WILTW: The Joe Rogan effect, Daryl Morey hypocrisy, The Lakers' big weekend

UFC Fight Night: Brandao v Hettes

Welcome, heathens. I’m currently recovering from this incredibly traumatic event, which should matter immensely to you.

Was I attacked by a mountain lion? No, but in this era of shortening attention spans, I knew that headline was necessary to get you moppets to acknowledge my comedic genius. The actual event that did take place, however, was just as traumatizing as a cougar attack would’ve been.

As I was trail-running at Piestewa Peak, which is only the 3rd douchiest thing about me, I tripped on a rock and was sent tumbling into an assortment of bushes and cacti. Next thing I knew I was groaning, cussing and rolling around trying to regain my breath. Embarrassing, yes, but perhaps most unbearable was the barrage of “Yikes!” and “That looks bad!” from fellow hikers as I trekked back towards my car covered in blood. “I don’t need your pity, I’m wearing $250 AirPods,” I thought as a lady wearing a fanny pack offered me a sympathetic look. I knew the only thing that could save my pride would be to record an incredibly clever Twitter video, and attach to it a TMZ style headline, so that’s what I did.

Between this, and losing a team Scrabble match on Saturday to my shit-talking quasi mother-in-law, it’s been a tough weekend for my ego. My girlfriend refused to challenge the word “unname,” which lost us the game, and I chose to confront her about that during our 40-minute car ride home. Needless to say, I wound up looking like the world’s biggest asshole.

Ups, downs, smiles, frowns, let’s dive into what I learned this weekend.

The Joe Rogan effect: Comedians are the new truth-tellers – There’s been a fascinating shift in truth-telling over the past decade. Comedians, of all people, have become the unelected ombudsman of 2020. The most recent example of this came this weekend, when Joe Rogan said what most normal people have noticed, but what no prolific traditional media member has been willing to point out.

I am a political novice at best, and purposefully do not identify with a party, but I follow presidential races because I’m an American, and like any good American, I love drama. And just like anybody with a functioning set of ears and eyes, I find it overwhelmingly evident that Joe Biden is too old for this. Yet, not one traditional media figurehead is willing to put it bluntly.

I’m less interested in the politics, and more interested in this cultural phenomenon: Comedians, who were once considered the self-hating clowns of society, are now the only public figures willing to tell the unadulterated truth. Why? Because so many of them make money independently, with live shows, Patreon and YouTube.

The truth about traditional media is that as long as sponsors, advertisers, corporate partners and owners control the income of hosts and journalists, there is no such thing as the unadulterated truth. Whether it’s NBC electing not to pursue Ronan Farrow’s story on Harvey Weinstein, or the industry at large looking the other way on the cash cow that was Bill Cosby for so many years, traditional media only tells us truths that don't hurt their bosses.

Which is why Daryl Morey wasn't called out on FS1 for being the biggest hypocrite in sports – I get that when Daryl Morey does his media rounds, hosts try to keep it light, respectful and agreeable, but I couldn’t believe there was no pushback when Morey said this about NBA announcers on FS1’s First Thing’s First on Tuesday.

This can’t be real, can it? A few months ago, Daryl Morey experienced the dystopian squeeze of censorship from the Chinese government, after he tweeted, and then deleted, his support for Hong Kong. Offended by his tweet, China proceeded to wield its economic power, as it so often does, by threatening the NBA’s presence in the country, and asking Adam Silver to fire Morey.

China’s philosophy is that if something they do is wrong or unpopular, they should not change it, they should simply censor any discord surrounding the issue. It’s scary. Now, Daryl Morey is embracing the same philosophy that almost saw him lose his dream job?

Here’s an idea: If the NBA’s announcers and commentators are complaining about the style of play and lack of urgency, maybe Daryl Morey should help address those issues, which have the NBA’s ratings down 15-20% across major networks this season, instead of asking to bring in people who blindly root for the league. Here’s another tip: Tony Romo isn’t faking his excitement on NFL Sundays, he’s equally as excited as the rest of the NFL audience, which is the largest and most engaged of all major American sports, because the product is the most exciting and the most urgent.

Peyton Manning to ESPN? – Speaking of announcers, Andrew Marchand reported on Thursday that ESPN would like to team Al Michaels up with Peyton Manning. My guess is that Peyton Manning smartly recognizes the value of a great play-by-play partner, and he asked ESPN to get him his own version of Jim Nantz. ESPN, meanwhile, is trying to get their own version of Tony Romo (Nantz’s partner) in Peyton Manning.

I have two problems with this:

a) Peyton Manning has a brand to protect. The Manning name. Between Archie, Eli, and his nephew Arch, Peyton can’t afford to be honest enough to be compelling. TV and radio programmers have been making the mistake of trying to make great players into great broadcasters since the beginning of the format. Have you ever heard a former player on sports-talk radio? It’s like watching a hamster try to maneuver through a maze, as they try to avoid any opinion that could offend their NFL buddies while still producing 3-hours of content. It almost never works. Will Peyton Manning be willing to honestly evaluate his former peers on national TV? What would father Archie think?

b) Peyton Manning was a meticulous planner as a player. He was never an ad-libber. Color commentating is the ultimate form of improvisation in sports broadcasting. You have 10-15 seconds a play to say something brilliant. That’s never been Manning’s style. He’s good when he can rehearse a joke a thousand times, like in the video below, but will he be great shooting from the hip? That’s something Romo never shied away from as a player, or as a broadcaster.

Lakers are my NBA Finals pick – As I age as an NBA fan, what I’m beginning to realize is that it’s as much about trusting my stars as it is about being tantalized by them. I trust LeBron James and Anthony Davis more than I trust any other set of stars in the NBA. They’re not the sexiest duo, but Anthony Davis completely controls the boards and sets the tone physically, while LeBron James completely controls the pace and ball movement. Not to mention, they’re surrounded by championship-winning grown-ups like Danny Green, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. This weekend’s Lakers performances are why LeBron surrounds himself with veterans during championship seasons. Friday’s win against the Bucks showed they can stand up to the length, physicality and well-oiled-machine-ness of Milwakee, and Sunday’s victory over the Clippers reminded us that as top-notch as the Kawhi-Paul George combination is, AD and LeBron are the cream of the crop.

By the way, nobody’s talking much about this yet, but the Clippers will have no home-court advantage if they play the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Staples Center, as pointed out by Jeff Van Gundy during the broadcast, was about 98% Lakers fans.

Where to eat – I was a real fatty this weekend. I attended First Friday downtown, which was littered with hipsters and undoubtedly Coronavirus, and tried two different restaurants within the area. Both were massive successes.

Taco Boy’s Wafting in the charcoal grill at Taco Boy’s will take you straight back to the tacos you get outside of Bandito’s after getting way too drunk at a Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers concert in Rocky Point. Taco Boy’s is no frills, all thrills, and the best Carne Asada taco I’ve had since the last time I was in Mexico. Good price, too. Each taco is $2.50.

Ike’s Love and Sandwiches – Think back to when you were 16, and you were just starting to get high with your buddies. Remember the shit you’d put together from Cameron’s fridge back when the munchies really used to kick in? Maybe they still do. I’m not judging. Well, those are the combinations Ike has put together at Ike’s Love and Sandwiches.

We went simple, with the “Matt Cain,” which includes roast beef, provolone, salami, turkey and Godfather sauce. It was pure bliss, and the proportions were sound, which unfortunately is not a prerequisite at all sandwich shops. The one downfall of this place? We paid $14 bucks for one sandwich. How does Ike expect me to pay that much money for a sub when I’ve already paid $250 for my AirPods? Priorities, man.

That's all for this weekend, folks.

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