What Are Those?! Podcast: 11/17/16
The latest in sneaker news, the rise of Jordan Brand and a chat with Stance’s Tzvi Twersky
12:56 PMWelcome to The Undefeated’s What Are Those?! Podcast, where we’ll give you a weekly taste of what’s poppin’ in both the world of kicks and sports fashion.
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
This week, I’m joined by The Undefeated’s editor for audience development Marcus Matthews — a real O.G. sneakerhead — and we kick things off by breaking down the three following headlines that caught our eye in recent sneaker news.
- Neo-Nazi site calls New Balance “official shoes of white people“
- Student buys Air Jordans for classmate being bullied over his shoes
- Nike’s self-lacing HyperAdapt sneaker will cost you $720
We also sit down with Undefeated style writer Jill Hudson to talk about her latest story on Michael Jordan’s Jordan Brand empire, which Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is certainly leading into the future. And last but not least, I catch up with Tzvi Twersky, Stance’s category director for baseball and basketball, to chop it up about the company’s production of socks, Allen Iverson’s legacy in fashion culture and Tzvi’s extensive sneaker collection.
[protected-iframe id=”57b072bec731a97ccd77c5eafd0eb911-84028368-102718441″ info=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frackednational%2Fvideos%2F1425454480818073%2F&show_text=0&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no”]
If you missed our pilot episode, definitely give it a listen. And if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil Jackson and his problematic use of the word posse
Call it whatever you want, but it was definitely inappropriate
noun pos·se \ˈpä-sē\
: a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal
: a group of people who are together for a particular purpose
: a group of friends
That’s the definition of the word according to Merriam-Webster, which we defer to in this case. When New York Knicks executive Phil Jackson decided to pop off and make some oddball comments about LeBron James and what he and his friends do, many people found his comments to be offensive. Jackson, the legendary coach with 13 championship rings, in a wide-ranging conversation, decided to take aim at one of the most important basketball players ever, for reasons that we’ll still never understand.
More specifically, he referred to James’ business partners and crew as his posse, in a reference to how Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra ran the Miami Heat when he was there. To a random viewer, it was a bad choice of words, rooted in a level of apparent disdain that many would chalk up to casual racism. Another, more cynical view, is that this was supremely problematic and effectively mirrored a “stay in your place” remark.
Phil Jackson is a very intelligent man with a firm economy of words. He knew exactly what he meant by calling Lebron's people a "posse"
— tommie. (@BoneyStarks) November 15, 2016
Phil Jackson made one small mistake by using the word posse.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 16, 2016
James and Maverick Carter were unhappy with what Jackson said, but he shouldn’t have been surprised. Let’s not forget what The Zen Master said back when the NBA decided to change its dress code 10-plus years ago. He was firmly in the “pull up your pants” camp, and had no problem saying so.
What’s most intriguing about Jackson’s stance is how clear he made it that he is out of touch with not just the NBA, but America in general. But don’t forget, he’s a 71-year-old white man who makes his home in Montana. He married the daughter of the owner of the team that was paying him. That’s a world that only he could live in. So, his characterization of Team James is not only insensitive, it’s inaccurate.
James is quite literally the American dream. Jackson still sees he and his squad as just another group of black guys. And you wonder how the Lincoln bedroom gained its newest resident.
Let’s just put aside the fact that James is one of the best players in the league and brought a championship back to Cleveland. Let’s also put aside the fact that the lone controversy in his career is one that involved a television decision that happened at a Boys & Girls Club. No gambling habits, no disrespect toward guys he played against, none of that. All James has done is help put kids into college, highlighted his hometown’s small business owners, and, you know, landed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike.
The funniest part was that Phil Jackson called someone high maintenance.
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) November 16, 2016
Jackson’s remarks were entirely inappropriate. But his status as a revered personality across the league has protected his stance as anything other than reckless. Jackson drew on a history in this nation of trying to delegitimize the honest efforts of black people to live and exist in a world not built for them. At the core of Jackson’s point is that James is out of line for thinking that he is more important to his team or the league than anyone else.
If you want to know how racism works, this is it. It’s not always about some Ku Klux Klan member in a robe burning a cross, or even a police officer deciding that a black life isn’t worth a white one. It’s about the microaggressions that come from people who benefit from the system deciding that other people aren’t worthy of the success that hard work begets them.
Whether you think Jackson is racist is immaterial. The fact that many believe the accusation is unfair is a clear indication of how little we understand the true nature of the problem.
Daily Dose: 11/16/16
Some NBA teams say no to Trump hotels
3:30 PMJill Hudson was out of town this week, so our gracious colleague Danielle Cadet filled in on the podcast and things went well. She’s an international superstar, so, you might want to tune in for that story. Listen here or download here.
So, Donald Trump has a big problem: the media. It’s one thing when you want them to come and you summon them. It’s another thing when they are hanging around you all the time, because, yanno, you’re the president-elect of the United States. He didn’t want the media on his plane when he went to meet the actual president, and now he’s ditching them to eat meals with his family. Who is this guy, thinking he deserves some right to privacy as the most visible elected official in the country? In all seriousness, though, ABC News reports on a steak dinner.
Here’s the thing about the word institution: By definition it’s supposed to be a thing, a concept, a reality that we can count on, trust and believe in and swear by. That also happens to be the large problem with them. Because once you’ve decided who’s supposed to benefit from said institutions, it becomes really hard to change the products and derivatives of said system. Think about what you call an “institution” and what that means to you. Then, think about who that affects negatively. FiveThirtyEight’s Clare Malone analyzes why we don’t trust them anymore these days.
Real talk: I watch Desus and Mero every night. I was a listener of their podcast and I watched their internet show, too. They came out of nowhere on the internet, and if you remember those days of Twitter, oh, was it glorious. Now, they’re big time, hosting their own television program on Viceland, and are doing it big. They’re somewhat reckless, very vulgar by some standards and extremely funny. But, their act, for lack of a better term, has come a long way. Check out this interview about how they found their comedic voices.
The Trump effect is going to be a bigger deal around America than even he realizes. For sports teams, this means that staying at his hotels is something they just might not do. We saw this already in Major League Baseball when Adrian Gonzalez decided not to stay in a Trump facility, eschewing what his team had done for years. Now, the NBA is getting in on the act, which leads to the other question of just how many teams are staying in Trump locales, anyway. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe report.
Coffee Break: Speaking of Trump, there’s a new game out there taking over the nation. It’s called “Trump’s coming” and it’s heavy in these streets. Literally, here’s all it involves. Someone yells the catch phrase, then people of color start running for their lives. This is funny, because, well, it’s not.
Snack Time: Apparently Lin-Manuel Miranda was bullied in high school. That sucks. But, also, he was apparently a rather well-known rapper, Immortal Technique. This story is intriguing on multiple levels.
Dessert: The new Pharrell song is very fun. Play it while you wash the dishes.
Officer in Philando Castile shooting charged with second-degree manslaughter
Ramsey County, Minnesota, attorney calls death ‘not justified’
Color us surprised. The officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in front of his girlfriend, who streamed the incident on Facebook Live, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it’s the first time an officer has been charged in a police-involved death since 2000.
If you don’t remember, Castile’s death was a larger wake-up call than most. As we grew desensitized to surveillance and dashcam videos of black people being gunned down with no repercussions from so-called authorities, we hadn’t seen one streamed. This particular case also happened in front of a child. We watched a man die on a camera, while his girlfriend told any and everything she could as his life was escaping him, and an officer was to blame.
There was something nakedly poetic about this particular case. What was the excuse going to be this time? There are a million reasons that officers get off scot-free in these situations, but with Castile, the circumstances were so plain that even the officer who shot him couldn’t help but react with regret at the time. He cursed multiple times at himself, asking Castile why he moved at all. Diamond Reynolds reminded the officer that he asked Castile to get his wallet. The video was a groundbreaking occurrence in the entire Black Lives Matter movement, and Reynolds was a pioneer.
Mind you, all of this was over a broken taillight.
JUST IN: Prosecutor announces 2nd-degree manslaughter charge against Minnesota officer in death of Philando Castile. https://t.co/8Mj7ODLBso
— ABC News (@ABC) November 16, 2016
Castile was a cafeteria supervisor at an elementary school. His death was tragic. Even in the explanation, Choi’s words are so measured, so precise and so specific that you wonder just what the straw was that led to the charges. This is typically the language we hear when grand juries or prosecutors don’t find reason to charge. This time, it just went the other way. If we’re being honest, the presence of the child was likely the tipping point. You just can’t fire a gun at someone with a 4-year-old in the backseat. Even if she’s ultimately the one who shows the most humanity in the scenario. Jeronimo Yanez is the officer’s name.
A charge is one thing. A conviction is another. Minnesota, as a place, is a third. Depending on your judgment, justice has yet to be reached. But accountability has been established on some level. Which, considering, is progress.
All Day Podcast: 11/15/16
Dave Chappelle’s ‘SNL’ appearance, mourning the loss of Gwen Ifill and debating the true meaning of the term ‘bust’ in sports
3:27 PMWith Jill Hudson out of town on assignment, Undefeated senior editor Danielle Cadet made her debut on this week’s podcast. Spoiler alert: Danielle had the best weekend out of all of us, hands down.
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Embed
Last week, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, and a few days afterward, legendary comedian Dave Chappelle hosted Saturday Night Live. Chappelle’s appearance on the show, especially his 11-minute opening monologue, was spectacular. The crew discusses why he was the perfect host following this year’s historic election.
On a sadder note, the journalism world recently lost the illustrious Gwen Ifill, who died Monday due to complications of cancer. Danielle reflects upon the dual impact Ifill had on her as both an African-American and female leader in the industry for so many years.
On the topic of sports, former Ohio State big man Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, recently told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that he believes he’ll be “remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history.” But what does the term “bust,” especially in basketball, truly mean? We discuss.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Daily Dose: 11/15/16
Are these protests ever going to stop?
1:41 PMThe homey Domonique Foxworth was on Highly Questionable again Monday, this time with Papi and Dan Le Batard himself. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, you can check it out here or download the podcast.
These protests against the president-elect do not appear to be letting up. Across the country, things have moved down to the student level primarily, with high school and college kids leaving class to express themselves about how they feel regarding Donald Trump. On Monday night in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio State University, things got rowdy when a person giving a speech was tackled mid-talk. This is clearly an act of violence, and frankly, a bad harbinger for how things will be if this becomes normalized behavior. ABC News has the details.
It sounds ridiculous, but we’ve got a big problem with fake news. Because of the algorithms that run search engines and social network sites are so all-consuming that they control nearly everything we see in our feeds now, it’s not difficult to simply put something out there that is nonfactual or an outright lie, and have it be picked up and shared widely as an actual truth, which is obviously an issue. It’s a major concern for not only Facebook, but also Google, too. Might want to get this fixed.
When it comes to things like geology, I’m not great. How people managed to construct buildings from the mediocre if not completely useless tools that we were once beset with as humans is beyond me. When I watch History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, it’s the one thing that actually gives me pause. How is it possible that we have zero explanation for some things? Anyway, it leads to an interesting aspect of archaeology. How do we know what’s an actual tool, and what’s just another rock? FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth-Baker investigates.
In the next four years, is it likely to see a lot more athletes coming to visit the White House? Maybe not. But what about to discuss matters they find important with the lawmakers on Capitol Hill? Sure. On Tuesday, various players from the NFL will be in Washington, D.C., to talk about police brutality and other issues surrounding race. House Speaker Paul Ryan is supposed to be one of the people in the meetings, and it’s not just black football players making the trip either. ESPN reports.
Coffee Break: Germany wins a lot when it comes to global soccer. But when it comes to World Cup qualifying, oftentimes they have to play lesser opponents, as part of their obligations to the continent. Well, San Marino is basically awful at the game, but the country is great at understanding why it plays. The Germans, on the other hand, do not.
Snack Time: A pioneer in the DJ game died Monday. If you don’t know who David Mancuso is, you should. Secondly, his passing is another major loss in what’s been a year full of them across so many cultures. He was 72.
Dessert: Here are some dope instrumentals for a lovely fall day.
These two ‘Black Beatles’ covers are glorious
We need more, please and thanks
9:29 AMWhen you’ve got the No. 1 song in the country, people want to be like you. That’s the position that Rae Sremmurd is in. According to Billboard, the hip-hop duo’s Black Beatles banger is at the top of the Hot 100 chart. We need not extol the virtues of the track, but let us guide you toward a couple of the more incredible covers we’ve seen in a while. First, behold the majesty.
Maybe not quite the mannequin challenge ..but still a banger > Black Beatles -Rae Sremmurd 🎻😎 pic.twitter.com/xMm5qldeca
— DajJordanUK (@DajJordanUK) November 13, 2016
I could listen to this all day. My man even hits the chorus and the ad-libs. He needs to release the full video. Secondly, there’s Nicki Minaj putting her twist on things to complete perfection. Nicki has a real skill at taking songs by guys and adapting them to a more female-centric theme, and she’s dang good at it. (Language: NSFW) Let’s hope this means Nicki’s next project is coming soon.
One thing is clear: Black Beatles is the song of the year.
Gwen Ifill dies at 61
The longtime journalist was a legend in the industry
3:40 PMWe weren’t ready.
The year of 2016 continued its devastating run of people we love who have died, this time touching the journalism world again. Gwen Ifill, host of PBS’ Washington Week died Monday at the age of 61. She was an old-school reporter who had worked at The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC. News of her death caught many by surprise who were unaware that she was dealing with health issues. She had taken a leave of absence as a result of breast cancer.
“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” PBS said in a statement. “She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her. So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on TV. We will forever miss her terribly.”
.@gwenifill I'm heartbroken and not ready for the past tense with you. Sending all the love in the world to your family and loved ones.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 14, 2016
We're completely saddened by the news that Gwen Ifill has passed away at the age of 61. pic.twitter.com/MqSGKMv9kF
— ESSENCE (@Essence) November 14, 2016
Terrible and stunning news about Gwen Ifill. Huge huge loss. RIP.
— Rachel Sklar ❄️ (@rachelsklar) November 14, 2016
She moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates and won countless honors during her career. Talking about his former MSNBC colleague on Monday afternoon, a teary-eyed Pete Williams said she had so many awards piled up in her office you could barely see out of the window.
This Gwen Ifill news is really crushing.
— Sam Sanders (@samsanders) November 14, 2016
Gwen Ifill, dawg?! I EFFING HATE 2016. 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢
— Cousin Angela (@angela_rye) November 14, 2016
In an era in which blaming the media seems to be all the rage, we can all agree that we’ve lost one of the greatest to ever do it.
Dave Chappelle’s opening ‘Saturday Night Live’ monologue was pitch perfect
There was really nobody else for the job
3:21 PMWhen news was first announced that Dave Chappelle would be hosting NBC’s Saturday Night Live on Nov. 12, longtime fans rejoiced. The man who shaped television comedy for a certain generation of viewers was going to be hosting the first episode of the sketch comedy program of record in the U.S., at least since his own Chappelle’s Show ended 10 years ago. With A Tribe Called Quest as the musical guest, it was like this throwback boom-bap card that reminded us all of what we once loved so much about our culture.
Then, two things happened. First, at a comedy show in New York City, Chappelle decided to share his thoughts about the then-upcoming election. He spoke ill of Hillary Clinton and seemingly defended Donald Trump’s remarks about sexual assault, a situation that got NBC’s Billy Bush fired. Then Trump got elected.
So, with a decidedly different timbre to the evening than many expected, the man who brought us “Black Bush” stepped to the stage and delivered a monologue that simultaneously reminded us why he is and isn’t on television anymore. “I didn’t know that Donald Trump was going to win the election,” Chappelle started. “I did suspect it. Seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls, and yet, I know the whites. You guys aren’t as full of surprises as you used to be.”
To quote a famous man, it’s funny, because it’s true.
In the rest of the monologue, Chappelle described how different he feels America is now, in a way that garnered uncomfortable laughs from the crowd. The jokes went everywhere from the Islamic State group to #BlackLivesMatter to what it’s like to be rich. He even dropped a couple of N-bombs, just to remind you of how it was when he was at the helm. Chappelle was Chappelle in a way we hadn’t seen live in what seemed like forever.
Once the episode started, however, people weren’t so pleased. The program spent an inordinate amount of time lampooning Trump, as if the coverage were a separate matter from his popularity around the country, and they somehow were not a part of the media machine that built a 70-year-old man with zero experience in politics into commander in chief.
“Saturday Night Live‘s ‘Hallelujah’ opening was a bunch of B.S. You don’t get to enable Donald Trump into the presidency and then cry when it happens,” the headline at Cosmopolitan read. “The show tried to tug at liberal America’s heartstrings, but its normalization of Donald Trump won’t be forgotten,” the sub-head at MTV.com read.
In a strange way, it became clear that Chappelle was the perfect person for this particular slot on this particular day with this particular result. Anyone else would have simply not had the gravitas to address the scenario, with a black man leaving the office and a reality TV star coming in. The humor was uncomfortable because that’s what the situation called for. It’s a lot easier to laugh at a joke about Obama being “stereotypically black” when you don’t think all the work he did in office might potentially be undone. Alas.
One of the most poignant moments of his nearly 12-minute monologue came via a sobering reminder of where we once were regarding electoral politics in this country. You’ve heard his old joke about not being the first black president, due to assassination threats. But this time around, he wasn’t kidding at all.
“I don’t know what he’s gonna do. But I know Obama did a good job. Obama did a good job,” Chappelle said. “I think we’ll all miss him when he’s gone. Do you agree with this? And thank God he lived to tell about it.” Chappelle’s strength has always been his ability to create a laugh out of something that’s not really funny at all. On Saturday, America needed that and Chappelle’s monologue delivered.
Whether or not this country can continue to laugh for the next four years, however, is a different matter.
Daily Dose: 11/14/16
Greg Oden is still getting sympathy from across the NBA
12:28 PMI spent the weekend in Richmond, Virginia, and it wasn’t the culture shock I was expecting. The one-time capital of the Confederacy is a lovely place in parts, and I’m glad I got to see it in the fall.
Steve Bannon is going to be President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist. Reince Preibus will be his chief of staff. Big Bird will be the head of Environmental Protection Agency and Cookie Monster will be leading the Food and Drug Administration. For many people, this was the real concern: not what Trump would do as the person representing all of America in public, but who he would install to enact lasting change on this nation. If you don’t know anything about either of these men, prepare yourself for a world of fear. ABC News analyzes just what these picks mean in Washington, D.C.
Of all the incredulous parts of this last week, the Ku Klux Klan’s involvement is the most eye-opening. Literally, the KKK endorsed a candidate, that person won and, now, they’re happy. Of course, all across the nation, people are marching to let the world know that they have a problem with the result. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the KKK is planning a victory parade. Of course, the right to free expression is what this country is all about, but that goes both ways. VICE has the details on how this event is supposed to go.
You’ve seen the Harry Potter movies. OK, maybe not all of them, but when it comes down to it, as a movie series, the only other one that can really hold a candle to it, from a pop culture impact standpoint, is Star Wars. That said, it’s run its course, as everyone grew up and the source material dried up. However, with a new spinoff series coming, it’s interesting to take a look at exactly how impactful the Potter series was. FiveThirtyEight’s Walt Hickey breaks down how many people J.K. Rowling employed by proxy of writing her books.
The story of Greg Oden has become incredibly sad. The big man, who never really looked like he played basketball for any reason other than he was just a huge dude, did an interview over the weekend in which he called himself the biggest bust in NBA history. Obviously, this is true, but no one wants to say that out loud to his face because, well, it sucks. Kevin Durant, specifically, who was picked No.2 one slot behind him in the 2007 NBA Draft, isn’t hearing that talk, however. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports on what the Golden State Warriors star thinks of Oden.
Coffee Break: If we’ve gotten nothing else out of this past week, the memes have been hilarious. With President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden having shared so many moments over the years, we’ve got a trove of images to pick from and add dialogue as we see fit. Even the Brits think they’re funny.
Snack Time: If I’m being honest, Riff Raff is one of my favorite artists of all time. Not because his music is great, but his whole hustle has just been so impressive for years. Check out this interview with the neon icon.
Dessert: There’s a new Rogue One trailer out. Don’t forget, Dec. 16.