Yeezus serves as an inspiration to dream bigger

Life, Music

Leather jogging pants are not a thing. There is no way. That is absolutely ridiculous.

Leather. Jogging. Pants.

I heard Kanye rant about them in his interview with Zane Lowe last year. That one interview that got him into that brilliant  Twitter feud with Jimmy Kimmel that led to an epic Kanye speech delving into race and privilege and other wild tangents.

His exact words concerning the leather joggers:

“We brought the leather jogging pants six years ago to Fendi, and they said, ‘No.’ How many motherfuckers you done see with a jogging pant?”

At that point, I thought Kanye was just spewing craziness per usual. I didn’t realize that leather jogging pants were already a thing. Apparently. (See: Buzzfeed, Sept. 24, 2013)

IMG_1617.PNGSo when I was tapping around on my iPhone for pre-Black Friday deals after stuffing my face with turkey and saw Zumiez selling leather jogging pants, my jaw dropped. I immediately tweeted about how Kanye is a visionary and we should always dream big, even if people laugh.

Regardless of if seemingly ridiculously inconvenient leather jogging pants were a thing a year ago or today, I still feel that Yeezus isn’t completely out of his mind.

His rants serve a purpose, and — call me crazy — I believe they’re worth listening to.

Sure, more often than not they don’t make much sense, but hear me out for a second.

He talks. A lot. Kanye speaks his mind. Usually, the public response is laughter and judgment. “He’s a great rapper yet he’s just too arrogant. He’s too full of himself.”

But he never stops talking. There are songs written about him. “Kanye” by the Chainsmokers: “I wanna be like Kanye/ I’ll be the king of me always.” “Kanye West” by Atmosphere: “Put your hands in the air like you really do care.”

He locks his eyes on what he wants and goes out and gets it. He says what he wants when he wants. I’d bet that Mr. West lives with no regrets.

I’m not endorsing obnoxious swagger and an arrogant attitude. However, I do admire his confidence and ambition. His ability to wade through laughter and brush the dust off his shoulders with ease.

I wholeheartedly do not advise being like Kanye West. Just take an ounce of his confidence and ignore the haters — I really feel like that can go a long way. Lighten up on the haterade and lift yourself up, as Yeezus would.

 

 

 

LA SHINES BRIGHT

Life, Music, Sports

A lot of things in life are impossible:

1. Me dunking

2. Counting to infinity

3. Living forever

The list goes on and it can feel weighty — a little hope goes a long way.

Los Angeles is not lacking in hope. People flock to LA with high aspirations, as if the streets were paved with gold. I’m born and raised in this city, so to me the whole “I’m leaving home to make it in LA” story sounds more cliche than anything else. But it’s very real.

This year I’ve interviewed two young musicians — one from Florida and the other from China (article to publish in September) — who both spontaneously left their families to pursue dreams in the City of Angels. They both also said that upon arriving to LA, they felt a unique vibe in the air — a sense that anything is possible, that everyone wants to be something.

Recent NBA news has lived up to the LA hype, especially concerning the Asian American community.

First, hometown girl Natalie Nakase served as an assistant coach for the Clippers during the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. She has been a video coordinator for the Clippers, and her ultimate goal is to be the first female head coach in the NBA.

Some might say it’s a lofty aspiration. She has chops to back it up with her playing time at UCLA, her coaching experience in Japan and her friends with league ties, detailed in Kate Fagan’s feature from 2012. Now Nakase’s one step closer.

Second, hometown boy Jeremy Lin is now a Los Angeles Laker. As of 2013, Asians make up 14.6% of Los Angeles County, so you can bet that despite Lin waving off any notions of Linsanity, it’ll pick right up again in no time.

And remember this?

Kobe Bryant and Lin are now teammates. Lin even revealed that Kobe sent him a text proclaiming that there is lots of work to be done. Dreams do come true!

Stories like that of Nakase and Lin provide a glimmer of hope for a city of dreams.

I grew up playing in the same asian leagues as Nakase and I remember constantly hearing her name like she was a kid prodigy. To see her rise through the ranks on pure dedication is a fitting reminder of another cliche: Hard work pays off.

 

The tank is fluttering on empty and I don’t see a gas station nearby

Sports

At 7:16 p.m. (PT) tonight, I tweeted this:

The Heat did not just crumble tonight, they were pulverized into dust. What happened?

I could rattle off some stats, but I think the following facts can speak for themselves.

Patty Mills’ hands turned to gold as he sunk three after three, finishing with 14 points. Boris Diaw almost notched a triple double. Coach Spo gave Toney Douglas playing time. Kawhi Leonard dropped 20.

Notice that I haven’t even mentioned Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli — it’s because I don’t have to.  You could’ve sat Parker and Duncan the entire game and (basing this solely off points scored) the Spurs still would’ve walked away with a win.

I haven’t mentioned LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh either — two of those three didn’t bother showing up. And combined, their plus-minus plastered a whoppingly low -53.

That was Game 4. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The sort of good news for Miami is the new 2-2-1-1-1 NBA Finals format allows them to return home *if* they win Game 5 — that is a huge ‘if.’

With the way the Spurs have been shooting and whipping the ball around, who knows if anyone can beat them at this rate. The Spurs have turned basketball into an art form, while the Heat are turning it into a bloody mess.

NBA Finals Media Questions Go Wild

Sports

My dream job is to cover the NBA for a website or newspaper or magazine, and I’m entering my senior year of college working my way there. But for now, I live vicariously through the reporters who are currently out there in the field, traveling to the NBA Finals games. I follow a good amount of them on Twitter.

Usually after games I’m reveling over their witty remarks, and reading various game write-ups. Tonight looked slightly different. I noticed an abundance of media commenting on questions that were being asked in the postgame pressers. And it wasn’t just Coach Pop being Coach Pop — I’m talking questions from way out of left field.

CJ Folger (@cjzero) tweeted out the following Youtube video of a question by this guy, Bobby Ramos. The reactions by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are pretty priceless.

Then, there was also this question by Ramos. Again.

A strange media night capped the historic game in which the Spurs completely went off on the Heat, winning 111-92. A Twitter search for “Bobby Ramos” speaks for itself.

Additionally, I’d use his question blunders as a cautionary tale for myself. Nothing dies with social media.

 

LA Basketball Fades to Black

Sports

Flashback five years ago in Los Angeles basketball history: Around this time, the battle of Kobe Bryant & Pau Gasol vs. Carmelo Anthony & Chauncey Billups was in full swing. Meanwhile, the Clippers (stacked with Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby and Al Thornton) faded further into obscurity with a 19-63 season record, which earned them a playoffs DNQ.

Now zip back to the present: It is the coach-less Lakers who are teetering at a point of uncertainty with only four players signed to play next season. And while I’d like to say that the Clippers have fully redeemed themselves, it’d be a lie. The Clippers tried really hard. Ultimately, a few blunders, a couple whistles and one huge front office controversy buried them.

David Parsons declared that the Clippers could become “America’s team,” yet the squad couldn’t rise to the challenge. Instead, again they stumbled, and the team has never advanced past the second round of the postseason.

Tonight, for Angelenos, all eyes are on ping pong balls. The Clippers failure to succeed (sadly) surprised no one, but the Lakers’ season fumble was viewed as completely unacceptable. The NBA draft is the only hope left — a shot at redemption. It could determine which Lakers re-sign, and which coaches the team will begin courting.

On the other hand, the Clippers’ troubles will not recede until the Sterling debacle dissipates. Head Coach Doc Rivers sounded confident that he’ll return last season following the team’s heartbreaking loss in Game 7 to OKC. But would he still stay if the Sterling family kept its grip on the franchise?

Considering it’s mid-May, Los Angeles basketball is in unfamiliar territory. The Lakers need a stroke of luck and the Clippers need a miracle.