Will LaMelo Ball get 'royal jelly' from the Hornets?

November 22, 2020

Despite being a relatively big Beatles fan, I have almost no interest in seeing the 2019 movie Yesterday because there’s a massive flaw in the premise that I understand the film glides right past: If The Beatles “never existed” and some young English guy started “writing” those songs today, it’s exceedingly unlikely he’d get famous because so many of The Beatles’ songs hit they way they did because they are products of their time and place. Moreover, The Beatles were a ridiculously talented group of musical performers who put on slamming live shows and probably would have risen to the top of the pop world performing other people’s songs, too.

The easiest way to illustrate the point is to reimagine the premise in a starker setting. What if, instead of The Beatles, the Notorious B.I.G. disappeared from cultural memory and the only person who remembered his music and lyrics today was some 17-year-old white boy from Phoenix? Not only would this kid never be able to credibly rap Biggie’s lyrics, but he wouldn’t have Biggie’s charisma, his flow, his freestyle ability — everything else that made Biggie the force he was. And on top of that, this kid wouldn’t be in early 90s New York City, with an audience primed to hear precisely what Biggie had to say.

Which leads me to LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets.

In The Legend of Korra, what's so bad about 10,000 years of darkness?

November 13, 2020

Over the past few months, I watched the entire run of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and have now completed the first two seasons of its sequel series, The Legend of Korra. While Avatar is a straight-up masterpiece, I’ve been disappointed with Korra.

I understand most people agree things pick up from here, but the end of Season 2 presents a specific narrative problem that I keep seeing repeated in other works, perhaps most notably in the Star Wars universe.

How to start a new pro basketball league to rival the NBA

November 1, 2020

Soon enough, each of the major American sports leagues likely will have released a statement explaining that their teams, collectively, brought in a fraction of the revenue they expected to accumulate had there been no pandemic-related shutdowns and cancellations. While the National Football League is still in the thick of its season, so we likely won’t get a statement until December at the earliest, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association started disseminating their numbers around the time their seasons concluded.

Sportico reported that MLB clubs “will post $2.8 billion to $3 billion in operational losses this year,” per Commissioner Rob Manfred, while the Associated Press cited an NBA official saying that league’s total revenue was about $1.5 billion less than expected. The NBA had already played a large chunk of its season in front of fans when the pandemic hit, which may be the primary reason it reported not quite as large a loss as MLB.

As an indoor, contact-heavy sport, starting a new season in the current context is probably a more complicated proposition for the NBA than MLB or the NFL. Which might be why I keep thinking the time is ripe for someone to start a rival professional basketball league, and what that might look like.