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What Are Those?! Podcast: 12/21/16

Foamposites, Stephon Marbury’s sneaker legacy and ranking the top kicks of all time

5:34 PM

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Undefeated senior writer Jesse Washington has been in these sneaker streets heavy lately, combining his poetic flair with his love for kicks in spoken-word video tributes to the Air Jordan I and Puma Clyde.

Jesse joins the What Are Those?! podcast this week to discuss his latest ode to the Nike Air Foamposite One sneakrs, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2017. We also talk Stephon Marbury, whose $15 kicks certainly changed the game before he made the jump from the NBA to playing in China.

And what better way to end the episode — and the year of 2016 — than to rank our favorite sneakers of all time. Every day this week, ESPN’s #NBARank series has counted down the definitive top 30 list of all-time kicks. On Friday, the top five will be unveiled, but until then, Jesse, co-host Marcus Matthews and I each give you our personal top 10 lists.

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

Daily Dose: 8/9/17

Maya Rudolph’s coming home for Christmas

11:25 AMI’m in New Orleans for #NABJ2017 and very excited about it. I’ll also be broadcasting #TheRightTime on ESPN Radio live 4-7 p.m. EST from the convention floor for the rest of the week, which should be interesting. Tune in!

It was nice knowing everyone during our time here on Earth. We had a decent run as a human race, but ultimately greed and power are what tore us down, to the surprise of exactly zero people. President Donald Trump and North Korea have been trading threatening remarks, which is always a great way to spark a slow news week. Seriously, though, this is terrifying. Guam is now involved, and if we’re being honest, if POTUS wants to send a nuke, there’s no one that can really stop him.

We love Maya Rudolph. Ever since her days on Saturday Night Live, in which she was basically the only woman of color and thus forced to play nearly every parody role involving such, she’s been great. Since then, her career on-screen hasn’t exactly been fireworks, but certainly steady. Now she’s headed back to the live stage, which is exciting. She’ll be starring in Fox’s live version of A Christmas Story. Maybe it’s because I think this live musical format is really getting good, or because I just miss Maya, but I’m really excited for this.

If you had plans for the next year and a half, you might want to cancel them. Because in the past week, Donald Glover has revealed that not only does he have new music coming out, but he and the squad are also basically done with Season 2 of Atlanta, which is excellent news. He’s retired the Childish Gambino name, but that’s doesn’t mean it’s already gone. His legendary hot streak of fire content doesn’t appear to be letting up, so you can go ahead and clear him a space on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right now.

Unlike baseball, you don’t see a whole lot of left-handed throwers in football. On the rare occasion that you do, they’re typically pretty stellar. I can’t remember the last average southpaw I saw on the gridiron, Tim Tebow notwithstanding. Mark Brunell was a good one, Boomer Esiason was a better one and Michael Vick was certainly my favorite of all the lefties who played QB in the NFL. But last year, only one left-hander threw a touchdown pass in the league, leading to the question: Are lefty QBs going extinct?

Free Food

Coffee Break: A good bromance can be rather fruitful. And in the case of A$AP Rocky and Tyler the Creator, it’s been concerts and all sorts of things to come from it. But it wasn’t always that way, and the two titans of the coasts are now maturing to the next level in a refreshing way.

Snack Time: Do you like Insecure? Are you a fan of Raphael Saadiq? Then you might want to check out this interview with him and Issa Rae about the music of the hit HBO show.

Dessert: Speaking of, if you need a new soundtrack to your life, NBA Live 18 has got you super-covered.

‘Bachelorette’ finale recap: I’m reclaiming my time

Bryan wins in the longest, wackest season finale

12:01 PMWe have been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok and flat-out deceived. Last night’s three (three!)-hour finale sold Bachelor Nation a fugacious dream. Led to believe that what we thought we knew was going to happen wasn’t going to happen, Bachelor Nation sat through three hours of season 13’s asinine new finale format only to have Bryan, the smarmy, oleaginous Miami sweet-talker, win Rachel’s heart anyway. Yeah, how’s that for SAT words?

So sure were we, we foolhardy loyalists, that a plot twist was around the corner, that speculation quickly turned to fantasy.

Was Eric, the king of emotional glow-ups and breakup beards, our beloved dark horse, going to win it all? NOPE. In a shocking twist, Rachel sends Eric home even though Peter told her he wasn’t ready to get down on one knee and that wasn’t likely to change anytime soon. Let me be clear: I wanted Peter to win. I mean, I knew Bryan was going to win from day one and I wanted Peter to prove me wrong. But when Rachel called out Peter’s name over Eric’s, I let out a noise so primeval I shocked myself and had to apologize to the neighbors.

Eric’s departure was followed by Peter’s. Poor, sweet Peter. Peter, who takes marriage the most seriously of all three men. Peter, whose breakup kiss with Rachel lasted five minutes and who cried when she left and who walked by her eyelashes for two days afterward because he didn’t have the heart to throw them away. How could Rachel just walk away from all that? And then to see Rachel light up on the couch next to him during the live commentary and then try to hide it by being rude because her man is watching — it was too much.

There is one hour left in this finale, and Bryan has won by default. But wait, Bachelorette producer Chris Harrison says, you might want to stick around — do you really think you know who wins? So Bachelor Nation sits tight for naught, although we don’t know it yet.

Let me rant for a second. Rachel, a single, successful black woman in her early 30s, fell into a trap that I see a lot of single, successful black women in their 30s fall into. Here is a good man, Peter. Matter of fact, here are two good men, Eric and Peter. Men with whom you connect on a deep emotional level, who are also attractive and charming but maybe aren’t quite ready to get down on one knee yet (in Peter’s case) or are so new to the love game you write him off (Eric). I know you want to do things the “right” way: engagement, marriage, house, babies, in that order. But come on, Rachel, it’s 2017. There is no right order anymore. Was a ring so important to you that you gave up on love? Because I don’t believe for a second Rachel and Bryan have the kind of strong emotional connection that lasting marriages are built on. But what do I know? I’m not single, I’m not in my 30s, and my “success” is questionable.

The final hour was a blur. A mindless blur. What happened? Doesn’t matter, because the winner was revealed long before the end of the show. That means you have official permission to zone out. Did I mention the asinine new format? Anyway, congrats, Rachel. You might not have gotten the man you wanted, but you got the ring. The gaudy, pear-cut halo pavé ring.

Whatever, fam. Maybe Cardi B will be the next Bachelorette.

Clinton Yates contributed to this report.

Spike Lee announces rally for Colin Kaepernick

to be held outside of NFL headquarters in NYC

11:42 AM

To call it the cause of only Colin Kaepernick would be shortsighted. He’s but one quarterback and one person, but his efforts to call attention to police brutality in America have officially gained the attention of the biggest names, even outside of the sports world.

On Tuesday morning, Spike Lee tweeted about a rally for Kaep outside of NFL headquarters in New York City on Aug. 23. In conjunction with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., The People’s Consortium for Human and Civil Rights Inc., and Justice League NYC, among others, the goal presumably will be to express displeasure at the perceived blackballing/collusion/whisper campaign or whatever you want to call it that’s kept the Super Bowl XLVII starting quarterback out of the league.

Why now? Well, that’s easy. Once the Baltimore Ravens flirted so closely with the idea, went so far as to tell fans that they were considering the move, and even had owner Steve Bisciotti asking fans to “pray” for the franchise (uh, what?), they backed off. The team in the one city that knows and fully understands the real-time effects of police brutality gone unfettered had a chance to make a real statement in a place where he likely would have been decently well-received, got this close and then backed off. It was the first official stance from any team that was officially no longer about football.

In the interim, a Change.org petition to boycott games if Kaepernick doesn’t play this season is up to nearly 80K in signatures. Tuesday, they reacted to the news. “We love seeing football fans use our platform to speak out and shape public dialogue on causes they care about,” they told The Undefeated. “This is the biggest NFL-related petition we’ve seen this year, which speaks to Americans’ interest in sports figures who take on social issues. It’s just one example of how people use Change.org to spur action, in football and other parts of society.”

Perhaps most interesting about this entire situation is the involvement of Kaepernick’s fraternity. For a Greek organization to be at the forefront of what will effectively be a national protest is not standard operating procedure.

Whether nearly 100,000 people turning off their televisions, cutting their satellite packages or not showing up to games will make a huge difference in what an NFL owner thinks (because this clearly isn’t just a GM or coach decision), who knows? The Dolphins went and ripped a guy out of the broadcast booth from retirement before he even had a chance to start that job, instead of deal with Kaepernick.

Of course, there are timing issues related to training camp, not to mention Kaepernick turning off a decent amount of the Miami fan base with a shirt featuring Fidel Castro, so that comparison is probably a tad unfair. Nonetheless, he’s not playing there and they’re paying Jay Cutler $10M a year.

The date comes almost a year to the day on which Kaepernick first sat during the national anthem, a situation that didn’t really get much notice until a couple of weeks later when he took a knee before a game. That game was at home against Green Bay, the third preseason game. The 23rd, this year, is the day before the third NFL preseason week. So the timing makes sense.

Too bad they misspelled his name on the flyer.

Daily Dose: 8/8/17

Is Andrew Wiggins committed to Minnesota?

10:07 AMMy God. That Bachelorette finale was too long. Your boy fell asleep on it, took a nap, woke up, AND IT WAS STILL ON. Congratulations, Bryan. I hope Rachel and your cheek implants live happily ever after in paradise.

Bullying is an awful problem. In terms of schools, administrators and teachers can do their best to curb it, but there are always going to be incidents. One such scenario unfolded in a Cincinnati school bathroom, and an 8-year-old ended up killing himself at home in January afterward. Now, those parents are suing the school district. Child suicide is genuinely one of the most disastrous situations that any community can face, and the pain basically never goes away. The kid’s parents are suing because they weren’t initially told about the nature of the situation.

It’s remarkable how quickly perception can change reality. As soon as this nation decided that we were OK with people smoking or consuming marijuana in one way or another, suddenly it became not only cool but also a luxury item. Of course, we conveniently get to ignore all those people who we threw in jail for years, namely black and brown faces, for doing the same thing. A Harvard MBA is trying to build the “Hermes of cannabis,” and our attorney general is still talking about crackdowns.

When I covered softball in college, I was struck by the camaraderie. The girls on the teams always had chants for each player, no matter who was at the plate. With all that time spent with reps and practice, on the road, etc., you get pretty tight. That in many ways is the fun part. Gooning with your teammates is basically why you sign up. So when a girls’ softball team flipped the bird on Snapchat during a tournament, it was funny and harmless. Nope! God forbid some young girls get to have some fun! They got kicked out of the tournament, which is wrong.

Andrew Wiggins is about to get PAID. You know how I know? Because the Minnesota Timberwolves’ owner said so. Not the coach, not the general manager, not his agent — the owner of the team. That’s about as good an endorsement as you can get. You might remember that his name was in discussions when trade talk with Kyrie Irving was swirling, which would have been interesting considering he was once the Cleveland Cavaliers’ No. 1 overall pick. That said, the owner wants to know that Wiggins is committed to Minnesota. Yeah, that’s not quite how this works.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The 808 drum machine is one of the most iconic instruments in history. Don’t believe me? Well, they made a whole documentary about how its sound basically revolutionized music. Now, Roland is releasing a cheaper version based on the original, which is good news for producers all over the globe.

Snack Time: Monday was the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record. But people forget how good of a hitter he was. Seriously, let’s remember the 2004 season.

Dessert: Doom and Adult Swim are ouchea dropping bangers, kiddos.

Daily Dose: 8/7/17

Baseball’s Don Baylor dies at 68

1:18 PMHey, gang, I’m back from the West Coast and Connecticut after a long week hosting Mike & Mike and finally making my debut on SportsNation! It was a really fun experience, and I’d like to thank everyone involved.

Google has a bit of a diversity problem. And by that I mean the people who work there don’t love the idea of mixing things up just for the sake of it. So much so that one employee sent a rather scathing and completely idiotic memo to the company about why men and women should not be treated the same in the workplace, citing biological differences and abilities, which is archaic. Tech gets a bad rap for being too bro-ey, too white and too exclusive, and now we know exactly why. This is a horrible look for the company.

When it comes to a life in baseball, Don Baylor lived it. He played 18 seasons in the big leagues for six teams and managed for nearly 10 more for two others. He was an All-Star, a World Series champion and an American League MVP. He died Monday at the age of 68. He wasn’t the flashiest dude, and certainly wasn’t a superstar by any stretch, but his name and his work around the game were a constant for fans of a certain era. Oh, and he also is one of four people to win both an MVP and a Manager of the Year award.

Working for certain bosses can be tricky. Some are mean, some are more kind, but ultimately, you’ve got to do what they ask, because that’s how it works. But what about extracurricular things? If the boss has a holiday party, are you obligated to go? Would you ever consider asking one to attend your wedding? The relationship can get weird if you go too far, but also, you want to be friends with the person signing your checks. FiveThirtyEight asks an interesting question: Is it fair to make everyone in the office pitch in for a gift to the boss?

Monday night is the season finale of The Bachelorette. It’s been a long season, and we’ve come quite a way since Rachel Lindsay was first named as the star. We’ve dealt with racist contestants, awkward parental relationships and a lot of dudes just being real jerks. But that’s the show, and we sort of love it for all that. Now we get to see who she’ll pick, and there doesn’t appear to be any real front-runner. I imagine this will be an extremely well-watched show and the first black Bachelorette will definitely be making TV history.

Free Food

Coffee Break: HBO’s attempt to recreate a world in which slavery didn’t end has not gone well. The creators of Game of Thrones have gotten all sorts of backlash for a show that was titled Confederate, and the detractors have been vociferous. Ta-Nehisi Coates says we should not be giving them the benefit of the doubt with this program.

Snack Time: Everything Beyoncé does is news in these parts, so when she makes a video of just her and her squad roller-skating, you’ll definitely need to see it. This looks rather fun.

Dessert: My love for Cardi B knows no bounds. Check her out rocking with Migos like a true boss.