Monday, February 20, 2012

Mason Betha Was Right...

I really enjoyed this NY Times Article today about breakout stars and race. Despite the Mayweathers of the world, I think Lobo poses a very real question:

"Could anyone recall a black athlete who had come off the bench like Tim Tebow or out of the blue like Jeremy Lin, flared to immediate stardom and received the sort of impassioned outpouring of love that has enveloped Tebow and Lin?" - William C. Rhoden

While I enjoy the article, it plays naive. There isn't a preference for Asians over Blacks in sports. The answer frankly, isn't even that deep. It's right in front of us...

In the late-90s, I remember thinking it was kinda bullshit that Jeremy Shockey was on DKNY billboards when he wasn't even a top-5 tight end in the NFL. When Eminem came out, you knew he'd be the first rapper on the top-100 format radio stations. When Tebow started winning games, you knew bars above Houston St. would have Broncos games on blast and every one below was going to pretend it didn't happen. But what did Eminem, Tebow, and Jeremy Lin do that Victor Cruz didn't? Plain and simple, they broke stereotypes.

No one likes waking up and having their lives determined by race. Humans are obsessed with determining their own destinies. We're egotistical animals that like to know we have the ability to choose our own adventures. That's what excites us about Lin and Company, they not only defy odds, but also stereotypes. Eminem enabled a generation of "wiggers". Mobb Deep, Nas, CNN, 50-Cent and anyone else reppin' Queens unwittingly put a generation of "chiggers" from Bayside-Flushing on their backs. Lin is important because despite court vision, high basketball IQ, and Harvard, his feats are essentially physical. While Black people have been boxed up, stereotyped, and forced into physical tasks globally, Asians have been put in cubicles. We've been juxtaposed and placed at opposite corners of the sandbox.

There are no two races in America or the world more diametrically opposed than Asians-Blacks and the pressure points for this relationship are bodegas.

I understand black angst towards Asians and I understand why there's bulletproof glass at #1 Wok. My grandparents didn't have a single nice thing to say about Black people growing up, but as the only Asian kid in the elementary and middle schools I went to, I was for all intensive purposes: the black kid. Even at Dr. Phillips High School with 4000 students and the majority Black or Latino, I was still a "chigger" or "chinaman". Did I mind? No, just don't call me white. haha. Ohhh poor white people, mo money, mo mayonaise jokes. (Now we're even ESPN)

I have an entirely Black, Chinese, and Caribbean staff at Baohaus. Not by design, it just happened. We all get along, 80% is from Lefrak City, and 2 of 'em were rounded up in the raids 2 months ago. When it happened, we held them down, let them work through it, and did what we could to support. We don't judge. You live with people from different cultures long enough, you realize, we're all just trying to come up. Jewish people own all the banks because that's all Christians LET them do. They owned the laundromats because that's all you LET them do. When they moved up, we moved in to the laundromats, delis, and now law firms. There's solidarity because we all know how it feels. But, somewhere along the way, every culture has the Uncle Ruckuses or Chans that fall off the wagon.

I'll lay it out very clearly since other people are pussies. The Asian Club Asians who don't hang out with anyone besides Asians assume black people are lazy, rude, ignorant, and they impress baboon like characteristics upon them. It's bullshit. It's like the people who assume all Chinese people have moles, hair growths, scars from tetnis shots, two left feet, pocket protectors, and TI-82s. I am no longer surprised when white people who don't experience duality have these beliefs, but I find it entirely unacceptable for people of color to have them. Whether you're Black, Yellow, or Brown, you know how it fucking feels to be stereotyped and stigmatized. We know the stereotypical mother fuckers in the neighborhood who make the rest of us look bad, and we all know how the stereotypes aren't true. Why would you impress them on someone else? That's why Mayweather pisses so many people off. His sombrero wearing ass should know better.

I hope Rebecca Lobo doesn't feel like it's a conspiracy against Victor Cruz and other Black athletes who come from nowhere, do the damn thing, and then don't get the Jeremy Lin treatment. Personally, I knew Victor Cruz was Puerto Rican and when he scored I'd hit up all my frog loving friends. It was fun playing DANCE, DANCE, DANCE in the barber shop when his highlights came on. In NY, that's how it is. The lines between neighborhoods are blurred and when your friends get excited about someone reppin' their set, you get excited too. That's the way it should be. Solidarity. I wanna see my brothers eat.

Victor Cruz SHOULD have blown up. But as always, roads lead back to the Godfather. You expect Michael to work in the family business. That wouldn't be a surprise, but war hero? Of course! He broke a stereotype. Vito wanted him to be Senator Corleone, but it didn't happen. Is it fair that Cruz did relatively the same thing as Lin and Tebow but didn't get the same outpouring of support? No. But, honestly, Puerto Rican and Black people for the most part weren't even that excited themselves. I didn't see a lot of air brushed Victor Cruz shirts in the Heights when I went to Malecon. I doubt Rebecca was coppin' Cruz jerseys, but I started thinking... What if Victor Cruz's accomplishments cut against the stereotypical grain. What if he was a war hero? Or a Senator? And then I realized it... You know who was Jeremy before Lin? BARACK MOTHER FUCKING OBAMA. Your answer is right there, Rebecca...Let's do it again in 2012.

SOLIDARITY. It's not just people of color who should be supporting each other, it's basic golden rule shit. We are the world yall: Do unto others as you want to be treated. Mason Betha had it all figured out in "24 Hours to Live".

"I'd do good shit like take kids from the ghetto
Show them what they could have if they never settled
Take every white kid from high class level
Show them what Christmas like run up in the ghetto"

Support the people who feel your pain... We're all Asian when Jeremy balls. He's not just a symbol of being Asian, but someone who chose his own adventure. Whites, Blacks, Yellows, and Browns should all be able to appreciate that. Child's Play...

ADDENDUM: In the original post I didn't write this, but a very important factor is SPENDING POWER. Whites and Asians to a lesser extent have spending power. Having money is like having extra votes. You can propel a native son onto a national stage and beyond with your interest, approval, and money. Why do certain broadcasts pick certain stories for the 7 o'clock news? Ratings, advertisers, etc. Since when are people making advertising decisions to chase the Puerto Rican dollar? It's not fair but we have to realize THIS is why certain people are championed and others are not. Victor Cruz, you deserve better homie... America, STEP THE FUCK UP. Journalists/writers need to write what SHOULD be written, not just what they're incentivized to write. #NewsroomShit

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Eating Crow

The kid knows when he's wrong... A month ago, the homie Ben Detrick wrote this article. And you know what... he was right, D'Antoni was not the problem. Now that he found a point guard to run the pick-n-roll to death, he's assembled his type of squad. He has a Nash in Lin (although Nash is the much better shooter, ball handler, Lin is much stronger going to the rack), a Joe Johnson in JR Smith, a mini-Marion in Shumpert, a Quentin Richardson in Landry Fields, Amare is Amare, and Chandler is the bonus. I'm eating crow because I have not seen the Knicks play as a unit like they are the last two weeks. Lin is clearly the catalyst and the missing piece, but D'Antoni deserves some credit RIGHT NOW. Respect, coach...

For years, I've begged for "My Coach" back... Jeff Van Gundy. He might be the one person I liked more than Cam'ron and I own three copies of Killa Season. Although Van Gundy never won a championship, I could live with it because the Knicks gave 110% every night. That's all we ask for in NY because that's what we do day in and day out. No one goes harder than us and we expect the Knicks to do the same. D'Antoni and his offense were always viewed as "soft", but today, D'Antoni is MY COACH.

Melo simply wasn't gelling in D'Antoni's offense. I was a huge supporter of the Melo trade and I still don't believe it was a bad trade. If you look at it on paper, we got good value and every other team would make that deal for Melo. Gallinari is doing well but Felton got moved and Chandler's still a free agent. While Gallinari was a better fit with the Knicks, we made the trade because you can get guys like Gallinari. JR Smith may not play as under control and Novak actually has even worse feet than Gallo, but together, they fill that role. 6'9" 220lb dudes who can break Lebron James down off the dribble, bang the 3, post-up, and kill you softly from 18 feet out simply don't come around very often. Offensively, Melo is a freak.

For anyone who thinks we don't need Melo, watch the games, check the box scores. Lin has an enormous amount of turnovers. He is cheffin' but having Melo to take some of the scoring load off his shoulders will make him a more efficient player. Whether you guys want to admit it or not, there is ALWAYS a place on the team for a top-5 scorer in the league. Right now, we're exclusively a pick-n-roll team. Dallas had a great game plan trapping Lin at the wing and at the top of the key. When he saw it coming, he got the ball out to JR Smith or Novak, but imagine if that's fucking Melo out there! They trap Lin, then Melo gets to play 4 on 3, we're un fucking stoppable. Basketball is about spacing. That's what D'Antoni's offense is predicated on. All of this in an effort to create lanes for the point guard. Who better to create those lanes than Carmelo FUCKING Anthony?

We could be scoring 110 to 115 points a game, there are plenty of touches to go around. This isn't fantasy football, it's basketball. You don't need to keep track of touches, especially in a D'Antoni offense. It's the inverse of Communism. D'Antoni wants every one to buy in, just like communism, you play as a team, every one shares the ball, but here's the wrinkle. You shoot in 7 seconds or less so unlike Communism, there's actually enough to go around. Theoretically, we should be getting 3 times more possessions than any other team in basketball. If there was ever a team that didn't have to worry about Melo coming back and stealing touches, it's the Knicks.

Lin should still be the engine driving this offense. He is doing a great job reading the D, looking at the lanes, but if the defense is set to stop Lin, you spread Carmelo off weakside, so when the ball swings, Melo has an advantage. The ball moves faster than the man. Defenses physically can't set up to stop Lin, unless they are willing to spot Melo a first step against the weak side. Pick your poison. Lin makes the call and in many ways we become a basketball team running a zone read. I mean, the entire time we've been on this winning streak we've run one play: pick-n-roll. Now we have 2. Also, we have no post game, with Melo back, Lin-Melo or JR Smith/Novak - Melo can play inside out. This should all be happening weak side with Lin-Stat/Chandler pick-n-roll strong side. Right now, Lin's biggest problem is going left, but why bother? Latrell Sprewell had a career going right cause Allen Houston held him down on the weakside. Lin has Melo. LET'S FUCKING GO.

I'm proud of D'Antoni and the Knicks because every one is hitting the floor, diving for loose balls, playing help defense, and we haven't seen this for almost a decade. Props to Mike Woodson as well because it's not just effort. People know their rotations, we're creative with the defensive match-ups and we're being cerebral on defense. Instead of getting Chandler/Stat in foul trouble, we sacrificed Shumpert on Nowitzki early, then put a army of Small Forwards on him the rest of the game. Every one is willing because we're winning. These dudes are playing for each other and it's so fucking ill. It's on Melo to come back and fit in with this team. It's not Amare's team, it's not Melo's team, it's not Lin's team. This is D'Antoni's team. If we are going to keep this up, D'Antoni has his biggest challenge to date. Take the reins and insist that every man on this squad knows his role. But if we handle this correctly, I will tell you right now, it's Miami-New York in the Eastern Conference Finals for the Championship this Spring and once again... Tyson Chandler will be the difference. The team that plays as a unit and gets contributions from 1 to 12 will win and I guarantee its the Knicks this year. We're back yall...