Jocks Rule, Nerds Drool

Elon Musk, didn’t improve nerds’ image when he tweeted that a diver who assisted in rescuing 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand was a pedophile. Mr. Musk later apologized, and said he had been angry with the diver for criticizing Mr. Musk’s design of a mini-submarine to rescue the boys.

.. The notion of nerds being kinder than other men fades faster every day. Part of that has to do with the way nerd culture has subsumed popular culture. Some of the most popular movies in America are based on comic books. If it was a little nerdy to spend too much time on the internet in the ’90s, well, everyone is now on the internet essentially all the time.

.. Nerds are the overdogs now. If they got into tech early, they’re obscenely wealthy, and all of America now likes the stuff they enjoyed as kids. But they’re not wielding that power in a way that is especially kind or thoughtful.

.. So what about their old schoolyard nemeses, those heartless bullies — the jocks?

Well, they suddenly seem pretty great by comparison.

Last week, another N.B.A. player, Stephen Curry, raised over $21,000 through a live-streamed event to help benefit the family of Nia Wilson, a young woman who was stabbed to death at a train station in Oakland, Calif.

In June, the former N.F.L. player-turned-actor Terry Crews gave Senate testimony in which he spoke about having been sexually assaulted and warned against the “cult of toxic masculinity” that led him to believe he was more important than women.

.. And of course there’s Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, who drew national attention to police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

.. None of these guys sound like the heartless, monosyllabic brutes pop culture made jocks out to be. They sound like the kind of men who would patiently listen to you and commiserate after a nerd sexually harasses you.

.. These jocks are deeply decent men standing up to bullies in power. Just like nerds in old movies used to do.

The Lesson of Omarosa’s New Trump Book

Omarosa Manigault’s forthcoming memoir and her allegations that Trump is a racist who habitually tosses around anti-black epithets. The Guardian reported that Manigault, in her book, says that she looked into rumors that there were tapes of “Apprentice” outtakes that allegedly include Trump using the word “nigger” and that, although she never tracked them down, she became convinced that they existed.

.. a contract proffered by Lara Trump for a fifteen-thousand-dollar monthly payment that Manigault believed amounted to hush money.

.. a period of gradual awakening to Trump’s bigoted outlook. Even after leaving the Administration, she offered the nonsensical hedge that Trump is “racial” but not racist—a position that is roughly equivalent to being human but not Homo sapiens.

.. Her realization about Trump’s outlook appears to have emerged at some point during her book deal. That’s not a gradual awakening, it’s a glacial, self-interested one.

.. His personal history yields an impressive greatest-hits collection that would include him

  • beginning his Presidential campaign by conflating Mexicans with rapists and later stating that
  • Judge Gonzalo Curiel should not preside over the Trump University fraud suit because of his Hispanic heritage. Trump
  • asked a friend of Karen McDougal, the former Playmate with whom Trump had an extramarital affair, if she liked “big black dick.” There is also, of course, the matter of
  • the Justice Department accusing the Trump family firm of discriminating against African-American renters in the seventies (Trump settled the suit without admitting guilt),
  • his racist public assault on the Central Park Five, and
  • his use of birtherism to propel himself into national politics. In a more recent spree,
  • he questioned the intelligence of Representative Maxine Waters, LeBron James, and the CNN host Don Lemon—each of whom is black—and (again) assailed African-American football players.

In matters of

  • race, as well as
  • competence,
  • decency,
  • character, and
  • fitness,

the public either already knows what it needs to know or intractably believes what it wishes to believe. Omarosa Manigault’s book is unlikely to change the balance of either.

One Eurostep for Manu. One Giant Leap for Mankind.

The Eurostep was exotic when it came to the NBA. Now it’s universal for today’s youth basketball players.

This crafty move was considered exotic when it came to the NBA two decades ago. It looked downright foreign to see a player do what Zhang described: plant one way, take one long step at full speed the other way, avoid contact and sneak around the defender for an easy layup.

.. The slow normalization of the Eurostep is obvious anytime you watch an NBA game. The last two league MVPs, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, are masters of the Eurostep. LeBron James flashing his Eurostep on the fast break turns defenders into foie gras. But the most revealing sign of the Eurostep invasion once appeared on his Instagram from someone who happens to share his name: LeBron James Jr., better known as Bronny, had the basketball world admiring his own beautiful Eurostep. He was in fifth grade.

.. “Every single trainer teaches the Eurostep,” said Josh Burr, the founder of The Skill Factory in Atlanta, where a variety of players from Harden to boys on the Southeast team have trained. “Every one of those kids can do it.”

The players and coaches at the first Jr. NBA World Championship this week say it’s almost a prerequisite for playing these days. Something that didn’t exist not so long ago has stitched itself into the fabric of the game to the point that it’s becoming impossible to envision basketball without it.

“In a year or two, it’ll be as popular as the triple threat,”

.. 2. He picks up his dribble and freezes his defender with a hard step to the left. The idea is that he’ll finish with his dominant left hand.

3. But he doesn’t. After planting his left foot, he quickly changes direction, taking a long step to the right. That creates the space for Ginobili to get around his defender for an open layup.

.. It wasn’t that way when the Lithuanian guard Sarunas Marciulionis helped import the Eurostep to the NBA in 1989. His nifty way of avoiding contact around the basket was partially inspired by the legendary Croatian player Drazen Petrovic, he said, but it didn’t stick right away in part because Marciulionis was an unlikely source of innovation.At his own Hall of Fame induction, Marciulionis called himself a “strange duck.”

NBA players weren’t in the business of copying strange ducks, and the Eurostep could have easily disappeared when he retired in 1997. But it didn’t. And that’s because two years later the San Antonio Spurs drafted a second-tier Italian club’s top prospect named Manu Ginóbili. Marciulionis, a lefty like Ginobili, Harden and Ashlyn Zhang, soon got a call from someone telling him that a player from Argentina was bringing the Eurostep back.
.. the widespread adoption of the Eurostep is such a recent development that young elite players today are being trained by coaches in their 30s and 40s who say they went their entire careers without attempting a single one. But one unexpected benefit of NBA players oversharing on Instagram is that it’s easy for anyone in the world to copy what they’re doing. A boy like Phoenix Johnson can steal Kyrie Irving’s moves, including his Eurostep, by studying him on YouTube and Instagram.

Melania Trump issues statement in support of LeBron James after president insults him

The president took to his favorite medium and attacked James’s intelligence Friday night after CNN aired an interview in which the NBA star told anchor Don Lemon that he thought Trump was trying to divide the country by using sports as a wedge.

.. “What I’ve noticed over the past few months,” James told Lemon, “is [Trump has] kinda used sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to.”

While James has not commented on Trump’s tweet, others have responded both directly and indirectly — like the first lady.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” said Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. “And just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

.. During the interview, James told Lemon his first interaction with the white community was on the basketball court, where divisions melted away. “Sports has never been something that divides people,” James said.