In the six months as SLAM magazine’s EIC, Ben Osborne has stressed the logical importance of broadening the mag’s readership while keeping its initial Hip Hop empowering fanbase intact. Ben has a vested interest in SLAM’s success not only because of the many years gaining experience and wisdom shooting through its ranks, but also because he wants to make sure SLAM remains the go to magazine for everything relative to the sport of baskeball. He’s a fan who truly cares about how his readers view his staff’s depiction of the sport and is determined to make a difference both here and abroad by implementing innovative nuances and mature features that will keep the sport’s most popular magazine fresh and relevant. I personally hope to positively impact SLAM’s future with upcoming features that will remain close to Ben’s personal responsibilty to continue the success of SLAM.
Archive for the LA Lakers Category
Jazzy turnaround jumpers with Common like words that he would eventually sing to a beautiful Somalian paradise bird. Fought the power fantastic in a case that many would deem futile and drastic. Celebrated with Black fists and bare feet on Olympic ringed Mexican soil that made most of the nation’s blood boil. Iverson, Magic, Bird, Flash and King James lives will never be the same without the fame that he gave as he courageously broke the historic NBA Supreme Court Case power chain. Scotty beamed and socialite dreams that seemed to crown Wood king to his Iman queen. Paranoid days that blurred into nights until the Father said son, get up and fight! Four daughters later says the good Lord was right. Heaven watchin’ Mississippi burnin’ reminiscent bare soles ironically took their toll on a devilish role and helped Wood reclaim his God fearing soul…
Part I: It All Comes Down to This
I wanted to write something after the Denver game two nights ago, but I was honestly too depressed. Watching Robert Horry bang yet another clutch three-pointer following a brilliantly simple out of bounds play broke something in me, and I believe the Denver Nuggets as well. When they came out for the inbounds play, A.I. just stood by the half-court line and ‘Melo was no where to be found. It was the strangest moment I’d seen in a long time: two stud-stars didn’t seem to want the ball in the clutch. It was as if their worst nightmare had come true and neither of them seemed to be able to recover. (I realized then that the whole “Big Shot Rob” thing is for real, and that even other players recognizes its mystique to the point that his antic kill their spirits). For a second I wondered if George Karl had designed some sort of play to get the ball in J.R. Smith’s hands then bring Iverson around the backside, but that isn’t at all what unfolded. Smith got the inbounds with oodles of time and launched a three that no one in the arena or watching at home believed was going in.
Once this series finally concludes (and I’m not giving up on Denver, but…), those two out of bounds plays should be remembered as determining the outcome of the series. Up by only one with 40 ticks left on the clock Tony Parker gets the balls, drives, draws the defense and kicks it to the open man for the three. Down by four with a little more than 30 ticks left on the clock, a shaken (not stirred) J.R. Smith whose field goal and three-point percentage for the series hurt me just to think about, gets the inbounds pass and launches a three.
The plays could easily be chalked up to the difference in the caliber of coaching: “Pop” drew up a play that fit his team’s strengths and Karl just flat-out bungled his team’s last good chance by not doing the same (ie. getting the ball to Iverson or Anthony and telling everyone else to get out of the way). When you look at who the Spurs had on the floor, though, the situation becomes more complicated. Besides Parker and Horry, the Spurs had Duncan down low for the rebound, and Finley and Ginobli on the wings as second and third options. Those five guys might not win you a championship by themselves, but I can’t think of a better five to have on the court at the end of the game.
This is very long, so let’s get right to it. This is a candid conversation about issues that pain Blacks in sports as well as society. You may have a broad range of emotions when reading this piece. Some of it may anger you, yet in the end this piece can become a catalyst for meaningful solutions to the problem of race relations. These types of conversations need to be inclusive of all races to stimulate progressive change. For all of you who say that we shouldn’t be so political because this is a sports-based site, The Starting Five gives you reality. This is our vantage point.
The videos are embedded to give a perspective of my (Michael Tillery) perception of Hip Hop and how it’s presently perceived. We are at a time and age where everything is cross referenced and hard to separate. Sports and Hip Hop mirror society and shouldn’t be judged any differently than culture, Hollywood, politics or anything else that shapes us. Personal interest perception reigns and that, America, needs to desperately change.
Scoop is somewhat of a polarizing entity in journalism. Not personally, but the way he’s perceived. He’s the perfect candidate for an interview such as this. Dwil and I hope people read the whole piece and then try to formulate their total thoughts on the purpose of the interview. We hope you enjoy the read and please be honest in your comments–regardless of their nature. (note: a large portion of the initial conference call interview was rendered inaudible and we’re all sorry about that. However, viewing the interview as it stands, we can’t imagine what the interview would look like length-wise with that initial two hours of conversation edited and included here.) Peace – Mizzo, DWil.
DW: You are from Chicago, correct?
SJ: Yes, Southside of Chicago, born and raised. I don’t plan on going anywhere.
DW: Discuss your early maturation from college into journalism.
I have to personally apologize for the delay of part three. I simply have no excuse so I won’t cowardly use one. This conversation is more of a precusor for an interview DWil and I conducted with Scoop Jax that will be posted Monday entitled Vantage Point.
Read the first part one of Jemele’s interview again and notice that Jemele was the first to alert the sports world regarding Don Imus’ now infamous comments. We also discuss her knighting 24 as a better player than 23. That column sparked a mini controversy that she backs up her very eloquently here. Jemele is simply a journalistic force–not in a couple of years–but right now. Open your perspective to change and I assure you, it will be duly noted. She will be a voice of dissent in a white male dominated field that desperately needs adaptation. She’s not a female kicker, but a strong armed quarterback with the keys to an entire gender.
Could you handle the scrutiny?
What to Look For: Somethin’ biblical.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. . . . For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect –- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time (Matthew 24:10-13;24 NIV).
They were thisclose. Thisclose to an upset. It didn’t happen. Instead, Kobe Bryant was accused of a cardinal sin, quitting on his team in a game 7, an accusation that will linger in the air of this entire series.
They were thisclose. Thisclose to being upset. It didn’t happen. Instead, Steve Nash maintained his mystique and may hoist another MVP trophy during this series.
I know that last year’s playoffs don’t actually count towards this years award, but to think that they aren’t remembered is a bit naive, no? If the Lakers won that series, Kobe would have been absolved of practically all previous transgressions and would have finally shed the image of a brooding loner. If the Suns had lost that series, the deification of Nash and Phoenix would have been proven to be a ruse in the worst possible fashion. Instead, Nash is still praised for turning a team with two other All Stars-one of them also a candidate for DPOY, a former coach of the year, and a candidate for sixth man of the year into division champions, and Kobe Bryant is still a Judas.
In Part 2 of this conversation, Jemele and I converse candidly about some issues that need to be addressed in sports. I really appreciate her honesty. It’s unusual to hear someone voice their true thoughts in such an arena. She deserves mad props for understanding the true meaning of what The Starting Five is all about. My wish is that all writers would be this forthcoming because only then will sports fans truly learn through a writer’s extensive experience as well as the sports they cover. We see sports differently than fans. The levels and layers of understanding are vastly different because its our specialty. These interviews have that in mind, so begin to see a little more objectively and open up your perspective of sports in general.
MT: Are you comfortable with the way MLB is celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking into the major leagues? What’s your opinion or earliest memory of Jackie Robinson?
JH: I think Jackie Robinson is probably one of the most underrated athletes of our time. His place in history is also underrated. Reading what he went through is just like a Hank Aaron story, it literally brings a tear to your eye. It makes you respect him that much more when you see what he had to endure. I have read his story many times. I have interviewed people in his family and I am stunned every single time at how he did it. It makes me almost embarrassed when I hear certain athletes talk about how they face racism. They use this word lightly. They don’t really understand what racism is until they take a peek at what Jackie Robinson had to go through. I believe that MLB plans to have everyone wear the number #42 on April 15th to celebrate his anniversary, which I feel is a fine tribute. I think his place in history has been solidified. He was just an amazing man. Someone wrote a book about his impact on integration—which I think is something for a far deeper conversation. What is interesting is how integration affected the inner cities and not always in a good way. Obviously a great door was opened but at the same time it is interesting to me that a great door was also closed when you look at what happened with the inner cities regarding culture and sports.