A hallmark of the Trump presidency is its fear-based approach to governing. Dangerous Muslim terrorists; corrupt, colluding fake news media; caravans of violent migrants coming to eat our children and curse our livestock, or something — evidently, Trump has no qualms with fomenting fear to advance his agenda. (To debate another time: does he have an agenda?) As harmful as this Trump presidency may be, his strategy leans upon tried and true methods of political manipulation. One such example: McCarthyism.
Enes Kanter couldn’t go to London because he feared for his life. Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, via his evil henchman and former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, has consistently threatened, mocked, and insulted Kanter for Kanter’s opposition to ruthless totalitarian xenophobia and political suppression. Ironically, Hedo was a heady player known for his ability to handle and facilitate. Turkoglu claimed Kanter lied about fearing for his life. He called Kanter a fraud for hiding the fact that he couldn’t get a visa to enter the UK.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made waves recently when he dropped the “bombshell” news that former player Kawhi Leonard, the star who sat out a whole season with a suspect injury and refused to communicate with his team, was not a leader. In response, Kawhi got angry and claimed he was a leader. That makes sense. He’s a star player looking to get a supermax salary; he’s not gonna say he isn’t a leader. I don’t know what Kawhi thinks or how he conducts himself in his team’s locker room. His relatively quiet demeanor gives us a cool case study into what it takes to be a good leader.
Melo was destined to be one of the greats. Armed with a knife of a jab step, a buttery jumpshot, and two first names (think: Michael and Jordan, Kobe and Bryant, LeBron and James) Melo could score like few other players in the history of the game. In what was probably his most successful year individually, 2012-2013, he hung a cool 50 on LeBron James’ Heat, nearly exclusively scoring on jumpshots. That game finds me as his crowning achievement. He shot the shots he wanted, and he was so good it didn’t matter that they were all well-defended. He was a master artist who came of age a little too late, like a ragtime drummer born just at the tail-end of jazz’s heyday. I can’t say I’m an unabashed Melo fan. I’ve long criticized him, including getting into a fight with my high school point guard about how Paul George was better because he played defense. I eventually conceded my point out of deference to the Knicks, but deep down I still thought I’d rather have PG. Blemishes will stain Melo’s career when it’s all said and done, which is increasingly appearing to be closer to fruition than I expected. And that’s okay. It’s what he deserves.
Despite a LeBron-less path to the top of the Eastern Conference, the Charlotte Hornets continue to buzz unnoticed. They sit firmly in the playoff race at 5-5, having lost a few close games and having stomped some unworthy opponents. Cardi B’s favorite baller, Kemba Walker, has picked up where he left off last season. He currently averages a cool 28.0 points per game on 46% shooting, to go with nearly six assists per game. However, for all his accomplishments, Kemba has never gotten his due. Part of the reason might be his inability to beat the best. Heading into this season, Kemba’s team faced LeBron’s team twenty-two times. Twenty-two times, Kemba lost. Why? Kemba has the chip on his shoulder and flashy handles of a Hornet, but LeBron, poised and composed, is more like a wasp.
“Let’s make a Black baseball team.” William C. Rhoden, author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves, shared that idea, speaking on behalf of former MLB manager Jerry Manuel. It would reinvigorate interest in the game from Black players, he said. It would make baseball more exciting. Most importantly, it would connect the game to Black culture and bring along more all-time greats like Hank Aaron, like Willie Mays. It’s a fun idea.
Jimmy Butler, the workhouse, the self-made star, doesn’t wanna be in Minnesota. It’s hard to blame him. Appearing to have all the ingredients for sustained success, this iteration of the Timberwolves has failed to come close to reaching its potential. Despite the production of all-star unicorn Karl-Anthony Towns, the unmatched natural talent of “Maple Jordan” Andrew Wiggins, and the defensive tenacity of coach Tom Thibodeau, along with Jimmy Buckets, the T-Wolves only managed to snag the eighth seed last year. When Butler was injured for the last quarter of the season, the team had a losing record. They can’t seem to put all the promise together. There’s constant bickering, passive-aggressive shots, and unproductiveness on the court. This team whines with potential.
Today is Christopher Columbus Day, a symbolic celebration of our country’s lifelong commitment to the erasure of Native Americans without their consent. Two days ago was Stanford football’s Set The Expectation game, a symbolic celebration of football’s commitment to present itself as an upstanding, positive institution while it exploits players’ bodies and in many cases…