How We’re Different

Most websites in the general interest area of mine fall into either category that I cover — sports or music. I not only cover both, which some of the other sites do, but I often intertwine the two in ways others do not.

That’s big, as it separates me from the usual sites. Even if they cover both, the content of the genres are kept completely separate.

Look at Grantland, for example. Before it was taken off the face of the internet (rest in peace, the greatest website of all-time), the ESPN affiliate had in-depth long read stories about the NBA from Zach Lowe, from college basketball from Mark Titus, popular culture from Shea Serrano, among a lot of other talented writers.

But rarely, if ever, did those world intersect. Each person stuck to their lanes and did not cross-contaminate, so to speak.

This continued with Grantland’s spiritual successor, The Ringer, another brainchild of Bill Simmons. Though the quality dipped significantly, the idea was the same — each category had its writers writing a lot of words about a specific subject within the sports and popular culture sphere.

Not at the BallRoom. That’s the difference, or at least our goal.

Please Steal My Content

The content I’ve created on this blog is original, but I am no means attached to it.

In other words, I’m not copyrighting anything I’ve done here — I want it to be open-source, for people to take it and use it.

Aside from the usual sharing my content through social media, which would be pretty awesome if people did to be quite frank, the most meaningful way of spreading my work would for people to make their own work inspired by mine.

Take my blog post on best rap lyrics about basketball players. If one were to make a video version of it like the ones that populated YouTube at its infancy and credited my blog post as inspiration in the description, it would mean so much more than a simple tweet.

It could lead to the Long Tail of YouTube helping my blog grow — if the video gets even 100 viewers, I anticipate at least a quarter of them to click the link to my blog and at least a fifth of those to like it enough to follow my blog. That’s five followers right there!

Any form of sharing my stuff would exceed my wildest expectations, but if I could inspire others to create themselves, I imagine it would be a feeling like not other.

All is Fair (Use) in Love and War (and Creative Commons)

basketball-game-competition-sport-39593.jpegI chose an image off of Google of the Georgetown Bulldogs taking on the Florida Gators in an NCAA men’s basketball game. I was surprised to see a photo from a game disputed between two Power Five programs being available for free use, so I jumped on the opportunity to use it.

My usage of this image falls under Fair Use for purposes because of its use — I’m using it for scholastic purposes as this article is for a class.

It’s favorable to my educational objectives — if I don’t do this assignment, I’ll make it harder on myself to pass the class.

It’s a small quantity as the photo is one of many taken by the same photographer at the Florida x Georgetown contest that day.

Finally, and in my opinion most importantly, my use of the image has no significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work — I’m not profiting off of the photos use and it certainly won’t affect others from using it.

In all, I don’t see there being an issue with me using this image, at the very least when it comes to copyright. Whether those players or those teams want to be featured on my blog is another story.

Peanut Me

wallpaper-1502559792My options for this project were to choose between Peanutizing or Powderpuffing myself. I chose the former because while I did enjoy Powderpuff Girls more as a kid, I identify more as a Peanut guy.

I elected to make a version of myself rather than someone else because I’m the person I know best and no one knows me as well as I know myself (I think).

Choosing my skin color and hair were relatively easy — they didn’t have the exact style of haircut I get but it was close enough and I’m not picky about it. The mouth was the easiest part as I picked the frown because I get sad a lot.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The clothes were by far the most difficult thing to choose, simply because of the lack of options. It also doesn’t help that the character doesn’t seem to have a tailor as his clothes fit him like a sack of potatoes.

Nevertheless, I chose the apparel I felt was closest to the style I would wear if I were a peanut.

For the scene, I chose one that would make me match the expression on my Peanut’s face had I been in that scenario in real life. The scene is a cold day out on the ice rink. I hate the cold and I don’t know how to ice skate (I’ve fallen more times than I can count in the couple of times I tried to), so it was perfect.

My Next Chapter

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/my-next-chapter

This meme is the quintessential basketball meme. For those who don’t follow basketball, Kevin Durant is arguably the second best player on the planet behind LeBron James. He and Russell Westbrook were on the cusp of defeating the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, but blew a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 series — aka, a total meltdown.

He entered free agency after the season, and rather than staying with Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder for another crack at the Warriors, he elected to join them.

This caused a lot of hate directed his way, especially because of the way he announced — on Fourth of July on the Players Tribune with an image titled “My Next Chapter.”

So the NBA subreddit on Reddit (reddit.com/r/nba) elected to have fun with the image. Every time the Warriors lost, they’d put the logo of the team who beat them onto the “My Next Chapter” image, furthering the idea that Kevin Durant is a front-running loser who runs away from challenges and into the easiest possible scenario for him to win an NBA championship (I’m still bitter).

How to Self-Promote Using Social Media

As the owner of a blog, many believe the one top priority is to create content that people want to consume. While that is true, it’s just one of the many things necessary for your blog to hit it big.

A major component in having your stuff heard, read or watched is promotion. You could produce the most well-written thinkpiece, mix together the best trap beats or cut up a genuinely phenomenal short film, but often times, those things won’t be seen if they aren’t brought to people’s attention.

Social media provides multiple avenues for self-promotion, with multiple sites to choose from to fit whatever content you’re making and the audience you’re trying to reach.

Using the example of this blog, which is multi-faceted but primarily filled with written content, Twitter is the best social media platform to share my content. It’s a constant stream of posts, so promoting multiple times won’t be as annoying as it would be on Facebook or Instagram, for example. Also, Twitter users are more likely to click on an article than Instagram users simply because it’s easier.

This strategy can be tailored for a plethora of different blogs — just tailor it to the content you’re creating.

Favorite Four Basketball Rap References

As I’ve discussed often in the introductory posts on this blog, basketball and hip-hop go together like peanut butter and jelly. Rappers have been referencing the sport and the athletes who play it best for as long as the genre of music has been alive, which has created a number of memorable lines, rhymes and even entire songs.

So today I’ll take you through my favorite four references of basketball in rap, each coming from a different artist, in no particular order.

Let’s dive right into it:

Ice Cube, Today Was a Good Day

Best lines: “Called up the homies and I’m askin’ y’all / Which park are y’all playin basketball?

Get me on the court and I’m trouble/Last week fucked around and got a triple double

Freaking niggas every way like MJ/I can’t believe today was a good day”

Ice Cube is a legend in the rap game.

An instrumental part of N.W.A — perhaps the most influential rap group in the genre’s history — the MC would go on to have a fruitful career as a solo artist before moving on to a career as an actor.

His biggest hit by far was Today Was a Good Day, which featured one of the first of many references to Michael Jordan in rap. Ice Cube may be one of the only ones who compared himself to MJ on the basketball court instead of in the rap game or other arenas, however.

Kanye West, New God Flow

Best line: “Went from most hated to the champion, God flow / I guess that’s a feeling only me and LeBron know”

Kanye was by far the hardest rapper to add to this list when it came to choosing which lyric I wanted to pick. He’s had countless classics over the course of his illustrious career, so narrowing down the list was incredibly difficult.

In the end, though, this lyric was the most powerful one I could choose. The single dropped in July of 2012 — less than two months after LeBron James won his first NBA title with the Miami Heat) — so it was impactful for those who followed both scenes.

It was historically accurate in the sense Kanye shared a similar experience. He received a lot of criticism for his fourth album “808’s & Heartbreaks,” a project which had critics and fans alike saying Kanye was past his prime, falling off his game and losing clout in the hip-hop community.

It came at a tumultuous period in Kanye’s life. The rapper lost his mother in 2007, which inspired much of the album that would come out a year later. Months later, at the Video Music Awards, Kanye famously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for the ‘Best Music Video’ award, furthering the disdain for him felt by the public.

It set up for a grand redemption in 2010 when he dropped “My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy,” a critically acclaimed album often revered as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

There he felt a feeling few people could relate to, including him and LeBron.

I’ll include the other Kanye lyrics that I almost chose but ultimately didn’t go with as a bonus.

“I’m relaxin’ my feet is up/I’m leavin’ you haters

Like when Shaq left the Lakers just to Heat it up

I state the stats to stunt/I don’t need to front

There black history e’ry day/I don’t need a month

The survey says/by the streets according

Kanye’s just important as Michael Jordan

Was to the NBA when he was scorin’

Ralph Lauren was borin’ before I wore him”

 

 

“In two years Dwayne Wayne became Dwyane Wade / and ‘ay / Please don’t start me / I’m like Gnarls Barkley meets Charles Barkley”

    – The Glory

 

Drake, Thank Me Now

Best line: “And that’s around the time that your idols become your rivals / you make friends with Mike, but gotta A.I. him for your survival”

Drake teaches a lesson in needing to defeat those you admire if you want to keep moving up in the totem pole of your craft using a basketball analogy — figures.

Allen Iverson went through high school and college watching Michael Jordan build into the biggest sports star of the century as he took the Bulls to three straight titles from 1992-94, so naturally, he put him on a pedastal.

Here’s what he had to say about Michael Jordan’s impact on him growing up in a speech during his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame:

“There would be no Hall-of-Fame Allen Iverson, I promise you. He gave me the vision. … I wanted to be like Mike.”

Iverson would get a shot to play against his hero in his rookie season in the NBA and he did not disappoint.

Drake was the same way with hip-hop. A notable actor as a teenager on Degrassi, Drake idolized Kanye West and Jay-Z. As his career blew up, he did songs with both of them, and at least according to sales numbers, exceeded their popularity.

Lil Wayne, Kobe Bryant

Best line: “Two-four so nice, my flow so mean / catch me at the game sitting next to Goldstein, Kobe Bryant Nikes, purple gold strings / Kobe in the game dunkin’ on the whole team.”

Like Kanye, Lil Wayne has had many sports references sprinkled throughout his massive discography. But this one, frankly, was a no-brainer as Weezy wrote an entire song dedicated to Kobe Bryant. Written for one of the most successful athletes in the history of the sport, it lives up to his name.