My latest over at Salon on Peyton Manning, white privilege, and how we evaluate athlete legacies. ICYMI:
The nature of racism is not simply a matter of of explicitly or implicitly expressing skepticism toward a particular group or social class. It is also an aversion to digging beneath the surface so that one can acknowledge the complex fabric that makes up the individual experience. To reject the impulse to form simple conclusions — assumptions — is to open oneself to seeing the man behind the helmet, as a whole human being. As Richard Sherman has noted, there is a time and place for everything: humility, confidence, reservation, aggression, shit talking and focus. That is who we are. “I really don’t know how to be anybody else,” Sherman said. “I can only be myself.”
Yesterday, I wrote about Richard Sherman and his fans over at Salon. This first one felt amazing. Check it out here. I really enjoyed reading people’s reactions. I never really knew how putting your work out into the world would feel until now. I guess when you say thing like: “The NFL dictates the rules of decorum and defines values, sportsmanship and acceptable behavior…We love the politics of respectability,” people are bound to start talking. Which is a good thing on all fronts.
I wrote a few brief thoughts on the passing of the streetball legend, Tyrone “Alimoe” a.k.a. “The Black Widow” Evans who passed earlier this year. A soldier who truly started from the bottom, in my best Drizzy voice:
I just read some very sad news from last week:
Sad news to report today in the world of basketball as streetball legend and former AND 1 mixtape star, Tyrone “Alimoe” Evans has reportedly passed away from complications following a stroke.
The Harlem, NY resident also known as “The Black Widow” rose to prominence during the street ball boom of the late 90s and early 2000s. The 6’7” player was known for his trademark ball handling skills despite his immense size, something only seen on a regular basis in the National Basketball Association.
I spent some time on the court growing up, and I remember the first time I really took to “streetball.” I saw great value in playing ball on the playground versus playing in a gym or in an organized league. Inside the gym always felt more restrictive whereas outside was liberating. In a way, the structure of playing indoors felt like shackles.
Before moving to New York, I took a trip to visit a few friends living in Seattle, Washington. I had a good time. Then I went in the lab:
Beyond the jet-lag, my trip to Seattle had some amazing moments. The city really is quite beautiful. The vibe is mellow and relaxed, nonintrusive and non-threatening. The people were generally warm and enjoyed the outdoors. Considering the weather and geography, I can’t fault them. There weren’t as many hipsters, yuppies, or strollers as I had anticipated but my guess is they were tucked away in one of the many neighborhoods I was unable to visit during my short stay. Since the friend I was visiting lived in a spacious loft-like condominium downtown, much of my time was spent adventuring through the downtown scene, an environment I’m quite accustomed to (I live in midtown/downtown Sacramento).
Here is a review I wrote last year of Kanye’s “Yeezus” album:
Kanye West is extremely self-aware and self-absorbed. He once was said to have mounted a giant poster-size photograph of himself in his own apartment that cast a shadow of ego over the rest of the dwelling. Ye’s explanation was that he had to root for himself before anyone else could. “I put me on the wall because I was the only person that had me on the wall at that time,” West said. “And now that a lot of people have me on their wall, I don’t really need to do that anymore.”
Here was an essay I wrote about Kendrick Lamar a while back:
Ricky Baker and Tre Styles emerged from the liquor store. Ricky carried a quarter-gallon carton of milk and a small brown paper bag of trinkets in his hands. Tre held nothing but a reflective smile on his face as he gazed at the sky. The two “brothers from another” walked down the block, passing by run down houses with downtrodden grass, noxious alley ways with transients scavenging through garbage cans, and gang bangers hovering over house stoops just ‘hangin.’ This was life in South Central, Los Angeles.
“I don’t care about no colleges, no 700 on no SAT’s (Scholastic Aptitude Test),” Ricky confidently exclaimed, optimistic about his future which indeed looked promising. He was the star half-back on Crenshaw High’s football team who was being heavily recruited. A few days prior he had taken the SAT with Tre in hopes of getting a score of 700 to be eligible for a scholarship. He continued his thought, “Not a damn t——.”