Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Is...Cool?

The cool. What is the epitome of cool? What makes the cool so cool? The cool have that swag. They all have that swing to their strut. They all have that sense of cool, that aura about them. The cool are trendsetters. What they think, what they say, and what they do are beyond their times. The cool care about the right things but don't sweat the small stuff. And they make you want to do the same, but you soon find out that it's not that easy. The cool are the shit. They know it but they won't tell anybody. They don't strive to be the coolest, they just are.

The cool can adapt. They can adapt to the times, the styles, the surroundings. They can make the times, the styles the surroundings their own. The cool can make your jaw drop and gasp. They can make you think and have you say, hmmm. They can make you want what they have and make you want to be them.

The cool come in so many types. From creatives to nerds to rock stars. The cool are all different yet they all have that same, oh you know, they all have the cool.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Rise of Brandon Jennings

(AP photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

I always had a problem with those players that came right out of high school. I had a problem with Kevin Garnett. I had a problem with Kobe Bryant (until he became a Laker). I had a problem with LeBron James. I had a problem with them until I could see if they had a good head on their shoulders though interviews and such. I remember seeing a feature on Dwight Howard and thinking, Ok, I think this guy could have it, he seems really down-to-earth. These guys were certainly the exception but I still have a problem with those players that came out of high school and didn't live up to their hype. Players like Sebastian Telfair and O.J. Mayo had so much hype even before their senior year of high school. People were saying they were the next big thing but they haven't even come close to it, yet.

So here comes Brandon Jennings, who had the gall to *gasp* not go to college and head over to Europe to play pro ball. I have to admit, when I first heard about it, I didn't like that idea at all. For those of you that don't know, in 2006, the NBA created a rule that said players must now be at least 19 years of age and go to college for at least one year. Most have called it the "one-and-done rule" where players go to college for one year and then leave for the NBA. But Brandon went around the system and skipped college and decided to go and play basketball in Italy. Could an 18-year-old American kid survive in a foreign place full of people he didn't know, a language that he didn't speak with seasoned professionals that were much older than him? He did struggle a bit over in Italy but he did say that it was a great learning experience for him.

In this year's draft, there was much concern if Brandon's stock would fall because of his move across the sea. In June, Brandon was drafted at the number ten spot by the Milwaukee Bucks. There has been talk recently, especially after his 55-point game against the Golden State Warriors, which was 3 days after he dropped 32 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets, that the teams that drafted before the Bucks might have made a mistake for not drafting Brandon. He's been having a very good season and is in the early running for Rookie of the Year honors. It is too early to say but he is on his way to having a great career for himself.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Madness

I don't normally go out on Black Fridays to shop, and this year was no different, however, I was in the middle of the crazy crowds and long lines. But instead of shopping, I was on the other side and working the Black Fridays at a retail store. I was at work at 5am and it was nuts out there. It wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be but it was still crazy. I started at 5 and was at the register nonstop until 2 o'clock with of course just one break and a lunch somewhere in between. I was supposed to stop at 1 but I was asked to work an extra half hour and that turned into a full hour. It wasn't that bad but it sure was endless, people kept coming. Anyway, I was pooped and had to go home and rest.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to send my happy thanksgiving wishes to all of you out there! This is definitely a time to give thanks for all that we have in our lives. I am truly thankful for my family and friends and all the things that I have and the things that I am able to do. We should definitely be thankful more often than we do but at least there is a day that we can sit down and remember to be thankful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

That Sounds Familiar

So the first week of basketball practice ends and I find myself hearing familiar words. Words that I first heard many years ago when I was about the age of these kids that I'm coaching now. I hear things like, Put on your sweater, you're gonna get sick, or Don't do anything stupid! Hmm, where have I heard these things before? Oh, that's right, from my old coaches and my parents! Today, I caught myself saying, Do you have a sweater? Put it on before you get sick! I'm starting to sound like a parent. No kids yet but I know I'm getting a lot of practice now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Practice

So, it's that season again. Grade school basketball time! It was our first practice today, the 6th grade boys came out and got a taste of running and getting in shape for basketball season. My friend Jeff, who I coached when he was in 6th grade and sister was in my grade school class (and had my first crush on, but that's another story) and I are the coaches this year. We had 21 kids come out to join the team. That's a lot of kids for the team but we can't cut anybody though we will try to weed out the kids that don't really want to be there. We most likely will have to have two teams for the season. Everything should turn out fine as long as they listen, work hard and have a positive attitude. I've been coaching basketball for about 12 or so years and it's been lots and lots of fun! I enjoy teaching them and seeing them get better on the court. It's gonna be more than a handful this year but it should be interesting. I'll keep you all updated!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Role Models

In these times, "role models" are all over the place. From high profile politicians to high paid athletes to 'oh-my-gawd-are-they-really-getting-famous' D-List reality stars, we find them in our lives on a daily basis. They're on our TVs, magazines, internet, phones. They're everywhere!
I'm sure some of you remember that famous Nike commercial with Charles Barkley, where he says that he isn't a role model. In a sense, he was right. He shouldn't be a role model to kids, their parents should be. That's what I thought when I first saw that commercial at a young age.
But I just heard an interview with Andre Agassi on The Dan Patrick Show this morning and it made me think of the role model and who we look up to, not only as a kid but also today. Andre has made headlines recently because of his new book Open, where he reveals that he used crystal meth when he was a tennis player. In the interview, Andre said that role models shouldn't only teach you what you should do but also teach you what you shouldn't do. That totally hit home for me.
It reminded me of my eulogy for my grandfather. In it, I said, He taught me to be the man that I want to be / And the man that I didn't want to be. My grandfather was a great man but he sure was old-school. He was a gentle and personable man, but he was also hard-headed and had a temper. There is good and bad in everyone, but it is our responsiblity to take in their good and learn from their bad. That's how we should look up to our role models.
Looking up to those that we admire, we can't only look at what makes them great, but also what makes them normal.

Monday, November 9, 2009

30 for 30 - Len Bias

I've been watching this new series on ESPN called 30 for 30, it's a series of one-hour documentaries by 30 different directors of 30 different sports stories over the past 30 years celebrating ESPN's 30th anniversary. They recently had the tragic story of Len Bias.

Len Bias was a 22-year-old, All-American basketball player from the University of Maryland. In 1986, he was drafted by the world champion Boston Celtics. A day later, he had died from a cocaine overdose. One day he was on top of the world, his dreams had come true, and the next day, he was gone. A sad, sad story.

I was a little kid when this happened but I had heard of Len Bias and his death. I was a huge basketball fan as well as a L.A. Laker fan. This was the first time I heard of the actual story and what went on. Like anybody would think, my first thought was, oh man, how could you mess up such a great thing like that?

His death had a huge impact, not only on basketball and the NBA, but also on the fight on drugs in the 1980s and beyond. Len Bias was considered one of the best basketball players on the college level. I saw his jump shot in this documentary and was in awe. He had incredible shooting form. He could have been the rival that Michael Jordan needed in the 1990s. Things could have definitely been different if Len Bias had played a game for the Boston Celtics. Surely, we will never know.

Like always, the death of Len Bias teaches us to never take things for granted and live life to the fullest.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Little Rant of the Week

I don't really like to go on rants but this bugged me the other day. I was chillin' by myself at the mall doing a bit of shopping and a bit of networking as well. Anyway, I was walking and as I do, I like to people watch. There was this girl walking towards me. She was a little cute and was on her phone texting. We were walking towards each other and about to do that dance that you do when two people are walking at each other on the same line. But when you do that you usually look up and smile and say excuse me or something like that. But there was none of that, no look up, no smile, no excuse me, what's up with that? Is your texting more important than giving me a little smile? A little excuse me?

To me, its not that big of a deal but it did get me thinking that some etiquette stays and some goes but as time goes on new etiquette comes. We do have to keep up with the times but as we do, we can't forget about the simple things, like being polite and kind to one another. Okay, that's all! Rant over!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Post 100

Realizing that my next post would be the big 100, I looked back at my first post. I looked at the date. It's not only my 100th post but it's been just over a whole year since that first post of That Humble Swagger. It has been one year, one week and one day. I just looked back at that first post and thought to myself, hmm, that was pretty good. And it has been pretty good, I have been enjoying myself with this blogging thing and hope to grow more with it and all my new adventures in the future. I started this really not knowing what I was gonna do with it (I'm still not too sure yet), I stopped writing for a few months but I truly wanted to come back and be commited to writing and to this blog of mine. It definitely is my baby and don't ever want to abandon it. Sometimes I do get frustrated that I don't write as often as I should, but I know it will come around. New ideas and new adventures will come and I'll find time in my busy days, weeks, and months to write and share with you all.

This is just the first 100 and I'm sure that there will be many more to come. Thanks to all those who have and to those who soon will check out this little blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Adventure at...Rasputin Music

I am totally loving this new job with Cornerstone/Fader Magazine. I'm starting to get into the groove. Last week, I went into my local music shop (these are getting rare nowadays, but I might get into the that later), Rasputin Music to put up posters to promote the upcoming Rakim album, The Seventh Seal, coming out November 17th. It was awesome to just walk in and tell them what I'm doing and them helping me out. Big shout outs to Quintina, Candice and the rest of the great Rasputin staff for being awesome and letting me do my thing. I'll definitely be going back for the rest of my upcoming projects. I had always been a customer but it's cool having them as a contact. I knew this job was gonna be fun but it seems like it's gonna get better. I will head out to more places this week! Keep posted!