What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Daily Dose: 6/14/16

Michael Jordan’s ‘Last Shot’ is one to remember

10:46 AMMonday was my 23rd birthday and the Golden State Warriors lost. While I’m not necessarily Warriors fan, I was hoping that they’d be able to clinch a NBA Finals win as a special present to me, because I’m not sure how much more of this series I can take. None of the five games have been decided by single digits — less than 11 points, if we’re being exact. It might just be the worst Finals series in recent memory. Let’s hope that Game 6 isn’t another blowout.

New developments surrounding the Orlando shooting make the label of this tragedy as a hate crime more perplexing. The shooter, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub Sunday, had a history of anti-gay prejudice, frequently going on rants about gay people, according to his father. But now, it’s been revealed that Mateen also had a history of regularly attending gay nightclubs, according to ABC News. He even was a patron at Pulse, the scene of Sunday’s mass shooting. This has become not only a story of terrorism and the recurring debate over gun control, but one of a struggle of self-identity. ABC News has the details.

Donald Trump has beef with The Washington Post. What’s new about that? Well, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee stripped the news outlet of media credentials for all future campaign events. This decision, which Trump announced on Facebook, came after the presidential candidate made comments about the Orlando shooting surrounding President Barack Obama, and the newspaper wrote about it. The Washington Post story Trump had a problem with was headlined “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved in Orlando shooting.” It was changed, but Trump is standing firm on his decision to revoke the newspaper’s access to his events. ABC News’ Noah Fitzgerel and Paola Chavez have the report.

How will the Orlando shooting affect the 2016 presidential election? The short answer: It’s too hard to really tell. Obviously, we’ve seen the two presumptive nominees from both major parties already comment on the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. And, in the past, the response presidential nominees deliver after such acts in the United States, or even the world, has led to increased support during campaigning. However, there are many other factors to consider when considering this question — especially when the election gives rise to candidates such as Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten breaks it down.

Curious about where Draymond Green watched Game 5 of the NBA Finals? The Golden State Warriors’ All-Star forward, who was suspended from playing in Monday night’s Game 5, was forced to spectate from outside Oracle Arena, where his team failed to clinch the NBA title as the Cleveland Cavaliers forced a Game 6. Green watched the game from a suite at the Oakland Coliseum, next to Oracle Arena, with former NFL star and Oakland, California, native Marshawn Lynch. He was close by in case the Warriors won, but they didn’t. The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears has an inside look at Green’s agonizing night.

Free food

Coffee Break: The Cavs wore their black, sleeved jerseys in Game 5 on Monday night. LeBron James scored 41 points in the sleeved jersey, which is shocking because last November he criticized sleeved jerseys and even ripped one in a game.

Snack Time: With tickets going on sale Saturday for Kanye West’s upcoming Saint Pablo Tour, I can’t help to think back to 2012’s Watch The Throne Tour, when West and Jay Z performed N—– in Paris 12 times in a row. Good times.

Dessert: On this day, 18 years ago, Michael Jordan hit “The Last Shot” to give the Chicago Bulls a win in the 1998 NBA Finals, his sixth championship.

Daily Dose: 6/10/16

Follow along with us in remembering the champ

8:06 AMToday, we remember the life of The Greatest. The late Muhammad Ali will be celebrated at an interfaith memorial service Friday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands are expected to attend the service, which begins at 2 p.m.

Thousands are also expected to pay their respects during a processional this morning that will pass landmarks in Ali’s life, including the gym where he began training and his childhood neighborhood.

Follow our live coverage of the day’s events here. Be sure to check out all of the coverage we’ve produced so far this week to celebrate the life of the champ.

We will also be collecting thoughts from readers on Ali throughout the day.

Clinton and Trump Twitter beef?

We’re here for it

4:38 PMAfter President Barack Obama endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Thursday, Clinton’s opponent, Republican candidate Donald Trump, couldn’t hold his tongue.

Minutes later, Clinton responded.

Maybe rapper Drake was right when he said, “Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers” in his 2015 diss record Back to Back. Based on the language, there’s little doubt surrounding whether Trump’s words were a result of his own Twitter fingers. He’s never shy to speak his mind and even has a history of getting into Twitter tiffs with people, including rapper Mac Miller.

As for whether Clinton tweeted the response for herself, there’s no telling. The accounts of many politicians are run by their staffs, so someone else could have typed the response (maybe even an intern), after she approved it, of course. Regardless, Thursday’s brief social media back-and-forth was amusing for the simple fact that we rarely see presidential candidates go at it outside of debates.

The best part of the beef was not Clinton’s “Delete your account” response, which received more than 100,000 more retweets (and counting) than Trump’s tweet. The best part was that Clinton herself went back-to-back on Trump, tweeting this not long afterward:

Shade? Maybe a little.

Black Twitter claps back

to three white eulogists speaking at Muhammad Ali’s memorial service

4:00 PMAs the world continues to mourn the death of Muhammad Ali, some have taken to Twitter to express disappointment in the makeup of Ali’s interfaith memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday.

Former president Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal, Sen. Orrin Hatch and sportscaster Bryant Gumbel are all scheduled to deliver eulogies at the service.

Though Ali himself chose who would speak, push back on social media has surrounded the fact that three white men and only one black man will speak at the service, which will memorialize to the public one of the most influential African-American figures in the history of this country.

Is it really fair to criticize the men Ali wanted to pay tribute to him based upon their race? This way of thinking seems to arise from as limited view of the man Ali was. We should remember Ali not only as the outspoken man who used sports as a platform to speak out about racism, but also for his accepting nature. He acknowledged that “not all white people are racist.”

Muhammad Ali

set to cover the next issue of ESPN The Magazine, available June 17

3:20 PMYou’ll want to pick up one of these.

The late Muhammad Ali will cover ESPN The Magazine‘s June 27 issue, which will officially hit newsstands June 17. The cover is beautiful, featuring a black-and-white photo of the champ and one of his most famous quotes, “I shook up the world!” which he said, among many other quotable things, after knocking out Sonny Liston in 1964 at the age of 22.

There’s no official total, but Ali might have covered more magazines than any athlete in history. From Boxing Illustrated to Time, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Jet and more, the number of magazine covers Ali appeared on (many of which he did so on several different occasions) is yet another reason that he is The Greatest.

Daily Dose: 6/9/16

The trial of another officer in the Freddie Gray case has started

11:00 AMThe NBA Finals series has been less than exciting. Blowout after blowout — a 15-point spread in Game 1, a 33-point spread in Game 2 and a 30-point spread in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Obviously, with the win Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers have made things somewhat interesting by avoiding a sweep. The series now stands 2-1 in the Golden State Warriors’ favor. But please, can we get at least one close game?

The third trial in the Freddie Gray case has begun. Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson, one of six officers involved in the April 2015 arrest of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a police vehicle, now stands trial. Goodson is the third officer to be tried, following trials of officers William Porter and Edward Nero. prosecutors have been unable to convict any of the officers — not even Nero, who initially arrested Gray. While this case has been a vital part of the Black Lives Matter movement and the stand against police brutality involving white police officers, it’s worth remembering that not all of officers in the Gray case are white. Goodson is black. ABC News’ Mariam Khan has the report.

Support for Brock Turner is wavering. Two female character witnesses for Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer who was convicted of rape and sentenced to just six months in jail, are now expressing regret for their support of him. Turner’s case has been in the news all week, from the long-awaited release of his mug shot to the shocking comments from his father, who said Turner shouldn’t suffer a six-month sentence for “20 minutes of action.” Brian McBride of ABC News has the latest development in the case.

Aaron Hernandez has hired a high-profile defense attorney. The former New England Patriots tight end, convicted in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd and subsequently sentenced to life in prison, has brought in attorney Jose Baez on to his defense team. Baez represented Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of murder following the death of her 2-year-old daughter, and other celebrities such as NBA player Thabo Sefolosha. Baez will also defend Hernandez, who still faces murder charges in a 2012 incident at a nightclub, where two men were gunned down. ESPN provides the details on Hernandez’s latest addition to his defense team.

The X Games are all about the jumps. I’m not big into skateboarding and BMX. I do, however, appreciate the things the athletes in those sports are able to do. From an outsider’s perspective, and maybe even for avid skateboarding and BMX followers, the best part is the CRAZY jumps the athletes take on. It’s hard to even imagine daring some of the ramps they ride on. I’ve never been to the X Games or up close and personal to a large ramp. Now, I feel like I have. FiveThirtyEight’s Brent Rose provides a close look to the biggest jumps at this year’s X Games.

Free food

Coffee Break: Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban filed for eight trademark applications surrounding nicknames and phrases connected to him and his brand. On Thursday, the trademarks were allowed, though not yet registered. You definitely have to respect this man’s hustle.

Snack Time: In honor of the late Muhammad Ali, Sony Pictures announced the 2001 film Ali, which stars actor Will Smith as the champ, will return to theaters this weekend. Smith will also be a pallbearer at Ali’s funeral.

Dessert: Am I the only one who is sick of these random “holidays” that pop up on social media every day? Wednesday was #NationalBestFriendsDay. Today is apparently #ThankfulThursday. When will it stop?

Maria Sharapova’s doping ban …

reminds us of the racial body-shaming Serena Williams has endured

4:46 PMOn Wednesday, the International Tennis Federation suspended 29-year-old Russian player Maria Sharapova from competition for two years because she tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.

The ban is ironic, taking into account the No. 1-ranked player Serena Williams, whom critics have body-shamed throughout her career, often because she is an African-American. Williams, 34, has never been sanctioned for using a banned substance.

For years, Williams’ muscular build has led to criticism and accusations of doping, which at times goes too far with extremely hateful labels surrounding her identity as a black woman.

On the other hand, Sharapova’s taller and slimmer frame has led to the “Is Maria Sharapova the most beautiful woman in tennis history?” topic of debate. Sharapova has never been a part of ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body Issue, but Williams put her oft-criticized body on display when she covered the first Body Issue in 2009. Since then, the hateful comments have persisted, even leading Williams to wear long sleeves during Wimbledon in 2015.

At Sports Illustrated‘s “Sportsperson of the Year” ceremony, Williams addressed the body-shaming in her acceptance speech.

“I’ve had people look down on me, put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger,” she said. “I’ve had people look past me because the color of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I’ve had critics say I [would] never win another Grand Slam when I was only at No. 7 — and here I stand today with 21 Grand Slam titles, and I’m still going.”

It is hoped that the body-shaming of Williams will be put to rest for a while.

Kanye West

Will this year’s birthday celebration top last year’s?

4:00 PMKanye West turned 39 years old Wednesday. The rapper, who gave us The Life of Pablo in February, has been relatively quiet on social media, so we don’t know how he’s celebrating.

We surely remember his 38th birthday celebration, though. His wife, Kim Kardashian West, rented out the Staples Center (reportedly dropping $110,000 on the occasion), so West and his friends could play some hoops in the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.

Singer Justin Bieber was there, along with NBA players Russell Westbrook, John Wall and James Harden. John Legend even kicked off the East-vs.-West-themed game by singing the national anthem.

Here’s a clip from last year’s bash. Rarely do you see West smile like this:

Like many rappers, West has immersed himself in the sports world, and has benefited from the access his fame affords him. He proposed to his wife at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, in 2013, and attended longtime Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game in April at the Staples Center.

Extravagance has been a trademark of West’s, so we expected something big for this 39th birthday. You never know, maybe he’ll celebrate at Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night. I’m sure Kardashian West could get tickets cheaper than $110,000.

Daily Dose: 6/8/16

Hillary Clinton makes history

12:00 PMAn everlasting debate — in-depth analytics aside — surrounds this question: Which team in the history sports has had the greatest dynasty? The early 1970s Howard University men’s soccer program might not be a dynasty, but it came close. Redemption Song, a Spike Lee Lil’ Joints film on the program, was released Tuesday. In addition, The Undefeated’s Justin Tinsley chronicled, in story form, the rise and fall of Howard soccer, which the NCAA stripped of a title in 1971. Definitely check out these pieces on this dynasty that never was.

Hillary Clinton became the first female presumptive presidential nominee of a major party in U.S. history, following wins in the California, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota primaries Tuesday night. Are we surprised? Not really. It seemed as if the former secretary of state and first lady was destined to represent the Democratic Party in the 2016 presidential election. As Clinton celebrated, her main opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, vowed he would keep fighting. Though it’s likely that Clinton will remain the nominee, can you really blame Sanders for standing tall after coming this far? ABC News reports on Clinton’s feat, including David Muir’s exclusive interview with her.

Donald Trump has been waiting, and now has his opponent. Trump has been the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee for more than a month now. With Clinton’s Democratic nod, the 2016 election (as well as the conclusion of President Barack Obama’s two terms in the White House) seems to be creeping up on us. And as controversial as Trump been for some, the reality is setting in that he could be the nation’s next president. As November approaches, the question seems to be, “Will Trump screw up everything we know about elections?” which the FiveThirtyEight staff attempted to answer. The conversation is fascinating.

The U.S. men’s national soccer team made a statement with its win over Costa Rica in the Copa America Centenario on Tuesday. The United States crushed Costa Rica, 4-0, in a game that striker Clint Dempsey called a “must-win” following the 2-0 loss to Colombia last Friday. Dempsey had a goal and two assists, putting the United States in the position to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament. The victory may have provided some relief for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has received his fair share of criticism over the years, including after the loss to Colombia. ESPN’s Doug McIntyre broke down the takeaways from the win.

If you don’t believe in the power of smartphones, you should after this. The 1-year-old daughter of a woman in Australia stopped breathing, and with the simple words, “Hey Siri, can you call the ambulance,” help was soon on the way while the mother did what she could to help her baby. Siri, the iPhone’s voice-recognition personal assistant, is certainly helpful for everyday tasks such as looking up the name of a song or checking sports scores. You’d like to think Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder, envisioned his products having extraordinary capabilities such as this. ABC News’ Lena Masri has the story on the baby, who is still alive, thanks in part to Siri.

Free food

Coffee Break: The Women’s College World Series yielded an EPIC game between Auburn and Oklahoma on Tuesday night that featured a home run-robbing catch from Auburn to extend the contest, and then an Auburn walk-off grand slam. Never have I seen a softball game like it. Here are the two amazing plays in one tweet.

Snack Time: In case you missed it, Atlanta’s ONE Musicfest will bring back one of the best hip-hop collectives, the Dungeon Family, for the first time in 10 years at the September music festival. This gives me hope for another Outkast reunion down the road at the Super Bowl LIII, also in Atlanta in 2019.

Dessert: This re-enactment of the Manny Machado-Yordano Ventura fight from Tuesday night’s Baltimore Orioles-Kansas City Royals game made me laugh.