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

Nick Young

is getting somewhat dragged in these streets

4:55 PMIt’s been a strange couple of days for Swaggy P. First, the NBA guard tried to pull a news dump on the world by tweeting right before Game 7 of the NBA Finals that he was single again, after a rather tumultuous relationship with Australian rapper Iggy Azalea ended. We really wanted this one to work, but it’s concluded with such a fireball that it’s probably better that these two never see each other again.

Now, even Foot Locker is getting in on the fun, all with the help of D’Angelo Russell, Young’s Los Angeles Lakers teammate, who is half the reason Young’s relationship spiraled out of control to begin with.

If you don’t recall, it was the 20-year-old Russell who videotaped Young talking about his dalliances with women who were not his fiancee, then posted it on the internet, then said he didn’t do it (?), then admitted it, apologized and the Lakers’ season crash-landed into the Pacific Ocean as it was destined to do the second Kobe Bryant decided to return for one more year before retiring at the end of this past season.

After that moronic incident, the marriage plans were put on hold. Russell was widely chided as being incredibly immature, but that insane game Bryant had to close his career sort of made us forget that Young’s life was in shambles. Now, shoe stores are out here clowning him in ads, and that’s just the beginning.

As it turns out, Azalea is not here for the nonsense. She put his stuff out in the street and had his car towed, which is relatively low on the “things your ex can do to put you on blast” list. If you’re wondering, the No. 1 seed in that group is what we call going “full Left Eye” and burning down your man’s house. Lower on the list is Angela Bassett’s treatment from Waiting To Exhale, putting all your man’s stuff out and torching it. Honorable mention goes to Elin Woods, who went upside golfer Tiger Woods’ Escalade with a golf club.

Anyway, it appears that Young has escaped relatively unscathed from his side-chick shenanigans. Yet, instead of playing it cool, he’s found himself in cahoots with the biggest savage around the NBA not named Derek Fisher: GILBERT ARENAS. Of course, these two know each other from their days as knucklehead teammates with the Washington Wizards. This will not end well.

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Fam, seriously. This picture just looks like instant, ratchet goonery. Half that caption is redacted because this, on some levels, is still a family site. Let’s just say it involved describing in detail what (and whom) the two would be socializing with (to put lightly) in the immediate future. That post was followed up with another video of Young playing a guitar in a store, with a caption that, of course, insults Azalea.

Arenas has been about this life for some time, so it’s nothing particularly surprising, but if you’re in Young’s squad right now, you need to get your boy. Or join him.

Our favorite moments since Game 7

The Cavs have won, and the celebrations are fun

2:24 PMWhen the horn finally sounded, the celebration in Cleveland was on full tilt. My buddy in Cleveland sent me a video of an entire bar just deciding to sing the national anthem after the the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors, 93-89, on Sunday to win the NBA title. And of course, the memes following the win have been spectacular. Here are some of our favorites. Most of them involve J.R. Smith, because well, he’s J.R. Smith.

You have to wonder at what point the shirt was ever on, after the initial removal. The idea of Smith walking around half-naked with a bottle of bubbly the instant he left his tremendous press conference is not hard to imagine. Alas, he didn’t, but we wish he did.

Speaking of which, let’s take this moment to remember when Smith was playing in China and quite literally breaking dudes’ ankles.

As for the gawd James, he started his expert-level trolling early. On the plane, he was rocking a hat that featured Kermit the Frog sipping tea.

After that, he graduated to the second level. This T-shirt is amazing.

Not to be outdone, of course, was Nike, which dropped this extremely poignant commercial that perfectly captures the emotion of what it was like Sunday night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWGgMbcTbFk&feature=share

Good for Cleveland. Space Jam 2 is about to be lit.

Daily Dose: 6/20/16

Believeland gets its moment

10:07 AMThere was a basketball game Sunday night, apparently, but it was also Father’s Day. So, for that reason you should read this story about a father and son, both of whom are in journalism. And that’s putting it *very* lightly.

If you didn’t already know, the president and first family were on vacation last week. They went to Yosemite, as part of their tour around a couple national parks, which sounds and looked quite fun. Sidebar: I’ve never been to New Mexico. My mom loves it. I met a guy from Sante Fe a couple weeks ago and he had quite the worldview. Anyways, the first lady and crew were on their way back from the trip when a little thing called the NBA Finals got in the way. Obama is as Obama does, and they smooth stayed on Air Force One to watch the end of the game. Bawse.

Before Game 6, there were a lot of people who were in the Currys’ corner. Count me in. They were so fun! Living in Walnut Creek, California, cooking shows, ridiculous 3-pointers, who wouldn’t want to be them? It was like the NBA version of the aforementioned Obamas. Then, things got weird. Stephen Curry threw a mouthpiece. Ayesha Curry started hilariously roasting people on Twitter. It was like they showed what life was like when the cameras were off, and suddenly the “Calaviers” as my brother calls them, were way more likeable. Pablo Torre explains “the NBA is rigged” conspiracy theorists.

Let’s talk about something real quick: LeBron James notched a triple-double Sunday night. It was Game 7, on the road, and the man had one of the most quietly tremendous lines in the box score we’ve ever seen. Let’s also be clear about something else: If he’d managed to connect on that dunk attempt at the end of the game, it would have been the greatest play in the history of the NBA Finals. (BUT THAT BLOCK THOUGH!) Alas, he just sunk a free throw instead, to seal it. I mean, really. The lead-up to this game was nuts and the actual product was bananas. Kevin Arnovitz reports.

Don’t forget Kyrie Irving. The man who sparked this incredible comeback from down 3-1 in the series, had a couple of monster buckets himself Sunday night. Yes, King James had 41 the same night he did. Yes, King James had 41 the next game, too. But the fact that Irving went into takeover mode in Game 5 was as critical to the Cavs winning this series as anything else. And Sunday, he capped it off by draining a triple in Stephen Curry’s face, which was stone-cold vicious. Late in the shot clock, too? Uncle Drew came to play, kiddos. Now he’s got a ring to prove it.

Free Food

Coffee Break: I love J.R. Smith, always have and always will. His DM slides and club-going ways aside, it always felt like he genuinely loved playing basketball. On Sunday, after his team won the title, he had a full-blown breakdown at the podium. It was a really intense moment. Also, his dad is named Earl and so is mine, so, yeah. Tears.

Snack Time: Kevin Love was the first person that James embraced when the buzzer sounded Sunday night, which was perfect for so many reasons. That aside, when the celebration was on, the beach boy went full WWE, as you do.

Dessert: Tyronn Lue. Tyronn Lue. Tyrone LueTYRONN LUE.

Rome

is awash in art of all kinds, and it is quite ‘impressionante’

7:00 AMLast week, I visited Italy for a wedding. For a week, I was in Rome doing what I do, which is looking at as much local art as possible. And sure, there’s gallery life, but that’s way less fun than just walking around. So, here’s some of the stuff I was lucky enough to find on the trip. Hope you like it.

These were from the neighborhood of Trastevere, where we stayed.

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Now, this next set might look familiar to you. If you can picture a silver Aston Martin speeding down this stretch at night, then you’ll remember it from the James Bond film Spectre that came out in 2015. The chase scene actually happened at night, which allowed city officials to feel better about how they were presenting their city. Apparently, there was a large concern that the cleanliness of the streets, or lack thereof, would reflect poorly on Rome if not properly cleaned up (or digitally removed).

Anyways, what you get is a great stretch of art that only Rome could provide.

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These next two were actually just outside of a monastery. There are some things you don’t tag. That’s one of them.

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Here’s one from Assisi, an extremely religious town. Literal street art, and an interesting back story. The artist here basically painted the same thing every day, touching up the work as needed. Then, on Sunday, he’d add another. And that was it. Very cool.

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Lastly, back in Rome, this guy was my dude.

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Arrivederci, bambinos.

Mike Tyson

gets the graffiti treatment in France

7:00 AM

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T-Kid is as legendary in the graffiti game as Mike Tyson is in the boxing world. But this time, he posted a piece from an artist named Alex One, who is French. This tremendous portrait of Tyson looking thoughtful if not regal, on some level, is from a festival in Vitry-sur-Seine, which is a suburb of Paris.

As an aside, can we talk about how forward thinking Tyson’s face tattoo is, as a matter of art? When he first did it, people thought he was completely insane and ruining any level of marketability he might have had in even trying to resurrect his life. But in retrospect, it looks great, if not elegant compared to some of the other stuff we’ve seen from celebrity face tats.

Mike Tyson: creative thought leader.

Board on Saturday

Nike SB hits Los Angeles

to bless a couple app users with a fun surprise

7:00 AMThe last time we checked in with Theotis Beasley, he was regulating at a skate park. This time he’s handing out goodies to the kids, with his team Nike SB. It’s a short video in which you get to see pros interact with hopefuls, and watch them catch wreck at a courthouse, a school and a park. This is quite a lot of fun packed into two minutes.

Plus, free shoes are always awesome.

Which would you take?

That’s the question in ‘The Skate Pill 2’

7:00 AMWhat happens when skaters Lamont Holt, Manny Santiago and Jason Wakuzawa get together? Tremendous storylines, that’s what. In The Skate Pill, we were treated to a tale that’s part Karate Kid, part The Matrix. You know the deal. A kid goes to the skate park, can’t skate, gets clowned. But then, the local d-boy shows up, hooks up said loser and he comes back and dominates the jerk.

It’s a fun one, mainly because of Holt’s charisma and the mock seriousness of the tone. In the sequel, however, we get much less skating and much more thespianism. You see, in order to get a second hit, Holt is forced to go to idiotic lengths to get his next fix. It’s worth your time, for the dialogue alone, but the intro features handstand skating, which is the best skating.

I have no idea which I’d choose.

Daily Dose: 6/17/16

The Warriors had a terrible night, on and off the court

9:23 AMWhat up, kiddos. Thursday was an exciting day in the sports world, what with the Euros, the U.S. men’s national team winning a knockout-round game AND the Cleveland Cavaliers looking like an actual franchise. Former Cav Craig Ehlo must be pumped.

Did you know that guns are designed to kill? This basic fact seems to escape a decent amount of people and on Thursday President Barack Obama had to remind America that such is the case. You know why this notion that guns make sense in society still prevails? You guessed it! Our old friend patriarchal supremacist garbage. The fact that this even has to be explained to some people is truly depressing, but whatever. ABC News’ Robin Gradison and Alexander Mallin explain how Obama broke it down.

So, there’s a thing called Brexit. It’s the name used for the question of whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. It’s the other topic that everyone was talking about in Italy when I was there, and many Brits have very strong opinions about it. The concern is that if the U.K. leaves then half of the continent will collapse (among many other things). But the debate took a turn for the far worse, when a British politician was killed in what appears to be a politically related assassination on some level. ABC News’ Louise Dewast reports.

There’s something I need to tell you: I love the Kardashians. Not that I keep up with them, so to speak, or that I have any particular affinity for their day-to-day shenanigans, but I respect their hustle on a level that I do for few celebrities. They’re America’s television family of this generation and if you’re one of those people who thinks they don’t have talents, you try getting someone to pay you to do whatever you want with your family and friends. Right. That said, Kim Kardashian did an interview with GQ recently and it was insightful. ABC’s Lesley Messer has the details.

Yooooo, the Golden State Warriors had a bit of meltdown last night, yeah? LeBron James has dropped 41 points in two straight NBA Finals games and the team from Oakland, California, had a poor night well beyond that. Let’s review. MVP Stephen Curry was tossed from the game. Then his wife, Ayesha Curry, got her tweets off, calling on NBA conspiracy theories. Then, her dad got mixed up in a bizarre, mistaken-identity situation in which the police thought he was a con man, who’s shown up at several high-profile league events. What a mess. Anyway, James moved that work, as J.A. Adande notes.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Neither one of my grandmothers were around when they would use computers regularly, but after reading this story, I certainly wish they were, beyond my feeling about them as family members. One grandma in the U.K., however, wins the prize for adorable because when she Googles things, she is beyond polite.

Snack Time: Chan Yuen-ting is a soccer coach in the Hong Kong Premier League. Chan Yuen-ting took Eastern to its first title in 21 years. Chan Yuen-ting is 27 years old. Today, she’s my hero.

Dessert: *DJ Khaled point* Philly, you smart. Happy weekend, everybody.

Music

Happy Birthday, Tupac

Here’s a preview of the movie about your life

2:32 PMToday is the birthday of Tupac Amaru Shakur, the legendary rapper who was gunned down in Las Vegas at the age of 25. He would have been 45 years old today, and in conjuction with the commemoration of his death, a trailer for the new biopic about his life All Eyez on Me (named after Pac’s 1996 album) has been released. In it, we see actor Demetrius Shipp Jr. playing the West Coast icon, with what is presumably the voice of his mother Afeni (played by Danai Gurira) imparting her indispensable knowledge.

[Dear Mama: Activist, Black Panther, Afeni Shakur — Mother of Tupac Shakur — dies at 69]

Perhaps most strange about this film, coming in what is effectively a golden era of hip-hop biopics, is that Jamal Woolard is reprising his role as Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, from his own biopic about Biggie from 2009, Notorious, which is just cinematic synergy on a whole other level.

It’s unfair to Shipp to call his portrayal of Shakur surprising, but the role of the Death Row Records artist is a tall task if for no other reason than he was so charismatic, so overwhelming and so skilled, that he could barely be imitated. Alas, it appears Shipp is up to the task. Pac was obviously more than just a rapper, as he went on to act in films, and his work as a traditional poet and activist has garnered much acclaim in the years since his death, as well.

The movie, directed by Benny Boom, is schedule to appear in theaters on Nov. 11.

Vince Staples

wants to help out the youth of North Long Beach, California

9:07 AMWhen rapper Vince Staples came out in 2015 and said the ’90s were totally overrated from a rap sense, it angered quite a few people. Old heads freaked out, calling on the usual “you don’t know nothing about this” logic, while many other proud millennials were all basically like, “Hmmm … he might be right.”

That convo aside, it was the first time some had heard of the Long Beach, California, native, who was born in 1993. Now, the Norf Norf star who has openly said he doesn’t like rapping with other people, and openly dislikes Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul even though he’s a Clippers fan is giving back to his hood.

He’s backed an initiative with the YMCA that launched this week to support 20 high school kids in programs that feature tracks for learning filmmaking, music production, graphic and production design and 3-D production. The announcement was made Tuesday in Ramona Park, the Def Jam artist’s native neighborhood, alongside Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson.

“I think the most important thing is opportunities. What I can say is, living over here my entire life, I’ve never had an opportunity given to me from the area, only examples of how to mess up, and what I didn’t want to do,” Staples told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact that we matter just as much as the next person. That’s actually the biggest thing I can do for this community.”

While the program itself is a dozen years old, this expansion is specific to North Long Beach. According to its website, the “youth are chosen based on the risk factors they face which might influence high school completion. The factors may include neighborhood violence, poverty, family conflict/poor family management, poor academic performance or lack of commitment to school, and involvement with antisocial peers. Youth are selected to ensure ethnic and gender diversity. Of the 900 youth helped to date, 39 percent were Latino, 22 percent were African American, 19 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 11 percent were European American, 7 percent were of mixed ethnicity and <1 percent were Native American. About half (51 percent) were male.”

Say what you want about his thoughts on the ’90s, there’s no denying that this is a tangibly tremendous effort to give kids something to do and a space to do it. Even the most generous rappers from the ’90s aren’t exactly doing that in droves and never were.

Plus, his new song with Clams Casino is flames.

Daily Dose: 6/16/16

Freddie Gray’s neck injury was immediately obvious to a professional

9:02 AMWe’re coming down to the tail end of O.J.: Made in America, and Wesdnesday night was Part 3. It might have been the most shocking installment yet for many viewers. Our interview with director Ezra Edelman and ESPN analyst and Los Angeles native Marcellus Wiley about the episode is here.

The case of Freddie Gray is still ongoing in Baltimore. Two of the six officers charged have yet to be convicted, with one trial resulting in a hung jury and another resulting in an acquittal. Now, it’s the van driver himself who’s on trial for second-degree murder. The practice of “rough rides” is now well-known as a common occurrence in police brutality. Clearly, the driver has a major role in said activity. On Wednesday, a medic with the Baltimore City Fire Department described what Gray’s neck felt like when she arrived at the scene. ABC News’ Serena Marshall details the horrifying account of the first responder.

Orlando can’t catch a break. First, singer Christina Gimmie was killed by a stalker while signing autographs after a show. Then, the mass shooting that rocked America occurred a few days later. Following that, a 2-year-old boy was killed by an alligator at a lake adjacent to a Disney resort. I’m not an expert on Central Florida, but this has to be one of the worst, if not the worst, stretches that city and region has ever seen in modern history. Both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be traveling to the city Thursday to address the situation that unfolded at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub. ABC News’ Robin Gradison has the story.

Remember when Obama was first running for president? Remember what the biggest critique against him was, aside from all the dog-whistle racism stuff about his name, his birthplace and his “religion”? It was his lack of experience. He’d only served as the Illinois junior senator for a couple years after being in the state Senate for less than a decade. He was effectively a young buck (my God, those photos from then) in the game. Well, as it turns out, that could have helped him more than it hurt. FiveThirtyEight’s Julia Azari points out that some of our worst presidents have come in to office with a lot of experience.

Game 6 of the NBA Finals is tonight. We’re back in Cleveland, which means Quicken Loans Arena should be rocking on the strength of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combining for 84 points in the big Game 5 win on the road to extend the series. In all seriousness though, it was the best game of the Finals so far, leading to a monster showdown that could end with the Warriors once again claiming victory in Ohio, now that Draymond Green is returning. Back to Irving though, here’s 17 things you missed on that vicious and-1 that we all remember.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Studies have shown that many believe black people don’t feel as much pain as others. This has led to countless issues in the medical world, nevermind trauma. But this story about the Tuskegee Airmen experiments explains how medical exploitation has long-term effects.

Snack Time: So, the reason I was in Italy recently was for a friend’s wedding. That friend is part of a startup company called Enzi, which makes fashion-forward shoes with 100 percent Ethiopian products. Here’s a profile on them.

Dessert: I’ve listened to a piece of music by Oddisee nearly every day for five years. Learn more about him here.