Mayweather hurt his hand on T.I’s face. (And no, T.I does not get credit for “defending his woman’s honor”. He wasn’t defending her. Mayweather would have got curved by Tiny and that would have been it. T.I started that baseball style fight because someone trying to holla at his girl was a blow to his own ego and he wasn’t having it.)
You can keep hyping up these men as tough guys if you want. The idea of KG and TI being tough guys who will fight anybody that shows them disrespect. The reality is that the they both worth too much money to be out here scrapping with everybody. If you’re T.I, why would fight when you got at least 10 niggas with you at all time ready to throw hands? If you’re KG why would you engage in a real fist fight when you make your living with your hands? Both these men are going to be able to get away with the fact that they don’t actually wanna fight anybody because they are both well respected in their craft and have an image that is larger than themselves. But, I still ain’t trying to go to war with either of these dudes. KG could flagrant foul you to death and people who had guns like how T.I had guns don’t just stop collecting guns. T.I dosen’t need the arsenal he used to have to damage you. He told us in his first single that he has a 9 is his right and a 45 in the other hand. He may not throw a punch but if T.I is coming for you, you better get your Nikes, bruh.
Josh Smith and Diddy
Its time for us all to admit it. Smith and Diddy really need to just chill. They both need to just top being the most in the way ass people on the planet. I’ve been trying to make sense of Smith’s career stats for years. The man cannot shoot threes. He’s not good at it. I feel more comfortable with the idea of pulling Shaq from behind the desk at TNT and asking him to sink a pair of game winning free throws than I have in Josh Smith shooting more than 35% from beyond the arch. Its not even that he is without skill. In the paint, he can be a legit scoring threat. I gave him a bit of a pass for his shooting in Detroit where other players clogged the lane and forced him to take lower percentage jump shots. But the offense in Houston isn’t crippled like the offense in Detroit and Josh Smith is still taking shots around the three point line. I’m pretty sure Smith was the second unnecessary shooter just beyond the perimeter of the Grassy Knoll when JFK got assassinated. Don’t worry, Smith missed that shot too.
Diddy is still making music for some reason which is a problem that this current generation of fans will have to deal with but back in the day Diddy had another problem. If Diddy was responsible in anyway shape or form for putting you on he was in your music video probably doing something stupid as hell. Someone needs to explain to me who thought it was a good idea to let Puffy on to the set of a music video with a baby that may or may not be his. And something about the empty bottles clanging together as he asks the Bad Boys to come out to play seems like something corny that could have only gotten a pass in the 90’s. Dave Chappelle’s version was better anyway. Diddy was even in the background of the Rubberband Man I posted earlier. We didn’t need him playing with rubber bands to make the video cool. Micheal Vick made an appearance too but I feel like he was actually invited. Combs may have just heard a video was being shot and showed up to dance around in his finest mink coat. Sometimes I think I’m being too hard on Diddy. He was involved with a lot of good music in the 90’s even though I can’t remember a single verse he’s ever had. But for reference here’s how other producers act when they get to be in the video.
Eric B doesn’t even want to be in this video. He just wants these vixens to stop touching him so he can get back to looking stoic and disinterested behinds the wheels of steel. But Diddy be in the video do so much extra shit he’ll confuse you and have you thinking the song is his. Meanwhile, Josh Smith will take so many shots he’ll confuse you and have you thinking he’s an actual perimeter shooter. If I had never heard of Josh Smith before and was watching him play for the first time I would think he was jump shooter who is just having a bad night. The reality is, he’s been a bad shooter for his whole career. So if you don’t want the producer all in the videos, come to Death Row Records . And if you don’t want your power forward all behind the three point line, keep Smith on the bench.
Lance Stephenson and Action Bronson
People who know basketball can tell you how valuable Lance Stephenson even if his offensive numbers don’t show it this year. When he was at his best last year with the Pacers he was someone that could hit a jumper and play lock down defense. People who know hip hop will tell you how talented Action Bronson is. When Bronson is at his best he’s bragging about being involved in ridiculous things while sounding like a Caucasian version of Ghostface Killa. These dudes are real entertaining to watch, but everyone once in a while I have to stop and laugh because they do something so ridiculous I have to question what the hell they are doing.
That’s not a bad thing, though. Stephenson pulling out those elementary school maneuvers when he was guarding LeBron in the playoffs was inspiring. I’ve already incorporated Stephenson tactics into my blogging style. Every time fellow Suits and 40’s blogger Etefia Umana tries to write something brilliant to make my posts look bad I start playing defense on him by blowing in his ear. One time I even started making the “choke” sign when Etefia started talking about doing 2015 version of his “keep gettin them checks team” because he’ll never be able to write anything that good again. In addition to clowning around on his way to playing some quality minutes against the Heat in the playoffs last year he’s still finding ways to be entertaining on a Hornets team that will miss the playoffs.
This would have been a lot cooler if he was back on the Pacers hitting jumpers in the Eastern Conference Finals late in the fourth quarter. But he’s stylin’ and profilin’ against the Pistons who have Mo Williams running point and still have Tayshaun Prince hiding on their roster. I’m not even mad at Stephenson for showing out in a meaningless game. Its the sort of the Action Bronson would do if he played shooting guard in the NBA.
And since Action Bronson isn’t an NBA player he’s got time rap about fixing NBA games. Actually, Bronson just likes fixing sporting events in general. Even when he’s not point shaving he just likes talking about sports when he raps. My personal favorite is this line about Tennessee Women’s basketball. Along with his over the top sports references Bronson will also do what Stephenson did against the Pistons and start bragging about some stuff that I wouldn’t be that proud of. Why is talking about smoking on weed the same color as Jalen Rose? I have heard rappers talk about their weed being all kinds of colors but brown weed isn’t supposed to be the kind of thing you boast about when you get in front of the mic. And why is he hanging out with these wild ass groupies?
The cool thing about Stephenson and Bronson is that they’re both a lot of fun as long as you don’t take either of them too seriously. You have to respect their talent but when they start blowing in your ear right before the ball is inbounded or they find a
crude creative way to talk about how untouchable he is you have to enjoy their antics and not take it too seriously. If you’re one of these old school guys that thinks the NBA and hip hop both peaked in the late 80’s then you’re probably not enjoying either of these two very much. (You also probably rock an Iman Shumpert hair cut, reefer to loose women as skeezers, have a walkman with the Low End Theory on tape, and are trying to figure out how to get a phone installed in your car so you can call the theater to see if anyone of them is still showing House Party 2)