Daily Dose: 10/4/17
Kennedy Center creates its first hip-hop season
12:22 PMAll right, gang, there’s another Around The Horn appearance Wednesday for moi, my second of the week, which won’t even be my last one.
Gas station worker takes the only step after customer refused to put out his cigarette pic.twitter.com/31JyzJTYn1
— Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) October 4, 2017
Things are changing at the Kennedy Center. The nationally renowned performing arts center has long been the purview of so-called fine arts, your ballets, operas and stage plays of the world. But now that jazz and hip-hop have been part of the scene for some time, they are officially being brought into the fold. New hip-hop director Simone Eccleston has been working with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, KenCen’s first artistic director of hip-hop, and now we’ve got a full season of the culture. It’s so great to see us in these spaces.
Birmingham, Alabama, has a new mayor. And not just any old candidate. They’ve got Randall Woodfin, who, at 36 years old, is the youngest person to hold the position in more than a hundred years. Why does this matter? For one, he beat a guy who’s been in local Alabama politics for 40 years in William Bell. Secondly, he was also backed by Bernie Sanders. Meaning, if some wave of momentum in the South can suddenly overtake ballot boxes, we could finally see some things moving forward in that part of the country.
It feels like everything Larry Wilmore touches turns to gold. Even though his late-night show with Comedy Central was canceled, we all recognized its necessity, and it was certainly not a conceptual failure overall. Of course, he’s one of the lead writers of ABC’s black-ish, which is a hit by any measure of television or social capital. Now, teaming up with the great Viola Davis, they’ll be creating a comedy series called Black Don’t Crack, which will center on three sorority sisters who are reconnecting after years apart. YES.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most exciting players in the NBA. He’s also a big-time family person, considering their journey to where they are now. Unfortunately, he recently lost someone very important to him: his father. His dad was a soccer player and helped G and his brother become the ballers they are today. Their relationship was one that the Milwaukee Bucks fostered, and they also helped try to get his family over from Greece. The timetable for Giannis’ return is now up in the air. Hope this season isn’t a wash for him.
Coffee Break: These days, we keep music in only a couple of different ways. Most people keep them on hard drives, some people keep them on their phones, and others don’t even bother with that and just stay in the cloud. Now, we’re encoding music onto DNA. Miles Davis is one of the first to have that done for his work.
Snack Time: Fixing things isn’t easy. And that’s just assuming you’re allowed to. But with so many products under various warranties and agreements, people want their right to repair back.
Dessert: If you don’t like food podcasts, I don’t know what to tell you. Here’s a good episode.
NBA injects some life into All-Star Game
You got your five?
4:52 PMThe season has already gotten off to a different start in the NBA. The preseason started earlier. There are company logos on the uniforms. Now, the best change yet has been made official: They’re going to a playground pick ’em-style setup for the All-Star Game. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
Remember last year, when people wondered what Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook would do playing alongside former teammate Kevin Durant, who’d just gone to Golden State? Turns out it was nothing, as they still had to be on the same squad playing for the Western Conference. Sure, we all joked about how awkward it could be, but now they’ll legitimately get to play AGAINST EACH OTHER in an exhibition game. Never mind the Kyrie/LeBron bad blood.
The NHL adopted this format a couple of years back, and the resulting events were spectacular. The squad selection ceremony is one of the most fun televised productions of the year. And while the NBA doesn’t lack in personality, or connectivity with fans that an event like that would help foster, that’s not the point. Turn a room full of NBA players loose to pick teams on national television and you’ve got instant gold. The game might be fun, but watching these guys politic with their friends about who’s on whose team would be incredible.
Plus, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Smith on the commentary? This is the free-for-all event the NBA needed, not the awards ceremony after the season is already over.
According to the league, nothing will change about the actual selection of the players to the rosters themselves, it’s just a matter of who plays with whom when they tip off. The 67th All-Star Game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. Eastern and will air on TNT.
Daily Dose: 10/3/17
Atlanta moves to decriminalize marijuana
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) October 3, 2017
We’ll be talking about what happened Sunday in Las Vegas for a long time. Not just because it was a mass shooting, but because it happened at a country music concert. Because it was in such a high-profile location and because of the number of victims, it will be the subject of scrutiny for some time. As it turns out, the guy who shot all those people had upward of 20 guns in his hotel room, which is scary. Obviously, that’s caught the eye of gun reform advocates. Here’s everything we know so far about the situation.
It’s about to be lit in Atlanta. Not unlike Washington, D.C., the City Council recently voted to decriminalize marijuana. What does this do? A couple of things. No. 1, it frees police officers up from spending all sorts of time busting kids for smoking weed when they can be doing more important police work. Secondly, it doesn’t unnecessarily saddle young people with criminal records for doing something that is ultimately just a leisure activity. It’s a smart move and a good one.
Do you know Rupi Kaur? You might remember her work from a famous image in which she was shown lying on her side, bleeding from between her legs, as evidenced by the stain on her sweatpants. It was a pretty controversial work of art that was removed from a couple of different social media sites. She’s got a new book out called Milk and Honey that promises to be a great work that synthesizes modern sensibilities with the relatively dated job of being a professional poet. Might be time to get your holiday gift guides together.
The baseball playoffs start today. I, for one, am extremely excited about this, for obvious reasons. Reasons 1-19 include: I love baseball. The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins play in Yankee Stadium in the wild-card game, which should be an exciting one. Of course, the matchup will feature one Aaron Judge, who simultaneously should be the Rookie of the Year and the MVP of the American League, but that’s a whole other story. For right now, I’ll just point out that he now has the best-selling rookie jersey of all time.
Coffee Break: SLAM magazine’s new issue is out, and besides the fact that it has my buddy Shea Serrano’s name on the front, it’s also one of those covers that looks like it could be eventually be super iconic in NBA history. Just look at these names. Anyways, check out the rookies answering rapid-fire questions.
"First purchase?" "Go-to pick-up line?" "Dream music collab?"
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) October 3, 2017
Snack Time: We need to talk about Travis Kelce. We all know how well he can dance, and his dating life has been the subject of much scrutiny. But check him out last night on Monday Night Football. His teammates are the best.
Travis Kelce touchdown celebration pic.twitter.com/HfnM8bMeLh
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) October 3, 2017
Dessert: In case you were wondering what Kyrie Irving had on his feet for his Celtics debut.
In his Celtics debut, Kyrie Irving's Nike Kyrie 3s read "For The Fearless Only." pic.twitter.com/eIT9ww18pl
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) October 3, 2017
Daily Dose: 10/2/17
O.J. Simpson is released; mass shooting in Vegas
2:39 PMHey, gang, it’s been a rough weekend, but on Monday I’ll be on Around The Horn if you’re interested in that: 5 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN, kiddos. Might be my second win of all time, but I doubt it, haha.
marshawn lynch in an “everybody vs trump” shirt. wow pic.twitter.com/HJLFU4CQqv
— kelly cohen (@politiCOHEN_) October 1, 2017
O.J. Simpson is out of jail. No matter what you may think of his ability to walk this earth as a free man, dude is definitely back on the street. It’s sort of a weird feeling, considering why he went in to begin with was a bit dicey and lots of people feel like he was doing a prison sentence for something he was already acquitted of, fairly or not. That said, what he does now is definitely of interest to a decent part of the nation. My personal opinion is that he’ll have a wildly popular podcast that will bring him mucho cash. Alas. And he likes McDonald’s, apparently.
Las Vegas is mourning. Last night, during a concert in an open-air venue, a man started firing upon the crowd and killed more than 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in American history. It’s terrifying, it’s awful, it’s gross and it’s not remotely unusual if we’re being honest with ourselves. Authorities are calling him a lone wolf, which isn’t really of a whole lot of importance to the families of the dead, along with us looking to not get shot by a maniac with too many guns. Guns kill people. That’s what they’re made to do.
Recently, there was a tragedy at Yankee Stadium. A kid got hit by a foul ball in a scene that was entirely too real for some people just looking to enjoy a ballgame. Since then, there have been calls to put up screens all around ballparks, a move that I personally think would really affect the game-day experience but ultimately would make us all far more safer. As for the girl who was hit, she’s effectively got a broken face and also had bleeding on her brain. Please pay attention at baseball games, folks. It could save your life.
I like fantasy sports. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a fantasy NHL draft tonight. But how these fantasy games affect the players themselves is always an interesting quandary. I remember a couple of years back when the NFL’s Chris Cooley said he was really pumped to score three touchdowns in a game because he knew it would help him win his fantasy matchup that day. That was a real live football player talking about something that happens only inside of computers, which is hilarious. You know who doesn’t care about fantasy football? Richard Sherman.
Coffee Break: Watching a woman dunk a basketball is an interesting thing. Because we see it so rarely, whenever it happens, people tend to lose their minds. People also tend to think that because of the lack of dunks, women’s basketball is inferior. That’s wrong, but dunking could bring an element to the game that people would love.
Snack Time: Lacrosse is a very white sport. Why, who knows, but the culture around the game is one that borders on discriminatory at best. This story about a lawsuit re: participation in Philly is fascinating.
Dessert: New Quavo and Travis Scott? Yes and no, but it’s coming.
Daily Dose: 9/29/17
NBA commissioner expects players to stand for anthem
6:35 PMHey gang, Friday’s another double dip for me. I’ll be doing Around The Horn at 5 p.m. and, through the magic of television, also hosting #TheRightTime on ESPN Radio from 4-7 p.m. EST. Here’s Thursday’s show.
It's worth asking why we spend $600 billion a year on the military if we can't get more than 5000 troops and 50 helicopters to Puerto Rico.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) September 29, 2017
A lot of people are looking to get to Mars. There are long lists of folks who’ve signed up to get on a rocket ship and head to the red planet, knowing full well they’d never come back. But, with Elon Musk’s dream of landing people across the galaxy, he’s also got a plan to evolve that mission. He wants to create rockets that can take you various places across the globe in a matter of minutes. Like, the U.S. to China in half an hour. I can barely even get my mind around the concept, but, hey, we’re all for it.
If you’re wondering how Russian hacking may affect you, now you know. A new CNN report says that outside agencies were using fake black activist accounts to stoke racial tension before the last presidential election, which is fascinating. Not because they were disseminating false information — they weren’t — but because they were trying to increase turnout to many previously organized events, to naturally increase division among American citizens. In short, other nations are using are own racism against us, and it’s working.
What if I told you … that three presidents showed up at a golf tournament together for one of the greatest photo ops of all time. In case you don’t know, the Presidents Cup, the competition in which the United States faces off against the rest of the world, is underway. Presidents Obama, Bush (43) and Clinton all graced New Jersey’s Liberty National Golf Club with their presence. This whole situation should instantly be made into a 30 for 30 film. I can’t imagine a more star-studded lineup for a more mundane tournament.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is trying to get ahead of any national anthem controversies. But it won’t be easy. Mind you, the NBA does have a rule that players are to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but also, this is a league that’s seen quite a few pregame protests in its day. Not to mention that the WNBA has been at the forefront on these public displays for some time. Now, Silver is saying he expects players to stand during the anthem, which seems to be a step backward in wokeness.
Coffee Break: You might not be focused on what’s happening in Calgary, Alberta, but it’s worth noting. Basically, in the fight for a new arena deal in town, the NHL and a big company have inserted themselves into the mayor’s race, which is an awful precedent and development.
Snack Time: I don’t mean to be the guy making a big scene every time Ta-Nehisi Coates writes something, but that’s where we are these days. Check out his latest for The Guardian, about what we should have seen coming.
Dessert: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Petie Parker.
Petie Parker is Instagram's most fashionable Spider Man pic.twitter.com/y609KiLw4l
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 29, 2017