Kobe Bryant’s Fadeaway

I’m still processing the Kobe thing. It’s surreal.

Thing is, the NBA is not like celebrity culture. Lots of celebrities die at various ages…there’s the 27 Club, the classic accidental overdose and the car accident etc.

But all NBA players are young…they come into the league in their early 20s and most retire somewhere in their mid-30s (or leave America to play overseas). And they’re all surrounded by doctors and medical staff so nobody in the NBA really dies.

Like in the NFL there’s lots of death and suicide but that’s mostly related to CTE and the sample size is larger because the teams are bigger (there’s about 400 players in the NBA: that’s about 4 NFL teams.).

In the NBA Bill Russell was 100 years old when we started watching Jordan in the mid-80s and yet he faithfully comes out every All-Star Weekend. You know we’re gonna see him in a couple of weeks.

Magic has tested positive for HIV…yeah right. He looks healthier than most people I know.

There’s a couple of smaller and dark examples: Robert Tractor Traylor died in 2011 from a heart attack; Len Bias in 86 he coulda been something special we’ll never know but nothing like this.

The NBA is death free. To be an NBA fan we get together for NBA games and documentaries and Nike commercials and All-Star games but never for funerals.

And it’s Kobe too. Bobby Hurley had a devastating car accident but survived and never played again. Mookie Blaylock was on life support after his car accident but he was retired by then and he got well enough to serve time in jail (did not see any of that coming!). These are not big names had they died most people would just shrugged. Who? (Mookie was cool back in the day…that’d be a sad one!)

The whole thing is so weird. And sad. The poor mom who must bury a kid…that’s never a good thing. While we gotta bury a god or a superhero: pick the metaphor you’re comfortable with.

Truth: I hadda take Monday off…I can’t deal with people’s nonsense right now.

Picked up a bag of Doritos Sweet Chili Heat and a 2 liter bottle of Coke and I’m out. Stayed home with my emotions.

It’s so hard because this current crop of NBA players watched Kobe: these are Kobe’s kids not Jordan’s kids.

They knew Kobe, trained with Kobe, and watched him play. So everybody is just devastated.

I follow…well followed Kobe on social and yeah his daughter seemed she was on her way. She had a decent jumper.

Sigh. I dunno.

This is such an odd NBA year…we kick off losing Kobe and in June the Jordan-Bulls doc The Last Dance drops on Netflix. It’s just an odd recognition of all that we’ve seen. We’ve lived through some fierce battles.

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Kobe Bryant’s Fadeaway

I’m still processing the Kobe thing. It’s surreal.

Read the rest of this page »

Goodbye Kobe Bryant

This is hard. I wish my mouth was like a ventriloquist dummy and my heart was the puppetmaster and I could articulate all the things without tripping over my thoughts.

My contempt for cancel culture: most hashtag movements is fairly consistent. I refuse to employ any of them for the simple reason that my unwavering fidelity is wholly to the creator. Fans are fickle, we take so much for granted and often issue proclamations from a position of arrogance or worse ignorance. I don’t like these modern movements because they falsely hinge on an idiotic assumption that creators?especially celebrities?are lightbulbs and can easily be replaced.

I’ve said this before: you get 1 Prince. That’s all you get. You get 1 Bowie; 1 Michael Jackson. There are some of our best and most dynamic creators yet we often treat them like indistinguishable lego blocks snapping them in and out of our pop culture.

And as we have seen repeatedly death in a variety of forms comes for all of them. And no matter how they pass away all we are left with is The Work they did. (If we’re being honest all we as fans are ever permitted to judge is The Work. Of course, TMZ’s shoddy but profitable business indicates we have an irresponsible hunger for rumours that haven’t been fact checked. And though many church pews come Sunday morning are empty we readily apply a shoddy righteousness to the moral failings of the famous like an unreasonable duct tape to fix all that is broken. Even a casual glance at how we treat others online sadly confirms we are a cold society mostly devoid of empathy.)

I devoutly abide by creators because I value the sacrifices they have made (for themselves but also for us!). The books and movies and music and blogs and podcasts and NBA greatness we consume were made by individuals who gave up sleep and family time and beach time and so much. So much.

It wasn’t easy but it’s not meant to be easy. It’s not fair and it’s not supposed to be fair. We all labour in a system we did not design and yet we cannot afford to be intimidated by the odds.

It takes sacrifices to be good; to be great is a brutally high cost. This is why creators like Prince and Bowie stand out. Lots of people make music: Spotify is brimming with bands. But lots of people make excuses or they complain or they play the race card or do anything but The Work.

When you die people will not remember your excuses; you’re buts and wouldas, shouldas, couldas. None of that matters. When you die all you leave behind is The Work.

I am so deeply appreciative of the sacrifices these creators have done for our benefit. Who scanning their field of business decided to become one of the best to ever do it. Then followed through and put the time and the effort and the hustle in so we could all enjoy magic.

I feel bad for thinking that magic would be endless.

Kobe Bryant: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010
August 23, 1978-January 26, 2020

-28-

Goodbye Kobe Bryant

This is hard. I wish my mouth was like a ventriloquist dummy and my heart was the puppetmaster and I could articulate all the things without tripping over my thoughts.

Read the rest of this page »

#SetTheVCR: January 26-Febuary 2, 2020

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

Hope you like super sports because for some odd reason most of my picks are sporty.

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New Book Alert: January 20-24, 2020

My weekly collection of new and notable books for your pop culture pleasure and edification: #ReadMoreTweetLess.

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New Book Alert: January 20-24, 2020

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

My weekly collection of new and notable books for your pop culture pleasure and edification: #ReadMoreTweetLess.

Read the rest of this page »

Picard’s First Tea

Ok. Are we gonna discuss last night’s Picard debut??! Barely 3 minutes into the first episode Jean-Luc Picard says in that forceful Patrick Stewart way:

“Let’s behave like civilized men.”

And then pours a cup of tea before he gets a response.

Tea out the gate. Fresh!

I have other feelings but man to see Picard armed with that tea again…after all these years, after all the things we’ve done, after all the things we’ve seen. I believe a slow tear escaped my left eye and smoothly rolled down the side of face.

Though that first scene even with seeing the Enterprise and Data viewers were instantly cued it was a dream with my man putting milk and sugar in his tea. NO!

That’s what I do: that’s a Sammy tea. You have your own tea, Picard. Which is now decaf? Yo. The replicator should ignore his order every single time and just gave him regular tea, earl grey hot. Why not? Other people were rude to Picard; treating him like a kind grandfather suffering from dementia.

Nah man…that’s a lack of respect I cannot abide by. “Let’s behave like civilized men.”

-28-

Picard’s First Tea

Ok. Are we gonna discuss last night’s Picard debut??! Barely 3 minutes into the first episode Jean-Luc Picard says in that forceful Patrick Stewart way:

“Let’s behave like civilized men.”

Read the rest of this page »

Quality Time is TV’s Love Language

Star Trek: Picard is a love letter to the back in the day 22…24…even 26 episodes per television season.

A fascinating aspect of Picard’s return jubilation is it is partially because he was in 178 Next Generation episodes (and 4 movies.).

From September 28, 1987 to May 23, 1994 we had quality time together every September to May. Not like these newfangled lazy 10 episode seasons where the characters don’t breath and the worlds they inhabit are barely mapped.

(Granted as a mini-series slash Next Gen appendix Star Trek: Picard functions well; especially at Patrick Stewart’s age. We just witnessed this in The Irishman: they’re able to de-age De Niro’s face but not his knees (you can see that in certain scenes he’s got old man knees with that young man face.).

This is not an old man get off my lawn rant this is buyer’s remorse.

The commonality of the biggest shows…the TV shows that launched industries and careers, improved our imaginations and injected popular phrases into our English language all cranked out hours and hours and hours of work around a core group of characters.

We know these characters: Star Trek: Next Generation is roughly 531 hours. Stranger Things? 20 hours…that’s not even a full day with the kids.

Most of it (not all of it) was excellent: X-Files, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, The Simpsons, Buffy, Supernatural etc. have a deep impact on our pop culture and on our lives; the way we relate and connect with each other.

The Stranger Things kids eh…they might do something 20 years from now; I mean it doesn’t really matter. X-Files showed us a far more stranger scarier world with monsters in the sewers one week and the next week monsters in the White House. Thanks kids; let the FBI handle this.

We’re slowly moving away from binging (Apple TV and Disney Plus release episodes weekly) which is great. I’m grateful for that.

I just didn’t fully realize until I saw Picard how much we’d all lost. I dunno if “quality time” will return where we stare into each other’s eyes but at least for now we have Date Night every week.

-28-

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