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LaVar Ball says he could have beaten Michael Jordan back in the day

And he wants a $1 billion endorsement contract for his sons

5:55 PM

Don’t ever accuse LaVar Ball of not aiming high. The father of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has made his presence felt in recent weeks, and this time he’s set an asking price for his sons’ sneaker deal: $1 billion. Somehow, this is the least outlandish thing he’s said all year.

There was the initial declaration that his son, Lonzo, only had plans to play one year before going pro, an awfully bold comment for a sport where fate and futures can turn on a dime. Then, he claimed that Lonzo was better than Stephen Curry. He famously declared that Lonzo would only be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Following that, he got into a public spat with Charles Barkley, a feud that felt like two uncles arguing at the cookout. Most recently, he claimed that he himself was a better basketball player than Michael Jordan back in his day, which is laughable.

The apparel contract stuff is real business, though. For his three sons: Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo, he’s asking for the 10-figure number from one of the big companies and says that if they don’t get it, they’ll start their own. Some have speculated that his loud antics could potentially hurt his sons’ future college or pro careers. LaVar himself says he’s not doing anything more than protecting his kids from exploitation. His approach brings to mind two other patron saints of black sports parenting, Earl Woods and Richard Williams.

Woods was known for his driving style on Tiger, who eventually grew up to revolutionize the golf world. Williams was even more maligned, as he was coaching and raising not one, but two girls in Venus and Serena, who’d eventually become the two most popular tennis players on earth by a wide margin. In short, the methods to their madness were effective.

But the Balls are in a different situation. For one, they’re playing basketball, a sport that’s already undergone its cultural boom for the most part. We’re not talking about primarily country-club sports that for various socioeconomic and cultural reasons had not accepted brown faces for the most part. It’s basketball. At this point, Lonzo is just another kid who might go No. 1 overall in the NBA draft, while LaMelo, the youngest is not bolstering his reputation by scoring 92 points in high school game under questionable circumstances. Of course, there’s also LiAngelo, the forgotten Ball.

But if his three sons turn out to be something like Tiger Woods, Venus and Serena Williams and, say, LeBron James combined, then that $1 billion number isn’t that outlandish. People are already saying that Lonzo is the second coming of Magic Johnson, which on its own, if true, makes his starting point in negotiations understandable. Ultimately, that’s the issue — there’s no way to know if that’ll be the case.

Don’t expect LaVar to back down. You might poke fun at the way he operates, including down to the way he named his kids, but he’s just continuing a family tradition. His own brothers are named LaFrance, LaValle, LaRenzo and LaShon. He won’t be backing down just because a couple of people think he’s too loud. At 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, I’m not sure a lot people are going to be able to make him do so, either.

Locker Room Lawyer

Locker Room Lawyer, Episode 14: Andre Iguodala and the N-word

The 2015 NBA champion recently delivered some racially charged postgame remarks

5:50 PMIn this week’s edition of Locker Room Lawyer, Clinton Yates and Domonique Foxworth take the case of Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala to The Undefeated courtroom.

During a postgame interview after the Warriors’ 103-102 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 10, Iguodala delivered the following racially charged remarks.

“We gotta score more than the other team. Yep, they want dumb n—-s, so I’m going to give y’all a dumb n—-s.”

“Nope, no clue. I do what master say,” Iguodala said after he was asked whether he knew he and three of his All-Star teammates would be sitting the next night.

Iguodala’s comments might have been a poor choice, but neither Steve Kerr nor our Locker Room Lawyer Domonique has a problem with what he said. Clinton doesn’t either, so there isn’t much of a debate. But we discuss the matter anyway. After the taping of this episode, the NBA penalized Iguodala for his words:

Check out the video, and if you have any professional athlete in mind (past or present) who needs the Locker Room Lawyer’s representation, feel free to email us at allday@theundefeated.com with episode ideas. Also, check out our weekly All Day Podcast, as well as Domonique and Clinton every Sunday on The Morning Roast.

Video calls Michael Brown ‘robbery’ in Ferguson into question

Not that he deserved to die over the matter, anyway

1:00 PM

What if I told you that the entire of the case against Ferguson, Missouri’s Mike Brown was built on a lie? Some of you would say that such a thing was obvious. Others would say that you needed proof. Probably even more of you would say that regardless of whether he committed a petty crime, he certainly didn’t deserve to be shot dead in the street by a police officer.

Now, we know what happened the day before Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Brown. To review, in case you forgot about the shooting that sparked the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the entire situation started like this. Wilson was responding to a robbery call when he approached Brown. That exchange clearly ended with Brown dead and bleeding in the street, with Wilson stating that he feared for his life and thus had to kill him.

But as for the case, there’s new evidence from a movie by filmmaker Jason Pollock called Stranger Fruit, which shows the initial purpose of stopping Brown at all might be in question, thus leading to a couple different problems. No. 1: Why did the police call this a strong-arm robbery to begin with? And, secondly, how is it possible this video is just now coming to light?

This New York Times story explains the blow by blow, but the gist of it is that Brown returned the next day to pick up something that was his based on an arrangement made earlier. He didn’t just walk in cold off the street and decide to start arguing and pushing people to steal cigars. One can see how omitting that large part of the story would be critical in smearing someone’s name, which is exactly the tactic that leads grand juries to not charge officers in fatal shootings. The law enforcement official gets the benefit of the doubt, while the victim who can no longer speak for himself is painted as “no angel.”

Mind you, this is all predicated on the notion that even if he had done all this, would it have been reasonable to gun him down in the street? It was not. After the nation protested and people started whipping out cellphones everywhere in order to protect themselves, we see it happen with enough regularity to give major pause. Not that black folks haven’t been telling people this for years — but whatever.

Whether he robbed a store or not, Brown’s life was stolen from him. The fact that he didn’t rob it and everyone at an official level knew it and did their best to suppress it is only more heartbreaking in the context of the value of black life.

Daily Dose: 3/13/17

Michelle Obama gives a little help to Yara Shahidi

12:30 PMThe Morning Roast produced a fantastic photograph this week, which features me, Domonique and Mina riding on a motorcycle with a sidecar. You’ve got to listen to the episode to get it, but it’s actually pretty funny, stand-alone.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you who wrote my college recommendations if I tried. What I do recall, however, was that being one of the most stressful and shameful experiences of my life. Nothing says, “I’ve wasted my whole high school career” like not knowing where to begin on that front, but luckily it worked out, I guess. But for black-ish actor Yara Shahidi, she drew upon a rather awesome resource in her quest for higher education: Michelle Obama. I mean, I can’t imagine that anyone will say no, at that point.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is living in a different time. For whatever reason, he decided to show solidarity with a Dutch politician who is looking to “de-Islamize” the Netherlands should he be elected to the country’s top post. By doing so, he drew on some hyperracist philosophies, saying “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” If you’re wondering, yes, that’s a mindset rooted in white nationalism with a little sprinkling of supremacy on top. Even other Republicans are saying he’s way out of pocket.

Here’s the thing about President Donald Trump’s “America First” outlook: It’s not effective. Hypernationalist economic policies never really have worked, because, think about it, isolation is just a dumb way to try to make money. Guess what! I can do everything myself! Oh, yeah, well you can also sell those things to yourself because no one wants to deal with that. Certain industries, aka most, can’t survive without global participation. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party ruined Germany’s fashion industry and some are worried that Trump’s America might do the same here.

NASCAR is full of thugs. That’s what people would say if most of the drivers weren’t white guys, but alas, they’re just hard-nosed men who love to grind, right. In all seriousness, these pit row fights have become what feels like a regular part of the racing these days. This time it involved Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. At this point, they might as well make it an official part of the race. Just set two guys up in an ad-hoc boxing ring right there on the infield, and let willing participants duke it out.

Free Food

Coffee Break: In 2017, music radio program directors aren’t the ones moving the needle when it comes to picking the music that tops the charts. That tastemaker job now has been taken over by those that curate playlists for streaming music services. Check out this profile of Spotify’s Tuma Basa.

Snack Time: I don’t like to make fun of guys and their weight problems after they leave whatever league they play in, but this tweet about Antoine Walker is funny.

Dessert: Here’s a story about the life of a Jesuit-owned slave from Maryland in the early 1800s. For perspective.

What Are Those?!: 3/10/17

John Ross’ record-setting 40-yard dash in Nikes and Paul George’s debut signature sneaker

3:19 PM

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Marcus Matthews is back from vacation. You know what that means? A new What Are Those?! podcast! Marcus returned from a trip to Colombia, joining me to chop it up about what types of sneakers he packs for trips and the key to finding exclusive shoes in any given destination.

On this week’s show, we also discuss the decision of former University of Washington wide receiver and NFL draft prospect John Ross to wear Nikes instead of Adidas cleats while running the fastest 40-yard dash in the history of the NFL combine. Ross ran a 4.22, breaking Chris Johnson’s nearly 10-year-old record, and if he would’ve worn the Adizero 5-star 40 cleats while doing so, Adidas would’ve given him his own $1 million island. Nope. He went with the Nike Vapor 4.2 cleats, and his reason behind not going with Adidas is glorious.

Next up is a what we all love to do when it comes to sneakers: Debate! Nike recently debuted the first signature sneaker in Indiana Pacers star Paul George’s career. The question is, Should PG-13 actually have his own shoe? Marcus argues why he shouldn’t. I argue why he should.

Lastly, if there’s one thing we learned this week, it’s that Marcus is holding out on the heat! He’s got a pair of “Must Be The Honey” LeBron Xs that he’s only worn a few times. He’s thinking about selling them. Right now, they’re on eBay from $1,650. What should he do?

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

Daily Dose: 3/10/17

Nicki Minaj replies to Remy Ma, sort of

3:00 PMIf you missed The Morning Roast filling in for The Right Time with Bomani Jones, you can check out all three hours. We’re on again this afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. EST. You can listen live here.

Nicki Minaj is taking a different route. Look, how she chooses to address her beef with Remy Ma is her choice, but she’s taking an interesting path to an attempt at victory. After Remy Ma came for Nicki’s whole life with “shETHER,” the latter took quite a bit of time to respond. Now, she has, but with three separate songs, two of which are collaborations. Ultimately, she’s probably made the better tracks, which will gain her more cash in the long run, but in the world of musical insults, this wasn’t exactly an earthshaker.

Here’s the thing about Get Out. It’s the circumstance that’s the most terrifying, not the specific jump-out moments. The premise seems normal, then something extremely bizarre seems to be unfolding, only to give way to something far more sinister that, if you were paying attention, you might have seen all along. But as extreme as that conclusion is, it only works because the plausible deniability of the situation being real actually makes sense. You know why? Because black folks go missing all the time and nobody cares.

The dreaded hour lost to sleep is here again. Daylight savings time, the thing that’s been responsible for so many missed classes, botched job interviews and otherwise blown appointments is coming up this weekend. For some people, the change is life-altering. Sleep schedules are not easy to establish, and one switch of the clock can throw you all off. It doesn’t bother me that much personally anymore specifically, but when I was in high school it was the death of me. Here are some tips for surviving the change.

So, the Washington NFL franchise is still up to no good. On Thursday, Washington fired Scot McCloughan and did so with all the class in the world. Sike. A team official completely threw the former general manager under the bus, claiming that he was such a constant drunk that it was impossible to work with him. Meanwhile, the culture there among the front office wasn’t any different. Back on the field, now, quarterback Kirk Cousins has signed with the team, which means that if the team want to start shopping him, it can. What a mess.

Free Food

Coffee Break: It never ceases to amaze me when countries discover massive monuments or statues just chilling underground or underwater. And, now, in a Cairo slum, archaeologists have uncovered a massive statue that just from the picture looks like it’ll take a while to unearth.

Snack Time: If you’ve somehow managed to make it this far throughout the day without seeing this video of a dad talking on television then having his kids bust into the room, you must live under a rock. It’s hilarious.

Dessert: Here’s a great video to get your weekend started, kiddos. The Weeknd in full Michael Jackson mode.

Daily Dose: 3/9/17

‘Star Wars Episode VIII’ takes a turn

12:30 PMIt was 20 years ago today that Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. was killed. It honestly feels like much, much longer, considering where the world is these days.

Perhaps, it’s just a coincidence, but Hawaii has become the first state to sue the government over President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Of course, that’s Barack Obama’s home state. In all seriousness, though, they’ve probably got the most dire case, as well. The island state is obviously part of the U.S., but travel is obviously required to get there. Suddenly shutting down that ability to do that is clearly crippling.

Wednesday was International Women’s Day, as we noted, and it provided some excellent moments. But, of course, because this is, alas, still a man’s world to quote the late great James Brown, most dudes are sexists as hell and have no idea how or why they operate that way. Anyways, in an attempt to not return to the casual misogyny that is everyday America, Desus & Mero highlight the president’s most anti-women moments in honor of Wednesday.

There was a big reveal in the Star Wars world this week. Well, not really, if you ask me. In a shareholder meeting, a clip of the new film was shown. The beginning of Stars Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi picks up in the final scene of Episode VII in which we see Rey climbing to the top of a mountain to find Luke Skywalker waiting. Well, in the new one he says, “Who are you?” which in some eyes blows up the theory that he is her father. I don’t necessarily believe that, but we’ll see.

Two years ago, I coined the phrase Ashburnistan to describe the environment Dan Snyder has created for Washington’s NFL fans. Every year, something manages to happen that outdoes the last thing, and, at this point, it almost feels like it’s performance art, as far as how they can manage to make something worse. Which was not good. The team’s general manager is locked in a power struggle with the team president. Hilariously predictable, to be honest.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I don’t make fun of what people do with their babies. I’m just kidding, I’m completely here for that. Whatever it is that Ciara, Russell Wilson and Lil Fewcha are doing in that Harper’s BAZAAR photo shoot, I can’t call it. It is making me laugh, though.

Snack Time: I’m sort of getting the feeling that Bad Boys 3 needs to not happen. The film lost yet another director, giving us yet another delay in the process.

Dessert: I’ll miss Xabi Alonso, personally. Great way to announce his retirement.