- The Good: Mackenzie on Gym Etiquette 101 Ask any of my coworkers, and I’m sure they can think of a time where I’ve ranted about bathroom etiquette, sometimes even going as far as to draw diagrams which urinals should and should not be used depending on the situation. Obviously, I take etiquette seriously, and I’m glad Mackenzie is doing her part in spreading the message. I’m also glad she’s never stepped foot (presumably) into a men’s locker room, because this article would have been at least five pages longer. Seriously, the next dude at the company gym to start a conversation with me while their not wearing pants gets reported to HR.
- The Better: Triz on Fausto Carmona: The Real Moneyball On the surface, the story about Fausto Carmona changing his identity and lying about his age to get a work visa sounds absurdist, but not too far below that surface is the sad story explaining why he had to do it. While this is currently a bigger problem in Major League Baseball, expect this to become a more common story in the NBA as the Association continues to expand out and attract more foreign players. Case in point: Bismack Biyombo.
- The Best: Jeff on ESPN Killed the NBA Star Not only did “The Decision” forever alter the balance of power between superstar players and owners, it’s also forever changed the media narrative around the sport. After “The Decision”, ESPN and other media outlets have seemingly realized that they can create stories out of thin air and use them to drive ratings and clicks to their various online outlets. The only problem? It’s overshadowing the actual game being played. While this is hopefully a trend that can be reversed, given all the buzz these manufactures stories (especially the Durant/Westbrook one in OKC) are generating, I don’t find that likely.
- The Good: Noam Schiller on The Infuriating Magnetism of Semi-Justified Arrogance at Hardwood Paroxysm This is such a great read. I’ve always found myself strangely drawn towards those who are possess both insane talent and insane arrogance such as Kanye West. To me, there’s something that’s refreshing about someone who can just say “fuck it” to social conventions and be secure enough to be sure that they’re the shit. But then there’s those guys like JR Smith or Javale McGee that possess that same amount of insane arrogance with just a sliver of the talent. For some reason, I still have a strange sense of respect for these guys and Noam Schiller does a fantastic job here of explaining why that is using one of my all-time favorite NBA players as an example; Rasheed Wallace.
- The Bad: Jay Caspian Kang on Kobe Bryant: Person of Interest at Grantland This piece perfectly illustrates the problem that Jeff wrote about in his article. There’s two central theses running through this piece that simply cannot co-exist and form a cohesive arguement. The first is that Kobe Bryant’s recent play is selfish, the root cause of the Lakers’ struggles, and unless he facilitates more to Bynum/Gasol, the Lakers are doomed. The second is that the remaining pieces of the Lakers are so horrible, that the only player on the squad that can carry the team to victory is Kobe Bryant. Huh?! This is an awful argument for many reasons, the first of which is that it’s simply not true. As I write this, the Lakers are 10-6 and sixth in the Western Conference, in a lockout shortened season where Playoff seedings are going to be weird (allow me to point out that Atlanta is 11-4 and currently the second seed in the East), so saying that there’s a huge crisis in Lakerland is a bit of a hyperbole. It should also be noted that the Lakers are a team built to run the triangle (which lessened the necessity for a PG not named Derek Fisher), that are currently adapting to Mike Brown’s system, which will by design shift much of the offense to the backcourt/wing (of which Kobe is the only player currently worth a damn) and away from the frontcourt. Oh, and Kobe Bryant is currently playing with experimental German knees while having a fucking torn ligament in his shooting wrist! Do we really need to nitpick this amazing streak that Kobe’s on and fit it into some awful “good Kobe/bad Kobe” story? Can we please just watch Kobe’s play of late for what it really is? One last farewell tour before he forever begins to succumb to age and the abuse he’s put himself through.
- The ‘Tube: Kobe Bryant’s Career High 81 Point Game against the Toronto Raptors Enjoy him while you can folks. We aren’t going to be seeing another player like Kobe Bryant for a long ass time.
While You’re At It, Peep This Shit Too
WTF Podcast with Marc Maron: Episode 245: Todd Glass WTF is one of my favorite Podcasts ever (outside of I GO HARD NOW, of course, which is now available on iTunes!), but this episode stands above the rest as one of the best ever. Todd Glass is a hilarious comedian, but he’s chosen this episode of WTF to do something incredibly personal and serious, publicly come out of the closet. There’s something incredible about listening to a man who’s lived a dishonest, closeted life for 47 years finally being true to himself and speaking with clarity for the first time that is absolutely fascinating. It’s equally moving to hear the passion with which he speaks about the struggle that other gay men and women go through living in a country that’s still fairly close-minded about their sexual orientation. While I’ve always said WTF is a must-listen to Podcast, this episode is an absolute can’t miss.