What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 6/2/16

Steroids. Pandas. NBA Finals.

12:00 PMOn Wednesday, I chopped it with SportsCenter’s Reese Waters. We talked about The Bachelorette, sports, ESPN’s 30 for 30 O.J.: Made In America, among many other things, including Gucci Mane. Have a listen, kiddos. It was a fun one.

I happened to be in Los Angeles when the UCLA shooting broke out. It was odd, because they happen so often in general, that even the kids on campus thought it was a joke. School shootings, for the record, are always terrifying. And when you’re in a town you’re not from when something like that happens, it’s a strange feeling. That said, the story itself is extremely sad. Police say it was a murder-suicide, and while it might make for the so-called least damage in terms of number of humans, it’s still very awful. ABC News’ Josh Margolin, Julie Sone and Meghan Keneally report.

Steroids are a very polarizing topic. Many believe that taking them makes you less of a human, even though they are designed to make you more of one. Interestingly parodoxical irony, but whatever, it is what it is. Personally, steroids from a morals standpoint do not bother me. Do what you gotta do to win, but understand the risk you’re putting on yourself. That said, Russia has been about this life for some time. And by that I mean, since before I was born. And what’s awkward is that they always get caught. FiveThirtyEight’s Christie Aschwanden wonders if it’s fair to ban them altogether.

Have you ever seen a white BMW X6? No? I’ve got many zero in my driveway right now, so, me neither. But, from what I understand, they look like a panda. No, seriously. An artist named Desiigner made a whole song about this concept, among other things, and it completely rocks. Never mind all that, I happen to love pandas, as animals. It took me a long time to come to this opinion, as I’m from Washington, D.C., where people go completely insane about these bears. So, since it’s Thursday, here’s a picture of a panda holding her baby in her mouth.

The NBA Finals start Thursday night. It’s the beginning of a long, two-week journey in which basketball … yatta yatta whatever, Stephen Curry vs. LeBron James. Let’s be real. These two guys are currently the most important people in the basketball world and both have legacies to cement. The last time James wasn’t playing in the Finals, Curry was barely in the league. And remember what he was doing before that? Going nuts at Davidson? Well, he impressed The King there, too. Literally. Watch ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby talk about this modern day David vs. Goliath story.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Dumb sports franchises do dumb things. Some let non-smart people run their operations. Others let their players do whatever they want and look the other way. But this is all human nature, as Michael Jackson would say. And some franchises, like one from my hometown of Washington, D.C., let medical records about their personnel get stolen. Yikes.

Snack Time: Soccer in this country needs a lot of work on more levels that just what the men’s national team is not doing. Read this story about how the concept of diversifying the game is an inherent problem in the U.S.

Dessert: Belgium should be ashamed of itself for rocking these kits. You can’t win the Euros looking like this.

Daily Dose: 5/31/16

Kevin Durant: Will he stay or will he go?

9:30 AMHappy Tuesday, folks. We hope everyone’s Memorial Day went swimmingly and you enjoyed a lot of food and merriment. Including hot dogs. Which are not sandwiches, in case you weren’t entirely clear on that. Let’s get back to work.

One family had a very eventful holiday weekend. In Cincinnati, a child fell into an enclosure at the zoo, and was put face-to-face with a silverback gorilla. Officials were in a tough spot given the gorilla is an endangered species. A quick perusal of any search engine will garner you quite a few opinions on who was at fault for this incident, between the parents and the zoo. Some might even say that the ape was protecting the child. Either way, the video is extremely hard to watch. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden, Julia Jacobo and Emily Shapiro report.

Sexual assault is major issue. It doesn’t look a certain way or dress a certain way. All sorts of people do it, and the culture surrounding rape and how we eradicate it is ever evolving. Lesson one: Don’t do it. All other lessons are secondary. In California recently, a group of women helped stop what was thought to be a potential assault by speaking up when it appeared a man was drugging a drink. The women moved into action and the guy was caught. ABC’s Doug Lantz has the story.

If you’re reading this from your parents’ basement, good for you. I, for one, won’t judge you. I do wonder why when people live at home, it’s always assumed that a transition has been made to the very bottom floor. I’m sure there are tons of people out here working hard straight out of their old bedrooms. That aside, quite a few millenials are living with their boomer parents. Hey Mom and Dad, I’m back — thanks for ruining the economy when I was a kid! FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman explains how that’s not the only reason people are coming home in droves, again.

Now that the Oklahoma City Thunder are out of the playoffs, NBA fans can turn back to a fun focus: Kevin Durant’s future. The Washington, D.C.-area native will be a free agent this summer. He’s in an interesting spot. Having never left the Oklahoma City franchise, there is a certain nervousness that comes with branching out. Then again, with the salary cap going up, he can make a ton of money. Then, of course, there is basketball. The Thunder have built a powerhouse around KD. But they just can’t get over the hump. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon ponders what Durant will do next.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Personally, I struggle mightily with getting sleep. Been that way for years. But for professional athletes, sleep, obviously, is critical. Not enough rest could lead to a bad night, or perhaps more disastrously, an injury. As it turns out, the National Hockey League legit has sleep coaches. Here are some tips from the pros.

Snack Time: We’re in a bit of a renaissance when it comes to movies and television shows made by black people, not necessarily just about black people. Check out this list of the 50 greatest films by black directors. Very fun.

Dessert: The new Alicia Keys video looks like a blast. Here’s how the choreographer pulled it off.


has an oasis of graffiti and street art

7:00 AM




On our way out of town from a wedding last week in Asheville, North Carolina, we happened upon what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse with some rather well-executed pieces along a wall. As it turned out, various artists were painting what felt like two full city blocks of abandoned warehouses and old 18-wheelers with nothing but surface to paint.

Artists were out doing their thing. Some other people were practicing at the skate park on the grounds. As an enthusiast, the scene was a tad overwhelming. One guy on Twitter said it looked like a level on a Tony Hawk video game. Overall, it was an incredible thing to happen upon on the way out of town.

Asheville’s River Arts District is home to many a studio, but this grittier industrialized version of an effective canvas town was quite remarkable. In recent years, Asheville has thrown an event called “Burners and BBQ” as a way to help continue the artistic efforts there.

It really was quite remarkable in skill and scale.

We The North

Especially when it comes to art

7:00 AM

Trevor Wheatley is a Toronto-based artist who was very much so looking forward to what the Raptors were going to do against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That didn’t go so well, but this is dope.

Board on Saturday

Ethiopia Skate

gives the globe a new visual backdrop for the sport

7:00 AMYou don’t typically think of Addis Ababa and skateboarding as “natural” partners, but thanks to Ethiopia Skate, they are. Their entire operation is pretty incredible, because while skateboarding is a full-blown industry, in East Africa we’re still in the infantile growth stages. Volunteers, donated equipment, the whole scene is still super grassroots.

From a style standpoint, what’s particularly fascinating is to watch people skate with a backdrop that’s so different from what we’re used to. Be it the United States, South America, Australia or Europe, the visual vocabulary of each place, while varied within themselves, is still somewhat similar. Africa presents a whole other landscape palette that is extremely appealing.

“We use skateboarding as a means of building confidence, encouraging individual creativity, and making community,” their mission statement says. “We vision that children from all backgrounds can come together to have access to skateboarding equipment and free skateboard facilities and this community can ensure that all members have the means of education and healthy living.”

It’s about more than just tricks or transportation. It’s about family.

Thrasher Magazine’s

OG tastemaker gets a deep dive

7:00 AMIf you read Thrasher, you know who editor Jake Phelps is. If you don’t, he’s basically one of the most hardcore humans on Earth. The mag has been around as long as I’ve been alive, and if you want to take a look back at what the skate world was like through the eyes of a truly pioneering person, check out this long form profile of Phelps from The California Sunday Magazine.


and its people would be proud of this tribute

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There are multiple scenes in Coming to America that could arguably be considered the best. But easily the most extravagant and gloriously black, is the wedding ceremony, in which Prince Akeem is set to meet the woman betrothed to him. Things go sideways quickly, but not before one of the best dance scenes in the history of film. We’re hoping for a similar one in Black Panther, by the way.

But a group of high schoolers in Michigan went next level for prom and recreated the scene from the 1988 classic Eddie Murphy film. The young lady is dressed as Imani Izzi and another as Prince Akeem. Shouts to big man who played the royal body guard. That adds a nice touch.

This is an A+ on every level. No word on whether or not she later carried out the character’s famously ridiculous antics on the dance floor with her classmates.

Obama’s speech on race

The day the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was put in the rearview

2:20 PMThere was a time when it was believed that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright would torpedo then-Sen. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.

Now, FiveThirtyEight gives a week in 2008 the June 17th, 1994-style treatment in a podcast called “Inside The Five-Day Stretch When Obama Found His Voice On Race,” delving into what happened when the controversial pastor’s old sermons hit the media and his campaign team was forced to deal with it. In retrospect, some of the questions Obama dealt with felt more like a court deposition than an interview. Obama defended Wright as a churchgoer and the man who married him and Michelle.

He couldn’t disavow Wright entirely, so he did what he knew best. He made a speech, which he wrote himself. Without the usual trappings of politics. He bet on himself to simply nail it. This deep dive featuring many of the characters involved — David Axelrod (Obama’s chief campaign strategist), Jon Favreau (speechwriter), Valerie Jarrett (White House senior adviser) to name a few — is a detailed look into what happened on the ground in those moments.

Presented in chronological order of news coverage, with commentary from various characters close to the story, this project offers analysis and chalk talk of the moment that turned his campaign around. The show continues to discuss Obama’s growth and public progression as a person willing to discuss race as a public figure, and his blackness in itself.

The rest is history.

All Day Podcast

We talked with Annie Apple, which makes it a win

11:20 AMWhen this blog launched, I mentioned there’d be accompanying content. Well, that day is here. After hosting The Undefeated on ESPN Radio special a couple weekends back, senior style writer Jill Hudson, staff writer Justin Tinsley and I are launching a podcast. You can also listen or download here.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed

This week, we talked about Mike Wilbon’s story on analytics, had a chat with Annie Apple, mother of New York Giants first-round draft pick Eli Apple, who is incredible on Twitter. We also discussed Freddie Gray, Bill Cosby and the Bad Boy Reunion Tour.


Daily Dose: 5/27/16

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian are done for real

9:00 AMHey, guess what? We taped our first podcast Thursday. If you missed us a couple weekends ago on ESPN Radio, all good! Now you can hear Jill Hudson, Justin Tinsley and myself every week just by clicking here. Should be fun!

Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian’s relationship has been a tested one. They famously got together, then very famously crumbled when Odom’s drug abuse problems got so bad that he nearly died after a bender in Nevada. He was found unconscious in a brothel, which tends to be a problem as far as marriages go. But to her credit she stuck by him, officially, even though she dated others in the meantime because he had issues, obviously. Well, now, she’s trying to end it for real. They have a prenuptial agreement, if you were wondering.

New details have emerged in the shooting incident at a T.I. concert in New York. The NYPD has released a surveillance video from the scene, and it strongly appears that rapper Troy Ave is involved. As in, it looks like he was the one doing the shooting. One person died and he shot himself in the leg, by the way. As important, this is such a bad look on the ground for NYC hip-hop. The police have been looking for any reason they can find to shut down live shows there and this only helps their cause. ABC’s News’ Meghan Keneally, Aaron Katersky and David Caplan report.

We told you Thursday about the 6-year-old trying to spell his way to fame. Alas, he wasn’t the one who made it to the top. The two who did however end up winning the title engaged in a pretty epic battle. And at one point, some VERY serious shade was thrown right there on stage. Let’s just say that if someone were clapping in my face at that age, best believe I would most definitely be clapping back. I hope these two end up being friends for life. Anyways, did you ever wonder how they pick the words for the spelling bee? FiveThirtyEight’s Oliver Roeder explains.

Ray Rice will probably never play in the NFL again. But that doesn’t mean he can’t have some level of impact in the league. Two years ago, when a video of him punching his then-fiancee while in an elevator went public, Rice was effectively blackballed from the league. He did gain some cash from a wrongful termination lawsuit, but it was clear that regardless of his production no one was going to give the running back another chance. Now, however, he’s back with the Ravens, albeit in a different role. ESPN’s Jamison Hensley details Rice’s latest endeavor.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you care about media, you should care about the battle currently being waged at Gawker Media. Nick Denton’s company is currently the subject of one man’s personal crusade, which some might call turnabout and thus, fair play. Alas, some see it differently. Particularly those who are in the media, who run their own sites.

Snack Time: We’re coming up on Memorial Day weekend, which means A) Daily Dose will be off on Monday and B) there will be cookouts. Here’s a list of things that you better not do at someone else’s function. You’ve been warned.

Dessert: Let’s end on a good note. This should make you laugh. Holiday advice: Safety first this weekend, folks.