NBA Finals, Putins Shell Game, Feel Good Friday
There are advantages to being the Internet's Managing Editor. For one thing, when your team wins a championship, you lead with that story. But in this case, the Dubs winning their fourth title in eight years doubles as a Feel Good Friday piece (at least outside of Boston). It's hard to get one's head around the idea that the Warriors locking in their position as a dynasty is a comeback story, but it is. During the pandemic shortened season of 2020, they posted a record of 15-50. They had an aging core group and were basically written off as contenders. One of the two Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, suffered two devastating leg injuries in a row and was out a total of 941 days. Coach Steve Kerr is a great guy who has now won 12% of all NBA Finals (5 rings as a player, 4 as a coach). And Steph Curry, the key ingredient behind all the team's success, is arguably the nicest superstar in sports. And then there are the unsung heroes: The medical professionals in the maternity ward at Akron General Medical Center, where two bouncing boys named LeBron James and Steph Curry were delivered a mere three years apart. From the undersized and perennially underated finals MVP Steph Curry: "This one hits different for sure knowing what the last three years meant, what it's been like. ... Injuries, the changing of the guard, rosters, the young guys. ... Now, we got four championships. Me, Dray, Klay and Andre." A Dynasty Renewed.
+ "In winning it all again, the Warriors defied everything about this dizzying NBA era, where superpowers rise and fall faster than the crypto market." Inside the Warriors’ Long-Awaited Return to Glory.
+ "There was a lot of tears shed. ... I knew it was a possibility. But to see it in real time, holy cannoli." Klay Thompson Is Just Happy To Be Here Again.
+ The Ringer: Steph Curry Leaves No Room for Debate About His Legacy. (I left no doubt about mine on the very same day when I headlined the story about Herschel Walker's newly discovered children with: He Always Could Find the Open Hole.) And let's not forget that, during this championship season, Curry had time to complete the requirements to graduate from Davidson College. (Now he has the skills to make a living once this sports thing runs its course.)
2. Shell Game
"'The Russians are not hitting us!' Mr. Katerynyn barked. 'Ukraine is shelling us!'" But that was next to impossible: There were no Russian soldiers for the Ukrainians to shell in the eastern city of Lysychansk, and it was clear that the projectiles had come from the direction of Sievierodonetsk, a neighboring city, much of which has been seized by Russian forces. The fact that Mr. Katerynyn believed this, and that his neighbors nodded in agreement as he careened through his neighborhood condemning their country, was a telling sign: The Russians clearly already had a foothold here — a psychological one." From the beginning, one of the key weapons in this war has been media. NYT (Gift Article): Russians Breached This City, Not With Troops, but Propaganda.
+ "In occupied Ukraine, people’s internet is being routed to Russia—and subjected to its powerful censorship and surveillance machine." Wired: Russia Is Taking Over Ukraine’s Internet.
3. Attempted Mike Drop
"The revelation amounted to a single highlighted sentence in an email sent days after the attack by one of Donald Trump’s lawyers, John Eastman, to another, Rudy Giuliani: 'I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works.'" The Atlantic: The January 6 Committee’s Most Damning Revelation Yet. (This whole investigation is a confirmation that what you saw is what happened. What will be done about this relentless crime against America?)
+ "If Pence caved we’re going to drag motherf-ckers through the streets,' one rioter was captured on video saying. 'He deserves to burn with the rest of them,' another said. A man with a bullhorn agitated the crowd. 'Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America,' he informed the already agitated mob. 'Mike Pence has betrayed this President.' He finished with a threat and a promise: 'We will never, ever forget.'" Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: The third hearing on the attack on the Capitol revealed that the Proud Boys would have killed the Vice-President 'if given the chance.' (Mike Pence has been given the chance to testify at these hearings. But even being chased by a crowd intent on murdering him isn't an extreme enough experience to risk alienating Trump's rabid base.)
4. Weekend Whats
What to Read: Let's play a little catchup with today's Weekend Whats. For Pocket’s 10th anniversary, they looked back at the top-saved article for each year since they launched in 2012. Your tastes are pretty eclectic. Pocket’s Top Stories of the Past Decade.
+ What to Watch: I really can't vouch of the ranking order, but you should be able to find at least one or two things to watch in this TV Guide list of The 100 Best Shows on TV Right Now. (Also, TV Guide still exists.)
+ What to Book: An a periodic reminder to score your copy of my book, Please Scream Inside Your Heart. It's a time capsule of our craziest year, a personal story about my parents and what they want you know about today's America, and a very clear look at the buildup to what were seeing play out in the Jan 6 hearings. If you're into audiobooks, the great Peter Coyote narrates most of mine.
5. Extra, Extra
Chips and Dips: Here's an everything story from WaPo. The Biden administration considered sending out gas rebate cards to Americans, but then they realized that the chip shortage would make it difficult to produce enough of them. Too bad cars can't run on torn up monthly statements from our stock brokers...
+ Ron(g): "U.S. regulators on Friday authorized the first COVID-19 shots for infants and preschoolers, paving the way for vaccinations to begin next week." But not in Florida, the one state that isn't ordering any vaccines, because Ron DeSantis knows better. ‘We are devastated.’ Doctors angry over DeSantis not ordering COVID vaccines for young kids.
+ Mud Wrestling: "The newspaper reported that the board's investigation uncovered several other nondisclosure agreements reached in relation to other misconduct claims against McMahon and Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis by women who worked for WWE." Vince McMahon steps down as WWE CEO while the company investigates alleged misconduct.
+ SpaceX Marks the Spot: While Elon Musk was discussing the importance of free speech with Twitter employees, SpaceX fired at least five employees after it found they had drafted and circulated a letter criticizing him.
+ Thighs and Lows: "Courtney’s booming online career sets her apart in suburban Fort Worth, where she is often recognized around town by fans. Inside Courtney and Nick’s home, surrounded by framed family photos and Dallas Cowboys merchandise, they shared the highs and lows of their new normal." Meet the family behind 'Texas Thighs,' an account for a mom's salacious photos (when it isn't getting banned).
+ The Scamularity: And we've finally reached the singularity. Convicted scammer Anna Sorokin says she is now selling NFTs. (In the business, we call this a lateral career move.)
6. Feel Good Friday
"The shorter code is intended to be easier to remember, like dialing 911 for emergencies, which officials hope will make mental health help more accessible overall." Beginning in Mid-July, Dial 988 for the Mental Health Hotline.
+ Researchers work to create a sense of touch in prosthetic limbs.
+ The U.S. cities hosting the 2026 World Cup are announced.
+ WaPo: He was torn from his first love in the Korean War. Strangers just helped them reunite.
+ What these Identical Twin Pitchers Tell Us About Genes, Performance, and the Making of a Major League Ballplayer.
+ She Couldn't Find a Bar Showing Women's Sports, So She Opened One.
+ How a grandmother found herself playing pickleball with SteelersT.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Alex Highsmith.
+ A city in Sweden has installed public trash cans with audio that purrs sexy comments of encouragement to folks who deposit their litter.