A new feature where I touch on topics in sports/pop culture that I feel like writing about, but don’t feel are full column worthy.
Topics for this week: LeBron James and the dunk contest, Taylor Swift taking on Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and Kanye West ranting about everything.
LeBron James and the Dunk Contest: For some reason this is a story even though All-Star weekend just passed and we’re all going to forget about this story until January of next year. People are trying to paint LeBron as a villain because he won’t do the dunk contest, but he’s not exactly obligated to participate. Now, LeBron has brought some of this upon himself because he announced on live TV a few years ago that he would be in the dunk contest and he’s also tweeted about throwing his name in the contest. But just because he’s doing pre-game dunks doesn’t mean he needs to be in the dunk contest if he doesn’t want to. Let the guy have some pre-game fun without trying to analyze things and turn it into a story. I know people want LeBron to try and save All-Star weekend, but these players don’t owe it to the league to save the weekend. How about the league gets creative and tries out some new competitions that the players actually want to participate in. All-Star players look at that weekend as their chance to have fun without any stress of an actual game. On Saturday night, they want to sit in their front row seat with their whacky outfits and ham it up with other players and celebrities. Have you seen the way LeBron acts? He’s like a big kid. Have you seen how much LeBron is scrutinized? Before winning a title last year, everyone nitpicked every little thing he did wrong. If he loses in the dunk contest, which I don’t think he would, but you never know, people will rip him. Why should he open himself up to that criticism over something so meaningless as the dunk contest? It’s no secret that LeBron is a pretty sensitive guy. Don’t believe me? Look at how he reacted when Jordan said he would take Kobe over him because Kobe has more rings. I don’t think LeBron likes being judged in an open manner. And it doesn’t get any more open than five judges holding up a number after you dunk a basketball.
It makes no sense for LeBron to possibly welcome even more scrutiny just because some talking heads are upset that he won’t fix something that he didn’t break.
Everyone looks back at guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, and other stars doing the dunk contest, but let’s not forget that these guys entered and won within their first three or four seasons in the league. They were relatively established names, but at the time they were in the dunk contest, they weren’t the best player in the game. You want to bring excitement back to the dunk contest? Have established players in their first few years in the league be in it. Why not have a dunk contest with Anthony Davis, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, etc…? Those guys are young and established players who could use the dunk contest to propel themselves to another level. Everyone loved the dunk contest when Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin were in it, because Howard and Griffin were young but established guys. The NBA doesn’t need LeBron, Durant, Carmelo, etc… in the dunk contest. They just need guys who people have actually heard of.
Beyond getting guys that people can identify, the NBA needs to do away with the silly “you get two minutes to attempt the dunk as many times as you want” rule and the even sillier “you may have missed eight times but you still get a 35 while the guy who did his dunk gets a 40” judging. You should have two attempts to do your dunk, and if you miss on both attempts, you get a zero. You shouldn’t be rewarded for missing eight times in two minutes. If you miss eight times in two minutes during a game, you don’t get two points for effort, you get benched and yelled at for taking too many damn shots.
The dunk contest can be fixed. It’s not going to take a million dollars from “Magic” Johnson and it’s not going to take LeBron. It’s just going to take a little creative thinking.
Taylor Swift vs. Tina Fey & Amy Poehler: Taylor Swift is finally firing back at the people who have attacked her and the media for their constant mentions of her dating life. While I love Swift finally standing up for herself and nixing a lot of rumors, I prefer her when she just ignored everything, kept living her life, and wrote great songs about it. A lot of people have taken shots at Swift and her dating life, and for the most part she’s been good about ignoring those shots. But she finally went after two people in particular. Unfortunately for her, they were the wrong two people. Everyone loves Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Seriously. I don’t know a single person who hates these two. I love Tina and Amy, my parents love Tina and Amy, my former teachers love Tina and Amy, the whole damn world loves Tina and Amy.
Taylor has usually been good at who she’s gone after. First of all, they’ve all been men, and no man is going to respond to her in fear of coming off like an asshole. Second, she’s always done it via song, and not only can she compose a great song, but all her songs get a ton of radio play. Now, whether directly or indirectly, she’s called out Tina and Amy, and not in song form. Hell, even if she did call them out in a song, Tina and Amy are so brilliant that they would parody the song and people would love them even more. Just take Poehler’s response when Taylor mentioned that, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Poehler said, “I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff.” BRILLIANT! This is why people love Tina and Amy.
The media has built up Taylor, which means they’ve just been waiting to tear her down. Until now, she hasn’t allowed them to tear her down. She’s kept her head down and continued to move forward in spite of the rumors and jokes. But she finally slipped. Had she just talked about rumors being untrue and the media being unfair, this wouldn’t be a big deal. But she was directly asked about Fey and Poehler and she directly answered.
This is my plea to Taylor Swift; just apologize. Say you didn’t mean it, do a guest spot on Parks and Recreation. Appear with them at an awards show. Put together a harlem shake video with them. Write a song praising them and their comedy genius. I don’t care what you do, but don’t go to war with Tina and Amy. Because for the first time in your career, it’s a war you won’t win.
Kanye West Ranting: It’s no secret that Kanye West has always been an asshole. But at least he was an extremely talented asshole. Then he started writing corny and disorganized rhymes. The production was still great, but the lyrics didn’t hold up. Then he started dating Kim Kardashian, and the production fell off a bit. Now he’s about to have a kid with a woman who is technically still married. So Kanye has pretty much given up on rap and has decided to just rant about whatever is on his mind. People already view Kanye as a lunatic, he’s just giving the people what they want. Whether or not he’s doing it on purpose is up to you to decide. Personally, I just think Kanye loves attention, and the best way to get attention is to be an asshole and start some type of controversy.
He skipped the Grammys to be with Kim, he posed as Jesus in front of the statue in Brazil, he said he didn’t like the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake track “Suit and Tie,” and now he’s pissed about where he’s ranked on some arbitrary “Hottest MCs in the Game” list.
It’s funny that Kanye doesn’t want to be on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, because at this point he’s becoming an attention whore with limited talent. Don’t get me wrong, he still has more talent in his pinky than any Kardashian has in their whole body (except Kim’s vagina), but he’s coming off extremely bitter with his comments. It’s like he can’t believe that he’s not the greatest thing happening right now, so he has to make himself the center of attention. Except now it’s no longer “Kanye being Kanye” it’s “Boy this Kanye act is growing stale.”
Now if Kanye puts out another album where he doesn’t completely mail it in (and yes, I’m talking about Cruel Summer) then we’ll go back to “Kanye being Kanye.” But for right now, I think we’re all just sick of him. Ever since he became obsessed with Kim Kardashian, started dating her, and now impregnated her, he’s completely gone off the deep end. You’d think he’d be happier. He has the woman of his dreams and he’s about to become a father. Instead he’s even angrier and more desperate and insecure than before. It’s actually quite sad.