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NBA players choose collusion over competition

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In every other sports league, there is competition among the franchises. The NFL has new teams rising and falling every year. Baseball is a whole new season, come October. The NHL playoffs are perhaps the most exciting competition in all of sports. In college basketball, a 16 beat a 1. Yet in opposition to its fellow sports leagues, the NBA is entirely predictable.

The offseason has brought excitement with the long-anticipated relocation of LeBron James. But him landing in Los Angeles was the guess of most pundits amateur and professional. The Lakers are now a playoff contender barring injury. But even away from the Cavs, LeBron is still no match for Golden State.

Superteams are bad for sports

Having the best players fall on one team is fine and dandy when it is natural and done over time. The New York Yankees are among the top contenders in baseball. Contrary to stereotype, they are talented because they established an excellent farm system. It is completely fair for them to end up being the best (again). If Derek Jeter’s strategy works, the Marlins will turn themselves around.

The Warriors are a different story. Yes, they drafted well and traded well. But then they sign Kevin Durant, a top player. Then they sign DaMarcus Cousins, another top player. Cousins. Both of these players shamelessly sold out for the privilege of being on a winning team. Durant joining the Warrior is the equivalent of Ovechkin joining the Penguins. But he didn’t because he cares about his legacy and not his rings. Cousins was perhaps just as bad seeing as he took a deal well below his market value even if injured.

One cannot blame the Warriors for preserving their dynasty which increased the team value 19% in the last year according to Forbes. It’s good for their business, in a league where several teams can’t break past $20 million in operating income. But the league will suffer. The NBA has largely benefited from people enjoying the ride, but it’s inescapable how anticlimactic the end is. The Warriors win. The 2019 NBA finals is already similarly boring, in that, everyone who isn’t a hopeless dreamer already knows the outcome.

The NBA needs to save the competitiveness of its league. A handful of teams now compose the NBA, whilst the others are relegated to being developmental feeding grounds. Top players aren’t interested in rivalry with each other. Rather, they prefer to join forces even to the point of destroying the competition the league was known for. An NBA ring is depreciated in its value, at least if you are a Warrior. Yet players aren’t against colluding for a piece of jewelry at the expense of their honor. This fundamental cultural flaw won’t go away on its own. The NBA should strongly consider curbing this trend either through stricter salary caps or some other creative means.

So far they’ve been content to let ESPN dictate their trajectory and competitive strategy. It seems worth it to leave the elephant unaddressed so long as there’s a raging debate between Team Jordan and the Bronsexuals. Such contentment now has James in the same conference as the Warriors making 2019 a much less exciting finals.

Originally published on StartupChrist.com

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Entertainment and Sports

A Disney reboot of Daredevil would be a slap in the face to fans

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A Disney reboot of Daredevil would be a slap in the face to fans

Hollywood executives are cynical and it’s partially our fault. They’ve learned that they can give us the middle finger one day and we’ll come running back the next day. They’ve also learned they don’t need to be honest, honorable, or in any way caring towards the audiences who make their jobs possible because we are forgiving fools.

In the unique case of Daredevil, the extremely popular show on Netflix that was cancelled last month, there’s a very good chance some Hollywood executives are going to double down on their hatred for audiences. Their going to take the middle finger they already gave to fans with the cancellation and haughtily raise another middle finger by trying to reboot the series on Disney+, the upcoming streaming service that will rival Netflix.

According to Publicist-Whisperer Donna Dickens at /Film, the continuation of the story that the multitudes of fans really want isn’t going to happen:

Translating the Daredevil Cancellation Press Release

https://www.slashfilm.com/daredevil-cancelation-press-release/WHAT THEY SAID: “We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future.”

TRANSLATION: Remember how I said they were buttering up the fans? That butter is to help cold, stark reality slide down our collective gullet a little easier. Because this sentence is a death blow via precision vagueness. The key is in what Marvel/Disney isn’t saying. They aren’t looking forward to working with Charlie Cox in the future. They are looking forward to the continuing adventures of Daredevil. At some point. In the nebulous future.

I’m sorry, y’all but this version of Daredevil is dead and it’s not coming back. Still in denial? Let’s look at some other context clues.

First of all, there’s Netflix’s own statement, which mirrors the precision vagueness of Marvel’s.

“[…] while the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.”

Again, they promise the character will return, not the actor.

Everyone did their part

Cancellations happen. Hollywood is in the business of making shows and movies that make money, so there are many reasons why a good show can and should be cancelled. Low viewership, high production costs, unhinged actors, poor writing… there are plenty of valid business excuses that can be made for taking a show off the air.

But that wasn’t the case with Daredevil. It was the 4th most popular show on Netflix. Production costs were high, but Netflix seemed willing to push forward. The actors have been extraordinary on- and off-screen. The third and final season left fans with excitement over two emerging villains to add to the mix.

Things were going as well as anyone could have expected. The wildcard was Disney.

We did our part. We talked about the show and got our friends hooked on it. The actors did their part by not only giving great performances but also being awesome and supportive throughout the run. Netflix promoted it and continued to deliver excellent storytelling despite the high production costs. Everyone deserves better than this unceremonious ending to something wonderful.

Reboot insult

This is Hollywood. Reboots happen. In a business that relies on regurgitating old content, it often makes business sense to start from scratch. But in the case of Daredevil, a reboot is neither necessary nor wanted. Fans have invested into three glorious seasons of M-rated superhero television that gave some of us hope for greater things in the future.

As I wrote before, this should have been the template for superhero success. Tens of thousands of fans agreed:

Review: Daredevil season 3 proves Netflix finally perfected the small screen superhero show

https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/9tkgsk/review_daredevil_season_3_proves_netflix_finally/I’m late to the game. For the last few years, everyone has told me I should be watching the Marvel shows on Netflix, but my attempts to watch Luke Cage and The Iron Fist ended after 3 episodes and 20 minutes, respectively. It appears that the third time was a charm after starting Daredevil two weeks ago.

It’s 1:24 in the morning and I just finished season three after binging the first two seasons plus a The Defenders. I normally watch three or four episodes a night, but the final six episodes were so enthralling I had to brew some espresso so I could finish it off.

If Disney does try to reboot the series as a family-friendly version with a fresh story and new actors and directors, I won’t be watching it. You can’t serve juicy steaks for three seasons, replace them with fast-food beef-like patties on a greasy bun, and expect us to be happy. Fans didn’t invest time into the show only to have it wiped from official existence to make room for a Disney replacement.

Some would say I should give a new series a chance if Disney made one. Nope. They ruined Star Wars. They’ve started vomiting out live-action versions of their classics in a money grab that doesn’t require an ounce of creativity. The Daredevil betrayal is the last straw for me. They’ll never learn to respect their fans if we continue rewarding them for their abuses.

Everyone involved with Daredevil, including the fans, did everything necessary to keep the show going. Disney made a business decision to hurt a future competitor at the expense of their fans. A family-friendly reboot won’t draw a Disney+ subscription from me.

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Latest Godzilla: King of Monsters trailer may mean it’s actually getting released next year

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Latest Godzilla King of Monsters trailer may mean its actually getting released next year

One of next year’s early blockbusters will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It is scheduled for May 31 after being pushed repeatedly to position it against the competition. This newest release date will give Marvel’s Avengers: End Game plenty of time to eat up audience dollars before passing the baton.

Originally slated for this year, executives kept looking for the best window for their second installment of what they hope to be a franchise similar to the successful Planet of the Apes reboot. The first installment of Godzilla in 2014 was widely seen as the first legitimate blockbuster featuring the Japanese monster after a handful of clunky attempts. It did well with a strong cast (including Bryan Cranston) and chalked up over $500 million at the worldwide box office against 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This installment features Millie Bobby Brown who has experience fighting demonic beasts in Netflix Stranger Things.

My only concern is that they seem to be putting out all the major bad monsters in this one – Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. It lends to the notion that this will be limited to a trilogy with the climax being Godzilla vs. Kong, crossing over the giant ape’s own franchise.

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Binge-worthy show: The Night Manager shows why Tom Hiddleston should be the next James Bond

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Binge-worthy show The Night Manager shows why Tom Hiddleston should be the next James Bond

He’s too posh. He’s too pretty. He isn’t intimidating. He’s too big as a Marvel character. There are many reasons people have dismissed the notion of Tom Hiddleston playing the role of James Bond in the famed series. All of these reasons can be dismissed by watching The Night Manager.

Available on Amazon, the AMC-BBC collaboration is six episodes long. There are reports that it could be brought back for another series, but if it never comes back, rest assured the single series is still worth a watch. The funny part is that Hiddleston might be the main draw, but he’s not even the best overall performance. That honor goes to Hugh Laurie, the well-mannered villain of the show.

As usual, no spoilers.

Much effort is put into making the beautiful people look as beautiful as possible in lovely settings even when things get crazy. It opens with Hiddleston cutting through a crowd of protesters just prior to the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He’s on his way to work to engage in his craft as a manager at a high-end hotel in Cairo. Even through the chaos, Hiddleston holds an air of separation from both the protesters and the military holding them back. And he does all this while wearing cargo pants and an untucked linen dress shirt.

This is where the presence of Hiddleston comes into play and demonstrates why he would be able to play James Bond. His sharp eyes announce he’s not to be reckoned with while simultaneously charming the observer. As one character later notes, “Everybody is attracted to you.”

The men want to be on his side and the women (and one man) want him to be by their side.

His impish grin may have been perfect for playing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it takes a more menacing turn in The Night Manager. We realize there’s grit behind his boyish looks that betrays two tours in Iraq and a personal grudge he’s held with him for years. If Daniel Craig brought emotionless chills to the Bond character, Hiddleston would bring an emotional fortitude. He’s only truly happy when he’s doing the right thing, which may go against the stereotypes associated with a world-class assassin, but luckily we’re in a world where stereotypes are being broken.

There’s another reason Hiddleston would be the right person for the role. Unfortunately, it’s a political one. Some are pushing for a minority or a woman to take the role to the next level. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as it’s done with the most qualified person in mind and not just to make a political statement about inclusion. With Hiddleston, it’s an opportunity to use the same formula while mitigating the damage that is sure to come if they don’t select a minority or a woman. Everyone likes Hiddleston. He’ll make the passing on a controversial choice easier to swallow.

There’s even a scene when he orders a vodka martini at a bar in Cairo. It was the most obvious nod to the Bond franchise they could have made without asking for the drink to be shaken.

If you only watch The Night Manager to verify my Bond assertions, so be it. If you watch it for its great acting, engaging espionage, and brilliant storyline, well that’s even better. Either way, get your six-hour binging snacks ready.

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