24/8 (RIP Kobe)

I doubt my brother remembers, but I do. We played in the street. We yelled “car!” and ran to the sidewalk. We waited eagerly for the car to pass. We would run back out into the street, and granny style I would heave the slightly deflated spalding rock in the air with all of the strength in me, and yell “Kobe!” Six times out of ten I missed, and my brother would say “you can’t yell Kobe if you’re going to shoot granny.” I teared up in my black throw back #8 Lakers jersey, I wanted to yell Kobe. So I worked, and I shot, and I practiced, and I hoped for the day I was strong enough to shoot over-hand and yell that name. That was my first taste of Mamba Mentality.

Beyond basketball, Kobe was an icon. He was an Oscar winner, he was a role model, he was someone that made the impossiblity of goals seem all the more possible with just  that much more work. I’m at a loss for words. Kobe was someone that you thought you’d have the privlage of watching age gracefully. He was an NBA legend, that did not skip a beat as a role model post retirement.

We used to clown Kobe. He was a jerk on the court, he does not pass ball, he was overzealous in his depictions of work ethic. Frankly however, I feel ashamed, I feel sorry that I sit here and say; he came off as a jerk on the court because he wasn’t going to let anyone stop him from being the best. He did not pass the ball because he was going to take his success into his own hands, he did not want to leave it up to others, and he was overzealous in his depictions of work ethic because through Kobe I have learned that things do not happen magically, you have to work toward success.

This is the only thing I thought as I cried and hoped the news was false.

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I’ll call it 24/8

I watched him score 81 in ’06.

Passed MJ in 2014

Does anyone else remember when he just would not stop dropping 50 points?

My brothers told stories of his championship runs

I laughed as he relentlessly dominated all-star games

Reluctantly watching him drop 61 at MSG in ’09

Did he really shoot free throws on a torn achilles???

Kobe’s last game was a perpetual moment in time.

Thank you Kobe Bryant for making sure I wouldn’t shoot granny style anymore.

 

Prayers to all nine people that perished today, RIP Kobe and RIP GiGi. Hug someone today.

Sunday Matinee- Marriage Story

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Director: Noah Baumbach

Writer: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Adam Driver (Charlie) Scarlette Johansson (Niocle) Azhy Robertson (Henry) Laura Dern (Nora) 

SPOILERS BELOW

Preface:

I woke up at 8:30 this morning determined to begin this series. I wrestled with a list of movies I needed to see, but ultimately decided on this one. The only way to get better at writing is to write, and the only way to know more about film is to watch, study, and react. I am a self proclaimed semi-cinefile, and my knowledge of film does not span beyond one semester of film study at University in London. What I took from that class was my own inspiration derived from different film studies I embarked on and they made me want to write. I am writing this preface to express that my intention here is not to come off as a pretentious or self-insistant of my knowledge on films, but to simply provide detailed opinion and hopefully noteworthy insight that provides inspiration, direction, creativity, and interest. Please feel free to join this quasi movie club by suggesting different films to me as well.

Marriage Story is a film that resonates with some, reaches others, and all together tells a real story while using fictious people. I read a joke on social media that poked fun at the critically acclaimed argument scene between Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlette Johansson) that said “if they get an oscar so should my upstairs neighbors.” Reluctantly I laughed, but as I contemplated this movie after the first watch I realized that in that joke is proof of just how impactful and on point this film was. Charlie and Nicole were that couple that wallowed in a toxic over the top form of love. The outset of the movie garnered a bit of apprehension on my part because I was afraid it would be a drawn out story of love and subsequent hate, but the beginning was actually more hopeless than the end.

We ( I ) were (was) orginally influenced to believe that Nicole Barber was a woman wading in the pain of a loveless marriage. However, the occupations the couple held added an interesting element to the storyline  that changed my opinion on that front. Charlie was a director that along with his wife started an upward trending theatre in Brooklyn, and Nicole was his fearless lead who at first was the marquee but slowly became another character connected to his genius. As a viewer I realized before it became apparent in the script that he was living his best life and in that life she was just a moving part. I found this unfair and evidently so did Nicole.

The writing displayed by Noah Baumbach in this film was comfortably conversational and at the same time genuine enough make the story real. The subtlties in the way Charlie and Nicole communicate with each other make their pain palpable. The direction coupled with the writing brought this story to life. Life is not a perfect line of call and response and you did not see that in this film. Little things like conversations carrying to other rooms, people yelling over each other, and the overall purposeful disorganized nature of their life depicted the nature of how this story would pan out.

The way the story played out compelled the viewer to sympathize with Charlie for a large part of the movie even despite learning damning news about his actions. Charlie plays a naive and clueless man who has a blind trust for Nicole through a divorce process the two have polar opposite ideas about. As he gradually learns more about what might happen the numbness and coldness seems to engulf him. The fact is his flaw is that he is selfish and oblivious at times in this movie.

The juxtaposition of the three main lawyers in this film was an added element of human nature that provided a crutch for viewers that do not know about what Charlie and Nicole went through to eventually end where they did. Nora (Laura Dern) was a chaotic good, a lawyer always looking to win and in the end always doing so. Dern’s character had many memorable moments in this film, which in turn earned her a Golden Globe, but her most revealing was her last as she tells Nicole “you won,” which is a call back to the argument scene where Adam Driver’s character tells his wife “your’e insane, and your’e winning” as the two miscommunicate the topic of conversation and what exactly it means to be winning in this situation. Bert (Alan Alda) was a chaotic neutral who, without saying, was clearly impacted by his divorce history and thus negatively impacting the mindstate of Charlie. He created a true element of time in this film as he suggested that Charlie cut his losses and wait for Henry to grow up and form a true opinion of his father. The chaotic evil of the three lawyers is Jay (Ray Liotta) who sees Charlie as a number, simply a source of commission, and in turn does the best by Charlie. I thought it was a really honest and therefore intruiging touch that the characters openly admit that evil in this process is rewarded, it took some nasty things being said for the couple to understand that.

Henry Barber’s dynamic in this film was innocent and displayed a level of realism that was accurate for children of divorce. Henry only had a vague knowledge of the situation and yet these two were fighting for the right to uproot his life from one coast to another. Henry reinforces Bert’s claim of time by gradually growing away from his father, and warming closer to his mother. This expresses the raw attention span of children and how they adapt to change by simply doing what is in front of them. Charlie laid fetal on the kitchen floor, clenching his bloodied arm, clearly distressed and Henry seems to show very little concern. I thought this was a eerily accurate depiction of how naive kids can be, and it serves to make you think; “how many times have I done that to my parents?”

My favorite scene in this film came closer to the end. As I stated previously the beginning of this film was more hopeless than the end. The proceedings were coming to a breathless empty close and the man who finds family in anyone around him sought out his theatre troop as a source of venting. As he confides he stops himself and a piano melody begins. In an act of randomness he begins to sing almost as if this film had been a musical the entire time. “Someone to hold you too close, someone to hurt you too deep, somone to sit in your chair and ruin your sleep,” is how the song starts with an air of disapproval for this “someone but it ends with the his desire for this someone. In a caricature dialouge he has with himself Charlie urges himself; “want something… WANT SOMETHING.” He responds to this by asking this “somebody” to do all of the things he previously mentioned citing the reasoning as feeling alive. He adds that being alone is not being alive. You can watch the scene below.

I’d say this movie explains love. It does not have resonate with you, frankly it did not resonate with me in the slightest. It reached me however, and made me realize how draining love can be. Love has a tendancy to start as a want, form into a necessity, and eventually become a chore. Eventually you lose yourself in a person, and they tend to know you better than you know you. And much like you do for theirs, they become responsible for your being. It is not optional most of the time, this kind of love. This kind of love is numbing. It is a feeling where the thought of being around that person is taxing and tiring, but the thought of being away from that person is deflating and depressing. In many ways love itself is self depricating, but as Adam Driver protrays in his solo; it makes you feel alive, and as long as you feel alive you’re not alone. The question is if feeling alive is worth the toll love takes on the human heart, mind, and body.

 

Respond to me with your thoughts, and thank you for reading

credits: IMDB

Monday Night Football Ravens v. Rams

We are in the thick of the most wonderful time of year. Rivalling Christmas, the November slate of having football every day makes getting up and going from class to work back to class a little bit easier.

Tonight we get a good one. The underachieving LA Rams welcome the high flying Baltimore Ravens.

First the Ravens: There isn’t much you can say about Lamar Jackson besides that he is incredible. You can’t speak on players like that. You have to just watch. Lamar is riding the MVP wave and he brings along with him a loaded offense including, his hype man Mark Ingram, his security blanket Mark Andrews, his neophyte speedster Hollywood Brown, and sneaky good wide receiver group.

The Baltimore defense is no slouch. They are one season removed from being the top ranked group, and just when you expected a shoot out against the Texans last week we got a beat down. Earl Thomas has come right in and been the anchor and Marcus Peters has been great since his departure from LA. Peters gets his shot at revenge tonight so I expect him to be that much better.

Now onto LA: The Rams are a very solid team there is no doubting this. Something however has been a bit off with teams like LA, Philly, and Dallas to name a few. Jared Goff has 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, Todd Gurley hasn’t looked vintage, and for the most part the Rams have lost games this year you’d expect them to win. Aaron Donald won’t be enough, I’m afraid. The Rams may very well be running directly into a buzz saw in the Ravens.

Ravens get the W.

28-17

2020 Grammy Nominations Announced!

The much anticipated Grammy nominations were announced this morning ahead of the official award show scheduled to air January 26th, on CBS. The list of nominees is headlined by artists like Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo who have all garnered multiple Grammy nods.

Some personal nominations I liked include:

Dreamville nominated for best rap album with Revenge of the Dreamers III. This nomination includes several deserving artists from Smino, to J.I.D. as well as Young Nudy.

IGOR by Tyler the Creator was also nominated for the same category

Dreamville & Earthgang are nominated for best rap performance with their rendition of the energetic track Down Bad.

View the full list below:


Song of the Year

  • Lady Gaga, “Always Remember Us This Way”
  • Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
  • Brandi Carlile, “Bring My Flowers Now”
  • H.E.R., “Hard Place”
  • Taylor Swift, “Lover”
  • Lana Del Rey, “Norman Fucking Rockwell”
  • Lewis Capaldi, “Someone You Love”
  • Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”

Record of the Year

  • Bon Iver, “Hey Ma”
  • Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
  • Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”
  • H.E.R., “Hard Place”
  • Khalid, “Talk”
  • Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road”
  • Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
  • Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower”

Album of the Year

  • Bon Iver, i,i
  • Lana Del Rey, NORMAN FUCKING ROCKWELL!
  • Billie Eilish, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
  • Ariana Grande, thank u, next
  • H.E.R., I Used to Know Her
  • Lil Nas X, 7
  • Lizzo, Cuz I Love You
  • Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride

Best New Artist

  • Black Pumas
  • Billie Eilish
  • Lil Nas X
  • Lizzo
  • Maggie Rogers
  • ROSALÍA
  • Tank and the Bangas
  • Yola

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • Beyonce, “Spirit”
  • Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”
  • Ariana Grande, “7 rings”
  • Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”
  • Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

  • Andrea Bocelli, 
  • Michael Bublé, Love
  • Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Look Now
  • John Legend, A Legendary Christmas
  • Barbra Streisand Walls

Best Pop Vocal Album

  • Beyoncé, The Lion King: The Gift
  • Billie Eilish, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
  • Ariana Grande, thank u, next
  • Ed Sheeran, No.6 Collaborations Project
  • Taylor Swift, Lover

Best Dance Recording

  • Bonobo, “Linked”
  • The Chemical Brothers, “Got to Keep On”
  • Meduza feat. Goodboys, “Piece of Your Heart”
  • RÜFÜS DU SOL, “Underwater”
  • Skrillex & Boys Noize feat. Ty Dolla $ign, “Midnight Hour”

Best Dance/Electronic Album

  • Apparat, LP5
  • The Chemical Brothers, No Geography
  • Flume, Hi This is Flume
  • RÜFÜS DU SOL, Solace
  • Tycho, Weather

Best Rap Album

  • Dreamville, Revenge of the Dreamers III
  • Meek Mill, Championships
  • 21 Savage, I AM > I WAS
  • Tyler, the Creator, IGOR
  • YBN Cordae, The Lost Boy

Best Rap Performance

  • J. Cole, “MIDDLE CHILD”
  • DaBaby, “Suge”
  • Dreamville feat. J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG & Young Nudy, “Down Bad”
  • Nipsey Hussle feat. Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy, “Racks in the Middle”
  • Offset feat. Cardi B, “Clout”

Best Rap/Sung Performance

  • DJ Khaled feat. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend, “Higher”
  • Lil Baby & Gunna, “Drip Too Hard”
  • Lil Nas X, “Panini”
  • Mustard feat. Roddy Ricch, “Ballin”
  • Young Thug feat. J. Cole & Travis Scott, “The London”

Best Rap Song

  • YBN Cordae feat. Chance the Rapper, “Bad Idea” (Chancelor Bennett, Cordae Dunston, Uforo Ebong & Daniel Hackett)
  • Rick Ross feat. Drake, “Gold Roses” (Noel Cadastre, Aubrey Graham, Anderson Hernandez, Khristopher Riddick-Tynes, William Leonard Roberts II, Joshua Quinton Scruggs, Leon Thomas III & Ozan Yildirim)
  • 21 Savage feat. J. Cole, “A Lot” (Jermaine Cole, Dacoury Natche, 21 Savage & Anthony White)
  • Nipsey Hussle feat. Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy, “Racks in the Middle (Ermias Asghedom, Dustin James Corbett, Greg Allen Davis, Chauncey Hollis, Jr. & Rodrick Moore)
  • DaBaby, “Suge” (Jetsonmade & Pooh Beatz)

Best R&B Performance

  • Daniel Caesar, “Love Again”
  • H.E.R. feat. Bryson Tiller, “Could’ve Been”
  • Lizzo feat. Gucci Mane, “Exactly How I Feel”
  • Lucky Daye, “Roll Some Mo”
  • Anderson .Paak feat. André 3000, “Come Home”

Best Traditional R&B Performance

  • BJ The Chicago Kid, “Time Today”
  • India.Arie, “Steady Love”
  • Lizzo, “Jerome”
  • Lucky Daye, “Real Games”
  • PJ Morton feat. Jazmine Sullivan, “Built For Love”

Best R&B Song

  • H.E.R. feat. Bryson Tiller, “Could’ve Been” (Dernst Emile II, David “Swagg R’Celious” Harris, H.E.R. & Hue “Soundzfire” Strother)
  • Emily King, “Look At Me Now” (Emily King & Jeremy Most)
  • Chris Brown feat. Drake, “No Guidance” (Chris Brown, Tyler James Bryant, Nija Charles, Aubrey Graham, Anderson Hernandez, Michee Patrick Lebrun, Joshua Lewis, Noah Shebib & Teddy Walton)
  • Lucky Daye, “Roll Some Mo” (David Brown, Dernst Emile II & Peter Lee Johnson)
  • PJ Morton feat. JoJo, “Say So” (PJ Morton)

Best Urban Contemporary Album

  • Steve Lacy, Apollo XXI
  • Lizzo, Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)
  • Georgia Anne Muldrow, Overload
  • NAO, Saturn
  • Jessie Reyez, Being Human in Public

Best R&B Album

  • BJ The Chicago Kid, 1123
  • Lucky Daye, Painted
  • Ella Mai, Ella Mai
  • PJ Morton, PAUL
  • Anderson .Paak, Ventura

Best Latin Pop Album

  • Luis Fonsi, VIDA
  • Maluma, 11:11
  • Ricardo Montaner, Montaner
  • Alejandro Sanz, #ELDISCO
  • Sebastián Yatra, FANTASÍA

Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album

  • Bad Bunny, X 100PRE
  • J Balvin & Bad Bunny, OASIS
  • Flor De Toloache, Indestructible
  • iLe, Almadura
  • ROSALÍA, EL MAL QUERER

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

  • Joss Favela, Caminando
  • Intocable, Percepión
  • La Energia Norteña, Poco a Poco
  • Mariachi Divas De Cindy Shea, 20 Aniversario
  • Mariachi Los Camperos, De Ayer para Siempre

Best Tropical Latin Album

  • Marc Anthony, OPUS
  • Luis Enrique + C4 Trio, Tiempo Al Tiempo
  • Vicente García, Candela
  • Juan Luis Guerra 4.40, Literal
  • Aymée Nuviola, A Journey Through Cuban Music

Best Rock Performance

  • BONES UK, “Pretty Waste”
  • Gary Clark Jr., “This Land”
  • Brittany Howard, “History Repeats”
  • Karen O & Danger Mouse, “Woman”
  • Rival Sons, “Too Bad”

Best Metal Performance

  • Candlemass feat. Tony Iommi, “Astorolus – The Great Octopus”
  • Death Angel, “Humanicide”
  • I Prevail, “Bow Down”
  • Killswitch Engage, “Unleashed”
  • Tool, “7empest”

Best Rock Song

  • Tool, “Fear Inoculum” (Tool)
  • The 1975, “Give Yourself a Try” (George Daniel, Adam Hann, Matthew Healy & Ross MacDonald)
  • Vampire Weekend, “Harmony Hall” (Ezra Koenig)
  • Brittany Howard, “History Repeats” (Brittany Howard)
  • Gary Clark Jr., “This Land” (Gary Clark Jr.)

Best Rock Album

  • Bring Me The Horizon, amo
  • Cage The Elephant, Social Cues
  • The Cranberries, In the End
  • I Prevail, TRAUMA
  • Rival Sons, Feral Roots

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
  • James Blake, Assume Form
  • Bon Iver, i,i
  • Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
  • Thom Yorke, ANIMA

Best Country Solo Performance

  • Tyler Childers, “All Your’n”
  • Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere”
  • Willie Nelson, “Ride Me Back Home”
  • Blake Shelton, “God’s Country”
  • Tanya Tucker, “Bring My Flowers Now”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • Brooks & Dunn with Luke Combs, “Brand New Man”
  • Brothers Osborne, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)”
  • Dan + Shay, “Speechless”
  • Little Big Town, “The Daughters”
  • Maren Morris feat. Brandi Carlile, “Common”

Best Country Song

  • Tanya Tucker, “Bring My Flowers Now” (Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker)
  • Ashley McBryde, “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (Jeremy Bussey & Ashley McBryde)
  • Miranda Lambert, “It All Comes Out in the Wash” (Miranda Lambert, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose)
  • Eric Church, “Some of It” (Eric Church, Clint Daniels, Jeff Hyde & Bobby Pinson)
  • Dan + Shay, “Speechless” (Shay Mooney, Jordan Reynolds, Dan Smyers & Laura Veltz, songwriters)

Best Country Album

  • Eric Church, Desperate Man
  • Reba McEntire, Stronger Than the Truth
  • Pistol Annies, Interstate Gospel
  • Thomas Rhett, Center Point Road
  • Tanya Tucker, While I’m Livin’

Best Gospel Performance/Song

  • Kirk Franklin, “Love Theory” (Kirk Franklin)
  • Gloria Gaynor feat. Yolanda Adams, “Talkin’ Bout Jesus” (Bryan Fowler, Gloria Gaynor & Chris Stevens)
  • Travis Greene feat. Jekalyn Carr, “See the Light”
  • Koryn Hawthorne feat. Natalie Grant, “Speak the Name”
  • Tasha Cobbs Leonard, “This Is A Move (Live)” (Tony Brown, Brandon Lake, Tasha Cobbs Leonard & Nate Moore)

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

  • Casting Crowns, “Only Jesus” (Mark Hall, Bernie Herms & Matthew West)
  • for KING & COUNTRY & Dolly Parton, “God Only Knows” (Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds, Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone & Tedd Tjornhom)
  • Danny Gokey, Haven’t Seen It Yet (Ethan Hulse & Colby Wedgeworth)
  • Tauren Wells, “God’s Not Done With You (Single Version)”
  • Zach Williams, “Rescue Story” (Ethan Hulse, Andrew Ripp, Jonathan Smith & Zach Williams)

Best Gospel Album

  • Kirk Franklin, Long Live Love
  • Donald Lawrence Presents The Tri -City Singers, Goshen
  • Gene Moore, Tunnel Vision
  • William Murphy, Settle Here
  • CeCe Winans, Something’s Happening! A Christmas Album

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

  • Crowder, I Know A Ghost
  • for KING & COUNTRY, Burn The Ships
  • Danny Gokey, Haven’t Seen It Yet
  • TobyMac, The Elements
  • Chris Tomlin, Holy Roar

Best Roots Gospel Album

  • Steven Curtis Chapman, Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows
  • Gloria Gaynor, Testimony
  • Joseph Habedank, Deeper Oceans
  • Tim Menzies, His Name Is Jesus
  • Various Artists, Gonna Sing, Gonna Shout(Jerry Salley, Producer)

Best American Roots Performance

  • Sara Bareilles, “Saint Honesty”
  • Calexico and Iron & Wine, “Father Mountain”
  • Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi, “I’m On My Way”
  • I’m With Her, “Call My Name”
  • Yola, “Faraway Look”

Best American Roots Song

  • Our Native Daughters, “Black Myself” (Amythyst Kiah)
  • I’m With Her, “Call My Name” (Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan & Sara Watkins)
  • Rosanne Cash, “Crossing To Jerusalem” (Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal)
  • Yola, “Faraway Look” (Dan Auerbach, Yola Carter & Pat McLaughlin)
  • Vince Gill, “I Don’t Wanna Ride The Rails No More” (Vince Gill)

Best Americana Album

  • Calexico and Iron & Wine, Years To Burn
  • Madison Cunningham, Who Are You Now
  • Keb’ Mo’, Oklahoma
  • J.S. Ondara, Tales Of America
  • Yola, Walk Through Fire

Best Folk Album

  • Andrew Bird, My Finest Work Yet
  • Che Apalache, Rearrange My Heart
  • Patty Griffin, Patty Griffin
  • Gregory Alan Isakov, Evening Machines
  • Joy Williams, Front Porch

Best Regional Roots Music Album

  • Amy Hānaiali’i, Kalawai’anui
  • Northern Cree, When It’s Cold – Cree Round Dance Songs
  • Ranky Tanky, Good Time
  • Rebirth Brass Band, Recorded Live At The 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
  • Various Artists, Hawaiian Lullaby (Imua Garza & Kimié Miner, producers)

Best Reggae Album

  • Koffee, Rapture
  • Julian Marley, As I Am
  • Sly & Robbie & Roots Radics, The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie vs. Roots Radics
  • Steel Pulse, Mass Manipulation
  • Third World, More Work To Be Done

Best World Music Album

  • Altin Gün, Gece
  • Bokanté & Metropole Orkest Conducted By Jules Buckley, What Heat
  • Burna Boy, African Giant
  • Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet, Fanm D’ayiti
  • Angelique Kidjo, Celia

Best Comedy Album

  • Jim Gaffigan, Quality Time
  • Ellen DeGeneres, Relatable
  • Aziz Ansari, Right Now
  • Trevor Noah, Son Of Patricia
  • Dave Chappelle, Sticks & Stones

Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

  • Various Artists, The Lion King: The Songs
  • Various Artists, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  • Taron Egerton, Rocketman
  • Various Artists, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
  • Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Best Song Written For Visual Media

  • Chris Stapleton, “The Ballad Of The Lonesome Cowboy” (Randy Newman)
  • Dolly Parton, “Girl In The Movies” (Dolly Parton & Linda Perry)
  • Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, “I’ll Never Love Again (Film Version)” (Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Aaron Raitiere)
  • Beyoncé, “Spirit” (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Timothy McKenzie & Ilya Salmanzadeh)
  • Thom Yorke, “Suspirium” (Thom Yorke)

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical

  • Jack Antonoff
  • Dan Auerbach
  • John Hill
  • FINNEAS
  • Ricky Reed

Best Music Video

  • The Chemical Brothers, “We’ve Got To Try” (Ellie Fry, video director; Ninian Doff, video producer)
  • Gary Clark Jr., “This Land” (Savanah Leaf, video director; Jason Cole, Danielle Hinde & Alicia Martinez, video producers)
  • FKA twigs, “Cellophane” (Andrew Thomas Huang, video director; Alex Chamberlain, video producer)
  • Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road (Official Movie)” (Calmatic, video director; Candice Dragonas, Melissa Larsen & Saul Levitz, video producers)
  • Tove Lo, “Glad He’s Gone” (Vania Heymann & Gal Muggia, video directors; Nathan Schottenfels, video producer)

Best Music Film

  • Beyoncé, Homecoming (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter & Ed Burke, video directors; Dora Melissa Vargas, video producer)
  • David Crosby, Remember My Name (A.J. Eaton, video director; Cameron Crowe, Michele Farinola & Greg Mariotti, video producers)
  • Miles Davis, Birth Of The Cool (Stanley Nelson, video director; Nicole London, video producer)
  • Various Artists, Shangri-La (Morgan Neville, video director; Emma Baiada, video producer)
  • Thom Yorke, ANIMA (Paul Thomas Anderson, video director; Paul Thomas Anderson, Erica Frauman & Sara Murphy, video producers)

A Look Back at Kaep’s day/workout

By Trevon Lloyd James

We found out this week that Saturday (today) the NFL was holding a workout for the polarizing quarterback turned activist, Colin Kaepernick. Since the moment the story broke speculation riddled the twitter-sphere. Some of the more common takes on this situation were inklings of a publicity stunt, others thought the NFL was trying to save its own tail, and some genuinely believed Kaep was finally being afforded a fair shot to play in the league again. My opinion on this topic is fairly irrelevant, because no matter the reasoning behind the work out; he would at the very least get to show everyone what he is capable of doing (as if we forgot). His most recent stint in the NFL was mediocre at best, but people need not forget that at a time, this guy was regarded as a top tier quarterback.

It showed during the workouts. As I watched I noticed that there wasn’t a throw he couldn’t make that the average back up quarterback could. There wasn’t really anything that blatantly showed why he shouldn’t have a roster spot. Kaep threw a 60 yard bomb, and it looked about as natural, about as smooth, and about as NFL ready as some NFL starters. There is no telling if he will return to Super Bowl form, in all likelihood he won’t, but in the same breath Kaep does not necessarily need to be at that level to secure a job in this league.

As for the legal and business side of this situation you can see Colin Kaepernick’s full statement, which he preaches transparency and among other things a fair shot. Kaep has been “ready for three years” now and perhaps we may have taken a step closer to seeing him back on an NFL field.

View this thread below for a timeline of events.

The Browns won, but lost at the same time

By Trevon Lloyd James

In what was for the most part a snooze fest of a game the Cleveland Browns came out on top. The final score was 21-7. Mason Rudolph threw 4 interceptions, and looked pretty terrible while doing it. There’s a guy working out Saturday afternoon that probably saw that and was a tad bit excited.

That’s the boring part. With about 8 seconds left in the game things got weird. In garbage time of any game, especially a rivalry things tend to get chippy. This was far across the line. Myles Garrett the consensus best player on the Browns rusher the passer like any other play, but when Rudolph let go of the ball, Garrett decided to finish his QB hit. As he wrestled Rudolph to the ground, the young QB was clearly displeased. He grabbed Garrett by the helmet and attempted to rip it off… Much like his night in the pocket, this too was a poor decision. Garrett promptly said “two can play at that game,” and pulled the QB up BY HIS HELMET, and subsequently ripped the helmet off with on feral swoop.

The situation should have been over, except only… It was not. Myles Garrett swung the helmet with a ferocity at Mason Rudolph’s had and made direct contact.

Reckless, careless, stupid, and anything else that you can think of to absolutely condemn that act.

It is obviously fair to say Rudolph started it, and leave it to the pretty boy QB to start a fight he can’t finish, get in way to deep, and then look toward the refs while his linemen, namely Maurkice Pouncey, gives Myles Garrett a two piece combo followed by a sweet chin music while he was on the ground.

But Myles Garrett, come on… I mean seriously! This guy was unconscious on the field not even a month ago and you think this is a solid idea? You’re one of the corner stone pieces of a team trying claw its way back into the playoff pictures and you pull that? Overall, it was all very boneheaded. The NFL is going to reign down upon Myles Garrett with the wrath of Rodger GODdell and this is going to be a story that will headline the NFL media circuit for the next few weeks.

Bernardo Silva out against Chelsea

By Trevon Lloyd James

WARNING: SENSITIVE CONTENT

I get it. I truly do. For a moment in time Bernardo Silva probably just thought, this is hilarious and my friend, Benjamin Mendy, is going to feel the same way. For a brief lapse in time Bernardo thought everyone would see what he sees, a hilarious joke to a friend.

Way off.

Seeing both sides of the shrubbery in this instance is difficult, but not impossible. To the people that are angry, know that not everyone makes comments, claims, and remarks with malcontent. Some people don’t see the negative, because they have never been exposed to the negative. To the people that are angry in the other direction (in defense of the Man City star), I beg you not to play naive in this situation. In a season riddled with fan misconduct on the council of race relations as well as political unrest in the department of race you would surely think that something like this simply can not fly. Players need to be held accountable for things of this nature because it enforces a zero tolerance policy to any sort of racist or ill conceived “jokes.”

My last remarks lean toward one notion; there are many kids, both now grown up, and still young, that look like Ben Mendy, and those kids are subject to the same treatment as Bernardo Silva’s jokes, only the intent is not light hearted, the reason is not one made out of love and humor, and those kids are not subject to that treatment in a positive humorous light.

Much like any racey, political, or controversial topic, I like to remain ambiguous about my position. I do write this article however, urging everyone that is angry on both sides to consider for a moment every detail of this situation.

Trevon James, signing off.

SeatlleSeahawks San Fransico 49ers Prediction

By Trevon Lloyd James

There is a lot of good things about the San Fransico 49ers. To start, their defense might actually be the best in the NFL. That defense is more likley to score on any given play than some offenses. To counteract that defense is a good offense. This offense has progressed beautifully as the season has waged on. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders has proven to be much needed, and for a team that is already 8-0 watching everything start to gel on the otherside of the ball is a bit of a scary sight.

Jimmy G was in a groove against the Cardinals, but this week he is with out his saftey blanket, George Kittle. Kittle is sidelined tonight with a knee and an ankle ailment. Fortunately enough for the 9ers and their fans, this can either serve as a point of bragging, “we beat you and we did not have Kittle.” Or it can double as a viable excuse, “well we were missing our best target.”

I watched every analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown choose the 49ers. While there is obviously a reason for such a phenomenon I am also not new to the pickem’ game. I know what that means.

What it means:

The Seahawks have an MVP canidate on their side. 22 (TWENTY TWO) touchdowns to 1 (ONE) interception will serve as the first true moment of clarity for this 9ers defense. Couple that with the addition of Josh Gordon, I am inclined to not bet against Russell Wilson.

Seahawks 24 9ers 20

Dynasty Talk

Let me preface this blog by saying that work has been in the way of consistent posting, with the semester starting up again I would like to quote the great Andy Reid in reference to my effort being put into you all reading my articles, “Times Yours.” 

Ahead of the regular season it is kind of mind numbing to be spoon fed previews of each NFL team. We as fans understand things change. The NFL is a revolving door, and it stands for “Not for long.” I had a hard time wrestling with the notion of trying to go through all 32 teams and tell you what to look forward to for each, and what looks promising as well as what needs to be worked on. What I have decided to do is save you the time. My amateur quasi-expert analysis is better left in my subconscious until I have acquired a little bit more juice in the op-ed blog game. With all of that said I have decided to write something I like to call “dynasty talk.” Today is the NFL edition and in the near future I will inevitably do the NBA edition. I am going to attempt to break down the potential of 12 teams that I believe will make the playoffs and explain why I believe that team could reign supreme over the league for not only this year but the next few years to come. I welcome any and all criticism as I love meaningful sports dialogue. 

NFC

  1. New Orleans Saints
  2. LA Rams 
  3. Philadelphia Eagles
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Dallas Cowboys
  6. Chicago Bears 

AFC

  1. New England Patriots 
  2. LA Chargers
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Houston Texans

In the hunt: Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers San Fransisco 49ers

“Wait What?” Teams: New York Giants, Oakland Raiders

Nope: Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans

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New Orleans Saints- This feels more obvious than anything. The Saints boast an elite quarterback in Drew Brees that is still in his “seasoned veteran” stage and has yet to enter his “everyone lying indiscriminately about his talents” or better referred to as his “E.L.I.” stage. Although they lost Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara seems to be on schedule in his quest to continue his strides straight into his prime. That defense is young and has past the point of being sneaky good into just good. If not for a terrible missed call that hasn’t been talked about nearly enough, the Saints are (probably) in the super bowl, and they (probably) make it a bit more entertaining, but to be quite honest the only thing stopping the Saints from doing better this season (2019/20) than they did last is their focus on what happened in last season (2018/2019). 

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Record: 14-2 

Trajectory: Consistently dominant 

Crucial Game(s): Cowboys 9/29

L.A. Rams- The Rams will not be sneaking up on anyone this season. Much to the chagrin of the Seahawks then Rams are now comfortably the best team in the NFC West. The West is one division in the NFL that figures to be the most surprising because for some reason people such as myself have jumped ship on Russel Wilson, and don’t believe Kyler Murray or Jimmy G can get it done. The Rams roll out an NBA style big three with Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Aaron Donald. They are solid at just about every position on the field. This makes the Rams could be an obvious playoff pick for years to come. 

Record: 12-4 

Trajectory: Slow Start, Hot Finish 

Crucial Game(s): Seahawks games 

Philadelphia Eagles- As I remain unbiased and objective I will say the Eagles are in a weird spot. 2017 created a lot of hype. That was two years ago, and for Carson Wentz that was two season ending injuries ago. The Eagles wreak of looming disappointment but the amount of talent they have on that roster would suggest otherwise. As an Eagles fan I am very cautiously excited for the 2019/2020 campaign and beyond. At quarterback the birds are young and talented, at running back with Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard they show promise, the wide receivers according to several outlets may be the best core in the NFL, and the offensive line has been consistently top 5. The defense is what it is, they show up and they have been bend don’t break as long as Philly has been relevant. The key for the Eagles is not getting complacent. If they play disrespected, pissed off, and with a chip like 2017 they’ll go 13-3, 12-4 for this year and beyond. My fear is between the new contracts, clothing lines, and hip hop albums coming from that locker room the birds may find themselves distracted. Regardless this may be one of the most talented offenses in the NFL coupled with a good enough defense and that is enough for a top 6 spot most years. 

Record: 10-6

Trajectory: Rollercoaster, wins where needed 

Crucial Game(s): Cowboys games/ Seahawks 11/24

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Green Bay Packers- Healthy Aaron Rodgers to healthy Devante Adams. If that doesn’t work then I am honestly not quite sure, however if it does that’s really all the pack need for a run. A-A- Ron is that good (when healthy).

Record: 10-6

Trajectory: Hot start, average finish 

Crucial Game(s): Vikings games/ Bears Games/ Panthers 11/10

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Dallas Cowboys- As I remain unbiased and objective I will say (screw Dallas) the Cowboys have a big three (maybe) again. Way back in the 90’s the Cowboys had a big three and we saw the results (well we read about them in old history text books). Cooper, Prescott, and Elliot are really all the boys need to carry them to the playoffs but for Dallas fans far and wide the good news is; fortunately that’s not all they have. The Cowboys have probably the best linebacking core in the NFL with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch (check that spelling) leading the way, and three things in life are promised; death, taxes, and a solid Cowboys front 5. If the distractions much like fog clear the path ahead for the Cowboys and Jason Garret gets out of his talented teams way, the insufferable team self proclaimed to America will be very hard to beat if Jerry closes his mouth and opens his wallet. Excuse me while I throw up.

Record: 10-6 

Trajectory: Slow start, strong finish 

Crucial Game(s): Eagles games/ Rams 12/15

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Chicago Bears- We do not know just yet what to make of the Bears offense. Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller are promising tempting players that can go either way. Tarik Cohen is a human joystick with Darren Sproles energy, and David Montgomery went viral in training camp and we have not stopped talking about him since. The O-line is pretty solid, but not a household discussion like the Cowboys, Eagles, or Rams, and the guy under-center makes for a great water cooler debate. Is Mitch Trubisky good, bad, or average. Personally I think he’s good, with potential to be, really good, but I do see the bad sometimes which sets him at a perfect average. The offense is young and promising and next to an elite defense that can be the best thing to have. The reason there is such a debate around Trubisky is because he has never really had to take a game into his own hands. His defense can do that for him. Which for a team to win is just fine by any staff or fan base. The Bears will be really good for the next few years as long as they do not take themselves too seriously or get out of character like the Eagles did in 2018 (9-7). Be that team that everyone is fine over looking before you wake up on championship Sunday and their playing the team everyone knew would be there. 

Record: 9-7

Trajectory: Average throughout 

Crucial Game(s): Vikings/Packers games

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New England Patriots- You all pretty much get it, I wont waste time. All I will say is having Josh Gordon, N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, and Demaryius Thomas gives me 2007 vibes. I do not like 2007 vibes. Funny thing is the Pats have been good since before 2007 which was 12 years ago. 12 years ago I was preparing for middle school, now I have a day job and anxiety, and the Patriots are still good.

Record: 13-3

Trajectory: Consistant 

Crucial Game(s): Chiefs 12/8

L.A. Chargers- Football is all the way back in L.A. and outside of the Eagles winning it all I would not mind seeing an all L.A. Super Bowl. The Chargers have always been that team that is good, but for some reason (probably lack of talent around Daddy Rivers) was never that good. Well now, here they are. Keenan Allen is healthy and elite, forget underrated he’s top 8 if people do not see it then football isn’t their thing. They have dawgs behind him like Mike Williams. If the bolts figure out Melvin Gordon that offense is pretty much up there with the top 5. The defense is going to go from sneaky good to solid this year. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram might be the best opposite rushers in the NFL, and outside of the Derwin James loss every where else is either serviceable or solid. 

Record: 12-4

Trajectory: Solid season throughout

Crucial Game(s): Chiefs Games 

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Cleveland Browns- The Browns give me Golden State Warriors vibes (hear me out). They are that team we love, before they get too good and we hate them. At the same time they give me *Vince Young voice* “Dream Team” vibes where their team is pretty much like throwing Travis Scott, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, and Beyonce on the same song and expecting it to be good, but alas it is not. However the Browns intrigue me not because of their offense’s boisterous core. The Browns intrigue me because of the loquacious skill players making headlines, people have forgotten about a very, very solid defense. Top to bottom that defense has studs, and their additions weren’t small either, all of those things headlined by Myles Garret could end up being the real reason this team competes for playoff spots in the future. I can see the Sunday NFL Countdown feature story now revealing them as the real reason the Browns are on an 8 game win streak. 

Record: 10-6

Trajectory: Slow start, Hot finish 

Crucial Game(s): Every game, no room for error. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars- Let’s be honest, this spot was reserved for the Colts, then for the Texans, but now by default goes to the Jags. If that defense can do more than last year, and half of what 2017 was they’ll be good enough to piggy back off of an average offense. Truth is the winner of the AFC South will probably be 9-7 and with the Texans losing their running game, and the Colts losing their pride and joy, that leaves the Jags who have a capable running back and also have the only Super Bowl MVP from the 2012 Draft class and playoff wizard Nick Foles. Do I believe that the Jags will compete for years to come? No, No I do not, but if the Colts squalor in mediocracy with Jacoby Brissett and miss out on the Herberts, Tuas, or even Trevor Lawrences of the world, and the Texans remain on par with their under-achieve, then make up for it, then lose in the playoffs routine, the new kings of the division could end up being the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Record: 9-7

Trajectory: Average throughout

Crucial Game(s): Houston Texans games

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Kansas City Chiefs- Losing Kareem Hunt was a tough blow, and another back burner reason the browns are going to be pretty good. For the Chiefs it’s a chance to make a testament to their offensive system and depth at the position. They have the best quarterback in the NFL in Pat Mahomes, and their defense with the addition of Frank Clark has improved enough to perhaps at the very least stay onside before you make a game winning interception to send you to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs will be the Chiefs for years to come. Coach: Elite Offense: Elite Defense: Good enough. That 5 seed is just because I think the Chargers will hit a run and win the division this year. 

Record: 11-5

Trajectory: Shaky start, Solid finish 

Crucial Game(s): Patriots 12/8

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Houston Texans- The Texans may not win the AFC South but there are enough self deprecating teams in the AFC to at least get them into the playoffs. Should the Clowney deal be resolved, and the defense play like it usually does the Texans could end up in the playoffs just by the grace of being in the right place at the right time. They have the best Wide out in the league which, something that OBJ would tell you only means something when the whole team is good, and they have a solid young quarterback. Personally I believe the loss of Lamar Miller creates a huge hole that could be the difference in the division, so they should look to add a guy to help out Duke Johnson, but if they do not do that I can see the Texans backing into the playoffs anyway. It really all depends on the Ravens and Jets. 

Record: 9-7

Trajectory: slow start, race to the finish

Crucial Game(s): Jags games/Colts games

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Why they’re In the hunt:

 Baltimore Ravens- That offense is going to be must see tv, and they added studs to the already #1 ranked defensive unit. Did I make a mistake? We’ll see the Ravens are always right there, but this year I do believe they might get some bad breaks in the turnover department since Lamar Jackson is officially #OnFilm 

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 Indianapolis Colts- They #RanOutOfLuck in the QB department, but they still have a really good young core, if Jacoby Brissett could be the QB Tom Brady ran out of town they could sneak into the playoffs. 

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Minnesota Vikings- The NFC North is the most competitive division in the NFC when everyones healthy, the Lions don’t count, but the Bears Packers Vikings race is going to be one for the ages, I think they’ll actually make the playoffs, but for click bait purposes I talked about the bears more in depth. If it isn’t the eagles then the Vikings have the best WR core in the NF, and Dalvin Cook got these boys #ShookDaddy in the preseason which is scary, they’ll probably end up between 10-6 and 12-4 if Kirk doesn’t stink it up too much, but for now they’re in the hunt. 

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 Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton and Run CMC can carry this team to the playoffs if the Bears, Cowboys, Packers, or Eagles decide to #ChokeItUp.  

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 New York Jets- Sam Darnold is either going to #JumpOrSlump if he jumps it may be wraps for other wild card teams. If he slumps it will be wraps for the Jets. They have the capacity to be 10-6, but the negative potential and loose ends to be 3-13, no in between.

Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons are the epitome of #TheyShouldBeBetterRight? based off that premise alone, solid linebacker, DE and DB play, and the second best if not best WR in the NFL, a good running back and semi elite-we aren’t really sure honestly- quarterback the Falcons should compete, but for some reason ever since the Patriots emasculated that coaching staff on the worlds biggest stage the Falcons have lost their juice. 

 Seattle Seahawks- Same as the Falcons with a sprinkle of Russel Wilson. Bobby Wagner is the most underrated 99 rating in Madden probably ever, and the Seahawks are the most #Disrespected team in the NFL, but also I get it. They will probably have to rely on a choke job from other teams in order to get in. 

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Pittsburgh Steelers- If you ask a non Jaguar fan they’ll tell you Big Ben is still good. Which, I think he is. If not, Ju-Ju and James Conner will bail him out. I do not think thats enough. Mike Tomlin might get exposed, but everyone says not to count the Steelers out so I won’t, however behind closed doors, their going  in the book as #Done for me. 

“Wait What?” Teams, No Seriously Hear Me Out: 

New York Giants- They play in the most unpredictable division in the NFL, have the best (yeah I said it) running back in the league, and ALL they need to do is win the division. The same divison that has not had a back to back champion since the birds in ’03 and ’04. The champ changes hands every year, and the Redskins are not it, the Cowboys might not have their best player, and the Eagles are more wishy washy than your girlfriend trying to decide where to eat. All I’m saying is what if Gettlemen was right and the locker room was fractured thus causing poor play. What if it genuinely just needs to be Eli’s world. W H A T I F. 

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Oakland Raiders- Wouldn’t it be hilariously poetic for the Raiders to come out of no where and end up good. They have the talent, if you look at it closely; improved O-line, added AB who will wear a helmet, drafted Josh Jacobs along with 2 other first rounders on defense, and have Derek Carr that to me screams N I N E A N D S E V E N. 

San Fransisco 49ers- I have this weird feeling about the 49ers. They remind me of the Jets in many ways. They have a quarterback that should be ready, a good enough collection of talent around said quarterback, and a good defense. One big thing people forget about San Fran, is that they have been stock piling 1st round draft picks on that D-Line, and not just 1st round picks, but with how bad they have been in recent years these picks are usually top 10. Respectively, the last four years those picks have been 2 overall, 9 overall, 3 overall, and 7 overall. All I am saying is #DoNotActSurprised if they whoop up on some teams, but also don’t be surprised if they still stink.

Nope: Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals

The NBA Soap Opera- All My Players

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7/17

The NBA Soap Opera- All My Players 

I go over the current state of the NBA as of July team by team, but I do it my way.

Lakers and Warriors 

Well, here we are. The Toronto Raptors are NBA Champions. What a season, Lebron and the Lakers flopped, Anthony Davis said “eh I don’t really feel like doing that any more” when he realized he would have to play basketball in New Orleans for another year after this one, and Magic Johnson said the same when he came to terms with the perspective reality that he actually has to effect positive change and make smart decisions consistently instead of just hoping to sign super stars. The Warriors seemed to implode internally for the better part of a regular season in which they finished as the one seed in true disappointing Golden State Warrior fashion. I personally find it hilarious when teams get so good that no matter the success, they still end up hating each other. I’m from the Jersey Shore, Monmouth County to be exact, and here when we have a really good thing that always works, theres always that one person that decides they don’t want it anymore, or that it’s getting old, and they mess everything up. Thats the Warriors, that really fun Bar, or event that is just amazing every year, and I can’t quite pin-point who is the player that decided this year would be the year to ruin everything, but now I don’t have to. Just like the aforementioned Toronto Raptors I was bailed out by the plethora of injuries that hampered the Warriors on the back half of the post season. I will prematurely say it even though the only ginormous loss the Warriors suffered was really Kevin Durant (big, but the team that excited before him went 73-9). This has been a long time coming, we watched the lovable “We believe” Warriors morph into an underdog up-and-coming squad with a light-skinned baby face bucket getter named Wardell Stephen Curry. Quickly, after the termination of Mark Jackson, and the subsequent entrance of Steve “roll me a backwood” Kerr (cc: Nick Young), the Warriors were a true contender. They added Kevin Durant after the GOAT, Lebron James, sent the Dubs retreating for reinforcements. The Kevin Durant addition brought the Warriors two more titles. All in all the Warriors dynasty clocked in at a 3/5 with a repeat, and what could be perceived as a three-peat if father time and the universal powers that be did not step in and stop the fight. It is with reluctant pleasure that I say to the 2020-2021 Golden State Warriors WAY TOO SOON; Kevin Durant is not walking through that door, Sean Livingston is not walking through that door, Quinn Cook is not walking through that door, Andre Iguadola is not walking through that door, and for at least a half season Klay “probably better than Steph but less marketable” Thompson is not walking through that door. However, D’angelo Russel and Willy Cully-Stein are so… I, nay, we could be blowing our load way too soon, but the Warriors are dead, banished to the purgatory that is the 5 seed in the western conference, RIP to a great dynasty and have fun in limbo until Steph retires. The Lakers got AD and skinny Boogie along side a new gang shooters and vets that can help gel the team quicker than most others, its their turn to have tons of success in the midst of an inordinate amount of petty turmoil (lets see how long Taco Tuesdays last when you’re 5 games back of the Jazz at the break Lebron).

Toronto Raptors Boston Celtics OKC and Houston 

I digress however, and continue the drama filled dialogue on what has been possibly one of the best off seasons in recent memory. Best is too broad of a word, I would refer to this off season as “eventful” and nothing more, but also nothing short of. The poor Toronto Raptors became the poster child for why it may not be a great idea to do the whole “rent-a-star” idea. Kawhi left! And the only thing he left them was the first NBA Title in franchise history; tragic, selfish, and all together deceitful. Wait a minute I may have had my Skip Bayless autocorrect feature on. Thank God no other team in the NBA tried to rent a star and had it blow up in their face. Anyways, we could not wait for the Celtics to suck again, but obviously after a calendar year where only 2 out of the 4 major Boston area teams won the championship, the sports gods rewarded the much maligned and beat down Boston fans with Kemba Walker, and most likely another 3 NBA seasons with the playoffs coming to town and gangle of opportunities to remain relevant in any sports conversation ever. Moreover, I was ready to roast the Houston Rockets, but as any AWL of Pardon My Take would reiterate, I will simply say this of the Rockets offseason thus far, this league. In all seriousness Russ and James Harden together on a team is so hard to fathom. There is only one ball, imagine a team smart enough to draft both of them, and make it work. They would make the finals easily with one other star, preferably a big man that can shoot, but I will get my head out of the clouds and stop playing fantasy basketball and focus on the Rockets for now. They bring back essentially the same team outside of Chris Paul, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. Speaking of bad things, OKC sucks again, or perhaps for the first time. The sports gods always prevail as they punish OKC with a Buffalo Bill-esque generation. 3 MVPS 2 other all stars, and a handful of solid roll players, and what do they have to show for it? Well, I just said it. The thought I had about the Thunder is they had so many great individuals, and while basketball is a great individual sport it is teams that win championships, players win MVPs, hence the sentence prior to this. Sam Presti is definitely on the hot seat, hopefully that AAU rosters worth of future first round picks he acquired can come through in the clutch, right after 3rd period conceptual science class. 

Heat Sixers Spurs

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Speaking of Heat, Jimmy Butler is there now. I won’t pretend to be a pro at the basketball analysis game, I just call it how I see it. Every spring since Bron left the heat are about to make the post season, whether they do or don’t does not really matter because the season will end shortly after that either way. I’m not exactly sure why J-Butt left Philly, I thought what they had going there could be good, and he finally found a city that cared as much as he did, but again what do I know. If you payed me 100 Million plus to live and hoop in Miami, I would not ask much questions other than when the next flight out is. I’m going to take a quick break from talking basketball to speak about chess. Not sure what the Spurs did, but I expect they’ll be in the playoffs as long as I’m living and breathing on this Earth. Plus Demar Derozan is the mid range god Okay, back to Philly. This town has loads of camaraderie every major sports stadium  is literally in the same complex and as an Eagles fan I find that so cool. I’ve grown quite the affinity to the Sixers even though I am a Knicks fan mostly because I like to see Philly fans happy, I also feel safer even though we ate poop and flipped cars after our first Super Bowl victory. The Sixers added Al Horford so Joel Embiid can sleep at night, as well as Josh Richardson who is good enough to market now, I guess, and they brought back Tobias Harris, hopefully the magic didn’t lay within the Bobi/Tobi connection and he can have the same success now that he’s stupid rich. The Sixers are the ultimate “potential starting line up eye emoji team.” A bunch of good players, some players that you only feel are good because others tell you they were good, and a star. Truth is we don’t know what the Sixers will be, but their saving grace is that they’re in the eastern conference so they can mail in a 3 or 4 seed and figure it out then. Hopefully the three point line doesn’t kill them before that time. 

Knicks Clippers Bucks

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Speaking of killing things, the Knicks! The Knicks deserve jail time. Why essentially promise us a superstar instead of just saying, hey we are going to try. We traded Kristaps in hopes for KD, and Kyrie, and it did not work. Mills and Perry actually went to work. This hurts to say, but with a young promising player that was dumped by LA, and a group of young players that have showed promise, the Knicks look a lot like the Nets did last year. Don’t look me in the eye and tell me you thought Caris Lavert would be Caris Lavert, and Jarrett Allen would be Jarrett Allen. Okay, so with that said enter Alonzo Tirer and Mitchell Robinson. Kevin Knox also showed good range in summer league RJ Barrett averaged like 15 and 8, and guys like Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, and Reggie Bullock fill the holes with enough effort and talent mixed in to get to the (dare I say) 8 seed. here_we_go_joker_.gif. Speaking of unexpected teams the Clippers are relevant again for the first time since Lob City. If you believe rumors than you also believe that Doc Rivers and Paul George have some stuff to figure out, but thanks to Pat Bev and Lou Will the Clips held down the fort until Kawhi and PG-13 came home, now they’ll probably be the best defensive team in the league with the quietest in house locker room chemistry. It is often said that Kawhi restored balance to the NBA, but where one threat is defeated a larger one looms. I give it 2 seasons before everyone hates how good the Clippers are (if everyone stays healthy). Not much to say about the Bucks. They’re good. Giannis feels like a Dame or a D-book type player that wouldn’t even think of leaving his franchise for a bigger market or a team up else where. The Knicks fan in me sees the bevy of team options that postures us up to make a run at the Greek Freak, but I know better than to get my hopes up for two things, my romantic life, and the New York Knicks. For the Bucks however, they bring back everyone besides Malcolm Brogdon who’s foot is apparently supposed to explode at some point. nonetheless 84 Mil to hold down the for until Dipo gets back isn’t a bad gig for Brogdon, but also not a monumental loss for the Bucks, because, well, Giannis. 

Nets Bulls Cavs

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The only thing I like about Chicago is the music. I’ll never get over the video of D Rose when he realized his hometown team traded him to the Knicks. I can’t un-hear that crackly broken “you lyin’” Rose let out when he realized his career was only trending down after that. The Bulls haven’t been relevant since Rose. I’m not really sure if Baby Dirk Lauri Markkanen is actually that great, but Zach Lavine is trending up. Colby White is a great pick just because he has supplied me with enough tweet reaction responses to last me the rest of the year, good luck to the Bulls, I wish I knew more about you. Onto more interesting things we have the Brooklyn Nets. The ultimate last laugh for any dwarfed franchise is being all around better than the bigger, richer, and more well known franchise. So here are the Nets. For the time being Nets fans you win, you for KD, and you got Kyrie. You lost DLo, but you keep Allen, Dinwiddie, Lavert, and many other players that helped you to shock the NBA world last season and force teams to put more respect on your names. 2020 may not be the final product, but 2021 should be. In the illustrious words of Micheal Scott “this had better be terrible.” From a realistic, not at all biased stand point however, if I were a Nets fan I would be scared. You went from a quiet yet commanding, docile yet passionate playmaking point guard, to another point guard with the personality of an angsty teenager off that mid-pack. Rumor has it that Jaylen Brown actually hated Kyrie Irving because he felt he as fake deep. I’m not sure how that equates to basketball, and far be it from me to assume I know any of these men personally, but take that how you will. My message to BK fans is to not be too surprised if you look up Christmas day and you’re the biggest question mark in the NBA due to underachieving and Kyrie is one bad game away from saying something passive aggressive to the New York media. Also KD, tore his achilles and although he is amazing, and in the conversation has an all time player I feel like we forgot what that injury does to people. KD is in his 30’s now. I hope I’m wrong about the Slim Reaper, but unless something with this injury has changed over the last few months I’m probably not wrong. The next team on my list is the Cavs, but like…no

Mavs Pelicans Blazers

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The Dallas Mavericks are such an anomaly. I’m not exactly sure what they will be next year. They should theoretically make the playoffs but the Magavricks led by Luka and Kristaps are very unproven. Can they be led by a 2nd year player and an injury prone big? I’m not quite sure. They added Boban and Seth Curry so just like their additions and their stars I imagine they’ll be pretty average. Another average team is the Pelicans. I think the NBA and sports media felt bad for the Pelicans fans after they were spurned by Anthony Davis or maybe they felt sympathy New Orleans fans in general after their sports year so the New Orleans baksetball off season has been hyped up and heralded as top notch. They stumbled upon the number one overall pick, that obviously turned into Zion “Chonk” Williamson. The players and assets they got for AD obviously weren’t bad, and Jaxson Hayes is apparently just another light-skin NBA player that can jump really really high (cc: Aaron Gordon and Zach Levine). They added JJ Reddick, as well and before you know its the Pels have a nice litter squad. Except for the fact that Anthony Davis is GONE. They finally added some nice pieces to put around the star, all it took was trading away their star… wait thats not right. They aren’t to blame however AD asked to be traded so obviously they have to trade him, thats the rules I’m pretty sure. I bet New Orleans wishes they were more like Portland. The Blazers are doing something right out there, because to actually have stars that want to stay in the pit of mediocracy in hopes to soon depart from it is very rare. Damian Lillard is a gamer. I won’t be one of those people that says he’s underrated because if you don’t know how good Dame is then your just stupid. The underrated tag goes to CJ Mccollum he just about saved Dame from a night of slander form irrelevant twitter trolls at the end of the Denver series. Adding Hassan Whiteside is interesting, and also don’t forget Jusef Nurkic who is one of the ultimate “also don’t forget about” players right up there with Bogdan Bogdanovic, Malcolm Brogden and pretty much the rest of the Pacers roster along with half of the Heat’s and most of the Utah Jazz. 

Jazz Pistons Nuggets + everyone else 

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The Utah Jazz are actually going to be really good. Mike Conley deserves to win, he quietly has hooped majority of his career so for him to enter the locker room of an already solid squad will be good for him. The Utah Jazz feel like a very obviously good 3 seed. Adam Silver will ultimately make the call though when it comes down to it the NBA doesn’t need the finals in Utah. I’m firing on all pistons right now at almost 3 thousands words so if you’ve made it this far, you’re either my parents, or you really like basketball. The Detroit Pistons probably will be a playoff team because Blake Griffin is a stud but the thing I really want to see is the revival of D rose. I will be a closet Pistons fan all year until it is between them and the Knicks in a slobber knocker race for the 8 seed. The Nuggets backed up the brinks truck for Jamal Murray and Jokic should probably be MVP barring a spectacular season from anyone else, I feel like he’s next on the hierarchy of valuable players. The Nuggets are running it back, and rightfully so. T wolves, Suns, Kings, yeah. I like Swipa Fox, I feel like he can break out, but I’m not sure what that Harrison Barnes thing was about, but we must pay true homage to a finesse king. T wolves are exactly who we think think they are as the late great Denny Green would say. The Suns aren’t getting better in 7 seconds or less, so I won’t waste my time. Prove me wrong Devin Booker. The Hornets lowballed the best player their franchise has ever seen in conceivably the stingiest offer to a super max player ever. They deserve everything they get out of this season. The Pacers will manage to manufacture a 45-50 win season, the Grizzlies are in Memphis to the extent of my knowledge, it is going to be interesting to see if the Magic making the playoffs was an anomaly or a legit thing, but it feels like they should reach out to a team with players that could be a nice addition, maybe Chris Paul. The Atlanta Hawks are either a dark horse 6 seed, or a huge flop, no in between, and the Wizards I honestly just feel bad for. John Wall needs to get healthy, and Washington needs to free Bradley Beal, starting over isn’t always bad.