One of the coolest parts of the NFL Draft is watching the family members of a bunch of young men react to a pick. The draft is, among many other things, a celebration of the years of hard work a person put into achieving their NFL dream, and while there’s a long way to go from here, the weekend is both the start of one journey and the end of another.
Every now and then, you get a reaction from a parent that sticks with you, and on Saturday afternoon, we got one. The Dallas Cowboys used the 212th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Deuce Vaughn, an undersized running back out of Kansas State who was nothing short of sensational during his time in college. His dad, Chris, was unsurprisingly emotional over the pick, but the catch here is that Chris actually works for the Cowboys as the team’s assistant director of college scouting — according to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network, Chris would actually leave the room when the team would do evaluations for Deuce.
Fortunately, the cameras in the Cowboys’ war room caught the whole thing, with the entire room giving him a standing ovation as he was moved to tears before he made his way over to celebrate with Jerry and Stephen Jones.
Here’s the emotional reaction in the Cowboys’ war room when the team used the 212th overall pick in the sixth round on Kansas St. RB Deuce Vaughn, son of Cowboys’ assistant director of college scouting, Chris Vaughn. pic.twitter.com/wC5dWw7IJp
The good news for the Cowboys is that this isn’t just a sentimental pick, as Deuce is an unbelievable football player. The former Wildcat was an All-American in each of the last two years — he was a unanimous All-American selection in 2022 — while accruing 4,884 yards and 43 touchdowns as a rusher and a receiver in three seasons of college ball.
Did you know that Bill Hader is — sort of — in a Star Wars movie? On The Force Awakens, the Barry maven and Ben Schwartz are credited as “vocal consultants” for BB-8, everyone’s favorite ball-shaped droid. Those bleeps and boops don’t sound anything like either of them (and there originally was supposed to be dialogue), but if you’re a Star Wars super-geek, then you may know this piece of pretty arcane trivia. But that doesn’t mean Hader will sign a BB-8 doll for you.
On a recent appearance on the podcast Happy Sad Confused, Hader had some bad news for people who want his name on their Star Wars merch. “I do not sign them,” he said. “Autograph people don’t like me. I won’t sign things.”
It’s not just BB-8s he won’t sign. “You know what it was? I used to sign stuff, and then one time I saw somebody and they had their kid come up to me to sign a BB-8 thing and it was three in the morning,” said Hader. “I was leaving the Inside Out premiere and then we went to an after-party thing and it was super late and this guy kept his kid up all night. [He] was like, ‘Go over there so he’ll sign it so I can sell it online.’
“I was like, ‘That’s f*cked up,’” he added. “So now, I just kind of blanket, like, I’m not signing any of this sh*t.”
What Hader will do — at least on a podcast — is talk about what it was like to voice a droid in a Star Wars movie. “It’s very sweet that J.J. Abrams put my name on it, but I came in and did voice stuff for it that didn’t work,” he said. “Then, he brought me in later and said, ‘Hey, do you want to do this.’ It was like a … talk box thing and then I did that. And the reason he hasn’t had me come back is because anybody can do that. It’s like a machine that you can operate.
“I did some voice stuff that just didn’t work, so… I’m not really sure what Ben [Schwartz] did,” he added, “but I just know that was my experience doing it.”
You can watch Hader’s Happy Sad Confused appearance in the video below.
Molly Ringwald has been critical of her own movies. For instance, she won’t watch her John Hughes movies with her young daughter because of their racist jokes and homophobia. (“On the other hand,” she said, “they’re also about people that felt like outsiders.”) But she’s also critical of other movies from around that era. For instance, Pretty Woman? That’s a movie she turned down because of its “icky” storyline.
In a new profile by The Guardian, the ’80s icon reflected upon her post-Hughes career, which never quite took off, in part because Hollywood had a narrow idea of who she was and what she could do.
“I didn’t really feel like darker roles were available to me,” Ringwald said. “ The ones that I wanted to do, I didn’t get. I was too young for certain roles. I was at this weird in-between stage.”
She said she lost out on such big movies as Working Girl and The Silence of the Lambs. Pretty Woman she rejected outright.
“Julia Roberts was wonderful in it, but I didn’t really like the story,” she said. “Even then, I felt like there was something icky about it.”
Ringwald didn’t go into detail about what she found “icky,” but it’s not hard to imagine what turned her off about a story of a prostitute who becomes the beck-and-call lady friend of a tyrannical businessman (Richard Gere). The movie has always had its share of critics, though on a recent episode of her podcast You Must Remember This, film historian Karina Longworth defended it at length, while acknowledging some of the aspects that make that tricky to do. But try to imagine an alternate timeline in which it was Ringwald, not Julia Roberts, who starred in the third biggest moneymaker of 1990.
Earlier this month, a video of Chance The Rapper at Carnival being twerked on by woman who was not his wife, lifestyle brand owner Kirsten Corley-Bennett, surfaced online. After the video hit the internet, fans theorized that Chance and Kirsten’s marriage may be on the rocks. A post Kirsten shared to Instagram featuring a quote from Maya Angelou about how “most people don’t grow up” added fuel to these rumors.
However, despite the controversy, Chance and Kirsten are said to be doing just fine.
According to TMZ, a rep confirmed to the outlet that the couple is in a good place.
“Everyone has their moments, but they’re all good,” said a rep for Chance to the outlet.
It’s a good thing that fans received this reported confirmation, otherwise, Vic Mensa’s new video for “Swish,” which features Chance, along with G-Eazy, would’ve further fueled the flames. In the video, the rappers are seen alongside twerking women.
This weekend, Chance is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his second mixtape, Acid Rap, which served as a breakthrough for him. In tandem with the anniversary, he announced that he would perform the mixtape in full in a special performance on August 19 at Chicago’s United Center.
Method Man‘s music has stood the test of time. Whether it be as a solo act or as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man has a catalog of songs that are universally loved.
Yesterday (April 28) at the New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival, Wu-Tang Clan performed an electrifying set that encapsulated several of their classics. During a performance of Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It All Be So Simple,” Method was feeling the beat of the music and the energy from the audience. Also displaying vibrant energy was Method’s sign language interpreter, who was visibly getting into the song.
In a fan-captured video, Method quickly catches wind of the sign language interpreter and is visibly in awe of how quickly she signs to the beat.
This isn’t the first time an interpreter has gone viral for getting into the music during a live performance. Back in FebruaryRihanna’s sign language interpreter was the talk of the internet after she signed perfectly on beat to Rih’s music, while busting some dance moves.
For the first time in a decade, the New York Knicks have advanced to the second round of the playoffs thanks to a drubbing of the favored Cleveland Cavaliers. The result itself should not come as a substantial surprise, as the Knicks were 20-10 since the start of February and maintained the best point differential in the league since the trade deadline.
And yet, the way they took it to the Cavs was staggering, especially because Julius Randle was hobbled much of the series with an ankle injury. Rather than veering into a new direction to try and compensate for Randle being off his game, the Knicks did what they usually do, only better.
New York owned the offensive boards in the regular season, finishing second in the Association in offensive rebound rate by corralling 28.3 percent of their own. That number ratcheted up to 34.9 percent against the Cavaliers, a mark so ridiculously high that we’ve only seen one team (the 2002-03 Golden State Warriors) surpass it over the course of a season since the turn of the century, per Basketball Reference.
Mitchell Robinson dominated the offensive glass all year. His offensive rebounding percentage of 18.4 percent was a career-best mark, led the league, and will go down as the 11th highest single-season mark in NBA/ABA history. In keeping up with the team-wide trend, Robinson grabbed 23.1 percent of all possible offensive rebounds while he was on the court against the Cavs.
(To put into perspective how authoritative he was on the glass, Dennis Rodman, considered the greatest rebounder the modern NBA has seen, set the single-season record with a 20.83 percent mark during the 1994-95 season.)
Robinson’s presence extended past his own dominance, opening the doors for others to crash the glass due to the amount of attention Cleveland needed to pay to him under the rim. Per Cleaning the Glass, New York rebounded 40.9 percent of its own misses with Robinson on the floor. That’s right: two out of every five misses over the course of the entire series by a Knicks ended up in the hands of another Knicks player when Robinson was out there, which is absurd.
The Knicks were phenomenal defensively in the series, but it’s worth noting that Cleveland defended New York fairly well, too. New York’s 111.1 offensive rating in the series would have ranked in the 28th in the NBA this season, sandwiched between the Rockets and Pistons. The second-chance points were by and large the primary differentiator in the Knicks’ runs throughout the series — they outscored the Cavs, 91-55, in second-chance points across all five games.
This series is arguably Robinson’s shining moment as a pro, one in which he was the most impactful player on the court for large stretches. He drastically outperformed one of the best frontcourts in basketball, as he reeled in 29 offensive rebounds compared to the combined 30 from Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley. Making this even more impressive is that, like Mobley, this was Robinson’s first time in the postseason, as he missed the 2020-21 first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks with a foot fracture.
This season has unequivocally been Robinson’s best in the NBA, and this series embodied what makes him such an impactful player. To be a great rebounder, you obviously have to grab the ball, but it’s the work before he touches the ball that makes Robinson a supreme paint presence.
The Cavs put two defenders on the ball routinely in the series, and this possession reflects much of how Robinson took advantage with his positioning and movement. As a post player who primarily plays within eight feet of the rim, it sounds odd to call someone a good mover without the ball — how much movement is there, really, when you’re confined to such a small area?
Movement is not about distance traveled. It’s about efficiency and moving in the right ways and areas, which are things that Robinson does as well as anyone in the league. Robinson doesn’t roll “fast” here. I think often that a roll man in ball screens gets idealized as someone who goes 110 miles per hour after flipping their hips, but the more I watch, the more convinced I am that timing is so much more important in these situations than speed.
First flip of the hips, Robinson opens himself up on the slip if R.J. Barrett wants to hit the overhead. Robinson then pivots as Barrett swings the ball, opening himself up for Randle. Here’s the slick part: As soon as Randle shows he’s shooting, Robinson takes a few steps back, gets low for a 7-footer, and hits the body he knows is coming back into the picture off the initial ball pressure (Allen rotating back).
That initial set of actions is phenomenal, but the next part is even more key. Robinson doesn’t just watch the ball once he has position — he works to keep position, continually tracks the ball, and adjusts for its trajectory. He kind of shuffles in a crescent around the rim, always keeping attached to his defender so he can best create separation the moment the ball comes into play.
The strength Robinson shows in his core and lower body, warding off opposing bigs and securing positioning, is the biggest area of growth in his career.
There were countless possessions during his rookie contract where he would get initial position and get bumped off, or try to jump first rather than jump right. So much of that comes back to how much more capable he is of handling and playing through contact now. It’s been present all season, and has been a bright spot in his post defense, as well.
It can be easy to forget while watching Robinson put a forearm into Allen’s side and push him across the lane that he’s only 240 pounds. Robinson is just that strong now. It also speaks to the subtlety of the work he puts in. To be a player who dominates with strength and positioning in the league, you have to be stealthy. Loud motions and overpowering moves lead to a tight whistle.
An extra step or two backwards on this seal screen and Robinson likely gets hit with an offensive foul. With the quick hop step and attention to the ball, he a tip-in that looks awfully easy. But here’s the thing: “Easy” offense is the result of hard work, and Robinson’s growth into one of the finest low-usage offensive players in the league showcases that. His career-low usage percentage of 10.1 percent comes off as not ideal, but that loses sight of the constant work and effort put in during possessions to find his own offense, own the paint, and dominate at the rim.
As the Knicks seek to beat the Miami Heat and make the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000, Robinson’s play will likely prove pivotal in a series that hearkens back to an era where post play and physicality reigned supreme. In an age defined by spacing, ball skills, and a premium on technique, Mitchell Robinson is making his mark by doing the dirty work.
Thundercat is hitting the road. Beginning this fall, the singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist will embark on the In Yo Girl’s City Tour.
The In Yo Girl’s City Tour will kick off in Portland on September 28, and will boast dates in North and South America. Thundercat is also set to perform a slew of festival dates beginning next month.
General on-sale for the In You Girl’s City tour begins Friday, May 5. Tickets will be available for purchase here.
You can see the list of tour dates and upcoming festival appearances below.
05/12 – San Diego, CA @ Snapdragon Stadium
05/13 – Pala, CA @ Starlight Theater
05/14 – Glendale, AZ @ State Farm Stadium
05/17 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamodome
05/19-21 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Festival
05/20-21 – Guadalajara, Mexico @ Corona Capital Guadalajara
05/25 – Houston, TX @ Minute Maid Park
06/07 – Brisbane, Australia @ The Tivoli
06/16-18 – Wicklow, Ireland @ Beyond The Pale Festival
06/19 – Paris, France @ ALHAMBRA
06/20 – Paris, France @ ALHAMBRA
06/21-25 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival
06/28-07/01 – Gdynia, Poland @ Open’er Festival
06/30 – Lewes, UK @ Glynde Place
07/07 – Ottawa, Ontario @ RBC Bluesfest
08/05 – Newport, RI @ Newport Jazz Festival
08/27- Port Townsend, WA @ THING
09/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Music At The Intersection
09/28 – Portland, OR @ McMenamins Edgefield
09/29 – Humboldt, CA @ Cal Poly Humboldt
10/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
10/07 – San Diego, CA @ Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater
10/08 – Phoenix, AZ @ Arizona Financial Theatre
10/10 – Denver, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
10/12 – Chicago, IL @ The Salt Shed
10/13 – Detroit, MI @ Masonic Temple
10/14 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
10/15 – Boston, MA @ MGM Music Hall at Fenway
10/17 – New York, NY @ The Brooklyn Mirage
10/19 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
10/22 – Atlanta, GA @ Coca-Cola Roxy
10/24 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
10/27 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
10/28 – San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theatre
10/29 – El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace
10/31 – Albuquerque, NM @ Revel ABQ
11/08 – São Paulo, Brazil @ Audio
11/10 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Circo Voador
11/11 – Porto Alegre, Brazil @ Opinião
11/12 – Curitiba, Brazil @ Ópera de Arame
11/14 – Santiago, Chile @ Teatro Coliseo
Chris Pratt wasn’t a big movie star before Guardians of the Galaxy. He’d done movies. He was even one of the SEALs in Zero Dark Thirty. But he was mostly known for his small screen work, which is to say playing lovable goof Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation. Marvel changed all that, but it took some doing. In fact, Pratt had tried out for roles with the comics giant so often that he almost threw up his hands and gave up.
During a chat with Jimmy Kimmel Friday night, the actor reflected on his pre-fame days, when his bar for success was low — basically “don’t want to go back to serving food to people.” Trying out for Star-Lord/Peter Quill wasn’t his first Marvel rodeo.
“Oh man, I auditioned for them all. I had a rough run with Marvel,” Pratt recalled. “I auditioned for Thor, but not even to be Thor, but to be one of the sidekick guys. And I didn’t get a callback.”
They did, however, tend to offer cryptic comments. “Usually they give you a little bit of feedback, and I remember the casting director goes, ‘Wow. You really made a big choice there.’ Which is code for like, ‘Hey, dial back the acting there, guy,’” he said.
Clearly it all worked out in the end. But it was a rocky road. “It got to the point where I was never gonna audition for Marvel again,” Pratt said. “I was like, ‘This is stupid, I’m never gonna be in a Marvel movie.’”
And now look at him. You can see what is likely his farewell to Marvel when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, during which you’ll be able to hear him drop the MCU’s first-ever f-bomb. You can watch his Kimmel appearance below.
Devin Booker went to bed in Phoenix on Tuesday night with his fifth NBA playoff series win and a credible claim to being the best player in the world right now. He did it on both ends, scoring nearly 40 a night on 60-plus percent shooting while also creating turnovers at a league-leading rate. Coming off the worst playoff series of his life against Dallas in 2022, the initial instinct could be to credit Kevin Durant or blame the Clippers’ defense. But Booker made a tremendous impact by being more proactive and relentless than we’ve ever seen him.
Glimpses of these strides forward were there as early as November, when Booker put the Suns on his back while Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson were injured for multiple weeks. That month, Booker averaged 29 points and six assists per game. As late as Dec. 6, the Suns were first in the Western Conference despite getting slammed with injuries and relying on Booker more than ever.
Building off lessons learned in playoff losses, Booker took it upon himself to diversify the Suns’ offense from a perimeter ball movement scheme more predicated on getting into space and canning jumpers to one that created higher-efficiency shots. After driving to the basket fewer than 10 times per game last season, Booker upped that to nearly 13 this year. He took nearly a quarter of his shots at the basket, compared with just 15 percent last season. He got fouled on almost five percent more of his shot attempts and went from taking one free throw for every four field goals to more than one for every three. By shooting inside more frequently, Booker helped make the Suns’ offense more efficient overall. The team scored nearly 12 points more per 100 possessions when Booker was on the court versus on the bench. It was no coincidence.
In the first round against Los Angeles, Booker transferred those adjustments to a bigger stage. He drove to the basket more than 17 times a night, eighth among all NBA playoff players. He maintained his high foul-drawing rate and shot 75 percent at the rim, which is better than his 7-foot teammate, Deandre Ayton.
But most importantly, Booker has begun to clean up perhaps his biggest weakness. Against the Bucks and Mavericks the past two years, Booker could be goaded into mistakes through what he would call “junk defenses”: sending multiple bodies at him to force the ball out of his hands or into the other team’s hands. When tall, long defenders prevented him from getting downhill or forced him back toward the time stripe, he frequently coughed the ball up or threw it straight to the defense.
While the floor is undoubtedly more open with Durant and even Chris Paul spacing as opposed to Mikal Bridges or Jae Crowder, that didn’t stop the Clippers from blitzing Booker, especially after he got hot. The difference in those situations is that Booker is now infinitely more comfortable making a quick, simple drop pass to the rolling big man or the skip pass to the weak-side corner if the defense takes away the roller.
This is the difference between a proactive Booker and a reactive Booker. In seven games against Dallas last spring, Booker had 27 turnovers and just 32 assists. In a five-game smoking of the Clippers, he had the same amount of assists to only 15 turnovers.
Still, to fully appreciate how and why Booker was able to carve up the Clips, the first step is realizing why he was in position to wield that high-octane electric carving knife in the first place. Instead of Paul walking the ball up the floor to run Monty Williams’ trusted pick-and-roll ball movement system, Booker had the ball in his hands from the jump.
Booker set up screen-and-rolls with Ayton at the top of the key. He pulled the defense apart like a loose thread in a ball of yarn. He found the openings and darted into them. And with his proactivity as a passer, the Clippers ran out of answers.
This is a stark contrast from how Booker was used in previous seasons. Because everything ran through Paul, the ball frequently hot-potatoed to Booker coming off a screen or dribble hand-off, often along the sideline or toward help in the middle of the floor. Now that he has leveled up as a passer and ball-handler, defenses no longer have the luxury of loading up on Booker before he ever touches the rock. As Booker found Durant for spot-up threes repeatedly toward the end of the series, both of Booker’s developments were on display.
He now has the control to keep his dribble as the defense collapses on him, as well as the awareness and skill to spray passes everywhere. Defenses have to respect everything he can do from the minute he steps across halfcourt. And increasingly, he can do everything.
The problem with cutting too big a piece of credit pie for Durant is that it ignores the very decisions the Clippers made — and the ones, potentially, that Denver will make. Even with Durant out there as a spacer in the corner, Los Angeles made the determination (either the coaching staff or the players on the floor) that sending two guys toward Booker and an extra guy away from Durant and toward the rolling big man was the best option to cool off Booker amid the series of his life. Booker was the focus of the defense, and he made them pay. In the process, it was Booker breaking down the defense and setting Durant up.
Durant struggled a bit to get downhill as a scorer or isolate against the aggressive attention the Clippers sent his way. The Clippers had success poking the ball away from Durant on the perimeter, and when he posted up, he felt the entirety of the Clippers’ defense loaded toward his side of the floor, making shots and passes close to impossible.
Heading toward a Game 1 in Denver, the Suns are unlikely to take several games to get their bearings like they did against the Clippers. They can deploy both their star scorers even more effectively by building off what Booker has shown.
When Booker is the pick-and-roll ball-handler and Nikola Jokic is guarding the screener, the Nuggets have two options: bring Jokic up to the level of the screen to prevent Booker from getting downhill and ideally force the ball out of his hands, or drop Jokic into the paint to contest Booker’s drives and Ayton’s rolls. Luckily for Booker, that’s exactly what he saw — and repeatedly beat — from Clippers center Ivica Zubac.
Denver doesn’t have the length or physicality top to bottom in its wing rotation to send waves of bodies at him like Los Angeles did. That means Booker can go into each game (and each possession) with even more of a proactive game plan to torch the Nuggets.
Another thing the Nuggets do not have is a secondary rim protector like Giannis Antetokounmpo or even Nicolas Batum. That means Booker can try some new things — Paul rightly praised his “creativity” after Game Five — against Denver from his bag of tricks. Booker can reject the screen by the big man completely and blow past whatever Denver’s plans were to stop him. At that point it’s up to help defenders like Michael Porter Jr. or Aaron Gordon to contest.
If the Nuggets do drop Jokic into the paint defensively and if Ayton’s screens can take Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of the play for even a half-second, Booker can once again bomb away on pull-up threes in a way he hasn’t since Game 2 against the Pelicans last season. The other stuff is so good he rarely has to put on his Lillard impression, but Booker can make those deep threes off the bounce, and the “u” in unguardable becomes capitalized.
Booker getting to this point is not surprising. Despite dropping 40 on Milwaukee twice in the Finals at age 24, Booker is still on the upswing. This is only his third go-round facing the minefield of playoff defenses. He knows what it’s like now to be the focal point of an entire team’s gameplan, and he’s learning how to beat it.
One of the main storylines during the opening round series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies was Dillon Brooks’ efforts to go after LeBron James. In the aftermath of Game 2, which Memphis won, Brooks said he doesn’t respect opposing players “until they give me 40” and that he loves to “poke bears,” all of which was directed towards the Lakers’ future Hall of Fame inductee.
Game 3 saw James confront Brooks before tip and a Lakers win in which Brooks was ejected for smacking James below the belt. Game 4 saw James go right through Brooks for the dagger in another Lakers win. And while James never directly responded to anything Brooks did while he spoke to the media, he sure seems to be enjoying a victory lap on social media in the aftermath of Game 6, which the Lakers won to send the Grizzlies home.
First, James hopped onto IG and posted a collection of pictures and videos with a simple caption: “If you ever see me fighting in the forest with a Grizzly bear, HELP THE BEAR.”
Then, James went over to Twitter, where he posted the lyrics to the Jay-Z song “Trouble.”
Unlike you little I’m a grown ass man Big shoes to fill , grown ass pants Prolly hustled with your pops, go ask your parents Its apparent you’re staring at a legend Who, put a few little in the they place before Trying to eat without saying they grace before!
James made clear that he wasn’t trying to make any sort of statement to Brooks after Game 3. Having said that, we’re going to go ahead and assume that he really was looking forward to getting to talk a little after the Lakers punched their ticket to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they will play either the Golden State Warriors or the Sacramento Kings.
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