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What Had Happened Was

What Had Happened Was: 6/23/16

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Since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Derrick Rose has played in just 39 percent of the possible games. He is due some $21.3 million this year before he becomes a free agent. He hasn’t played 30 minutes in 10 straight games since the 2011-12 season. And he ranked 81st out of 85 point guards last year on ESPN’s real plus-minus.

Well, that didn’t stop the New York Knicks from trading to get the man from the Chicago Bulls.

Now, Rose can be an electric, dynamic player (he was the NBA MVP in the 2010-11 season, after all) but this move seems curious, at best, for the Knicks. For one thing, as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton pointed out, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler was decidedly better last season when Rose wasn’t in his way, dominating the ball:

According to NBA.com, Butler used 28.6 percent of Chicago’s plays with a .575 true shooting percentage without Rose in 2015-16, as compared to 22.0 percent and .553 with him. Here’s the list of all the players in the league who performed better in both categories than Butler with Rose on the bench: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James.

There’s also this: Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was so impressive in his rookie season last year, it seems obvious the priority in New York should be developing him and getting the big man more touches. And while Knicks star Carmelo Anthony loves handling the rock, Rose has not used less than 27 percent of his team’s plays since his rookie season, Pelton noted. That would make Rose the most highly used teammate Anthony has had since he teamed up with Allen Iverson in Denver. Does this deal really help Porzingis?

The names being mentioned for the Knicks in free agency now — Frank Isola listed big men Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard — are solid but not spectacular. And they speak to a larger problem New York just guaranteed itself: The team is now trying to gather pieces that fit around the 32-year-old Anthony and his rapidly closing career window instead of building for the future around Porzingis.

Good luck.


The Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade was Wednesday and damn if it wasn’t as magical as everyone expected:



Speaking of the parade, LeBron James’ interaction with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert seemed … tolerable.

No one can blame James, though, not after that owner called the best player of this generation a “coward” (and worse) in a letter, while writing in comic sans (!), and it was left up on the Cavs site for nearly FOUR YEARS. Yeah, no love for you. Not like this.


ESPN’s Bomani Jones interviewed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates for Playboy, discussing Coates’ ideology, influences and his cover story “The Case for Reparations,” which was published in The Atlantic two years ago. That story brought in the most unique visitors in a single day ever for the magazine.

That year, 2014, also marked the 50th anniversary of the “Mississippi Burning” case, surrounding the murders of three civil rights martyrs, which The Atlantic revisited.

In August, singer Rihanna is releasing her second fragrance line, which will be called RiRi Collection.

The home-sharing service airbnb continues to show its butt in its handling of discrimination claims made by people of color using the site. It now has a civil rights lawsuit on its hands as a result.

Ebony magazine released its #TuesdayMotivation, July cover on Wednesday. Hello there, Common. We see you in the salmon-colored suit.


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





Our brother Domonique Foxworth wrote a harrowing piece Wednesday about black babies once being used as alligator bait, which we can’t stop thinking about. It is very much so worth your time:

“Baits Alligators with Pickaninnies,” reads a Washington Times headline on June 3, 1908. The article continues, “Zoo Specimens Coaxed to Summer Quarters by Plump Little Africans.” The New York Zoological Gardens’ zookeeper sent two black children into an enclosure that housed more than 25 crocodiles and alligators. The children were chased by the hungry reptiles, entertaining zoo patrons while leading the alligators and crocodiles out of the reptile house, where they spent the winter, into a tank where they could be viewed during the summer According to the newspaper article, “two small colored children happened to drift through the reptile house.” The zookeeper “pressed them into service.” He believed that alligators and crocodiles had an “epicurean fondness for the black man.” He also believed, along with all the people who allowed it to happen, that the lives of those sons were nearly valueless. There is no mention of punishment for the zookeeper in the 166-word article. It offers not one adjective that would imply that the actions of the zookeeper were despicable, unthinkable, or even reckless. The article directly to the right of the zoo story is about a Russian mob burning down homes and synagogues in Germany, killing three people. The end of the third sentence says, “the attack was wholly unacceptable.” Was using black children as gator bait unacceptable? No. Unbelievably no.


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.