On to the Next One

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“Would’ve brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free. Except I made millions off it, you fucking dweeb. I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seat. Y’all buy that bullshit, you’d better keep y’all receipt.”

That’s Jay, ethering a bunch of you-know-who’s in Open Letter, a quickie home-made rap track with which he used to answer critics who had questioned his and Beyonce’s vacation to Cuba.

That flow, in particular, referred to Jay’s selling of his (very, very, very, VERY) tiny stake in the Brooklyn Nets, a move that was necessary since Jay’s newest business venture is a sports agency.

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Mutant and Proud

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It finally happened. A professional athlete in the US has come out of the closet. He’s not a household name by any means, but he’s an active athlete, making millions of dollars in one of the four major American sports leagues. His name is Jason Collins, and in his words: “I’m a 34-year old NBA center, I’m black and I’m gay.”

This is huge. Not the he’s-gay-and-he-plays-sports part. We knew, long ago, just going by statistics, there had to be at least one gay man who’ve made it as a professional athlete. What’s huge is the coming-out part, because coming-out in sports isn’t like coming-out in music. Because as a typical sports-loving, sports-playing straight American male, I know first hand the macho-mentality that’s pervasive throughout sports in America. Continue reading

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For the Love of the Game

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Of the four major sports leagues of North America, the NBA is, by light years, the most popular in Asia. While American media have often attributed this growth to the emergence of Yao Ming in the early 2000s, that’s simply an uneducated, misinformed guess (which I’ve gone out of way to bring up here in an interview with Voice of America and here in a feature in TurboJet magazine). I say this with no exaggeration, but in my six years of being around Asia, I’ve seen a Yao Ming jersey once — and that was in the form of a tribute on the day Yao announced his retirement (I’ve seen a Kobe jersey, oh, 4,000 times). In Hong Kong, I can say with 99.9% certainty that ballers here look up to the Kobes, the LeBrons, the Jordans, and that if you ask them to list players from whom they’ve drew inspiration, Yao probably wouldn’t even crack the top 15. Even in China, Kobe notoriously received a louder ovation — the loudest, actually — than Yao during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Continue reading

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Money, It’s Gotta Be The Shoes

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Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, a seminal film on racial/cultural tension in America, was less a story than a series of unconnected yarns from the Bed-Stuy district of Brooklyn that, due to the proximity in which these occur, became inextricable by the film’s end.

While the death of Radio Raheem at the hands of a white cop and the subsequent “motherfucking of a window” by Mookie make up the explosive climax, the fuse had been lit in earlier scenes, most notably the argument between Buggin’ Out and a neighbor, over a pair of Nike sneakers. Specifically, Air Jordans. Continue reading

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David Stern with his NBA Fashion Issues

You might have noticed lately that NBA stars have been appearing in fashion magazines, both as a peripheral model and the subject around which a cover feature revolved. That’s because NBA athletes have become, at least according to current fashion trends, some of the best-dressed male celebrities in the world.

Need examples? Fine. GQ had three NBA players — Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin, Derrick Rose — grace its cover in the past 12 months, and publications ranging from Wall Street Journal to Esquire to New York Magazine to, um, GQ, have written features on the eye-catching outfits on NBA stars. Continue reading

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Jackson. Tyson. Jordan. Game Six.

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I used to believe the most famous person on earth had to be a Hollywood icon, like Tom Cruise, or the US President, like Obama. But in recent weeks, I’ve started wondering if Jay-Z has taken the title, because dude is everywhere.

He’s all over my Twitter timeline, all day, everyday. And my Twitter follows, like my hobbies and interests, are diverse and all over the place: Films. Indie Music. NBA. Writing. Comics. Tech. Hong Kong/Japanese shit. And Jay, somehow, appears in most of these tweets. Continue reading

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