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

Daily Dose: 7/6/16

Protests erupt in Louisiana over CD man killed by police

9:12 AMLet’s get right to it. Tuesday night was another mess and we don’t have time for pleasantries right now.

You can add “selling CDs” to the list of things that might get you killed by the police in America, if you’re black. That appears to be the case in Baton Rouge, where a video circulating (trigger warning: it is graphic) shows a man named Alton Sterling in an altercation with police in a parking lot. As he’s being held down by police, three shots go off. People took to the street, and in the horrifying cycle of watch, kill, rinse, repeat that is a lot of how so-called “justice” goes in this nation, we’ve started all over again. ABC News has the story, with pictures.

Just being around places that feel “slavey” is rather difficult for me sometimes. There are certain parts of the country and the world where the history and tension is so palpable that just being present physically is not easy. Historic Charleston, South Carolina, and Île de Gorée in Senegal come to mind. Some people find this less problematic and one Michigan man went looking for a plantation his great-grandfather owned and found it. He then went and stayed there with his own family, and the residents, who are his cousins. Wow. Good Morning America explains.

When Kevin Durant finally arrives in the Bay Area, the assumption is that Golden State will never lose. In all seriousness, though, it’s a super team unlike any we will ever really see as far as how its assembly goes. But will it work? Will this look more like adding Dennis Rodman to the Chicago Bulls, or the Boston Celtics and The Big Three? Or are we looking at a Karl Malone on the Los Angeles Lakers situation, which ended up just being rather sad. For the Golden State Warriors, it seems impossible for it not to work out next year. But FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine points out that there’s a decent chance it doesn’t.

It’s summertime, so in general, you’re probably seeing the most human flesh you will all year. Beach trips, day parties, sporting events, whatever, it’s time to take it off. For this year’s edition of the ESPN Body Issue we’ve got quite a few characters who were more than willing. I need you to know that NFL players Vince Wilfork (yes, big boy) and Von Miller of celebratory thrust sack dance Super Bowl MVP fame are both in this edition, as well. Oh, and Olympian Greg Louganis, too. What a time to be alive.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Frank Ocean might not necessarily have any music dropping soon, but it doesn’t mean he’s not doing work. Check out rapper Young Thug and him in a new series of Calvin Klein ads, that are sure to have old-school heads yelling about what real hip-hop is, yatta yatta.

Snack Time: Looking for a quick salad to whip up that isn’t going to suck all your energy on a hot day? Here’s a pretty solid one that’ll take you no time at all to make.

Dessert: If you like rapper Oddisee, you’ll wanna check out this interview with him.

I wanna be like Mike

Sometimes I dream that he is me

3:58 PM

“It’s late in the day and I ain’t been on the court yet,” Will Smith, aka The Fresh Prince, rapped on the opening of the third verse of “Summertime,” his 1991 hit with DJ Jazzy Jeff. “Hustle to the mall to get me a short set. Yeah, I got on sneaks but I need a new pair. ‘Cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there.”

One guy this week in Spokane, Washington, took that whole concept to its most illogical extreme, donning a full Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls outfit in a pickup game in which he was actually on the skins side, not shirts. There are so many questions to be had in this, but his commitment to the bit is not one of them. He’s got the sweatband, and the knee brace deal, never mind the shoes (Air Jordan XI’s) themselves and the jersey also appears to have an NBA Finals patch on it. Wow.

My man is apparently a regular at this, too.


The obvious wackness of rocking a full uniform for a pickup game need not be stated. Wearing basketball jerseys in general to ball, if you are not on said team and out of say, college age, is enough to get a side eye from me, as is. If a dude showed up to any court I’ve played on in the last 10 years in that getup, he’d be mercilessly clowned off the court. The ONLY way this works is if you choose someone way off the path of genuine NBA celebrity, like, say former NBA player Derrick McKey. But Jordan? You might as well put a Superman outfit on and try to fly.

So, how’d this go viral? A man by the name of Justin Hardiman. He was smart enough to whip out a phone and catch this faux Jordan playing some pretty serious defense on the baseline. He was visiting his dad in Spokane and decided to hit a local court for some run on the holiday weekend.

“I hear out of the corner of my ear that there’s this guy, that when he takes off his warmups, he’ll have his entire Jordan kit on. I didn’t really think anything of it,” Hardiman, 20, told The Undefeated on Tuesday. “As soon as I posted the video, my phone died. And then when I turned my phone back on, it already had like 8,000 retweets. It was a really weird experience. I just see this guy, I have no connection with this guy.”

As for his new internet fame, Hardiman is not quite sure yet. “I’m still trying to figure that out,” said Hardiman, who attends Xavier University. “I never thought that anything [of mine] would go viral like this.”

Things just got real

between Future, Ciara and Russell Wilson. Or maybe not

12:18 PMThe tumultuous ups and downs of rapper Future and singer Ciara’s relationship have been circling around gossip sites for some time, but the latest update is cause for concern. According to TMZ, Ciara filed legal documents as part of her defamation suit against Future, saying that she thought the father of her child might kill her fiancé, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Yikes.

For what it’s worth, Future, née Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, hasn’t made things easier in the fallout of the custody battle for his fourth child, who is actually named Future. Whether it’s a bunch of passive-aggressive tweets, Instagram notes directed toward Ciara and Wilson or random radio interviews discussing the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Future has employed the exact opposite of the “keep my name out your mouth” strategy.

Making this whole matter even more unfortunate is that apparently her concerns are over emoji threats. For real. Yes, they are admissible in court, if you’re wondering. His decision to once post “🏈🏈🔫🔫🔫” has Ciara worried. Nobody wants to see the intimate details of their bad breakup spread all over the internet. But at this point, it’s starting to feel like with football season around the corner, this story is only going to continue to hang around, particularly if the NFL starts to take it seriously, too.


Sadly, it’s not really funny at all.

Daily Dose: 7/5/16

President Barack Obama is still just a dad

10:00 AMHope everyone had a good holiday weekend. While you were busy worrying about what Kevin Durant was planning to do with this life, NASA was busy putting a spacecraft into Jupiter’s orbit. That’s pretty wild.

It’s an important day for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That’s because it’s the day that President Barack Obama will make an appearance with her on the trail. His endorsement was pretty obvious considering the way that the race is shaping up at this point, but for two people who once fought so hard against each other, for Democrats this is a big moment, optics-wise. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would love nothing more than for a president to show up somewhere with him. ABC News’ Meghan Keneally has the story on what they’ll be doing.

Speaking of the president, we are going to miss the first family so much in the White House. It’s not just the four of them, it’s the guests at the state dinners and the invitees to the parties, among other things. So, for Obama’s oldest daughter Malia’s 18th birthday, you can bet the list was relatively star-studded. And in typical dad fashion, even with rapper Kendrick Lamar and singer Janelle Monáe in the building — two Grammy-nominated artists — Obama decided to sing Happy Birthday himself. It’s not like we haven’t heard him break out in song before. ABC’s Brian McBride reports.

To say that I’m skeptical of self-driving cars would be a supreme understatement. If I had my druthers, I’d be happy going the rest of my life without ever sitting in a vehicle operated by a robot. But, they’re everywhere. Tesla has one, and recently a guy died while driving it. How did that happen? Well, the computer screwed up and a tractor-trailer slammed into the car. But can you blame the car? FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth-Baker explains how we can ever really expect any technology to be perfect or safe.

The Golden State Warriors turning into the most hated franchise in the NBA was unexpected. But there were quite a few moves around the league that turned heads. Mainly because the new TV money has ballooned the salary cap, readjusting what we once thought were big contracts. There’s also the small question of what happens with free agent Dwyane Wade. The Miami Heat are in a tough spot because he had a solid year last season with the team, but he’s also getting up there in age. So, paying him what he deserves is going to cost them a lot. ESPN’s Michael Wallace reports that $40 million might not be enough.

Free Food

Coffee Break: With Independence Day just behind us, let’s have a little history lesson. It’s easy to presume that the men we call the Founding Fathers were old, wise gents, relying on years of life experience to form this nation. Alas, that’s not really true. They were all pretty young, as these things tend to go when it comes to revolutions.

Snack Time: If you haven’t seen this week’s cover of The New Yorker magazine, you should check it out. They’ve been on a great run, recently.

Dessert: There’s a way to play basketball on a public court. This is not the way to do it.

Summer, summer, summertime

so just sit back and unwind

7:00 AM

The 2016 Roskilde Festival is underway in Denmark, and Greek artist Insane51 is here for it. The culture and music event has been around since 1951 and its purpose is to “support initiatives benefitting children and young people and to support humanitarian and cultural work,” according to festival’s website.

This piece, however, is perfect. Stateside, it’s officially summer and this Super Soaker redux looks extremely vivid. In case you forgot, that water gun was invented by an African-American engineer named Lonnie Johnson back in 1982. He’s from Alabama, went to Tuskegee University and holds over 80 patents.

Whether the artist or anyone at the festival is aware of that or not, who knows. But now, you know.

Independence Day goodies

Big Dick’s Hardware style

7:00 AM

We’re not necessarily here to highlight people’s promotions, but when it comes to the Fourth of July, some retailers really let it all hang out. This particular setup was just so clean and so cool that it needed to be shared. Three MTN spray paint cans in a six pack of beer type container? Genius.

More importantly, though, is that Big Dick’s Hardware, the all-purpose streetwear and art supply store, was started by the iconic Los Angeles graffiti writer, Slick, whose work you probably first saw in the form of the cover of hip-hop group The Pharcyde’s 1992 classic album, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, from record label Delicious Vinyl.

Last year, Slick opened the location as kind of an art/retail/workshop hybrid in Gardena, California, where he’d moved his studio two years prior. “I never thought that I’d be doing a retail spot here. It wasn’t so planned as it just happened organically out of necessity,” Slick told The Hundreds when BDH opened. “I needed paint for my projects and there was nothing for miles.”

So, he started his own. That’s the American way.

Adidas’ ‘Away Days’

feature-length skate film is dominating the summer

7:00 AMAway Days, the first-ever, feature-length skate film from Adidas that was released in May, is excellent on many levels, particularly for a debut. The footage comes from three years worth of skating and rounds out at just over an hourlong. It is more than worth the $5 or so it’ll cost you to get it.

Things really turn up when DGK skater Rodrigo TX gets his feature, with him nailing incredible tricks in the tightest of spaces while wearing a variety of soccer jerseys. The story follows your basic “have board, will travel” model, with a ton of great cityscape scenes shot in between. The soundtrack moves from anywhere between airy cloud pop to trap hip-hop. The best part of the movie is watching a young Nakel Smith (pictured) imitating the late soul artist James Brown in a home video, before the film cuts to Smith and a few others shredding to Brown’s song, I Feel Good. Skater Benny Fairfax is a monster, too.

Anyway, the film is dope. On Tuesday, The Skateboard Mag caught up with skater Miles Silvas to talk about his five favorite tricks from the movie. It’s always interesting to see which tricks impress other skaters the most.

Here’s a more in-depth interview TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine did with Adidas. You can rent/buy the whole film here.

Chaz Ortiz

has some new action, and sports specific, earphones for you

7:00 AMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYk4sznW3UA

If you don’t remember skater Chaz Ortiz, let me remind you. As a kid, he burst onto the scene — a Chicago native who catapulted to relative fame after going pro, then became a street-league star and found himself cleaning up parks with model Kate Upton and skating with rapper Lil Wayne.

Now, he’s the latest face for the speaker company JBL, which has a new line of earphones out called the “Grip 100,” specifically designed for action sports. The Zoo York rider is repping his team in Barcelona, before heading out. It’s a short, albeit fun, video, but these appear to be some pretty sturdy earbuds.

No word on whether he’s rocking Lil Wayne while laying down those tricks.

O.J. Mayo will not be in the NBA for some time

The eight-year veteran has been kicked out of the league for two years

1:54 PMWhen O.J. Mayo was in eighth grade, there were people in Ohio who were mentioning him in the same sentence as LeBron James. Sure, it might have been the second clause, but that’s how much people in that state thought of Mayo when he played at North College Hill High School. Alas, that never panned out.

Now, he’s been dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for two years. The disqualification is also known as “The Birdman,” in reference to the punishment that Chris Andersen received in 2006. If we’re being honest, I didn’t necessarily even realize he was still in the league. He’s been languishing with the Bucks for more seasons than people outside of Milwaukee care to remember. That team was supposed to be somewhat upstart, but that didn’t exactly come to fruition, partially because guys like Mayo never re-blossomed.

You may recall that his time in college at the University of Southern California could be described as “rocky” at best, ending with the sanctions that affected the football team and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, as well. According to the NBA, “drugs of abuse” (which he was kicked out for) include: “amphetamine and its analogs (including, but not limited to, methamphetamine and MDMA), cocaine, LSD, opiates (heroin, codeine and morphine) and PCP.”

Your “O.J. Yayo” jokes aside, trying to get back in to the league at 30 — while averaging 14 points and less than three assists a game, with both of those stats declining in his 26 career playoff outings — is going to be extremely difficult.

PUMA’s getting in on the sock shoe bit

The Ignite evoKNIT channels soccer cleat trends

11:42 AMA couple years back, Nike changed the game by basically including built-in socks in its soccer footwear. Now, that feature has migrated over to running shoes, via PUMA. It’s called the Ignite evoKNIT, and sports what the company calls “disruptive streetwear design.” While that adjective is up for debate, it is remarkable how quickly flyknit, as a look, has spread through pop culture.

I saw a tourist woman in her 60s rocking one of the most vibrant pair of neon flyknits I’d ever seen in real life the other day, unironically lost on a corner with a man who appeared to be her husband. My own stupid stereotypes aside, the point is, the fabric is universally recognized as fly, hypebeast or not.

Of course, while PUMA’s newest offering is a performance product, it ostensibly will also double as a casual shoe for the active brunch crowd. “It intertwines fashion and design with innovation and technology [and] … is made to be the boldest on the block,” according to the press release. “It’s designed to be unstoppable, whether it’s worn hitting the streets or heading out for the night with friends.”

Here’s a look:



The black colorway is dope, but those shorts might be the best of the bunch.

Daily Dose: 7/1/16

Don’t let things get too hot this July Fourth weekend

10:08 AMFor those of you skipping out on work early today to get a jump on the Independence Day holiday, a couple of guys in Spain have had you beat for the better part of two decades. These dudes got paid for 15 years without working.

If nothing comes from the Freddie Gray case in terms of justice, at least the Baltimore Police Department understands that some things need to change going forward. On Friday, new regulations begin for the BPD that require it to, you know, put a priority on keeping people alive when doing their jobs. Look no further to understand why the basic concept of Black Lives Matter exists as a movement. The technical term here is “sanctity of life” which, again, should not have to be explained. ABC News’ Catherine Thorbecke reports.

Let’s take a look at some vice presidential hopefuls. First, there’s Democrat Tim Kaine, who’s from Virginia, and has been in talks for a long time to potentially join presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on a ticket. But things are getting a bit awkward because, before he became governor, he accepted quite a few gifts as lieutenant governor. It has been known to be a problem there. Over on the other side, there’s Chris Christie, who’s apparently now being vetted for the Republican vice president slot. Which is also awkward, because, well, yeah. ABC News’ Josh Margolin has the details.

Did you have a summer job? In my hometown of Washington, D.C., the late Marion Barry made them famous as a staple of youth culture, but that’s not the case everywhere. What’s clear, though, is that far fewer teens are working and not because they don’t want to. It’s typically because they can’t find anywhere to work. Why? Because it’s typically the kids who don’t actually need the jobs who get them. FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman analyzes the numbers.

Yes, it is the first day of NBA free agency. There have already been some pretty wild signings, including the Los Angeles Lakers giving a guy who played next to zero minutes in the NBA Finals more than $60 million, but whatever, the salary cap is going up! Hassan Whiteside is going back to the Miami Heat, as Jordan Clarkson is going back to the Lakers, but there are still quite a few big names out there, including, technically LeBron James. That list obviously includes Kevin Durant, but there’s also Dwyane Wade. ESPN keeps you up to date with this 2016-specific live breakdown.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Musical artist Maxwell just dropped an album. Meaning, if you’re going when you go to a cookout this weekend, be sure that you keep things tight if you don’t want to wind up with a baby come April. Because they will be on the way once it starts playing over those speakers while you’re two-stepping with the E&J. Safety first, kiddos!

Snack Time: Cool and interesting news from the radio biz — Questlove is joining the board of trustees at WNYC, one of the better public radio stations in the country. Sounds like a great opportunity. Also, happy birthday, Missy.

Dessert: Never forget. July 1 is Bobby Bonilla Day. The day he proves to be the smartest American of us all.