I'm a Bulls fan extremely mad online. If you aren't sure why, Ricky O'Donnell summed it up best here.
Below you'll find the application I'll be sending to 29 other teams. It's simple, straightforward, and if answered correctly, will fix my problem of having bumbling idiots running basketball operations for my favorite team.
Obviously I'm kidding. The Bulls will always be the center of my civic pride. But it's heartbreaking to watch a franchise openly express zero interest in assembling a dynamically run organization.
Yes, we've had it really good as Bulls fans. We've had the blessing of watching six championships with the greatest athlete to ever play the game. But now, nearly 21 years since Michael left, the organization has watched the city's two baseball teams each win a World Series, three Stanley Cups, and a Bears team turn a toxic culture into a Super Bowl contender coming of age under the right coach.
But the Bulls are lazy. They refuse to put the work into winning another title. Instead they keep hoping with enough Jordan era nostalgia we'll keep blindly handing over our money without ever seeing just how little they respect us. That's why they've never changed the logo, or the uniform, or why they plant Scottie Pippen courtside for every game. They're hoping we just keep thinking about the 90's when things were perfect. But we're not as dumb as John Paxson thinks we are. The game is more accessible than ever with the advent of League Pass and sharing highlights online. There are no big markets anymore. Only superstars with massive follower counts. And the Bulls transparent dysfunction has kept every free agent superstar from ever landing in Chicago.
And It's not just here in Chicago. The Bulls are still incredibly popular in Asia. David Stern had the brilliant, but also like no duh dude, idea to take the game globally as Michael Jordan's stock soared. But those 90's kids in Asia have grown up. A lot of them have their own children who will probably fall in love with basketball like their parents did. Who are they seeing on TV or YouTube? Not Cameron Payne, or Jabari Parker. They're watching Steph, Embiid, LeBron, Harden, and Durant.
By refusing to do what's right and fire John Paxson and Gar Forman, the Bulls continue to alienate their fan-base and decimated their growth potential. After Jordan's run, they had an opportunity to be the next Lakers, or Celtics, or Yankees. Instead of working at becoming a multi-decade institution of greatness, they've made nearly every wrong decision possible and show no signs of accountability.
Until ownership sells the team, this is what we can always expect - a dysfunctional, condescending misery. I'm just so sick of it.
Do you remember when 808s & Heartbreak was first announced? It was mayhem. Kanye wasn't going to rap? He was going to sing entirely in Auto-Tune? Couldn't be true.
On Nov. 24, 2008, Kanye dropped his fourth studio album and people lost their goddamn minds. This was the beginning of the late aughts - the Auto-Tune ages as historians will declare it. Megastars of the decade like T-Pain, The Black Eyed Peas, and Lil Wayne egregiously abused the audio processor. Now Ye was using it? He was better than that.
Kanye's original teddy bear trilogy was a near-perfect epic of his rise from a Chicago kid to THE biggest superstar on the planet. His lyrics were playful and his beats energetic. Kanye's charisma was magnetic and we loved everything he gave us. Maybe because people saw themselves in him, or found hope in his story, or used his music to escape their realities. Whatever we saw in Kanye totally changed when he dropped 808s & Heartbreak.
I don't think people knew how to respond to 808s & Heartbreak at first. The Auto-Tune balanced well with Ye's new, unorthodox beats, but still totally alien compared to his original trilogy. What was even more shocking was how Kanye, arrogance was the steam to power my dreams West, poured out his vulnerabilities in front of us. He never did that before. Just read this verse from "Welcome to Heartbreak."
"Chased the good life my whole life long
Look back on my life and my life gone
Where did I go wrong?"
The album is incredibly human. It's about suffering, loss, and rejection - emotions common throughout our existence but unbearably difficult to articulate. We never thought about relating to Kanye on this level before, but here we suddenly were, confronting our own traumas with Ye. Relating our stories to the ones found in music creates a deeply personal connection with an album, but it takes time. And that's what this album needed.
Ten years later, 808s & Heartbreak is regarded as one of the best albums of the aughts. Now that the Auto-Tune deluge of the era has faded, Kanye's use of it doesn't feel as cheap as it once did. His audacity to experiment with introspective lyrics helped influence monumental hip hop albums from Drake, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino, and Frank Ocean.
808s & Heartbreak's role in shaping the current generation of hip hop stars is undoubtedly huge, but its most significant contribution to pop culture will be its successor. The creative risk Ye took allowed him the confidence to create My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy two years later. Not only is it regarded as Kanye's best project, but it's one of the greatest albums of all time. Without question. Every single person should own that album.
Kanye is a difficult subject to write about. His recent comments on Twitter have been incredibly disappointing at times. I understand why people have stopped listening to his music and I don't blame them. Even without the comments, his recent work has dropped in quality and he's indefinitely delayed the release of his latest project, Yandhi. Something's up and I don't know what it is. Whatever Kanye is battling, I hope he finds the peace he deserves. He's given us a lot, and the least we can do as fans is try and understand Kanye's journey as both an artist and a man isn't linear.
When was the last time you looked up? Focusing on the stars and thinking about your place within the cosmic network? There's a good chance it's been a minute. Maybe you never have. It's easy to let the stress of our lives pull our heads down.
A year ago I tried something new. I signed up for Sun Salutations Yoga at Adler Planetarium. The one hour class offered every first Saturday is a rare opportunity to practice yoga beneath the domed Grainger Sky Theater with flowing celestial objects projected above.
I've said it before – I'm terrible at yoga. I never know what I'm doing, I have the physical flexibility of a dead animal, and I'm too cynical to believe anything about chakras. But I keep going back to my mat.
Yoga is all about connection. It bridges your physical and spiritual side through movement and focused breathing. Or something like that. I'm still figuring it out. But what I do know is that showing up on your mat and connecting with something larger than ourselves is what it's all about.
Sun Salutations is an opportunity to let go of your stress and focus your attention on the natural beauty of the cosmos. Along the way, with your breathing and movement, you begin to understand your place in the universe. You feel the atoms that make your physical form and how they came from the dust of a star that died a long time ago.
The collapse of a star gave us the iron in our blood.
One tumultuous event can create new opportunities.
There's no substitution for actually going outside and looking up at the stars, but Sun Salutations is the next best thing available. If you can escape the city for a bit, I encourage you to take a moment and look up. It's easy to feel insignificant, but if you focus long enough, you'll feel you're part of the universe. The hydrogen that fuels our sun is the same hydrogen flowing through your veins. You belong and you matter.
If I angle my yoga mat just right, I can fully stretch out my 6'5" frame. Sometimes my ankle bashes into the coffee table, or my fingers get caught in dusty ceiling fan blades. But if I really focus on my surroundings, I have just enough space to work with my favorite yoga instructor, Adriene Mishler.
She's the host of the insanely popular YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. The Austin based yoga instructor and actor uploads new videos regularly to an audience of 3 million subscribers. Her catchy tagline "Find What Feels Good" serves as both a celebration of self-love and the slogan for her growing brand.
Moving into a new home can serve as necessary growth. After a relationship ended in my last apartment’s living room, I needed a needed a new space without that memory hovering around. What I decided on was an apartment much smaller than what I had, but in a neighborhood bursting with energy.
But moving is expensive as shit. Move-in fees can crush the doe-eyed excitement of signing a new lease. To make back some of the money I lost moving, I canceled my gym membership and searched for an at home solution. That's how I found Yoga with Adriene.
When I queued up my first video, I turned off all the lights and closed my blackout curtains like a teenager discovering internet porn. My only source of light illuminated from the TV and the color changing oil diffuser that sits on my windowsill. If I was going to buy into this new routine, I wanted a yoga studio experience in my apartment. Side note - a little at-home-yoga-studio hack is if you don't have AC in your apartment like me then congratulations! You now have your very own hot yoga studio.
The first video I ever tried, and revisit frequently, was "Yoga for the Future." Adriene guides you through a challenging but completely approachable 30 minutes of stretching, strength training, and mindfulness.
Here’s my truth. I'm terrible at yoga. It’s super hard, and I have the flexibility of a stale piece of taffy. True story, I once got completely overheated in the first few minutes of a video. I ditched my shirt right as Adriene instructed us to rock back and forth along our spines. Being the smart person I am, I put all my sweaty momentum into that first roll, sliding head first off my mat and into a solid birch kitchen cart. Kill me.
But why do I, along with 3 million other people, keep coming back?
Adriene’s greatest skill as an instructor is her ability to connect with her audience. Free from judgement, she treats you as her own personal workout buddy. Mainly shot in her home, it’s just you, her, and sometimes Benji, the chill-vibes-only dog.
Other at-home instructional videos feel detached and unrelatable. They’re usually filmed on sets with background actors and garish industrial decor. Not with Adriene. Her authentic blend of lighthearted humor and lessons on self-love make every awkward moment on your mat totally worth it.
I started Yoga With Adriene to save money while keeping physical activity part of my daily routine. But what I never expected was how much these videos would change my perspective on what it means to practice self-love - to appreciate myself for showing up on my mat on a down day. This practice has replaced a lot of my toxic negative thinking with a strong internal confidence.
What does “Find What Feels Good” mean to me? It’s showing up on my green yoga mat in my little 400 sq ft apartment where I’m reminded the journey I’m on is exactly where I’m supposed to be.
The one criticism I've always had against ESPN Films has been their lack of documentaries about the Chicago Bulls. There was Jordan Rides the Bus, which is excellent, but that's such a weird footnote in Jordan history. Obviously not everyone cares about the Bulls. Duh. But, fan or not, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were cultural titans during their perfect six-for-six championship run. They're the only NBA franchise to own a decade. How could ESPN neglect our airness like by not gifting the world a documentary about his career?
Well, the answer is, because Michael and the Bulls' story can't be condensed into one documentary. It needs a 10-part-mega-docu-series-extravoganzia! To pull it off effectively, it requires a Herculean coordination effort to sit every willing/living participant and recount the cultural and historic impact the '90s Bulls made on this planet. So I guess I can forgive ESPN since that is a ton of work and deserves the necessary effort to accomplish a project of such significance.
Today ESPN Films and Netflix announced a joint production called "The Last Dance" that will debut in 2019.
ESPN Films and Netflix today announced a joint production “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series that will chronicle one of the greatest icons and most successful dynasties in sports history, Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. Directed by Jason Hehir (“The Fab Five,” “The ’85 Bears,” “Andre the Giant”) and produced by Mike Tollin, the anthology will examine the simultaneous rise of Jordan and the NBA during those years.
This is monumental. My guess is The Last Dance will become the must-binge series when it airs next year. What I'm most excited for is the promise of never-before-seen footage. That's usually marketing code for content that was never all that interesting to air originally. However, I find it hard to believe that within all of this unseen footage, there won't be a moment where we suddenly see Michael in a lens we're not used to.
There's often a verbal asterisk when discussing Michael. The "yeah but" of the conversation circles around the fact that social media didn't exist during his championship runs. What was Michael like with the pressure of winning a sixth NBA title in his final season on the Bulls? Were the wildly dramatic storylines of today's NBA around in the '90s or is the Durant vs. Westbrook tension a product of today's Twitter environment? Will this documentary series forever change the way we compare Jordan to LeBron?
Until 2019, I'll keep rewatching the trailer hoping time speeds up. I can't wait for The Last Dance.
Ballast Point is opening up a brewpub in the West Loop neighborhood this year. There isn’t much to this blog post other than the fact that this is amazing. Ballast Point Chicago is going to be the hottest place to be this summer.
If you’re not familiar with Ballast Point, they’re a San Diego based brewery that themes it’s delicious nectar after ocean life. Their staple beer is Sculpin IPA, named obviously after the sculpin fish. It’s a fruity IPA that pairs beautifully with fish tacos or any light bar food to be honest. It’s super refreshing and packs a wonderful 7% alcohol by volume. There’s slight variations of Sculpin such as the hazy Aloha Sculpin, Pineapple Sculpin, and Grapefruit Sculpin.
When Ballast Point Chicago opens this Spring with its dreamy West Loop rooftop, I’ll be crushing Grapefruit Sculpins all afternoon. Not sacrificing any of the classic Sculpin notes, the grapefruit citrus expands upon the classic IPA flavor to give you the perfect day drinking beer.
Needless to say, I’m excited. There are a ton of breweries in Chicago that folks should support, but this spring and summer, everyone should stop by and have a taste of west coast flavor.
I write the words I'm too uncomfortable to say.