Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Xavier vs. Cincy - Who's To Blame?

I happened to see the entire Xavier/Cincinnati game last Saturday in real time.

Well, almost the entire game. I happened to miss the fight, which happened to be THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE GAME. How was I supposed to know? Xavier was up by 20, so I walked away to make mincemeat out of my mountain of folded clothes.

Like any black man who remains leery of how mainstream media handles situations involving young black men in an athletic forum, I write this reaction based solely on my in-game analysis and the subsequent game press conference. I didn’t want to read any Op-Ed pieces to jade my opinion.

That being said, I take umbrage with a few people:

1. The Refs: I just so happened to watch this game on Saturday (as I was folding clothes) and stuck with it despite Xavier being up by 10-15 throughout the second half. Cincinnati’s always had a reputation for attracting athletes, and I knew of Mick Cronin because of Lance Stephenson – NYC high-school hoops legend, former UC guard, and current member of the Indiana Pacers’ farm team. There are worse things to do while folding clothes (like watch “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” on FX).

Fights just don't break out...there has to be a trigger. And there was. These guys were chippy all game - and the refs let a TON of stuff go. If you're an NCAA referee officiating this game, you KNOW these schools hate each other. And on the off-chance that you didn't even know that, you KNOW the star guard from the visiting team (Cincy) slandered the NCAA Player of the Year candidate (Tu Holloway) from the home team (Xavier). By the way, the home team is nationally ranked (#8), so people at home WILL be watching.

You've GOT to be aware and call the game tight. Even if folks get mad and complain on SportsCenter afterwards.

2. The Coaches: Re-watch the fight footage again. Why did both teams have their starting players on the court? Remember: Xavier won by 23. We should have seen scrubs litter the court; guys who wanted to play in the rivalry game and maybe score a few cheap ones.

This is why Mick Cronin doesn’t get off the hook, even though he publicly skewered his players in the presser, to the delight of basketball purists everywhere. Cronin should have pulled his starters. Game’s over. Give your kids a chance to cool down and save face before the handshakes.

3. The Xavier SID - If you're the Sports Information Director at Xavier, you CANNOT let you star player speak in the Court of Public Opinion (the media) five minutes after he was involved in a fight. How do I know this? Tu Holloway was still wearing his uniform. He's 18-21 years old. He just got punched in the face and cursed at. You KNOW he's still going to be heated. Call off the presser, take the heat, and save the face of your school.

4. The Arena Officials: Every NYC high school principal knows this: When two schools with a checkered past meet up, you MUST have security guards present. (Heck, when two schools are competing in a heated matchup of ANY sort, you’d better have security present.)

Look at the fight again: The only people holding the players back from beating on each other were coaches. Mick Cronin is no taller than Jeff Van Gundy. He's not stopping a 6'10'' Yancy Gates from clobbering someone. You don’t need the security guards to DO anything initially…but you do need them to BE there as a deterrent to chaos.
UGH. Fortunately, this incident happened during the middle of an incredibly busy stretch in sports (NFL, Heisman, Sandusky, Fine, CP3 & Dwight Howard trades) so the media outlets are scattered about and can’t cover the fight with unabashed bias. Good.

By the way, I made ALL of these assessments w/o injecting RACE. I could have been describing 10 white guys fighting from some Division 3 school in Iowa. But don’t be fooled…race is present here (especially in the Mick Cronin presser) and it is REAL.

One's thing certain here: You can't blame this one solely on the black guys.

M.B., II

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mystery Cosby Theater 3000

"Whenever something looks good, it's compared to something that was good."

I was riding shotgun this time, talking television with my pal Smalls in his passenger SUV. In his early years, Smalls was a production assistant for a comedic titan on one of his spin-off prime time sitcoms. We always commute to work together, which gives Smalls time to dish advice to a kid walking in his tread marks.

"I had a deep respect for Mr. Cosby. We all did. Everyone on his sets were black, and everyone worked to the best of their ability. No one wanted to disappoint Mr. Cosby."

Smalls told those stories with a tempered patience, pausing only to make room for his innocuous laugh. He loved his time on The Cosby Mysteries and spoke of the show in reverential tones best saved for kings and potentates. It almost made me forget that Cosby Mysteries only lasted for one season.

Almost.How can a show with an iconic comedian die after a mere 20 episodes?

"Whenever something looks good, it's compared to something that was good."

In other words, the success of The Cosby Show is what doomed Cosby Mysteries. It's hard to fulfill such great expectations. If Lisa Bonet couldn't hold her own as a Cosby daughter, how could we expect her to carry lead on A Different World? Exactly. We couldn't. (And that's not even counting her dalliances with Lenny Kravitz.)

We're never going to get another Cosby Show, because our world has since evolved. 1982's America was ripe for a humorous but genuine expression of the black family. Bill Cosby was the man with the tools to tell the tale.

I say this in the context of "Reed Between the Lines", a show that appears a Cosby spin off sans the blessing of the comedic emeritus. Let's give it a chance. Sure, Malcolm Jamal-Warner looks exactly the same 20 years later. Yes, I know that his mock wife is Diana Ross's daughter. But give the show a fighting chance. Watch an episode. DVR the rest.

And maybe we can move towards creating another transcendent situation comedy.
BET's "Reed Between the Lines" - Season 1: Episode 1
The show opens with a steady pan of an open-air kitchen, with Dr. Alex Reed (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) cutting vegetables in the sink, alone. The action begins as Dr. Carla Reed (Tracee Ellis-Ross) strolls into the kitchen, looking at her husband with sultry, inviting eyes.

"Hey baby...oh, is that a sexy English professor I see cooking in my kitchen?"
Well, then. Was I the only one surprised the "Reed" pulled out the word "sexy" within the first thirty seconds of the new show? Bill Cosby would've NEVER let that word hit open air in Brooklyn.

"I am Chauncey, your personal chef."
"Oh, I forgot it was roll-playing night, but OK."

You know who just got totally hosed? Parents who let their kids stayed up for the premiere. Dang. How the heck do you explain "roll play" to your kids?

"Ummm....no honey, 'roll-playing' is a game where little monsters come out and tickle mommies and daddies. AND YOU CAN'T PLAY UNTIL YOU'RE MARRIED."

"I hope I can handle whatever it is your serving me..."
"A bed, a BAY-ed you say..."

You know what I hate? Bad Southern accents. Tracee Ellis-Ross sounds like a maniacal Polly Purebread. Or, better yet, like Kristen Wiig from SNL.

"You know what five minutes is? First place, last place."
Oh, clean humor! How I've missed you! We haven't been together since NewsRadio! I was SO afraid no one knew how to write you anymore!

"Mom, you leave your keys in the door again...Ohh."
This little girl is hella saditty. And yes, I used the word saditty without knowing what it even means.

(First commercial = "Where's the Beef?")
Dylan from Modern Family? This can only mean good things for Cosby Show 3000.

"Well, I just set up a blind date with a gentleman I met on the subway.
Wait a minute, how can that be a blind date?
Well, he can't see."
Glad to have Dee from "Wayans Bros." back in the fold. And she looks EXACTLY as she did TEN YEARS AGO as the police officer in the office building. Seriously. I flipped to MTV2 and checked.

Is there a secret laboratory that freezes supporting TV actors in carbonate? And is it owned by one of the Isley Brothers?
"It always has to be about you, doesn't it?"
Quick recall of the Dee/Wayans Bros. point: Our casting director is currently batting 1,000 and throwing strikes like Jimmy Key Dave Stewart in R.B.I. Baseball.

"Carla, no man should be friends with his ex. She couldn't seal the deal, and that's her problem!"
TELL IT GIRL! Men on Art just gave that line two snaps in a circle.


That's what she said. Or what Eric Benet said.
(I swear, BET really doesn't want kids watching this show. But isn't that like half your audience...gone?)

"That spinach salad was delicious. It's like there's a party in my mouth, and you're the DJ."
Every time I see the phrase "party in my...", I feel the irresistable urge to yell the word "TUMMY!" I blame this on DJ Lance.

“I’m texting…I don’t have to spell it right. You just have to do it right.”
This would be a great line for anyone not named Theo Huxtable.

"I'm making my famous Alex Apple Turnovers. But get this...I don't turn them over."
I don't get how this is humorous. How is sexual innuendo with a complete stranger funny in any circumstance?

Mom Reed: “I love art. And I love my family. And I really, really love my husband.
Baby Girl Reed: “Ooo, I can see that lady’s privacies! HE’S SHOWING HIS PRIVACIES TOO!”

I love how baby Reed is just running around pointing at naked art. I also like that high school kids go on class trips. We would've gone on trips in high school too, if our entire class wasn't hog-tied to our desks.

"No. Bourgeois people eavesdrop, I was straight up being nosey."
One of my criticism of black comedy has always been this: Is it possible just to write to an universal audience? To just BE funny? Does every joke need to address some hidden insecurity within the community? That's the greatest gift that Cosby gave: he showed America that blacks have the same problems and deal with them in similar ways that any family would.

“Women like that are fantasies. You are a reality.”
OK, so this is almost the same exact line that The Game dropped on their first day to BET. I'm beginning to think that acknowledging "wifey guilt" is a rite of passage.

“Professor…I seem to have lost my homework. Perhaps you’ll have to keep me after class to teach me a lesson.”
Tracee Ellis-Ross is the funniest person on this show. Hands down. But if we replaced Joan with Toni juuuuust for these scenes, do we really get a huge comedic drop-off?
“If you haven’t noticed, I’m a guy. If you were in your underwear, that train has already left the station.”
Oh, Malcolm Jamal-Warner. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

“I look at other women all the time.”

“Just because I look at the menu after I’ve ordered doesn’t mean I don’t want what I already have.”
This may be the worst thing to say to a woman with high heels in hand.

“I happen to be very happy with what I have, and I don’t need anything else.”
“So are you saying I don’t need to wear high heels to bed and dress sexy for you?”
“Hey, hey…let’s not get crazy.”
Glad they made this point. Women reading this: JUST BECAUSE YOU GET MARRIED DOESN'T MEAN ALL BETS ARE OFF.

“The Hamburger Helper hand came to life and started tickling me. I don’t like getting tickled.”

Overall Grade = C
When I was a kid, I was used to three things every morning. Toothpaste on my toothbrush. My clothes ironed and on my doorknob. And my Dad's Cream of Wheat every other morning.

There were days that the toothpaste hung off the edge of the brush, with the paste making stains along the bathroom sink, but it was still there. Some days my Mom would be too busy to iron our clothes. But we still had clothes to wear. Some days, when Dad stirred the porridge, it was lumpy and uneven in parts. But we still had food to eat before school.

"Reed Between the Lines" looks like my house on a typical weekday morning: Slightly uneven, a tad disheveled, somewhat sluggish, and lumpy in parts. Despite all these small idiosyncrasies, Reed will be dependable and consistent. And that's something worth fighting for.
- M.B., II

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

In the wake of Tiger Woods' resurrection, I'd like to promote a piece I wrote a few weeks ago for my boy Terrell McCoy's new sports cavalcade, Real McCoy Sports. The post can be found in its original state here. Feel free to stop on by, vote for us in Blogs with Balls' annual popular vote, and let TMC and the crew know how you feel about the general decor. Don't worry...I helped pick out the wallpaper.

Oh yeah, and while you're there...vote for me as your favorite sportswriter. If you do, there's a snow cone in my freezer with your name on it.

Tiger! You heard? Rory McIlroy just won the US Open!


ROAR-RIE MAC-EL-ROY. You know, the guy that you spooked back in April when you pretended to care about winning the Masters for a second. Just a second. You had me leaping for the TV remote for real. I postponed a date with my Mona Lisa just to see you finish the course. You hadn't played serious golf since "The Accident", but you still had those jokers shook. That South African won the Masters, but I know he changed his pants before the ceremony, you dig?

But yeah, Rory's the kid who folded like a lawn chair. Led for three rounds? Uni-brow? Can't blame you if you didn't notice.

Why should I care?

I don't know. Maybe it's because they keep comparing Rory to you.

Oh, really?

Yep. With the early major win and the talent and the long driver and stuff. Magazines are already setting money aside to write features about this kid - and they don't got no money! NBC had him sit down with their analysts at the Open. Cats were still playing in that DC heat, and this kid was talking to Hicks-y! Johnny said that Rory had "the best stroke he's ever seen"!

Don't sound so nervous. Half the country doesn't even know who - what's his name again? - RORY is.

You right man. I mean, Rory was rockin' a Jumeriah cap and Oakleys. Geez. Last folks I remember wearing Oakleys was those cops from Vegas in that Comedy Central show. And I couldn't even tell you what the heck a Jumeriah is. I'd bet anything those reporters just went onto their Windows 95 computers, dug out old golf articles, and put "Rory McIlroy" everywhere that said "Tiger Woods." Easy money.

See? You're starting to understand already. He may be hot now, but I was mercurial in '97.

You gotta help me remember Tiger. I was only 10 then. My pops told me that you wiped the floor with the kids your age three straight, and then applied for the PGA Tour. My Dad didn't know a golf ball from a donut hole then, but he knew talent. And he swears you've had it since Day 1.

(Laughs) Oh yeah, he must be talking about that segment I did with Bob Hope. Had no idea folks actually watched the damn Mike Douglas show. Your Dad needs a hobby or something.

Hey. Easy on the Dad jokes. At least he doesn't have trouble leaving voice messages.

No comment.

Anyway...my first memories of you were from those two Nike commercials. I have to admit, that first spot was pretty tight - after I got past your ridiculous "Bobby Bowden" hat. And then the second one, with the kids? I gotta give those corporate heads props for that.

It's really not that hard for them. I am Tiger Woods.

Yeah. You've proven yourself over and over again. I remember the Tiger Slam. Even though everybody is propping Rory McIlroy up as your newest rival, it's up to him to prove that he's nothing more than a paper tiger. One major title does not a legend make.

But you've got to come back man. I don't mind defending you, but it's starting to get tough. Can you at least win the Dubai Desert or something to shut these jokers up?

Don't worry. I'm only 35. I've got at least another 10 years in me. I'll be back in no time.

I hear that. And we'd better see that fast. Dust this kid off like you did Sergio Garcia.

But before you go, I got a question for you. I know we black folks love you, but do you love us? All that noise is just you looking out for your brand, right? I saw how you named your boy after ole Charlie Sifford!

(Smiles)...No comment.


Monday, June 13, 2011

In Defense of Lebron

"Should I be who you want me to be?"

I started reading "The Triangle" for the first time last week. It's a new concept blog, driven by a vibrant young writing contingent, and molded in some parts by sports media maven and Boston native Bill Simmons. The Triangle's pioneering article was a weighty one, a violent dialogue bent on rocking America's general sensibilities. Carles (our mononymous author) brought forth a sermon on "awareness", challenging NBA players to be champions of transparency. Of course, this carries the air of excoriation, implying that some (or most) of them just don't "get it", that these athletes refuse to become "accessible."


Carles echoes a sentiment that I advanced two years ago in a psychoanalysis of Kobe Bean Bryant. I admit that I saw Kobe’s career as an elaborate ruse. "Kobe shows us what he wants to show us…doing so in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions," I said back then. "He’s always maintained his façade, never allowing his innermost feelings to enter the public domain."

Funny enough, I still see Kobe's career as an elaborate ruse. He gives us what he chooses to give us, and we have to make peace with that. However, can we make peace with the fact that after all these years...Kobe Bryant might have actually been right?
Robert Frost once said that "the road less traveled has made all the difference". But I'm not so sure Frost ever took into account the possibility of the "road less traveled" evolving into the "road most traveled". Generations X and Y have created a world with many protagonists and anatagonists, but no calming forces to make sense of these new pillars of thought.

This is the world that has created Lebron James.
Only a few years ago, this was a world that made "NBA Inside Stuff" a hallowed basketball TV program. Back then, it was rare to get a glimpse of our heroes carrying out routine tasks. I mean, just seeing a shoot around before a game was restricted to the ardent followers with big checkbooks. Michael Jordan and Ahmad Rashad shared a kinship that was unknown to most media personnel, and we were given access to "His Airness" that best tickled our senses without exposing MJ's incendiary rage.
Today, we have multiple media outlets to feed our daily sports binge. TMZ and Twitter pick up where ESPN and NBC leave off. Media dust paths have become unfettered expressways, and locker room access once deemed off limits is now taken for granted. I mean, guys can't even dress without pushing boom mics from their mouths.

I was listening to sports radio as I drove, only to hear the shock jock excoriate Dwayne Wade for being "too aggressive" in Game 6. Really? His team's about to lose the NBA Finals, D-Wade is playing with a weakened hip (thanks to Brian "Dad" Cardinal), his team's about to lose, and he's getting criticized for being "too aggressive"? Sometimes, it seems like mass media can't ever cut a guy a break.

Lebron was birthed into this rapidly changing media world. He was the first high school athlete to have his games be appointment viewing for a national audience. He had meetings with Nike, acquaintance with the professorial Worldwide Wes, and ESPN's bounty at his fingertips. He was 16 years old.

It's amazing that Lebron has lived up to the hype, but what's more amazing is the fact that he has surpassed even our great expectations. We expected him to be among the best, but he has become THE best. We expected him to be the prototype for the postmodern athlete, but Lebron has become the gold standard. We expected to see James on cereal boxes and underwear ads, but he went ahead and became a global icon instead. We gave him the United States, but Lebron TOOK the world.
Unfortunately for him, the world he took is a world of constant access and the 24/7 news cycle, a world where someone can seemingly become newsworthy and irrelevant in the same sentence. Kobe became a global icon by letting his game and the media run its course; Lebron accelerated the hands of time with bombastic rhetoric, shrewd marketing and professional savvy.

But for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...and it has been fierce. We saw the worst of King James when the going got tough. Because he forced all the cameras in his direction, Lebron's fragility was revealed with the precision of an electron microscope. And when the heat became unbearable, Lebron revolted, cursed those whom he allowed this access, and took his talents to South Beach...while burning every bridge along the way. Now, everyone hates him.
But should we be surprised? It's been YEARS since Lebron has made a decision without scrutiny. 10 years, to be exact. I was astounded by his intellect and poise as a 16-year-old, but he hasn't grown since then. A 16-year-old may be smart, may be taking AP courses, and may be advanced beyond his peers...but he's still a 16-year-old. There's a reason car insurance companies wait until you're 25 before lowering your co-pay. Life needs to happen. Adversity needs to strike and mistakes need to be made to stimulate growth.

Taking this path has stunted Lebron James' growth. As Skip Bayless said after Game 6, LBJ has the body of a 26-year-old but the mind of a 16-year-old. The dark side of 13 going on 30.

Perhaps Kobe was right to keep everything to himself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

White Chocolate

Editor's Note: I wrote this post mentally and buried it, but Simmons' opus on Sactown forced me to unearth this. Transparency is the writer's best/worst friend.

My mother never let me listen to rap. And I hated him for it.
Our family was sober in every sense of the word. My Dad force-fed me cod liver oil teaspoons before I left his hugs for elementary school. Our car radio was preset to Family Radio. I got the "birds and bees" talk from my Dad as he was cutting my hair...at age 14. The ban wasn't necessarily all bad, but it did compel me to consume mass quantities of rap as a college freshman.

So, I was jealous of Jason Williams. I just felt like this guy - with "WHITEBOY" tattooed on his knuckles and a pull-up 3 akin to Tim Hardaway - may be (gasp!) more black than I was. Which, of course, is stupid in retrospect. The moves don't make the man. And I've been stalked down in bodegas and gas station shoppes more times than I'd care to admit. (Eminem, step aside.)
I watched J-Will toss those bobs to Webber, who'd always flush them down with a screw face (followed by that iconic Webber grin, which was hard to conceal). I remember him breaking stride on 3-on-1 fast breaks and pulling up for off-balance 3's in an effort to satisfy his insatiable lust for nylon. His penchant for sensationalism drove Kings brass insane, for they soon deported J-Will to Canada for the orthodox Mike Bibby. A white man for a light man, as they say.
It was weird that no one - save this erudite gentleman - saw fit to honor Jason Williams with a proper farewell. YouTube is his middle name, and has given J-Will a fitting career renaissance. And Mike Bibby hasn't stopped following Williams around either, now shadowing J-Will's legacy with his aged girth, thirsty for the ring J-Williams earned on the Wade-Shaq Heat team.

He retired quietly, and it was "reported" by NBATV's lower-third graphic. What? Let's give honor where honor's due, and thank Jason Williams for making the NBA a little more risky, a little more exciting, and a little more enjoyable than it was before the purple #55.

- MB, II

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Part 2)

Mistakes were made. (By who?)

Me. I waited too long to post the second half of this mega blog.

Like a good neighbor wannabe lawyer, I reviewed and deliberated the facts. I looked at my four protagonists (Jay-Z/MJ and 50 Cent/Kobe) closely. I listened to more of their music than I’m comfortable admitting in public. I read and re-read their lyrics, even drawing parallels between 50 Cent’s “How to Rap” mix single and Kobe’s 1997 dunk contest explosion (both acknowledged and respected their predecessors). I even compared 50 Cent’s performance style to Jay-Z’s, and failed to extricate anything that would lend a direct criticism to 50 Cent’s character. Even in a vacuum, 50 Cent doesn’t fully compare to Kobe…and Jay-Z doesn’t fully compare to Michael Jordan.

And I was caught with a mixed metaphor.

Settle down, Kobe fans. This is not to say that Michael Jordan takes a backseat to Kobe. Hold up, 50 Cent savants. He still doesn’t hold a candle to Jay-Z. But as my buddy Jason claimed, to buttress Jay-Z’s accomplishments in order to solidify the metaphor isn’t prudent.

In addition, there are some elements of Jay-Z’s rap game that reflect Kobe’s hoops style. Gasp!

I’m willing to admit that I was licked by additional research, if only to ensure that Trey (my 15-year old son) still comes away with the main point: 50 Cent wasn’t a better rapper than Jay-Z. Kobe wasn’t a better basketball player than Michael Jordan. Got it? Cool.
Argument Caveat #1: Comparing Jay-Z to Michael Jordan openly anoints Jay-Z as the G.O.A.T.
I should’ve done this before I wrote the post, but there’s no better time than the present. Before comparing across disciplines, ground rules have to be established and a framework needs to be cemented. In other words, before we compare Jay-Z to Jordan we have to provide an answer for “The Question”.

Who’s the best rapper of all-time?

Yikes. There aren’t enough column lines in this post to satisfy that answer. We’ll have to save this debate for the barber shop. BUT...if you had to pick four rappers to make a Mount Rushmore-style monument honoring their greatness (a Mount Rapmore, if you will), who would make the cut? I don’t even think Jay-Z makes my top five (Rakim, Biggie, Tupac, Nas/Q-Tip). Does this sound like a guy that deserves to be compared to Michael Jordan – The Greatest Basketball Player EVER? I think not.

Argument Caveat #2: Does Jay-Z pass the Alpha Male Test?
Let’s say you meet a lady for drinks at a lounge. You’re generally having a good run – she’s laughing at your jokes, you’re enjoying sincere quality time, you haven’t tapped into “I Need to Order Her More Drinks to Skew Her Judgment of Me” mode, and you’re beginning to get the feeling that, umm, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And then, without notice…both of these guys walk through the club door: Jay-Z and 50 Cent. Which guy would command the room?

Here’s the catch: Neither guy is rich or famous, but are simply two regular guys looking for a good time on a Friday night.

Which guy makes you more nervous? For me, it’d HAVE to be 50 Cent. (You know…if random club guys actually made me nervous. Pshaw!)

I mean, look at him. He’s incredibly ripped. He’s got an infectious smile. He walks upright and has confidence. If 50 Cent decided to sit on the adjacent lounge couch and undress my date with his eyes when – coincidentally – I would need to get up and use the bathroom, guess what? I’d have to hold my pee. Period.

Let’s play the same scenario out with Jay-Z. I’d probably invite him to the couch. I’d buy him a drink. I’d even go as far as to solicit my date’s girlfriend (you KNOW there’s always one grenade that looms awkwardly around the date) so that he could have someone to talk to. Basically, I’d assert Alpha Male status…not the other way around.
Argument Caveat #3: How many of these guys are pathologically competitive?
There’s a great debate that will always rage within English Literature circles: Was Hamlet acting crazy, or was he legitimately crazy? In basketball, there’s no doubt that Michael Jordan fits the latter description like a glove. My favorite crazy-competitive Jordan story involves the ‘92 basketball year, when everyone kept comparing a crummy Clyde Drexler to Michael Jordan. Of course, M.J. went on to rip Drexler’s heart out in the NBA Finals (winning Ring #2), and then continued to kick his tail in Dream Team practices to the point where Magic and Bird (the team captains) told Jordan to stop before Clyde’s ego was irreplaceably damaged. Who else would take a slight to that extreme?

I don’t think any of the other three principals have that streak. Kobe exists in a league where guys befriend each other in AAU tournaments (an attitude that definitely rubbed off on him), 50 Cent is driven by sales and paper before greatness, and Jay-Z smartly cashed out while at his peak (netting Beyonce, fame, and 1% of the Nets in the process). I’m not hating on these three, honest…but no one was as insatiably driven to vanquish his foes quite like M.J. For better or worse.
Argument Caveat #4: If you analyzed the greatest rapper year-to-year from 1999-2006…who would claim my teenage heart?
I created a four-part formula to explain this caveat (based loosely on Simmons’ pick-up game theory). This is how I came to my conclusion. Indulge me, if you will:

Part 1: VORR (value over replacement rapper) = If I could replace the best rapper from that year with an average rapper, how much worse would that year have been? For example, if we replaced Tupac with The Pharcyde, 1995 would’ve been WAY different.

Part 2: CLUTCH = If I needed to win a rap battle at any point in that year, who’s the first guy I’m grabbing for my corner? For example, remember when we thought Puff Daddy was going to be the heir to the rap throne once Biggie died? Too bad Puff Daddy was EXPOSED so badly that he was forced to change names three times. He's the anti-clutch.

Part 3: LEGACY = When we talk about that year's "rap state" ten years from now, who’s the first person that comes to mind?

Part 4: DEFENSE = If you pick a guy that someone doesn’t agree with, would they respect your decision?
Sweet. Now that we’ve got a loose formula, let’s examine our time period:
1999 (Eminem), 2000 (Nelly), 2001 (Jay-Z), 2002 (Jay-Z), 2003 (50 Cent), 2004 (Jay-Z), 2005 (Kanye West), 2006 (Lupe Fiasco).

If I were Gregory Peck, here’s where my “Jay-Z over 50 Cent” defense would rest. Jay-Z clearly owned three of my teenage years; ’01 (The Blueprint), ’02 (The Blueprint 2), and ’04 (The Black Album). 50 Cent only holds claim to one year (’03 – Get Rich or Die Tryin’) and even then, he’s elbowing Andre 3000 and OutKast for space most of the year. (Ultimately, I gave 50 Cent the nod even though Speakerboxx/The Love Below won the Grammy that year, because it was a tag-team effort.)

FINAL ANALYSIS = Jay-Z (3) > 50 Cent (1).

As you can see, I overanalyzed and debunked this concept to the fullest. We can add the “Jay-Z/50 Cent” answer to the annals of other great debates, like Nike being better than Adidas and Lucky Charms over Marshmallow Alpha Bits. Thanks for hanging in, and I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Hey, if this saves me from a depressing car ride to the Poconos in fifteen years with my 15 year-old son Trey, it was DEFINITELY worth it.
M.B., II

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Part 1)

In twenty years, some idiot is going to goof around on Wikipedia, find out about a guy named Curtis Jackson, look at his record sales and start a blog declaring “50 Cent” the best rapper of this decade. My 15-year old son will then believe this blogger, blindside me with a definitive statement about 50 Cent while we drive to the Poconos, and leave me speechless as my wife massages my arm and gives our kids another box of Dunkaroos to keep quiet.

And then, I’ll re-read this article. And laugh. And show it to my son.
How quickly we forget.

Remember 2003? It was a crazy year. President Bush started the War in Iraq, Darko got drafted over Carmelo and Wade, and Martha Stewart was busted in the insider trading scandal. That summer, on every Top 100 radio station, a guy with a raspy voice and kindergarten rhymes bopped into our hearts with his insistence on rapping around sex, drugs, and getting paid. The guy’s name was 50 Cent. And we enjoyed every minute of it.

50 Cent came along at the right time. Thanks to Jay-Z’s success, the pressure on New York City to find the next Notorious B.I.G. to soothe a global hip-hop craze died down, but still…an opportunity existed for someone to co-exist and steal some hearts. Jay-Z was a cool dude and solid rapper, but he looked like Joe Camel. Not someone an easily malleable teenager from Queens is totally sold on patterning his life after.

50 Cent was gully, which was more than enough for us. 50 was from Queens (unlike Jay-Z, who made it a point to claim his Brooklyn heritage). 50 had tattoos and muscles. 50 got shot NINE times, a fact that was recited more times in ‘03 than the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone had the prerequisite “I SWEAR, 50 Cent was on Jamaica Ave. last Sunday!” story, which made this rapper a man of the people. You know, even though he owned a house in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

My track team bumped the mess out of 50 Cent’s music: from his hit song “In the Club” (which convinced me to sport a white tee and fake earring one summer) to his passionate “21 Questions” ballad (which made it OK to be a lover and a fighter). Apparently, we weren’t the only ones – 50 topped the Billboard charts that year (back when people still bought music) and earned a Grammy nod, ultimately losing to Outkast’s “Speakerboxx/The Love Below” dual-threat album. (In a related story, Nelly’s “Sweat/Suit” followed suit and impressed no one.)

Like all teenagers, I grew up. I stopped wearing baggy jeans and fake earrings, I listened more intently to Jay-Z music (The Black Album came out later that year) and soon realized that Jay-Z was the better rapper, even if he looked like a recurring character from The Banana Splits. Honestly, I thought the argument was moot…until I goofed around on Billboard.com and saw this telling stat under their “Artists of the Decade” rankings:

Eminem (#1). 50 Cent (#6). Jay-Z (#10).

Wait, WHA?? Granted, this is based on Billboard’s album sales count and hot songs charts (note: everyone stopped buying music in 2006) but still, some idiot who wasn’t old enough to see the progression of 50 Cent and Jay-Z will make the ludicrous claim that 50 Cent was better. It’s up to us (the teenagers and fans who lived through the 50 Cent saga) to explain to future generations that 50 Cent couldn’t hold a candle to Jay-Z in the rap game.

Here’s the problem: Since the mega stats back it up, Idiot Future Blogger will have a legitimate argument. Yikes.

And this is where I insert the sentence comparing 50 Cent to Kobe Bryant. Yup.
In about a week’s time, Kobe Bryant will pass Hakeem Olajuwon’s scoring mark and move to #10 on the All-Time Scoring List (the Punnett Square of NBA Stats). Since Kobe’s point totals have dropped an average of 153 points per season since the 2007-08 season, we can roughly assumed (given how Kobe takes care of his body) that Kobe will score around 1,817 points this year (’10-11), 1,664 next year (’11-12), 1,511 in Year 3 (’12-13), and 1,358 in Year 4 (’13-14) in his 17th NBA season (age 35). To place it in perspective, only Kareem and Karl Malone lasted that long and scored more in their 17th years, and both had HOF point guards (Magic, Stockton) giving them bunnies. Amazing.

(By the way, by the time Kobe’s 36th birthday rolls around, it’s not inconceivable to believe that he’ll be sitting at #3 on the all-time list behind the aforementioned Malone and Kareem (with over 33,284 points). WOW.)

This begs the argument: What’s worth more: quality or quantity? Do we give the G.O.A.T. title to Kobe because he’ll quantitatively top Jordan (barring injury), or does M.J. get it based on MVP seasons, title belts, and the fact that his peak dwarfs Kobe’s in every respect? I’ll save you the time. Of COURSE M.J. is better...but you still had to think about it. A scary proposition indeed.

For the fun on it, I’ve extrapolated the careers of Kobe and 50 Cent. Both have measureable talent (athletic ability, mental dexterity), both have taken the world by storm (one teenage suburban girl at a time), and both need to be examined thoroughly to prove to my 15-year-old son that Kobe/50 Cent < M.J./Jay-Z.(I’m splitting this post in two, if only to let you get back to work before your boss peers over your shoulder to see you staring intently at a picture of a shirtless 50 Cent. (By the way, if I ever saw my assistant looking at a picture of 50 Cent at his/her desk, I would point, laugh, and say “Stay thirsty, my friends!” as I hit the water cooler. Yes, even if that’ll be fifteen years from now and they’ll miss the joke.)

- M.B., II

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stylish and Versatile

Stylish and versatile.

I've been called many things in my life, but usually stylish AND versatile aren't included. Stylish? Only on the day I wore my Allan Houston jersey to a Javits Center car show. Versatile? I guess. I'm as versatile as an ottoman in a beauty salon.

OK, enough jokes. Currently there's a movement afoot by bloggers far and wide to name their favorite writers who they feel are "stylish and versatile" on their blogs. My blogger buddy that nominated me has probably never seen my treasure trove of Aeropostale cargo pants and rugby shirts. Chain letter? Possibly. But who am I to forgo an opportunity to talk about myself?

As promised, here are seven things about me and some bloggers who's game I respect...but I'm gonna spice it up POT-style.

I promise...I'll write about hoops again soon.

1. I'm a die hard Knicks fan, and I really like the way Raymond Felton's playing ball.
Ray Felton reminds me of a young Chauncey Billups, back when Billups was Boston's 1997 consolation prize (they were gunning/tanking for Tim Duncan, if you remember), got a ton of money (no rookie scale yet), failed at handling the Boston atmosphere (black athlete + Boston = WE GET IT) and was shipped out 50 games into his rookie season to his Denver hometown. Similarly, Felton was the sucker's pick after Paul/Williams were off the board, a NCAA champion with an average UNC game that was meh in comparison to those studs. Yes, this was before the days of Larry Drew II. Eeek.

Like most guys, he played hard under Larry Brown, worked off the baby weight, and got a new deal. Unlike most guys, he carried this HUGE Paul/Williams shoulder chip to the Big Apple, learning the Amare P&R in a month and carrying a new playoff noise on broad shoulders.

A few months ago, Felton was our consolation prize in the LBJ sweepstakes. Now I can't wait to name my pit bull after him. (Wait, wha?)
2. I love laughing out loud and criticizing a movie while I'm watching it.
If this makes me similar to 99.9999999999% of African-American movie-goers, so be it. DON'T GO IN THERE!

3. I appreciate (and kinda dig) it when ladies (note the noun used here) can comfortably pull off the "Candace Parker".
After spending some glorious years at black college (Howard!), I've run across my share of weaves (yes, I've literally run across tracks of hair on the sidewalk), strewn stiletto heels, and bad makeup jobs. A friend of mine once said that a girl we knew wore SO much makeup that "you could butter your bread with it." Gross but revealing.
What is the "Candace Parker"? Simply put, it's wearing clothes that fit the occasion but don't impede your ability to have fun. If you're going to the gym, skip the makeup. If you're going to a picnic at a state park, wear sneakers and jeans. If you're going to a gala, wear a dress. If you're going to the beach, wear sunscreen. If you're going to a Super Bowl party, DON'T wear a pink jersey. Very important.

To me, the "Candace Parker" screams confidence and exudes beauty in a simple yet elegant way. It says, "You guys are going to have a volleyball net at your BBQ? SWEET! Of COURSE I'm going to wear sneakers!" (Aside: These girls almost ALWAYS pass the Mom Test.)
4. I love to encourage others by laughing at their jokes, even when they dive bomb.
The opposite of this would be doing what Reggie Miller does during a TNT hoops game or Mike Francesa used to do when he rode shotgun with Chris "Mad Dog" Russo: leaving your sidekick hanging. Francesa wold rather leave an awkward 10 seconds of dead air than give Chris ANY credit for tossing up a half-decent joke. I give him credit for being a complete jerk.

5. I'd love to play 3-on-3 hoops with Obama on the White House lawn.
People always talk about shooting hoops on the POTUS basketball court, but how is that different than shooting jumpers in an empty park? BORING. It's like beating the first Ninja Gaiden for NES with no one watching. Ultimately, it only counts if there's a witness.

So, why be stingy with my imagination? I'd say we go all-out, a 3-on-3 tournament where I'd get to play alongside Kobe Bryant (hyper-competitive, wouldn't let us lose) and Obama (who's status at POTUS along with a tricky left-hand release would rattle the bejeesus out of our competition). Or, we get a crazy game of Knock-Out going, with the Knock-Out line stretching all the way across the National Mall for the illest all-day tourney. If Obama was in front of you in line, would you DARE knock him out? I wouldn't.

6. I have a twin sister. OK, so we're not twins, but my sister and I are really close. I taught her about sports and how important it is to love the Knicks, and she taught me how to dress, to jump on a hotel bed as soon as you arrive, and to love God above all. I love our relationship, from the looks we give each other to make the other one laugh uncontrollably to the gifts we send to each other just because we'd know the other one would like it. She's super protective of me and vice-versa. We're a better bro-sis combo than the Wonder Twins.
7. I think Jesus Christ is a pretty awesome dude. Not a bad guy to be best friends with.
As far as my top bloggers go, here's the list. Don't blink, or you might miss it:
T.G.I.F.T. (Brenton Harrison), Eights and Weights (Suzanne Brume), The Big Lead (Jason McIntyre), Club Trillion (Mark Titus), Fundamentally Unsound (Johnathan Tillman), True Hoop (Henry Abbott), NBA Playbook (Sebastian Pruiti), Forever Chasing After You (A.B.).

Thanks for letting me indulge. Back to hoops, after these messages.
M.B., II

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm Game For "The Game"

Will my friends make fun of me?
I remember when "The Game" premiered on the CW, if only because my sister was singlehandedly getting Wendy Raquel Robinson's clothes dry cleaned (only 2.1 mil viewers). I'd checked out a few episodes and bailed, simply because none of my friends were watching. It was a back-door "Chick Sit"(com), and I wasn't going to be the fish to get baited with the hook.

If I watch, do I have to hand over my Man Card?
This is the question that needs to be answered to get real men in the door. That's why studios sign meat heads like Vince Vaughn to do rom-com's, that's why Hank Moody beds a girl an episode, and that's why Martin Lawrence needed Marsha Thomason in Black Knight. Funny guys and attractive bodies are sure-fire ways to hook the strays.

I'm not going to lie...I wasn't trying to be the first guy to dip my toe in BET waters. Ultimately, the wave of excitement bowled me over and forced me to analyze the BET premiere. Hey, it's got athletes! I'm a sportswriter! You KNOW how much I like to analyze black sitcoms! I picked out the one-liners and keeper quotes, and circled my arguments such. Have fun.

I'd like to believe I kept my Man Card. You be the judge.
BET's "The Game" - Season 4, Episode 1
Derwin Davis drives up with sports car, arrives at the Essence photo shoot, points to the paparazzi and shouts, "Everybody out here better be a Sabres fan." (Crowd erupts) Inside, Melanie (Tia Mowry) is posing for the magazine, making sexy poses as Boss Lady from The Steve Harvey Show leads a one-woman peanut gallery. Jason appears to have made the transition to sports talk radio, Kelly is hosting a reality TV show and spending his alimony checks, and Malik is, umm...reaping the benefits of being a starting QB. The scene culminates with Derwin & Melanie posing for the cover, when Boss Lady exclaims:

“GAME ON B******.” (cut to intro)

Great cold open. We get snippets of our featured players, and enough rapid movement for us to cheese and vicariously revel in the glitz and glamour given our Hollywood icons. Then, we dug into our bowl of Spaghetti O's and realized how poor we really were. Sigh.

“I don’t know about you, but that looks like a cover I wanna have sex with.”
WHOA. We’re clearly on cable TV now. Even though the way Boss Lady described the Essence cover would make me feel like a horny teenager if I picked the magazine off a luncheonette counter.

“She WAS looking at my purse.
Oh NO…she was coveting what you GOT! Baby Mama 0, Wifey 1.”

And we have our A-story exposition! Derwin was on the outs, but rebounded well. He married well, scored a monster contract, and is assured career success and prestige for the foreseeable future. However, he’s fathered an (adorable!) son with the ex-woman, and has to deal with Black Sitcom Story Arc #1 – baby momma drama. And we have our rising action.

By the way, glad to see Tia Maury involved in black comedy again. It’s her calling, just like its DJ Steve Porter’s calling to make me laugh with press conference remixes. Let’s encourage her to keep doing these until she’s unsightly and tiresome (is Betty White still doing stuff?).
“I’m doing what most American women have forgotten how to do…I’m holding out until I get the respect I deserve.”
Chris Webber is excruciatingly awful at these cameo roles. I'd say almost pantheon bad, like Magic in the “Remember the Time” video. My boss and I argued about Webber’s vitality as an analyst: he’s got good insights, smart instincts, does his research, and is camera friendly. But I think he still wants (and needs) to make his cameo rounds, A few more of these should whet his appetite and put him on track to evolve into the next Charles Barkley, when Barkley becomes governor of Alabama.

“Does your mommy take you to the barber shop, or the salon? (Baby laughs in tub) AH HA! Avoiding the question! I think he’s hiding something…explain why he’s so yellow then?”
Light skinned jokes and kinky hair jokes. Classic. If any white folks made the trek over from the CW, the high yellow jokes definitely sent them right back to One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl.

By the way, "The Game" uses the laugh track like once a scene. What's up with that? Commit to the laugh track. Make it a sitcom with punch (Girlfriends), or embrace the drama route (New York Undercover). Going halfway makes it seem like there’s only writers and producers over-laughing in the studio. (Wait, that's all there was? Oops!)

“Or…I can just do this (opens towel).” (Dramatic pause)
(Next scene) “Girl, I am SO SORRY I’m late…”
Bow-chica-WOW-WOW! Terrance J! Making skinny guys everywhere proud!
By the way, the parental rating jump from TV14DL to TV14DLS from the commercial break gave the ENTIRE scene away. Also, it feels like the scene was only this long because the producers needed to stretch the premiere into an hour.

I hate when TV execs get in the way. It's like a parent telling their kid what to major in because they're paying for college. I'm averaging a great GPA. Don't interrupt my flow until I screw up.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen! I think that’s enough business for tonight. I need ALL of my man’s attention.”
Didn't know this then, but this may be the longest line Meagan Good has in the premiere. Not counting sexual grunts, Meagan Good probably says four lines the entire episode.


Meagan Good LIVES off her sexuality. She literally just embraced her sexual powers and hasn't worked on her acting skills at all. Every line she says now just drips with sexual innuendo, like “Well, I’ll try anything once…”. Come ON. And here I thought she was on pace for a big career post-Skeeter. She’s the Vince Carter of black actresses.

“OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD…this is my friend with the test results.
Ignore the speck, Melanie…it’s still a pretty picture.”

Best advice of the episode (for Melanie and the audience). Shortening this sitcom down to a half-hour should eliminate some of the flaws from Act 4, scene 1. Too bad I can’t ignore the cross fade dissolves, the awkward audience laughter, and my stupid impulse to jump through the TV and yell, "DNA puppets? What's up with that?!"
“Tee-Tee…how can I get caught when the rules don’t apply to me.”
Hmmm. This + Meagan Good screams all we need to know for now (we’ll revisit this later). By the way, how often do you think Malik in real life asked BET about borrowing that Ferrari after hours?

“Market and 4th, Tasha! MARKET AND FOURTH! I’ll be handing out ass-whoopings and lollipops, and I’m all out of lollipops!”
Money line from Kelly + Boss Lady smoking a Black & Mild? NICE touch, BET.

“You smell good...Why don’t you initiate sex with me?”
Most unintentionally funny comment of the night. Looks like a writer fell asleep at his desk, leaned on his MS Thesaurus Quick Key, and said, "Eff it, they're both sexy anyway." Definitely something Matt LeBlanc would say.

“As far as I’m concerned, DJ’s my son…Even though you should probably know he’s not yours. (GASP!)“WE NEEDED TO KNOW THE TRUTH DERWIN!?!? SHE JUST WANTS WHAT WE HAVE!” (punches wall)
Most spine-chilling scene in the premiere, and I still laughed. You gotta love Derwin’s intense acting face before he decks the wall. It’s like the director stopped after Take #1 and told Derwin to squeeze more eye drops out, look like he was just gutted with an epidural needle, and think about that John Singleton role hanging in the balance.
“What the hell was that? It all depends, is it still management?”
Just had to stop here to point out how the white club owner looks like Wally Szcerzbiak. So THAT’S where he’s been since the ’08 playoffs! Nassau County’s leading scorer everybody!!!!
“If you let the rumors circulate that THE Malik White was in your club having relations with a young (looks back) 'woman', and broke the sink…guarantee your club will stay hot for another six months....So let’s let the insurance adjuster handle it, right? He’s our man, he’ll fudge the report…you’ll get a better sink.”
How the hell did they get Tee-Tee across San Diego in less than 10 minutes? He’s running his Cluck Truck, bumping uglies with Natural Hair, and making moves selling street meat to construction workers. Think he'd be way across town cleaning up his truck, right? WRONG.

Also, if Tee-Tee hates Malik, why does he pick up his phone and cut across traffic to help a dude that treats him like an adult boy? Does anyone else smell what the Rock is cooking?

In addition, love how Wally Szcerzbiak rolls the mop in, Malik grabs it and hands it to Tee-Tee, and walks out with the girl he was boning (Meagan Good). Pretty sure that’s the definition of "getting played" in the dictionary.

Tee-Tee, its OK to hit "Ignore" when Malik's name pops up on your Droid. We won't judge you.

“Just wearing a vest and tie in a dimly-lit park…what could go wrong?”
“You stink, smelly. You stink of desperation, with your Duran Duran hair, your spray-on tan, and your skanky clothes…probably gonna get attacked by a pair of Eskimos.”
“The Game” gave Jason the BEST lines. Period. His lawyer deserves a cigar and a raise.

“I DIG you. I dig talking to you, I dig hanging out with you…you know I dig DIGGING you.”
By the way, here are our storylines so far:
A-plot: Is it mine? (Derwin + Tia)
B-plot: Will the boss catch me? (Malik + MG)
C-plot: Look! I'm robbing the cradle! (Boss Lady + Terrence J)
D-plot: I hate you! No, I hate YOU! (Jason + Kelly)
E-plot: Treat me like a MAN! (Malik + TeeTee)

And that's without all the in-drama bound to happen. If the show wants mileage, congratulations. There's more happening this hour than in a classic Bret Hart-WWF Royal Rumble. They can milk an easy 40 episodes out of this.

“I tell you no one’s playing anyone...Even a garbage can eats a steak.”
Terrence J is right, Boss Lady. What does that mean?

“Your hair may be a little different…but you know what? We got Indian in our family, right?”
We can now add "Indian hair jokes" to the list of things that make white CW watchers go, "Whaaaa???"

“Listen son, listen to me. Be aware of women alright? They’ll get you with the okie doke EVERYtime…just don’t want you to fall with ‘the banana in the tailpipe’ like your Dad.”
Roped me in with the Eddie Murphy reference from Beverly Hills Cop. NICE. This is how you keep your fringe male viewers from changing the channel. Typical Girlfriends move.

“Mike Vick? Cover…broken fibula. Donovan McNabb? Cover. Torn ACL. Brett Favre? Cover…torn bicep. Hey, well…Ms. PacMan did it, and she’s fine…so maybe you will be too!”

Another Jason line. So far, he’s on the fast track to become my favorite UPN athlete since Flex Washington. Even though the video game jinx is a SUPER old and clichéd theme, he banks it home with the Pac Man line. No reason to doubt why they picked him as the starting QB for the mock pro team. Wait, he's the WR? Then how did he gain 2,500 yards last season?
“I can take him…I need to put some work in on my dissertation anyway...Yeah, Let your little wing-tern take me. Hey, look…her’s name Allison, she used to be my intern AND NOW SHE’S MY LIFE PARTNER!...Hey, I appreciate you baby.” (Yells) “FYI, we are GAY! AS IN HAPPY!”
Tee-Tee lets his girl drive home with a known sexual predator. Nice. This is the same guy that openly admitted the rules didn't apply to him, like the rule NOT TO BONE your best friend's girlfriend. For a guy who convinced Wally Szcerzbiak to drop the charges, TeeTee's sure stupid.

Also, who the heck STARTS working on their dissertation past midnight? Forget that...how the heck do you have time for Ph.D. research AND a full-time job shelling fried food from a chicken truck? You couldn’t have predicted the future sex scene faster if Ron Jeremy walked by with a trey of finger food at that very moment.

“Come ON, I’m not trying to steal your show! I’m just reminding you that I AM the show…anybody want to get a reaction of THAT?”
I know it’s the D-story, but Jason’s nailing more punch lines than Ludacris post-Crash. He's the only guy who worked on his acting during the hiatus. The Wil Chandler of the Game, if you will. (Knicks!)

Fashion Note: Jason’s wearing the same sweater-vest from the earlier scene. The things you find out with TiVO.
“Allison?!? That wasn’t just some random girl man…THAT WAS MAH GIRLFRIEND!” (pouts, runs away)
Poor Tee-Tee. Like I said on Twitter, you get no credit for seeing this coming, like someone who gets hyped solving Blue's Clues with two clues already given. Side Note: Love the random bouncer at the top of the steps eating a sandwich while asking Tee-Tee for chicken. By the way, he's not FAT...he played football in college.

“I made a mistake. I ran it again, ran it a few times…it IS his baby. I’m so sorry…I’ve been working on no sleep. You’re lucky you don’t have to do this residency, it’s KILLING me.”

“I’ll talk to you later.” (B.O.B’s ‘Don’t Let me Fall’ plays)

Someone just lost a best friend. Ouch. But that’s why you don’t get a resident doctor to run your paternity test on the cheap. Didn't you see Scrubs Melanie? Young doctors work hard!

Also, the B.O.B. song just BLARES in. No rising fade, no audio editing. Come ON.
"Game" brought a lot to the table. We need a good black sitcom like Paul Pierce needs a shave. Unfortunately, the show also took an equal amount OFF the table. No transition music. No bumper shots. Dissolve-cut over jump cut. YIKES. Did BET just round up sponsors and ask the AV Club from Hampton University to do their best? (Shots fired)

"The Game" is like your crazy uncle at Thanksgiving who bakes a new sweet (peach cobbler!), but brings a new sweet - with her two kids (surprise!) But we need that crazy uncle in our lives, just like we need "The Game" on our TV menu. Sounds like a C+ premiere to me.

Can't wait till next week.
M.B., II