Applying Kanye’s Teachings to the National Basketball Association

Kanye appeared on The Breakfast Club a couple of weeks ago and delivered a predictably fascinating interview. Now that the wisdom he unleashed unto the world has had some time to marinate, it’s time to begin applying his teachings. This is my humble offering to the cause: the NBA in Kanye quotes.

“I hadn’t even heard it man.”

As you may have heard, Kanye made a little noise at the Grammys by declaring that Beck’s Album of the Year win over Beyoncé was “disrespectful to inspiration” among other things. Asked about this a few days later at The Breakfast Club, Kanye admitted to never having listened to Beck’s album before taking his stand against it.

And you know what, he’s makes a strong point. Why should you have to listen, watch, or inform yourself about something before denouncing it? I mean, sometimes you just know.

For instance, I knew the Atlanta Hawks were fluky early on in their success. Knew it without seeing a play. When I finally watched them whip the ball around at light speed and get wide-open shots on every possession, I realized I was wrong. And now they have the best record in the NBA and are decidedly not fluky. The point being … I am not a visionary who can see without looking.

While we’re on the subject of Kanye’s habit of interrupting the Grammys to offer his thoughts, let’s take a look at what he has to say about Taylor these days.

“Taylor was talking to me about this. She was saying that when she was the victim she won every award. Now she’s powerful and the biggest selling artists, and she’s not winning awards anymore.”

I’m not sold on Kanye’s theory that the Grammys snubs powerful artists. Put it this way, I would have been a Hell of a lot more surprised to see Rich Homie Quan making his way onstage than Adam Levine.

But Kanye’s quotes are not intended to exist in isolation. He was talking about the Grammys, but in a way, he was really articulating a more general philosophy, and in this he was dead on.

When something is on top, it ceases to be on top, if that makes sense. LeBron is the best player in the league. But you can only spend so much breath gushing about LeBron’s greatness before the air turns stale. So we talk about Curry and Harden and Anthony Davis. Meanwhile, the best player of this generation continues to unleash feats of greatness on the basketball court night after night.

Humbly, I would say I’m the most influential person in footwear right now.”

Not sure how to connect this one to the NBA. LeBron something something. This quote just needed to be included.

People ask me, why did I go with ‘Only One’ over ‘All Day.’ Well ‘Only One’ made me feel like me. It made me feel like this is the song I had to play back at the studio if Cam’ron and Jim Jones played thirty Dipset records, what am I gonna play in the pink polo, what am I gonna play that’s gonna stand out? What point do I have?”

When you’re as successful as Kanye, as loved and as hated, as revered and as mocked, there are a million forces pulling you in every direction. Try and respond to all of them and you end up with a career like Nicki Minaj.

I like ‘Only One.’ I like ‘All Day’ more. But ‘Only One’ makes Kanye feel like Kanye.

Westbrook doesn’t pass enough. Kyrie’s all flash. Wall can’t shoot.

If you’re great, prepare to be picked apart. Prepare for every action to be dissected and every choice to be scrutinized. The only thing you can do is what makes you feel like you. What point do you have?

“Steve Jobs always had the iPad in his head, but you couldn’t do that coming from the keyboard and the floppy disc. You have to walk people into this.”

The first time people are exposed to something, their natural response is fear. When you are a genius and the voice of a generation, you need to lead people bit by bit. Otherwise they will reject greatness.

Prime example: Dion Waiters. He is a master craftsman in the art of getting buckets. But he came on too strong. He didn’t give the public, his teammates, or his coach enough time to process the revolution he was beginning. And so he was banished to the Thunder.

Has Dion learned his lesson? Will he take things one-step at a time, and allow the mortals to timidly follow. Or will his beautiful plumes once against burst into flames?

“I’m really working on trying to make a sexier Ugg.”

The human population is just 7 billion tiny souls, fighting for space, deluding themselves into thinking they’re moving.

But a few rise above. Michelangelo. Einstein. Steve Jobs. Kanye West.

Where the rest of us see objects, they see the cosmic forces bending through and around these objects, forming one ethereal being. For Kanye, it begins with the Ugg. Only time will tell where the league fits into the tapestry he is weaving, but it is all connected, for it is one.

photo credit: Kanye West October 2013 via photopin (license)


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