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

P.K. Subban is going to Nashville

and that’s a good thing for American entertainment

2:35 PMOn its surface, it sounds weird.

The biggest star in hockey being traded from the most popular hockey city on the planet, which also happens to be in his native country? Nightmare scenario for a league that is still relatively marginal in many pockets of the country that don’t have a team nor care to. But for Canadian defenseman P.K. Subban, who was traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, it might the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time.

The last NHL All-Star Game was in Nashville, Tennessee, and the entire weekend was an interesting display for a town that is emerging as a destination living location for A-listers and a relatively popular place outside of just country music. From a hockey standpoint, which we won’t dwell on, the trade is bizarre. “The Montreal Canadiens have made possibly the worst trade in the history of their franchise, for no reason at all,” Andrew Berkshire wrote Wednesday. “This trade is so lopsided that it’s hard to believe it happened at all.”

Subban is a star. The Toronto-native’s skills are just one part of it. Personalities like his don’t come around leagues like the NHL very often, and aside from the matchups on the ice, having him in any U.S. market is better for him than being stuck in his home country of Canada. With his sense of humor and style, his marketability in a city like Nashville is sure to make his brand shine far brighter than it did from Montreal.

There, of course, he was a legend. The city is losing one of its favorite people. Nobody wants to see that, but there have to be people in the NHL who are applauding this. Nashville is only a wasteland in the context of hockey, but in the American entertainment system, it’s a juggernaut.

P.K. is short for Pernell Karl, which is what he needs to start going by once he moves to Tennessee. The city itself over the past five years has been getting a lot more shine, nationally for what it has to offer. Nowville, Nashvegas, the nicknames keep coming, as corny as they have always been.

“Music celebrities are attracted to a state with no income tax and a ready-made talent pool. But they also just like it,” Kim Severson wrote for The New York Times in 2013. “As if to underscore Nashville’s position in the nation’s musical hierarchy, the city hosted the annual Grammy nomination concert in December. It was the first time the show was not held in Los Angeles.”

He’s been making hockey fun again for some time, and now Nashville will get to see it front and center.

All Day Podcast: 6/29/16

BET Awards, Stephon Marbury’s ‘$15 Kicks’ and soccer in black America

5:42 PMThe crew was back in the studio this week after staff writer Justin Tinsley had quite the eventful weekend in Los Angeles for the BET Experience festivities. Spoiler alert: He didn’t actually attend the BET Awards show, but was on the ground for a plethora of events.

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Tinsley, host Clinton Yates and senior style writer Jill Hudson break down Sunday’s entire show, including the tribute performances for the late musical artist Prince. They also discuss the latest installment of Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints series, titled $15 kicks, regarding the rise and fall of former NBA player Stephon Marbury’s affordable sneaker line, Starburys.

Does it matter that soccer isn’t that prevalent in black America? The group tackles this question in the third and final segment of the show.

Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at allday@andscape.com.

Also, if you’re in Washington, D.C., on Friday, join Tinsley for the #MarchOnUStreet, a long overdue celebration for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the winners of the 2016 NBA title. Hit him up on Twitter @JustinTinsley for details.

DeRay McKesson is back

in Baltimore, this time for the school system

3:39 PMWhen civil rights activist DeRay McKesson first announced he was running for mayor of Baltimore, many looked at it as the first step of the Black Lives Matter movement transforming from collection of protestors to an actual political force. It didn’t quite work out that way, as he finished sixth in the Democratic primary. Now, he’s going back as a school administrator in his hometown.

On Wednesday, Baltimore City Public Schools announced that McKesson would serve as the interim chief human capital officer, according to The Baltimore Sun. It’s a return to his old career where, in Minneapolis, he worked in the school system, before he became the most famous demonstrator in America.

The main question is: Will he wear the vest to the office?

Daily Dose: 6/29/16

Might LeBron James be leaving Cleveland again?

9:26 AMLook, let’s get something straight. I’ve been listening to Cher.

The attacks in Istanbul are devastating. I’ve never been there, but for a long time, I used to make an idiotic joke in which every time someone brought up the city, I’d ask them if they knew how to spell Constantinople, and refer to the location as such for the rest of the conversation. That bit ends today. A terrorist blast killed 41 people (the count as of now) and the images of the scene are terrifying. We won’t get into the political situation in Turkey and that whole history, but mass murder is never cool. ABC News has the story on the ground, and a first-person view.

I met someone yesterday who told me that I can’t afford to not watch Game of Thrones. It was the most compelling argument I’d heard for not being a fan in a long time. I don’t do dragons and trees (sorry, Lord of the Rings) but I do enjoy robots and lasers. I also don’t like sweet things, but I do like salty treats. However, Game of Thrones is something that I feel like a loser about. Don’t email me about this, please, I get it. It’s a great show, that was never in question. I just don’t watch it. Anyway, there will be two more seasons, TWO, according to the showrunners.

With the Olympics coming up, there’s a discussion we need to have. It’s about the mouth-breathers who can’t seem to understand the concept of gender as a relatively fluid matter and will inevitably freak out about something regarding an athlete, in the name of the “sanctity” of a competition. Caitlyn Jenner is an example of how that malleable framework can create issues for people who live in a world of hard regulations. Yet, the details of the scenario of who can compete and when are important to those who care. FiveThirtyEight’s Christie Aschwanden explains.

Now that Cleveland has its identity-changing championship, let’s talk about LeBron James. Technically, if he wants to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers again, he can. As in, his contract allows for such. And according to his agent, he declined his player option, which would have earned him a couple dozen million bucks. You never know, he might just peace out and create Team Banana Boat, just to make a complete mockery of the NBA, which would be glorious. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, now is the time to start worrying. ESPN’s Chris Broussard has the details.

Free Food

Coffee Break: It’s worth pointing out that the movie Coming to America was released 28 years ago today. There’s a pretty solid argument that it’s the best comedy in movie history. Actor Eddie Murphy has done a ton of brilliant things, but that one was his magnum opus, as I see it. ESPN’s His & Hers paid tribute a while back.

Snack Time: The story of Zurlon Tipton is about as sad as it gets. In a situation that is so uniquely American, he accidentally shot himself and died, while trying to buy a car. He used to play for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL.

Dessert: Newish Future, newer Curren$y and good day to you, too.

Banana boat life

is now a part of Snapchat

2:23 PM

You know you’re balling when you have your own Snapchat filter. If you don’t recall, the legendary banana boat situation that unfolded last summer with NBA stars LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union, Wade’s wife, in the Bahamas created huge drama in the NBA rumor streets, and much comedy in black media. It was a light-hearted moment that the social-networking site has finally adapted, now that they’re back on a similar trip.

We have a couple problems with this, though. Number one, the actual characters in the picture that went viral a) were not in this order and b) didn’t include New York Knick Carmelo Anthony. Apparently, Union tried to convince Anthony to get on the boat, but he wouldn’t. This gives us an opportunity to gratuitously drop in one of the greatest memes of all time that DOES include Anthony.

Anyway, the banana boat filter is side foul for not including Union, but all the way funny for keeping a headband on Anthony in the image. And those oh so stylish vests are giving us life.


$15 kicks

You can clown them all you want, but Stephon Marbury was trying

10:14 AMStephon Marbury is a real one.

The Coney Island native, who not only made it out of the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood but made it to heights that most jokers who claim to like basketball will never respect, is the subject of the latest in Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints series. $15 Kicks, directed by Jenn Shaw, takes a look at how the former NBA point guard tried to revolutionize the shoe game that NBA legend Michael Jordan so dictatorially wrecked for generations. Full disclosure: I love Steph. And if you’ve never heard writer Frank Isola’s story about him, you need to.

“He was a superstar NBA point guard, but wanted to try to do something different and change the game,” Howard Schacter, former chief executive officer of Steve & Barry’s, the retail clothing chain that launched the shoe, said in the film. “He just didn’t believe that the price tag that kids, particularly in the inner city, were paying for shoes was fair.”

If you’re not familiar with the scorn the Starbury shoes garnered, or how this product completely realigned how people looked at Marbury on a certain level, this movie cuts right to it. When it came down to it, Marbury made people happy. I know plenty people who wouldn’t be caught dead in these shoes, but still respect why he did it. If you think income inequality in America isn’t a real thing, just ask them if they’ve ever considered buying a pair of Starburys.

The short film takes a look at all of that from a style, economics and basketball standpoint. You also get a lot of fun throwbacks, like vintage looks at ESPN sportscasters Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt with hair. Not to mention it barely scratches the surface of Marbury’s downright god-like status in China, which could be a whole series unto itself. The next time you get a statue built of you in any country is the first time you should make fun of Marbury.

Also, make sure you stay for the credits.

Daily Dose: 6/28/16

One of the best coaches of our generation is no longer with us

9:35 AMLegendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt died Tuesday at the age of 64. Watching her teams play was a real joy and it’s not even close when it comes to the question of who’s the best to ever do it — she’s at the top.

A poster from the Red Cross about swimming pool safety is making serious waves. The promotional image, which showed various do’s and dont’s about how to act when you’re swimming, featured people of various races, except there was one problem. The only people doing anything wrong in the image were black people. I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to find that gambling is going on in here. (Sidebar, I just saw Casablanca for the first time in my life, like six months ago.) Anyways, it appears to be the closest version of an “honest” mistake there is, ABC News reports.

Brexit is a complete mess. Basically, the actual act that needs to happen for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union is something that no one really wants to be responsible for doing. So, as a result, the referendum, which technically is nonbinding, doesn’t mean much for Parliament unless it REALLY wants to make itself look stupid. Short version: former Prime Minister David Cameron checkmated the hell out of his opponents on this one, and now they’re stuck. Now, the EU is pressing them to make an actual decision. Yikes.

I went to college with a lot of Republicans. It was always an interesting question to tackle when you’d be in the gamble spot, because you had to make an instant decision as to whether that was going to affect the actions of the night. Typically, it didn’t. But, sometimes it did. Some were really into the whole bit, but at that age, ultimately, getting along meant more than who you planned to vote for. Alas, it is still an intriguing question. Could you marry across the aisle? FiveThirtyEight’s Eitan Hersh examines how many people actually do.

Sticking with the hack jokes, England is out of Europe, again. Look, Brexit is serious, and football is just soccer, but England’s exit from the Euros is nothing short of shocking. Why? Because the country lost to the Land of Ice, which is playing in its first major international tournament. And the English didn’t just lose, they got banged out. The game wasn’t particularly close, even though the Three Lions scored first on a well-deserved penalty. Anyway, Iceland is in the quarterfinals and it’s awesome. Listen to an Icelandic broadcaster lose his mind — againafter the win.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I could not possibly care less about Star Trek, but I do appreciate historical artifacts. And an 11-foot-long model of the U.S.S. Enterprise is a pretty cool thing. It almost, ALMOST, fell apart until someone at the Smithsonian decided that was simply unacceptable. I love this story in more ways than one, so check it out.

Snack Time: This is a great selection from the “they don’t want you to succeed” menu. Shouts to DJ Khaled. Seriously, the assumption that all people who need help are on drugs is one of the most screwed up things, ever.

Dessert: Protip — if you’re looking for that fresh 4th of July haircut, today is the day to go to the barber sans stress.

Shaq descends on Cuba

to teach kids to play basketball

3:26 PM[protected-iframe id=”48a6762509adb253e99e75ee80254abe-84028368-105107678″ info=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” class=”twitter-video”]

When President Barack Obama announced the beginning of normalized relations with Cuba just before Christmas of 2014, it was referred to as a thaw. Soon enough, tourists were showing up on the shores of Havana, and Major League Baseball was playing games there. Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of State sent our grandest human export to the communist nation as a sports envoy: NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

“The Diesel” was joined by Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Kaleb Canales, the first Mexican-American coach to ever lead a team in the NBA, when he served as the head coach of the Portland Trailblazers for 23 games in 2012. According to the State Department, the mission of the trip was to “demonstrate how sports can serve as a means of developing academic, leadership and teamwork skills,” as well as to “highlight the importance of social inclusion and respect for diversity.”

Photographs from the island nation of the 7-footer are tremendous. He’s not only lifting kids up to dunk, he’s also taking photos with random people. Imagine waiting effectively your whole life to see a country that’s been effectively isolated from an entire world for decades and running into O’Neal there. You’d take a picture, too.

“We just want to come over here and extend our friendly hand and just start smoothing things out,” O’Neal told The Associated Press. “It was great for [President Obama] to reopen the door, regain a better relationship with this beautiful island.” The plan is for O’Neal to do more than just shoot hoops. He’ll also be visiting historical sites and spreading his trademark cheer.

I guess we’ll have to call him “The Big Diplomatic” from here on out.

Everything else from the BET Awards

that you might not have caught if you weren’t watching live

9:59 AMBeyonce, Jesse Williams and Prince were clearly the most important three things that happened at Sunday night’s BET Awards in Los Angeles. But they were far from the only fun topics to talk about it. In no particular order, here were some other highlights, none of which involve who won what.


• Chloe x Halle. The two actual sisters, and Beyonce’s proteges, wowed the audience with a performance of their song Drop. They’ve been on the come up since singing covers on YouTube, and have signed with Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment label for a six-album deal. Their album, Sugar Symphony, is out now, if you want to cop.

• Desiigner. Panda is obviously the song of the year in hip-hop to this point, so it was clear he was going to perform. But if you’ve never seen the 19-year-old Brooklyn, New York, native perform, you were in for a surprise. Just ask rapper Fabolous. He had a stare on his face so blank, you just had to assume he did not know that this was potentially the future of the game. Personally, I’d love to see Desiigner and DJ Esco in a dance off.


• Birdman. He might have been sitting next to his boo, Toni Braxton, but when he was on stage he brought Jacquees with him to do the nominations, in a silent role. If you are a serious Cash Money Records fan, you might be familiar with his work in such songs as Come Thru. Either way, his nearly identical appearance to, ahem, Lil Wayne was obvious for everyone to see. Awkward.

• Scott Disick. The Kardashian man was in the crowd Sunday night, chewing gum and apparently having a not-so-great time. Alas, they didn’t pan the camera his way when his homeboy French Montana was ripping the stage with Fat Joe and Remy Ma, who was rocking the best outfit of the night, by the way.

Daily Dose: 6/27/16

Jesse Williams is the wokest of them all in Hollywood

9:16 AMBefore we get to the BET Awards, we need to point out that it aired on a couple different Viacom networks, which included Nickelodeon. That must have easily been the realest program ever on that network.

The United Kingdom is borderline embarrassing itself at this point. Following the Brexit vote, in which tons of people voted to leave the European Union — while not even understanding what they were voting for — there are now reports of xenophobic attacks on foreigners taking place across England, because, of course. The financial markets across the globe have taken a decent hit as well, which means that the U.K. will be hard pressed to prove that it can stand on its own, without panicking. ABC News’ Brian McBride has the details.

If you missed the BET Awards Sunday night, you missed quite a bit. Singer Beyonce opened the show with a surprise appearance from rapper Kendrick Lamar. She then promptly got on a plane to London for a show and had her mom accept her awards. There were the Prince tributes, as well. My personal favorite was crooner Maxwell, although Jennifer Hudson got up there and took us to church with her rendition of Purple Rain. The moment of the night, however, came from actor/activist Jesse Williams. Here’s the full speech. ABC’s Candice Williams recaps the rest.

I don’t love pizza and I don’t particularly like puzzles. But there is something sort of intriguing about puzzles about pizza. The history of pizza cutting is a funny one. No. 1: Who decided to first make it in a circle? And why when making a pizza in a square do most people then cut it into squares? Some of life’s mysteries we’ll never get an answer to, but thanks to FiveThirtyEight’s The Riddler, here’s one question that will get solved. If a robot cut your pizza by picking two chords along the circumference and making three cuts, what is the expected number of pieces?

The best soccer player on the globe will no longer be playing for his country. In a somewhat surprising moment of emotion Sunday night, Lionel Messi, who’s never won a major international tournament playing with Argentina, said he was done with the national team after it lost in penalty kicks to Chile in the Copa America final. He’s only 29, but this loss was particularly painful because he took the opening penalty, and missed it. It’ll be a shame to never see Messi in the Albiceleste again, but it’s his life. ESPN FC reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Because of where I’m from and the nature of the jobs I’ve held, discussing politics is something that comes second nature. But in the sports world, things are a tad different. The two things quite obviously overlap all the time. But for reporters, how appropriate is it to have those convos in public? Here’s a discussion on the matter.

Snack Time: Former pro running back Herschel Walker thinks he can still play in the NFL. Why he would want to, or why he feels the need to say this every three years, who knows? But Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe is definitely not here for any of that talk.

Dessert: Singer Miguel’s new song is a good one for walking home on a summer night after happy hour.

Street Art Sundays

Desmond Mason

is one of the most well-rounded guys the NBA has ever seen

4:58 PMYou might remember Desmond Mason from the NBA. A high-flyer who came out of Oklahoma State and won a dunk title with the Seattle SuperSonics, he was a fun player to watch for a good few seasons. Now, he’s a full-time artist, who’s created works for the likes of actor George Clooney and former league commissioner David Stern. It’s not a remotely new venture for the 6-foot-5 Texas native, though. He majored in studio art in college.

Now, he’s done an interview with Just Not Sports — a podcast that describes itself as sports talk with any talk about sports. It’s a fun listen, with Mason discussing how he got into graffiti and where he draws his inspiration from. He really is a fascinating, multi-faceted guy. He describes himself as an “abstract expressionist.”

They talk about the worlds of street vs. gallery art and what it means to hone your craft at the highest level in multiple disciplines. Also, in case you didn’t know, Mason has bars, too. Back in 2007, he made a song called We Dem Hornets about his team at the time. As far as music either by or about basketball players, or both, it’s pretty solid. It’s no You Da Man, but then again, nothing is.

“I always say, you evolve or you dissolve,” Mason said at one point on the podcast, regarding his approach to life. Pretty good advice from a guy who’s found his place and really understands that, for some people, ball is not life.

Go Skateboarding Day

was a fun one. Here are some highlights.

7:00 AMIf you don’t know what Go Skateboarding Day is, it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s a quasi-holiday in which people from around the globe celebrate their love for the sport, law enforcement be damned. Here are some highlights from the day, which was Tuesday.

Here’s what it looked like in Munich.

And Barcelona, Spain.

And Tampa Bay, Florida.

And lastly, Surabaya, Indonesia.


Go skate, kiddos.