Welcome back to Season 2 of #OutOfBounds! The team kicks it off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day by discussing which major U.S. sports league has come closest to realizing MLK’s dream. Adam is concerned about the Cavaliers’ recent performance and questions if they can win today against the Golden State Warriors, but Gilbert is confident LeBron’s got it in the bag. Saints rookie safety Marcus Williams embarrassingly missed a crucial tackle that led to the Vikings last-second playoff win. Does Minnesota, or any of the remaining teams with suspect QBs, have a chance of knocking Tom Brady and the Patriots off?
After the fledgling Champions Basketball League filed a $250 million lawsuit against the competing Big3 league for allegedly “poaching players and proprietary ideas,” the Big3 has fired back with its own legal action. The semi-pro, three-on-three league founded by Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz filed a defamation lawsuit against the CBL Friday.
The friction appears to stem from participating players’ ability to play in both leagues, among other issues. In the original CBL suit, league officials claimed the Big3 defrauded them because players who participated in Big3 games were not allowed to also play in the CBL. The CBL alleged they were not allowed to start the season on time because players who previously agreed to play in both leagues were not allowed to do so by the Big3.
In a copy of the suit obtained by Deadspin, lawyers for the Big3 take issue with both the allegation of an agreement between the two leagues and Champions Basketball League CEO Carl George.
“In fact (1) there was never any agreement between the Big3 and the Champions League,” the suit reads in part. “The approximately three players who informed the Big3 of a prior dealing with the Champions League were permitted through an express provision in their contracts to have a non-exclusive relationship with the Big3.”
On August 26, the Big3 held an inaugural championship game in Las Vegas. At press time, the Champions Basketball League had yet again postponed a nebulous, projected launch date of the “summer of 2016.”
While the nuts and bolts of proving actual malice to a jury isn’t the most riveting read, the suit does reveal some potential news about the ever-growing crossover of sports and music.
The countersuit claims Champions League CEO George Carl wrote a letter to an unnamed recording artist claiming Snoop Dogg was the official CBL “celebrity commish,” and stars such as DJ Khaled, Floyd Mayweather and Tom Brady were directly affiliated with the league in some capacity.
The 2016-17 NFL season featured one of the most exciting endings in NFL history. After falling behind 28-3 to the Falcons in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51, the Patriots came storming back to win 34-28 in overtime in improbable fashion. It helped Tom Brady earn his fifth Super Bowl victory, and it solidified the Patriots as the cream of the crop in the NFL. It also robbed Matt Ryan and the Falcons of the chance to win their first Super Bowl ever.
It’s going to be tough for the NFL to top that ending this season, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to try. On Thursday, Sept. 7, the Patriots will host the Chiefs on the NFL’s opening night and jump start what should be another exciting season for NFL fans. As we prepare to dive headfirst into NFL action, we decided to step back for a moment and assess what should be the biggest stories heading into the new NFL year. Here are the three storylines to look out for this season if you are an NFL fan.
Can anyone beat the Patriots?
The Patriots may have won the Super Bowl in February, but that didn’t stop them from making a few major moves during the offseason to get even better than they already were. They worked out a trade with the Saints that netted them speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and they also signed former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore to a deal in free agency. Additionally, they’ll get Rob Gronkowski back after he sat the end of last season with a back injury.
The Patriots did suffer a huge setback during the preseason when wide receiver Julian Edelman went down with a season-ending ACL injury. But even without Edelman in the lineup, New England is still the team to beat in the AFC this season. They should be able to cruise to the top of the AFC East and clinch a playoff berth early, and once they’re there, they’ll likely be favored to win all of their postseason games as they head towards another Super Bowl. The Raiders, Steelers, and potentially even the Broncos, Titans, and Ravens could present problems for the Patriots. But they will once again be the team to beat.
Will the Falcons be able to bounce back from their devastating Super Bowl loss?
Historically, teams that lose in the Super Bowl struggle during the following season. Cam Newton and the Panthers made a trip to Super Bowl 50 in February 2016, but after losing to the Broncos, they went just 6-10 last season and finished at the bottom of the AFC South while their division rivals, the Falcons, went to the Super Bowl.
This season, it will be the Falcons trying to overcome a Super Bowl hangover—and it’s not going to be easy for them to do. Unlike the Panthers, the Falcons probably should have won the Super Bowl if not for a big blown lead during the second half of the game. So they’re going to have to shake off whatever negative feelings they have heading into the season and find a way to put Super Bowl LI in the past.
The good news for the Falcons is that they’ve got all of their major weapons back this year. Matt Ryan will still be lining up under center and playing quarterback. Julio Jones will still be presenting matchup nightmares for opposing cornerbacks at the wide receiver position. And Devonta Freeman, who signed a contract in August making him the highest-paid running back in the NFL, will still be running all over the field for the Falcons. Plus, Atlanta will begin playing at their brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which should take their minds off what happened in the Super Bowl.
But still, it’s hard to imagine them not thinking about the Super Bowl loss from time to time, and it could impact them this season. And if they struggle because of it, could you even blame them?
Which rookie quarterback will prove to be the best of the bunch?
There are at least four rookie quarterbacks that could see some playing time this season. DeShone Kizer has already been named the starting QB for the Browns after beating out Brock Osweiler in training camp. But Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was taken No. 2 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes could play in regular-season games as well.
None of the four are expected to have the kind of impact that then-rookie Dak Prescott had for the Cowboys last season. But then again, no one saw Prescott having the impact he did, so who knows? Maybe Kizer will end up leading the Browns to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth just like Prescott did for Dallas last season!
Er, or maybe not. But chances are, at least one of these rookie QBs is going to make his team’s fan base very happy this season. Which one ultimately has the most success is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be fun to see how productive they are when they finally take the field for their respective teams.
ASAP Rocky has convinced the world that New York artists could sound like they’re from Houston, shown that rappers could dress like they stepped off a Paris runway, designed sneakers with Adidas and Jeremy Scott, and modeled for Dior. But now he's signed himself up for one of the biggest tasks of his career: making Under Armour relevant in the world that he's dominated for much of this decade.
By most mainstream measures, Under Armour already is “cool.” They've snatched up big names in sports like Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth, Cam Newton, and Aaron Judge, and the brand’s on-field success has been nothing short of impeccable. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been quite enough to give the brand cultural impact that transcends beyond professional sports.
The brand is clearly hoping to change that. It was reported on July 8 that Rocky had signed a multi-year deal with the Maryland sportswear company to work on lifestyle product for its UAS range, which is directed by fashion designer Tim Coppens and focuses apparel and sneakers that don’t feature the Under Armour logo — something that's driven style-oriented people away from the brand in the past.
It’s been the butt of many Internet jokes in recent times, most notably its all-white Steph Curry sneakers, and its move to bring Rocky onboard is a clear sign that it’s trying to chase a different consumer; one that’s eschewed its shoes for Nike and Adidas. It’s already worn by suburban dads and young teens who actually play basketball, but convincing everyone else to buy into the sneakers is a different story.
It was once controversial to claim that artists and musicians are the new athletes in the footwear industry, but Kanye West and Adidas (followed by a whole host of other entertainers and companies) have proved that notion wrong. Yeezys are flying off shelves at a breakneck pace while LeBrons are collecting dust and going on sale. And Under Armour’s move of signing Rocky proves that even the most sports-focused company realizes that it needs to get younger and hipper to grab its stake in the shoe game. The company has already signed The Rock to a big deal, but it didn’t make an impact with the cool-guy demographic, an audience that it so desperately wants to resonate with. It won’t, however, be as seamless as attaching one of the biggest names in hip-hop to a sneaker brand and watching the money roll in. Rocky is going to have to work his ass off to make this partnership truly work.
If anyone thinks Rocky’s contribution, in terms of influence, is insignificant, consider this for a second: With 6.3 million instagram followers, he has nearly twice as many as Under Armour’s main account.
Let’s think of the possibilities for a second. If Rocky is able to create product that truly inspires his fan base, there’s no way that it’s not going to sell out, and it will only create a snowball effect for Under Armour. Don’t believe me? You’d be hard-pressed to find a high percentage of the Yeezy/Boost fanboys who owned a pair of sneakers with Three Stripes on them prior to Kanye and Adidas working together in 2015, but now the brand has, literally, boosted its sales and has overtaken Nike and Jordan Brand in terms of resonance with the millennial audience.
It’s not going to be easy, though. This isn’t Under Armour’s first foray into lifestyle product. It’s made luxury, off-court sneakers for Steph Curry and even launched them at leading boutique Concepts. The brand made a huge push behind its Tim Coppens line, too, and it’s just fallen flat. It even has Migos promoting the label, but they haven’t consistently worn the product in the public eye and it’s failed to make a huge impact. Rocky could change all of that. His connection as a designer/signature artist is much greater than paying him to simply wear Under Armour. People have spouted on social media that they’re already going to buy their first pair of Under Armours, but all of that will be proven when his shoes finally are available at retail.
What makes Rocky’s partnership with the brand intriguing is that he’s notorious for being someone who won’t wear or co-sign anything that he’s not truly into. It’s likely that he sees this opportunity as a chance to boost his profile as someone who’s taken seriously as a designer in the style world, and who doesn’t want their name attached to a commercially successful sneaker? Imagine if Under Armour lets him design a sneaker for Steph Curry to wear during the All-Star Game? That’s visibility that even his music, likely, won’t achieve. But these are all what-ifs. It all starts with making a good pair of shoes, and the rest will follow.
Over the summer, the Boston Celtics went all in pursuing free agent Kevin Durant. Not only did Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens bring their own players, they even enlisted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to help recruit. The hope was that Brady, the reigning Boston-area champion, could help convince KD to become the next Celtics great. Little did any of them know, that next great was with them the whole time.
Isaiah Thomas came to the Celtics in February of 2015 as part of a three-team deal with the Pistons and the Suns. Thomas was the last pick of the 2011 Draft, 60th overall, selected by the Sacramento Kings. The 5’9” Thomas was a revelation for a Kings team desperately in need of one, but they already had Darren Collison, so they traded Thomas to the Suns for Alex Oriakhi—the 57th pick in the 2013 Draft, he’d never play a single game in the NBA—and a trade exception. Kings gonna Kings.
The thought this past summer was that Durant could become the next Celtic in line to receive that honor. That wasn’t the first time Thomas was overlooked. It might very well be the last.
Which brings us to last night. Thomas, fresh off delivering a eulogy for his younger sister and hours of dental surgery following an impromptu on-court extraction in Game 1, dropped 53 points on the Wizards, the second-highest total in Celtics playoff history, leading the Celtics to an overtime Game 2 win. He scored 29 in the fourth quarter and overtime alone, stared down the much larger Markieff Morris, outdueled John Wall (who put up 40 points and 13 assists), and did it all on what would have been his sister Chyna’s 23rd birthday. A 2-0 series lead is not insurmountable, of course, but it may as well be with the Celtics—they’re 34-0 all-time in series where they take the first two games.
Circumstances aside, Thomas has simply been doing in the playoffs what he’s done all season long. He was 7th in PER, second in Offensive Win Shares, as the Celtics posted the best record in the East. He missed six games, in which the Celtics went 2-4. In any other season Thomas would have been a serious MVP candidate. He averaged nearly 29 points per game, scored over 2,000 points, dropped 20 in the All-Star Game. He’s been on NBA Jam fire all year long. An All-Star last season as well, his leap this year should make him a lock for Most Improved Player.
In the playoffs, all he’s done is drop 33 on the Bulls the day after his sister was killed in a car crash, then lead the top-seeded Celtics back to a six-game series win after dropping the first two at home. He lost his 3-point shooting stroke through the final three games of the first round, going a combined 3-of-26, but rediscovered it in time for the second, shooting 5-of-11 in Game 1 and 5-of-12 in Game 2. His Celtics have won six straight playoff games now, and seem destined for a showdown with the Cavaliers that few expected after going down 0-2 to the eight-seeded Bulls. And he’s apparently made longtime fan Floyd Mayweathera lot of money.
Thomas’s emergence as a top-level postseason star comes at an interesting time in Celtics history as well. Paul Pierce, the 2008 Finals MVP, announced his retirement after 18 seasons. Soon enough, Pierce’s No. 34 will rise to the Boston Garden rafters. The thought this past summer was that Durant could become the next Celtic in line to receive that honor. That wasn’t the first time Thomas was overlooked. It might very well be the last.
Believe it or not, it’s been almost a decade now since Michael Strahan last suited up for the New York Giants. He retired from the NFL back in 2008, shortly after the G-Men knocked off the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. But during an appearance at WWD’s Men’s Wear Summit in Brooklyn on Tuesday, the Hall of Fame defensive end said that there’s still one thing he really misses about playing in the league—sacking opposing quarterbacks and, more specifically, Tom Brady.
Strahan started talking about Brady when the subject of his stolen Super Bowl LI jersey came up. Strahan said that he, too, had been the victim of thefts in the locker room throughout his NFL career. But he said he “got hip to it” eventually and figured out ways to prevent people from stealing his stuff. And Strahan said he was surprised that Brady had left his most recent Super Bowl jersey unattended after the game, considering he had another Super Bowl jersey stolen just two years earlier.
But then, the conversation turned to Strahan sacking Brady, and his eyes apparently lit up. He talked at length about what a rush it was to lay the Patriots quarterback out during his career and said he genuinely misses it even to this day.
“I do like tackling people, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “Trust me, I could play forever. I would have loved to have played forever. You’ve never lived unless you’ve hit Tom Brady. Not just Brady but any quarterback. Like, you hit a guy, hit a grown man, and you hear the life and the breath leave his body. There’s something very empowering about that. Then, you hit Brady, you sack him, and you land on Brady. And you get up and you’re like, 'Boy, I see what Gisele is feeling. You know, I just laid down with Tom Brady. That was cool.'”
The “I see what Gisele is feeling” comment is a little weird. But it sounds like Strahan really enjoyed beating Brady down during their playing days. And judging from Strahan’s description of it, something tells us Brady doesn’t miss it one bit.
With Super Bowl 51 halfway through, the Atlanta Falcons leading the New England Patriots 21-3, many of dance music’s most notable DJs have taken to Twitter to chime in on the game, the commercials and their own viewing plans.
From DJ Snake and his tweet about attending the Super Bowl for his very first American football game ever to SNBRN and his massive brick of celebratory marijuana, Twitter is alive with the good and bad from this year’s event. For those like Marshmello, Borgore and Felix Cartel, however, the game is less about, well, the game, and more about eating (and thinking about) food.
Check below for a full halftime round up of DJ tweets, and enjoy the sure-to-be memorable performance by Lady Gaga.