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Thursday, August 7, 2008

This Brand is Your Brand, This Brand is My Brand

Posted by Tariq al Haydar






by Tariq al Haydar
"I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value!"
        -- Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch
from the movie "Network"

"A LeBron James team is never desperate."
-- LeBron James

"We have come to be...one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world...A government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men."
-- President Woodrow Wilson



My favorite t-shirt is a Jordan Brand t-shirt. It's red. It has a bunch of squiggles, and it says "All-Star MVP 88-96-98". It's not too short or too big, and it's soft and comfortable. I love it. One hell of a product. I'm not going to go off on a diatribe here about how we should all turn our backs on consumer goods and live somewhere between a cave and a cloud and subsist on berries and vegamite. Not at all. In fact, I'm going to buy my cousin a LeBron James navy blue jersey, because my cousin loves the King.

My cousin loves the brawn of LeBron. In basketball terms, the player who most resembles Jordan is that anti-christ of shooting guards: Kobe. Bron is too strong, too physically anomalous to be compared to Jordan's sleekness. Don't get me wrong, James is plenty graceful, but he's too close to the forces of destruction, too far removed from the image, the icon, of Jordan, aerodynamic in flight like a cross between a salamander and a ballerina. Bron is a bulky forward who possesses some, but not all, of a 2-guard's finesse. He's more forceful and more formidable.

And that's what makes him perfect.

See, Jordan isn't a basketball player, he's a myth. His myth is that of the young man who got cut from his varsity team, who was the unlikely (?) hero of his college team's triumph. With the third pick, he made the Earth sick. Woe unto he who chose Sam Bowie instead of the Chosen One. He overcame the animosity of the Bad Boys. He vanquished Magic. And three rings in, he died, or rather his father did, but Jordan was resurrected. The Shot. The Shoes.



That's his mythology. That's why people were uneasy when he signed with the Wizards: Don't fuck with the mythology, Mike. And you know what? He played pretty well with Washington. In two seasons, he averaged around 21, 6 and 4. Those are all-star numbers. But it was still an aberration, because it skewed the mythology just a little bit. And that can't be tolerated. Jordan transcends the sport.

Someone who also transcended his sport: Muhammad Ali. I was never really into boxing, but I love the guy. He invented rapping in a way, and he never shut up. He wasn't always right, but he always spoke his mind. And his image? His mythology? He couldn't care less about it. He threw away some of the best years of his career because he dared to go against the status quo. Now I'm not trying to idealize Ali, because I've seen him make mistakes. His falling out with Malcolm X, for starters. In my estimation, he was too taken with Elijah Muhammad, the head of the Nation of Islam. And yet, I admire him, because I got the feeling that Ali at least stood up for what he believed was right. That he had an iron jaw was peripheral to me.

What does Mike believe in? Winning?

Enter King James.

"Try Vitamin Water. It works for LeBron James."





I really, really don't hate LeBron James. I actually kinda sympathize with him. I wouldn't trade places with him for all the Dolphin Girls in cyberspace. He's a 23-year-old kid trapped in the body of a conglomerate. An exploited millionaire. He can't even blow a bubble without someone sticking a contract in his face. He's the kind of dude who speaks of himself in the third person not because he's conceited, but because LEBRON JAMES (TM) is actually a different entity. One that wants to surpass Air Jordan. The Second Coming of tube socks.

I wonder what mythology King James will leave us with. What will we witness? I don't know, but I'll tell you this: I always rooted against Jordan, and I will always root against LEBRON JAMES (TM), but I'll be rooting for LeBron James. Here's hoping you DON'T conquer the world, kid.

P.S.

I would really like to buy ANY product with Ali on it. A t-shirt, a hat, something. Anyone know where I can find one?

32 comments:

BETCATS said...

Tariq, let me tell you some things
A). 'Dolphin Girls in cyberspace' is really a 'hot lesbian porn star in cyberspace'
B). Addidas makes Ali gear. They got kicks and shirts and jackets and hats (i have a shirt with Ali in a car)
C. Lebron will never compete with Jordan in the shoe game, because Lebron wears fu(kin boots, his kicks are heavy,
D. this was a very good read
E. I updated my site, hit it up www.freewebs.com/betcats

Eboy said...

I have to agrre with BET on c. His shoes are more like boots than sneakers. I hate the whole line since it's inception.

Tariq al Hayder said...

I just bought some Jordans. They're very good. Although I don't know how good Jordan Perfume is.

Tariq al Hayder said...

You know what's REALLY good? Jordan Beef Jerky

BETCATS said...

Jordan has a Nissan dealership in Durham. It has commercials that pop up every 2.5 seconds on local news. But Tariq check Ebay for the Ali Addias stuff.

Tariq al Hayder said...

Thanks, BET.

Eboy said...

Which Jordan's did you pick up, T? There's a pair coming out in a week or so called the Jordan Six Rings. Look it up. They are hot like the Dolphin girl without the pleasurable entranceways.

Eboy said...

Oh and if anyone wants to be kind to an old cat, size 10 1/2 to your boy, Eboy.

BETCATS said...

size 10 1/2? Hahahahahahaha i rock the size 13s. But on the real, PF Flyers are highly underrated. Dont sleep on PF!

BETCATS said...

and the fact you guys deny the 'dolphin' girl is really a 'lesbian porn star not affliated with the dolphins' i wont stop reminding you.

Eboy said...

BET, that fact only makes her that much hotter, foolish.

BETCATS said...

yeah, but afliating her with the dolphins takes away from her apeal. A one win team? Seriously?

Eboy said...

You can only go up.... from the very bottom of shittiness.

BETCATS said...

at least Rush Limbaugh is threating to buy your favorite team. St. Louis to the end!

B. Long said...

@Tariq: You can pick up the entire Ali Adidas collection at pickyourshoes.com. I just wish Lebanon James was as concerned about winning a ring as he was putting more rings at the end of his bank account.

TADOne said...

Love the Jay-Z line. I'm sure AR will as well. What has gotten into everyone? Ya'll are some writing fools lately!

And Tariq: You ever find the KB jersey you were looking for?

Tariq al Hayder said...

TAD:
Nope. If I don't find it in NY I'll probably just order it online.

TADOne said...

You can find ANYTHING in NY, but I can't guarantee it will be real.

TADOne said...

When will you be in the Big Apple anyway?

Tariq al Hayder said...

Sunday.

TADOne said...

Only one day?

AR said...

I did enjoy this piece and that line,TAD and I don't appreciate being called a fool.

Oh and I own a pair of Ali shoes and jacket.
*sticks out tongue*

TADOne said...

Don't worry AR, I included everyone in that fool part, even myself.

Tariq al Hayder said...

TAD:

Naw, from Aug 10 - 14. Then back to DC, then back to Riyadh on the 20th. Then Ramadan starts around the first of September, which may mean less of me around SKO.

Ryne Nelson said...

Great stuff TAD. I know I'm late of this, but what's the deal with the dolphin girls...this seems unresolved.

TADOne said...

Actually Ryne, this was the workings of our MVP Tariq. My genius doesn't run that deep.

As for the Dolphins girl thing: Look back to Eboy's post on July 25th and read the comments for the complete meaning.

Hursty said...

@Ryne- clicking on the picture of the dolphin girl gives an enlargemnt making it possible to see 1. Her back tattoo. 2. Her amazing @ss. 3. The watermark that links to welivetogether.com and its a lesbian porn site. Have fun :)

Hursty said...

wow, who restructured the site? I liked it much better in the old format. PS, Tariq's thing is gone

BETCATS said...

yall boys had to keep up with me? www.freewebs.com/betcats was redid yesterday. I think i might be banned from SLAM, because my comments just dissaper once i post them. I got to hit Ryne up about that.

TADOne said...

We are just trying out some different formats Hursty. Some people said they had trouble reading the old format with the bright background. I'm quite sure it may change again as we continue to tweak things.

BETCATS said...

I like the old way better. My site now has boats on it! Boats! please go to my stupid website somebody, it only got 10 hits last week that werent me. www.freewebs.com/betcats save me before i have to dual blog with Jukai!

Hursty said...

that'll never happen B. U be right. PS. I really, really, really, preferred the old site structure and Tariq's post is not here anymore.