Rivers’ Rant: Bubba-Chuck, Earl & Me. Me and the boy A.I. got more in common than just ballin’ and rhymin’

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I’m back like a rebel causing trouble, an assassin kicking ass on the double. And there’s not a muthafucka alive that’s gonna stop me, so fuck you and your punk ass posse.

Basketball and hip-hop go together like PB&J. No player/artist comparison displays that better than the astounding careers of Allen Iverson and DMX.

You’ve probably never thought about how similar the two are.

  • Both are great among stiff competition
  • Careers blew up in 1998
  • Both could’ve been so much more of not for personal demons

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In the 90’s hip-hop and basketball had finally surpassed their older counterparts like rock, football and baseball, in the cool department with the teen demographic. Hip-hop was our religion and the court was church. The Source and SLAM magazines were holy books. You were shunned if you didn’t know who was on the McDonald’s all-star team or the latest hip hop quotable.

I first heard DMX on the underground classic ‘Time’s Up’ by Mic Geronimo. He was featured on the song along with Jay Z and Ja Rule. Of course it was a banger, but I didn’t hear anything special in him.

When 2Pac and Biggie were tragically taken away it left a giant hole in the game. A lot of fans were like ‘OH SHIT, WHAT WE GONE DO NOW?!’ Sure things survived, but the only people moving units was Em, Pimp Juice and Jay. Dope as they may be, they just didn’t have the ruggedness or sincerity of 2Pac. They could make hits just nothing that touched the soul.

There were more Pac pretenders than contenders. Take ya pick from Lil Zane to Lil Wayne with more bandanas than shirts and more tattoos than talent. Then there was X.

‘Stay out dark/ Cause if I catch you when the sun is down/ run it clown…’

4, 3, 2, 1 came with four lyrical titans, Red and Mef, Canibus, LL and DARK MAN X. Everybody on that song was fire. It’s probably better known for the Canibus and LL beef, ok it’s only known for that, but for most people that was their first time hearing DMX. The others spoke about their skills and metaphorically hurting you, but not X, he said he was gonna rob you if he saw you once it got dark and you believed him. He went on to release two highly aggressive singles that had everybody barking.

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Allen Iverson came in like a whirlwind breaking the ankles of guards and disrespectfully dunking on centers. Like X he was featured on a hood classic that was Georgetown University with the great John Thompson and the not so great Othello Harrington. At the time Othello was the highest rated high school player of all time and was recruited to be the next great big man from Georgetown, but ended up being just alright. Harrington had a nice left hand, but came to the Rockets and wasn’t shit, but I digress. The Hoyas had recently added a kente cloth-like pattern to the jerseys and by the power of Alonzo Mourning they were cool again.

Allen Iverson was the first guard to be given the green light and boy did he use it. At first he played to the beat of Elder Thompson’s drum then in year three… RELEASE THE KRAKEN! The loss to North Carolina must’ve made John take it to streets and let little Allen takeover. When they got to the dance Hoyas were the sexy pick to win it all. They spanked the first round opponent, but it was their second round foe, The Texas Tech Red Raiders, where it got personal.

I’ve been posterized once in my life and it was by Gracen Avril, an all American McDonald all-star. You don’t know the amount of joy I felt as Bubba Chuck just destroyed him and the Red Raiders. Every time he scored on him it felt like I scored. The most memorable moment was in the final minutes of the game. The camera panned to the sideline and caught none other than Gracen Avril crying like a baby. I know I’m being Petty Riley, but it was at that very moment Iverson became my favorite player.

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It wasn’t until 1998 when these two guys really took over. Allen Iverson fresh off shaking the shit out of Jordan,  won the first of his three straight scoring titles and made cornrows and tattoos a prerequisite for urban basketballers. DMX dropped his first of three platinum records with two in ‘98 alone becoming the first hip hop artist to do so. It looked as if both guys were primed to take over the game only to be out shined by their more business minded monsters with clear cut plans for greatness, Kobe and Jay Z.

DRUGS AND ALCOHOL HAVE RUINED MY LIFE…

Addiction: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)
: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.

Both of these greats suffered tremendous losses and setbacks because of addiction. I would be here all day trying to document and recount each crazy ass headline involving these two but fuck it. DMX once slept under a table at a charity event for underprivileged kids due to “exhaustion” and no matter what Bubba-Chuck momma said the rumors of him being drunk with a pistol dragging his woman, who may or may not had on clothes, down the street never quite went away.

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For all the money they made they both were constantly dogged by rumors of being broke and close to rock bottom, but who knows? We talking about some game dogs that we loved for their pride, the giant size chips on their shoulders and the size of the fight in them. It’s been said that Allen has a mean nest egg he has to live to 65 before he can touch. He’s also doing something with Ice Cube so there is hope yet. DMX on the other hand looks pretty bad. He’s become the crackhead uncle of hip-hop. I have faith that he’ll come around and shock us with that Rudolph the red nose reindeer Christmas album. As for Gracen Avril. He’s a productive member of society and a great father. Currently training his young son to dunk on some words writing ass nigga like me.

Peace and harmony, Rivers

Episode 1 of The New Corner Store Sports Talk Podcast

It’s the middle of the night young world and yes I’m still loitering at my favorite corner store cuz I ain’t got no life.  But really I just came up here to invite u to check out how we popped our proverbial podcast cherry last Friday morning.  Speaking of my boy DC and myself.  It’s just the beginning for our weekly show and we got big plans for that thang.  So if u have an hour to spare give it the once around and get back with us with ur Ish(Shit) Talk or Props. Just get back at us.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/cornerstoresportstalk/episodes/2017-04-22T08_37_41-07_00

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Rivers’ Rant: The Infamous Intro

Brace yourselves. This can get rough!

 

Get ready for a sports take from a brutally honest, highly opinionated perspective.

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What it is, what it was, and what it be like? First things second.  I’m Rivers, a full-time barber, hip-hop snob, movie critic, and all around sports junkie.  For the most part sports will be the topic of discussion. Just a little fun fact, I’m bilingual. Proficient in both English and profanity so there’s going to be some rough language.

Rarely does my crew miss a good round of fisticuffs, a highlight dunk, or the latest one handed catch. Then we proceed to debate the fuck out of each other’s opinions. We all have our own alliances of course, but as for me, I’m a diehard Texans fan. Hell everything Houston. If you ask me ‘The Tyler Rose’ is the hardest running back ever to grace the field. Bum Phillips is a deified saint. Nolan Ryan is the best pitcher ever and I refuse to have the proverbial quarterback G.O.A.T. conversation without Warren Moon.

THE MAN HAD THE WORST RECEIVING CORE IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT, I REFUSE TO DEBATE THIS! (Of course I will at the drop of a hat but that’s not the point)

Last but not least Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon is the greatest PF of all time. I know what you’re saying, ‘but Rivers Olajuwon was a center’. To that I’d say if you ever stop me again while I’m talking I’ll cut your fucking nuts off!  True, but Tim Duncan practically played center yet he’s listed as PF. Personally, The Dream is the better all around player and I have absolutely no way, other than blind fan devotion, to usurp Kareem Abdul Jabbar of the title of greatest center and possibly player, like they say, *insert Jay Z line*

Brutal honesty is something I pride myself on that and my undying hatred of the Dallas Cowboys and their shitty, ass hat fans and dry wit. Hopefully all will shine through in my prideful prose about sport and the men and women that play. Keep in mind my article will bring politics into play and a whole lot of hypocritical personal feelings. Feel free to check me and call me on my bullshit if you feel I get a little too astray from the real. Seriously though, there are certain times when your personal feelings and convictions change or are challenged in a major way due to new facts so I will vary my opinion from time to time.

I will attempt to be humorously conscious like Muhammad Ali, and Dick Gregory, but brutal like a Mike Tyson uppercut and the Bruce Lee front kick. To quote Bill Russell ‘it’s better to understand than to be understood’  and that’s all I’m going to be seeking from these post. It’s gonna be hard and crushing, unflinching yet at the same time adapting like Sifu Lee says, be water my friend, be water.

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Rivers

When is bending the rules cool?

What up world? It’s ya man 12 again posted up at the corner store. Since the NBA playoffs have started and teams, like my Rockets, are being eliminated you hear the frequent complaints about the way games are being officiated.

Being a life long Rockets fan I’ve had a few teams that were the target of my sports hatred;mainly the Celtics and Utah Jazz.

These days it’s the record breaking Golden State Warriors. I’m constantly hearing my fellow Rockets fans call the refs out for letting the Ws get away with moving screens.

Well guess what Red Nation, too damn bad for us. The Warriors, led by the pure shooting Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, will continue to get away with moving screens because they can light it up.

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The NBA is popular because, unlike baseball and hockey, you get instant gratification. The scoring comes fast and in dramatic fashion. Each bucket calls for celebration. This allows fringe fans that don’t know much about the science of game to be involved.

Scoring sells tickets and no team can score in bunches like this incarnation of  Oakland’s beloved hoopsters. News flash, the NBA is a billion dollar entity and like all major corporations they are only concerned about capitalizing on the capital. They want that money. They can care less about the integrity of the rules. Maybe that’s another reason why baseball lags behind in the popularity race.

It’s the same with the music industry. Many of us wonder why there are so many talentless acts being pushed out there as the next great artist.  Fact is that the labels can care less about the art form. They care about the YouTube clicks. They are signing acts that have the ability to get young people left clicking on a mouse to see what they have going on.

Really talented artists are dinosaurs for the most part because they are more concerned about maintaining a certain level of artistic integrity  and producing quality albums whlie the industry now revolves around catchy cookie cutter sounds and social media.

So as long as Steph and company can continue to run up the score on opponents, on national broadcasts, they will be able to slide with a moving screen here and there.

It’s nothing new. When the Celtics were in their dynasty years Bob Cousey, Havlicek, and Bill Russell dribbled straight up and down. By the time Magic Johnson played he was turning the palm of his hand over with the ball sitting flushly in it,But… Magic was the engine that made Showtime run.

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I know it’s blasphemy, but Michael Jordan palmed the ball regularly and pushed off with his off hand to get separation from the defender. Truth is that Jordan filled seats, sold jerseys, and had TV stations vying for the rights to “Air” #23s games. So he got away with whatever he needed to.

My favorite player, Hakeem Olajuwon, often switched pivot feet en route to putting opposing centers in a popcorn machine. But he was so amazing to watch. we also have to account for the fact that like New York, L.A. and Chicago, Houston is a major broadcast market so when the Rockets were good the ratings were high.

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Although David Stern detested Allen Iverson, he was must see TV. The little dude, by NBA standards, was  a scoring machine and was the main reason that the 76ers’ bandwagon was filled to capacity. His crossover is legendary, and also illegal by the rules of basketball. We can’t change the fact that A.I. sold tickets in his home coliseum and in visiting cities.

The NFL went as far as changing rules that allowed the offense to have the advantage against the defense so that scoring could increase. Fans love scoring, especially fringe fans. Only football purists can appreciate a defensive struggle that ends in a 10-6 score. Most fans find that boring so they lose interest.

We just have to expect that The Defending champs will continue to get preferential treatment just like every other player or team that has the ability to make fans tune in and spend bread. They won’t be the last team to get away with rule infractions and they most definitely aren’t the first.

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We Lost Phife, But Gained a Lesson

The cats that chill at the Corner Store are pouring out a little liquor for the homie Phife Dawg of legendary Hip Hop duo A Tribe Called Quest who recently transitioned to the realm of the ancestors. It’s not a stretch to claim that this group is perhaps the greatest Hip Hop group ever or at least in the upper echelon.

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Since this is primarily a sports blog I feel the need to explain how the loss of Malik the 5 foot freak is sports related.  For those that may not know Phife was an avid sports fan. I remember when he came to Houston and popped up at the radio station.  As he was famously known to do, Phife started free styling over an instrumental and made several references to Houston sports figures including former Major Leaguers Jeff Bagwell and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. He was very knowledgeable with his commentary on Sports.

 

I didn’t want to spend much time talking about his lyrical proficiency or his love for sports as much as I wanted to address the illness that took him away from us in the physical sense. He battled diabetes for a very long time. In fact on the Busta Rhymes sample laced “Oh My God”, a track from the 1993 released LP Midnight Marauders, Phife spit the question “when’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic”.

Diabetes is a serious issue in the black community.  There are many different theories as to why we as Black people in America are more susceptible to this disease than our neighbouring ethnic groups, but whatever the reason it’s killing us at an alarming rate.

My great grandmother, grandfather, and my father have dealt with diabetes. I saw my grandfather, who was the strongest most independent dude I knew, reduced to an overweight one legged depressed human being before he transitioned. My paternal aunt and younger 1st cousin also have what many Blacks call “sugar”.

I decided to change my eating habits and embark on a new journey that lead to me making better choices about what I allowed to go into and out of my mouth. I also monitored what kind of messages went into my ears. In most cases a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. And a healthy body makes obtaining peace of mind more attainable. Behaving like this caused my family to swear that I converted to Islam. I guess changing my English name to an African one didn’t help much.

These athletes that we give so much of our adoration to pay close attention to what they put into their bodies so maybe we need to take a que from them and do the same. Also losing Phife at the age of 45 can show us that you don’t have to be old to be snatched off of this Earth. And being famous doesn’t make one immune to dis-ease either. Phife’s death can be a blessing to those that use his life as a lesson to take better care of ourselves at a young age. Remember he was the funky diabetic in his early 20s.

#RIPPhife Dawg. Thank you for being an inspiration and example of emcee excellence to spitters like me.

 

12 will carry the torch.

 

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Discount Double Standard

My video covered much of what I wanted to say on the topic, before my phone froze up on me, so I won’t elaborate any further on the topic.  I’ll just post a few videos that relate…

This is a portion of a letter that Joe Louis wrote about his relationship with Jack Johnson…

“Jack Johnson, after decades of boasting and white-womanizing and running from the law, thought he was going to bring his fat old ass into my championship camp and take center stage. I told Johnson what my people told him: get the hell away from us. We don’t like your style, we don’t like your mouth, we don’t want your problems and you’re not going to give us any. When he realized he was back on the street, Johnson began calling me Uncle Tom and saying I had a glass jaw and he’d have killed me. I would’ve given him the Schmeling treatment if he’d been around. I really didn’t need to, though. People on Harlem streets more than once punched him for insulting me. I loved hearing that.

Unlike Johnson I wanted a clean image. And I had one. I kind of kept it, too

And I was right.  Joe was born in Alabama.  He’s listed as a Detroit fighter so I was a bit confused when I recorded this video about that particular subject.

Here’s another video about Muhammad Ali confronting a white woman about wanting an arrogant nigger to stay in his place.  I don’t think that this particular woman was going there but when he heard her say something about him being arrogant it set him off.  I think he heard all of those other white people from past experiences coming out of her mouth.

Bottom line is that most white people don’t understand or give a damn about Black/African heritage and they want all of us to live according to their cultural perceptions.  That’s where the “good negro” concept came from. The bigger problem is that most black people don’t know or give a damn about our own heritage and so we can’t refute the ignorant statements that come our way.  As I said in the video, it’s mostly an older generational thing and the white people that grew up in the hip hop culture are much less likely to have these types of feelings because they have interacted within the cultural framework and see how it goes down. Like Stephen A said, nobody got a problem with Aaron Rogers doing his choreographed “Discount Double Check” move after he scores or psycho Tom going crazy after a celebration so the double standard is absolutely in effect.  As for the “stay in your place and be a good negro” mentality goes I have three words for you….”FUCK THAT SHIT”.

12 says Do U Caaaaaaaaammmmm!

 

Somebody please bury the Cute athlete

Where U Been? We have a hot topic at the corner store.

Just saw a post where Adrien “the Problem” Broner was late to a press conference because he wasn’t going to leave wherever he was until his assistant brought him back a Gucci shirt.  To make it worse he bragged about it.  His boy tried to cover it up by saying that they had plane trouble but Broner came on behind him and “told the truth”.  I’ve often said that Broner is more flash than substance but he aint the only one.  This current generation of athletes/entertainers is flooded with those types.

All of these cute boxers talking shit and show boating in the ring end up looking crazy when their opponents are standing there with their hands raised after the announcer reads off the judges decisions.  Judges don’t like excessive show boating and from what I can tell, neither do the fans.  The problem is that these guys want to emulate Muhammad Ali.  The Godfather of boxing trash talk.  The ultimate self promoter.  The self proclaimed “Greatest”. What these boxers don’t seem to understand is that Ali was an outstanding boxer well before he took on the personality of a professional wrestler.  He had an unblemished amateur record that ended with a gold medal in the 1960 olympics in Rome.  He had God given hand and foot speed that no other heavyweight champ had ever posessed before him.  He was 6’3 with long arms and bull’s eye accuracy. He was vey disciplined in regards to his diet.  He had a work ethic that surpassed the expectations of his legendary trainer Angelo Dundee.  And most importantly, HE HATED TO LOSE!!!

All of the shit talking and show boating was just to sell tickets.  He put in the work when the cameras were not on.  He didn’t just rely on his talent.  I can say the same about Floyd Mayweather.  Ali studied the history of the sport.  He studied Jack Johnson and Joe Louis.  He studied Marciano and Jersey Joe.  And he was just a boxer.  He didn’t want to go on tour as a soul singer, or try out for the Globe Trotters.  I think that all of the rapping and hooping eneded up catching up with my 2nd all-time fav boxer, Mr Jones Jr.  Broner wants to be a rapper and he comes back from touring with a big ass belly and swolen neck.  Pacman is wearing too many hats these days.  He wants to be a singer, play & coach basketball, and work in politics in his native country.  He hasn’t been as dominant lately.  His focus is being being juggled between too many arenas.

It’s not just boxers.  We all know that dude that shows up to the park in full Jordan gear.  From his headband to his sneakers you see MJ gliding from the freethrow line.  But……. They can’t hoop like talkin bout it.  They may be ok but the game don’t look as good as the gear. From what I hear Jordan was a gym rat.  He hated to lose and it showed on the court.  Kenny The Jet Smith, of Houston Rockets and TNT fame, said that Jordan was the greatest fundamentally sound athlete that he has ever seen.  In other words MJ worked on basic basketball fundamentals just as hard as he worked on his Hops.  Maybe harder.  He was a great athlete naturally but techniques have to be learned and practiced.

Many of these comics today say that Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy inspired them but the only resemblance that they share with Murphy or Pryor is a foul mouth.  Pryor was knowledgeable on many different subjects.  He talked about discovering a book in an Egyptian pyramid that proved that the Egyptians were black.  The white explorer didn’t want this information to leak so he locked Pryor in the pyramid.  Pryor made that subject funny and he didn’t drop one f bomb.  He put in the work to perfect his craft like Ali, Jordan, Tony Gwynn, Floyd, Jeter, Serena, Joyner-Kersey,   etc.

Broner don’t know if he wants to be a great champion or Biggie.  I’m not a fan of that dude at all and each stunt that he pulls makes me dislike his silly ass more and more.  Honestly, I just want the young man to get more serious about his craft than his antics so we can see his talent and skills on display.  If that happens then maybe he will actually draw the fanfare that he thinks he already has.  He says that he does it to entertain the fans, but all I hear are fans dissing him.  Holding your set up like Floyd and talking shit does not mean that you are Floyd.  Hard work, dedication, and paying attention to the little things makes Floyd who he is.  The antics are only to sell PPV buys.

I hope he gets it together because I’d love to see the young brother reach his full potential in the sport of boxing, but right now he just doesn’t get it.  Even if he was lying about being late due to not having a Gucci shirt, that corny fly shit makes him look bad in the business realm when he thinks it makes him look playa.  Straighten up and fly right youngsters.

here’s the link to Broner’s press conference

http://www.nbcsports.com/boxing/lack-gucci-apparel-delays-adrien-broners-arrival

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