Extreme Cheapskates: Kawhi Leonard edition

Actually, I love reading about how the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard is kind of a cheapskate, driving around in a nearly 20-year old car, and makes a big deal about free wings.

  • Leonard still drives a 1997 Chevy Tahoe that’s nicknamed “Gas Guzzler.” He does it because “it runs and it’s paid off.”
  • Leonard freaked out after he lost a book of coupons from his sponsor Wingstop last summer and asked for them to give him new ones so that he could get free wings—even though his new $94 million contract had just kicked in.

So basically, one of the better players in the NBA right now, a year removed from a championship, and on a team very much in contention for another one, and is currently on a fairly freshly-signed 5-year, $94 million dollar contract, still understands the value of a dollar, and the importance of not being frivolous with money.

Now the car, it’s up for debate that by now, he could probably get a current Chevy Tahoe, pay for it all entirely, and ultimately end up starting a timeline in which the improved fuel economy of a current car versus a 19-year old one, would eventually begin saving him some money, but Leonard clearly doesn’t like the idea of spending any money in the first place.  So if Gas Guzzler continues to run, there’s no reason to replace it, I suppose.

Naturally, the obvious crosshairs of this story is the Wingstop mention, and how Leonard is apparently quite fond of their product, and especially not paying for it.  Now I’ve never had Wingstop wings before, but I’m not going to lie, I just now just Googled the company to see if they had any Atlanta locations, and low and behold, they have quite a number of them that aren’t unreasonable to go to.  The jury is out on whether or not they’re worth boasting about getting them for free, but give Kawhi Leonard’s general salt-of-the-earth kind of persona he’s cultivated throughout his blue-collar, defense-oriented skillset, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’ll probably enjoy them, and wish I had a book of coupons to get them for free too.

The point is, articles like this are kind of meant to ridicule Kawhi Leonard for not living like a baller and enjoying the more luxurious things in life.  But really, who says any athlete or anyone with tons of money really has to?  It’s ultimately pointless and kind of insufferable, if you ask me.  If Gas Guzzler and free Wingstop wings are what makes him happy, and keep him satisfied enough to remain happy to show up to work and hang W’s for the Spurs, who the fuck are we to criticize?

Playing in New York makes a Dark Knight not

You know what I think is stupid?  How sports media insists that the nickname for the Mets’ Matt Harvey is “The Dark Knight.”

I get it, he plays in New York, which is alternatively known by nerds as the de facto Gotham City, and doing heroic things like playing a kids game very well warrants being called “a hero;” therefore being “a hero” in “Gotham City” is basically Batman AKA The Dark Knight.  We get it, media.  So very clever.

However, let’s be real here.  Matt Harvey plays for the Mets, who play in Queens, which is outside the borough of Manhattan, which is probably more of what Gotham City kind of is supposed to represent.  No matter what happens, the Mets are always going to be the little brother of the Yankees, the second-in-line team playing in a second-in-line neighborhood to New York City; so it’s almost more appropriate to say that Matt Harvey is more like Robin, the second-in-command to Batman.

Not to mention the Mets’ colors of blue and orange don’t exactly resonate well with comparisons to Batman’s black, more black, and some nearly-black-like shades of gray.  Blue and orange are actual colors, which is again, closer to Robin, who actually has colors in his outfit.

The bottom line is that it’s stupid that Matt Harvey is so often referred to as The Dark Knight, when I’ve basically just given several unbiased (totally biased) reasons to why he probably shouldn’t.

So if Matt Harvey shouldn’t be The Dark Knight, who should?

  1. Nobody.  These are baseball players, not actual heroes, who do actual heroic things like stopping or solving crimes, helping those in need, or burying the Lazarus Pit so R’as al Ghul doesn’t cleanse the world.
  2. If there had to be a baseball player who could be a real-life Batman, it would probably have had to have been Derek Jeter.  Firstly, he played for the Yankees, the actual Gotham team, and second, he kind of was like Bruce Wayne in the sense that he was a womanizing playboy with more money than god, and in terms of sports heroics, he does have a large list of some notable hits.  But he’s retired and out of the picture, so Yeah Jeets is off the table.
  3. If you think about the criteria in which Matt Harvey was anointed The Dark Knight, one doesn’t need to look any further than the New York pitcher that basically did what Harvey did, a year later, when Harvey was out for the season recovering from Tommy John surgery: Masahiro Tanaka.  Comprehensively, Tanaka didn’t have the ERA or even WAR that Harvey notched in his own rookie season, but Tanaka did for the Yankees what Harvey basically did for the Mets: struck everyone out, had an extremely low ERA, and pretty much won every start.  Going by their first 14 starts, Tanaka pitched in more innings, struck out more guys, had a better ERA, and won more decisions (11) than Harvey did (5).

But there’s no way the media would give a foreign player, let alone a Japanese player like Tanaka have a cool name like The Dark Knight.  Who cares if Tanaka actually played for the Gotham City Yankees, and was having a better rookie year than Harvey did, the name was already anointed to a bum like Harvey, and there’s no takebacks.

The bottom line is that calling Matt Harvey The Dark Knight is about as cool as your own parents dabbing or using hashtags in commonplace dialogue.  Just because Harvey pitches for a team that resides in the state of New York doesn’t automatically mean it’s Gotham City, and imagine if the association was reversed, and Batman was given the Mets’ color palette instead of the Yankees?  Yeah, that’d look pretty fucking gay, seeing a blue and orange Batman.

For the love of god, I’d plead that Matt Harvey cease to be called The Dark Knight, but that’s not going to happen until he starts sucking.  And since he’s on the Mets, I’m hoping for it to happen sooner rather than later.

Probably a very smart decision

Thank the fucking lord: Georgia governor, Nathan Deal has declared that he will veto House Bill 757, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, AKA Operation to Okay Discrimination.

When this passed the Senate and made it’s way to the Governor’s desk, I thought to myself, “there’s absolutely no way that Deal is stupid enough to alienate billions of potential dollars for the state, just so a few fucking hicks can be legally allowed to discriminate against, mostly homosexuals.”  It was the no-brainer of no-brainers, pitting the Stig in a Corvette against Fred Flintstone’s car with no wheels and Fred Flintstone himself missing his legs.

You know what the scary thing was though?  In the spirit of jinxing it, Murphy’s Law, and all other superstitions, I never said anything aloud along the sort.  That’s the scary thing; that Georgia could be that much of a fucked up backwater state that it’s governor just might agree with the bigots and just let HB 757 to have passed.  And then the entire state collapses on itself, and when Florida is declared unfit to remain a part of the United States, might just have Georgia dragged along with it when it’s sawed off the country and shoved into the Gulf of Mexico.

But thankfully, greed wins out over bigotry, and Nathan Deal just so happens to like money more than he hates the gays.  I guess those of us who live in Georgia should feel a little relieved that such is the case, but I don’t buy it for a second that Deal wouldn’t have signed HB 757 if not for the intervention of just about every single major corporation basically threatening to condemn their business in the state if it passed.

Believe me, I worked for the state, and I was exposed to the Governor’s existence more than the average Georgia probably would want to be.  Lord only knows the head cheese of my old office would bend over backward and die trying to turn water into wine if Deal asked her to.  But I also learned that he’s a pretty staunch Republican conservative, and it didn’t take a genius to see the sneer in his face when subjected to the topic of equality, and the photographs where he’s pretty obviously distancing himself away from black people when he visited factories and groundbreakings.

Here’s my favorite part of the announcement that Deal was going to veto:

I know his choice to veto this measure was not easy.

I disagree.  It was probably the easiest decision to make in his entire life.  Easier than choosing which pair of socks to wear in the morning, and whether or not he should wear a white oxford shirt or a cornflower blue oxford shirt.  When it’s basically “appease 141 bigots” versus “tank the entire state’s financial stability,” it’s like I said, it’s the no-brainer of no-brainers.

Although I’m relieved that my state is a little bit less embarrassing to be a resident of now, I’m actually still agitated that all of this clown bullshit was even allowed to occur in the first place.  I’m not satisfied with it just being vetoed, I’d like for there to be some fucking accountability for 104 house members who voted this through, and then the 37 senate members who leapt aboard as well.  I’d love to see that along with the veto, that all of these motherfuckers are singled out and accused of wasting valuable taxpayer resources to fund this discriminatory agenda.

I’m also agitated with the notion that as a result of Deal converting the 2-inch putt into the Grand Canyon, Deal is emerging from this whole shit show as some kind of hero.  As I said, I don’t think he vetoes HB 757 if there weren’t hundreds of businesses threatening to pull billions of dollars from the state’s coffers, but because he was put into basically a win-win situation, he comes out looking squeaky clean, regardless of what transgressions he’s let slide in the past.

Whatever though, this is just the conspiracy theorist in me more or less being a sore winner.  I’m relieved as hell that HB 757 is shot down, but everyone has to admit that he’s a crying fucking shame that it made it this far at all.  Greed triumphs over Jesus-fueled homophobia, in a battle that should never have even come to arena in the first place.

Probably not a very smart decision

Impetus: three popular League of Legends commentators declare refusal to work the Mid-Season Invitational event, citing poor freelance rates.

These guys realize they get paid to talk about video games, right?

Honestly though, I see both sides of the argument here.  Ultimately, I understand the concept of a labor dispute, and it’s good on the part of Monte, DoA and PapaSmithy, that they’ve done their homework, and learned what other casters are making, and it’s only fair that the penultimate game representatives of the eSports scene, should probably be paying competitive rates.

But at the same time, these are guys that make a living talking about video games.  These are not underpaid doctors, teachers, construction workers, civil servants or any other occupation that actually makes a difference in the world we all live in.  These are guys that watch teenagers play video games at a highly-competitive level, and talk about it.

I understand what they are trying to accomplish, which is attempting to get paid competitive rates to talk about video games, but ultimately I think that they are making a terrible tactical decision to basically boycott a major event with hopes of trying to make a difference.  And it’s not like Monte, and friends are unemployed alternatively, they’re still getting making money in Korea to commentate the LCK regular season.

First of all, if Monte and friends refuse to work the event, someone else will be willing to do it.  After all, it’s talking about video games, and getting paid at all to do it.  If Riot doesn’t employ it’s own employees to commentate the event, it doesn’t take a genius to know that there are a fuckton of people who would gladly do it for the rates that Monte and friends refused, or even possibly free, because it’s talking about video games.  The latter is totally believable, because if Riot went on Craigslist, said they were looking for people to talk about video games, and could get a free trip to Shanghai to talk about video games, for no additional payment, that email box will blow up more than Ben Stiller’s character at the end of Dodgeball.

Second, the eSports scene itself is still growing, still working out the kinks, and ultimately still trying to find it’s identity.  Whether it’s League, Counterstrike, Starcraft or fighting games, the rules and identities are kind of still being made up on the fly, and there’s no concrete pillars in place of what people should be getting paid, and what people are entitled to or not.  Most importantly, there’s no unionization of commentators or anything, presumably because there simply aren’t that many out there, to actually unionize.  And again, not to mention that if those in a fictional union all refused, there’s still thousands of people who will.

At this point, in a burgeoning scene that’s really shown no indication of trending downhill, I don’t think demonstrating boycotts and stirring up trouble like declaring wage disputes is a particularly good idea.  Even if by some act of god, Riot and Monte and friends come to some sort of agreement that makes Monte and friends happy, this whole incident isn’t one that’s going to be forgotten any time soon.  Monte and friends might think they’re pioneers in fair treatment, but Riot is probably only going to associate them as the poster children for ungrateful problem children, and at some point in time, will not work in their favor.

Honestly, this whole situation reminds me a lot of my own career in graphic design.  There are so many people who are self-taught and willing to work for peanuts, that it ultimately really hurts the entire design community as a whole, because if one person isn’t willing to do a job, someone else out there most certainly will.  It’s always a fine line between doing work and trying to send a message, but it’s almost certainly easier to negotiate once some positive rapport has been established, and that’s kind of difficult to do when there’s lots of refusals and arguing.

Riot could very well tell all three of them to fuck off, and go get real jobs, and I have to imagine that going from guys who talk about video games for a living, back to the real world might pose a little difficulty, transitioning back into those mundane activities.

When the day is over, no one person or persons are bigger than entire industries.  People think they are, all the time, and all the time, they are proven wrong.  Michael Jordan was never bigger than the NBA.  Hulk Hogan was never bigger than wrestling.  Faker is not bigger than League of Legends, much less a crew of its commentators.  Sure, they’ll make splashes here and there, but in the grand spectrum of each’s arenas, time moves on, and eventually they fade, leaving them as footnotes to once participants, but none bigger than the games.

I think Monte and friends just screwed the pooch with their pursuit of dollar signs, and that if not immediately, this decision might have some repercussions on the futures of their careers.

VOTE FOR RHYNO OR ELSE

OR ELSE YOU GET A GORE! GORE! GOREEEE!!!

If you’re a wrestling fan, I dare you to try and read the rest of this post without having watched that YouTube montage first.

Long story short: former professional wrestler, Terry “Rhyno” Gerin declares that he will be running for state representative of his hometown of Dearborn, Michigan.

All obvious professional wrestlers being meathead idiot jokes aside, I have to objectively say that Rhyno is no layup to be a complete flop in this endeavor.  In fact, I would venture to say that Dearborn, a community just outside of the maligned City of Detroit, probably couldn’t do any worse with anyone else as representative, and that what they might just need is a guy that seems to legitimately care about his hometown.

The thing is, Rhyno, aside from his persona as the “Man Beast,” is actually a pretty articulate and intelligent guy.  I remember the first time I saw him in an interview segment, where he was in street clothes consisting of a fluorescent colored polo shirt tucked into khakis, with his hair slicked back and tied off, with me thinking “who the hell is this Republican-looking guy?”

That Republican-looking guy was actually Rhyno.  And it turns out that Rhyno is actually running for state representative, as a Republican.

But the point was, Rhyno the man, and not the man beast, was a guy that spoke with an intelligence that I’d bet translate well into other endeavors, including politics.  When the day is over, Rhyno is a guy that cares about his hometown, has identified areas that he feels needs to be addressed, and gotten to a point to where if nobody else is going to do fight for it, why shouldn’t he?

I’m not going to likely ever say this again, but for a day, I’d like to be a Michigan resident, so that I could vote for Rhyno.  Not just because of all the obvious jokes about how he’ll storm into office in full wrestling gear, and gore the shit out of everyone who says something he doesn’t agree with, but frankly, I think he might be able to do good job.  It’s not like anyone in Dearborn, Detroit and all surrounding areas have set the bar particularly high for him, but it would be pretty awesome to hear that fucking Rhyno is the one helming the difference making.