Archive for the ‘ Pop Culture ’ Category

Olbermann vs. The State of Indiana

 

This morning I came across this video laying out the situation in Indiana with their newly passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act. How I did not hear about this (probably because it Indiana) blows my mind. But this is ridiculous. How a state in 2015 thinks that they have the right to protect expression of religion, by allowing businesses to refuse sservice to another person based on religious grounds is absurd. This seems eerily close to the Jim Crow laws of over 50 years ago.

But more importantly, Olbermann and even Charles Barkley, have said that the NFL, NBA and NCAA need to vacate the state of Indiana. This would include events such as the NFL Combine, this years NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and next years NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four. But the real issue is, will the respective heads of the major leagues in sports including the NCAA make the powerful move to boycott the legislation. Last year the NFL made a great step by standing up to the state of Arizona when they were poised to do something similar. So now all of these leagues are forced with a decision. BOYCOTT NOW! No human being should ever be discriminated for what their religion, skin color, general beliefs or appearance. It is 2015, we all at some point need to realize that the world we live in is evolving and that while traditional beliefs are what got us to this point, but at some point those beliefs evolved just like we as humans have.

Your move NFL, NBA, and NCAA. I am watching closely. It may be too late for this year’s Final Four. But a serious stance can be made going forward. Make the right decision.

The King Returns & The Fallout

comeback

Today, the everything in the sports world was put on the back burner. Four years after leaving Cleveland, LeBron James announced he would be returning back to his hometown Cavaliers. How crazy is this?!?! But more importanty, what does this really mean.

LeBron James becomes the first player to go to 4 straight NBA Finals, and leave in free agency. He returns home to his beloved Cleveland, to right the wrongs of what happened 4 years ago and play for his hometown Cavaliers. He also seems to want to right the wrongs for what happened 4 years before when he bolted for South Beach.

So what does this mean for the remainder of the artists formally known as the “Heatles.” Originally Chris Bosh was headed to Houston to sign a 4 year/$88 million dollar deal, but a few days later, it seems as if Bosh will return to Miami to be the man. As for Wade, his fate seemed to be the fame. He flirted with returning to his home state, and then ended up staying in Miami on a 2 year deal, similar to the one LeBron signed.

Carmelo Anthony however, made a completely different proclamation. He was presented with the most options. He could have chosen Chicago, which would have given him the best chance to win now. Headed to Houston to team up with Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston to form a dynamic trio, only problem is that it would be in the loaded Western Conference. He spurned Los Angeles, after there had been reports that the Lakers were serious contenders in the Carmelo sweepstakes. But in the end, he decided to return to New York, to make it work in the town he forced a trade to just 3 short years ago. Carmelo gets a chance to be the man, in a fresh start with a new young coach (Derek Fisher) and a GM with a knack for making any situation a winning one (Phil Jackson).

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LeBron left 4 years ago ‘To take his talents to South Beach’ and it ripped the heart out of everyone in Cleveland. Even I was one of those people who was bashing him, calling him names and even saying I hate him. But 4 years later, I get it. Yes, I understand why Lebron left and so should everyone else.

LeBron has been Cleveland’s great hope since his days at St. Vincent- St. Mary High School. He was drafted number 1 overall in 2003 by his hometown Cavs, and he never had a chance to grow as an individual outside of Cleveland. Not just from an NBA standpoint but his global brand and his NBA resume. At the time, the Cavaliers could not give King James the ring he so desperately chased. So like any businessman, he ‘took his talents’ elsewhere to get what he wanted. After 4 years, and 4 straight NBA Finals appearances, LeBron returns to his roots, but this time, as a 2-Time Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, and one of the biggest stars in the world.

But don’t get too excited. LeBron only signed a 2 year deal. He will get paid handsomely for those 2 years, but you have to wonder why he signed such a short deal. One word, Leverage. The NBA salary cap is set to increase in 2 years, and if the Cavs haven’t materialized into a contender by then, LeBron can take more money elsewhere to chase more rings. LeBron really wants to make this work in Cleveland, but you can tell he isn’t ready to forgive Dan Gilbert just yet.

But in the short term, the Cavaliers will be an exciting team to watch. We can see Kyrie Irving develop, playing alongside the best player in the world. Andrew Wiggins hasn’t even played a game in the NBA, and now it seems like this kids ceiling has risen even further. With what he is already doing in the summer league, it is safe to say I am excited to watch the Cavs play, or even play with them in this years NBA 2k15. Let’s just hope this team can develop, because if not, the summer of 2016 will be a very interesting one with the likes of Kevin Durant also being a free agent.

An Appreciation of Television in 2014

A few months back, I had read a great post on the state of TV, as it was at the end of the 2013 calendar year. That post, by Grantland writer Andy Greenwald, touched on many important topics of where we are in this era of television. Has there been a significant drop off or is television as good as ever?

This Golden Era of Television includes heavyweights such as Entourage, The Sopranos and The Wire. It “ended” with that era of television a few years back, and we have been stuck in what seems to be a rut creativity wise. ¬†Shows seem to be recycling the same old nonsense, becoming as predictable as ever.

But as the calendar year turned over to 2014, things seemed to change. The premiere of True Detective on HBO brought a gritty, dark show into the fold as well as the premiere of Season 2 of House of Cards on Netflix. Are we moving towards a new era of television? With platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon putting out its own original content, we could very well see more iterations like House of Cards, but at the same time, we can be subject to a few sleepers such as Derek featuring comedian Ricky Gervais.

We live in a world now, littered with many different devices in which we can watch any show, at any time, in any location. But the problem with that, is we have so much access to a variety of shows that it seems like things are diluted. Sometimes, getting rid of exclusivity can be a bad thing. Netflix has seemed to get right so far with their original programming. Shows such as Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black and picking up Arrested Development for its 4th season are a few examples moving forward. But can they keep up this steam? It seems as if Hulu and Amazon Prime have their own original content, but do they have that mainstream appeal that some of the Netflix shows have? Is it a publicity issue? Is it because the shows just aren’t that good? Only time will tell.

As far as networks like HBO and Showtime, it seems like they may have just been stuck in a rut. True Detective premiered this past January and seems to be the most hyped show on their network anyone has talked about since Game of Thrones premiered 3 years ago.¬†Don’t get me wrong, there are some good shows on HBO, but nothing that has really left you hanging week by week. Boardwalk Empire and True Blood are good, but something about them is lacking. Maybe it has to do with the old notion of week by week releases of episodes, something that Netflix has definitely cut out. But I really think it just has to do with the fact that these shows are what baseball players call “innings-eaters.” Plus, when was the last time a television had a scene like the one below.

Don’t get me wrong, I am appreciating the direction that the so called Television Entertainment part of our lives is going, but there is still work to do. I watched 2 long standing shows end last year in Dexter and Breaking Bad respectively, but only Breaking Bad seemed to have the balls to get it right (there were reports that Showtime would not let the writers kill off Dexter). There are some other heavyweights out there, Mad Men and The Walking Dead come to mind, but these are at the end of their proverbial runs at the top. After these end, what will the state of television be in? It’s already tough for network television programs to compete with the likes of Netflix, who release the whole season at once, but the classic television format isn’t going anywhere. If they can continue to churn out juggernauts such as True Detective, than we know that network television, whether premium or basic, is not going anywhere for the time being.