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What Had Happened Was: 5/20/16

Oh, you don’t know? We got you.


Surprise, surprise. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers stomped the Toronto Raptors again Thursday night, continuing one of the most relaxed runs to the NBA Finals in recent memory. While the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder are having the basketball equivalent of the fight scene in Anchorman (did Festus Ezeli just throw a trident?), Cleveland has beat down Toronto by a combined 50 points between Games 1 and 2.

If this is surprising to you, just know that it isn’t to James. In this piece off of Thursday night’s game, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin details an exchange he had with James some six weeks ago, before everything looked and felt so easy, where upon the man kind of, sort of predicted this:

“So are you guys really going to be ready to play 20-25 games that matter starting next week after a night like tonight?”

“Twenty-five games?” James said incredulously to ESPN.com and then tapped Tristan Thompson, who was seated next to him, on the shoulder to bring him in the conversation.

“Tristan, how many games do we need to win in the playoffs to win a championship?” he asked.

“16,” Thompson said.

“Exactly,” James reiterated. “16.”

Oh, OK.


In Brooklyn, N.Y., women and allies marched Thursday to bring awareness to African-American women, who continue to be one of the most brutalized groups in the United States.


It sent shock waves last spring when Patrick Willis, the former All-Pro linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, retired from the game of football due to chronic issues with his feet. So what has the 31-year-old been up to since stepping away from the game? Well, he works at a technology startup in Silicon Valley:

“People always told me when I was growing up that if you want to be something great, you have to be this physical specimen that can jump up to here and all that. For me, this is an opportunity to be able to tell young kids that you can be more than just a physical specimen to be great,” Willis said. “I’m a person that can’t speak about something until I’ve done it myself.”



Former NBA star Gary Payton hopped on with SiriusXM NBA radio Thursday and doused the entire Warriors team with fast-burning haterade.

Here’s what he had to say about Draymond Green: “I like [his] intensity … but every time I didn’t get a call, I didn’t cry all the time.”

Oh, word?


A federal class-action lawsuit has been filed by the NAACP in the Flint, Mich., water crisis. (No we haven’t forgotten about that.)

Kanye West made a guest appearance on Ellen yesterday afternoon, and it went just as you might imagine it — unpredictable, exciting and most certainly not boring. Watch and see for yourself.

Happy birthday, Lorraine Hansberry! Her play, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first to be written by a black woman and performed on Broadway. She was also the inspiration for Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” Hansberry died of cancer at 34. She would’ve been 86 today.

Thursday was also Malcolm X’s birthday. NPR spoke with Yuri Kochiyama about how her brief friendship with the civil rights leader cultivated her activism.


Every morning we’ll hit you here with the best of what we saw on social media the previous night. Why? Why not?

1. When someone says, “We have an under-incarceration problem.”

2. “This one’s for you, Coach” — The Undefeated’s Ozzy Noor

3. We dare you to deny this



Our own Domonique Foxworth predicted exactly how he believes the media will cover this season’s NBA champion, no matter the team. Don’t believe the sports mythology fairy tale, he said:

Without knowing which team will win the title or who will be the Finals MVP, I can already tell you the tired tropes the media will force-feed each other and serve to players in the form of questions during postgame news conferences.

The champions, as this narrative goes, will have begun this season feeling disrespected and carrying a metaphorical chip on their collective shoulder. Fueled by previous failures and a supernatural perseverance, the story’s protagonist, the team’s star player, will have won because he wanted it more and outworked every other team’s star player during the offseason. We may decide that the champion coach outsmarted the other bench’s general or they won because of an uncommon bond among selfless players.



Ryan Cortes is a staff writer for The Undefeated. Lemon pepper his wings.

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.

Kofie Yeboah asks for Sweet Tea at every restaurant and recites approximately 2.5 Spongebob lines per hour.