Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WE'VE MOVED!

Check out the new site at igohardnow.com.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Smoke These Joints: 1/8/12-1/14/12



Smoke These Joints: 1/8/12 - 1/14/12

Our Joints:

Good: IGHN Reviews: "Rich Forever" by Rick Ross - An all-encompassing review of Rick Ross' latest mix tape by Triz. This mix tape, says Triz, will make you "feel like a big bawse rollin' in a chromed out McLaren Mercedes." That's a feeling you should have to pay for.

Better: Game Review: Memphis Grizzlies VS Oklahoma City Thunder - This is more than just a recap of a game pitting two growing rivals against each other, it was a deeper look at a player who could be the difference-maker in a potential playoff series… or at least, a player who thinks he should be a difference-maker. Check out Kal's piece on how Rudy Gay is shooting himself out of the running for Best Grizzly.

Best: A Teachable Moment - Angelo's article about Delonte West and the treatment of mental illness is gripping. He address the preconceived notions that have developed around players who seek psychiatric help, and questions why those who receive therapy have a worse reputation in the media than players who have committed real crimes. A must read.

Their Joints:

Good: A Fate Worse Than Death: Wizards - Raptors - Grantland is beginning a series on unwatchable NBA games to commiserate with the millions of people who have no choice but to support unwatchable NBA teams. Speaking as a representative of one of those cities (Sacramento), this series may prove to have a special place in my heart. Read this article for the JaVale McGee commentary at the end alone.

Bad: Dwight Howard Set's Free Throw Record - Mark Jackson had his team foul Dwight Howard enough times that he set an NBA record for free throws taken because without Kwame Brown, the Warriors didn't have enough power to guard Howard. WITHOUT Kwame Brown. There is now a team in the league made worse when Brown is off the court. That's terrifying.

Tube: Oh, the Places You'll Go at Burning Man! - Awesome video compilation about Burning Man, with festival goers all reciting the famous Dr. Seuss book.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I GO HARD NOW WEEKLY ALL STAR BONANZA: FEATURING THE I GO HARD NOW BALLERS - Episode 8



Episode 8 - Delonte, Always Delonte

In this episode, we talk to Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm about Delonte West, the difficulties of blogger life, and pretty much everything NBA. We share some stories, some thoughts, and some laughs. We also discuss beards, Triz's baller lifestyle, and Demetri's cat.

Fading Legends


"I learned working with the negatives could make for better pictures" - Drake

The line comes from Drake's song HYFR off his album, Take Care, but applies astonishingly well to Michael Jordan's career and his legend that we all know so well - passed over for North Carolina high school player of the year, couldn't appear on the issue on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a Tar Heels freshman, cut from his high school basketball team.

These things we know because Michael Jordan lets us know them, references them often (see: Hall of Fame acceptance speech), and internalized them to such a degree that his stubbornness fueled his play.
But what if they weren't all true?

Thomas Lake's just-published Sports Illustrated article, "Did This Man Really Cut Michael Jordan?" definitively shows that Jordan was not cut from his high school team.

Michael Jordan, a sophomore at the time, was not cut from his high school basketball team. There was only room for one sophomore on the varsity team, and his friend Leroy Smith, was selected. The varsity team had no players over 6'3", and height was Coach Pop Herring's primary concern. Jordan was 5'10", Smith was 6'7". So instead of Jordan spending a year being moody on the varsity bench, Coach Herring gave Jordan the chance to lead the JV team for a year, a chance to develop his own intensity, and a chance to thrive.

Lake's article, an enlightening, yet dark read, certainly answers the titular question, but it raises another.
How does this hurt Jordan's legend?

Legends, by definition, are unverifiable stories. The myth, the lore, the love; it all factors in. Jordan's superhuman efforts, atypical arrogance, that earring.

Jordan was not cut… yet when thinking back on his coaches, Jordan remembers Clifton Herring as "the first guy to ever cut me." Jordan, as SI writer Lake points out and we are all uncomfortably aware, was "a machine fueled by disrespect."

I don't believe Jordan is or was a liar, and do not think he is lying about being cut. It is how he perceived it, and it's this perception that's warped him since. Jordan wasn't cut - he was kept on the JV team so he could play more, hone his talents, and grow into the star his coaches recognized they had. Jordan chooses not to recognize this opportunity, and instead jokes, jabs and dishonors those who were fundamental in shaping him.

Michael Jordan was a legendary player, but what's left of his legend? The numbers about Jordan's career don't lie, and for a writer like me who knows Jordan as that oft-injured Wizards guard, the numbers are where I'm forced to go. But do we remember "that season Jordan averaged 37.1 points per game!" or, instead, the heroics, the effort, and the stories beyond the numbers? Isn't that truly why we care about sports?

Legend exists because of the retelling. The fading memories of an exceptional effort, told with a glint in the eye and a breathless pace. Those quintessential moments that Michael had, those legendary efforts, were bolstered by a guy who was playing against the odds, playing with a chip on his shoulder. But without those things… what meaning do we find in his effort? What is the chip on his shoulder except something Jordan placed there himself?

Is there something sinister to a player who finds faults where there are none, who would undercut others to toughen himself mentally? Nobody said he couldn't achieve whatever he set out to achieve, but that's all Jordan heard. Maybe legend needs to shed its positive connotation. Maybe we're too eager to anoint legends in the sporting arena while choosing to ignore fatal character flaws.

Maybe at this point becoming legendary is synonymous with becoming a cautionary tale.

Game Review: Memphis Grizzlies VS Oklahoma City Thunder

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

When the season ended on the Memphis Grizzlies last year, there was a tiny thought. It was the smallest of questions. It was something people said almost to amuse themselves. What will happen when Rudy Gay is healthy and playing next season? The Grizzlies overachieved in the playoffs. They were an eight seed in the badass Western Conference, yet they ended up moments away from playing in the Western Conference Finals. They did all this without their injured franchise player.

So people asked the question: Are the Grizzlies better without Rudy Gay?

Gay has spent most of this early season so far trying to prove that they are better with him playing. The stage was set for him on this random Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Zach Randolph is injured for a while. The Thunder were the very team to knock the Grizzlies out of the playoffs. The story was set to be an almost triumphant tale -- regardless of if it was a tale with any truth. This random Tuesday night could have been Gay's proof that he succeeded in leading his team to victory against the mighty Thunder when Zach Randolph could not.

Better with me? Gay seemed to ask, The Grizzlies are better without Randolph.

Gay tried to shoot himself into existence.  Out of any Grizzlies player with four or more shots, he had by far the worst FG% (about 33%). He took 21 shots -- five more than Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies' leading scorer -- yet he only scored 16 points. Of course, the true failure in his stat line was his zero assists. His desperate need to prove himself without any regard to his own team was his own undoing.

Gay had a chance on this night to prove how much better he is than Randolph -- his questionable, cancer of a teammate.  Instead, he was everything that was wrong with the Grizzlies.  He was a tale of hubris -- shooting the ball at his own disbelief.

There is no way I miss the next one, the thought practically tumbling out of Gay's head with every shot.

At some point in the fourth quarter, the defense for both teams made the game an ugly, bloodied mess. Shots were missed all over the place. Suddenly, Memphis started throwing the ball to Marc Gasol, and he scored in bunches. Then Rudy Gay took over, and the Grizzlies lost.

The story of this game was a story of a man not believing the truth about himself until the bitter end.

Rudy Gay is not the Grizzlies' best player. He only thinks he is.

Verdict:

This game was back-and-forth almost the entire time. It was entertaining and had moments of both beautiful offense and beautiful defense. Rudy Gay's ultimate failure as a basketball player in this game only added to the story given the game's tight score and near-playoff atmosphere. This is a game I would watch again.

Score: 4/5

Article by Spacefunmars

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

IGHN Reviews: "Rich Forever" by Rick Ross

If you have listened to even one hip hop mix tape in your life, you already know that they are usually a solid mix of really good, album-worthy cuts and crappy throw-aways.

Rich Forever, the latest from Rick Ross, is no different.

Featuring 20 tracks, Rich Forever takes listeners on a predictable journey through the slums of Miami, behind the scenes of high-end drug deals and around the world in private jets and expensive cars.

Please don’t think my use of the word “predictable” is a bad thing. Rick Ross is doing Rick Ross and that’s what I want to hear. He’s perfected a song structure and rhyming style that works. Yes, we all know he’s going to find a way to weave together a "condo party" with this "new Bugatti" and brag about hiding kilos of coke from the Feds. We’ve heard these songs a million times. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear them a million more.

For me, the highlight of the mixtape is “Triple Beam Dreams,” which features a guest appearance by Nas. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love this track so much since it was produced by The Justice League. They are by far my favorite rap producers working today and always seem to bring out the best in Ricky Rozay. For their other Rick Ross work, check out “Aston Martin Music” “Maybach Music II” “I’m Not A Star” “Magnificent” and “Rich Off Cocaine.” The Justice League have an orchestral production sounds with horns, pianos and strings. Unfortunately, this is their only track on Rich Forever. I would love to see an entire Rick Ross mixtape or album produced by them.

Other standout tracks include “Fuck ‘Em,” “King of Diamonds” and “Keys to the Crib.” My absolute favorite line from the whole mixtape comes from “Keys to the Crib”:

You wouldn’t find the keys in the crib even if you had the keys to the crib.

Rozay’s flow on “King of Diamonds” is especially strong with him just chanting over and over: “Somebody call the Brinks truck.” The lyrics are ridiculous and over-the-top, but that’s what makes Rick Ross great. He’s a plays a character and he plays it well. Thankfully he hasn’t tried to change his style and do slow songs or try to actually sing. I just want him to keep rapping about yellow diamonds, snitches and keys of coke.



If you like Rick Ross, you will probably enjoy Rich Forever. Like I said earlier, there are some great songs and then, of course, there are songs that suck (I’m looking at you “Holy Ghost” and “Stay Schemin”).

Go grab it for free off the internets and listen to it during your work commute. When you do, I’m sure you’ll feel like a big bawse rollin’ in a chromed out McLaren Mercedes. At least that’s how I’ll feel.

Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting on the Brinks truck.