ESPYS opening number makes major statement
A more serious tone comes over the awards show in 2016
9:36 PMOn Wednesday night in Los Angeles, the 24th annual ESPYS opened with a powerful statement from four of the best players in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James stood in black tuxedos, shoulder to shoulder on stage, arms clasped in front of them. The crew once known for riding a banana boat on vacation instead took a leadership role in letting the country know that Black Lives Matter. Their faces were sober, their words were eloquent, their clothes were exquisite, their emotion was real.
Earlier in the night, various characters from around the world of sports and entertainment spoke on the topic. Amid the flurry of camera lights and adoring fans, it was impossible to overlook the pall on America.
“It’s been an unprecedented time, because of the exposure that it gets. I remember the era of civil unrest in the ’60s, it was all of this and some. So, it’s almost like reliving it,” Basketball Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving, 66, said Wednesday. “You know, Watts, [California], Newark, [New Jersey], and various places and cities that got burned down. I mean, these are the type of situations that ignite riots and they also bring about change. So, I think that’s the big thing about what’s happening now. … I think there’ll be dramatic change, with us taking a look at how police handle their business. And we’ll all be better because of that.”
Hannibal Buress, the Chicago-raised comedian whose work drastically changed the way we feel about Bill Cosby, joked that personally he still isn’t sure what to do when he’s recognized by police. As a guy who went from a relative unknown to rather famous from his work on television, he said that once in a blue moon it helps him, but not really.
“Occasionally, a cop will recognize me or something. ‘Hey, big fan!’ and I always feel weird,” Buress, 33, said. “It’s just always feels weird when a cop takes a picture. I really want to say no, but I can’t say no. I do get weirded out when cops recognize me. I’m like, ‘Cops watch stand up comedy, too?’ ”
As for the rest of the country, Buress thinks that police departments policing themselves would go a long way. “I think it really starts within the police forces where they’re willing to say, ‘Hey man, that’s messed up.’ Instead of having their code of silence and knowing that something is wrong and letting it pass. And once you have police officers saying, ‘Hey this is messed up, we don’t stand for this,’ that’ll be a huge step for that situation.”
But as we saw to open the show Wednesday night, it’s not a topic that athletes want to or choose to ignore. New York Giants rookie cornerback Eli Apple is a 20-year-old who’s yet to play a down in the NFL. But he knows that what he’s seen recently is just plain not okay.
“It’s been definitely tragic for sure. It’s sad to see America be like this, just going through all this controversy and brutality. The only thing you can do is just control and have faith. That’s about it,” Apple said. “It’s talked about all the time [in the locker room]. They’re a lot of debates going on, but there’s nothing we can really do, we’ve just got to make sure what we can to make America better.”
Welcome to the ESPYS
Where Los Angeles stays the same, but the sports world brings its ‘A’ game
8:51 PMWhat up, gang. I’m coming to you live from Los Angeles where the ESPYS will be taking place Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST, with WWE superstar John Cena as the host. We’ll be doing the whole bit tomorrow, so be sure to check this space which I’ll be updating with all sorts of things from not only the red carpet but also live from the show at the Microsoft Theater.
If I’m being honest, what I’ve been most worried about is what I’m going to wear, considering this is my first-ever time covering a red-carpet event. But I consulted senior style writer Jill Hudson, and my plan for white jeans as a primary look is a go. But then again, I won’t be the one with the camera trained on me.
— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 11, 2016
As for the show itself, there are going to be some extremely tight awards to hand out. Best Male Athlete, which features Stephen Curry, Cam Newton, Bryce Harper and LeBron James feels especially strong, until you get to say, Best Upset. There, Holly Holm over Ronda Rousey and Roberta Vinci beating Serena Williams are both on the ticket.
Perhaps most anticipated will be the social coronation of Ciara and Russell Wilson since they’ve gotten married. They’ve been glowing since the ceremony and are sure to be a huge hit together. In addition, Justin Timberlake will return for the first time since he hosted in 2008, to honor Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Abby Wambach with the Icon Award.
We’ll also be doing an all-ESPYS podcast on Thursday morning for you, to recap it all. Should be a hectic day, but I promise it’ll be fun.
Rich Homie Quan had one job
… and he blew it
Monday night’s VH1 Hip Hop Honors should have been all about celebrating the genre’s heroines such as Salt-N-Pepa, Missy Elliot, the aforementioned Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah and more. And, you know what? It absolutely was. But all anyone can talk about is rapper Rich Homie Quan’s gaffe that certainly has people — wait for it — feeling “some type of way.”
Rich Homie Quan not only stumbled through the lyrics of The Notorious B.I.G.’s verse on “Get Money,” he straight forgot them altogether, leaving Lil’ Kim to pull double duty. I can understand dropping the ball on “Notorious Thugs,” or “Everyday Struggle” or “Who Shot Ya?” While they’re classics in their own right, those aren’t pop-culture staples the way the Junior M.A.F.I.A. banger is. But you absolutely cannot desecrate “Get Money.” Especially when they’ve got you on tape saying this before the damn show!
— VH1 (@VH1) July 12, 2016
To be fair, I get it, people make mistakes. Performing someone else’s songs isn’t as easy as it seems. And there’s a certain level of pressure that comes with spitting a legend’s lyrics. Lupe Fiasco caught flak in 2007 for a two-bar mishap on the late Phife Dawg’s verse from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation.” But with Fiasco, it was a minor fender bender compared to the 20-car pileup that was Rich Homie Quan’s.
And, look, I like quite a bit of Rich Homie Quan’s music. That first Rich Gang tape with Young Thug was incredible. But a spade has to be called a spade — you can’t be out here having Biggie choke on his T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape up in heaven. Rich Homie Quan, you signed a damn contract. Know the damn lyrics!
Needless to say, his blunder wasn’t lost on social media:
I don't know my passport number or my drivers license number by heart but I know BIG's "Get Money" verse verbatim.
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) July 12, 2016
— B E A N Z | Wakanda’s Favorite 📸 (@PhotosByBeanz) July 12, 2016
When Puffy pull up on Rich Homie Quan back stage pic.twitter.com/fxB7Zw1XHC
— DussèDaddy💸 (@ReemRozay) July 12, 2016
— watchLOUD (@watchLOUD) July 12, 2016
Daily Dose: 7/12/16
President Obama to speak at service today for five slain Dallas police officers
11:15 AMYour All Day commander in chief, Clinton Yates, is currently en route to Los Angeles to cover the 2016 ESPYs, which airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN. So today, I’ll be taking over as curator of Daily Dose to update you with the news of the day. Let’s get it.
President Barack Obama will visit Dallas on Tuesday. When five officers were killed and seven were injured during a Black Lives Matter protest last Thursday, Obama addressed the nation not from the White House, but from Poland. The continued protests and civil unrest in the country following last week’s horrific events have since forced the president to cut his trip to Europe short. He will deliver a speech at a memorial service for the five slain officers who were killed by a sniper last Thursday. Ex-President George W. Bush, former governor of Texas, is also expected to give remarks. ABC News’ Arlette Saenz and Serena Marshall have the details on the service.
Who will be Donald Trump’s running mate? That’s the question, and the answer does not seem to coincide with conventional Republican wisdom. Trump has shied away from considering young, promising and diverse Republican politicians to be his vice president. According to The New York Times, the party’s “brightest stars” aren’t on Trump’s radar. But should we expect anything but a “my way or the highway” approach from the party’s presumptive presidential nominee? We’ll see whom he eventually chooses. For the time being, ABC News tracks the vice president sweepstakes, or Veepstakes, for Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Let’s ponder a world in which an All-Star team played together in the regular season. Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is Tuesday night. I don’t know about you, but every time I watch an all-star game, in any sport, I can’t help but dream about these superstar players competing with each other for more than one game in a year. Say this could actually happen. Would an Major League Baseball superteam actually live up to the hype? Could the team go a perfect 162-0 on the season? FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur breaks down the numbers.
Laremy Tunsil hasn’t turned his back on his alma mater. In April, draft night was awkward to say the least for Tunsil, a former University of Mississippi offensive lineman. Moments before the draft began, an old video of the Tunsil smoking marijuana was posted on his personal Twitter account. Later that night, a text message thread between Tunsil and one of his coaches at Ole Miss, in which Tunsil asked for money, was posted on Instagram. Tunsil fell in the draft and lost millions of dollars in the process. Meanwhile, Ole Miss has faced NCAA violations. Regardless of the strained relationship, Tunsil hasn’t forgotten where he came from. He recently sent a letter to his former head coach Hugh Freeze. ESPN has the story.
Coffee Break: For those who stayed up for the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, you might have seen how the game ended — with 5-foot-5 Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce attempting to run through 6-foot-6 actor Omar Benson Miller to score at home plate. Let’s just say it didn’t end well for Boyce. I’ve been playing this Vine on loop all morning.
Snack Time: Do you ever wonder what Gucci Mane has been doing since he got out of jail? Well, he hasn’t been making too many moves, since he’s still on house arrest. So the streetwear company Supreme recently paid the rapper a visit and left with this new ad. It’s glorious.
Dessert: Tim Duncan retired from the NBA on Monday. In all the tweets paying homage to the longtime San Antonio Spurs superstar, this was the best one.
Draymond Green arrested in Michigan
The 26-year-old NBA forward was released on bond after an altercation at a restaurant
2:55 PMNo matter where Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green goes, controversy seems to follow.
The 26-year-old was arrested Sunday for reportedly assaulting a man at a restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan.
Police described the incident as “basically an altercation between two guys” and there were no injuries. He was released on a $200 bond the same day, police said.
Green’s arraignment is scheduled for July 20 and, if convicted, he could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The Warriors released a statement to the media saying they are aware of Green’s situation and in the process of gathering more information.
“We are aware of news involving Draymond Green in Michigan over the weekend,” the team said. “At this point, we are collecting information and will have no further comment until we have a better understanding of the situation.”
Green, who played for Michigan State University in East Lansing, just completed his best season since being drafted by the Warriors in 2012. He appeared in 81 games, averaging 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists during the 2015-16 season. Green was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in 2016.
WNBA teams pay tribute to tragedies
But some teams took a different approach than others
12:57 PMAfter last week’s mayhem tore the nation apart on multiple fronts, three WNBA teams decided to pay their respects to victims in different ways during the weekend.
First up were the Minnesota Lynx, who are closest to the mourning out of the three teams, with the death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, rocking the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul community, never mind the rest of the country. The warm-up shirt each Lynx player wore on Saturday said, “Change starts with us. Justice and accountability,” while reading on the back, “Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Black Lives Matter.” A Dallas police shield is just above the last phrase on the back of the shirt.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 10, 2016
In New York, the Liberty took a similar tack on Sunday. Their shirts plainly read, “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#DallasFive.”
— espnW (@espnW) July 11, 2016
In Los Angeles, also on Sunday, the Staples Center decided to go full non-woke. Mind you, actress/singer Amber Riley (you might know her from the Fox show Glee) performed at this game, wearing a shirt that said “Selma Is Now.”
— BallerAlert (@balleralert) July 10, 2016
UEFA’s Euro 2016 final was blacker than ever
Which is no surprise, considering who hosted it
11:45 AMWhen Éder came on for Renato Sanches for Portugal in the 79th minute of Sunday’s match against France in Saint-Denis, it was clear: This was the blackest UEFA European Championships final we’ve ever seen. One dreadlocked brother came on for another, and the latter scored the goal that won the tournament.
Between the two sides, they fielded 18 black players, which isn’t counting Dimitri Payet — who was born on the French island of Réunion, off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. There are three reasons for this: colonialism, globalization and FIFA itself. For decades, both nations’ history as colonial powers served as a recruiting tool for sports, particularly soccer. Over the years, that fact has sparked discussion about conflicting concepts of nationalism with certain nations.
How French is France is the basic question. With people calling it the “French National Team of Africa” and various other snide monikers, other nations with less inviting immigration situations have long called the practice unfair, to an extent. Take Denmark, for example, where a far-right political party posted messages referring to Europe as “Africa’s backyard.”
Alternately, some people in France, particularly players, have used it as a rallying cry. In 2013, Nike released a version of the French away jersey with the phrase, “nos differences nous unissent,” sewn into them, which means, “our differences unite us.” Over the past 20 years, the French team has gone from looking like the main cast of the 1995 movie La Haine, starring Vincent Cassel, Said Taghmaoui and Hubert Koundé, to a far blacker, immigrant melange.
Though eight of 11 of France’s black players (again, not including Payet) were born in France, many of them are first-generation Europeans, who have parents from the vast expanse of nations and territories that France colonized over the years: Senegal, Guinea, Guadeloupe and Mali. Three players were born in the Congo, Senegal and Cameroon. France’s Samuel Umtiti actually grew up in Angola, before moving to Toulouse, France. Portugal’s roster includes two players born in Guinea-Bissau, one in Cape Verde and another in Angola. Looking back, Eusebio, arguably the best player in Portugal’s history, was born in Mozambique.
More largely, though, FIFA in the past decade has loosened rules to make this easier for most nations. One need not necessarily have a history of invading and pillaging in order to draw from a wider field to naturalize into your roster pool anymore. Now, you can play for more than one team at the youth level, and if a relative as distant as a grandparent is from the nation you wish to play for, you can.
As an example, take Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj. When those rules changed in 2013, he became eligible to play for Belgium, Albania, Serbia, Turkey and Croatia. He chose Belgium, where he was born, a nation that also had one of the most diverse squads at this year’s Euros with nine black players.
The wave of immigrants coming from global tragedies pouring into Western Europe has likely forever changed what the so-called traditional faces of rosters look like. It’s already infiltrated the largest soccer nations. England has long been one of the more progressive rosters, and nations like Germany and Switzerland have been steadily diversifying as well. The next phase we’ll likely see this shift in is international basketball rosters.
That aside, when the preening peacock Cristiano Ronaldo left the game in the 25th minute, it was presumed that Portugal’s Seleção was doomed against Les Bleus. Instead, a man born in Africa changed that fate in extra time with what ultimately was the game-winning goal. Portugal manager Fernando Santos said of Éder after the match, “the ugly duckling scored — he is now a beautiful swan.”
A black swan, if you will.
Daily Dose: 7/11/16
Protests continue throughout the weekend
9:41 AMThere are pretty much two things going on in America right now. One of them is extremely important. The other is Pokemon Go, an app which is clogging up Central Park and also getting people robbed in Missouri.
This country is about as tense as its been as long as I’ve been alive. It’s hard to think of a moment recently when relations between police officers and citizens nationwide were so nakedly combative for all of the world to see. Across the country, protests sprang up last weekend following last week’s violence. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a particularly iconic photo of a woman named Leshia Evans has emerged as one of the images of the year, as did another of an interim police director walking arm in arm with protestors in Memphis. ABC News reports on our tipping point.
If you wanted to see Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton, you’re too late. The man who created this Broadway musical, which combines hip-hop with American history like none other, is letting go of his baby and walking away. His last show was Saturday night. There was a star-studded cast in his last show, and he plans to pursue other projects while he’s gone. And for as much of a star as he is, I think he’s barely scratched the surface when it comes to what his stardom could really reach. ABC’s Lesley Messer has the details of the final performance.
Emojis are officially a part of my life. I use them all the time, sometimes as a joke, but mainly not. It’s pretty much just another way to talk. My personal favorite is one I’d like to think I invented, but our whole crew uses: the striker clap. 👏👏👏👏👍👍👏👉👍. Basically, it means good effort, I see you, it might not have worked out, but hopefully it will next time. It happens about once a game in soccer, if you’re not familiar. Anyway, FiveThirtyEight’s Laura Hudson has a new tool that helps you find the perfect emoji for any occasion. This thing is rather cool.
Serena Williams did it again last weekend. She won her 22nd Grand Slam title in dominating fashion, crushing Angelique Kerber in the women’s singles final on Saturday. Her ascent to the top of tennis and really all of sports has been so remarkable that people like Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey hit her up after she wins titles, and Beyoncé and Jay Z sit in the crowd. Not to mention LeBron James giving her props. She tied Steffi Graf’s record for Grand Slam title victories, and also holds the record for winning percentage against top-five opponents. She’s the best, Jerry. The best. Take a look at her legacy.
Coffee Break: With the Euros ending Sunday with Portugal as the victor, the transfer window talk is heating up. Paul Pogba, the fascinating French midfielder, who’s spent the last few seasons with Juventus in Serie A, will likely be the darling of Manchester United or Real Madrid. Either way, someone’s getting a huge boost when he decides.
Snack Time: I don’t watch bicycle racing, but if you tell me that it’s possible that llamas might be blocking a road race, you’ve definitely got me at the very least interested. You should click, if only to see a bunch of llamas in public.
gets a tribute mural in the parking lot where he died
African Skateboarding Championships
are underway in Madagascar
We’ve highlighted skate programs in Africa before, but today, the African Skateboarding Championships kick off in Madagascar. It’s part of a 10-country tour that began in June and includes Angola, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The World Skateboarding Federation (WSF) first sanctioned the tour after the International Olympic Committee announced that skateboarding will be a part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
At the time, WSF also unveiled its plans for an elite training program called the African Skateboard Academy, designed to help develop the best young skaters in Africa. WSF will sponsor all travel and training costs.
“Last year, a record 32 participants competed in the WSF-sanctioned African Championships. Since then, we have had overwhelming interest in sanctioning National Championship programs in 10 other African countries,” WSF president Tim McFerran said in May. “In addition to WSF’s support of the first-ever Ethiopia skate park, we are looking to support three new skate parks in Africa in 2016-17. The African Skateboarding Academy was a natural concept to support other grassroots development programs and to help support Africa’s best in the hope of one day competing in the Olympics. With skateboarding’s potential of being named to the 2020 Olympics, it was the right time for us to activate the African Skateboarding Academy. We hope to further develop the growing number of elite-level skateboarders across Africa who don’t have the means to hone their skills in world class skate parks like the top U.S. skateboarders do.”
Skateboarding making it to the Olympics is one thing, as far as cultural wow moments go. But to see organizations creating grassroots level programs to make sure that the globe can compete on similar levels is rather remarkable. The continent’s history with skating isn’t entirely new. South Africa hosted the Maloof Money Cup World Championships back in 2011, which has since been replaced by the Kimberley Diamond Cup and is the biggest skate competition in Africa.
Winners of each national championship will qualify for the Skateboarding World Championships in October.
Daily Dose: 7/8/16
Heal yourself first, America
11:00 AMThis has been one of the more devastating weeks in this nation I can remember. If you’re the kind of person that considers it a “sides” issue, fine. But either way, everyone is hurting. Know that. And try to be nicer. Please.
Thursday night was another awful one in America. After a protest in Dallas, a group of people decided that they wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to kill a bunch of police officers and unfortunately succeeded in that goal. Five officers were killed, seven more were injured. If I’m being honest, I’d tell you that I can’t even deal with this. It’s not about black vs. blue, no matter what your local television may tell you. But understand that Dallas, among many other places, is suffering. ABC News has the story.
Let us not forget that just the day before, a man was shot and killed by the police in Minnesota. A woman named Diamond Reynolds managed to do something like we’ve never seen and documented the whole thing, all while her 4-year-old daughter was watching. As far as completely terrifying things that have happened in the past week go, this was absolutely up there. Nobody knew where she was for a while, but now she’s back home and talking about how the incident went. ABC’s Morgan Winsor reports.
So, let’s talk about a different country. One that’s having its own problems, on a different level. While we’re out here killing each other left and right with firearms of all types, in Great Britain, they’re passive-aggressively trying to ruin each others’ lives. There are people who believed that Brexit was legit going to make the country a better place, and there are others who, well, didn’t. The bottom line is that all this comes down to money, and how people can make it and where. FiveThirtyEight’s Anil Kashyap explains why this matters.
Rajon Rondo does not have the best reputation. The NBA point guard has gone off the chain a couple of times in his career about things that some would consider understandable, but now, he’s on a team that thinks it has a chance to contend in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls don’t, of course, because any conference with LeBron James in it is the one that The King is going to win. All that aside, James’ homey Dwyane Wade is on that Chicago team now, which is awkward, on some level. No worries, though. Rondo says it’s Jimmy Butler’s team! Yikes.
Coffee Break: There are so many drops in the business: Metro Boomin, Mike Will, DJ Mustard. You know them all. But Cookin Soul’s drop just might be my favorite. Here’s a story about him, his whole deal and how he makes beats. If you claim to care about hip-hop, you should care about the producers. It’s 2016, they matter the most again.
Snack Time: I live in a place where the concept of bringing your kids somewhere is controversial. Almost as much as where you can bring your dog. Check out this wild story about a place that says: No kids after 8 p.m. (Read the comments.)
Dessert: This is a good song. You might like it, you might not. But it helps me heal.