The Pittsburgh Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster loves his dog, Boujee — and The Powerpuff Girls The California native says that playing in snow is to his advantage

Walking the line between excelling at your first job and staying up all night because of your active social life is a cross so many of us bear at the age of 21. JuJu Smith-Schuster, the star rookie wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just balancing it much better than most of us.

When he’s not catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger on any given NFL Sunday, Smith-Schuster is your typical 21-year-old. The former USC Trojan manages to upload weekly videos to his YouTube channel, where his nearly 182,000 subscribers can watch him do everything from making a Primanti’s sandwich to hitchhiking. He has a French bulldog named Boujee, who probably — well, definitely — has more followers on Instagram than you. And he stays up all night playing video games. Smith-Schuster did all of this and more while being named the Steelers’ rookie of the year, with 58 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season in the league.

The California native is adjusting to life in the Steel City, but don’t expect him to say “yinz” anytime soon. He quickly chopped it up with The Undefeated after hosting a Call of Duty: World War II livestream with the newly minted first-ballot Hall of Famer Randy Moss in the lead-up to the Super Bowl.


You survived your first winter in Pittsburgh. How traumatized are you?

It was crazy! I left my pizza in the car, and literally overnight it straight froze. It’s really cold. It’s a new thing for me.

So are you trading in the sand for the snow?

I don’t mind the snow. I feel like it’s to our advantage when you live in it and play in it.

“I can spit gum high in the air, like 10 feet, and catch it in my mouth, but I don’t think I can get paid for that.”

Have you tried snowboarding?

No, I want to! I feel like it would be easier than skiing, no?

What would you do if you didn’t play football?

Professional gamer. I can spit gum high in the air, like 10 feet, and catch it in my mouth, but I don’t think I can get paid for that.

Aside from yourself, of course, who’s the best Call of Duty player in the NFL?

Le’Veon Bell. I have to say him because he’s my teammate. He’ll probably laugh if I don’t say him, but he’s up there for sure.

Your dog, Boujee, has quite the following on Instagram …

That dude loves it [in Los Angeles]. He does photo shoots. He likes those.

Are you the photographer?

Yeah, me — and he has a professional photographer. His page is starting to blow up, so they have to be professional.

Favorite cartoon?

The Powerpuff Girls.

What would your superpower be?

To control people’s minds.

What advice would you give to your even younger self?

Take the opportunity to get to know the people around you.

Pistons, Cavs, Jay-Z and the Red Wings: 72 hours in the New Detroit Three new arenas have changed the face of the D’s downtown, and a hometown girl wonders if it’s for the better

Digital images of perhaps the world’s most famous rapper flash across giant screens. The screens rise toward the ceiling of Little Caesars Arena, the most recent of three new sports venues to emerge in downtown Detroit. It’s where the Pistons play.

Near one side of Jay-Z’s 360-degree stage, LeBron James, perhaps the world’s most famous current NBA player, can barely control his fandom as Jay-Z delivers his 1999 hit with UGK, “Big Pimpin’.” James and the rest of his team are in town ahead of a Pistons game. For nearly two hours, the arena is roaring. And as the last few fans spill onto Woodward Avenue — the drag in downtown Detroit that also houses Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play, and Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play — the party ain’t over. Far from it.

The sold-out Little Caesars Arena for the Jay-Z concert.

313 Presents

That’s because the area is a far cry from what it was 15 years ago, when the downtown landscape was practically bare. Empty and windowless brick buildings were the standard. Every now and again you could fall into a hidden gem — a teahouse in neighboring Corktown, near the old Tiger Stadium, served a good quiche, and crumpets with fresh preserves. But those kinds of places were few and far between.

But now? There are sports bars, dive bars, throwback juke joints and new late-night spaces thriving next to revived longtime staples. Taxis line the streets, and people are texting friends to find out where the after-after-parties are. The basketball, baseball and hockey arenas, which also host concerts and even Catholic masses, are central to this bustling scene, daytime as well as nighttime. It wasn’t until this new NBA season that all of the Detroit teams, finally, were playing within the city limits. Welcome, kindly, to the New Detroit.

Now where are all the black folks?

Women hold a coat to shelter themselves from the rain as they enter Little Caesars Arena for the Jay-Z concert.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated


In the fall of 1998, I was wrapping up an internship at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and heading to my first full-time job as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press. A roommate’s mom, who was white, asked about my plans. When I told her about Detroit, her reply was, “Ugh. Detroit. The armpit of the Midwest.”

The armpit. Insulting, of course. And, I think, racist. I say that because we’re talking about a majority-black city, and one that has been through so much — too much. In the fall of 1998, it seemed the city was only and absolutely declining, although around the dinner table we’d delight in announcing the city’s upswing, based on the smallest of developments. For me, though, the best development was that I was home.

“It’s like a phoenix all of a sudden. You see people enjoying being outside and you’re hearing great stuff about Detroit.” — Rick Mahorn

I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, in Oakland County. In one of the white-flight townships to which so many families, white and black, moved after the ’67 riot. Yet I have many memories of my maternal grandparents’ home on Indiana Street between Lyndon and Eaton on Detroit’s West Side. They’d moved after the riots, so Mother actually grew up on Lawton Street. Her childhood home and the block it was on burned down decades ago, never to develop again. It looks now like too many Detroit neighborhoods do.

But downtown Detroit? Working at the Free Press, I drove in at least five days a week. And after the day was done, there wasn’t much to do. Near the newsroom was The Anchor Bar, a socially/racially integrated dive beloved by both Red Wings fans and newspaper reporters. I had more grilled cheese and steak fry lunches there than I care to recount. The Free Press’ offices were about a mile away from where the three new stadiums have sprouted. While cafes and chain restaurants abound now, a week before I started, the big news story was that a Starbucks was opening on East Jefferson. It’s right near Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park that functioned as a student hangout on summer weekends.

An abandoned building in June 2005.

JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

And the city of Detroit was nearly throwing a ticker-tape parade for the cappuccino outlet. Legendary Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn remembers with a laugh that Starbucks excitement. “When I first got to Detroit, in ’85, I was living downtown because I wanted to be close to water, and it was a beautiful view. Wasn’t a lot to do downtown. … I made that commute all the way up to the Silverdome and then the Palace.”

A Detroit native suggested we do a “hole tour” of Detroit: go to the spaces that used to be places.

The Silverdome, which was imploded on Dec. 5, was in Pontiac, about 31 miles from Detroit’s city limits. The Palace of Auburn Hills, which is soon to be flipped into a “high-tech research park,” is a good 35 miles away from the 313 — Detroit’s area code.

“We love [being back],” said Mahorn, who’s now a radio analyst for the Pistons. “It gives you a more up close and personal feeling. [Team owner] Tom Gores saw a vision to partner up with [Red Wings owners] the Ilitches and the Dan Gilberts [who has invested nearly $2 billion in downtown Detroit] and [current Lions owners] the Ford family. Those things used to be a competition, and now it’s a togetherness to develop the resurgence of Detroit.”

It’s also of course about business and jobs, this downtown sports district with both Comerica Park and Ford Field less than a mile away from the multipurpose arena. “When you look at what happened in the late ’60s, and how everybody started moving out, now [Detroit’s] like a phoenix all of a sudden. You see people enjoying being outside and you’re hearing great stuff about Detroit.”

Scenic view of downtown Detroit.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

But before downtown’s Woodward Avenue was filled with shiny new spots such as Nike Community Store, Lululemon and Under Armour Brand House, as well as line-out-the-door breakfast spots such as the Dime Store or Hudson Cafe — Detroit had not only decades of segregation and decline from which to rebound. It had what felt like a singular tragedy.

A new, fresh, black mayor was elected in 2001. Kwame Kilpatrick was 31 years old, had played on Florida A&M’s football team, was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and became the youngest mayor in the city’s history. Ridiculously long story short, he was a massive disappointment — it started with him using his city-issued credit card to rack up thousands of dollars in personal, luxurious charges, and it ended with an FBI felony corruption case that got him thrown in a federal prison for 28 years. The Kilpatrick case featured sex and money and race and captured big headlines just about everywhere. My old newspaper earned a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of his misdeeds.

But the story, the trajectory of Kilpatrick’s life, still makes me sad. And what makes me sadder is that Detroit was the biggest loser. Eventually, in 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy: the biggest “municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.” Even with some new crowds bringing money to Detroit’s casinos — and those came with much conflict and pushback — Detroit was officially broken.

Ben Wallace came to the Pistons in 2000. He remembers the first piece of advice he and his teammates were given. “People were encouraging us not to go downtown, not to hang out downtown. ‘Whatever you do, avoid going downtown,’ ” said Wallace, who led the Pistons to their third NBA championship in 2004.

The Pistons retired Wallace’s jersey last year; he’d returned to the team after stints in Chicago and Cleveland and finished his career in Detroit in 2012.

He lives in West Virginia now but finds himself periodically in Detroit, like last summer when he was hanging out downtown and marveling at the new arena, which wasn’t quite finished then.

“To see the city coming to life, and people actually walking downtown and enjoying themselves, having a great time. To see people, to see things going up, it was amazing,” Wallace said. “It was a proud moment for me to see the city breathing and finding the light again. It was great for me to actually … see the city thriving.”


At the Free Press, we used to have a weekly features meeting. All were welcome to attend and discuss story ideas. One attendee, a Detroit native, suggested that we do a “hole tour” of Detroit: go to the spaces that used to be places and talk about the history that used to be there. All over there was emptiness where grandeur used to exist. Detroit wasn’t 360 degrees of pretty. But it was home.

I sold my small suburban condo and moved to downtown Detroit to live with my college roommate Joy, a white woman who grew up in Brighton, Michigan. Brighton neighbors Howell, a town known as the KKK capital of Michigan. Robert Miles, grand dragon of the Michigan Ku Klux Klan, lived in a nearby township and hosted rallies there.

Joy and I both worked downtown, she for the rival Detroit News, and quite frankly, as girls from the ’burbs, we wanted that authentic Detroit experience. We saw things that were starting to happen and figured it was an ideal time to be part of building a community.

“When you look at what happened in the late ’60s, and how everybody started moving out, now [Detroit’s] like a phoenix all of a sudden.

Comerica Park had just opened, and with it came new life. Hockeytown Cafe was erected next to the historic Fox Theater — a place to grab grub and a brew and head to the rooftop lounge. I remember hanging out with some Detroit rappers and managers there for an open bar event, and you couldn’t have told us we weren’t Hollywood lite.

Downtown Detroit on an uptick? It seemed like it. Detroit hosted the Super Bowl in 2006, and everyone was amped to flex and show the sports world how we’d grown. As is the case in most Super Bowl host cities, empty spaces were quickly rented out, transformed into magical one-night-only party venues with the aid of corporate checkbooks. But daily conveniences were scarce.

Joy and I spent our weekends on Interstate 75, driving 22 miles north to a grocery store in Troy. The headlines back then were that the entire city of Detroit was a “food desert” with no major supermarket chains in the entire city. Joy and I lasted downtown a year. But now there’s a Whole Foods on Woodward, technically in midtown. It opened in 2013, a 21,000-square-foot location, and it’s apparently doing well.

Something Jay-Z rapped to the crowd on Saturday night resonated. See, Jay-Z is from the public housing projects of Brooklyn, New York, and knows about struggle, and about seeing your worn and torn neighborhood transformed into something greater than anyone could have imagined. All this happens as the black and brown people who kept that place alive aren’t able to benefit from the new richness: gentrification.

Paul’s Liquors next to Little Caesars Arena before the Pistons Game. The store has been there before the changes began downtown and is a stop for many of the regulars in downtown.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

There’s an area of Brooklyn called Dumbo, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. In his recent and Grammy-nominated “The Story of OJ,” he raps, I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo for like $2 million/ That same building today is worth $25 million/ Guess how I’m feeling? Dumbo.


Fans cheer after a goal is scored during the Red Wings game on Nov. 19 in Detroit.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

The next night, the crowd at Little Caesars Arena was different — as I expected. Twenty-four hours before, a hip-hop icon stood center stage and told a sold-out, mostly black audience that kneeling during the national anthem is an act of patriotism and not something for which athletes should be persecuted.

But on this night, there was a white crowd, a characterization that could very well be a stereotype of hockey fans. They were there to take in the Red Wings vs. the Colorado Avalanche. And it did seem like a lot of folks wondered why a lone black woman was roaming around, taking in Gordie Howe’s statue (one of three statues of Red Wings legends that were brought over from Joe Louis Arena, where the team played the season before).

A man stretches on the escalator during intermission at the Little Caesars Arena.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

As happy as I am for all of the new development in downtown Detroit, it comes at a cost — a feeling that hit me as I was sitting perched high in the press box looking down as the Zamboni smoothed the ice rink where Jay-Z’s elaborate stage had been the night before. Culturally, as well as geographically, things just feel so segregated.

On one side of the coin is a pristine new district, one that should be celebrated, as it’s taken exactly 50 years for Detroit to rise from the dust of the 1967 riots. On the other, much of this has come at the expense of long-standing businesses such as Henry the Hatter, which couldn’t afford the 200 percent rent increase and was forced to shut down.

Hallie Desmet, 21, and Megan Elwart, 24, hold each other during a Red Wings game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The two traveled from Marquette, Michigan, to see the team play for Hallie’s 21st birthday.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

“I’ve lived all of my life in Detroit,” said David Rudolph. He’s a small-business owner who played outside linebacker on Michigan State University’s 1988 Rose Bowl-winning team. “What I’m used to is a city that basically lacked a lot of things, so it is kind of special to now live in a city that looks like and starts to feel like other places across the country. Now we have a cross-section of different types of restaurants. We now have all of our sporting [goods] in the area; you don’t have to travel.”

The flip side is there, though. “It’s always been a black town,” he said. “I was born in a time when the legislative body was African-American. Now you’re starting to see people who are non-African-American come to the city. … Their presence is way more noticeable. Boutique businesses, small businesses, entrepreneurs coming from all over the place. There seems to be a spirit that is attracting these folks to the city, which is great. I remember those bad jokes of ‘Can the last person please turn off the lights?’ [But] I never left Detroit. I was really keeping a seat warm … keeping warm whatever was viable about this city through my presence and my business, which has been here for 23 years, through my tax dollars.”


The Detroit Pistons play the Cleveland Cavaliers at Little Caesars Arena.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

The next night at the arena, the Pistons game hosted its biggest crowd of the season. The Cavaliers were in the building, and seeing King James live, even if you’re a diehard Pistons fan, is a moment. Fans mill about the newness of the arena loading up on Detroit-famous coney dogs, burrito bowls and Little Caesars pizza.

Pistons fan at Little Caesars Arena.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

This night, it’s a diverse group of people, an aesthetic that looks like what some pockets of greater Detroit look like. At a Detroit NBA game, there’s no one culture defining the fan base of Detroit’s newest and shiniest sports arena. It just feels like everyone.

I took my dad with me to see the Pistons. He came to Detroit after he graduated from Alabama State University, and he’s told people he’s from Detroit since forever — he arrived in ’71. He and my mom still live in Oakland County, about 15 miles from downtown, and don’t have a real reason to head downtown with any regularity. Dad marveled at the jam-packed traffic that hit about a mile before we got to the parking structure. There was never traffic on a Monday night in this part of downtown, not that either of us could recall.

Piston fans at Little Caesars Arena on Nov. 20 in Detroit.

Ali Lapetina for The Undefeated

“It’s good, in terms of what’s happening,” said Rudolph. “Revitalization. There’s so many good things that I see. I only live seven minutes from downtown. I’ve found over the last couple of years is that I actually travel less out of the city to do a lot of things. Which is what we’ve always wanted. Not always to have to go to metro Detroit to eat. Everything was always outside [downtown]. I slept in Detroit, but I spent all of my time outside of Detroit. So now things have changed. It’s kind of fly. … We’re rediscovering our own city.”


There’s nothing like summertime in Detroit. Nothing.

The downtown festivals gave us life. At Hart Plaza, every weekend there was something different to do. The African World Festival was the spot to go to and stock up on shea butter, black soap and incense for the year. Each summer there were gospel festivals: Detroit staples such as The Clark Sisters, Fred Hammond and the Winans family would perform. And the Electronic Music Festival featured some of the best house music and Detroit-based ghetto-tech music you’ll ever treat your ears to. There was one festival that was noticeably different: the downtown Hoedown, which was the country music festival that would take over Detroit’s downtown streets. It was the one weekend where you would see white people out on, say, Larned Street.

“You’re starting to see people who are non-African-American come to the city. There seems to be a spirit that is attracting these folks to the city, which is great. I remember those bad jokes: ‘Can the last person please turn off the lights?’ But I never left Detroit.” — David Rudolph

To be at Hoedown, metro Detroit white folks had to engage with the city. They probably felt it was “an armpit.” Homeless folks, with few exceptions, were black. In our minds, they gazed without context at the burned-out buildings and gutted areas — a painful reminder of what racism did to this city 50 years ago during the 1967 Detroit riots.

But today, downtown Detroit is filled with a sea of white folks. I barely counted anyone who looked like me as I dined two days in a row at The Townhouse for brunch. The second day, I took Jemele Hill with me and we sat in an atrium where a DJ played and where of all the patrons, there were four black folks — including us. This is the new Detroit.

On the Pistons team is former NBA player (and native Detroiter) Earl Cureton as Community Ambassador, a role he’s held since 2013. He’s helping the team embed in all kinds of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Cureton, who played forward-center at Finney High School on Detroit’s east side back in the early ’70s, is charged with connecting the franchise to real Detroit. Cureton grew up in the infamous Mack and Bewick area.

“Tom Gores’ plan was [get] the team to be impactful for the city, not only to entertain basketballwise,” Cureton said at halftime of the Cavaliers game. “We made an attempt at doing that, out at the Palace of Auburn Hills, but now that we’re back — which makes me so happy — we have the opportunity to connect, [and] not just to the downtown area but to areas away from downtown that desperately need it.

“And by the players being right here, it gives them the opportunity to mingle and mix with the kids. The kids get a closer relationship, seeing them, just like I did when I was a kid.”

It’s all different, though. Soon, once the Pistons’ practice facilities are completed, many of those players will take a look at the plush residential lofts popping up on downtown Detroit’s landscape, and at some of the restored historic neighborhoods located not too far from where they punch in. There’s a side that says the white people are here, and so goodbye, poor people. And there’s a side that says wealth is needed to help ease inequality. The way forward likely is someplace in between.

Folks wanted the best for this city. So many black folks stuck around, through the riot, and then the recessions, in hopes of seeing this city rise again. It’s rising again now, and their place in it is uncertain. But it feels like some moves are being made, so that new Detroit is still theirs. Maybe, as the sign flashes when you’re on the escalator at Detroit Metro Airport, my hometown can be America’s Greatest Comeback City. Maybe it can be true for everyone. It’s time.

Daily Dose: 11/1/17 José Andrés is feeding Puerto Rico

What up, gang? Wednesday was another TV day, but if you’ve only known me for a little bit, you might want to check out this podcast I did with Sarah Spain. We talked about a lot of things, but mainly about me.

José Andrés is a national treasure. While other people are out here trying to insult Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria — and by other people I mean: the president of the United States of America — the celebrity chef and Washington Wizards fan is doing his best to put food in other people’s mouths. According to The New York Times, he’s served more than 2 million meals there, which is more than any government agency has. Think about that. Dude is the man.

New York City has suffered another terror attack. This time, a man appears to have plotted for weeks to use a truck to attack pedestrians, and on Tuesday he carried out that plan and killed eight people, which Mayor Bill de Blasio called “a cowardly act of terror.” The images from the scene are a horrifying reminder of exactly the kind of world we live in when someone wants to do harm. The man who committed the act had already been interviewed by federal agents in 2015, for whatever that’s worth.

We love a good rap beef. Not like, actual beef where people end up dead, but a good personality skirmish where folks just don’t plain like each other? Here for it. And in the case of Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, we have a bit of an issue. Not that they’re necessarily hating on each other, but the two have appeared on the Migos’ new song, and there’s some question about how and why that happened. Nicki has finally addressed the matter. Oh, and on top of that, she’s now the new face of H&M.

Papa John’s is bugging. The pizza company, which you probably know from a) living in the world and b) watching NFL football, is now claiming that because of protests before Sunday games, it’s losing money. I’m sorry, but this is absolutely hilarious. To think that a food company is out here questioning the leadership of a football league because its sales are suffering is completely ridiculous, but not entirely unexpected. This might be a good time to point out that Peyton Manning owns quite a few of those franchises.

Free Food

Coffee Break: You know what nobody does? Waste their drugs on trying to poison children. It’s just not a thing that happens, because on a basic level, people are not particularly interested in wasting their drugs on kids. This is obvious, but law enforcement continues to push this notion like it’s true.

Snack Time: In the midst of various Hollywood types having their actions as predatory men being exposed, we’ve got another person, but this time it’s in the news world. Specially at NPR.

Dessert: This song will forever be a banger, no matter what.

Cam Newton said something stupid and other news of the week The Week That Was Oct. 2 – Oct. 6

Monday 10.02.17

A former South Florida plastic surgeon, who in 1998 was placed on probation by Florida’s health department for a botched penis enlargement procedure, didn’t let his reputation get in the way of being sentenced to 44 months in prison for a failed butt lift. Big Baller Brand owner LaVar Ball, an expert in basic economics as evidenced by offering a $495 basketball shoe, is pulling his 16-year-old son LaMelo Ball out of high school and will homeschool him. Former 10-day White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci launched a social media-only news company that “doesn’t have reporters or staff” and will “100% be getting things wrong” sometimes. The white New York police officer who mistakenly tackled black former tennis player James Blake but was not fired is suing Blake for defamation for being “cast as a racist and a goon.” The lawyer for O.J. Simpson called the Florida attorney general “a complete stupid b—-” and said “F— her” after the woman petitioned to deny Simpson a transfer to serve parole in Florida following his release from a Nevada prison. Rock musician Tom Petty died, then didn’t die, and then died again. One member of country act the Josh Abbott Band finally supports gun control legislation after being affected by a gunman killing 59 people and injuring another 500 at the Las Vegas music festival where he and his bandmates had performed. Hours after the Nevada shooting, former boxer George Foreman challenged actor Steven Seagal to “one on one, I use boxing you can use whatever. 10 rounds in Vegas.”

Tuesday 10.03.17

President Donald Trump threw paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. The Tennessee Titans, in need of a mobile quarterback following the injury of starter Marcus Mariota, signed a quarterback not named Colin Kaepernick. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has obviously never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, a show about terrible war strategies, said, “If I’d have watched [Game of Thrones] two years ago, I would’ve been president. … It’s got a lot of good strategies.” The NBA found a way for former teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to not have to play together for the Eastern Conference during February’s All-Star game. Proving that the office of the president of the United States is now a joke, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he is “considering” running for president. The CEO of HBO, a network that will spend a reported $15 million per episode of the final season of Game of Thrones and greenlit Confederate without seeing a script, said “more is not better” in response to streaming competitor Netflix’s plan to spend $7 billion on content next year. Three billion Yahoo accounts were breached in 2013, exposing names, email addresses and passwords; roughly 100 people were actually affected. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.), who allegedly asked his mistress to abort their love child, voted for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

Wednesday 10.04.17

Murphy plans to retire at the end of his term. Based on, you guessed it, emails. Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were almost criminally indicted in 2012 until Donald Trump’s lawyer donated $25,000 to the re-election campaign of the Manhattan district attorney. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to NBC News, called Trump a “moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon in July; Trump denied the report and tweeted that NBC News “should issue an apology to AMERICA!”; an MSNBC reporter then clarified that Tillerson called Trump a “f—ing moron.” Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice crashes weddings in his free time, sometimes “cutting a rug,” including to rapper Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle.” Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom said he “woulda put my hands on” D’Angelo Russell after the former Lakers guard surreptitiously recorded teammate Nick Young admitting to cheating on his ex-fiancee Iggy Azalea. Former NHL forward Jiri Hudler, while on a flight to the Czech Republic, allegedly solicited cocaine from a flight attendant, threatened to kill her when she refused, eventually ingested cocaine in the plane’s bathroom, and then attempted to urinate on a food court; Hudler denies the allegations.

Thursday 10.05.17

Murphy resigned. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart, responding to an incident involving the Washington Redskins and a racial slur, said “we have no tolerance for racial remarks directed at anyone in an NFL stadium.” Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton lost a yogurt sponsorship because he just had to get some jokes off. Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, conveniently retired, said if he were playing today he would “kneel” for the national anthem. Following an “offensive” performance at a Roman Catholic college, comedian Nick Cannon said he “ain’t apologizing for s–t”; the university’s president, winning this war of words, said the school had hoped to get the “NBC or MTV version of Mr. Cannon.” Former New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin said there would have been no way current Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin, who is Chinese, “would’ve made it on one of our teams with that bulls— on his head” in reference to Lin’s dreadlocks hairstyle; in unrelated news, Martin, who is black, has Chinese symbol tattoos. The St. Louis County Police Department, following a lab test, concluded that bottles labeled “apple cider” were in fact apple cider and not “unknown chemicals used against police.” A Baltimore high school was evacuated due to a possible “hazardous substance” found in the building; the substance was a pumpkin spice air freshener.

Friday 10.06.17

Not to be outdone by Yahoo, AOL announced that its 20-year-old instant messaging program, AIM, which was apparently still in operation, will be discontinued in December. Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bogut, who last year pushed the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizza joint, said “there are bigger issues … rather than focus on this stupid political s—.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has followed through on roughly zero of his big promises, says he can bring power to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In a development that surely has D.A.R.E. shook, marijuana sales led to $34 million in funds for Oregon public schools. Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who said last month that he doesn’t believe he ever lied to the public, accused The Washington Post of intentionally not publishing a story about famous Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein on its front page for a story The New York Times broke. Despite (alleged) white supremacists (allegedly) infiltrating the White House, white supremacists killing a woman in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a reported increase in hate groups since November 2016, the FBI says the group that poses the greatest threat to law enforcement are “black identity extremists,” who don’t actually exist.

Kevin Durant runs fake Twitter accounts and other news of the week The Week That Was Sept. 18-22

Monday 09.18.17

Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was called “garbage” by a Twitter user who confused him with New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall during Monday Night Football; Denver’s Marshall told the fan, “Meet me in the parking lot after the game chump!” Convicted murderer Dylann Roof, who’s really set in this whole white supremacy thing, wants to fire his appellate attorneys because they are his “political and biological enemies”; the lawyers are Jewish and Indian. Texas football coach Tom Herman, after his team’s 27-24 double-overtime loss to USC over the weekend, said he didn’t cry after the game but that there were “some primal screams” in the shower. Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, adding more fuel to the fire that will be Oct. 17, answered, “Why would I?” when asked whether he spoke with then-teammate LeBron James when he demanded a trade over the summer. Former NBA MVP and reigning Finals MVP Kevin Durant, still mad online for some reason, apparently has spoof accounts solely for the purpose of defending himself against detractors on Twitter and accidentally tweeted one of said defenses from his actual personal account.

Tuesday 09.19.17

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter, who has been with the team for three seasons and thus missed the team’s controversial move from Seattle, shot back at Durant by tweeting that the Thunder are “the best and most professional organization in the NBA.” In the worst mashup since Pizza Hut and KFC joined in unholy matrimony, Detroit will soon be the home of the first IHOP-Applebee’s joint restaurant. Elton John fan President Donald Trump said the U.S. will have no other choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea and its leader, “Rocket Man.” Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard used to call friends during halftime of games to ask about how he was playing. After former Washington Redskins receiver Santana Moss accused teammate Robert Griffin III of celebrating the firing of coach Mike Shanahan in 2013, Griffin shot back by accusing Moss of “subtweeting” him; Moss’ comments were made on the radio, and the retired receiver hasn’t tweeted since 2011. Former Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn — responsible for drafting point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, neither of whom are still on the team, ahead of Stephen Curry — said New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley has the ability to replace fellow forward Carmelo Anthony if the latter decides to leave the Knicks. Former Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman wants to become a fed. Hip-hop artist Boosie Badazz, when asked why he dissed late rapper Nussie on his recently released track, responded that “even though he’s gone, rest in peace, I still felt like he was a p—y for what he was doing as far as hating on me and what I had going.”

Wednesday 09.20.17

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), not great with metaphors, compared Republicans’ last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to being “in the back seat of a convertible being driven by Thelma and Louise, and we’re headed toward the canyon.” Former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, when asked about his taxpayer-funded $200,000-a-year security costs, told a Milwaukee journalist: “F— you & the horse you rode in on.” It was New York’s Brandon Marshall’s turn to be mixed up with the other Brandon Marshall. Proving definitively that we all look alike, 6-foot-9, 230-pound former NBA player Kenyon Martin said he used to be confused with 6-foot, 200-pound rapper Joe Budden all the time in the early 2000s. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley called current players “poor babies” for wanting more rest between games; Barkley played a full 82-game season just three times in his 16-year career and logged 44,179 total minutes, nearly 6,000 fewer minutes than LeBron James has in 14 seasons. After Hurricane Maria, which has left at least nine people dead throughout the Caribbean, Sabrina the Teenage Witch expressed her sympathy by complaining about the storm ruining her family vacation to a Nickelodeon resort. Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, or his twin brother, Marcus — you can never be too sure — is expected to have sports hernia surgery this week. Former NFL player Albert Haynesworth, who in 2011 said, “I couldn’t tell you the last time I dated a black girl. … I don’t even like black girls,” said the mother of his child, who is white, physically assaulted him and called him the N-word during their two-year relationship.

Thursday 09.21.17

Haynesworth, somehow upsetting another subset of the country in the process, responded to the controversy by stating emphatically that “as long as you are a beautiful REAL WOMAN trust me I’m trying to smash!!!” Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that he never “knowingly” lied while serving in the Trump administration despite saying three days before that he “absolutely” regrets arguing with reporters about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd. While claiming that they want the best for their kids, American parents have effectively forced General Mills Inc. to reintegrate “artificial colors and flavors” back into Trix cereal. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a prominent cancer researcher, believes that water consumption, not sunscreen, prevents sunburn. Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson tweeted out a story with the headline “America’s Jews are driving America’s wars” before later apologizing because “There is so much there that’s problematic AF [as f—] and I should have recognized it sooner.” The makers of Gatorade sports drink, which also produces electrolyte-infused Propel water, must pay $300,000 to the California Attorney General’s Office for telling video game players to avoid water. A Virginia woman said she shot a state trooper in the arm because “I was high as hell.”

Friday 09.22.17

After North Korea leader Kim Jong Un clapped back at Trump by calling the U.S. president a mentally deranged “dotard,” Trump kept the roast session going by calling Kim a “madman.” As further proof that machine is beating man in the fight for the planet, Walmart wants to deliver groceries to customers even when they’re not home. J.R. “Pipe” Smith, a known wordsmith, said future free agent LeBron James is “going to be wherever the f— he wants to be at.” Denver Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian’s parents are still stuck in the cheap seats during home games despite their son leading the team to a 2-0 start this season. Republican lawmakers may fail to repeal the Affordable Care Act (again) because of Arizona Sen. John McCain (again).

Star Wright and the Philadelphia Phantomz make a place for hard-hitting women For this women’s football team and its founder, the motto is ‘I can play’


PHILADELPHIA — Sitting in her doctor’s office in early June, Star Wright didn’t know her football season was over, not yet.

But she had a feeling. The damage to her liver and spleen where the helmet had hit was too great, and the Women’s World Championship was too soon. She had bounced back from injuries before, though: a car accident that fractured her skull and crushed her ankle, a shoulder broken during her stint in the Lingerie League, a torn MCL.

The World Championship only comes around every four years, and at 34, this could be her last chance. “I feel like I can play,” she told the doctor.

Philadelphia Phantomz founder Star Wright waits nervously as a University of Pennsylvania doctor reviews her charts during an appointment in West Philadelphia.

“I can play.” It’s a phrase that sums up the determination and athleticism that define Wright’s life. It’s why she founded the Philadelphia Phantomz, a professional women’s tackle football team based in North Philadelphia.

Finishing their second season in June with a record of 4-4, the Phantomz are one of the newer additions to the Women’s Football Alliance, which now boasts 65 teams in the United States and Canada and is the largest of three women’s tackle leagues in the country, along with the Independent Women’s Football League and the United States Women’s Football League. They play their home games at Simon Gratz High School in North Philadelphia, where Wright lettered in swimming, basketball and track. Admission is $15, although the players aren’t paid.

Most of the women on the Phantomz were standout athletes in their youth. Some turned to football as a new opportunity for competitive play in their 20s and 30s. Others heard about the team from friends and decided to try out, seeking the camaraderie and motivational environment of the team. The 36 women on the Phantomz, who range in age from 18 to 51, often describe the team as a sisterhood.

“We teach women who’ve never played football, who know nothing about football,” said Wright, who plays linebacker and is the team’s president. “We teach them the ins and outs, how to compete and how to be players. And I think that contributes to becoming a family, too, like we’re friends where we care about each other.”

Many team members say that playing football is a chance for women to finally get the recognition they deserve, to prove they don’t need to play with men to compete at the highest level.

And let there be no doubt: These women hit hard.

“It’s very, very physical,” said running back Angie Wells, 30, who led the team in touchdowns this year despite constant knee pain from a previous surgery. “We don’t have a lot of subs. You get tired and it’s like the 12th round in a boxing match.”

“We’re trying to make a point here,” said linebacker Ebony Fowlkes, 30, an assistant basketball coach at Harcum College in nearby Bryn Mawr and its assistant director of residence life. “We’re trying to say that women can do anything.”

Members of the Philadelphia Phantoms women’s tackle football team practice in Hunting Park in Philadelphia, PA.

Members of the Philadelphia Phantoms women’s tackle football team practice in Hunting Park in Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia Phantomz coaches look on as defensive back Sade “Murda” Buie runs drills at Hunting Park in North Philadelphia, May 31, 2017.

Members of the Philadelphia Phantomz suit up for practice as family members and girlfriends hang out beside them at Hunting Park in North Philadelphia.

Teammates attend to Shantia Creech after she injured her foot during practice at Hunting Park in North Philadelphia.

Star Wright, her children Kyla, 10, Kion, 13, and team manager Robert “Bam” Flood grab slices of pizza for dinner before an administrative team meeting at Wright’s home in North Philadelphia.

Ebony Fowlkes, center, jokes around with Kia Ivery, right, and Angela Sherman, left, before piling into a rental van for a five-hour drive to Boston play the Boston Renegades, in Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Phantomz practice offensive plays in the parking lot of their hotel shortly before an away game against the Boston Renegades in Boston, MA.

Sade “Murda” Buie applies green-colored eye black to her face before an away game against the Boston Renegades, in Boston, MA.

Star Wright, coaching instead of playing due to an injury, gives advice to her teammates before playing the top-rated Boston Renegades in Boston, MA.

Jacque Dorsey, center, makes a big tackle during an away game against the Boston Renegades, in Boston, MA.

Philadelphia Phantomz founder Star Wright drives to a doctors appointment from North Philly with downtown Philadelphia in the distance.

Philadelphia Phantomz quarterback Satoria Bell, center, and teammates during practice in Hunting Park in North Philadelphia.

Friends and family members meet members of the Phantomz at the gates to wish them luck before their game against the New York Sharks.

North Philadelphia residents watch the Philadelphia Phantomz play against the New York Sharks from a pavilion in Hunting Park in North Philadelphia.

Star Wright on the field before the start of the Philadelphia Phantomz game against the New York Sharks in Hunting Park in North Philadelphia.

Members of the Philadelphia Phantomz hold hands before the start of their game against the New York Sharks in North Philadelphia.

_

Lee England Jr. is the WWE’s king of string style The viral violinist is making a name for himself playing with Shinsuke Nakamura

The first time WWE audiences saw Lee England Jr. — a former elementary school teacher and alum of Sean Combs’ MTV show, Making The Band — was last August at a sold-out Barclays Center. He was front and center at an unexpected event: NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, a showcase of the WWE’s developmental talent (their version of the NBA’s D-League). England was performing a live violin rendition of fan favorite Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance theme. His rendition of the song, combined with Nakamura’s electric charisma, made for one of the most memorable WWE ring entrances. Ever.

So when the lights went out at Orlando, Florida’s, Amway Center for a live edition of WWE Smackdown! on April 4, with a spotlight shining on England Jr. and his violin, the crowd erupted. They knew magic was about to happen. England Jr.’s appearance meant that the beloved Nakamura, also known as The King Of Strong Style, was debuting on the WWE superstar roster. England Jr.’s appearance also meant that we were in for another unforgettable entrance. And that we got, complete with a show-stealing solo and a choreographed bow between England Jr. and Nakamura. Once again, England Jr. had become a viral sensation.

We caught up with England Jr. about his entrances, his relationship with Jordan Brand — he’s the only nonathlete with a contract — and the important things, like what’s in his fridge.

What made you first pick up the violin?

I was drawn to it, so my parents bought me one, but I immediately hated it. I told my pops I wanted to quit, and he said, ‘Just practice 15 minutes a day and you can quit.’ So I literally practiced so I could quit. He Jedi mind-tricked me into playing.

How is a violinist signed to Jordan Brand?

I ended up performing at [the 2010] All-Star Weekend in Dallas for one of Michael Jordan’s parties. I had five minutes to show him who I was, and ever since then we’ve had a good relationship. And that’s how I got to WWE — as a thank you from Jordan Brand for all of the years [Brand Jordan and WWE] worked together.

What’s your favorite late-night food spot?

In L.A., I’d have to say Berri’s. I usually get the seafood linguine. Or their lobster pizza.

Who’s your favorite athlete of all time?

Michael Jordan [laughs].

I saw that one coming.

[Laughs.] With MJ, it wasn’t just his talent on the court. It was his persona off the court. I was drawn to the humility he possessed even though he was the greatest basketball player of my generation. I won’t try to debate people from other generations about who’s the greatest, but he’s the GOAT to me. Even him getting cut from the team in high school, him not quitting, was huge. I’m someone who lives by that. I’m not going to let you define me. If there’s something I need to accomplish, then I won’t let you define my work.

“It was soul-opening to know I was in the land where I can trace my history.”

Who’s the most famous person following you on social media?

Jordan Brand is, but aside from them, one of the actresses from Sex and the City. Oh, and my boy Kenneth Faried, who plays for the Nuggets.

What’s the first concert you went to?

The first concert I went to, that I paid money for, was a Jay Z concert.

Which era Jay Z?

I think that was around the time of American Gangster.

What’s an album that you think is a classic that no one else does?

Goodie Mob. [1995’s] Soul Food.

A lot of people think that’s a classic, though.

I was thinking about younger cats. There’s a [1976] album by Duke Ellington called Jazz Violin Session. That’s not something a lot of people know about.

Name one thing you hate that everyone else loves.

I don’t like coconut.

Name one place you want to visit.

South Africa. I went to Africa one time before. I felt like it widened my experience as a human being. It’s the cradle of civilization and traces me back to my heritage. It was soul-opening to know I was in the land where I can trace my history.

What do you do before a big performance?

Pray. Give homage.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Love yourself. I feel like I’m cool with who I am right now. And telling myself something different from what I already knew would change the trajectory of my life. And I love where I’m at right now. So I’d just say, have fun.

What’s in your refrigerator right at this moment?

Lotta vegetables. Lotta fruit. Tomatoes. Avocados. Kale. Lime. Strawberries. I think there’s some shrimp in here. Watermelon. Peanut butter Snickers bars. They gotta be frozen. Some leftovers, and champagne.

“I literally practiced so I could quit. He Jedi mind-tricked me into playing.”

What’s one habit you wish you could shake?

Sometimes I overthink situations where I should be more spontaneous. It’s not a bad habit, but I wish I would be more spontaneous with certain things. I don’t want to be overly perfectionist. If I could just go for it, I think people would enjoy themselves more.

What are you looking forward to achieving in 2017?

I’m working on an album right now. I’m being managed by Quincy Jones. I’m looking forward to being exposed more. Not just a violinist but the total, complete package. I want people to see how focused I am with my singing and songwriting abilities too.

Is performing in front of a wrestling crowd different than what you’re used to?

No, it’s not different at all. I’ve performed NBA arenas and toured big stages all the time. One thing that was beautiful was when I first walked out to perform [at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II] there were 16,000 people, and they were quiet as a mouse. So to have that captive audience was an amazing experience. I didn’t expect them to be that attentive. And then in Orlando, what was crazy was that they saw me and went nuts. They were so loud I didn’t think they were going to hear me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To realize that everything you see now was once an idea. And if you manifest your ideas, you can live the life you dreamed of.

Lisa Bonet’s May 1988 cover of ‘Rolling Stone’ is timeless in its confident rebellion The bold photo was the precursor to the carefree black girl movement

Rolling Stone

Wild and peaceful. Confident, yet vulnerable. Unconventional, but unpretentious. Since she was a teenager, Lisa Bonet has balanced on this tightrope with effortless aplomb, radiating a perfect storm of energy through a glance, a smile — or a magazine cover.

Bonet was thrust into the spotlight at the age of 16 via the 1984 premiere of The Cosby Show, the lauded, occasionally divisive study of black affluence. Her flighty, restless Denise Huxtable stood out from the other Cosby Show kids, and in 1987 she became the focus of A Different World’s first season, as the Cosby Show spinoff centered on Denise’s adventures at her parents’ fictional alma mater, Hillman College.

But after spending her wonder years under prime-time television’s microscope, Bonet was still searching for herself. Her quest was punctuated by moments that read as acts of rebellion: the blood-soaked sex scene in Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, appearing topless in Andy Warhol’s Interview and eloping with Lenny Kravitz at the age of 20 — all before 1987 was complete. Gracing the cover of Rolling Stone’s Hot Issue in May 1988 was a fourth and emphatic exclamation point.

“To me, hot means uncompromising. It means nonconforming, not afraid, just be what you are and what you feel.” — Lisa Bonet

On the cover, Bonet wore an oversized translucent shirt and a blank expression. Staring directly into the soul of everyone who laid eyes on the magazine, she laid herself bare, literally stripping away any lingering notions about where Denise Huxtable ended and Lisa Bonet began. Bonet asserted herself as a grown woman. The cover of Rolling Stone Tina Turner was the first black female cover star in 1967 — was a key moment in Bonet’s liberation: her bohemian rhapsody, but above all, her declaration of independence.

Control. It’s the thesis of the album that launched Janet Jackson’s musical career, and what she sought by firing her domineering father. Beyoncé did the same to have the career she wanted. Bonet didn’t know her father growing up, and Bill Cosby became a de facto father figure — regardless of whether she wanted that.

Needing Cosby’s clearance, even for things unrelated to The Cosby Show and A Different World, kept her in a state of perpetual adolescence, even as she left that phase of life behind. “Lisa knows that if I’m upset about something, like, say MAD, I don’t bite my tongue,” Cosby told Ebony in 1987. “She knows that if I don’t like something, I will say it at the level that I don’t like it.” During a November 1986 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, she mentions coming to Cosby for Angel Heart approval.

“I asked him before — I told him that I was gonna do this film, and it had a little nudity in it,” she told Letterman. “He was very good. He said, ‘Well, I know that this is just a job,’ and, you know, it is a Cosby show, and we know what Cosby spells backwards.” When Letterman asked what it spelled, Bonet replied, “King of … I don’t know” before trailing off. And when asked why she accepted the move to A Different World, she said it was because “they told me to,” as if it was obvious that her opinion was never considered.


Los Angeles native Matthew Rolston is one of the most prolific visual artists of his generation. While studying photography at Art Center College of Design during the 1970s, he caught the attention of Andy Warhol. His first professional assignment was to shoot a post-Jaws Steven Spielberg for Interview, which led to opportunities at Harper’s Bazaar and Rolling Stone — all while he was still a student. He’s shot Oprah Winfrey more than any photographer for O, The Oprah Magazine and is said to be the last photographer to have formally photographed Michael Jackson — another one of his first clients. Rolston, responsible for more than 100 Rolling Stone covers alone, points to Bonet’s April 1987 Interview cover as their first interaction.

She laid herself bare, literally stripping away any lingering notions about where Denise Huxtable ended and Lisa Bonet began.

“I knew Lisa because I’d photographed her for Interview, so I must’ve called up my editor and said that I wanted to shoot Lisa Bonet,” said Rolston, who’s also worked with Vogue, Vanity Fair, W and The New York Times, besides directing music videos for Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, David Bowie, Madonna, En Vogue, TLC and many others. “That’s how it started.”

Bonet was the perfect subject. Although Rolston doesn’t remember the specifics that went into conceptualizing the photo shoot, he identifies a simple, proven formula. “If you want to shock everyone, put a gorgeous person either naked or near naked on the cover of a magazine,” he said. “Believe it or not, that used to be something that got a lot of attention. In today’s culture we don’t care, but back then, that was an event. And I always wanted a picture to be an entertainment event, not just a picture.”

But Rolston wasn’t merely playing provocateur. The Rolling Stone cover was built on trust cultivated during that Interview photo shoot, and Rolston’s vision simply matched Bonet’s contribution: an undeniable, magnetic warmth. “Lisa’s always had this hippy thing going on, and it’s very appealing,” said Rolston. “She must’ve been enjoying the fun of it, and she was a rebellious one.” He recalls a time between the Interview and Rolling Stone photo shoots when Bonet accompanied him to a Vanity Fair dinner as his “photo-op date.” She asked whether her “brother” could pick her up, and his arrival toward the end of the dinner caught Rolston off guard. “In comes a very handsome man named Romeo Blue — not yet known to the world as Lenny Kravitz,” he said. “I figured out pretty quickly what was going on: This was subterfuge for getting away from whatever parental control.”

The Rolling Stone Hot Issue was part of her domino effect path to freedom. “One of the reasons that photo shoot was so talked about is because she had been in Angel Heart,” said Rolston. “She played this voodoo priestess. That was considered very shocking to the wholesome image of this girl from The Cosby Show. I was likely playing that up a little bit.” So was Bonet. The two-page spread inside the magazine featured the actress completely (yet tastefully) nude, covering her breasts with her hands and tresses. And on the second page, Bonet offered her definition of “hot.”

“People think you’re hot if you’re on TV,” she said. “I don’t even have a TV, really. I’ve seen, like, two episodes of my own show. To me, hot means uncompromising. It means nonconforming, not afraid, just be what you are and what you feel. I think if you’re gonna go for it, you might as well go for it.” And according to the May 9, 1988, issue of New York Magazine, Bonet actually wanted a more polarizing cover: one featuring the nude photo. Citing an unnamed source, the magazine said Bonet demanded to meet with Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner after learning that it wouldn’t be on the cover: “She explained to him that her philosophy was ‘Go for it’ — since she agreed to be photographed naked, she might as well go all the way.”

“If you want to shock everyone, put a gorgeous person either naked or near naked on the cover of a magazine.” — Matthew Rolston

In the long run, it didn’t matter. Partially clothed or artfully exposed, Bonet had made her point. The young biracial woman who grew up “stuck in the middle,” as she told the Los Angeles Times in 1987, ascended to the cover of one of the most reputable glossy magazines in history, back when it was the size of a vinyl cover or small pizza box. Rolling Stone’s Hot Issue celebrated the year’s most relevant people, places and things; the misfit became the “It Girl.” But, more importantly, it was a high point in her transition into formal adulthood and away from Cosby’s reach.

Bonet left A Different World after its first season because she was pregnant with her eldest daughter, Zoë Kravitz. Debbie Allen, who took over as showrunner for the remainder of the series, has said she wanted to write Bonet’s pregnancy into the plot, but Cosby vetoed this immediately. Lisa Bonet could be pregnant, but not “Denise Huxtable.” And so he brought his prodigal surrogate daughter back to The Cosby Show nest, but the reunion was short-lived. Bonet was fired in 1991 because of “creative differences” and not invited to participate in the series finale. In a 1992 People article about the show’s end, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played her brother, Theo Huxtable, said he always “[admired] the way she followed her own drummer.”

Today, both Bonet and her Rolling Stone cover are iconic. It exalted the “black hippy” archetype and helped cement Bonet as the prototypical boho queen who birthed generations of Tumblrcore descendants. Looking back on the cover after nearly 30 years, Rolston is struck by its agelessness. “It looks really timeless to me,” he said. “With the style and look of it, it could almost be a current photo.” And, like Bonet’s aesthetic, it lives on through popular culture: It’s referenced during the homage-heavy Netflix original Luke Cage’s first season, where the namesake anoints Bonet and Zoë Kravitz The Godfather and its remarkable sequel. Bonet’s style and spirit endure — just like the cover. No wonder J. Cole, like many others, wishes he wasn’t too young for her.

UFC’s Daniel Cormier used family tragedies to fuel his rise to light heavyweight champion He’ll defend his title at UFC 210 and is running a wrestling program for kids

Every morning at 6:30, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier travels about 20 minutes from Gilroy, California, to San Jose, California, to begin his training.

“It’s crazy,” Cormier said of his training schedule. “I do something in the morning at 7 a.m. Either running, hitting pads, sitting in the sauna. Then I train again at noon. Then I get a break until 7 o’clock at night. I train three times a day some days, two times a day some days. I look forward to Sundays when I have a rest day, where I just get up and I just chill with my family.”

The reigning champion will defend his title against Anthony Johnson on April 8 at UFC 210, a 13-bout lineup at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, headlined by the rematch between Cormier and Johnson, the No. 1 contender.

Cormier said he feels great going into the fight and he’s done everything he needs to do to face Johnson.

“I’ve worked hard. I’m managing my weight. I’ve trained smart. I’ve covered all my bases, and I’ve dotted my i’s and I’ve crossed my t’s,” Cormier said. “All I can do out there is go out and show the world what me and my team at the American Kickboxing Academy [AKA] have been working on. I’ve gotta go out there and do what I’ve been trained to do. I do that, I’ll be fine. By the end of the night, I’ll still be the UFC champion of the world.”

The duo first faced each other at UFC 187 on May 23, 2015, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for the vacant title. Cormier won with a second-round submission. A rematch was expected to take place on Dec. 10, 2016, at UFC 206, but Cormier withdrew because of injury.

The fierce rivalry between the two makes for one of UFC’s most highly anticipated rematches.

Cormier is an Oklahoma State University graduate with a degree in sociology, but nothing came easy for him. His father was murdered in 1986 by the father of his second wife on Thanksgiving Day. In 2003, his 3-month-old daughter, Kaedyn, died in a car accident. He later almost died from kidney failure during the 2008 Olympics while trying to make weight.

Now, Cormier runs a wrestling program for kids at AKA Wrestling Club. The two-time Olympian trains children ages 5 to 12. According to the club’s website, “All are offered the opportunity to participate on the Daniel Cormier-AKA Wrestling team if the student wishes to compete. Daniel’s program is currently ranked as one of the top youth wrestling programs in the state of California. He values family. He and his fiancé (sic) Salina Deleon are raising their 6-year-old son Daniel and their 5-year-old daughter Marquita. His life teaches a great lesson, to never stop fighting for the life you want no matter what is thrown your way.”


How do you feel about being the light heavyweight champion?

Unbelievable. It was a journey that I started in 2009, and the idea was to be the champion of the world. Now it’s been two years that I’ve been the champion, and it just felt like a dream come true. When you start doing something and then you accomplish the ultimate goal, there’s nothing like it. It kind of feels like a fairy tale, because never in my wildest dreams could I have thought that my career could have gone as long as it has done.

How did you get started in mixed martial arts?

After the 2008 Olympics, I took a year off and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve gotta do something.’ Because I was working a job at a local TV station in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and I started playing NBA 2K. I played NBA 2K9. Might have played 700, 800 games online in one year. I was ranked in the top 100 in the world. I was beating everybody. I was so good. I was like, ‘If I’m spending this much time on a video game, I know that I’ve gotta be doing something competitive, because I’m just trying to find an outlet to compete right now. Playing basketball games is not gonna do enough.’ My friend King Mo, Muhammed Lawal, he had started probably a year prior, and he’s like, ‘Man, you should try mixed martial arts.’ He was like, ‘I think you’d be good at it.’ I went up to California, trained with him a couple times and came off the American kickboxing chat and training with those guys there. I just was like, ‘You know what? This is what I’m gonna do.’ Three weeks later I was in the octagon.

What piqued your interest in wrestling?

Initially, the WWF [World Wrestling Federation]. I’ll tell you this: My mom took some old mattresses and she put them in our backyard for us to do the WWE [World Wrestling Entertainment]. We were trying it all. We were trying it all. My mom was like, ‘Please go burn some energy.’ We would wrestle in my backyard. Then one day the high school wrestling coach saw us playing outside, and he goes, ‘Why don’t you guys try wrestling?’ We were out there fighting, tussling. I live like 100 yards from the high school. I went in there thinking that I was going to be doing some WWE, but it was actually like referee position, being that you’re on your hands and knees and I’m like, ‘What in the world is this?’ I went. My parents really had never let me quit anything, so I fell in love with the sport.

Daniel Cormier punches Anthony Johnson in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 187 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 23, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Who do you idolize in the wrestling, MMA, kickboxing worlds?

In wrestling, man, my idols were the best wrestlers in the world: John Smith, Kevin Jackson, Kenny Monday, those types of guys. I looked up to the champs. Bruce Baumgartner. I looked up to those guys. American champions. Kurt Angle, those types of guys. I always aspired to be like them. When I was in high school, I saw Kurt Angle win the ’96 gold and I saw John Smith win the ’92 gold when I was in eighth grade and I was like, ‘You know what? I want to be an Olympic champ.’ I was like, ‘I’ve gotta be an Olympic champ, because I want to feel what those guys felt.’ They were flying, they were carrying the American flag. They’re learning.

That moment, it was like, wow, these guys experienced euphoria. They will never be happier in this moment, because how can you be? That’s what I thought I was going to do. Then after the 2008 Olympics, I didn’t compete and I didn’t win, so obviously I never got that feeling. Then when I saw the fight and I was like, ‘Wow, I get another opportunity to change that.’ I experienced it when I became the UFC champion. Fighting my idols again, one of the greatest prizes of all time. The Randy Ortons and the Chuck Liddells. All those guys that have wrestler’s backgrounds and have reached the top of the pool.

How do you make time for family?

It’s tough. I do things like this, I pick up my kid from school so that on the way home I can talk to my son and my daughter. She’s not at school today. She only goes three days a week; he goes five.

How do you eat while in training?

I’ve got a nutritionist. His name is Daniel Lee, and he lives with me. He just feeds me all kinds of stuff. I’m from Louisiana, so I like his stuff. Red beans and rice, gumbo and all that. I can’t eat it between training and training camp. Dan, bless his little heart. He tries, he tries. He calls it healthy red beans and rice. What he does is he makes red beans and he puts chicken apple sausage in it, puts all the stuff in it, but he puts it over a bed of cauliflower rice.

I really do like your effort, bro, but don’t ever make me cauliflower rice and red beans again. I love that he tries to individualize it to me and who I am. I like steak. He makes a good filet with some avocado. Last night I had asparagus with some chicken. He also makes this really good, it’s not my favorite meal that he makes me, but he takes a long piece of collard greens. He’s learned how to wrap it like a burrito. He fries that with turkey. He cooks ground turkey with tomato and onion and all the right stuff. That’s pretty good. That’s one of those health moves that you can actually deal with. It ain’t red beans and cauliflower rice.

What’s been the hardest part of your journey?

The hardest part is balancing. It’s tough. Outside of the fighting, I do analyst work. I now fight at a smaller weight class than I did in the beginning. That’s tough, dieting and making the weight. In terms of athletically tough, the hardest thing I’ve dealt with was losing to Jon Jones on Jan. 3, 2015. I’ll never forget that.

Why was that so hard for you?

It’s tough because there was so much buildup. I felt like I was ready to become the UFC champion at that time. I wanted to be the guy that many consider the greatest fighter of all time. I thought that I was ready to get it done. Then with everything that had happened for him and I as buildup, with the fighting and the arguing.

How has family tragedy shaped you into the person you are today?

Well, when I lost my father, it was tough, obviously because I was young and also my stepdad, Percy, had been such a strong figure in my life. Through him and my mom and my family, they actually were able to elevate me and teach me that, with that law, you know you’re not going to see that person again, but know that you have a dad. A person that is really trying to care for you and nurture you and is going to be a guiding light for you in terms of how to be a man going forward. My mom and dad had divorced before that happened, so I had already spent four years with Percy as my dad, my stepdad. I learned all my lessons from him. Every part of being a man that I carry in my life now, that I try to pass to my boy, is going to be lessons I learned from my dad, Percy.

I had a very strong figure in my life to help me get me through that tragedy, but also to guide me in the way of hard work and commitment and everything else, because I wouldn’t have been that way. My dad got up at 7:30 every morning and went to work for the city of Lafayette. He cleaned bathrooms, he put chalk down on baseball fields. He did all that. When he would get off at 5, he would come home, he would take a bath, get dressed and go back to wash dishes at a pizza parlor for 15 bucks. Or he would take us with him to mow the grass at a cemetery to make money. I understood hard work at a very, very young age because I saw it day in and day out. That’s why I take my son to the gym sometimes, so he can see the work that I’m putting in, to know that nothing is ever going to be free.

My daughter, that was the hardest thing because there are no guidelines, there are no books or anything to read and you don’t know how to deal with loss of that nature. There is nothing that’s going to help you cope better when you lose something so precious and so dear. Then as I started to lean on the people closest to me — my ex-wife at the time, Robin, my coach John Smith, Kevin Jackson and Cheryl McCall, all my friends — I asked myself the question, ‘Is this going to cost you, or is this going to propel you and be a force of inspiration for you?’ That’s what it became.

Everything I did every day of my life going forward was for Kaedyn. For a long time, it was singular. She may have been the guiding force of everything I was doing, from the moment she passed in 2003 until 2011 when I had Daniel. She has always been my guiding light. As she is still today, her and Daniel and Marquita, for me and the rest of my family. Some people don’t recover from a loss like that, and I’m just lucky that I was able to take that energy and use it to actually encourage me to train harder, work harder, work smarter. Make sure that I can be a good father to my children that are here on this earth with me today. I always want to make her proud. Every day in my actions, would she be proud? I think so far the answer is yes.

How did you end up with kidney failure?

Well, that was a lot of mismanagement on my part. Not taking the weight very seriously, not dieting and being professional in my approach to the Olympic Games in 2008. Getting too big and then having to drop off massive amounts of weight. It was a life lesson. Now I have a lot of things in place to avoid those traps. More resources at my disposal, financially, even though the idea of the training center is it gave you everything you needed. I wasn’t mature enough at the time to seek out all the help that I needed to make this journey down to my weight class easy. Now I do that. I have a guy that lives with me for a month before every single fight to make sure the weight cut is as easy as possible. It’s tough. It was very tough.

Made the weight. I got on the scale at 211 pounds, 211.5 pounds. I had depleted myself so tremendously that my body couldn’t handle the loss of water and the strain that I had put on myself to get down to 211. They thought I was suffering from renal failure. It was very scary. I was in the hospital for days after that incident. Again, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, and I learned from that.

What motivated you to start your wrestling program for kids?

Just the fact that wrestling has given me so much. Gave me my education, gave me an opportunity to go to Oklahoma State and pursue a degree. It gave me an out. I know that without the sport of wrestling, I don’t know what I would’ve become. I could have just been another good athlete from Louisiana. There are so many people that just didn’t have opportunities, they’re at home. You can go to any park around the country in an urban area and somebody tells you about this guy that walks around, they’re like, ‘He was so good. He was the best that’s ever been in this area.’ Well, what happened? Well, the streets, wanting to make fast money, lack of opportunity. Same stories in every urban area in the entire country.

Wresting is just a great sport. The drive that it instilled in me, I could have been that fool. ‘Oh, man, you should have saw Daniel. When Daniel was a kid, he could play football, he could wrestle, he could do this. What happened to him?’ I wouldn’t know what happened because of the sport.

Do you feel that in the future, mixed martial arts will welcome more African-American fighters, other fighters of color or even women of color?

Yes, I do. I think that the more that we as African-Americans are at the forefront of the sport, the more influence we will have in the black community. Then more people will say, ‘This is something I can do.’ Right now, in terms of African-American women, Angela Hill stands out as the person that’s kind of leading the charge in the UFC in that sense. Karyn Bryant has been on TV for a long time. She’s a reporter and a studio host for the UFC on Fox Sports. You have myself and Tyron Woodley. Demetrious Johnson.

I believe that with that, we are able more now to reach more of the community. I really want that. I believe that in terms of fighters, you can go to any city and find kids that are willing to flat-out fight. We give them some skill, give them some training. It’s definitely a needed transition. Cain Velasquez told me that he looked up to Julio Cesar Chavez. He followed him as the champion of the world. It was real to him because there was someone that looked like him that had reached these unbelievable heights. I think when kids see myself and Tyron and Demetrious, they could feel the same way.

Have you and your fiancée set a wedding date yet?

Yes, we have. Salina and I are going to be married May 27 of this year. We’re less than 70 days away from her becoming Mrs. Cormier. I told her, I said, listen, ‘It might seem fun, but the name comes with a lot. It ain’t easy.’

Big-time college athletes should be paid with big-time educations Before we discuss paying college athletes, let’s make sure they get a real college education

Education should be the college athlete’s greatest compensation.

Not a slice of the billions of dollars paid for TV rights for their games. Not a pay-for-play contract like their NBA and NFL brethren. The biggest crime in college sports isn’t that the system is rigged against paying college athletes, it’s that money-worshipping American culture is set up against educating them.

The clamor to pay players arose anew this week when North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams earned $925,000 in bonuses after his team won the national championship. “The players got awesome T-shirts and hats,” observed Associated Press sports writer Tim Reynolds in a viral tweet.

The NCAA collects $1.1 billion per year from CBS and Turner for broadcast rights to the basketball tournament. ESPN pays $470 million annually for the College Football Playoff. Conferences and individual colleges make additional millions during the regular season. Many have compellingly argued for years that, morally and legally, the players deserve to pocket some of that windfall.

They do. But our Money Over Everything society is minimizing or ignoring what’s currently within its grasp, which should last far longer than a six-figure revenue-sharing check.

Right now, college players receive up to six figures’ worth of higher education, plus the life-changing opportunity to elevate intellect and character. Yes, athletes are too often pushed into fake classes to keep them eligible, as in the infamous North Carolina academic scandal that threatens the Tar Heels’ championship, or hindered from serious study by the 40-hour-per-week demands of their sport. But these athletes, and generations of their descendants, would benefit more from reforming their educational experiences than from extra cash.

Let’s look at what those North Carolina ballers receive from their athletic scholarships.

Start with four years of tuition, fees, room and board that total $80,208 for in-state students and $180,536 for those from outside North Carolina. Add the benefit of a diploma from a top institution with an influential and passionate alumni network. UNC is nationally ranked the No. 5 public university and the No. 30 college overall. The name “North Carolina” on LinkedIn or a resume opens doors and gets phone calls returned — and that’s without including “2017 NCAA champion.” And for the majority of UNC players who won’t make NBA millions, lifetime earnings for college graduates are 66 percent higher than those with just a high school diploma. That can be worth more than an additional $1 million.

Then there are the intangibles.

“People ask all the time why I’m one of the youngest college presidents in the country, and one of the only African-Americans leading a private national university,” said Chris Howard, 48, who leads Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh and played football at the Air Force Academy. “I credit a big chunk of that to my experience playing college athletics. I know it sounds kind of cliché, but attention to detail, discipline, teamwork, resiliency, learning how to deal with others, deal with people that are of different backgrounds. It was just a melting pot. It was a leadership lab for me.”

After finishing college, Howard flew helicopters, served in Afghanistan and Liberia, became a Rhodes scholar and got a Harvard MBA. “All those intangibles kind of laid the path. The path was laid by playing D-I football first,” he said.

Rather than an unfair burden, Howard sees the demands placed on college athletes as a down payment on a successful future.

“You’ll be a better human being when you learn to handle that load,” he said. “You’ll be a better father, better husband, better brother, better sister. You’ll be a better professional as an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, a business manager.”

The pay-for-play crowd loves to holler, “Intangibles don’t pay the bills.”

College athletes certainly should receive enough compensation to cover living expenses. Their families should travel free to games. Some sort of trust fund sounds fair. But the intangible value of higher education is worth more than pizza or gas money.

Martin Luther King Jr. described it while a student at Morehouse College:

“Most of the ‘brethren’ think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses,” King wrote in 1947 at age 21. “Still others think that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end.”

“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education,” King wrote.

The real problem is, too many athletes are blocked from coming within a Hail Mary of that ideal.

“I would suggest that a lot of these kids aren’t getting an education. They’re just sitting in class,” said Leonard Moore, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who is founder of the Black Student-Athlete Summit.

Moore has tutored, counseled and mentored athletes while teaching at Ohio State, Louisiana State and now Texas. He says most big-time athletes are limited to easy majors and prevented from taking advantage of many educational benefits because “revenue-generating sports are now year-round enterprises.”

“You can’t take a class after 1 o’clock. You can’t study abroad in the summer. You can’t get an internship on Wall Street or Silicon Valley,” he said. “The question then becomes how do these student-athletes take advantage of everything that a place like Texas or UCLA has to offer? I would argue that it monopolizes all their time. The only thing they can do is go to class, go to work out and then go lift, and then go to the meeting and then go to class.”

“I never understood why a football team has to practice in February when their first game of the season is in September,” Moore said.

Money is the biggest reason.

The University of Texas football team generated $121 million in revenue and a staggering $92 million profit in 2015. The business of college sports is so entrenched, Moore doesn’t believe it’s possible to make the players real students again.

“Just because you value education doesn’t mean [the athlete] values it,” he said. “If it’s basketball that got me on an airplane, that’s taken me to another state, that’s taken me out of the country, you know what I’m saying? Basketball has definitely helped me move forward in life. You say a four-year education, that doesn’t mean anything. That’s important in your value system, but it ain’t important in mine.

“Right now, it seems like they value the money and that we all value the money,” Moore continued. “That’s the athletes. That’s the university. Our society values the money, and so we say, ‘Look, they need to be paid. We need to pay them, pay them, pay them.’ Instead of saying, ‘We need to educate, educate, educate.’ ”

Efforts are being made. Over the past 15 years, graduation rates have risen from 46 to 77 percent for all black NCAA basketball players, and from 76 to 94 percent for white players. The NCAA gave Division I schools $45 million last year for academic programs and services.

But ballplayers can still get a sociology degree in three years while reading just one book. The clamor for cash still prevails. Demanding short-term gratification feels better than pursuing long-term goals.

A starting point for reform would be guaranteeing athletic scholarships for four years, instead of one, and providing free tuition, room and board for as long as it takes ex-players to graduate. Freed from the demand to produce revenue, these young athletes could finally obtain the incalculable benefits of a real college education.

Capitalism dictates that college players be paid fairly for the entertainment they provide. If money is life’s ultimate goal, the buck stops there.

Or here: “Capitalism is always in danger,” King said, “of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life.”