This past July, there were 19 players competing for 12 spots on it's World Cup team. Some of the big names back out, one suffered a serious injury and then others were just cut. ESPN put together a nice little web page to show which players were in and out. The best part is that they commisioned Made by Radio to do some fun animated illustrations of the players.
Jung Heo is a designer from Ohio who grew up watching, imitating and admiring the NBA in the 90's. Lately, he's been working on some NBA pieces which he says were inspired by the content he saw on HEYSPORT.
I'm just a fan of art and sports and this site is just a by product of those passions. This blog has become a fun way to share great work with others fans but it's awesome to hear that it's inspiring others to produce amazing work.
One of my favorite movies to this day is The Sandlot. A classic film about a new kid, Scotty Smalls, who moves to a new town and just wants to learn baseball and make friends that summer. The towns best baseball player, Benny "The Jet" Rodriquez, ends up takes him under his wing to teach him everything about the game. Even gives him a hat! It's all good until Small gets them into the biggest pickle of the summer...
A while back, I was thrilled to hear that Porchlight Coffee & Records in Seattle hosted a collection of artwork inspired by the movie. Two of my favorite pieces came from the owner Zach Bolotin. One is a drawing of the coveted baseball signed by Babe Ruth and the other is an illustration of all the hats that the kids wear in the movie. The hat one is available for sale here.
Why do high profile athletes have such horrible websites?
Tiger Woods' personal website looks dated, Wayne Gretzy's is just capturing email addresses and Michael Jordan's is under construction. (It even has one of those icons of a guy doing construction!) These guys are sport legends and worth BIG BUCKS, but they can't get a decent website? I think it's crazy. I know it's not something people would directly check every day but it's the first thing that comes up when you Google their name. I'm sure there's enough traffic to justify investing a decent amount into a quality site.
When LeBron made his second decision, I went directly to his website only to be unimpressed by the art direction. This is the biggest name in sports right now and his site looks like a school project. The gradient clip art buildings are hideous, the type is weak and the cut-out images him are sloppy.
This morning I was happy to see that a designer by the name of Vivek Venkatraman took a stab at redesigning LBJ's website himself. It's not perfect, but it's a billion times better. If you're going to nickname yourself a King, then you better have a nice castle to back it up.
Listening to music at work can sometimes get a bit redundant. To switch it up, I like to throw on a podcast to get my creative juices going. My favorite one these days is the Jalen & Jacoby podcast on the Grantland Network. ESPN's Jalen Rose and David Jacoby give the people what they want, breaking down the latest in sports and pop culture as only they can.
I love they way Jalen carries himself throughout the podcast. As a former NBA player, he gives full insight of what it's like to be a big name athlete while also sharing some stories from his flamboyant past. Regardless of the topic, his perspective is always honest and entertaining. Jacoby is a great counterpart by the way he steers the show and asks questions that most fans are curious about...essentially, giving the people what they want.
At the beginning of every episode, Jalen sings the chorus to the famous O'Jay's tune "Give The People What They Want". (During the show, he usually sings another chorus of a 70s hit or spits a few rap lyrics whenever he deems necessary.) Not sure if the original song has a political spin on it, but for some reason, when Jalen says it, I always think of it as a campaign message for a politician.
Inspired by political campaign art, I put together some hand-drawn type to thank the guys for giving listeners what they want.
For the record, I would totally vote for Jalen Rose in any political election.
If you're a fan of the show, stay tuned for my next ones about "Champagning & Campaigning", "Keep Getting Dem Checks" and "Pop The Trunk".
There's nothing more I love than classic, simple, old-school, vintage sports memorabilia and Oxford Pennant is just that. They design and manufacturer vintage wool & cotton pennants that are inspired by American sports traditions. It is run by Dave Horesh & Brett Mikoll in Buffalo, NY. Here's some of my favorites but there's bunch more that can be purchased here.
One detail I also enjoy are the sketches on the product page. Personally, I think it's always nice to see where a design starts.
Live in the Mephis area? Fan of the Memphis Grizzlies? Or just a fan of Memphis in general?
Double Scribble, a daily curated art blog run by Nicholas Kastner, and the Memphis Grizzlies are teaming up to put together No Easy Buckets, a new gallery show opening September 12th at Cooper Walker Place in Memphis, TN. All proceeds from the show are going to help restore a basketball court in the Cooper Young Neighborhood in Memphis so come out and help a good cause.
Have some Grizzly art work? They are currently accepting submissions here now until Sunday, July 27th.
Seriously, if you never watched the show, I highly recommend it. I was guilty of ignoring it while it was airing on NBC because I thought it was a stupid high school teen drama sitcom. I was completely wrong. The pilot is fantastic and I was instantly hooked. The show is done really well and is filled with tons of likable characters (Coach Taylor and his wife Tami were some of my favorites). Not sure there's been a better TV show that revolves around sports.
Always With Honor is the collective work of Tyler & Elsa Lang. They recently worked with Nike to create a series of murals for Canada's flagship House of Hoops located in Toronto. Art Direction was provided by Kevin Wolahan.
The best part? One of the murals is backlit and animates so it shows the full sequence of a crossover.
Another project that's a bit dated but worth showing is the set of illustrations they did for Nike Basketball's All-Star Week campaign in Orlando. Art direction was provided by Jeffrey Docherty.
Tomorrow night, during the MLB All-Star Game, Nike's Jordan Brand will air this 90 second commercial dedicated to Derek Jeter.
Even if you're like myself and hate the Yankees, you always had to respect Derek Jeter. If you don't, then you just don't understand baseball. Ever fan, teammate, manager and ball club wishes they had a franchise guy like on their team and who knows if we'll ever see another one. In my eyes, he has always been a man of class and I can't think of a classier salute than the act of tipping one's hat. According to an article by AdWeek, the creative idea came from Jeter’s own routine in the batter’s box. "Along with his familiar raised right hand, Jeter tugs at his batting helmet as he faces the pitcher. What if Jeter saluted his opponent — and the world saluted back thought Nike marketers." The visual play of the letter "S" as a number "2" in the word RE2PECT was also a nice touch. Erwin Federizo and Eric Helin of Weiden+Kennedy really knocked it out of the park with this concept.
I hate to pull the sexist card, but my only criticism was that there was barely any women featured in it. I don't have any stats to back it up but I'm willing to bet that Jeter has the best selling jersey among men AND women. That's got to be worth something, right?
Besides that, I loved the music, the Red Sox fans and all the featured cameos. From Spike Lee to Billy Crystal to... Action Bronson?? The hits kept coming. It's the best sports ad I've seen in a while and I'm glad it was made for someone like Jeter.
(Tipping my hat)
This was something I heard after LeBron started to get tons of negative feedback for "The Decision". It didn't come from a credible insider or one of ESPN's talking heads, but from a friend who is a huge fan of just about any sport. You know the type; a guy who is fueled by competition, feeds into every rivalry, and would attend a high school volleyball championship game if the tickets were the right price. What I respect most about his opinions is that he has such a great understanding of sports at all levels. Regardless of whether it involves a fan, athlete or management, he understands why decisions are made. Ever since the news broke that LeBron was coming back to Cleveland, I could not stop thinking about what my friend said 4 years ago.
Despite losing the 2014 NBA Finals to the Spurs (who by the way, still manage to fall under the radar during all of this), LeBron and the Miami Heat were able to get to 4 consecutive NBA Finals. Even if they only won 2 of them, getting there 4 times was an extremely difficult feat, especially when there was a target on their back the entire time and most people were rooting against them. The "not 1, not 2..." line might have been the dumbest thing LeBron ever said, but the plan him, Wade, Bosh and Reilly put together was actually working. The Heat were winning games and competing to win multiple rings. The free agency rumors were entertaining after The Finals because it fed my basketball fix, but I kept telling myself there's no way he's leaving...Right?
At the time, I wanted to believe everything my friend said. As a sports fan myself, I couldn't believe what he did to the Cavs and especially how he handled it. I understood why he would want to do it – Miami, playing with friends, etc. but could never get behind it as a good decision. Even being a desperate Knicks fan, I always wanted him to stay in Cleveland. Joining the Heat was the biggest heel move ever made it sports and it made me hate him. Now I know he could care less what I thought, but LeBron isn't an idiot and a star that big can't escape the media. Having the Cleveland fan base turn on him might have been tough, but millions of basketball fans rooting against you can't be fun either. If you had the chance to reverse that, you would...Right?
LeBron's actions during the 2010 free agency will never be erased. The idea to hold a 1 hour press event to announce that you are leaving your hometown team and are "taking your talents to South Beach" was a bad idea. Someone might have convinced him that it was a good idea to do The Decision but at least he realizes it was a mistake.
Now someone might have influenced him to write the "I'm Coming Home" letter too but it doesn't matter. In my opinion, it was one of the best things he has ever done in his career. Announcing you are returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers is an admirable move but the way he announced it is just as important. It was a NASTY breakup between LeBron and the Cavs. Jerseys were burned. A simple "I'm sorry, but I'm coming back." wasn't going to cut it.
I think LeBron grew up over the past 4 years (really liked that college analogy). He could of held another big event to announce his return. Instead, he collected his thoughts, wrote a public letter that addressed a bunch of items, and then bounced down to Brazil to watch the World Cup so he could avoid the media. It was a brilliant move. Personally, my feelings about him completely flipped once I read it.
Regardless of what happens next season, championship or not, this is an incredible sports story and will by far be the best one ever told if he can bring home a championship to Cleveland. I think LeBron finally realized that winning multiple championships with your friends in Miami is great, but it will never top winning just one for Cleveland...his hometown, by the team who originally drafted him and being cheered by true fans.
This is why sports continues to be the best reality TV show ever. CRAZY SHIT HAPPENS! Maybe referees decide games. Maybe the "Basketball Gods" exist. Maybe athletes do care what fans think. All I know is that I will start to root for him again and hope he brings Cleveland a championship.
In the meantime, I'll be counting the days until the first Cavs home game and the highlight reel with this song.