After retired NBA player John Amaechi came out as a gay man in 2007, one of my favorite basketball stars, Tim Hardaway, had some harsh words. His infamous “I hate gay people” comment led to the retired Hardaway being ridiculed and cast off as ignorant and unaccepting, but the silence within the active player community was deafening. Amaechi was starting a conversation that needed to be had, but no courageous and intelligent active player was willing to have it…and people like Tim Hardaway were the reason why.
Fast forward to 2013. Just as a film about courageous black athlete, Jackie Robinson, is filling up theaters across the country, a new black sports figure has stepped in to attempt to tear down yet another barrier in sports and society. Washington Wizards center (turned free agent) Jason Collins became the first male “active” player in American professional sports to reveal that he is gay. And just like Robinson, Collins’ is the latest name added to a list of black professional ball players who have chosen to sacrifice themselves, be courageous, and better the country for us all.
To the African American community, basketball is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle - a pastime that embraces individuality, as well as the cooperation of a team. Basketball is proudly played and passed on between generations, and has, for decades now, fully showcased the colorful elements of black culture, from music to fashion.
Basketball, and the NBA specifically, have offered a golden ticket to the American dream, and more men have punched that ticket than any other group. As a result, the NBA has the highest percentage of black athletes (78%) compared to the other major leagues in the country (NFL is at 65%, while MLB is at 8% and NHL is at 2.7%). Even our Nation’s first black President has a nice jumper.
As a sport with no helmets to cover your face, and no pads to protect your body, basketball’s audience is allowed to get up close and personal with the NBA star. After the civil rights movement of the 60s, the NBA was America’s best, and least threatening, opportunity to get comfortable with the black male. And, boy, did it.
The charming Magic Johnson. The stylish and iconic Michael Jordan. The unapologetic Charles Barkley. The wild and unpredictable Dennis Rodman. The living-American-flag David Robinson. The stoic “Mailman” Karl Malone. The rebellious Allen Iverson. The intense Kobe Bryant. The goofy Dwight Howard. Sure, it’s a lot of black guys in the league, but I’d argue there’s been more diversity of character and image in the NBA than any other major sport in this country.
More than an incredibly profitable source of entertainment, professional basketball has grown into a platform for social commentary in the U.S., and these “movements” have been led by black voices.
From Magic’s heartbreaking HIV positive announcement, to Barkley’s send-up of “role models” and bad parenting back in the 90s, to the entire 2012 Miami Heat taking a team photo in black hoodies in support of Trayvon Martin last year, the NBA’s black players have been loud and clear in pushing a much needed national conversation. Jason Collins is simply the latest baller to step up to the challenge.
Collins’ announcement is interesting in a major, but seemingly less obvious way: it feels aimed at the black community, directly. Homosexuality is one of the biggest and longest standing taboos in the black community, and here is Collins standing on one of the most popular podiums of black entertainment announcing his own homosexuality. To borrow a line from the NBA’s marketing campaign this year: This is BIG.
But, in the coverage of Collins’ coming out, there was another story I found just as important and inspiring. Tim Hardaway, the man we remember for “hating gay people” had sent Collins a personal message of support. In my opinion, Hardaway’s evolution should be just as celebrated as Jason’s announcement. Both men are undeniable examples of how the NBA’s biggest black stars continue to make for great examples of American excellence.
Now, where’s my old Hardaway jersey?
By Desmond Marzette, Creative Strategist
living in the eternal present has affected our biology, behavior, politics, and culture: Zombie apocalypse fantasies signal our yearning for an ending; the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; investing in the future has been replaced by a futile effort to extract value off the trade itself; the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, while conspiracy theories actually comfort us when linear stories no longer have time to play out. Present Shock talks about the new “now,” how to develop for it, create content for it, do business in it and, most of all, live in it
Sports Illustrated has ranked the 50 most powerful people in sports, and they’re not all athletes. In fact, those that top the impressive list range from team owners and CEOS to big-time commissioners. Check out the list and this article to find out the criteria used to pick and rank them.
Edward is a happy camper.
Cool Oscars poster commemorates 85 years of ‘Best Picture’
inspirational video about the beauty of home, and what it means to one man.
(after the shocking news of swartz’s suicide late last week, fast company published this email exchange from 2009 that talks about his early life, his hope for the web/politics, and the value of rugged curiosity. i found it so inspiring, especially the curiosity part. http://www.fastcompany.com/3004769/my-email-exchange-aaron-swartz-shows-original-thinker)
actually, it never left.
JT has kept is sexy since ‘95, and now he’s back in the music biz (after 6 years) with an instant chart-topper/panty-dropper, “Suit & Tie,” featuring our main man, Hova.
we <3 you, JT.
Like the original video, the follow-up takes us on a whirlwind of a journey alongside Casey Neistat as he rides a motorcycle through Vietnam, jet skis in Doha, skydives in Israel and jumps off a waterfall in Africa. Except this time, he’s wearing the Nike FuelBand and tracking his activity (he didn’t take any elevators or escalators, only stairs)
Check it out - is it as inspiring/powerful as the original?
great exclusive in bloomberg businessweek on tim cook’s time at apple post steve
I love GIFs. But I’ve gotta say, this video doesn’t really embrace what makes GIFs so magical: the moments of beauty, humor, or drama so perfect that repetition is the best way to accentuate and package them. But, no mention of “cinemagraphs”, the ultimate GIF form?
Also, why is smartwater doing this? I’m lost on this one.
Check it out for yourself here: http://vimeo.com/54791694#
NEWS ALERT. there’s a stanley kubrick exhibit at LACMA.
i read an la times review which touched on kubrick’s passion of chess and how he brought the aesthetics of the game into his filmmaking. expert below - fascinating right? seeing his thought process and work on display was a pretty heavy dose of inspiration.
the exhibit is showing through june - go get yer inspiration on, and check out the levitated mass while you’re at it.
Among the more than 1,000 objects on display in “Stanley Kubrick” — a massive exhibition devoted to the legendary filmmaker that opens Thursday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — the piece that perhaps best captures the director’s singular style isn’t related to cinema at all.
Tucked away in the middle of the show, and encased in a transparent box as if it were a scientific specimen, is Kubrick’s personal chessboard set.
It’s an easy item to overlook amid the exhibition’s encyclopedic aggregation of documents, photographs and on-set material — almost all of which comes from Kubrick’s personal archives in England. Chess was a favorite pastime of the late director, who was sometimes seen absorbed in a match between takes on a set.
But chess was much more than just a game for Kubrick. In many ways, the aesthetics of chess — logistical precision, total mental control and a cold emotional detachment — matched the director’s artistic sensibility….http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-stanley-kubrick-lacma-20121028,0,6455684.story
The best Twitter handle you’ll ever follow: @SeinfeldToday.
Then check out this Wall Street Journal article to find out about the man behind the jokes.