Last week I was standing on the Grizzlies court an hour before tipoff, getting ready to co-host the Grind City Prewind show that we do on Grind City Media’s social channels, and I felt someone squeeze my shoulder from behind. It was quick, a fleeting grip which seemed to say, “Hey, how are you?” I looked back to see who it was, and discovered it was The Grindfather himself, Tony Allen.
In the moment I didn’t think much of it, but later that night, over an ice-cold beverage, I genuinely marveled over that interaction: A Grizzlies legend came up and said hello to me, some dude who has never played a moment of professional basketball in my life. How crazy is that?
My life has had a lot of crazy moments. I’ve interviewed everyone from Michael Jordan to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, from Al Green to Andre 3000. I’ve been put in a headlock by Charles Barkley and survived a forearm shiver from WWE champ AJ Styles. I talked NBA with President Bill Clinton, had dinner with Jacques Pepin, traveled from India to Hawaii, from Argentina to Paris, from Dubai to Vegas.
All of this varied life experience leads me to believe that one day I will reach the point in my career where I have nothing left to do except run for President. To be clear, I DO NOT want to run for president, but at this rate, eventually that’s all I’m going to have left. And let’s be frank, the bar for becoming president has never been more approachable.
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my future presidential platform. I can promise you one thing: It will be entirely apolitical and non-partisan. Why should I stake out a side on any policy issue when my goal is to try and get as many votes as possible? So you be brave and make pronouncements about the economy or, you know, politics. I’m out here trying to build a large base.
I debuted several planks in my platform a few years ago, including banning Daylight Savings Time, stopping plane seats from reclining, and taking tags off t-shirts. My stance has not changed on any of these things; if anything, my resolve has only strengthened to rid the world of the scourge of Daylight Savings.
But I have also readied several new positions, which I believe are similarly populist and embrace common sense.
1. I pledge to abolish paper straws. The paper/plastic straw debate has somehow become politicized in recent months, which is as ridiculous as it is unfortunate, as it obscures the truth: Paper straws are ridiculous. I know, I know, plastic straws can be harmful to the environment, and from what I understand, recycling plastic straws can be ineffective, as recycling machines aren’t really built to catch straws. (So maybe we double down and build more straw recycling machines?)
In the meantime, paper (or alternative) straws don’t work. At an airport coffee shop, I recently was given a paper straw, which within 30 minutes had turned into a “Z” shape. I also recently visited a coffee shop where they presented me with a “pasta straw,” which was just a hollow tube of pasta that disintegrated into my drink after about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, they served me my drink in a giant plastic cup.
Take it from someone who drinks iced coffee every morning, using a paper straw is like using a paper umbrella in a rainstorm.
2. I will ban delayed foul calls in the NBA. I understand what referees are doing when they wait to call a shooting foul in the NBA: They’re watching the game, they see a player get a contested shot up, and if the shot misses they whistle a foul, a good two seconds after the shot went up. Oftentimes the rebound has already been secured by the time play stops.
Why wait? Well, they’re trying to play the advantage rule, the same way soccer referees will let action continue if a foul happens that might not directly impact play. The thinking being, I suppose, that it keeps the action moving.
But if a foul occurred, why not call it right away? Isn’t a foul a foul, no matter what? The only thing more frustrating than a missed call is a late call.
And one of those things is controllable.
3. I will introduce a new private business called GET ON MY LEVEL, which will sell a variety of picture frames suitable for hanging on walls, each with a tiny level embedded somewhere on it so you know whether or not it’s mounted exactly straight. Let us all be done with poking and tapping pictures a miniscule amount to the left or right each time we walk past them.
4. No more 3D or VR. Enough with trying to convince everyone that virtual reality and 3D are the future of television, especially sports. Just show me the games I want to watch and do a competent job of it. I am not going to sit on my couch wearing 3D glasses, and I will not strap huge goggles onto my face.
5. I will work with SiriusXM to launch a new station called IN MEMORIAM. Whenever a well-loved recording artist dies, people always want to listen to all of that person’s songs as a form of tribute. On IN MEMORIAM, when an artist passes we will immediately start playing all of that artist’s greatest hits on a loop. You could also feature tributes to other departed artists, songs from people who died on any given day, etc.
6. Baseball managers will no longer be allowed to wear team uniforms. I can’t think of any other major sport where managers wear the same clothing as the players. Frankly, it looks pretty ridiculous to see these old guys running around in tight pants and stirrups. Let them wear sweats or suits or whatever, just not baseball uniforms. (Although come to think of it, it would be pretty weird to see a guy go out to the mound to chat with a pitcher while wearing chinos and a blazer.)
7. One other baseball rule: All Hall of Fame votes will be made public. If you get to decide who belongs in baseball’s enduring list of greatness, we should get to know why, for instance, you didn’t think that Andruw Jones, arguably the best defensive center fielder of all-time, did not belong in the Hall. Seems fair, right?
8. I will somehow bundle streaming subscription services. Now, I know this is kind of counter-intuitive, as all these streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Fubo, Hulu, Blinksy, Peacock, etc.) basically evolved as a way to cherry-pick the content you want, so you aren’t beholden to BIG CABLE and having to pay for 800 channels that you don’t want. So instead you can pick-and-choose which networks you want and pay for them a la carte, which is more economical.
The problem now, though, is I have like seven different logins and subscription plans that I’m trying to manage. So I propose one overarching plan, with one login and payment method, though which you can manage all your subscription services. You can still subscribe to whatever you want to subscribe to, it will just now be easier to do it.
(Also, I made up Blinksy.)
9. I will require broadcast networks to televise the Slam Dunk Contest using the same upper level midcourt broadcast angle that they use for every game broadcast. I understand why the producers and directors go a little nuts each year — they get to have handheld cameras on the court, let’s use this new angle! But we watch literally thousands of hours of basketball on TV all from that same angle, from midcourt on the first row the upper deck. We know what basketball looks like from that angle. So when we see all of a sudden see guys dunking from all these newfangled angles for the first time during the dunk contest, it’s a little hard to process. Show us the live dunks using that same broadcast angle, so we know what we’re seeing. Then use all the crazy angles on the replays.
10. If you don’t wipe down the treadmill at the gym when you finish, you’re banned for life. Simple, but this really needs to happen.