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Daily Dose: 8/23/17

James Comey to speak at Howard convocation and teach there

1:36 PMHey, all, sorry for the absence Tuesday. I was out sick after a long few weeks of travel, but I’m back now and I’ll also be hosting The Right Time on ESPN Radio on Friday if you’d like to tune in to that.

Welp, it looks like the president is ready for war. On multiple fronts. At what looked like a campaign rally in Arizona on Tuesday, President Donald Trump went full fire and brimstone, outlining how he plans to fight with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, in addition to how he wants to battle the media, a constant refrain of his. To call the speech over the top would be inaccurate, considering this is basically what we get all the time from Trump. But it’s worth noting that the world is watching and no one is particularly impressed. That includes Germany’s Angela Merkel, who said this America First stuff is really just not a smart global strategy when it comes to basically everything.

It’s about to be lit at Howard University’s opening convocation. The historically black institution in Washington, D.C., dealt with a very weird circumstance on campus Aug. 19 when two Trump supporters showed up claiming they were just there for a meal, and now the controversy is likely to continue. The school has secured James Comey — yes, THAT James Comey — to speak next month to kick off the school year, which promises to be a very eye-opening event. He’s the former FBI head, and you might recall that his testimony had the nation at a standstill when he spoke about his relationship with the president. For all the stuff that Howard is criticized for, one thing the school does well is land good speakers and performers, no doubt. Comey will also hold an endowed chair in public policy at the university, engaging in a lecture series to foster discussion and spur interaction on campus and beyond.

Scheduled for Sept. 22, opening convocation officially signals the beginning of the academic year. Comey will formally welcome the class of 2021 to the 2017-18 school year and recognize the university for its accomplishments and its commitment to excellence in truth and service. As the holder of the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy, Comey will lead and conduct five lectures featuring speakers who will touch on several topics.

Powerball is at an insane number right now. The $700M jackpot is the kind of money that brings everyone out of the woodwork to play, including office pools and family groups of all sorts. It’s also the kind of money that, if you win, not only changes your life but also sets things up for generations to come. In short, considering how large that jackpot is, you’d be borderline stupid not to at least give it a shot with a dollar or 20. Me? I’d probably buy a sports franchise with all that cash after taxes, a minor league baseball team or something — of course after buying my family everything they ever wanted. But what are the actual odds of taking home all that cash? Let’s take a look.

While the San Francisco 49ers might not be so progressive on one front, they are on another. You might recall that general manager John Lynch, while discussing the Colin Kaepernick situation, said he didn’t think that protesting the national anthem was an effective thing to do. It’s also important to know he stepped straight into an NFL front office with zero experience, from the broadcast booth. But now the San Francisco NFL franchise has hired the league’s first openly gay coach, who is also a woman. This is a huge step forward for a league that’s been known to be rather conservative on basically all social issues. Good for them.

Free Food

Coffee Break: We talk a decent amount about the White House around here, but what we don’t do is make fun of kids and what they wear. So why anyone would feel the need to take a shot at Barron Trump for not dressing like a grown-up is beyond us. I’m a grown man and still dress like a kid, so this is particularly irksome. Barron, do you until you can’t.

Snack Time: When I was a child, I loved Knight Rider. The show with the talking car felt like the most technologically advanced thing ever at the time. Now, David Hasselhoff wants to remake it as a movie, with a dark twist. I could be into that.

Dessert: Action Bronson’s cooking show has been renewed, but it also might get a daily late-night show. One of those things is a good idea.

Jay-Z supports Big Baller Brand

and says he bought three pairs of the sneakers

5:31 PM“I f— with the vision, fam. Let’s build.”

You know the meme, you know the sentiment and you know you’ve heard it once or twice in your life when you didn’t want to. But LaVar Ball — founder of Big Baller Brand and father of Lonzo Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft — never got that co-sign from anyone. At least, not until last weekend.

Jay-Z, onetime leader of Roc-A-Fella Records who is now a stay-at-home dad, co-signed the CEO from Chino Hills, California, during a wide-ranging interview with Rap Radar’s Elliot Wilson for Tidal. (Disclosure: Wilson is married to Danyel Smith, culture lead here at The Undefeated.)

With the waves of Malibu Beach crashing in the background, Wilson, Brian “B.Dot” Miller and Shawn Carter sat down to discuss 4:44 the album, a seminal work for Jay-Z. He talks at length about what he learned about his creative process, the experience of making the “Footnotes” series in which he discussed various portions of the project with other celebrities, and how he decided to market the release overall. It’s regular-season from Wilson, this time with a bigger star than usual.

Then, the convo turned to Ball.

“LaVar Ball, he said, ‘I’m going to start my own company.’ Everybody’s like, ‘You’re just mad at Nike.’ He may go about things wrong, he may have a big mouth. But I bought three pairs. Why did I buy three pairs? That man has a vision of his own. Why wouldn’t I support him? Why wouldn’t I support him? He feels like he can move culture, and his son got a big enough name, and a big enough brand, that they can do it.”

That’s right, Jay-Z is a fan of Ball’s sneaker company. While he doesn’t exactly represent the youth market that Ball usually operates in, it’s still a big co-sign. Jay-Z might be the uncle at the cookout, but that’s exactly who these shoes are for. Or, big ballers, for lack of a better term, of which Jay-Z certainly is one.

Perhaps more important, though, is the notion of legitimacy that Jay-Z addresses regarding how Ball was initially received in his venture. For whatever reason, a lot of the refrain around BBB’s kicks was related to the basics of whether he could even put together a proper shoe. As if Nike is the first to make sneakers that could stand the test of a basketball game.

It seemed like such a strange critique. Did people really believe that because LaVar was a dude they’d never heard of that he couldn’t be resourceful enough to make shoes? It’s not like you have to be from Wakanda to find the materials to construct sneakers. How do you think Nike is making so much money? It sure as heck isn’t on production costs.

“Nike had to start somewhere,” Jay-Z continued. “Why do we get so upset when we, us as a culture, want to start our own s—? That s— is puzzling to me. I sit back like, and I’m like, ‘This makes no sense.’ ” There are obvious parallels to Stephon Marbury’s situation, when he released his sneakers and was widely mocked, even though they sold well.

But then, whether inadvertently or not, Jay-Z brings up a topic that’s both hilarious and fascinating. “They [aren’t] any more terrible than … I’ve seen some bad sneakers from Under Armour,” he said. “I’ve seen some bad Michael Jordan sneakers. Horrible.”

No. 1, Carter himself has some pretty awful sneakers. They sold well enough but were not a smash hit by any measure, and you certainly don’t see anyone outside of the biggest of fans rocking them these days. But that leads me to the next natural thought: What if this co-sign had come earlier? Or what if he’d even been involved himself?

We’d likely be far less critical of Ball as a businessman than we would have Jay-Z. After all, if you’re already rich, it makes sense to charge high prices for your clothes, right? Even if Ball’s shoes weren’t a hit, to think that his point was made and resonated as far as someone like Jay-Z, who actually went as far as to buy multiple pairs, is important.

It means that he’s caught the eye of his market, and succeeded. Or in other words, LaVar wins.

Lil Yachty takes off at Flight Club

Complex’s latest ‘Sneaker Shopping’ episode is great

12:06 PMJoe LaPuma’s series, in which he brings various stars to sneaker stores to shop and discuss their favorites, has developed into one of my consistently favorite things on the Internet. But occasionally, he lands someone on the show who’s a real live sneakerhead, not just a randomly rich star or athlete. With Lil Yachty, the combo was excellent.

It starts with Lil Boat clearly botching all sorts of lines in the stand-up shot to open. It’s quite funny, because rarely do other guests say anything at all while Joe does his thing. But for the rapper who just was named a Nautica creative designer, talking about clothes is second nature. If you want to know how he got that job, take notes, kids.

“I’d been wearing it, I kept tagging them,” he told GQ during Fashion Week. “I dunno, I just kinda got their attention and they hit me up.”

That aside, having worked with Puma in the past as well as other streetwear companies, gear is a big part of his bit. So, the pre-sneaker copping interview is pretty interesting from multiple sides. He reveals that Kris Kross was a legit fashion inspiration to him, and he also informs Joe about a sneaker buy/sell/trade collective called ATATF (Addicted To All Things Fresh) that La Puma hadn’t even heard of — which is mad rare.

Otherwise, he reveals that he almost made a boat shoe with Reebok (clever!), that he is a bit of an undercover hypebeast and that he really enjoys the culture of Washington, D.C. He also once paid an absurd amount for the Back To The Future Nikes.

Good subject, tremendous interview, excellent episode.

The Morning Roast: 8/20/17

National anthem protests and a whole lotta baseball

The Undefeated

11:16 AMClinton managed to actually make it to the first hour of the show this time around, so all three members of the gang were around this week.

Hour 1

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While all sorts of teams are finding themselves with players looking to protest the national anthem in one way or the other, we tend to forget the NFL relaxed its on-field celebration rules this offseason too. Which means that we just might see a situation in which you get a team full of dudes after a touchdown doing something America isn’t ready for. Like a black power fist.

Otherwise, the crew talked about the potential for the NFL players to strike and the city of Boston’s reaction to Red Sox owner John Henry looking to rename Yawkey Way behind Fenway Park, and Clinton recapped his last week hosting The Dan Le Batard Show, in which he interviewed three contestants from The Bachelorette.

Hour 2

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The highlight of the hour was ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Herm Edwards joining us from Bristol, Connecticut. We talked about all the young quarterbacks around the league and their struggles, and Coach pointed out that Washington’s NFL franchise is basically completely doomed.

Other than that, Domonique decided to drop a huge f-bomb on the show previously, and we now have a new thing to call the show: the clean bathroom of ESPN Radio.

Hour 3

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If you don’t know, Clinton was a pretty serious baseball player in his youth, so the Little League World Series is a big deal in his world for obvious reasons. After explaining all that to the squad, they talked to ESPN MLB Radio analyst Chris Singleton about the MLB Little League Classic, the Sunday Night Baseball game between the Cardinals and Pirates. A big league game in a minor league park is a great idea, and it was even more interesting to watch.

We also talked about the baseball umpires standing up in solidarity to verbal abuse, which led to a whole other discussion about whether they are needed at all in the game. Clinton took a very different stance from Domonique and Mina.

Enjoy!

Daily Dose: 8/21/17

Dick Gregory’s legacy is more than just as a comedian

10:46 AMIt was quite a D.C. weekend for your boy, y’all. I spoke at the memorial celebration for a hero of mine, Cool “Disco” Dan, which was a thrill, an honor and really quite the all-encompassing experience. He got a proper send-off.

At around 2 p.m. Monday, I’m going to turn on my television. I’m going to watch a bunch of idiots with boxes on their heads and goofy glasses staring at the sun. In all honesty, eclipses are cool but way low on the list of natural phenomena that catch my eye, pun intended. Aurora borealis? Dope. Double rainbows? Very cool. Looking into the biggest star in our world to see if a satellite will block it? No thank you. Not trying to burn my retinas for that cheap thrill. But here’s all you need to know about the fun!

Dick Gregory died last weekend. He was not only a comedian but also a civil rights activist and a food pioneer, as far as I’m concerned. He was big on healthy eating as a lifestyle, and his business ventures on that front were how I was first introduced to him. As a kid, it was fun to learn that his history with America was wildly different from just pitching veggie smoothies. Nonetheless, he died at the age of 84. The following tweet sums up pretty much everything he was about.

If you show up on a historically black college campus wearing a Make America Great Again hat, you’re looking for trouble. Not because historically black schools are intolerant, but with all that’s been happening in America, people are understandably upset. So if two high school girls show up at Howard University claiming they were just looking for lunch and then start posting on social media about how they believed they were mistreated, I ain’t buying it. Obviously, that was going to happen, and quite frankly, now they know how a lot of black folks feel on predominantly white campuses.

Magic Johnson might have a serious issue on his hands. He recently took over as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, and everything seemed to fall into place. They landed Lonzo Ball without much headache, considering, and from the rumor mill, it appears that all sorts of players want to join after this season. LeBron James’ name has been on that list, but Paul George is the one who most actively seems likely. One problem: You can let him say it, but the team can’t pursue him. Magic and the Lakers are being accused of such.

Free Food

Coffee Break: No good deed goes unpunished. When San Jose, California, tried to erect some tiny houses for the city’s homeless population to have somewhere to live, the residents at the original site raised complaints, saying they basically didn’t want them. It’s unbelievable how heartless people can be.

Snack Time: I have no idea why people insist on challenging real-life NBA players to one-on-one battles. You are going to get embarrassed, period. The latest victim found himself done at the hands of Dennis Smith Jr.

Dessert: If you haven’t listened to A$AP Ferg’s Still Striving, you need to. Joint knocks.

Daily Dose: 8/18/17

Tina Fey wants to let us all eat cake

3:55 PMThe week is over for me at The Dan Le Batard Show. I’d like to thank everyone who tuned in and contributed, and if you didn’t catch it Friday, here’s the podcast.

Another one bites the dust. Steve Bannon, the man whom many people consider to be at the root of President Donald Trump’s plans for global destruction and domination, is out at the White House, which is not exactly stunning, but most certainly significant. Let’s not forget that he’s one of the founding members of Breitbart, which as far as the right wing is concerned, is a major media outlet. There are rumors that he’ll return to the company, which means he’ll have the platform to basically smear his former boss. Once again, what a mess.

Tina Fey means well. She also happened to go to the University of Virginia, so the situation that unfolded in Charlottesville last weekend is close to her, clearly. But when she went on Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update: Summer Edition for a bit about how to cope with the news of the week, her message came from a place of extreme privilege and tone deafness. Most of us cannot legitimately even think about ignoring neo-Nazis and eating sheetcake. This is a truly serious situation. Her message was not exactly well-received. Here’s a thread.

Now that we’re tearing down Confederate statues left and right, we’ve got some plans to make. What are we going to do with all of them? And should we be putting other things in their place? If you listened to Angela Rye last night on Desus & Mero, quoting a friend from NPR, we should put them all in a museum that speaks to their specific crimes and horrific acts so people can learn in real time how awful they were. There’s also a grass-roots movement to design new monuments, and some of them are incredible.

Kevin Durant on Twitter is the best. He was off for a while, but now that’s he’s got his ring and his Finals MVP trophy, my man is outchea breaking people off in a way that you have to love. He’s already spoken his mind regarding whether or not he wants to go to the White House as a team with his NBA champion Golden State Warriors, and he is in full clapback mode at this point. He took a shot at ESPN for that fantasy football auction bit, and now he’s turned his lens to a former ESPN employee. Slim ain’t playing.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re of mixed race, specifically white and black, I could see how the situation in America right now could be more trying than ever. But those mixes come from somewhere. This story about how Trump ruined one son’s relationship with his white mother is truly fascinating.

Snack Time: Speaking of the president, The New Yorker has a new issue coming out soon, and the cover image is a definite doozy. Wow.

Dessert: Allure magazine is officially invited to the cookout.

Daily Dose: 8/17/17

Terror attack hits Barcelona

3:18 PMThe week is rolling along on The Dan Le Batard Show. On Thursday we had the homey Domonique Foxworth, as well as DeMario Jackson, whom you may know from his time on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. Here it is.

Tearing down monuments is not an easy task, both physically and symbolically. Folks don’t seem to understand that erecting statues to white supremacy is damaging on multiple levels, so when you go to remove something they’ve looked at for so long, it’s jarring. And in the case of Takiyah Fatima Thompson, who was charged with injury of a statue among other things, people were not happy. Now, three more people have been charged in the case. And in an incredible show of support, hundreds of residents showed up to turn themselves in for the same crime.

While the U.S. is still reeling from its own terrorist attack, across the globe, apparently there are copycat artists. In Barcelona, someone slammed a car into people in a busy tourist area on Thursday. At least 13 people are dead, in a scene that is remarkably similar to the scenario in which a woman was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. It’s a very trying time in a lot of places, but this feels really bad considering it just happened stateside too.

Apparently, there’s a solar eclipse coming up soon. I know this because people keep trying to sell me random sunglasses so that I can look at it, without blinding myself, or something like that? If I’m being honest, I don’t really see what the big deal is. I guess it’s the first time in a century that the whole country will be able to see this, so we’ll all be standing on the street staring in the sky when our enemies come attack us. In all seriousness, though, don’t get got by someone hawking phony shades.

When it comes to protest, the aggrieved aren’t the only ones who can help. Often it’s those who in fact look like the offenders, but don’t side with them in principle, who can do the most. Why? Because people trust those like themselves most. So when it comes to taking a stand at NFL games, if a white player decides to do something on the field, it will resonate differently than it does coming from others. Michael Bennett thinks that’s how real change will come along. Then again, 49ers GM John Lynch says that protests are divisive. Sigh.

Free Food

Coffee Break: You know who Martin Shkreli is. Pharma Bro, who somehow found himself getting involved in random hip-hop situations, basically because he could afford it — that guy? Well, he’s being charged with securities fraud. And the transcript of his jury selection is completely incredible. Shouts to the Wu.

Snack Time: It’s amazing how racism in tech industries can affect things. When it comes to programming common machines, if you don’t account for black folks, things like this happen.

Dessert: Easily the best first pitch of all time. Indisputable fact.