Back when I started Throw the Hammer Down in February I really had no idea what I wanted it to be. I had found myself writing a lot about the Cavaliers, mostly inspired by the black eye that LeBron left Cleveland on his way out, and decided to branch out and actually try to make this whole basketball writing thing work. And it did. Over time, I brought on some great people to help out (thank yous are below) and got a pretty decent little readership together. And I appreciate all of it. I really did.
Today I was offered and accepted an opportunity to write for I Go Hard Now. I’ve been following the I Go Hard Now guys on Twitter for a while and have been having a blast talking Cavs, making fun of Samardo Samuels, ripping apart The Walking Dead and discussing seasonal Chipotle burritos, so I’m absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to join the team and work with these guys. I’ve been spending this lockout thinking up ideas for pieces to write once the season finally starts back up and I know it’s going to be incredibly fun working on those pieces with those guys.
Unfortunately, that kinda means the end of this little blog here. While I’m sad to see it go, I am pretty pumped for what lies ahead at I Go Hard Now.
Before I close this thing down for good, I do need to thank a few people.
thesecitywalls has been with me from day one here and was the first person I reached out to for help starting this off. She’s been nothing but awesome, constantly finding the best game photos for each game (yes, even the 50+ point Lakers blowout) and providing a constant source of updates and content. Not going to lie, I’m kinda sad to be shutting this down because of how great she’s been, but you all should go follow her ASAP. I couldn’t have kept this thing going without you, so again, thanks so much for all the time and effort.
ignescent designed the awesome, and I do mean awesome, logo for the site and was also the first follower way back when we first launched. I can’t stress how happy I was when I first opened your email with the design you came up. Again, you all should go follow her ASAP.
And of course, I have to thank the I Go Hard Now guys for giving me the opportunity to write for them. There are, in no particular order:
And of course, I’ll be keeping my personal Tumblr (which I may finally use for something now) so you can keep up with me there or at my new Twitter handle, @AngeloCLE.
Thanks again to everyone who helped and read along the way. It’s been awesome and hope to see you all over at I Go Hard Now in the future.
The mystery at the core of sports lies in the lives of its fans. What stokes all that unrequited fire and devotion and wanting? In a world rotten with mercenaries, free agents and betrayal, whom do we trust? Who rewards our purity? Our passion? Who reciprocates our madness? What price do we pay for loyalty or honor? For inspiration? For services rendered? How much cash should we leave on the nightstand?
No matter what you’ve heard or read, these are the questions at the broken heart of Scott Raab’s memoir and confessional, “The Whore of Akron.”
Mr. Raab, a senior writer from Esquire and a Clevelander to his chromosomes, takes up that city’s sad abandonment by one LeBron James. The book is both poem and polemic, a lyrical inventory of rage and appetite and loss.
The book is easily misunderstood. It is not for the prim, the delicate or the weak-livered. Because the book is honest. The book is strong drink. Because profane explains sacred, the book is a punch in the nose.
Because the book is a book about love.” —
ESPN columnist Jeff MacGregor on Scott Raab’s “The Whore of Akron” (via wfny)
Side Note: I’m shocked an ESPN review actually got the point of the book and didn’t get wrapped up in typical ESPN bullshit.
- Scott Rabb, The Whore of Akron
I’ve been reading my advance copy I snagged from the good people over at Stepien Rules (by the way, thanks again guys) and I have to say, everyone should be rushing out to pick this up on the 15th. It’s a must read.
It’s a cold Thursday night in Cleveland. Samardo Samuels is snuggling up on the couch with his iPad, getting ready for Big Bang Theory. Suddenly, he has an idea for a tweet. A tweet so good, it had to be sent out immediately. No time to think it over or second guess it. Oh no, it had to be dropped onto the internet as soon as possible. And so, it begins:
Meanwhile, I’m on my couch, waiting for news on the lockout because I’m a total sucker like that. I read a tweet so dumb that my mind shuts down for a moment. I read it again. Yes, it says what I think it says. Yes, it’s both a humblebrag and offensively homophobic. I respond:
But I’m not the only one to notice the tweet:
We inquire further:
Samardo clarifies that he’s not homophobic:
The Internet collectively scratches it’s head:
Samardo yet again clarifies:
It suddenly makes sense. Samardo Samuels is a complete fucking moron:
But it turns out that we were all wrong. Turns out it that Samardo’s (Verified) Twitter account had been temporarily turned into a fan page and someone else had sent out the offending tweet:
To prove it, Samardo immediately went back to Tweeting what he typically does, incoherent garbage:
The offending fan who hijacked Samardo’s Twitter page is later identified:
Do yourself a favor and follow all the I Go Hard Now guys and everyone else involved with this on Twitter. Seriously, they’re the best and I was literally in tears during this whole thing. I feel like this is also a good time to point out that all of these Tweets are going to be preserved forever in the Library of Congress. Thank’s for being you Samardo!
Directed by Robert Clouse
Featured NBA Super-Star: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
One of the first things I think of when I hear the name “Bruce Lee” is that iconic yellow and black jumpsuit he wore in The Game of Death. Maybe that’s because I’m such a huge Kill Bill fan. Maybe it’s because I was born in ‘86 and missed the whole Bruce Lee craze by over a decade. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t actually seen any Bruce Lee movies other than The Game of Death in it’s entirety. Regardless, it’s what I think of and I know I’m not the only one. Funny thing about it that is, The Game of Death can barely qualify as a Bruce Lee film. Given the star’s untimely death in 1973, The Game of Death was mostly cobbled together with footage shot before his death, scenes from other films and re-shoots with totally different actors. The end result? A weak, disjointed film of mostly filler, with a few moments of sheer greatness.
“Bruce Lee” stars as Billy Lo, a world-famous martial arts actor who has run afoul of a global crime syndicate. The plot is conveniently written to explain away much of the film’s half-assed attempts at getting around the fact that the leading actor had passed away five years prior to the film’s release and is appearing mostly in archival footage. As Billy is a martial arts actor, many scenes are simply recycled scenes from other Bruce Lee films (including the opening fight with Chuck Norris, which is recycled from Way of the Dragon) with some quick cuts of a film crew filming the action hastily thrown in to link them together. Given Billy’s world-wide fame, he goes into hiding early in the film, and disguises his face (and the fact that the replacement actors look nothing like Bruce Lee) with huge sunglasses or motorcycle helmets. And then there’s my favorite disguise device, a scene in which Billy is shot on set by a live bullet and not a blank, leading him to be disfigured and under heavy, constantly changing, makeup for the remainder of the film (except the final fight scenes where he appears normal, with no explanation). It’s also a little awkward watching that whole scene as Bruce Lee’s real life son Brandon was killed in a similar accident while filming The Crow 15 years later. It’s strange stuff.
The Game of Death does have some moments worth watching for, namely the 11 minutes of footage that were shot specifically for this film with Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In the original version of the film planned before Lee’s death, the bulk of the film was supposed to feature Lee fighting up a five floor pagoda, facing a new series of challengers on each floor. Thankfully, some of these scenes were shot and made the film, specifically the final battle with Kareem (a character ironically named Hakeem). Kareem’s stature and physicality makes him an amazingly imposing villain, especially with his 7’ 2” frame dwarfing the 5’ 7” Lee. As a result, their fight scene is one of my favorite ever filmed, just for the sheer spectacle of seeing a man Lee’s size take down one of the most dominant big men in NBA history. Think of it kind of like that game where Earl Boykins out rebounded Ryan Hollins, only way more entertaining.
For as iconic as some of the imagery in The Game of Death is, it just doesn’t work as a cohesive whole. Even taking into account that the film was unfinished due to Lee’s death and some sort of workaround had to be done to account for that, some of the steps the film takes to solve that problem are so poorly done and laughable that it becomes difficult to take the film seriously. While the original scenes with Lee are fantastic and absolutely need to be watched (seriously, check out the air on that jump-kick, it’s insane), you could (and should) watch this film with your finger on the fast-forward button. Just stop as soon as you see Kareem, because that’s where things get awesome.
Final Verdict: **
Bad news for everyone expecting a review of Steel today. Unfortunately, getting a VCR made in 1989 to work on a television made 20 years later is a fairly confusing process, involving all kinds of old cables that I haven’t seen in a decade, yet alone have hanging out in my apartment. As a result, Steel is going to have to be postponed for another week or two until I can find some coax cables and get this janky old VCR working.
But don’t fear! While it unfortunately doesn’t contain any Shaq-Fu, the replacement film still manages to kick a lot of ass and also features one of the most dominant big men in NBA history. Prepare yourselves as Bruce Lee faces off against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the Kung-Fu legend’s last film before his death, 1977’s Game of Death!
(And just in case you thought Bruce Lee fighting Kareem wasn’t awesome enough, he also faces off against a young up-and-comer named Chuck Norris)
Things have been pretty slow in the basketball world lately. Yes, there have been some interesting things in the last week, like LeBron James getting dunked on by an asian kid, Darius Miles pulling a DMX at an airport and Delonte West releasing an album, but really, with the lockout in full effect, there’s really not that much to write about. Unfortunately, being a guy who writes about the NBA, that puts me in a bit of a bind. Luckily for all of you, I’ve figured out a pretty decent way to survive the lockout, at least for a few months.
There comes a point in most NBA Superstars lives when they decide to branch out. Some go the way of Kobe Bryant or Tony Parker and release terrible rap singles. Others extend into the world of fashion like Amar’e Stoudemire. However, it seems like most NBA stars with an itch for crossover appeal turn to film. Lot’s of them have done it. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Barkely, Ewing, Iverson, even the younger guys like Dwight Howard, they’ve all attempted the movie thing. With so many NBA Superstars trying their hand at acting, what better way to survive the lockout than sitting down and “enjoying” some of these films?
And as long as this lockout goes, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Luckily for you all, there’s one movie that stands out as the obvious first choice, and a friend of mine just happens to have a copy on VHS:
I mean really, the choice is obvious. First of all, it stars a former Cavalier that just retired. Secondly, it prominently features a hammer and someone throwing it down. And finally, it’s so awful that the guy who gave us Kazaam is embarrassed by it.
Stay tuned everyone, for this is the beginning of a quest into the some of the worst films ever made. And please do me a favor, please pray that this lockout is over before I have to watch Lil Bow Wow’s Like Mike.