Golden State Warriors guard and reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry is accustomed to making ridiculous plays, shots and throwing absurd assists. After his hometown Carolina Panthers fell 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday evening, it was Curry who was on the other end of a wild play ... from me.
Grimacing in shame because of his team's disappointing performance to the Denver Broncos, Curry tweeted out the following and accompanied it with the popular sports Twitter meme aka the crying Michael Jordan face. The Jordan Crying face symbolizes the sadness in sports through athletes, coaches and more.
Here's where the assist from me comes in: I made the photo and tweet it out 47 minutes before Curry published his tweet. He stole the photo and essentially returned the face back to me.
Despite a mini Twitter rant I had tonight (which was full sarcasm, by the way), I'm not actually mad at Curry. He had good intentions and wanted to make good use of something on the Internet. Besides, it's my fault because I forgot to tag my Twitter name on the photo (which I usually do) before sending it out. Hopefully, he acknowledges he got it from me and provides credit, though. I'm just saying.
The Jordan crying face has recently gone through a small dip in Twitter excitement because of over-use and general expiration. But Curry using it on himself re-sparked the movement and presumably gave Crying Jordan artists like myself another few months to keep the meme going.
For some strange reason, last March I decided to try something new during my 30-minute commute home from Kenosha to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Instead of listening to the same music, I gave a random ESPN sports podcast a play. Why not? I could just turn it off if I didn’t like it. So I scrolled down my iPhone and picked The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.
I knew a decent amount about Le Batard and nothing about Stugotz. I knew that Le Batard was a highly respected journalist that also co-hosts a show with his father and Bomani Jones. That was pretty much it.
Hitting play that night turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in 2015, and quite possibly, ever.
When I first started college in 2011 (I just graduated, so dang I’m getting old), the first place I interned at was a radio station in Milwaukee (ESPN 540). I understood the gist of radio programming and how radio stations operate, but I grew tired of listening to the same repetitive banter every single day about the same stuff everybody else was talking about. I wondered if somebody out there was doing anything different. It drove me away from wanting to pursue something in radio and made me focus on television and online media. And since then, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve hated traditional sports radio ever since.
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz is actually everything that I look for in a sports radio show. And I mean everything. It has nothing to do with sports. It's not the hard-hitting, analysis-driven, hot take-filled style of radio programming that’s served on the majority of markets across our country. It has sarcasm and dry humor that only certain people understand. They just had Tom Izzo play Christmas carols with his accordion instead of asking him about college basketball. It’s the comedy I get out of sports that I can't get (most of the time) when I’m covering a game or sitting in a newsroom.
Maybe it was fate that led me to playing their podcast that evening. I really don’t know why I did it, but doing so turned out to be the best gift I could’ve received this year.
Thank you Dan and Stu for being the show I've searched for like the Holy Grail. I get it.
Being raised in an African household, I didn't necessarily grow up a "full Wisconsinite" because of my lifestyle as an Eritrean. I kind of stumbled upon football because it was something I wanted to do that helped me relax with my friends when I was younger. My parents followed the Packers, but they weren't die-hard fans, nor did they make sports a real priority for me. They didn't lecture me about their favorite players growing up and take me to games. It was different.
It took 22 years, but I finally attended my first NFL football game, and it was when the Green Bay Packers faced the Kansas City Chiefs inside a wet Lambeau Field this week (and of course, I didn't think to bring a jacket). It was a new and different perspective on the game of football for me, one that I never experienced before. It was louder, damper and more surreal than observing it on a television screen. For the longest time, I sat at home and flipped through TV channels and never saw anything up close and in person except practices. That has finally changed.
I had several people tweet me about how enjoyable this was going to be because this was happening at Lambeau and not anywhere else. The history inside the stadium on the field, as well as on the walls and outside the stadium entrances is exceptional to admire. There's a special vibe you get walking inside the stadium that just makes you feel so fortunate to be from Wisconsin, and to be able to look back at some of the franchises' greatest players.
I covered Packers training camp for WTMJ in 2014 and often did video reports from inside Lambeau, so this wasn't my first time actually inside. But the difference between standing inside when it's empty compared to a game is like comparing Arby's to Chick Fil-A. When I think about that atmosphere on Monday, it's easy for me to recall how complacent and at home I felt around the random strangers I high-five'd and talked about the game with. And no offense to Kansas City, but this was the Chiefs. I can't imagine what it's like during the playoffs or against the Bears.
Obviously, one of the best parts about the game was the fact that I watched the greatest quarterback I'm probably going to see in my lifetime dice the Chiefs defense for five touchdowns. We Vine, GIF and screenshot the different throws and tight windows Aaron Rodgers completes passes through, but it's something unique to watch live. The accuracy, speed, power and release he puts on the ball is almost illegal when you're not too far away from him.
I don't have a lifelong memory of my first Packers game as a kid considering I'm an adult now, but whenever (if?) I become a parent of my own, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure my child's first game is a Packers game at Lambeau. Lambeau Field is the best stadium in the NFL, and it's the best place to be when watching football.
Sometimes you have to bet on yourself to get what you want in journalism.
My entire summer at Sporting News in Charlotte, N.C. was a wonderful experience and I’m very grateful it happened. Applying for internships is a stressful period for college students, especially ones in their final few months. After what I accomplished leading up to fall 2014, I felt very confident as a prospect. So when I sent out 32 applications to newspapers and television stations for their programs, you couldn’t tell me nothing.
Well, virtually all of them actually didn’t tell me nothing.
Sporting News was the only entity to respond to my application. They gave me a chance when others didn’t.
I was determined to get out of Milwaukee after completing all three of my previous internships in the city. Of those 32 applications I sent out, none of them were in Wisconsin. I wanted to go somewhere, so I bet on myself by not having a backup plan at home, and I’m happy it worked out. I don't have any regrets. I think everybody in journalism should have the confidence to take a risk like I did.
Charlotte is seriously the best city for anybody in their 20s and 30s (sorry 40-year-olds). The food, downtown atmosphere and job market is great for young people on the rise. That's what really helped me adjust to everything so quickly. Charlotte wasn't really a culture shock, I felt at ease. I would definitely move back (with an actual bed this time) in a heartbeat because I loved my time there that much. I can't thank them enough for the opportunity.
Five thoughts on food in Charlotte (yes I am doing this):
1. Hot take: Bojangles' is trash. I'm saying this because it tastes just like chicken I've already had. A lot of people hype up the food they serve as being something award-winning and delicious that you can’t get anywhere else. Child please. Give me my Popeyes.
I’ll just go ahead and turn off my Twitter notifications for the rest of the week.
2. I can mess with Cook-Out. I dig the huge list of milkshakes and the tray combo is overall pretty nice. Tip: Don't EVER go in the second line at the drive-thru.
3. Midwood Smokehouse is the best spot to grab barbecue in the city. The pulled pork is good, but the ribs (dry rubbed or sauced) are the dagger. They were amazing both times I had them. Perfectly coated, flavorful and tender. Oh, and don’t forget a side of mac & cheese.
4. It’s a travesty that more people don't know that Culvers is located 15-20 minutes from downtown Charlotte. The Wisconsin bias is showing obviously, but everybody loves butter burgers and custard. C'mon, step your advertising game up, Queen City.
5. Publix subs go hard in the paint. I could care less about the crab legs (sorry, Jameis). Whenever I didn't have time to prepare a dinner, Publix subs were there for me. Shoutout to Denzel for always having my chicken wraps on point.
Other Charlotte thoughts:
— I still don’t know why I thought it was a decent idea to wear sweatpants and a hoodie my first day in the city. If I didn’t have good air conditioning, I wouldn’t have survived the heat all summer.
— TOO MANY ONE-WAY STREETS.
— I really appreciate the fact that none of the Walmart's I went to were ratchet.
— Maybe it’s just the people in general, but whenever I told somebody in Charlotte I was from Wisconsin, they didn’t freak out or say anything ridiculous (OK, one woman didn’t know where Milwaukee was, but still). Glad I didn’t have to explain where I’m from to people as if I drove 14 hours from another planet.
When I found out this morning that longtime Milwaukee sports radio host Steve Haywood passed away, I was deeply hurt. Steve was truly a passionate and great person, and despite the lingering health issues that bothered him, his spirit was never broken.
Steve was more than just a honest voice on the Milwaukee airwaves, he was a great mentor and man of wisdom for somebody like me, a young African-American journalist. In a city that lacks African-American voices on its sports team, Steve encouraged me to do that in a city we were both raised in. The first time I ever met Steve (in a hallway after a Bucks regular season game), he told me I’m one of the future voices in Milwaukee, and that I should embrace it. Being that voice in my home city has always been a goal of mine.
I’ll miss Steve greatly. I often find myself alone in the Milwaukee media scrum not because of my age (22), but because of how many African-American’s are covering the city’s pro teams. Keep in mind that on the Bucks beat, I’m the only black writer, and just the second broadcaster alongside FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Telly Hughes. I will do my best to cover the team the best I can as I enter my fourth season on the beat.
Thank you, Steve, for not making me feel alone in a business that often makes people feel that way. Thank you for your words of faith, encouragement and motivation. Milwaukee will miss your voice and passion, and I’ll make sure to carry that on the best I can.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.