Black skin matters
and the Cleveland Cavaliers had plenty on display
2:34 PMIt started with J.R. Smith, then it spread to Kyrie Irving. Next thing we knew, Iman Shumpert was showing off, too. Mo Williams then jumped in on the fun. As the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated with their hometown fans in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, the hyperbole was flying about the rebirth of the city, pride and any number of other forms of motivation that Northeast Ohio natives gained from the title. But the strongest message was sent in its purest form: black skin.
Thursday night at the NBA draft, the newest basketball bodies showed themselves off to the world, dressed in their greatest outfits, in full “look at me” mode, as they should be. When you present yourself to the world for the first time, it’s a big deal.
But Cleveland was on a different level. The city has been outwardly showing its pride for years, as losers, to be frank. This is the same NBA. The association where people regularly complain that they don’t see enough white American bodies for their taste. The same league where former commissioner David Stern felt the need to implement a dress code, because the way that the very players that were making him money were clothing themselves in a manner that he deemed unfit.
The Cavaliers parade was as close as we’ll get to the NBA’s full capitulation to the black body. In a city where a 12-year-old named Tamir Rice was gunned down by a police officer for carrying a toy gun, with no repercussions, grown men who won a basketball title were parading around with their shirts off, displaying their truest selves, with no qualms.
Good Lord, some of the Cavaliers couldn't even put shirts on for a celebratory parade? That is lame.
— BS (@KentuckyHoss) June 22, 2016
— L.Richard (@lrhamiel) June 22, 2016
#Cavaliers parade summary. Cavs players like champagne, cigars, trophies and nice cars. Cavs players dislike shirts.
— Daniel E. Dobish (@danieledobish) June 22, 2016
On Tuesday, a columnist named Joe Soucheray from Minnesota’s St. Paul Pioneer Press was beside himself that Smith dared to present himself to the world without a shirt. As if the shirt won the NBA title. He could barely understand the notion that kids might actually *prefer* self-expression, rather than clutch their nonexistent pearls.
“Am I asking too much that when you get off the airplane for the photo opportunity that you at least wear a shirt?” Soucheray wrote. “I wonder what impact it might have had on kids all across the country to see the Cavs get off their airplane dressed to the nines. I would think it might give a kid pause. Wow, look at those guys. I have to get a tie like that.”
Let’s be clear about the impact it had on many young black men across America. The statement was obvious: My skin is not a threat. This might strike some people as a revelation, or even inflammatory. But think about how empowered one must feel in order to show themselves off in such a way. It’s a privilege that few can enjoy safely. Ask any woman.
Days since J.R. Smith last wore a shirt: four
Today he was shirtless on a golf course pic.twitter.com/tM0vChGgXD
— SportsBlogNewYork (@SportBlogNYC) June 23, 2016
Sure, President Barack Obama might have joked about it. But there were thousands of kids and adults in that crowd, who for once might have gotten to respect the athletes they cheered for, for more than just the name on the front of their shirts. They were looking at the actual humans they rooted for.
More importantly, they had little choice but to like it. Now, let me go find my shirt.
Affirmative action is not dead
Supreme Court upholds University of Texas’ policy
5:12 PMIf you read all the headlines, affirmative action as we knew it was dead. When a young lady named Abigail Fisher went full privileged and took the University of Texas to court because she thought she wasn’t admitted based on the school’s policies about race, many people thought it could have marked the end of a practice that began in the 1960s, designed to level the playing field.
Alas, nope! The Supreme Court actually voted 4-3 in favor of the institution, shocking not only every black person in America, but also most of the education world, too. Before we get to Fisher getting dragged on Twitter via the #BeckyWithTheBadGrades hashtag (a twist on the previous #StayMadAbby), let’s take a look back at how ominous the expectations were among experts.
“Supreme Court Justices’ Comments Don’t Bode Well for Affirmative Action,” the New York Times surmised. “End race-based affirmative action? Yes,” the NY Daily News offered. “This Move By The Supreme Court Probably Means The End Of Affirmative Action,” Think Progress asserted. “The End of Affirmative Action?” The Atlantic wondered.
The argument, as unfortunate as it seemed, made a fair amount of sense. Maybe we’ve come far enough that we don’t need such rules anymore. Most people know that the fundamental discrimination that exists in the academic world would never be unraveled by 50 years of affirmative action, but with the Supreme Court, there’s no way to predict what will be done.
So this, in many ways, was a victory for progressives.
I remember when a white student in my class said that we should get rid of affirmative action¬ include our race on our apps. Ha ha haaaa
— Mulan (@kayyweeezy_) June 23, 2016
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) June 23, 2016
— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) June 23, 2016
To be clear, Fisher not getting into that college had a lot more to do with its stringent standards, not what anyone looked like. Earlier this year, ProPublica broke down exactly why that is.
“Race probably had nothing to do with the University of Texas’ decision to deny admission to Abigail Fisher,” Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote. “In 2008, the year Fisher sent in her application, competition to get into the crown jewel of the Texas university system was stiff. Students entering through the university’s top-10 program — a mechanism that granted automatic admission to any teen who graduated in the upper 10 percent of his or her high school class — claimed 92 percent of the in-state spots. … But Fisher failed to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, meaning she had to compete for the limited number of spaces up for grabs.”
Score one for learning.
we’d love to see as video game characters
2:35 PMIn the early 2000s, there was a golden era of hip-hop fighting video games. Def Jam and Electronic Arts got together and licensed musical artists to appear in games that allowed you to get in the ring as one of your favorite rappers. First came Def Jam Vendetta in 2003. Then there was Def Jam: Fight for NY. They were classics.
But on Wednesday, New Orleans’ Curren$y Spitta got us to thinking. He was apparently just having a session and thinking, when it occurred to him that rapper Desiigner looks like something he’s seen before.
Desiigner reminds of one of the fighters on the original Tekken….
— Spitta (@CurrenSy_Spitta) June 22, 2016
He would have hella moves man definitely that move when law runs up your body like a ladder then flips and slams into u…
— Spitta (@CurrenSy_Spitta) June 22, 2016
And that turbo milli rock he does would be when he charges a fireball to throw at u like a haduoken..
— Spitta (@CurrenSy_Spitta) June 22, 2016
Based upon this premise, it’s time for someone to create an updated version of the original roster that included Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Lil Kim, Redman, Method Man, N.O.R.E. and DMX among many. Desiigner, the man responsible for Panda, is just one of many we’d love to see in the ring on the sticks. Let’s run down the list.
Obviously, he has to be involved if only because he’ll probably the one that makes it happen. He’d have an array of super dope outfits and could whoop you without even getting his sneakers dirty. Come to think of it, he’d probably make the title track to this game, too.
Standing at 6-foot-4, he obviously would be a character with quite a bit of reach. And that sinister, yet hearty, laugh would certainly come out after any victory. His finishing move would obviously be called the “Taylor Gang” in which he drops a hot bar, then his squad appears from nowhere and brutalizes the opponent.
Dressed in all white, Mr. Worldwide would clearly be the one that pummels you to death with fist pumps and foot stomps. His finishing move, “Dale,” would involve a grand buildup after which the force of the music from the drop would instantly floor you, while the rest of the crowd just danced around your lifeless body.
Armed with a skateboard and getting extra power from various Styrofoam cups of liquid, Wayne would be a formidable character. Although a tad diminutive, he’d use that to his advantage by being able to duck your short-range attacks. Plus his grill makes for a nearly impenetrable defense system.
The key is to pay attention to the hat. It would serve as a Peaky Blinders type weapon (or Oddjob from James Bond for our older readers), which would be devastating from long range. That and his dance moves would also double as defensive dodges in the ring.
His weaponry is in his name, but you’ve got to go to the Bands A Make Her Dance remix to figure out his real tool of precision: four bracelets. With all this jewelry shining on you and coming at you, he’s almost impossible to get at. Let us also not forget that Mr. Chainz also played college basketball, so his hops would off the charts.
A one-eyed guy from New Jersey that rides motorcycles and ATVs? Yeah, he’s making the list. I have no idea what his powers would be, or why. But he would be the default character if you chose to play in story mode, just because.
Wielding the most vicious door-knocker earrings you’ve ever seen in your life, if you even get close to her face, expect a serious clapback. Her natural defensive stance, obviously, is the Lean Back making it nearly impossible to actually connect on any offensive charges.
Scissors, folks. Scissors. Remember when she said she’d go full Lorena Bobbitt if she caught her then-man Nick Young cheating? Yeah, she’s about that action. So, good luck avoiding those blades when you’re trying to level up.
This is the guy you face right before the boss levels. At home in a kitchen that doubles as a recording studio, he’d have an arsenal of knives, pots and mics to swing your way and get you hemmed up in his web. His finishing move would be a delicious meal that you ate thinking you were regaining power but, alas, you were being poisoned.
DJ Khaled – First Boss
This is obvious. With a keychain full of major keys, unlocking this man’s defense is unlikely. Just imagine him firing those things at you while yelling, “Another one!” the whole time. Then when you’re finally defeated, he hits you with his tagline: “Congratulations, you played yourself.”
Kanye West – Second Boss
Able to embody everyone else’s fighting styles, West’s strategy is to make you think he’s doing one thing, then devastate you with an entirely different approach you’ve never seen. Dressed in overpriced rags, it’s tough to get a grip on him. But if you can disrupt his creative process long enough then you can find yourself at the biggest boss of them all …
GUCCI MANE AKA BIG GUWOP
You had to know this was coming. If you think there is anyone that embodies rap video game super boss more than the Atlanta supernova, you’re bugging. Here’s how it would go: At first, you’d get a tough, wiry six-packed Gucci that hits you with his prison fighting skills at close range. Then, after you defeated him and you think you’ve won the game, up from the ashes rises Spring Breakers Gucci, who rains ice cream cones down from the sky, all controlled by his face tattoo. If you can avoid or consume the dizzying volume of mixtapes and albums he throws at you all the while, only then are you victorious.
Please, someone, make this game happen.
Another not guilty
verdict in the Freddie Gray case
11:31 AMIt was considered the biggest one of them all.
In the case of Caesar Goodson Jr., the Baltimore City police officer who was the van driver in the incident that eventually killed Freddie Gray Jr., Goodson was acquitted of second-degree, depraved-heart murder, among other charges Thursday. It’s also another blow to the reputation of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who very publicly pledged to bring justice to those responsible for Gray’s demise. She reportedly shook her head repeatedly in the courtroom as the verdict in the Goodson case was read.
“All six, murderers!” the protesters yelled outside of the courthouse Thursday morning. Goodson was the third officer charged in the case, and the third who has had no guilt assigned his way. The first officer’s trial ended in a hung jury, the second was acquitted. Most depressing, of course, is how incredibly unsurprising this result is.
"Justice is blind when it's convenient for them…and today it was convenient for them." Man outside of court #FreddieGray
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) June 23, 2016
Freddie Gray is dead at the hands of police and no one is going to be held responsible.
— Bey Phi Bey, Philly Chapter President. (@brownandbella) June 23, 2016
Once again, this is how institutional injustice works. If you can spread the plausible deniability of intent across multiple people, and you have a dead man who can’t speak for himself against others, it’s difficult to prove anyone specifically is responsible. Six people saying, “It wasn’t me, I didn’t mean to do it,” when the actual tool of harm has an engine and four wheels becomes a tough burden in a courtroom to overcome. Apparently, Gray’s neck just broke itself.
The next trial is set for July 5.
Daily Dose: 6/23/16
Sleepover on Capitol Hill
9:32 AMOn Wednesday, as a staff at The Undefeated, we were asked what our favorite NBA playoff moments of all time are. Here’s mine. It’s important to note that Allen Iverson is also my favorite basketball player of all time, too. What’s your favorite moment?
The House floor has turned into even more of a spectacle than it already is. After Republican inaction on a gun control bill, representatives en masse took to the floor and plainly just didn’t move. It’s a very old-school move, which from an optics standpoint can be highly effective. Whether this is the series of bills that Democrats should be doing this for is a different matter. (Meanwhile, Republicans voted to take their ball and go home.) That said, there is the small matter of survival if you’re going to be having a sleepover at work, ABC’s David Caplan reports.
There will be developments in the case of Freddie Gray on Thursday. Caesar Goodson was the van driver for the rough ride that eventually claimed Gray’s life and he faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Interestingly, he opted to forgo a jury trial, and leave his fate up to a judge. That ruling comes down on Thursday at 10 a.m. If acquitted, he’ll be the third of six officers involved in that death who will not be going to jail, just yet. ABC News’ Serena Marshall has details.
College is an interesting thing. If you come from a certain part of the world, you assume that once you’re done with high school or gap year, you go to college and get on with it. But alas, that’s not how most of America works. On the campaign trail, however, higher education is a hot topic because candidates always throw it out there as a path into a more successful economy. But is that even a realistic goal for most families in the U.S.? Check out the latest episode of FiveThirtyEight’s Kitchen Table Politics podcast, in which they discuss said topic.
Today is draft day in the NBA. You’ll get to see a couple dozen extremely tall guys walk across the stage and shake hands with shorter guys. Then, you’ll get to look at various families in different states of pride as well as a few pockets of maniac fans reacting as if they have any clue how one random guy is going to pan out in a league full of opportunities. Ben Simmons is expecting to go at the top, then Brandon Ingram (whose hair is looking great these days) second. Perhaps most important, though, is that Simmons is signing with Nike, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports.
Coffee Break: Are you having trouble watching all the television you need to? You have a couple of choices. One, put down the device and get outside of your house, but no one wants to do that. Or two, watch them all in fast-forward. Seriously, one guy is actually doing this, and claiming it works. Ironically, it feels like a giant waste of time.
Snack Time: The Brexit vote is today, which is only going to determine the economic future of all of Europe, but, that’s it. The best part, however, is that people are bringing their dogs to the polls and taking pictures. It’s back!
Dessert: Wiz Khalifa is a fool for the album art on his new track. Very well done, however.
All Day Podcast: 6/21/16
NBA draft preview and summer movies
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
We made it back to the studio this week before senior style writer Jill Hudson hit the road for the NBA draft and staff writer Justin Tinsley heads out to Los Angeles to cover the BET Awards. Now that the NBA Finals are over, we can all finally catch our breath.
To open the show, we discussed how we watched Game 7 and I had to drop in a Father’s Day update. Other highlights from the show include my feelings about what the future of hip-hop is, Jill revealing which movie she saw day one with her kids and Justin breaking out one of the best impressions our show has ever seen.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeter and Obama
make a great combo for interviews
12:27 PMFuture Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and President Barack Obama are boys. Not necessarily super tight, but they talk trash on the golf course and dap each other up when they’re both at the same baseball game in Cuba. You know, the usual.
On Wednesday, The Players’ Tribune (which Jeter founded) released an interview with the commander in chief and the New York Yankees legend in which — from the Roosevelt Room of the White House — the two recently talked about their lives, their initiatives and what’s next for each of them.
At one point, they discussed what they would have told their younger selves, at 15 and 25 years old. The exchange was funny. Earlier in the talk, the four-time World Series champion described how his dad had an old collection of clippings that made him want to be a better ballplayer than his father.
Jeter: I did something my final season, I kept a little diary. Every day I wrote something in there. How I was feeling after every game. I don’t know if too many people know about it. I’ve yet to look back at it. The idea was, I don’t have children, and I thought if and when I had kids.
Obama: Dad actually had some game?
Jeter: Yes, sort of like my dad’s scrapbook that he had, now I have photos. … But I wish I would have done that throughout my entire career. Because there are so many experiences you have that you tend to forget. So, if I could go back to 25, I’d say do it. Every day.”
Obama: At 15, I would have told myself: Hit the books and stop goofing off. Because at 15, I was not the most responsible young man. I loved basketball, but outside of basketball, I was getting by on charm and wit, but not taking my schoolwork as seriously as I could have. And when I think back now and say, ‘If I just invested the time…’
Jeter: Things … would have worked out a lot better for you?
Obama: You know I might have made something of myself, doggone it. Fifteen years old I would have said work harder, get more serious. … At 25, my advice would have been to lighten up.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is exactly how comfortable Jeter was in that room and that setting. And the measured replies, along with the light sprinkling of humor and self-reflection, made his demeanor seem, dare I say, presidential.
Far less popular athletes have made it in the field of politics. Maybe Jeter will be the next to do so.
Daily Dose: 6/22/16
Lionel Messi continues his dominance in Houston
9:27 AMThis week’s podcast was a fun one, with senior style writer Jill Hudson telling stories about her summer movie plans and staff writer Justin Tinsley revealing how he watches sports when he’s nervous. And you get to learn about what I did on Father’s Day.
Want to watch patriarchy work? Look no further than Kathleen Kane. She’s the attorney general of Pennsylvania who exposed the old boys network that existed in state government, with employees of all ranks sharing racist and misogynist emails, not to mention pornography. Instead of being lauded for her courage in the face of an obviously gross situation, her colleagues are basically trying to ruin her life, for what they feel was selective vindictiveness. ABC News has the story of the scandal she’s now facing herself.
It feels like nothing can go right with the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, at this point. We won’t even get into the national internal politics of what’s happening in Brazil, but the games themselves are at serious risk. Athletes are pulling out left and right due to concerns about the Zika virus and the entire Russian track team has been banned altogether for doping concerns. In addition, a jaguar that was used in a ceremony involving the Olympic torch this week had to be killed, after it got off leash and tried to attack someone. What a mess. The Associated Press reports from Sao Paolo.
The world of wine is a fascinating one. As someone who doesn’t consider himself an expert, but knows what he likes, it will forever fascinate me that people care so much about it from a personal standpoint that they have cellars full of it. Also, they will spend outrageous sums of money for something that they probably won’t even drink, but will just show off to their friends. It is not dissimilar to the sneaker world in that way. All that aside, the specific economics of high-end wine is intriguing. FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder breaks it down.
So, yeah, about Copa America. Argentina is the best team in the world, with the best player on the globe. Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States men’s national team never really had a chance in this semifinal in Houston on Tuesday, but there were people acting as if American exceptionalism alone was somehow going to will this team to a win, which was so hilariously myopic that it was almost sad. The Americans got absolutely drubbed from the first whistle, and had no shot. Literally, zero shots on goal. Think about it. ESPN FC’s Doug McIntyre explains the beatdown.
Coffee Break: The Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t exactly have a great reputation when it comes to what we’ll call public relations, but a new policy is looking to change that. One of the most notorious police forces in the country is actually enacting a policy that is designed to help them be more compassionate toward the homeless. It’s a good start.
Snack Time: There’s a new movie about Serena Williams airing tonight at 9 p.m. For those of you who don’t follow her every move as closely as her biggest fans, it will be a behind-the-scenes look at her pressure-packed life.
Dessert: Tired of blowing cash on crappy lunches? This will help with your lunch planning game.
is getting somewhat dragged in these streets
4:55 PMIt’s been a strange couple of days for Swaggy P. First, the NBA guard tried to pull a news dump on the world by tweeting right before Game 7 of the NBA Finals that he was single again, after a rather tumultuous relationship with Australian rapper Iggy Azalea ended. We really wanted this one to work, but it’s concluded with such a fireball that it’s probably better that these two never see each other again.
Now, even Foot Locker is getting in on the fun, all with the help of D’Angelo Russell, Young’s Los Angeles Lakers teammate, who is half the reason Young’s relationship spiraled out of control to begin with.
— Foot Locker (@footlocker) June 21, 2016
If you don’t recall, it was the 20-year-old Russell who videotaped Young talking about his dalliances with women who were not his fiancee, then posted it on the internet, then said he didn’t do it (?), then admitted it, apologized and the Lakers’ season crash-landed into the Pacific Ocean as it was destined to do the second Kobe Bryant decided to return for one more year before retiring at the end of this past season.
After that moronic incident, the marriage plans were put on hold. Russell was widely chided as being incredibly immature, but that insane game Bryant had to close his career sort of made us forget that Young’s life was in shambles. Now, shoe stores are out here clowning him in ads, and that’s just the beginning.
As it turns out, Azalea is not here for the nonsense. She put his stuff out in the street and had his car towed, which is relatively low on the “things your ex can do to put you on blast” list. If you’re wondering, the No. 1 seed in that group is what we call going “full Left Eye” and burning down your man’s house. Lower on the list is Angela Bassett’s treatment from Waiting To Exhale, putting all your man’s stuff out and torching it. Honorable mention goes to Elin Woods, who went upside golfer Tiger Woods’ Escalade with a golf club.
Anyway, it appears that Young has escaped relatively unscathed from his side-chick shenanigans. Yet, instead of playing it cool, he’s found himself in cahoots with the biggest savage around the NBA not named Derek Fisher: GILBERT ARENAS. Of course, these two know each other from their days as knucklehead teammates with the Washington Wizards. This will not end well.
Fam, seriously. This picture just looks like instant, ratchet goonery. Half that caption is redacted because this, on some levels, is still a family site. Let’s just say it involved describing in detail what (and whom) the two would be socializing with (to put lightly) in the immediate future. That post was followed up with another video of Young playing a guitar in a store, with a caption that, of course, insults Azalea.
Arenas has been about this life for some time, so it’s nothing particularly surprising, but if you’re in Young’s squad right now, you need to get your boy. Or join him.
is one of the best love stories of the year
4:10 PMBlack Twitter is so many things to so many people. For many, it’s a window into our culture. For some, it’s a source of education and entertainment, and for others, it’s where all civility goes to die. But on Monday, the site Blavity teamed up with a new dating site called One App, which targets black millennials, and the result is perfect.
Titled “If Black Twitter Went On A Date With You,” it tells the story of a first date that starts off a tad awkwardly, but ends well. In it, the actions of both are peppered with various comments from around the Twittersphere, expertly balancing all the discussions we have about dating and inserting a lovely level of emotion and fun that make up those first-night jitters.
— T’Charlie (@angelaliz_) June 20, 2016
It’s a genuinely touching story, even if you know, #brands.
Daily Dose: 6/21/16
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are doing just fine
2:36 PMHey y’all, sorry for the late post today, but we’re here. We taped another podcast this morning, and as a bonus, you can watch Justin Tinsley and I discuss what I think was the best defensive play in the history of the NBA Finals.
Whether it’s an elementary school classroom or a popular nightclub, Congress doesn’t care. You will not be keeping people from their guns, no matter what. The gun lobby is so pervasive, so influential and so large that our elected officials apparently live in fear of getting on their wrong side. More than one bill designed to prevent people on terror watch lists from being able to get firearms with such ease, in fact, failed. Think about that. We sit around and pray when people get shot to death, but refuse to take responsibility to remove the guns. Needless to say, President Barack Obama is not happy about it.
It appears that not all is hunky-dory with the NYPD. A federal investigation has turned up details of the force’s top brass and someone linked to Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who were allegedly taking big-time gifts from citizens in return for protection and favors. In short, having a police officer on your personal payroll does not come at a small price, but definitely has its benefits. And when you see the words: flights, hotel rooms, prostitutes, expensive meals and home improvement in a court document, you have a problem. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden reports.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade are one of our favorite celebrity couples. They’ve had their ups and downs, but the actress is still very much here to ride for her man, no matter what. She’s out in these streets showing love, and we all see it and appreciate it. Wade, a longtime player for the Miami Heat, is on the cover of the next ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and his relationship with Union is no small part of why he did it. He calls her his best friend; it’s really kind of adorable and rather admirable to see a man so willing and able to talk about love. ABC’s Michael Rothman has the details.
In all of the LeBron James haze, there’s the question of Stephen Curry. People, including me, were calling Curry the best player on the planet. There was talk of him revolutionizing the entire league and many were ready to hand over everything in the NBA to him. Then, the NBA Finals happens. Curry didn’t exactly have a great series, even as the MVP of the league, and Legacy Twitter has been roasting him ever since. Dudes were even out here disrespecting his dad, Dell, which is very extra. FiveThirtyEight’s Benjamin Morris wonders: Is the Curry revolution already over?
Coffee Break: If you like Girl Scout Cookies, there is good news. If you don’t like them, I have no idea what’s wrong with you. Pillsbury just unveiled baking mixes that feature all your favorite flavors, allowing you to put all the best stuff in your cookies and brownies. This is huge news for a certain segment of the population.
Snack Time: Oh, you didn’t want to see a video of comedian/actor Kevin Hart rapping the lyrics to Desiigner’s Panda while using his panda voice from the movie The Secret Life of Pets? Too bad, because it actually happened on British radio.
Dessert: If you’re an aspiring movie director of color, click here. Could be helpful.
Best hair of the Euros
It’s not the strongest field we’ve ever seen, but it isn’t bad
8:00 AMAs is the case with every international soccer tournament, hair is a big part of things when it comes to how players present themselves. We’ve got some usual suspects in the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship, with a couple new twists as well. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.
Jerome Boateng, defender, Germany
The man who’s made perhaps the best play of the tournament so far with his incredible clear off the line in Germany’s opening match against Ukraine, also happens to have a very smooth ‘do. In what I can only describe as a “conk fade,” he’s thrown in a couple racing stripes that give it a flair beyond the obvious. This is German efficiency and style at its best.
Daniel Sturridge, striker, England
He scored a thrilling goal as a sub to help England secure its first-ever win in the Euros after being down at half last Thursday, but his hair has been the subject of discussion for some time. Over the years, the Liverpool man has effective kept the curly flattop, while occasionally adding a few flourishes that felt like tributes to Michael Jackson, with the slightest touch of Jheri curl on them. It’s all forgiven though, because his dance is the best in the game.
Paul Pogba, midfield, France
Pogba is a legend in the on-field hair game, no questions asked. He’s gone with the gold-striped mohawk with side lettering, the leopard-print motif and the full peacock — he’s got it all in his arsenal. What’s he’s got for this tournament is relatively tame, all styles considered, but it still features his patented gold, along with his name on the other side, a nice touch. And by the way, as he told ESPN The Magazine, he wants to be the best ever, not just one of.
Divock Origi, striker, Belgium
The blond, faux-hawk fade certainly isn’t a style unique to American culture by way of NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In fact, though he receives all the credit, Beckham didn’t even start the trend — but, that’s a different story. Origi has given the look a European stamp of approval with his own blond hue blended into a naturally curly mohawk (Origi has also rocked the perm in the past). Shoutout to him for telling his barber “close on the sides” to maintain the tight fade.
Éder, striker, Portugal
What’s so admirable about European soccer is that crazy styles of braids are still socially acceptable. Nowadays, you rarely see NFL players rock braids and, except for San Antonio Spur Kawhi Leonard, the NBA is no longer a home for braids, which Allen Iverson popularized in the league in the early 2000s. You can find, however, countless players like Portugal’s Éder on the pitch with braids flapping in the wind. The best part? The tire-tread designs that probably took hours to finesse.
Raheem Sterling, striker, England
Sterling’s hairdo at this year’s Euros — a high fade, grown out on the top with a side part — is pretty basic, and maybe even the least interesting on this list. But his hairstyle history? A buffet of beauty. Sterling has sported the dreads fade, the twists (word to Whoopi Goldberg) and, our personal favorite, the perm fade with the side part (word to Uncle Bobby). Keep doing your thing, Raheem. No “Make Soccer Fun Again” movement needed with that hair.
Johan Djourou, defender, Switzerland
Despite being born in the Ivory Coast, Djourou is a defender for the Swiss. Inexplicably, he chooses to keep his hair at a length most men hate. He wears his hair in a starter-dreads fade. Considering the hair choices of some other Ivory-born footballers like Drogba’s perm and Gervinho’s braids, Djourou looks pretty good rocking “The In-Between Phase.”
David Alaba, defender, Austria
Born in Vienna, Austria, Alaba is the son of a Nigerian prince, who is also a rapper and DJ. Alaba, Austria’s best player, also has the team’s best hair, rocking an Odell Beckham-esque, blond-tipped faux hawk. I can guarantee Alaba does not have hands like Beckham, but he looks good in the “Blonded Like Beckham” look.
Maroune Fellaini, midfield, Belgium
Towering over most other footballers, Fellaini is conspicuous on the pitch. Belgium’s 6-foot-4 midfielder starts matches sporting “The Foxxy Cleopatra” fluffy, blond Afro. But, by the end, perspiration pulls his hair down into the “Sideshow Bob” look, also known as the “Full Varejao.”
Lastly, let’s pay homage to the G.O.A.T. of European soccer hair: former Portuguese player, and current Mozambique national team coach, Abel Xavier.
Our favorite moments since Game 7
The Cavs have won, and the celebrations are fun
2:24 PMWhen the horn finally sounded, the celebration in Cleveland was on full tilt. My buddy in Cleveland sent me a video of an entire bar just deciding to sing the national anthem after the the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors, 93-89, on Sunday to win the NBA title. And of course, the memes following the win have been spectacular. Here are some of our favorites. Most of them involve J.R. Smith, because well, he’s J.R. Smith.
Should have never gave JR Smith a NBA title https://t.co/MtH2no0pCR
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 20, 2016
You have to wonder at what point the shirt was ever on, after the initial removal. The idea of Smith walking around half-naked with a bottle of bubbly the instant he left his tremendous press conference is not hard to imagine. Alas, he didn’t, but we wish he did.
The last known photograph of J.R. Smith with a shirt on. pic.twitter.com/Bacqy9mRpg
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 20, 2016
"HENNY-THING IS POSSIBLE" pic.twitter.com/NfwDmGnbVm
— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) June 20, 2016
Speaking of which, let’s take this moment to remember when Smith was playing in China and quite literally breaking dudes’ ankles.
That time when J R Smith broke a guy's ankles when he played in the Chines Basketball Association 👀 pic.twitter.com/0icQDoqnOi
— History of Sports (@BeforeFamePics) June 20, 2016
As for the gawd James, he started his expert-level trolling early. On the plane, he was rocking a hat that featured Kermit the Frog sipping tea.
LeBron's hat is Kermit sipping tea. The man is a damn saint. pic.twitter.com/k2HkD0sRCk
— Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) June 20, 2016
After that, he graduated to the second level. This T-shirt is amazing.
Lebron's shirt 👀😂😂 pic.twitter.com/MFu1GaqWw7
— lauren yurkschatt (@lauren18lu) June 20, 2016
Not to be outdone, of course, was Nike, which dropped this extremely poignant commercial that perfectly captures the emotion of what it was like Sunday night.
Good for Cleveland. Space Jam 2 is about to be lit.
Daily Dose: 6/20/16
Believeland gets its moment
10:07 AMThere was a basketball game Sunday night, apparently, but it was also Father’s Day. So, for that reason you should read this story about a father and son, both of whom are in journalism. And that’s putting it *very* lightly.
If you didn’t already know, the president and first family were on vacation last week. They went to Yosemite, as part of their tour around a couple national parks, which sounds and looked quite fun. Sidebar: I’ve never been to New Mexico. My mom loves it. I met a guy from Sante Fe a couple weeks ago and he had quite the worldview. Anyways, the first lady and crew were on their way back from the trip when a little thing called the NBA Finals got in the way. Obama is as Obama does, and they smooth stayed on Air Force One to watch the end of the game. Bawse.
Before Game 6, there were a lot of people who were in the Currys’ corner. Count me in. They were so fun! Living in Walnut Creek, California, cooking shows, ridiculous 3-pointers, who wouldn’t want to be them? It was like the NBA version of the aforementioned Obamas. Then, things got weird. Stephen Curry threw a mouthpiece. Ayesha Curry started hilariously roasting people on Twitter. It was like they showed what life was like when the cameras were off, and suddenly the “Calaviers” as my brother calls them, were way more likeable. Pablo Torre explains “the NBA is rigged” conspiracy theorists.
Let’s talk about something real quick: LeBron James notched a triple-double Sunday night. It was Game 7, on the road, and the man had one of the most quietly tremendous lines in the box score we’ve ever seen. Let’s also be clear about something else: If he’d managed to connect on that dunk attempt at the end of the game, it would have been the greatest play in the history of the NBA Finals. (BUT THAT BLOCK THOUGH!) Alas, he just sunk a free throw instead, to seal it. I mean, really. The lead-up to this game was nuts and the actual product was bananas. Kevin Arnovitz reports.
Don’t forget Kyrie Irving. The man who sparked this incredible comeback from down 3-1 in the series, had a couple of monster buckets himself Sunday night. Yes, King James had 41 the same night he did. Yes, King James had 41 the next game, too. But the fact that Irving went into takeover mode in Game 5 was as critical to the Cavs winning this series as anything else. And Sunday, he capped it off by draining a triple in Stephen Curry’s face, which was stone-cold vicious. Late in the shot clock, too? Uncle Drew came to play, kiddos. Now he’s got a ring to prove it.
Coffee Break: I love J.R. Smith, always have and always will. His DM slides and club-going ways aside, it always felt like he genuinely loved playing basketball. On Sunday, after his team won the title, he had a full-blown breakdown at the podium. It was a really intense moment. Also, his dad is named Earl and so is mine, so, yeah. Tears.
Snack Time: Kevin Love was the first person that James embraced when the buzzer sounded Sunday night, which was perfect for so many reasons. That aside, when the celebration was on, the beach boy went full WWE, as you do.
is awash in art of all kinds, and it is quite ‘impressionante’
7:00 AMLast week, I visited Italy for a wedding. For a week, I was in Rome doing what I do, which is looking at as much local art as possible. And sure, there’s gallery life, but that’s way less fun than just walking around. So, here’s some of the stuff I was lucky enough to find on the trip. Hope you like it.
These were from the neighborhood of Trastevere, where we stayed.
Now, this next set might look familiar to you. If you can picture a silver Aston Martin speeding down this stretch at night, then you’ll remember it from the James Bond film Spectre that came out in 2015. The chase scene actually happened at night, which allowed city officials to feel better about how they were presenting their city. Apparently, there was a large concern that the cleanliness of the streets, or lack thereof, would reflect poorly on Rome if not properly cleaned up (or digitally removed).
Anyways, what you get is a great stretch of art that only Rome could provide.
These next two were actually just outside of a monastery. There are some things you don’t tag. That’s one of them.
Here’s one from Assisi, an extremely religious town. Literal street art, and an interesting back story. The artist here basically painted the same thing every day, touching up the work as needed. Then, on Sunday, he’d add another. And that was it. Very cool.
Lastly, back in Rome, this guy was my dude.
gets the graffiti treatment in France
T-Kid is as legendary in the graffiti game as Mike Tyson is in the boxing world. But this time, he posted a piece from an artist named Alex One, who is French. This tremendous portrait of Tyson looking thoughtful if not regal, on some level, is from a festival in Vitry-sur-Seine, which is a suburb of Paris.
As an aside, can we talk about how forward thinking Tyson’s face tattoo is, as a matter of art? When he first did it, people thought he was completely insane and ruining any level of marketability he might have had in even trying to resurrect his life. But in retrospect, it looks great, if not elegant compared to some of the other stuff we’ve seen from celebrity face tats.
Mike Tyson: creative thought leader.