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

Speaking of Chicago

They’ve got some great public art

7:00 AMAs we’ve mentioned, it’s been a long week in Chicago. I was lucky enough to get the chance to walk around downtown a little bit and look at what was on the walls. This is what I found.


“Harmony” is my favorite.

It’s a California weekend

so watch Kevin Romar skate

2:13 PM

There’s really not a lot to explain here, expect that skateboarder Kevin Romar does the most and does it well. Sun is shining, heels are flipping and everyone’s having a good time. The camera work here is particularly tremendous, by the way. If you’re wondering, Romar wasn’t lying about running into NBA legend Dennis Rodman.

Fun Friday!

Dwyane Wade’s cousin killed in Chicago

Mother of four was pushing a stroller

12:15 PMIn the 1983 movie Scarface, the lead character establishes a position: no wife, no kids. A ruthless drug dealer who has no problem murdering men he felt deserved it, had a moral code that he didn’t defy, however twisted it might be. In Chicago these days, there are no such rules. Friday afternoon, Nykea Aldridge, cousin of Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade, was killed while walking her children in a stroller, the result of crossfire.

A day before, Dwyane had participated in The Undefeated’s town hall conversation, held at the South Side YMCA, at which he discussed what he felt were root problems for not just the issues in his hometown, but also for black folks in general. Alas, his kin were not immune to the very problems discussed that day.

According to Chicago’s ABC7 News, “two men approached another man in the vicinity and opened fire … the altercation between the men had nothing to do with her.” She was shot in the head and arm. Aldridge was 32 years old. On a basic level, it’s heartbreaking. Four children no longer have a mother, due to what rapper Guru of Gang Starr once called the “stupid n—– playoffs.”

Not to be outdone by an unfortunate tragedy, comes Donald J. Trump, who is running for president. “Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!” he tweeted this morning. Call it heartless, call it crass, call it craven, call it whatever you want. It happened. A person who wants to be in the White House is using the death of a black woman to promote his own brand.


Daily Dose: 8/26/16

Let’s take a trip to the South Side of Chicago

12:00 PMIt’s been quite the week here in Chicago. On Thursday night, The Undefeated hosted a conversation on sports, gun violence and social responsibility from the South Side YMCA, which aired on ESPN. There were so many stories, do check them out.

Englewood is a section of Chicago that many people are afraid of. Some call it one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. On Thursday, my colleague Brent Lewis, a Chi-Town native, and I went to get haircuts. The shop was about what you thought it would be and the owner/barber had a screen door, as you do around these parts. It was quite the experience and I was glad to hear his wisdom. Anyway, in jail, being a barber is an even higher level of prominence in the community. Check out this fascinating tale from VICE on what it’s like to cut hair in the joint.

In France, the continuing of policing women’s bodies has taken a step in the right direction. One particular town had decided to ban burkinis, which are basically full-body bathing suits, that allow Muslim women to go to beaches and still be veiled, per tradition. But because many French people think it’s an insult to women to force them to do that, there was a regulation against it, which ultimately backfires conceptually. So while they’ve now overturned the ban, there’s an argument the damage has been done. ABC News reports.

Baking cakes is fun. It’s one of those cooking processes that you can participate in as a child, so it sticks with you as an experience through life, if you were lucky enough to do it with someone back then. For me, it was my Aunt Nell who would make chocolate cakes just to have around her house, but she’d let me lick the bowl when the batter was poured, a privilege I heartily cherished for years before she died. I don’t eat cake anymore because it’s not as fun without her. Anyway, for The Riddler on FiveThirtyEight, the question this week is: Can you bake the optimal cake?

Running back Ezekiel Elliot is perfect for the Dallas Cowboys. That’s not exactly funny, but for a team that used to take pride in taking players with questionable pasts, they are still very on brand. So as the team’s top draft pick, the Ohio State University product Elliot has already been involved in a domestic violence accusation, all before ever taking the field. He did that Thursday night, but not before he found himself at a marijuana dispensary in Seattle beforehand. Like, seriously. The level of poor decision-making in this situation is off the charts. ESPN’s Todd Archer reports.

Free Food

Coffee Break: There are insane catches in Major League Baseball and there is what Jarrod Dyson did Thursday night. My man robbed a homer in truly one of the best catches I’ve seen in a very long time. You need to see this play and watch it over and over again.

Snack Time: Twitter comes up with beautiful hashtags that serve as tremendous content ideas. The latest one I love is #MakeTVHipHop, which some people think should actually become real programs.

Dessert: Let this glorious photo of rapper Yung Joc take you into your weekend.

Radio coverage of ‘An Undefeated Conversation’

Here are the details for coverage before and after Thursday’s town hall

3:47 PMOn Thursday night, The Undefeated will host An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility and Violence, broadcasted on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. EST from the YMCA in South Side Chicago.

Before the event, Undefeated senior writer and All Day Podcast host Clinton Yates will host a live half-hour pre-show on ESPN Radio from 9-9:30 p.m. EST with Jonathan Hood, co-host of ESPN’s Dickerson and Hood show, from ESPN 1000 studios in Chicago.

After the town hall, Yates and Hood will host a live wrap-up show from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. EST, during which they’ll take calls from viewers and listeners.

Tune into Thursday night’s radio coverage on ESPN Radio.

Daily Dose: 8/25/16

Leslie Jones, we got your back

10:20 AMI’ve been in Chicago for a couple of days now in preparation for our town hall conversation about athletes, responsibility and gun violence. I’ll be on one of the panels and hosting an ESPN Radio special before and afterward. Tune in.

Just saying the word “welfare” makes me uncomfortable. It’s such a loaded term that every time it’s used, I have a physical reaction that I can’t explain. It’s sort of like when I hear the word “ghetto” used as a random adjective for things that are marginally unpleasant. Anyway, for the people who are actually on public assistance in this country, things have changed quite a bit over the past 20 years. FiveThirtyEight’s Andrew Flowers explains how these days, the people who actually need the money are not always the ones getting it.

At the height of her career, people have done everything they can to tear down Leslie Jones. As a black women who tells jokes and acts for a living, a lot of people just can’t handle the fact that she’s winning at life. She faced a ton of harassment online earlier this summer, then this week, she was doxxed and all sorts of details about her life, including nude pictures were leaked online. It’s unfair, it’s racist and it’s vicious. Thankfully, some people have come to her side during this painful time.

If you knew there was a new planet that you could live on, would you do it? And I don’t mean like those people who want to go to Mars, knowing full well they would die there, I mean an actual planet like Earth that is inhabitable by humans, that just wasn’t Earth. Well, they found one. Apparently it’s called an “exoplanet,” which is just a really fun thing to say no matter what. People love tackling the challenge of a new neighborhood, imagine how crazy people would act over the prospect of a new planet. ABC News’ Avianne Tan has the story.

There are vicious dunks, then there are full posterizations. There was a time when certain acts of crammage lived in lore like old fairy tales, getting more extensive and ridiculous with each retell of the story. But now that everything we have is on video, a disrespectful throwdown lives on in infamy forever. Then, some high school junior from South Carolina blows up the internet with something insane. Seriously, watch this. Then watch it again, then a third time.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Olympian Katie Ledecky is the best competitive swimmer on earth. Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is one of the best baseball players on earth. But when it’s time for Ledecky to play baseball, Harper holds her gold medals while she does it. You’re not going to get a role reversal much better for a first pitch.

Snack Time: I don’t know that I’ve anticipated a TV show as much as Atlanta in an extremely long time. It’s going to be black as hell, and for all the right reasons, because everyone who writes the show is black. Yay.

Dessert: Musical artist Frank Ocean is likely to have a lawsuit on his hands, alas. But he’s a great wingman.

Daily Dose: 8/24/16

Kobe Bryant Day just so happens to land on Reggie Miller’s birthday

12:58 PMWhat happens when “Kobe Bryant Day” falls on Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller’s 51st birthday? We go to YouTube and watch footage from the time Bryant and Miller fought on the court in 2002. Don’t worry, they’re cool now. Happy Kobe and Reggie day, y’all!

Olympic swimmer Jimmy Feigen releases statement about Rio incident. Feigen was one of four Olympic swimmers, including the now infamous Ryan Lochte, who was involved in a much talked about incident that unfolded at a Rio de Janeiro gas station during the Olympic Games. Last week, Lochte released an “apology” on his Instagram account, saying he should have been more “careful and candid” in handling the situation. On Tuesday, Feigen released his own statement, admitting to certain details about the situation that were previously lied about. This whole thing is a mess, and hopefully it’ll soon come to an end. Until then, The Associated Press has the details of Feigen’s statement.

Donald Trump isn’t bringing in as many dollars to the Republican Party as he claims. When you think Trump, one of the first things that comes to mind (jokes aside) is money. The businessman turned politician was suspected to provide a major economic boost to the Republican Party when he decided to run for president. But recent numbers show that the Republican presidential nominee isn’t living up to his promise. Though the election is still a few months away, Trump isn’t even close to hauling in the fundraising numbers 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney produced. What does this mean in terms of support heading into the election? AP‘s Chad Day and Julie Bykowicz have the details.

The NFL season is approaching, and you know what that means: time for fantasy football. Personally, I haven’t begun drafting yet, but a few people I know have already made their picks in anticipation of the season. Last weekend, I sat in on a friend’s draft and the top two picks were Cam Newton and Adrian Peterson — weird, I know. For those who frequent these fantasy football streets, you know the key to a solid roster is the “sleeper.” There’s always a list of projected sleepers before the start of the season — some more attractive prospects than others. VICE Sports breaks down the sleepers to avoid come draft time.

Trouble in paradise for Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal? Remember in 2014 when Beal said he and Wall made up the best backcourt in the NBA? Remember when we all somewhat believed said bold statement and began referring to Washington’s backcourt as the “House of Guards” (which adidas even started profiting on)? Well, I think it’s say to safe that for Beal to make such a statement he had to at least get along with Wall. Not necessarily. On Tuesday, Wall came out to say that at times the two guards, who’ve played together since 2012, “dislike” each other on the court. This is not good, especially since Washington just signed Beal to a five-year $128 million max contract. ESPN has the report.

free food

Coffee Break: There’s been a lot of talk about Frank Ocean lately since he released his two albums last week, which I’m still working my way through. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Frank Ocean as a songwriter by revisiting this cover he did for Beyoncé’s I Miss You, a song he co-wrote.

Snack Time: As a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumnus, I’m obligated to share this: UNC freshman basketball player Seventh Woods dunking on a fellow student.

Dessert: James Harden’s shoes got the Stephen Curry treatment on Twitter.

Daily Dose: 8/23/16

Ryan Lochte getting endorsement deals dropped by the day

11:00 AMIn 2015, I graduated undergrad from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Today marks the first day of classes at UNC, meaning it’s the first day of college for the class of 2020. I’m officially old as hell.

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s fall from grace continues. During the 2016 Summer Games, Lochte and three other swimmers claimed to have been held up at gunpoint after a night out in Rio de Janeiro. Turns out Lochte “overexaggerated” the story, for which he’s taken a lot of heat on social media, and now he’ll be paying the price in endorsement dollars. Four companies that sponsor Lochte have decided to either terminate or not renew deals with him. One of those companies is probably the biggest swimwear outfitter in the world and another is arguably the biggest brand in the world, period. Not a good look for Lochte. ABC News’ Michael Edison Hayden and Paul Blake have the details.

There’s a frequent debate when it comes to Carmelo Anthony. And there are many entry points into the discussion. For example, on Monday in the The Undefeated newsroom, some asked the question, “Was Carmelo Anthony a first-ballot Hall of Famer before he won his third gold medal this Olympics?” The answer is yes. Though he may never win an NBA title — which his fellow 2003 NBA draftees LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have already done — Anthony has had quite the decorated NBA career thus far, and is one of the best scorers the league has ever seen. However, the fact of the matter is NBA Melo might be better than Olympic Melo. I mean, he is the first American to ever win three basketball golds. FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner has the numbers on just how better Olympic Melo is.

Russell Wilson and Ciara moved their wedding three times. But for good reason. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks quarterback played for North Carolina State University for four years before he transferred to and was drafted out of the University of Wisconsin. Wilson clearly still has love for North Carolina, and wanted to get married to his now wife, singer Ciara, there. But the celebrity couple moved their wedding from the Old North State due to North Carolina House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for the LGBT community. (Remember, the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of HB2.) ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia has the details on how the bill affected where Wilson and Ciara got married.

The Frank Ocean wait is over and it appears he’s back on top. After four years since Channel Orange, countless frustrated fans, Twitter jokes and memes, Frank Ocean finally dropped his long-awaited new album last weekend (and bonus: a visual album to go along with it). Originally, the project was supposed to be called Boys Don’t Cry, but the album is named Blonde. To be honest, I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it yet in its entirety. And while I’ve heard mixed reviews, that doesn’t seem to matter. According to Billboard, the album will likely debut at No. 1 by the end of the week.

Free food

Coffee Break: Last weekend, I went to see Drake and Future perform on the Summer Sixteen Tour. So did Undefeated sports and culture writer Justin Tinsley. My seat was on the floor. JT’s seat was in the upper level. So, we bring to you “Views from the rafters, views from the front row.”

Snack Time: For all the Kobe Bryant fans out there, today is the recently retired Los Angeles Lakers great’s 38th birthday. On Aug. 24 (fitting because he wore the No. 24), the city of Los Angeles will celebrate “Kobe Bryant Day.”

Dessert: This GIF of Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. I love her.