All Day Podcast: 6/1/17
NBA Finals, Muhammad Ali’s death and LeBron James’ eloquence
2:42 PMWhat’s up, kiddos, we’re back. The podcast has been retooled a bit, as you’ll notice, which I explain more in the show.
This week, I talked to Marc Spears about the upcoming NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is already an epic matchup even before the games start. If you don’t know, it’s the first time that two teams have faced off three times in a row in the NBA Finals, and the first time it’s happened in any of the major American sports leagues where the teams were tied 1-1 after the first two series.
Perhaps most interesting was Spears’ discussion about what the Dubs mean to Oakland, California, as a place. He went deep on what that team moving from one part of the Bay Area to another, San Francisco, could signal for not only basketball fans but also for other sports franchises there.
Switching gears: I had the pleasure of chatting with Tom Junod, who’s got a new story for ESPN The Magazine about Muhammad Ali and his last days. It’s rich with detail, specifics and beautiful prose surrounding the greatest man alive, in his time. If you’re not familiar with the intricacies of how bodies are prepared for burial in Islam, there are details on that. Junod delves into the process of getting this story done, not just the topic, which as a writer I find fascinating.
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The Morning Roast: 5/28/17
Memorial Day shenanigans and ‘The Bachelorette’
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The gang got back together this weekend, and it was an extremely lively time.
We’re all basically in the camp of believing that LeBron James is on top when it comes to the greatest players in NBA history. While people want to yell and scream about how Michael Jordan is impossible to top, you won’t find that opinion here. Also, I’m the only one who thinks that the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance against the Golden State Warriors. Amin Elhassan joined us to point out exactly why anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.
Also, I broke down what I think are the best cookout foods for Memorial Day. Pro tip: If you ever want to be the star of any function where food is a central element, just bring fried chicken. Also, Domonique Foxworth seems to believe that hamburgers are an absolute must for all family gatherings.
Lastly, we talk Bachelorette, which is basically the best part of every show at this point. Yay, sports talk radio!
‘The Bachelorette’ gets down to business
and one thing is obvious: Dudes are trash
4:54 PMAfter a slightly bizarre first episode of The Bachelorette, the country sat down after dealing with their families to watch a bunch of dudes fight over a woman on national television. Nothing says America like a trashy dating show, and this week did not disappoint. We finally got down to the business of who these guys can really be.
The answer was simple: not much.
What’s clear from this season of the program is that the field of people who are willing/able to be a part of this show is dwindling rapidly and the show is suffering as a result. This week, we got to meet all the contestants in a different way. Now, when it comes to dating on television, there are a couple of ground rules. You’re either there to be on television or maybe to find someone you like and get a bunch of free dates out of it. Monday proved that when you go too far either way, problems ensue.
We started things in a fun, flirty, even if somewhat stupid manner. At a group date cookout, the guys were put through the ringer of “Husband Material” challenge. Change a diaper, put on a Babybjorn, vacuum. Clear a drain, set a table, race with a bouquet of flowers. Pretty simple. With a twist. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis were there.
— Bachelorette Rose (@RealityRose_) May 30, 2017
Newsflash: Bringing on an adorable couple to cheer on a Bachelorette looking for love, never mind a famous adorable couple who also ONCE PLAYED AN ADORABLE COUPLE ON TELEVISION THEMSELVES, is just a horrible idea. I spent the whole time thinking how great it would have been to watch a Bachelor/ette season with one of them being the target and another being the host. Everyone involved instantly looked like a huge loser.
Of course, to that point, Lucas, aka Whaboom, won the challenge, showing a surprising amount of gumption in his victory. Then it all came crashing down, sort of. You might remember Blake, the drummer wannabe who spent a lot of time talking about his member during his intro interview in the first episode. He dropped a bombshell by letting the audience know that not only did he strongly hate Lucas, but he also actually knew him in real life.
So, Blake is a 31yo "aspiring drummer" with a female roommate? Please, keep talking… #TheBachelorette
— Meghan McKeown (@megg521) May 30, 2017
BLAKE YOURE AN ASPIRING DRUMMER TALKING ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE STABILITY TO BE A HUSBAND #TheBachelorette
— Hannah Kate (@hannahkate120) May 30, 2017
Mind you, this is where things have moved a little too far into the “this is real life” zone. Part of the fun of the program is suspending disbelief just enough to the point that you want to believe people sort of have their lives together enough to be there without having to *really* worry about what’s back home. But nope, Blake busted through that fantastical fourth wall, pointing out that he lives with Whaboom’s ex-girlfriend (sidebar: OK, that’s a little weird) and that his “act” is something he’s been on for a couple of years. As if he thought he was revealing deep dark government secrets, he boldly declares, “I know the real Lucas. Lucas is garbage. Rachel is looking a husband and Lucas is not here to find a wife. Lucas is here to be on television. The one person who could ruin this for him, is me, and I’m going to.”
You don’t say, old buddy. Most of us don’t actually have a problem with this. Some of us love it. Others among us might have immediately gone to his website and bought a tank top with his dumb catchphrase on it. And by “others among us,” I mean me, and by “might have,” I mean “definitely did.” It’s one thing to beef with a guy because you crossed paths with him in the house on some macho nonsense. It’s quite another to know that some low-rent ACTUAL soap opera between a couple of random Los Angeles losers is going down at home that we’ve all got to get dragged into. We don’t need to paint this far off the canvas.
"If I never hear Whaaaaboooom again, life will be amazing.”
— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) May 30, 2017
After that all calms down, we get to see Rachel’s first one-on-one date. It’s with Peter, who in all of his gap-toothed glory appears to be a relatively likable person. One problem, he is once again upstaged. His date turns into a dog date, in which Rachel’s Copper, with his wounded leg, is the star of the show. They go to something called Barkfest, which genuinely appeared to be one of the most fun outings ever. But again, with her and her dog traipsing around and having fun, Peter appears to be completely superfluous, although nonproblematic. The dog should have its own show, obviously.
Copper The Very Good Dog is the best thing ever to happen to The Bachelorette pic.twitter.com/sXHe1v0Y2k
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) May 30, 2017
The second hour is where things went full haywire, making even a shameless trash television watcher like myself feel a tad slimy. After a rather informative basketball session with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes, the NBA legend), real life collided with television in a way that did not help the show. DeMario, the suspected Kappa who made a lot of wild claims in the first episode, as it turns out is a fraud. Not in the sense that he’s lying about his job or station in life, but he’s basically got a girlfriend whom he ditched to be on the show.
Said woman confronted Rachel, text message receipts and all, detailing how he ghosted her to show up on television a few days later. She seemed rather happy about blowing things up, which she should have been. But it was a shame all this had to come at Rachel’s expense. She summarily dismissed him with an all-time classic line: “I’m really gonna need you to get the f— out.”
— 𝕂𝕠𝕗𝕚𝕖 (@KofieYeboah) May 30, 2017
— Emily Longeretta (@emilylongeretta) May 30, 2017
At this point, the dudes in the house get wind of DeMario’s shenanigans and the moral high-grounders step to the plate. It’s not the first time that someone’s ditched a maybe non-ex to take a chance at love on television, and it won’t be the last. Josiah, the lawyer, then proceeds to tell Rachel about how deeply offended he is that DeMario would try such a thing. Not for nothing, but dude, you’re trying to date on TV. The space is not sacrosanct, although yes, DeMario is a jerk for treating two women that way.
But once again, we were dragged into someone’s off-camera life in a way that only embarrasses everyone involved. To further double down on matters, DeMario pulls an all-time stupid move and shows back up to the mansion during the cocktail hour, looking to perhaps apologize to Rachel. She shows up out of curiosity, and the crowd of other guys still in the race gather around to watch the fireworks. The episode ends before we see the denouement, yada yada, cliffhanger.
Which points us back to the original point: We need more Rachel. For as much as we need to drive plot and fill airtime, that’s the whole point of having a Bachelorette whom people actually like. At this point, she’s become more of a prop than usual even for this show, which is saying a lot. Particularly because none of these guys has any remote standout qualities from a star or companion standpoint.
Next week, we’ll presumably get to watch some dude grovel for forgiveness and likely end up in a physical confrontation with a guy looking to show his loyalty to Rachel. It’ll be hilarious television, and we’ll likely all love it. But let’s not forget why we’re all here to begin with. More of Rachel makes the show better, and it’s time to get back to that.
It’s not all good, Tiger Woods
He says alcohol is not a factor
3:36 PMIt hadn’t occurred to me until Monday that Tiger Woods had never put me in a bad mood. I wasn’t the biggest fan in the world, nor did he ever motivate me to pick up a golf club. But once he stopped playing with any regularity and dominating the PGA Tour, I stopped caring. When his life and public image blew up before our very eyes in 2009 and subsequently, sure, it was a tad embarrassing, but I didn’t think any less of him.
Now, the acute feeling of disappointment is impossible to ignore.
For some, Woods eternally turned in his invitation to the cookout when he decided to declare that he was not black but “Cablanasian,” a melange of races whose name he invented himself and for which he was roundly mocked from there on out. It represented something more than just an attempt at an inclusive racial mindset. It felt like a snub to the black community, which had ridden so hard for him over the years and claimed him as one of their own.
Caller, on Tiger Woods: "He shouldn't be unhappy – he's rich." Utterly sickening listening to someone so out of touch with real life.
— talkSPORTDrive (@talkSPORTDrive) May 30, 2017
I sympathise with Tiger Woods and hope he gets the support he needs.
— Daniel Reynolds (@Dan_Reynolds_) May 30, 2017
Now that he’s been arrested on suspicion of DUI and his mug shot is all over television and the internet, the police have listed his race as “black,” which has folks cracking jokes everywhere. Few people feel bad for him. You might recall the story The Secret History of Tiger Woods by Wright Thompson. We learned all sorts of things about him, for example, that he kicks it with Navy SEALs and believes in the paranormal.
This is different, though. So basic, so rudimentary, so tacky that it feels like he’s learned nothing, at the very least, about understanding public opinion. He was quick to point out that alcohol was not a factor, which struck me as a particularly odd distinction, considering. We’re talking about a guy whose mistress admitted that he regularly took Ambien as a way not to get better sleep but to add some variety to his life in the bedroom. While it’s not classified as a narcotic by the government, people have been known to do some wild things while taking the drug for its intended purpose.
Mind you, prescription drug abuse is killing people left and right all over this country, at a rate that we haven’t seen before. As far as concern for Woods’ well-being goes, alcohol not being a factor does not necessarily make anything better.
I hope Tiger Woods fully recovers and breaks every golf record known to man. Or at least wins 1 more major.
— David Downey Jr. (@DavidDowneyJr) May 30, 2017
“I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again,” Woods said. What that means, who knows. But at this point for Woods, you have to wonder who his support system is. Who he trusts. Who he doesn’t. From the sounds of it, perhaps he doesn’t even trust himself.
If Woods ever wins another major, I’ll be flat-out shocked. And while this incident will ultimately not be something that we necessarily remember him for, it’s certainly one you mark down as a potential indicator of where it all went wrong.
Daily Dose: 5/30/17
The man who killed Tamir Rice loses his job
1:25 PMWhile y’all were enjoying your holiday weekend, your boy was working. May 26, I filled in for Bomani Jones. Sunday, The Morning Roast was in full swing. And Monday, Aaron Dodson joined me for The Dan Le Batard Show.
If the White House were the Titanic, the lifeboats would all be long gone by now. I’ve never seen that movie, btw, but from what I understand, the band played on while the boat crashed and all the old white guys swindled everyone else out of a chance to save their lives. Now, President Donald Trump’s communications director is bailing out, a guy named Mike Dubke. Mind you, last week the administration made clear that they’re basically operating for the sole purpose of preventing Trump from getting bored. Also, there’s this. Yikes.
When Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland, it was tragic. A 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun was looked at as a violent criminal, and police pulled up and shot him so quickly that you could barely blink before it happened. He died the next day. In an unfortunately not shocking development, the officers involved were not even so much as indicted by a grand jury, but the city did settle with the victim’s family for $6 million. Mind you, this was three years ago. The officer who actually shot Rice was finally fired. But it wasn’t for the shooting.
Commitments in the workplace are a tricky wicket. Meaning, if it’s a known fact that you aren’t married or are childless in a newsroom, the expectations on your time and energy are drastically different from those who might be otherwise involved. Basically, the assumption is that because you don’t specifically have a spouse or a kid to tend to, then you should otherwise be devoting every waking hour of your life to work and thus pick up the slack for others who aren’t so “free.” Well, guess what? They’re fighting back with hot-take think pieces.
There are good players and there are famous players. Typically, the two overlap each other, but sometimes that’s not remotely the case. Tim Tebow comes to mind in this discussion. The question of how each athlete gains notoriety and the metrics for how fame is achieved are interesting things to study. What if your endorsement game is more prevalent than the TV exposure for your sport? Or vice versa? Which one counts more? Check out ESPN’s ranking of the Top 100 most famous players in the world.
Coffee Break: When it comes to all these legacy biopics, you’re forced to ask yourself, do I *really* care about this group or artist? Well, if I were to mention the name Salt-N-Pepa, I think the answer would be yes. Now they’re saying that Ava DuVernay might be the one to direct their story.
Snack Time: You think you’ve got it bad in your marriage? There are places in the world where spouses are quite literally slaves, which is terrifying. It’s happening regularly in Hong Kong. This story is worth your time.
Dessert: It looks like Melo and Lala might not be fully broken up. I really hope they stay together.
Daily Dose: 5/26/17
The Bronx salutes Khalif Browder on his birthday
1:14 PMOK, so y’all know I’ll be on #TheRightTime on Friday afternoon. By now, you also know about #TheMorningRoast on Sunday mornings. But, on Memorial Day, Aaron Dodson and I will be co-hosting The Dan Le Batard Show. Yay!
Thursday was a public relations disaster, again, for the White House. President Donald Trump managed to create fiascos on, like, four different fronts after getting into a handshake battle with France, pushing aside Montenegro‘s prime minister and calling Germany a bad country. Then, at the end of the day, we found out that Trump’s son-in-law is part of the focus of an FBI investigation. Oh, and on top of that, Trump decided to bad-mouth NATO, all of which ended in what many people are calling a completely disrespectful speech.
Thursday would have been Khalif Browder’s 24th birthday. If you don’t remember, he was the kid who was locked up at Rikers Island for years with no charges and eventually killed himself after he was released. His life and death are an example of the worst-case scenarios involving the penal system in this country. Jay Z ended up making a documentary about his life. Thursday in New York, the Bronx renamed a street after Browder with a ceremony that included his family. I get angry every single time I think about how he had his life stolen from him by the New York Police Department.
When I was a kid, sick days from school meant watching The Price Is Right. Yet, while it’s not the greatest American game show of all time — that’s Family Feud — it is in the top five. And within that show, the single greatest prize game in TV history is obvious. That would be Plinko. And earlier this week, some guy broke the all-time scoring record for the pegboard contest that everyone loves. The guy who did it couldn’t be more adorable, and his 15 minutes of fame have been quite fun.
If you’ve heard me on the radio recently, you know how I feel about LaVar Ball. His dustup with Kristine Leahy was a bad look, not to mention his insensitive comments about Kyrie Irving’s mother. But he is a man about his business. And as I’ve said many times, his Kardashian business model is one that I love in theory and like in practice. Can’t wait for the Balldashians. Magic Johnson agrees with me. Now, there’s a separate question about whether these two families can even coexist within the Los Angeles Lakers organization.
Coffee Break: Some people think Lil’ Yachty is everything that’s wrong with hip-hop, from his moniker to his mumble rap style to his lack of concern for the old school. Frankly, that’s all nonsense, IMO. I like the young man. He’s got a new album out called Teenage Emotions.
Snack Time: Um, there’s a new collaboration between Drake’s OVO and the Clarks shoe company that you can go ahead and buy if you’re trying to get your pimp wizard game on this summer.
— Highsnobiety (@highsnobiety) May 26, 2017
Dessert: Need a summer plan? Try Zac Efron’s Baywatch diet. Apparently, it works.