Author Archives: Likwid

About Likwid

Jai atkins A.K.A PL (P.ure L.ikwid), the man behind any and all things cre8ive which is birthed from under the Running Likwid Works umbrella, is a new age renaissance man, with a wide range of loves and interests alike; including writing poetry, music production, and graphic design. The epitome of an unclassifiable individual, he has been known to partake in and/or support anything that he views as fresh, promising, real, relatable or worthy of being shared with the masses.

Kingpen Slim “Life After Doubt” (album stream)

 

Life After Doubt (released: November 11, 2016), is the latest and possibly greatest work to date from Uptown DC’s independent heavyweight, Kingpen Slim.

I say possibly greatest, solely because I’ve been a fan of the kitchen magician for a minute. And I don’t throw out grandiose proclamations all wild.

But to be clear…#LAD is dope.

From past projects, Slim has shown himself as an MC that does two things really well. Rhyme and talk that slick shxt. And keeping that in mind, I can definitely say this feels like one of his more complete offerings to date– which is saying a lot in and of itself.

Life After Doubt, an homage to iconic hip-hop titles Life After Death (Biggie) x Reasonable Doubt (Jay-Z) is a throwback to the type of lyrical storytelling popularized on the mainstream level by the aforementioned projects.

For those scoring at home, it’s a sonic backdrop to memories of the old DC. So if you can’t rock with that or your ears are averse to slick wordplay, this is not the project for you.

Since it’s release, the 14-track project with production from Mark Henry, J Buttah and The Directors to name a few, has been reviewed favorably by the likes of The Crew2Dope Boyz, ThatsEnuffBrightest Young Things, Dirty Glove Bastard and Fashion Citizen.

But judge it for yourself.

After the jump, roll thru the album stream + visuals for one of the standouts on #LAD, “Bad Guy”. Thank me later.

https://soundcloud.com/kingpenslim/sets/life-after-doubt

 

 


Life After Doubt, AVAILABLE NOW! | #LAD #doubtkills

Redskins Coverage | FootballDrafting.com

In April of this year, I began blogging/fan reporting on the Washington Redskins, for a site called Football Drafting.

The opportunity somewhat fell in my lap, at a time when I was beginning to brainstorm how I could set up a full fledged freelance side business.

I mean, talking about my favorite football team, while honing my writing/research/reporting skills– it’s a no brainer, if one ever existed.

Below you will find links to the thirteen (13) articles I’ve penned to date.

If you are a Redskins, NFL or football fan…please click below and let me know what you think. The same goes, if you are searching for a potential freelance writer or guest blogger. You should definitely be able to gain a feel for my writing style– if you haven’t before now.

#HTTR

Summer Over Everything (audio stream)

From somewhere in the land of bowties, Timbs and fudge rounds, comes my latest playlist:

“Summer Over Everything”

The latest installment in my newly coined, what urban radio should sound like series, contains the usual suspects plus some, found on most contemporary urban-leaning radio formats thru the beginning of August 2016.

Current work from DJ Khaled, Kevin Gates, Rihanna, Ro James, Joey BadA$$, Dreezy and Meghan Trainor are a few of the names found throughout the UNEDITED 23-track stream.

#parentaladvisory #notadultcontemporary #urwelcome

[press play after the jump]

Podomatic.com | MrRLW

 

KD to Golden State, Deal With It

Kevin Durant has opted to take his talents to the Bay Area (and the professional basketball world has been set on its head once again), yaddadamean! Sorry…

KD, the kid from Seat Pleasant.

4x NBA Scoring Champion.

1x NBA MVP.

Olympic Gold Medalist.

He of the greatest Mother’s Day speech of all time and all around good guy, has done the unthinkable. Well at least in the minds of everyone born prior to 1986.

Following the move made by that one guy back in 2010, there is zero reason going forward for any basketball fan to ever be surprised by these types of decisions ever again.

** cough-cough **

In fact going forward, we should be more surprised when big name, big game talents don’t make super team forming moves.

So where does the rubber meet the road here? Why are former and current players, sports talking heads and fans so upset with Kevin?

I’m not one for assuming, so I’ll just give my $ .02 on why I was…disappointed.

For one, I’m old school when it comes to sports. Call it antiquated thinking, but I was raised on you go through whoever’s in your way to get what you want. Secondly, Kevin has been with the same organization since being drafted. But I understand there coming a time, when you may need/want a change of scenery. Lastly, he had a legit superstar beside him in Russ + they had a nice team from top to bottom as support for their star power.

So is there more to the KD + Westbrook dynamic then the public knows? Were previous rumors of tension, in fact legit…and have been all this time?

Only those on the team, within the organization, agents and true insiders will have any real insight.

BUT YOU CAN’T TEAM UP WITH THE TEAM THAT JUST BEAT YOU KD! Can you?

The squad you had down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals? The team that just broke the regular season record for wins, the 73-9 Dubs? Not the Heat to challenge Bron in the East or a young Celtics squad. Not the Spurs as the latest piece in a retooling effort that has possibly been the most seamless in professional sports history.

But the W A R R I O R S ?

Could you imagine Jordan joining the Bad Boys? C-Webb joining Kobe, Shaq and the Lakers? Hell, LeBron joining KG, Ray + Pierce in Boston?

In my opinion, it’s not so much that he left, but the situation he left and the team he chose to go to. Well, there’s also this tweet from 2010:

Which came during the same offseason where, the original Super Team (the Miami Heat) came together like Voltron. In no uncertain terms, he was viewed as the anti-LeBron to old heads (the other reason why I think this move stung).

Damn, damn, damn Kevin! I mean, good luck to you. All things being equal, I can respect his decision for the same reason I grew to understand James’. When you’ve accomplished everything else in the game, that win at all cost mindset takes over.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it! Imma go cry in the car with my old man beliefs.

Peace.

 

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featured image:  “Kevin Durant flag football at Oklahoma State” by KT King is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Stay Woke…but unplug occasionally

The other night at dinner, I was talking to my son about his day. Jordyn, my 2yo was sitting at her table singing Bob Marley’s “3 Little Birds”. She’s a little jukebox, just like her mother. I couldn’t help but smile.

Afterwards, my son Jaden who plays AAU basketball had a scrimmage. So we got in the car and he put his NBA 2K12 Soundtrack on, like he does every time we’re going to do something basketball related. And for an hour he provided me a much needed distraction.

Inside that gym, I saw him, his teammates and their competition (varying hues, but predominantly brown like he & I)– being carefree children. There was laughter, frustration, coaches yelling and applauding, whistles blowing and parents talking recklessly. I watched as the fruits of extra practice time, allowed him to regain his jumper. And on the last one, he left that goose neck up as he walked off the court.

When he headed to the huddle, we made eye contact and he smiled broadly. I shook my head, grinned and gave my sign to focus and keep playing. He nodded and listened to his coach.

Unbeknownst to him, my heir had done for me the same thing that my air had done over an hour prior. They allowed me to break not only from the usual day to day grind. But they forced me to unplug from the negativity, the hatred, the fear, the unnecessary yet unavoidable reality that is again being forced onto the masses.

Our nation is broken and has been since forever. Our justice system is broken and has been since forever. Yet even with that, if we as individuals don’t allow ourselves opportunities however small they may be, to exhale and experience some form of normalcy– we will burn out and be worthless to any cause or to those that need us most.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the news, both cable and network. They all are regurgitating the same negative information and energy over and over again in a non-stop 24 hr news cycle, that can easily do as much harm as good. Yes, it is necessary to be informed. It’s also a must to be selective about whose feeding you and how often.

Our present day reality is not new:

  • there’s a chance I, my children’s mother or anyone in their village could leave home in the AM and never return.
  • my son, is nearing that age where he will begin spending more time away from the nest. He’s only a year younger than Tamir Rice was.
  • my daughter could be riding in the backseat one day during a sheer happenstance encounter with law enforcement, that could go wrong for any number of reasons (see Philando Castile).

This is the remix to a past that POC were faced with some 3-4 generations ago. One that I try my hardest not to let outwardly affect me. At least not in the eyes of my babies. Because they need me, us, here in the physical as well as to preserve the ideal we provide them.

They need to know that someone in their life cares. Especially as they come up in a country, that continues to prove it could give a good damn about them.

With all that said, no matter if you are a frontline fighter against injustice, a background supporter or quiet sympathizer…I implore you to make time to unplug. Because if you don’t, the sheer volume of mind numbing occurrences and their coverage– will certainly, drive you mad.

Be vigilant. Be smart. Be safe.

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:: Love ::

 

 

 

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featured image source:  thecatholiccatalogue

The Puzzling Obsession with RGIII

Robert Griffin III, is one of the most faux-polarizing professional athletes of recent memory.

The former Heisman trophy and NFL Rookie of the Year winner, is four and five years removed from his highest of heights on the football playing field.

Looking at the calendar, the former #2 overall draft pick and former quarterback of the Washington Redskins Burgundy & Golds (depending on your team name stance), has been in the city of his new team for almost two months now (shouts to the #DawgPound).

This same professional football player formerly ALL IN FOR WEEK ONE, has not played in a competitive football game that counts since December 28, 2014– a 44-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

 DECEMBER 28, 2014

Yet for some reason, after a 2015 season that found Griffin’s former franchise making an official quarterback change and winning the division for the first time since his rookie season– he has still found a way to dominate a news cycle or two (both locally and nationally).

Recently. Not formerly, as in the past.

It is absolutely no secret, that I am a fan of Mr. Griffin. Just as it goes without saying, that I’m not a fan with blinders. I wholeheartedly recognize every iota of his role in what went bad here in DC. But what I refuse to understand is, why there are some that continue to regurgitate the same information and situations about a player who hasn’t started in two years.

RGIII did not leave DC on bad terms. RGIII’s last season in DC was actually a good one, and he had nothing to do with it. RGIII TO A MAN, was the perfect teammate all season long.

However here we are. With a former Post reporter who had a penchant for reporting on and talking about Griffin, even when it served zero purpose– composing an article for ESPN’s new offshoot, The Undefeated, about Robert’s “puzzling plummet”.

FWIW, I reluctantly skimmed through the article, despite my initial lack of desire to. Thinking, what is there to be learned from a piece that has been written in varying degrees by this same journalist and others, numerous times before? A piece with yet more information to be offered up by the same sources in Mike Shanahan and anonymous teammates, who’ve already bumped their gums about said player.

For a man that supposedly few seem to like. Who many talking heads feel can not play. Who hasn’t played in a regular season NFL game in eighteen months. Explain to me, how that man, is constantly wheeled out whenever you (and I mean that universally) need some attention on your pen or your ratings? And not even in the sensible sense, but instead, to again drudge up the past.

For those that wanted him gone, he is, so let him be. Wish him well or don’t. But if you need traffic, get creative. Try being a journalist. Find a new story. EXPLETIVE!

Welcome again to the puzzling plummet of American sports journalism.

Feel free to RT that.

 

 

 

Just Friends

There’s an old saying.

People come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime.

And I’m always the first person to say, that life is not a Hallmark/Mahogany card. Because some of us hold on far too tightly to little catchy sayings about life.

However one thing that is undeniable is, we as human beings, change.

No matter if it’s due to interpersonal dealings, changing circumstances, environmental surroundings or merely just our growing up.

In an ever changing world, we tend to depend on the constant(s) in our lives. Whenever things are at their worst or we feel trapped in a realm of uncertainty– we tend to turn to what we know.

Our learned coping mechanisms. Our parents (family members). Our spouses or significant others.

Our friends.

I’ve been fairly blessed to have friends of whom I could depend. People I’ve turned to for advice or to be sounding boards. Folks I’ve had come watch my kids at a last second notice. Those I’ve vacationed with. Individuals of whom I have allowed to drink my Bombay Sapphire (for those who don’t know, I do NOT play, when it comes to my Bombay).

Friends…how many of us have them? Friends…ones we can depend on?

A friend, is most commonly defined as someone who is a favored companion. One attached to another by affection or esteem.

They normally are present at a point(s) in your life that helped to make you who you are. There are like interests, a sharing of a similar moral compass– more often than not, a friend is someone who you enjoy spending time with and being around. And their weighted worth to us can grow, depending on what if anything they have gone thru with us or vice versa.

So what happens, when someone you classify in such a way, is not there for you?

Well frankly, what we as people (generally speaking) are guilty of, is ignoring the wrong things when looking at our friends. Are their faults okay simply because they have not impacted OUR relationships yet? Have you always been unappreciated/used?

One thing I’ve discovered is that after a certain age, people are who they’re going to be. And it’s not that they change, but rather different pieces of themselves that were always there, come to the surface.

The next time you get a chance, look at your shoe collection.

Our favorite pair(s) of shoes, eventually grow old and need more care in order to still look good enough to wear. Then there are those that regardless of how much we like them, simply can not be saved. You wear them, you enjoy them, and eventually they have to be thrown away. Friendships aren’t entirely like shoes, but the comparison is a lot more apt, then you may be willing to fathom.

An emotionally rewarding friendship can last the test of time. Where even the best shoes despite our best efforts, have a shelf life. But where the two correlate is–what you truly cherish, you work your hardest at taking care of.

Undeniable fact. People’s priorities change and that’s ok (adulthood has a funny way of bringing everyone’s life into a certain focus). And what we have to learn, is to accept this and adjust. It’s not our job to figure out why. Can it be hard to accept, sure. Should you try to save something you once held dear? Sure, if it bothers you and/or if you have a willing counterpart.

But do not give someone priority placement, if it isn’t reciprocated.

Some of us, are simply harder on shoes.

Prince Rogers Nelson, found dead at 57

“Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

‘Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You’re on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor”

The above are the opening lyrics to one of Prince Rogers Nelson’s, many recognizable hits, Let’s Go Crazy off of the Purple Rain album.

It’s almost eerie, how these opening lyrics read as a lasting message from the ‘genreless’ musical icon, to his fans. A group of people in something far more hard to explain, than a mere state of shock at the news of his passing today.

Here’s to you resting peacefully in a higher realm of consciousness Purple One.

“YKWIA” – Ch. 18 (excerpt)

You Know Who I Am (YKWIA) is a novel, that tells the story of Donte Allen, a former pro basketball player turned marketing & branding superstar. It’s an in-depth look at the day to day crazy life of a man of the people, and the individuals who make it easy, worthwhile, frustrating and at times dangerous.

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Sitting in the den on the left side of his sofa, Raymond takes in the information resting on his lap.  The one good thing that comes with being a successful power attorney is, you make just as many friends as you do enemies.  And through the friend of a friend, he was able to have the cell that he lifted hacked.  That was the hard part, everything else was cake afterwards.

     Jillian Frazier, he said aloud, reading over the information he was able to uncover on the woman.  Former reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.  Three time finalist for a Pulitzer.  Impressive.  All-State volleyball player, nice.  Walked on at Long Beach State.  Injury derailed her playing career.  Damn, that sucks.

He continued to read, and turn pages in the file he was able to put together on the woman, however was unable to find anything remotely close to what he was looking for.

“FUCK!” he exclaimed, slamming the file shut.

Grabbing one of the remotes on the coffee table in front of him, he hit the power button and then another button on his blu-ray shuffle.  The announcers voices were heard before the video was viewable on the screen, leading him to reach down and turn on his TV irritably with a second remote.

The play-by-play men had just finished with their telling of the fierce back and forth battle all season long between LSU’s fearsome foursome of a relay team and the upstart squad from Florida, anchored by Raymond Jefferies.  The boys from the Bayou had exhibited a form of dominance on the sport not seen since the 90s Arkansas teams.  With all of their top runners being from the talent rich SEC country.

Florida on the other hand, had only returned to respectability in the past two years.  Led by the cocky but talented Guatemalan from New York, Jefferies.  He seemed to toil away in what was a so-so program his first two years, until they were able to land the talent necessary for the school to once again compete on the highest level.

As the race began, the network all but broke its neck to split the screen and cut away to an interview from the prior season, where Jefferies guaranteed a win at the Men’s Track & Field Championships in his senior year.  The bold statement almost started a fight at the following race from his junior season, as the LSU team sought to embarrass the field.  As their anchor leg pulled away from the competition, stopped a few feet short of the finish line, placed the baton on the ground, bent over to pick it up… and walked backwards across the line.

The move was frowned upon by the NCAA and was the talk of every sports show that aired for the next couple of months.  And it was that gesture that indirectly caused a fight involving Jefferies.  Not with the LSU runners however, but with his coach, who insisted on running Raymond on the first leg.  A not so idle threat from the young star once they returned to Gainesville, led Raymond to run anchor leg the remainder of his senior season.  Not so coincidentally, the Gators squad finished strong throughout their remaining meets.

As the third leg in the Gators squad neared the halfway mark, he trailed the Bayou Bengals runner by about one hundred yards before the LSU runner pulled up lame.  The gap was closed to fifty yards as the purple and gold clad runner neared the hand off point.  Just before their anchor began to start his jog and reach back, he caught Jefferies eye.

“Here it comes,” Raymond said to the TV with both hands on his hips.

“Did you see that?!?” one of the announcers said excitedly.  “Jefferies just grinned at the LSU runner and mockingly throat slashed him.”

The LSU runner stumbled as he took the pass but regained his composure briefly as he exploded around the bend.  Raymond already jogging in place, took off, grabbing his half of a heart pendant around his neck and kissing it.  With his hand reached back he accepted his pass and with his head moving from back to front launched himself into the bend of the track.  His first few strides to this day are viewed as the stuff of legend.

A good majority of American runners from the south are athletes who are built as such with next level speed.  Raymond Jefferies was the epitome of a throwback track star.  Tall and lean, deceptively strong in his legs and core.  And every inch of his fibers fired off on that anchor leg.  With two hundred yards to go in the four by eight hundred final leg, the LSU runner began to feel the pressure caused by his burning out too fast.  Once he glanced up at the big screen to see how big his lead was, the race was over.

The image the big screen captured was the cover of the following months’ Sports Illustrated, with the header… “THE INEVITABLE!”

Raymond, eventually walked right up the LSU runners back and beat him by seventy five yards easy.  The picture that ended up winning an ESPY for sports moment of the year, was a picture of a grimacing LSU runner and a winking brash New Yorker who was making his move to cement his place in track & field history.  Following thru on his guarantee just one year prior, delivering the four by eight hundred trophy to UF.

His celebrity seemed to explode overnight.  As a shining star whose popularity bubbled at a holding pattern for two and a half years, turned white hot instantly.  He hit the pause button as his teammates were taking their championship photo with their coach.  Then zoomed in on his half heart pendant against his own better judgement.

“Got dammit Jo-Elle,” he said quietly before turning off the system.

Picking up his glass of Ron Zacapa Centenario and coke, he sipped and walked over to the wall switch in the corner to turn off the lights before heading to his bedroom.  When he reached the switch, his hand subconsciously went to his neck where that pendant used to lay…

“Jo-Elle…”

He picked up the file on the reporter from California and thumbed thru it.  Looking at her high school years.  Trying to figure out how an All-State player from the state of California would have to walk-on at Long Beach State.  Yes it was a perennial power in women’s volleyball, but a player of her pedigree and physical make up should have been afforded a scholarship.

Freshman year, nothing.  Sophomore year, nothing.  Junior year, noth—… an extra news clip not of the Sports section variety was listed in very fine print, with a reference point.  The file was not listed on the page of the paper listed.  But he did find something in the concealed information portion of her file, his friend dug up.

All-State volleyball player, only known survivor in camping incident.  Three teens on a camping trip near Malibu Lagoon, were involved in an accidental drowning near Santa Monica Bay.  Only one of the three youths survived.  No alcohol or foul play was found to be evident upon conclusion of the police departments’ investigation.

As he looked over information on Malibu Lagoon and Santa Monica Bay, a red flag went off in the counselor’s head.

“With no alcohol or drugs having been found in her system, there’s no way in hell those two kids could have drowned accidentally.  I mean I guess there’s a chance that they couldn’t swim and went too far away from land.  But this is California, those odds aren’t that great.”

As he read on, he saw that her senior year was just as productive as her prior three.  And yet all of her scholarship offers were from smaller D-II schools.  Then he came across a report from several high school talent evaluators, all of which looked identical. Once in a generation talent, major issues & concerns over her temperament.

“The bitch is nuts!  All of this is way too coincidental.  Her popping up, this drama in DC.  What the fuck is Diam’s number?”

Realizing that he was on to something, what he had no clue, he decided to call Donte in the morning.  He needed to get in contact with Diam like yesterday.  Why, he didn’t even know the answer to that.  But he seemed like the person to pass this information on to.  And Donte was the only one he knew who had his contact info.  Hell Rachel might.

Looking over at the clock that blinked 3:47 am, he decided now wasn’t the time though.  Wait, what time is it in France he wondered.  Chante should definitely have her brothers info.  Deciding that he was entirely too tired and filled full of his favorite Guatemalan rum to compute the change over in time, he opted for bed.

“In the morning, we’ll get to the bottom of this.”

D’Angelo Russell, a cautionary tale

Guys are teammates.

Guys are cooling.

Guys are shooting the shit, talking freely among some of their peers.

Guy records other guy whose speaking freely.

Somehow, some way, recording gets in the wrong hands and all hell breaks loose.

I want to say welcome to your 2015-16 Los Angeles Lakers, but that wouldn’t do this situation justice.

More like welcome to the pitfalls of being a part of the social media generation. Where everything is share-worthy, and everything is funny.

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to DEFCON 3!!!

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D’Angelo Russell, the Los Angeles Lakers #2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was hanging with a teammate, Nick Young. Nick, is currently engaged to Iggy Azalea. The Australian born, southern fried (when she rhymes) emcee of “Fancy” fame. You may have heard of her.

The other day, while in what would easily be perceived as a bro-safe zone, Nick spoke of some…things. Those…things, were documented by D’Angelo and somehow, later were released to a gossip site.

How the video footage was leaked, we don’t know. But the fact of the matter is, shit’s fucked up now things are all messed up. And all because of what was originally said to have been a prank gone wrong.

A prank. Involving a man who is engaged, saying something his fiancée might not find too kosher. On a camera he doesn’t know exists. Effin’ kids maaan!

Thanks to some insider knowledge from Postgame Pass, by Jill Munroe, we know that team camaraderie can be destroyed by things that have absolutely nothing to do with basketball. From gambling debts to messing with a teammates former sidepiece– it is extremely easy to throw off the chi of a professional locker room.

Now imagine the effects of what basically amounts to dry snitching on a teammate, even if done unintentionally. You can get in a fight with someone on your squad before you go telling on them. And word out of the city of angels, is that D’Angelo’s teammates are freezing him out. Giving him the cold shoulder at basically every turn. Can’t say that I’m surprised.

Even while steering clear of the cliché tales of males, teammates and locker rooms– success in sports, is built on the trust of the guy suiting up in the same jersey as you. And that level of comfort can be gained just as much off the practice court as on it. So the new question being thrown around sports radio is how does Russell get thru this?

“It’s tough. There’s a lot to learn. I’m sure [Russell will] evolve and grow and be better from it…the guys are understanding. We are all human beings. Everybody makes mistakes. Important thing is to show compassion.” – Kobe Bryant

Maaan, if it hasn’t been done already, his agent needs to seek the services of a good PR/crisis management firm. They need to call Olivia, Quin, Huck and the new guy.

Ultimately D’Angelo will be the chief deciding factor of how this situation will frame the rest of his career, as a player and brand. He’s needs to ball out next season and don’t do anything else stupid for awhile. Because there are definitely ways, this could affect him professionally if not careful.

As long as this is just an aberration, his long term career on the court should not be affected (this will definitely follow him though). I definitely think it’s safe to say, he can forget about any and all future bachelor party invites.

Lesson, hopefully learned:  this isn’t the playground, high school or college. The consequences of your actions at this level (both on and off the court), based on the situation, can equal comma(s) of damage. And what this means for Nick and Iggy (who are being treated as an afterthought in all of this), only time will tell.

“I can’t really show my face anywhere without people hating me right now.” – D’Angelo Russell

Welcome to the big leagues D’Angelo. You really broke out a camera though…smh. Ain’t no recording bih.