The Internet is a big place, and it's important to stay current on all the ridiculous things that happen out there. Every Friday, we'll catch you up on what you might have missed. This week, we begin in Chicago.
If you spend way too much time on the Internet, eventually you come to a crossroads with comments sections. You can read the comments and conclude that society is doomed and America deserves whatever cursed fate is coming, and that's all perfectly fair. That's one option. On the other hand ... You can decide that nothing on the Internet is real — partly true — and look at comments like a sport, where every new story is a competition to see who can come up with the hottest, most insufferable takes. Bonus points for praising a bygone era, lamenting the current state of affairs, lashing out at the federal government, or calling any athlete a baby.
At 4:53 p.m. PST yesterday, I joined everyone else in watching the battle for America’s soul. As I took my place in front of the TV, my mind wandered to what the night meant. This wasn’t about one man. It rarely is. This was about everything. This was about those in blue looking for a handout from a broken system, and those in red pulling themselves up no matter the circumstances. This was about what we, as a nation, want to believe. This was Magic-Bulls on Fox Sports Florida.
The idea came a few hours earlier. A few Grantland staffers were discussing the lack of Tuesday-night TV and wondered which, if any, sports would compete against the election. The answer was three NBA games (and one MAC football game): Bulls-Magic, Thunder-Raptors, Nuggets-Pistons. Because everyone in the office gets twisted enjoyment out of my feelings on this year’s Bulls, the challenge emerged as such: As everyone with a television considered our nation’s future, could I go to a sports bar and watch nothing but mediocre basketball? Challenge accepted.
Let's just sum up this guy's week real quick: negged the President of the United States and the First Lady's lack of comfort with public displays of affection and called David Stern's proposal to have Team USA be made up of players age 23 and under "stupid." Barack, Stern. Ether. He probably told all those kids in the picture above that they would never amount to anything. And he will probably spend the rest of his life making sure of it. So if you're one of the kids in the above picture: I'm sorry. Also?
1891: James Naismith invents basketball. 1936: Basketball becomes an Olympic sport. 1978: Kobe Bean Bryant is born in Philadelphia. 1989: Barack Obama meets Michelle Robinson. 1992: NBA players represent USA in the Olympics for the first time. 1992: Barack Obama marries Michelle Robinson. 1996: Kobe Bryant is drafted 13th in the NBA draft. 2007: Former Duke guard Reggie Love becomes Obama's personal assistant. 2008: Kobe Bryant becomes an Olympian for the first time. 2009: Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. 2010: Kobe Bryant wins his fifth NBA championship as a Laker. 2011: Obama announces reelection bid. Feb. 2012: Michelle burns Barack on Valentine's Day. July 8, 2012: Kobe Bryant is named to his second Olympic Team. July 11, 2012: Kobe Bryant says his team would beat the 1992 Dream Team. July 16, 2012: Barack and Michelle arrive at Team USA's exhibition against Brazil.
1. Brandon Marshall, Will Now Winter in Chicago
Bill Simmons chimes on in on the Bears' big trade acquisition: "When you're an All-Pro WR on a team that's trying to do everything it can to sign Peyton Manning, only you get dumped for two third-round picks right in the middle of the courting process I mean, that can't be a good sign."
2. Jarrad Page, Bo Knows!
Bill Barnwell dusts off his no. 16 Royals jersey: "It is my duty to nominate former Chiefs and Patriots safety Jarrad Page, who appears to have finished a somewhat bizarre six-year NFL career by signing a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers to play baseball. Page, who apparently impressed the Dodgers in an open tryout, was selected three different times in the MLB draft before moving on to football. Page spent two years playing baseball alongside football at UCLA, and, well, his performance record isn't sterling. In 221 at-bats over two years, Page put up a .195/.270/.285 line while striking out 94 times. Because we grew up in the early nineties, though, we are nostalgic for baseball/football crossover players and want them to return. So yay Jarrad Page!"
3. Evan Turner, Scottie Pippen, Basically
In four games as a starter, the former no. 2 overall pick is averaging 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. He spent the first year and a half of his career doing some interesting things, some silly things, or nothing really at all. But ever since he replaced Jodie Meeks in the Sixers' starting lineup, he's been a powerhouse. Forget Linsanity (you probably already have) (what up, Knicks), this is EVANDEMONIUM.
The B.S. Report made a special road trip to the White House yesterday to make podcast history: the first-ever podcast with a sitting U.S. President. Take that, Marc Maron! Even if we only had 25 minutes, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons and President Obama covered a bunch of sports-related topics, including how the President manages to make time to follow sports; his feelings on Linsanity and the Bulls' title chances; whether he considered getting involved with the NBA lockout; the wisdom of a college football playoff system; his feelings on concussions and the NFL; what it's like to throw out the first pitch before baseball games; his favorite White House visits from championship teams; coaching his daughter's basketball team; the pearls of wisdom he recently dispensed to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin; and his answers to two "greatest ever" questions (one basketball, one television).
Editor's Note: Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Up until now, we've e-mailed 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert would write down his thoughts as he's watching it, then we'd post those thoughts here. This time, however, instead of attempting to explain the '80s, we tasked him with explaining the antics of those almost in their 80s. This first 80s installment was selected by our editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons: The Thrilla in Oldvilla — Joe Kapp vs. Angelo Mosca. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Tries to Explain Why Old Farts Fight, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nice job. This means Marshawn Lynch has to bring you a severed and stuffed lion's head and whisper, "You are the Beast Mode now," right?
3. Ben Cherington, Boston Red Sox General Manager From our EIC Bill Simmons, because "he can't find a fucking manager." Put down the carving knife, boss.
4. Hip Hop, Philadelphia 76ers mascot
You terrified some, you delighted others. I mostly wondered whether health insurance covered any trampoline-dunk-related injuries.
Yes, the Sixers have parted ways with their strange, rabbit man mascot. May the road rise to meet you, my friend.
5. Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
For this Tweet: "I just hear they got rid of Hip-Hop. I guess the recession and lockout is real. Its a damn shame when a mascot isn't safe smh lol." The NBA: Where SMH and LOL happen.
5. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
Coldhearted Katie Baker's nomination: "Plays for the Sharks and was the NHL's second star of the week last week. Because his nickname is HOT PICKLES. how the best is THAT?"
6. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Might have won the Heisman with his incredible performance against Oklahoma.
7. Matt Barkley, USC
Might have leap-frogged Andrew Luck for the no. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
9. Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins
Your owner is probably kicking the tires on your replacement and your fan base would just as soon have you suck for Luck. So what do you do? Well, if you are Tony Sparano, first you put on sunglasses no matter what. Then you get your team to rattle off three wins in a row and become the team nobody wants to play. If you're going down, you are surely taking a few teams with you.
10. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America
For putting together this awesome collection of players for a fund-raising hoops game. Via Sarah Larimer: "TALK ABOUT BASKETBALL MORE SO I CAN FORGET ABOUT MY CRUSHING DEBT." Larimer later clarified that she did not actually have crushing debt, but added: "I speak for my generation."