Categories
Culture Music

Ximena Acosta Talks Natanael Cano’s Latest Album and Working with Bad Bunny

On this week’s episode of our podcast, Monday to Monday, Mike Boyd speaks with Ximena Acosta, an entertainment strategy and communications consultant who works with a wide range of Spanish-speaking artists. She works closely with Rancho Humilde, the brand which reps up-and-coming superstar Natanael Cano. Mike and Ximena cover a ton of ground in this interview, addressing everything from the current political climate to the way Nata’s music has evolved. It’s a goldmine of helpful advice, tender moments and incredible stories.

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Acosta opens the interview with an amazing quote about her genesis in the music industry:  “I’ve always said that you don’t pick to be in the music business, the music business picks you.” She goes on to discuss how she became involved with Daddy Yankee’s public relations in the mid-2000s. She was asked to help do PR for an event featuring Yankee pumping gas (as an homage to his hit, “Gasolina”), and says of her decision to help: “If you don’t know how to do something, always say yes.” 

It’s difficult to name a Spanish language artist that Ximena has not worked with. She tells Mike a really cute story about Nata and Bad Bunny’s collab, when Bunny surprised Nata in the studio to record his verse. “Bunny made a really good point, he’s like, ‘It’s all about all of us supporting each other. We gotta break the barriers of like, Latin Pop or Reggaeton or Trap, it’s like… It’s music in Spanish.’ That’s what, to me, it is. It’s music in Spanish. It’s music in our language. Whether… whatever genre it is, it’s all badass,” she says of the experience with Bunny. And this growing conflation between the genres has been a core part of Nata’s success, as he’s become a bit of a cross-genre hitmaker, producing corridos, reggaeton tracks and, most recently, a trap album. 


A lot of the guests who hop on the stream to ask questions are curious about Nata’s strategy for creating collaborations. Throughout all her answers, Ximena emphasizes the organic nature of these collabs. Speaking of Nata, she says: “I think a big part of his thing is being so connected with your passion that your instinct becomes your best friend. You just innately know in which direction to take it.” This instinctual artistry has allowed Nata to make hits in a wide range of genres with a ton of different collaborators.

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One of the greatest things about the interview is Ximena’s amazing energy and her wonderful rapport with Mike. She has such a nice perspective on her work and her legacy, telling Mike: “I dream in like forty years to be sitting by a fire telling all the kids that I was super cool back in the days and I worked in the music business and have all these stories. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we have left.” All we have are our stories, and Ximena does an incredible job of helping artists tell theirs while simultaneously writing hers. 

She concludes the interview with a few pearls of advice. On Nata’s ability to cross between genres, she says: “We’re the only ones that set limits on ourselves. You put the fence around you. The world doesn’t put fences around you unless you allow them to.” Although she’s speaking about Nata’s music specifically, the advice is wide-reaching for all creators. 

Ximena’s final piece of advice needs no introduction:

Ximena Acosta

Be you. Find you […] Do it because you love it. And do it because it makes you happy.

If you loved this interview with Ximena (as I certainly did) and want to hear more of Mike interviewing music industry insiders, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he interviewed rapper/singer, T:me.

Categories
Leaders Style

14 NYC Streetwear Brands

New York City has been the epicenter of fashion for centuries, but in the new millennium, haute couture and Fashion Week have become increasingly passe. In fact, the average Manhattanite simply scoffs at the banality of runway shows and all the industry try-hards. Because media spectacle often trumps actual design, real fashion experts have turned to New York’s streetwear as the paradigm of what’s actually on-trend.

Streetwear, as opposed to formal wear, is both minimalist and maximalist: bold patterns and striking statements juxtaposed with sleek lines and clean silhouettes. New York’s skate and hip-hop culture — in turn, sometimes borrowing from the history of punk and goth fashion, which also both have long NY traditions — are the principal influences on the style. But as streetwear evolves, it’s increasingly borrowing from the highbrow world in what influential designer Luca Benini called a “cross-pollination.”

There’s a sort of irony in that what once defined casual cool is now painstakingly crafted, studied, and dissected. Nor is streetwear always affordable anymore, with luxury brands charging thousands of dollars for limited edition ready-to-wear collections. 

In New York in 2020, the development of streetwear has become increasingly schizophrenic — with the popularity of normcore reaching its zenith in 2014 (giving way to an endless onslaught of the ’90s and ’00s nostalgia) and an ever-intensifying atmosphere of political strife, NYC’s streetwear landscape is less coherent and more confusing than ever. Do these brands want to capture the zeitgeist? Is the emphasis more on ingenuity than design? How much can designers capitalize on cultures from yesteryear? And why are the price points always skyrocketing?

The extent to which streetwear is even worn anymore has now become a question. Are some brands’ ultra limited-edition wares simply traded instead of actually utilized? If streetwear is simply a collector’s item, what does that mean for the future of fashion?

We might not have answers to these existential questions, but in celebration of streetwear’s true home, we’ve curated a list of the best NYC brands we could find. The emphasis here is on actual wearability over clout.

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1. Supreme

Let’s get this out of the way: could a discussion about contemporary streetwear — or New York streetwear — even be had without mentioning Supreme? Although the brand’s high-priced and ultra-limited edition lines have become fodder for endless knock-offs and the subject of snooty fashion derision, the unique visual language of Supreme endures throughout the world. The ubiquitous clothing line has even become its own form of cryptocurrency amongst certain circles. That’s how you know you’ve really made it.

SHOP NOW
www.supremenewyork.com
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2. Money Green Merch

Power to the stoners! Money Green Merch, a small clothing brand attached to a budding hip hop label, is selling socially conscious activist wear that makes not-so-subtle political statements. Weed’s not quite legalized yet here in NYC, but you can get ahead of De Blasio and Cuomo on the matter with this merch.

Shop Now
https://www.bigwolftrap.com/merch
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3. SABIT

High-end fashion line SABIT specializes in hand-made and specially tailored garments: “We enjoy making clothes. This is the energy of our products,” reads the company’s sparse mission statement. The label’s kimono-style jackets, bombers, and college-branded sweaters aren’t cheap but the level of craft and care in each garment is worth the price.

SHOP NOW
http://sabitnyc.com/shop
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4. 5boroNYC

As per their name, 5boroNYC is paying homage to this great city’s distinctly idiosyncratic sections. A sendup to classic New York pride, the brand’s hoodie, hat, and t-shirt designs range from graffiti-influenced to normcore. The label’s boards are wonderful, brujeria-inspired sendups to the indomitable spirit of the Big Apple. A nice bonus is that all the products are made in the USA.

Shop Now
https://5boronyc.myshopify.com/
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5. Privilege NYC

A few motifs run through the collections currently on sale at Privilege NYC: the “Saints and Sinners” micro-collection features corrupted religious iconography, while the Lafayette products are rife with the imagery of the French Revolution. The cosmology of the brand is a bit scattered, but the designs are striking nonetheless. Clock their retro polos while you browse the more contemporary shirts, shorts, hip packs, and sweaters.

Shop Now
https://pvlgnyc.com/
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6. Stay Cool NYC

The appropriately named “Stay Cool NYC” brand correctly describes its products as “retro-futuristic chillwear.” The 90’s nostalgia is apparent in every item, and the adorably whimsical air-brush graphics are masterpieces. It’s certainly more sugary than the average streetwear, but it’s all incredibly cute.

Shop Now
https://www.staycoolnyc.com/
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7. Kid Super

Kid Super has plenty to offer by way of politically-minded casual wear, but it’s the label’s hand-painted and embellished whimsical jackets and matching pants that are the standouts of the line. Many of the doodles on each item come from the head designer, Colm Dillane’s fine art practice.

“This [brand] was the perfect way to encapsulate my, and I think many others’, relationship to New York City,” reads Kid Super’s manifesto.

Shop Now
https://kidsuper.com/
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8. Public Housing Skate Team

With President Trump increasingly comparing urban areas to warzones, the militaristic imagery of this brand’s streetwear takes on overtly political overtones. Doodled bullet-proof vests and surveillance helicopters paint an ominous picture of inner-city life, but offer a sparse message of justice. See: the Pitbull Foundation t-shirt which asserts, “Don’t judge a dog by its breed.”

Shop Now
https://www.publichousingskateteam.com/
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9. Ronin Division

Named after Japan’s wandering warriors, Ronin Division brings a sleek, understated design philosophy to their smartly color-blocked and very limited edition jackets and tees. According to their mission statement, the brand is “looking to define the culture and experiences of the ruthless vagabond.” Sounds like a strong streetwear philosophy, if you ask us.

Shop Now
https://www.ronindivision.com/collections/frontpage
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10. Awake NY

“Awake NY is a reflection of the diversity that has defined the city’s cultural landscape. Simultaneously classic and contemporary, Awake NY evokes both the changing aesthetic vibrancy and timelessness of New York,” reads the brand’s website. Indeed, the brightly colored tees, flannel button downs, sweatpants, and hoodies are evocative of the brightest parts of New York’s concrete jungle. No stranger to anti-authoritarian statements, the “In God We Trust, In The President We Don’t” tee is likely to be a hot item this Summer — for obvious reasons.

Shop Now
https://awakenyclothing.com/collections/spring-2020-online
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11. Nine One Seven

Emblematic of a specific kind of post-vaporwave, post-internet psychedelia, Nine One Seven (named after the outdated yet still-pervasive NYC area code) is clearly a child of early 00’s skate culture aesthetics. More flirtatious and cartoonish hoodies and sweaters provide a juxtaposition to the brand’s bizarre offerings.

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12. Alife NYC

Founded in 1999, Alife’s impeccably curated collection of sneakers showcases a particular paragon of on-trend footwear. From ultra-rare Yeezy’s to old-school Converse and limited edition collabs, Alife’s assortments of uniquely branded merch and specially assembled selections walk a fine balance between high-end designer loungewear and urban sensibilities, from a distinctly New York perspective.

Shop Now
https://alifenewyork.com/
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13. Tier NYC

Tier’s got the basic streetwear essentials: an assortment of French Terry cotton hoodies in various colorways including Easter pastels alongside basic shorts, socks, and tees. The brand’s offerings get a bit more sophisticated when you scroll down to their worker’s jackets and flannel button downs, which frequently have the eternal phrase “ART NEVER DIES” embroidered on them. Take note of the brand’s exquisite varsity jacket while you browse.

Shop Now
https://www.shoptier.nyc/shop-1
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14. Belief NYC

Aside from Staten Island, Queens is probably the borough that gets the least love — and it’s a shame! With an increasingly thriving nightlife scene and a rich history of powerful immigrant stories, Belief NYC is repping the maligned Astoria neighborhood through unapologetic and on-trend tie-dye and collegiate t-shirts and hoodies.

Shop now
https://shop.beliefnyc.com/collections/all
Categories
Sports Strength

The Definitive AEW Wrestlers List: The Top 30 You Need to Watch

The playing field within the wild, wild world of professional wrestling has widened with the arrival of All Elite Wrestling.

Since coming onto the scene, the Khan family and “The Elite” have presented a product full of talented wrestlers who have wowed audiences across the country. AEW’s grand debut treated loyal wrestling fans to classic matches that featured the likes of Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley, Cody, Dustin Rhodes, the Young Bucks, and countless others. From top to bottom, AEW’s locker room is jam-packed with quality veterans and future superstars who are being primed to take the company into an even brighter future.

There’s a lot to love about AEW. And most of that fan affection points towards the gifted men and women that ply their trade every time AEW puts on a show. The 20 wrestlers listed below are the ones you need to watch on the regular and the individuals who always put on a memorable performance when called upon.

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1. Kenny Omega

Kenny Omega garnered the world’s attention when he regularly delivered five-star rated matches during his time spent in NJPW. He pushed the envelope with his style of wrestling and pulled in a huge subset of fans due to his global superstardom. It wasn’t quite the shock when Omega decided to pass on WWE in favor of AEW, plus it was cool to see him continue to build upon his superior resume of work. Omega has competed in some of the greatest matches in AEW thus far against the likes of Chris Jericho, Joey Janela, Jon Moxley, the Young Bucks, PAC, etc. He even pulled off a tremendous mixed-tag team match alongside Riho against Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford! Omega is at the top of the AEW food chain and deservedly so.

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2. Adam Page

Cowboys still kick all of the asses in this modern age of subtweets, live streams, and hashtags. Adam Page may participate in all the social media talk too, but he handles his in-ring work well like a throwback of Clint Eastwood. Adam loves to ride horses to the ring, throw sick lariats like a modern-day Stan Hansen and chug free cups of booze after claiming victory. Thank God he transitioned from a milquetoast good guy to give no F’s outlaw. Adam has continually shown just how great he is by competing in standout solo and tag team bouts. Plus he’s looked great in a battle royale and also done the cinematic wrestling match deal well during the Stadium Stampede at Double or Nothing 2020. Adam’s the type of guy who’d knock out a drunk bum at a bar and share a keg of beer with you immediately after.

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3. CM Punk

To see Chicago’s favorite son return to the squared circle once again is a blessing. And to see him so rejuvenated as a core member of the AEW roster is equally amazing. CM Punk is back in fine form in the ring and whenever he has the mic in his hand. After shaking off all those years of ring rust, Punk has morphed into one of AEW’s marquee talents. He mixes it up with anyone and everyone, including Darby Allin, Powerhouse Hobbs, Eddie Kingston, MJF, etc. It feels so good to watch Punk lay out his foes with his trusty Go to Sleep once again.

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4. Bryan Danielson

The “American Dragon” that everyone loved to watch kick people’s heads in during his ROH days is now present within AEW. Bryan Danielson has re-adopted his indie wrestling mean streak and has proceeded to tap out and knock out everyone that tries to test him. Danielson’s slick submission work, stiff strikes, and brutal suplexes are all simply a work of art – he’s used that wide repertoire of his to put on in-ring bangers with the likes of Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Miro, and many more. Danielson is in fine form in AEW as one of its very best wrestlers to follow.

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5 & 6. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)

The core of All Elite Wrestling lies within the talented contingent of wrestlers known as “The Elite.” Thanks to their business acumen and strong relationship with the fans, The Elite has thrown another strong wrestling fed out into the wild and carved out their own niche. The spectacular tag team that’s a part of that group is the Young Bucks, which consists of the Superkick Party’s main hosts Matt and Nick Jackson. Their strong body of work now features a collection of incredible matches from AEW. They’ve taken everyone’s breath away after competing against top teams such as the Lucha Brothers, Private Party, and Kenny Omega & Adam Page. And on their own, they’ve also done fine work within solo bouts. Simply put, the Young Bucks are the cornerstone of AEW’s tag team divisions.

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7. Jon Moxley

The man formerly known as WWE’s Dean Ambrose ditched that moniker and entered AEW with the name that gained him so much notoriety during his indie days. And now that he’s back to being a one-man hardcore army, Jon Moxley is reenergized and a regular highlight of AEW’s weekly show and PPVs. Moxley’s awesome theme song adds to his allure and his vicious in-ring style presents him as one of the most badass competitors in all of wrestling. Moxley can be counted on to work a great normal in-ring bout and also turn things up a notch when relaxed rules are put into play. Whether he’s in NJPW or AEW, Jon Moxley is worth watching no matter whom he’s rampaging against.

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8. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho has already solidified his status as one of wrestling’s undisputed GOATs. Now that he’s taken his services to AEW, Jericho has once again evolved and done an incredible job of performing at a very high level. His snarky attitude, amazing taste in fashion, in-ring expertise, and ability to make anyone he’s pitted against look good has positioned Jericho as one of AEW’s top stars. Jericho’s legendary status afforded him the opportunity to rule the world as AEW’s first World Champion and birth the company’s most powerful stable. You just can’t not sing Jericho’s “Judas” theme song whenever he struts down the ramp. Jericho is money and always will be.

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9. Darby Allin

AEW’s enigmatic skateboarder is the ultimate risk-taker that’s always a joy to watch. As a personality, Darby Allin’s half-painted face and mysterious vignettes easily pull in viewers. And whenever the bell rings, everyone knows he’ll probably do something extremely risky that’ll leave his or her jaws on the floor. Darby may not be as tall or bulky as his AEW contemporaries, but he makes up for it all with plenty of heart and tenacity. Darby’s been involved in great matches with Cody, Sammy Guevara, Jon Moxley, and a host of others. Darby’s future in AEW is indeed bright.

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10. MJF

Maxwell Jacob Friedman is better than you…and you know it. Cody’s former best friend is a fun take on the slick-talking heels of yesteryear. He’s known for constantly berating everyone he sees as beneath him and puts his bodyguard Wardlow to good use when the situation calls for it. MJF isn’t just all talk, however – he’s already shown how efficient he is in the ring, as evidenced by his heated Revolution 2020 match against Cody and his shockingly great bout with Jungle Boy at Double or Nothing 2020. MJF is as fun to listen to when he commands the mic as he is when he competes in the ring.

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11. Brian Cage

The bodybuilding behemoth known as Brian Cage may have just arrived in AEW, but he’s already made quite the impression on the viewing audience. During his time spent in PWG, Lucha Underground, and Impact Wrestling, Cage wowed fans with his mind-blowing feats of strength and usage of maneuvers that most big men never rely on. Since coming to AEW, he’s adopted Tazz as his manager and went on to showcase his devastating offense for the world to see. His grand debut at Double or Nothing 2020 was a sign of great things to come from AEW’s killing machine. Cage is going to be here for the long haul and accomplish some great things along the way. And you’d better make sure you don’t miss any of them.

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12. Lance Archer

If you watched TNA and WWE’s version of ECW back in the day, then you obviously have a clue who this rampaging giant is. Lance Archer moved onto Japan later on in his career and turned New Japan Pro Wrestling upside down alongside Davey Boy Smith Jr. and the rest of his Suzuki-gun stablemates. When Lance chose to go the singles route in the land of the rising sun, he found his calling as the next coming of Bruiser Brody. Now that he’s a part of the AEW roster, Lance has brought over his eye-popping brand of mayhem and anarchy to a new subset of wrestling fans. His strong work during the TNT Championship tournament and unmistakable chemistry with manager Jake “The Snake” Roberts is proof of Lance’s magnetic onscreen presence.

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13. PAC

“The Man That Gravity Forgot” chose to leave his days as a lovable babyface behind during his final WWE run. Once he left Vince McMahon’s land of the titans, PAC took his talents back to Japan for Dragon Gate and competed for various indies along the way. When he decided to step into an AEW ring, PAC continued to show just how much of a mean of a bastard he could truly be. Watching him go full savage mode is always delightful – PAC brutalizes his opponents with stiff strikes, arm-tearing submissions, and match-ending top-rope splashes. PAC’s feud with Kenny Omega provided fans with some standout matches worth rewatching and he’s ready to give us even more. AEW’s resident bastard is money.

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14. Jungle Boy

Wrestling’s modern-day Tarzan is a central member of AEW’s Jurassic Express, a three-man stable that also consists of Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt. Both of those men are indeed talented in their own right, but we’re here to showcase just how astounding Jungle Boy really is. The man is a young heartthrob, which has gone a long way towards solidifying him with the women that keep their eyes glued to the AEW product. Thankfully, Jungle Boy is also fun to watch whenever he puts on his working boots. He’s an agile athlete that can dive in and out of the ring, plus he can also deliver a mean lariat (don’t let his diminutive stature fool you into thinking he’s powerless). Oh and if you didn’t know, now you know – Jungle Boy’s real name is Jack Perry and he’s the son of 90210 star Luke Perry.

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15. Sammy Guevara

The Inner Circle’s “Spanish God” has quickly transformed into a marketable star right in front of our very eyes. Ever since he competed against Cody on the very first episode of Dynamite, Sammy Guevara has only gotten better in the ring and further developed his character work. Sammy’s brand of humor is a weekly highlight due to his commercial break cue card shtick and hilarious antics performed alongside Chris Jericho. He’s proven to be a high-flying highlight that will most certainly earn a championship in the near future. Seek out his action-packed sprint with Darby Allin at Revolution 2020 and prepare to be amazed.

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16. Orange Cassidy

“Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy is a phenomenon amongst hardcore wrestling fans. The man has managed to amass all types of love (and hate) due to his nonchalant attitude and sloth-like movement whenever he makes his way to the ring. But once he kicks things up a notch and actually cares enough to push it to the limit, he’s a joy to watch. Orange has shown that he can hang with the best of them, as evidenced by his bouts with foes such as PAC and Fenix. Once those hands go down into his pockets, Orange can whip the crowd into a frenzy. That’s no easy feat, but Orange is capable of doing it without breaking a sweat.

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17. Fenix

Pentagon Jr.’s real-life sibling Fenix is one of the greatest high-flyers in wrestling today. Fans are constantly amazed and shocked at the incredible maneuvers he pulls off and the insane risks he’s willing to take when the stakes are especially high. Fenix’s 2019 Dynamite bout against Nick Jackson is a must-watch for anyone who needs proof of his excellent skill set. AEW did the right thing when it gave Fenix the chance to join its ranks and present his jaw-dropping style of Lucha Libre to an appreciative wrestling audience. Anytime Fenix strolls to the ring, you can expect to enjoy every instance of what he’s about to pull off from the top rope.

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18. Pentagon Jr.

If you followed Lucha Underground during its short yet wholly entertaining run, there’s one star that truly shined above the rest – Pentagon Jr. Pentagon increased his fanbase exponentially due to his vicious arm-breaking antics, amazing catchphrase, and ability to compete at the highest level of in-ring competition. After Lucha Underground met its unfortunate end, Pentagon appeared in other wrestling feds such as Impact Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and other independent companies. Pentagon now wows the crowd at AEW shows and is still at the top of his game. Mr. “Cero Miedo” is a wildman who puts on amazing tag matches with his fellow Lucha Brother Fenix and can also be counted on to present great solo bouts with just about everyone.

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19. Adam Cole

“YOU KNOW IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BOOM! ADAM COLE BAY BAY!” AEW fans are always ready for storytime with Mr. Cole and are definitely in tune with his in-ring barnburners. The former king of NXT is doing great work in AEW as a legit solo superstar that has good matches with anyone and everyone. Cole has mixed it up in the ring with Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, Adam Page, and a host of other AEW wrestlers that have taken him to the limit. Cole’s entertaining promos and cocky demeanor make him one of those AEW talents you just love to hate.

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20. Hikaru Shida

One of AEW’s top Japanese exports is Hikaru Shida, a lovable member of the roster who can be trusted to have a good match with just about anyone she’s pitted against. Every time she enters the ring, she shows out and proves just how capable she is as a member of AEW’s women’s roster. Shida’s bloody Dynamite bout against Britt Baker and her hardcore brawl with Nyla Rose at Double or Nothing 2020 is proof of her squared circle expertise. Shida’s social media posts present her as a super likable and wholesome personality, which makes her even more of a star within AEW.

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21. Nyla Rose

“The Native Beast” Nyla Rose is a major pillar of AEW’s women’s division. Her power-based offense and surprising agility have earned her accolades from regular viewers of Dynamite and AEW PPVs. She’s already made history as the first openly transgender wrestler to compete in a major wrestling company and capture that company’s women’s championship. Nyla has gone on to compete in great matches with Joshi greats such as Riho and Hikaru Shida, which have done a lot to improve her in-ring capabilities and get even more eyes on her work. Nyla has stepped into the role of AEW’s resident lady destroyer and has represented that position quite well.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/B_TV2dUhyhQ/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
22. Britt Baker

Wrestling’s greatest dentist (sorry, Issac Yankem) plies her trade in All Elite Wrestling. During Britt Baker’s start within the company, she was presented as a white-meat babyface that didn’t garner a whole lot of fanfare. But once she flipped the switch and became a heel that positioned herself as a role model, she finally found her true calling and got fans to take notice of her. And it all started with that infamous promo with Tony Schiavone back on the Jericho Cruise. Since then, Britt has morphed into a magnetic personality and a solid in-ring competitor.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CMZyZYtDZEi/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
23 and 24. FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood)

Since leaving WWE, Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood have found their calling once again as one of the best tag teams in wrestling today. Their throwback 80s approach to in-ring work provides a nice change of pace from the rest of the AEW roster and throws an interesting wrinkle into their hotly contested bouts. Their matches against Jurassic Express, The Young Bucks, and the Lucha Bros slapped tremendously. With Tully Blanchard by their side, FTR has quickly morphed into one of AEW’s most outstanding and equally feared tandems.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/COJ9htXhJoy/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
25. Tay Conti

Tay Conti has to be one of the most improved wrestlers on the planet. She went from doing nothing of note during her NXT run to becoming one of the most well-polished athletes on the AEW roster. Tay exudes far more confidence and has become a slick in-ring technician that can go with the likes of the best lady wrestlers AEW has to offer. As a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, Tay has the toolset needed to set her apart from the rest of the pack and present her as a legitimate threat to any opponent.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CJ6kvwxpmJR/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
26. Wardlow

Wardlow isn’t just your run-of-the-mill talentless bodyguard that most heels rely on. He’s an impressive big man that moves with the best of ’em in the ring and shockingly handles himself pretty well on the mic. After watching him put on some good matches with Cody Rhodes and Jake Hager, it’s become quite clear that the sky is the limit for Wardlow. The guy’s a walking wrecking ball and we’re always excited to see him brutalize the jobber of the week.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CN8kCK1ndt7/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
27. Jade Cargill

Her six-pack is next level. Her mic game is official. And her badassery seems to have attracted a substantial fanbase since her grand debut. Jade Cargill showed up to do work as Shaquille O’Neal’s mixed-tag team partner and left a great impression on everyone that watched her. After a series of quality follow-up matches, the AEW crowd has taken to her even more and made it quite evident that big things are definitely in her future. Simply put, Jade Cargill is money.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CNFt2vZJCmM/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
28. Ricky Starks

If you watched him during the modern-day rendition of the National Wrestling Alliance, then you knew just how great he could be. Once he delivered that awesome TNT Championship match with Cody Rhodes and got signed to an official contract shortly after, Ricky Starks’ NWA Powerrr supporters were vindicated. Ricky’s all about swag and crisp in-ring work. Plus he just so happens to have one of the best songs in the company. AEW’s “Stroke Daddy” is the perfect amalgamation of old and new school swagger.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CbSlQBmOUAW/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
29. Kris Statlander

AEW’s resident alien lady turned dark angel of justice is one of those fearsome women’s wrestlers who also definitely stands out from the pack. She’s delivered some worthwhile matches thus far on PPV (versus Britt Baker at All Out 2021 and versus Leyla Hirsch at Revolution 2022 are all worth checking out). Kris Statlander has a superstar aura about her and relies on a hard-hitting movelist that makes all her stuff look extra snug & painful in action. Her 450 Splash is simply incredible.

<code><p class = "instagram-media">https://www.instagram.com/p/CbqU9zfp87Q/?utm_source=ig_embed\u0026amp;utm_campaign=loading</p></code>
30. Eddie Kingston

Eddie Kingston is a dirty brawler through and through. Whenever the bell rings, he goes into pitbull mode and runs wild on his latest victim with a combination of slaps, chops, and suplexes. His appreciation for golden age All Japan Pro Wrestling influences his “Strong Style” approach to in-ring combat. Kingston’s genuine passion and realness are always evident whenever he grabs the mic to talk some ish and gets in the ring to KO someone with his dreaded “Backfist to the Future.”

Categories
Consoles Gaming

15 Video Games Like ‘Destiny’

Now feels like a good time to finally catch up on some of the best video game titles people may have missed out in recent years. There are a lot of hours to fill now and it seems like more and more people are gaming in quarantine, with Statista reporting a 45 percent increase in time reported playing video games by people in the United States amidst the pandemic safer-at-home orders. 


Video game franchises are a dime a dozen, but Destiny is likely the most iconic new franchise of the last decade. Bungie’s first creation after wrapping-up their legendary Halo trilogy, the game focuses on human survival, player modification, and galactic exploration all in a shared-world setting with hundreds of other players all causing trouble simultaneously. With numerous DLC add-ons and a follow-up title, the world of Destiny is still pulling in new players all the time. Check out these titles that all scratch similar itches to Destiny.  

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1. ‘Warframe’

Originally released on PC back in 2013, Warframe has since been ported to Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch, but it is still technically in open beta. A free to play game, players awaken from a cryochamber in the future and immediately find themselves thrust in the middle of a galactic war for survival. The mechanics, especially the free-wheeling action as players jump around and try to avoid enemy attacks, is similar and easy to grasp for anyone who’s already mastered Destiny’s fighting system. With a huge player base and numerous ways to customize a character, now is an excellent time to jump into Warframe and start fighting for cosmic justice.

Buy Now
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/warframe/bps3xf74b9v1
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2. ‘No Man’s Sky’

The universe is a strange, crazy place full of unexplainable locations to explore. So, it makes sense that developer Hello Games wanted to make a survival game set in a randomized, chaotic universe just as inconceivable as the real thing. Like Destiny, in No Man’s Sky players control a character exploring and fighting their way across numerous planets. What distinguishes this title from other cosmic games is the fact that No Man’s Sky is completely randomized, featuring a supposed 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets for people to discover. The game has been out since 2016, but thanks to cross-platform capabilities and the fact that it was just added to the Xbox Game Pass, now seems like a great time to finally take to the skies and see what No Man’s Sky is all about.

Buy Now
https://www.nomanssky.com/buy-now/
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3. ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’

Even though games like Oblivion and Skyrim are packed with hours worth of entertainment, one problem with most titles in the Elder Scrolls series is that you’re stuck enjoying the whole experience alone. In 2014, Bethesda finally altered their structure and released Elder Scrolls Online, a narrative-based game set in an online world full of other players. With story updates still hitting all the time and the game’s spot on the Xbox Game Pass bringing in new players all the time, it’s a great time to plug-in and explore the awesome world of Skyrim.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Elder-Scrolls-Online-PC-Mac/dp/B0081Q58AW
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4. ‘Doom Eternal’

If fast-paced action and intense metal music gets you going, Doom Eternal is the game for you. The fifth title in the iconic franchise, Doom Eternal is a balls-to-the-wall shooter that puts the player in control of the legendary Doom Slayer as he fights to save Earth from hell’s encroaching grasp. Whereas some games reward players for being strategic and hanging back to pick-off enemies, Doom Eternal wants players to get right in enemies’ faces as the more chaotic and up-close the action is the more equipment and health packs the player receives. Similar to Destiny, the game has some beautiful level design and knows exactly how to keep the player engrossed in action, making sure no moments ever feel boring or overly tedious.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Doom-Eternal-Xbox-One/dp/B07DKKS9X3/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=doom+eternal&qid=1591897670&s=software&sr=8-2
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5. ‘Apex Legends’

Another free to play game, Apex Legends is a team-based battle royale that occupies a similar lane to games like Fortnight and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Players choose a character from a unique cast with particular skills and abilities as they race to set points on an encroaching map and try to outfight competing squads of players. Action-packed and incredibly fast-paced, this game- like Destiny- can be enjoyed whether you want to run-and-gun it solo or slow things down a little bit, get strategic and communicate with your teammates as you work to conquer the map.

Buy Now
https://www.ea.com/games/apex-legends
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6. ‘Borderlands 2’

It’s hard to pick just one Borderlands game to spotlight, but the second title in the franchise is one of the most action-packed, hilarious games on the market. Borderlands 2 is a first-person action game, set in a hilariously chaotic world, where the player joins a bubbling rebellion against the villainous Handsome Jack. Like Destiny, there is a central story pulling gamers forward, but the most engrossing part of both titles is the sense of infinite exploration and customization. Not only do the various playable characters in Borderlands 2 all have different fighting styles to choose from, but the game has some of the most complex weapons-modification and creation systems I’ve ever experienced.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Borderlands-2-Xbox-360/dp/B0050SYK44/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=borderlands+2&qid=1591897839&s=videogames&sr=1-4
<code>": "<iframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/DPf-EATqFng\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen></iframe>", "hed": "7. \u2018Anthem\u2019", "subhed": "", "buttonText": "Buy Now", "buttonUrl": "https://www.amazon.com/Anthem-Standard-PC/dp/B07DLWKQKC", "dropCase": false, "mediaId": null, "jwplayer": ""</code>
7. ‘Anthem’

With some of the best RPGs on the market, especially the Mass Effect trilogy, any new title from BioWare is worthy of gamers’ attention. In Anthem, players control a Freelancer-exosuit-clad-warriors on their first mission as they fight to save their planet from an unknown force that litters the world with monsters and distorts reality. The game has been criticized for being repetitive at moments, but its impressive combat mechanics, customizable character layouts and the engrossing shared world makes it a worthy title for anyone looking for a Destiny replacement. If gamers prefer fighting bad guys on their own, Anthem allows them to drop the co-op elements and shoulder all the stress of saving the world solo as well.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Anthem-Standard-PC/dp/B07DLWKQKC
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8. ‘Risks of Rain 2’

The first Risks of Rain was a side-scrolling action game, but Hopoo Games upgraded things a bit for the sequel. Risks of Rain 2 is just as exciting as its predecessor, but it has been updated to exist in a three-dimensional world, giving players more ability to control their character and explore their surroundings. Either solo or in online teams of up to four characters, players crash land on a planet and have to fight their way through a collection of aliens and monsters who grow tougher every few minutes until they are able to safely escape. The game’s action sequences feel incredibly similar to Destiny’s, but the game’s straightforward nature and the fact that Risks of Rain 2 sends you all the way back to the beginning of a level if you die means players may have to constantly tweak their play styles in order to survive the changing environments.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/app/632360/Risk_of_Rain_2/
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9. ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

Dinosaurs and robots are awesome on their own, but smashing them together for the sake of a video game is a work of genius. Horizon: Zero Dawn, set in the 31st century where humans have separated into tribes and huge mechanical beasts roam the land, is an exciting, action-packed game that rewards various play styles. The main campaign is incredibly poignant and rewarding, but, like Destiny, it’s the slick mechanics and engrossing setting that will keep players coming back over and over again. With various skills to build upon and futuristic versions of simple weapons like spears and arrows at your disposal, the way players control Aloy and explore the rugged terrain is up to their own determination.

Buy Now
https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP9000-CUSA10237_00-HRZCE00000000000
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10. ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division 2’

A game set in an unrecognizable post-pandemic America may be a bit too much for certain gamers right now, but for those looking for a fun, layered experience, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the perfect title. Players control a member of the Strategic Homeland Division as the organization attempts to rebuild and secure Washington D.C. Like Destiny, The Division 2 has an online campaign where players can create a squad together and set out into dangerous terrain on missions. With various skills to unlock and weapons of different rarities to discover and upgrade, Division 2 has a lot more going for it than just an interesting narrative pulling players into its world.

Buy Now
https://store.ubi.com/us/game/?lang=en_US&pid=5b06a3984e0165fa45ffdcc5&dwvar_5b06a3984e0165fa45ffdcc5_Platform=pcdl&edition=Standard%20Edition&source=detail
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11. ‘Star Wars Battlefront II’

If players are looking to explore and battle their way across alien settings while gaming, they might as well step foot on planets they’ve seen on the big screen. Star Wars Battlefront II, ironically the fourth overall title in the franchise, is a beautiful, action-packed shooter courtesy of DICE that packs in as much rebel-versus-empire content as possible. No matter what side of the force you fall on, there is fun to be had here as you battle across various planets with multiple class load-outs to choose from. With the re-introduction of a campaign after the preceding title focused exclusively on online multiplayer modes, Battlefront II is one of the most well-rounded galactic video-game experiences currently available.  

Buy Now
https://www.ea.com/games/starwars/battlefront/star-wars-battlefront-2/buy
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12. ‘Gunfire Reborn’

The newest title on this list, Gunfire Reborn is an entertaining, cartoony first-person shooter where players control a killer cat. With various weapon upgrades and side-items to incorporate into your fighting style, Gunfire Reborn enables gamers of various play-styles to mold their own experience. It’s not a massive game, so if you’re looking for the open-endedness of Destiny this isn’t the title for you, but it’s fast-paced action and unique dungeon designs scratch similar itches.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1217060/Gunfire_Reborn/
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13. ‘Death Stranding’

Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise, roared back onto the gaming scene after splitting from Konami with 2019s Death Stranding. Set in a futuristic United States where interdimensional monsters roam the Earth, the title follows Sam Bridges (played by The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus), a member of a courier service who has to survive the barren landscape and deliver supplies to isolated communities. Death Stranding is a solitary experience, so there’s no shared world like there is in Destiny, but the two titles have a similar sense of exploration and some beautifully developed environments.

Buy Now
https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/death-stranding-ps4/
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14. ‘Titanfall 2’

The original Titanfall stuck to online multiplayer modes, but 2016s follow up, Titanfall 2, added a comedic, action-packed single-player campaign for gamers to sink their teeth into. An intense first-person-shooter that feels similarly fast-paced to Destiny when players are stuck in the middle of an intense fire-fight, TItanfall 2 is slick and addictive enough to make players search for new matches all night. There are a lot of games with unique exoskeletons and mech-suits, but donning a Titan is an incredibly enjoyable experience that adds a new set of mechanics to the game. Whether players are sliding around, running on walls or grappling from building to building, the fluid movement makes Titanfall 2 one of the most exciting and fast-paced shooters currently available.

Buy Now
https://www.ea.com/games/titanfall/titanfall-2/buy
15. ‘Halo 3’

Before Bungee unleashed Destiny on the world, it solidified itself as a legendary game developer with Halo 3. The final game in the franchise’s original trilogy, players control Master Chief as he labors to stop the devastating war with the Covenant and the parasitic alien species referred to as the Flood. Even today, 13 years after the title was first released, the graphics hold up and the multiplayer modes are full of skilled players searching for matches.  With slick first-person-shooter mechanics and a wide range of aliens to tear into, Halo 3 and Destiny scratch similar itches for anyone ready to unleash their combat skills on the cosmos.

Buy Now
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-3/bsxzvk24cmr3?SilentAuth=1&activetab=pivot:overviewtab
Categories
Sports Strength

The 15 Best NBA Point Guards

The point guard position is so crucial to an NBA franchise’s success. Point guards come in all different sizes. There’s Luka Doncic, a 6’7” multi-positional point guard that initiates almost every play for the Dallas Mavericks. Then there’s Ben Simmons. A point guard inside of a power forward’s body who might be the most unstoppable force in the open court. 

Each point guard on this list adds their own flavor in a league and a role that’s constantly changing. There’s just one ground rule for this group. There are a few players like Jrue Holiday, LeBron James, and Lou Williams who don’t play the position for the most part despite their roles as initiators and creators in their team’s offenses. Here are the top 15 point guards in the NBA right now.

1. Stephen Curry
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Stopping Stephen Curry still is an unenviable task. Curry’s one of the few players from night to night that makes opposing defenders look foolish. The only thing in his way was the hand injury he suffered four games into the season. He missed all but five games, and won’t be playing when the NBA returns to Orlando to finish out the rest of the 2019-20 season due to Golden State’s finish as the worst team in the NBA.

Even without all of the games played, Curry is in the prime spot of this point guards ranking because of the impact he has offensively. Without Curry (and Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant as well), the Warriors dropped from first in offensive efficiency this season to dead last. A three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP, Curry’s ability to pull up from anywhere makes him a threat and opens up the floor for his teammates. The precision of his jump shots coupled with his unselfish nature makes the Warriors offense hum. For that, he deserves the top spot.

2. Damian Lillard
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

At the age of 29, Damian Lillard has reached the prime of his career. An unstoppable force once he crosses halfcourt, Lillard dropped 60 points on two occasions this season. He was arguably having the best individual season of his career when the league shut down abruptly. A stretch that saw Lillard score at least 40 points in five of six games and leads Portland to wins over the Lakers, Jazz, Rockets, and Pacers stood out as a big moment for Lillard. 


Though Portland’s season has been derailed by injuries, Lillard has shined bright and kept the Blazers in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Lillard has established himself as one of the best scoring options in the association… And he’s a pretty good rapper too.

3. Luka Doncic
Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The meteoric rise of Luka Doncic has been fascinating to watch. An immediate star in his rookie season, Doncic followed that up with a second season for the ages. The 21-year old racked up 17 triple-doubles and nearly averaged a triple-double all season with a stat line of 28.7/9.3/8.7. Doncic’s skills shined bright as the lead ball-handler and scorer for a Dallas team ranked number one in offensive efficiency.


Doncic worked on his body last summer to build towards his MVP candidate worthy season. With Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in the fold, the Mavericks will likely be competing deep in the playoffs for the next decade.

4. Ben Simmons
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Much is made about what Simmons can’t do on the court. It’s just one aspect of the game where Simmons is lacking. In three seasons, the two-time All-Star has made just 2 of 23 three-pointers (0.87 percent) and struggles at the free-throw line. Despite that, Simmons’ game isn’t appreciated enough. 6’10” point guards don’t just grow on trees. 

A world-class passer, defender and athlete, Simmons can play point guard but can guard all five positions and he was on his way to votes for Defensive Player of the Year before the season was suspended. An immovable force in the open floor, Simmons is an integral piece to a 76ers team looking to squeeze its way into the crowded championship contender race.

5. Kemba Walker
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After a long run in Charlotte that saw him set the franchise record for scoring, Kemba Walker signed a max deal in Boston this past summer. Combined with Boston’s young core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart, Walker has fit in well. Second on the team in scoring (21.2 points), Walker has averaged at least 20 points per game for five consecutive seasons.

Walker’s quick-twitch moves off the dribble are lethal. Walker’s put numerous defenders on skates and can pull up from nearly anywhere on the court. Now with Boston, Walker is expected to finally make meaningful playoff appearances and possibly win his first playoff series. Before this season, Walker had only played in 11 playoff games in his nine-year career.

6. Russell Westbrook
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

One of the storyline questions in the NBA drama this season was how the Russell Westbrook and James Harden partnership would work in Houston after Westbrook was acquired for guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The pairing has had its warts. Westbrook’s subpar outside shooting naturally makes him an awkward fit with Harden’s ball-dominant tendencies. Still, Houston has found success, as they are tied for fifth in the Western Conference standings. Westbrook’s sheer force and will is still something to be reckoned with even after he’s past the age of 30.

Westbrook has accomplished every individual accolade you can imagine in his 12-year NBA career. The 2017 NBA MVP, Westbrook was just the second player ever (Oscar Robertson) to average a triple-double in a season. Though he’s not reached that milestone this season, Westbrook has still been solid, averaging 27.5 points and shooting a career-high 57.4 percent from the field.

7. Chris Paul
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Chris Paul was not given much hype upon his arrival in Oklahoma City this season. A 15-year pro, Paul was coming off of his worst individual season in the NBA. Saddled with a bloated contract and at a less than ideal age, the quintessential NBA point guard seemed likely to be gone from the Thunder as fast as he came.


Instead, Paul experienced a rebirth. Teaming with young guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder, Paul made the All-Star team for the first time in four seasons and was Mister Clutch of the league. He’s sixth in clutch scoring and shooting 53.5 percent from the field in clutch moments. Expected to be a lottery team, Oklahoma City has been a huge surprise, tied for fifth place in the West with a 40-24 record.

8. Kyle Lowry
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A significant piece of the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors, Lowry is known for his ability to affect the game in multiple ways that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Drawing charges, diving for loose balls, and being a general pest on defense, Lowry is the heart of the Raptors. A leader in every sense of the word, the diminutive guard is still productive at the age of 34.

A six-time All-Star, Lowry came into this season with a lot of questions. With Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green went in free agency, Lowry faced pressure to step up and fill that void. Though he had produced at a high level previously, this was a new challenge. Lowry has been critical to Toronto’s success, averaging 19.7 points and he’s seventh in assists (7.7) in the NBA. Toronto has a balanced offensive attack, but Lowry’s constant motion, all-out hustle on every play, and large derrière have loomed large in the team’s second-place (46-18) rank in the Eastern Conference.

9. Kyrie Irving
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

A wizard with the basketball, Irving moved on to Brooklyn this year. The results were inconclusive. His co-star Kevin Durant missed all season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Irving missed 44 games due to injury. When he did play, Irving was his usual offensive phenom. Irving scored 50 or more points twice in just 20 appearances.

A maestro with the ball, Irving’s ability to create his own shot is unmatched. Working with numerous dribble moves and the ability to finish with either hand around the rim, Irving is unstoppable in isolation situations. When Durant and Irving both return to the court next season, the Nets will be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

10. Trae Young
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks are really bad. The fourth-worst record in the NBA, there is a glimmer of hope in the future for the franchise. A lot of that hope is built around the play of point guard Trae Young. An All-Star in his second year, Young has grown into one of the most intriguing young players the NBA has to offer. A premier shooter from three, Young has made 205 threes this season. 


His profile as a star offensive player has risen. Young’s found ways to draw contact and get to the free-throw line more often despite his small frame. A serial nutmegger, Young’s ball handling, passing, and court vision are top-notch. For Young to rise even further on this list, he’s going to have to improve on the defensive end where his lackadaisical approach already hurts the built-in limitations that come with his small size. Fourth in scoring (29.6 points) and second in assists (9.3), there’s no doubt that Young is on the right track.

11. Jamal Murray
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Before the start of the season, I listed Jamal Murray as one of five players expected to break out into superstardom. Based on a strong playoff debut last season, Murray looked to continue his ascent as one of the top point guards in the NBA. Murray’s role as a point guard is so much more different than most other point guards because he plays with a center in Nikola Jokic that initiates the Denver Nuggets’ offense so often.

Murray’s more of a finisher in Denver’s offense with an ability to create his own shot off of the dribble or to spot up. His numbers were stagnant this season as he averaged 18.8 points and 4.8 assists in 55 games. Murray’s offensive ability has allowed Denver to remain one of the top teams in the NBA, and at 22 there’s still time to see if he can reach another level.

12. De’Aaron Fox
Rob Carr/Getty Images

A blur in the open court, Fox didn’t take the major leap that many expected in his third year. After shooting 37.1 percent from behind the three-point line during his breakout second season, Fox shot just 30.7 percent on 153 attempts during the 2019-20 season. 

Nicknamed “Swipa the Fox,” the Kings point guard’s play is a significant factor in Sacramento’s late-season playoff push. Fox was hot after the All-Star break, averaging 23.4 points and shooting 50.3 percent from the field in nine contests. If the 22-year old guard can develop a consistent perimeter shot, the sky’s the limit.

13. Ja Morant
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The second overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, Ja Morant’s adjustment to the pro game was quick and seamless. The 19-year old point guard received some attention for the All-Star team as he led the Memphis Grizzlies in scoring (17.6 points) and dimes (6.9 assists). The point guard already has one of the best rookie seasons for a point guard in NBA history and at the age of 20, he’s only going to get better.

Morant’s play is a huge reason for Memphis holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference with a 32-33 record. A shoo-in for the Rookie of the Year, Morant, and Memphis’ young core has a bright future.

14. Malcolm Brogdon
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Nicknamed “the President,” Malcolm Brogdon lived up to the moniker with his best individual season as a pro. In his new digs in Indiana, Brogdon was a leader on and off the court for the surprising Pacers. Despite missing All-Star Victor Oladipo for a large portion of the season, Brogdon stepped up to average career-highs in points (16.3) and assists (7.1). His efficiency has taken a dip, but that was expected with his role as a primary shot creator changing.

A secondary ball-handler in Milwaukee with the Bucks, there were questions on whether Brogdon could handle the pressure that comes with being the primary orchestrator of an NBA offense. He’s proved the doubters wrong, even with injuries piling up and causing him to miss 17 of 65 games.

15. Eric Bledsoe
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Eric Bledsoe is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA hands down. Built like a linebacker, Bledsoe has taken on a supporting role in Milwaukee after running the show with the Phoenix Suns a couple of years ago. An All-Defensive first team member last season, Bledsoe has continued to rise to the occasion on that end, while producing on offense with 15.4 points per game.

Though there will always be questions about his iffy perimeter shooting in clutch moments of the playoffs, there’s no doubt that his defensive contributions plus his playmaking in a secondary role put him in the upper half of the starting point guards in the NBA.

Categories
Grind Money

What Is Donald Glover’s Net Worth?

Donald Glover had quite a career transformation over the past few years. For so long, he was known by his stage name Childish Gambino. During this era of his career, he had a hard time being taken seriously by the masses despite a charismatic rapping style and a clear sense of individualism. However, his recent success has seen him do a full 180 and his visibility in multiple different avenues has seen him earn a highly impressive net worth of $35 million. Here’s how he did it.

‘This is America’
YouTube

Glover saw an immense amount of success when he released his single ‘This Is America’ in May of 2018. It made him a household name. At the time of writing, the video has amassed just over 683 million views on YouTube. Assuming that his channel has a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of $1, Social Blade’s YouTube Money Calculator says that the video could have earned Glover about $673k. Add on the tens of thousands he likely made from the song’s hundreds of millions of streams, and it’s been a very lucrative record for him. That summer, Donald performed on the This Is America Tour which consisted of a few dozen shows. Box Office score data from approximately 15 of the shows including New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s O2 Arena state that Glover grossed roughly $16.3 million.

However, more money, more problems, as they say. That same year, Glover got into a dispute with indie label Glassnote Entertainment who he signed with seven years prior. He claimed they owed him streaming royalties and had been miscalculating their payments to him. What the suit revealed was that the label had paid Glover $8 million since 2011 and planned to pay him $2 million that fall.

From Childish Gambino to Donald Glover
Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

There’s a reason that he’s known largely as Donald Glover as opposed to Childish Gambino now. The man wears so many hats and has shown such an array of talent that he constantly gets comparisons to Jamie Foxx. The Hip-Hop star has seen incredible success in his acting career which started in the mid-2000s and has since seen him in roles in huge hits such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Solo: A Star Wars Story and the 2019 remake of The Lion King. Though his role as Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t quite the lead, he did introduce a unique audience to the movie which likely earned him a sizeable sum, especially considering the film did $880.2 million at the Box Office with a budget of $175 million. In Solo: A Star Wars Story he had a larger role. That film earned $393.2 million at the Box Office. Finally, in The Lion King, he graduated to be able to play the legendary role of Simba. Naturally, the Disney remake blew all of his other acting ventures out of the water, breaking all kinds of records and earning a whopping $1.657 billion at the Box Office. Just for his voice acting role here, Glover undoubtedly earned millions of dollars.

Of course, Glover also has his own show, Atlanta, which lives on FX. As well as playing the role of Earn, he is a creator, writer, director, and executive producer. He is estimated to have made around $75k per episode for the first season, supposedly settling for a smaller sum upfront for larger payments on the backend. He bet on himself and it’s been paying off. The season two premiere of the show pulled in 2.7 million viewers and its next season is highly anticipated.

The consistency in so many fields has made Donald Glover a name that brands want to be associated with. In 2018, Glover signed a two year deal with Adidas which saw him release three collaborations in the Nizza, the Lacombe, and the Continental 80. They might not have had the hype of Kanye’s Yeezys, but we’re sure that the deal contributed greatly to Glover’s fat pockets.

Seeing how far Donald Glover has gotten up to this point has been fascinating and if his trajectory continues, his net worth will certainly do the same.

Categories
Sports Strength

NFL 2020: Division Breakdown and Best Bets Part 2

Here to bring you the latest and greatest professional sports gambling breakdowns. Find me on Twitter @the_odds_fellow for even more updates, picks, and insights. 

If you missed our NFC East breakdown check that out here.

In this 8-part breakdown, I’ll focus on win totals (over/under) for each team and division winner futures with some value, in this edition we’re focusing on the AFC South

The NFL season is now 77 days away… we hope.

1. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – UNDER 5
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Following their 2017 AFC playoff run (after winning the South) the Jags went 5-11 and 6-10 in 2018 and 2019, respectively.  With results like that, I’d expect to be writing about a new coach, but instead, the Jags moved on from the authoritarian President of Football Ops, Tom Coughlin, and decided to give Doug Marrone another shot. At least we might get a few more Marrone appearances on Barstool’s Pardon My Take podcast, right?

Although the Coughlin firing is important for the franchise to move forward (the NFL Player’s Association actually warned players about signing there due to excessive fines and player grievances), the depth on the roster is lacking. The void starts with QB, where Gardner Minshew rolls into his second year without competition or mentorship. The Jags also did little to address the skill positions besides signing Tyler Eifert in the off-season.  Now their offensive success largely relies on the young QB and break-out seasons from either Fournette and/or Eifert, both who have struggled with consistency. I love Minshew Mania and his mustache, but that won’t be enough.

The defense carried the load during the previous playoff run, however, that unit took significant steps back ending 2019 29th in Overall Def. DVOA.  The team was forced to trade defensive leader A.J. Bouye (CB) due to salary cap constraints and although Myles Jack can still be a force in the middle of the field, the young LB still has a lot to prove after signing his 4-year extension.  Next up; try to recoup as much value as possible for disgruntled DE Yannick Ngakoue and ensure the growth of 1st round draft picks CJ Henderson (CB) and K’Lavon Chaisson (DE) who will benefit from playing time in 2020.  With the rebuild on both sides of the ball in full effect, you can expect Jacksonville to be picking in the top 3 in the draft as they go under the total. ​​​

2. HOUSTON TEXANS – UNDER 7.5 *BEST BET
Tim Warner/Getty Images

I’m going to start by saying there’s probably a reason why only three NFL teams have a head coach moonlighting as general manager, right?  Besides Belichick in New England, these experiments often fail, and Bill O’Brien is the latest example, having been appointed to GM in January 2020. While there is speculation from within the organization of tension stemming from the Hopkins-O’Brien relationship, the haul received for their star wideout simply wasn’t enough. That may change if David Johnson can make an impact on the field, but the RB had 94 rushing attempts in 12 games last season (benched due to struggles/injuries) and may be on the wrong side of the position’s short-lived prime in today’s NFL. He’s not the only injury risk either, as their new #1 WR, Will Fuller, has missed time across his first four seasons (2, 6, 9, and 5 games, respectively).  

Combine the offensive concerns with a returning defense that ranked 26th in 2019 Overall Def. DVOA and a strength of schedule (“SOS”) tied for 8th toughest and you have a recipe for disaster.  It’s a shame more DeShaun Watson magic may go to waste, but as 5-6 teams turnover per year in terms of the NFL Playoff picture, you can take the Texans and their 6-7 wins to miss the playoffs all the way to the bank.  2020 may not even be rock bottom though; when you consider the Johnson contract inherited along with the other off-season signings, the new GM is not setting this franchise up for short-term or long-term success.  And remember that Watson’s contract extension is up next while you’re locking in the first AFC South best bet with me.

3. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – OVER 9 *BEST BET
Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Perhaps you’re a Texas hold ‘em poker fan? Even if you aren’t, the Colts’ front office has you covered by going all in this off-season. Let’s start with the offense where there’s a few new toys ready to take a spin around the track in the city known for the Indy 500. The keystone was an upgrade at QB, where Phillip Rivers brings experience and fiery leadership. Since Rivers is 38 years young (two-year deal), the team wasted no time building the arsenal. To bolster both the WR and RB position, the team drafted Micahel Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Tayor with their two second-round picks, a pair of skill position players that will nicely complement T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack in each position group. Another more underrated move was convincing LT Anthony Castonzo to delay retirement helping to solidify the 3rd ranked offensive line from 2019 per Pro Football Focus.

Not convinced after the offensive changes? Well, they may have overpaid, but the Colts also made a defensive splash, adding DeForest Buckner at DT in a trade with the Niners. Overall, the Colts seized the opportunity to improve an already talent-rich roster that ground to a 7-9 mark last year despite the late Andrew Luck retirement. Add in the benefit of two games against weaker division opponents in Jacksonville and Houston, and the Colts Over 9 wins is another one of my best bets heading into the 2020 season.

4. TENNESSEE TITANS – U 8.5
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

How do you top an unforgettable post-season run the following year?  Well if you’re Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry (franchise tag), it starts with getting paid, but I’m not confident the rest of the magic will be there.  With Tannehill taking the starting reins in week seven, the Titans went 7-3 down the stretch to finish 9-7 before winning two road playoff games.  Impressive, yes, but not sustainable. Don’t forget that only two of the seven wins came against playoff teams including a meaningless week 17 game for the Texans, who had already clinched the division title.

Besides the schedule factor, another key behind my expectation is defensive scheming; teams will continue to stack the box to stop the Henry freight train forcing Tannehill to win games from the jump. Although the signal-caller had his best season statistically last year, I don’t anticipate teams to allow Tannehill 15 or less passing attempts per game (the recipe for success in both road playoff W’s). And by forcing Tannehill to put the ball in the air, I expect to see more of the six inconsistent, injury-plagued Miami seasons than the 2019 fluke. Working against me of course is the aforementioned Henry, who put a ton of miles on the tires en route to leading the league in rush attempts with 386 (a whopping 85 higher than Zeke in second). That number doesn’t even include the 83 attempts he had across the three 2019 playoff games. The success of the Titans, much like their cap, is tied up in these two players.

The final piece of the equation is a schedule that appears tougher than their 20th ranked SOS currently depicts. Opening in the altitude of Mile High, the team also plays three tough road games at Minnesota, Baltimore, and Green Bay (this last one on the frozen tundra in December). In general, the AFC North-AFC South match-up dynamic will likely prove tough for all of the South teams given the anticipated strength of the AFC North. Add all of this up and it equals a disciplined team that will fight, grind but still fall short of their win total.

DIVISION CHAMPION:
NFL

If I picked 3 unders and 1 over then you can probably already see where this paragraph is heading. Yes, they are a favorite, sitting in the +125 range, but the Colts are superior-top to bottom compared to their other three division opponents. Outside of the playoff experience gained last year by the Titans’ roster, the division also doesn’t have veteran leadership that can rival what Rivers brings to the table. If the seasoned father of nine can squeeze out another one to two years in the league then he should be putting on a division championship hat by the time these 17 weeks are in the books.  What could go wrong though? That would be Rivers continuing the poor gun-slinging from last year when he threw 20 INTs compared to his well-balanced 2017 and 2018 performances, producing TD: INT totals of 28:10 and 32:12, respectively. Quenton Nelson (2x All-Pro Guard) can help with the protection and let Rivers and the new weapons do the rest during this upcoming season.

AFC SOUTH RECAP:

JAX – Under 5

HOU – Under 7.5 *BEST BET

IND – Over 9 *BEST BET

TEN – Under 8.5

Division Winner:  Indianapolis Colts (+125)

Good luck with your AFC South picks. We’ll be back soon with another division breakdown and potentially a few team-specific deep dives.  

Remember to always do your homework by shopping for the best available odds and lines. The real edge in long-term betting success comes from identifying value and making every dollar count.

Categories
Sports Strength

What Is The Oldest Sport?

With UFC events happening almost weekly, soccer in Europe slowly making its return and the NBA season scheduled to restart at the end of July, sports are well and truly back (sans attendees, for the time being.) Their absence made many of us realize just how much they meant to us, whether that was for the fierce competition or just because they helped pass the time. What many of us don’t realize, thinking back to the 70s in basketball as old, is that sports have been a part of society for a long time, with the oldest dating back to thousands of years BC. They’re in our DNA. The oldest sport in the world is generally considered to be wrestling.

1. Wrestling
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

In Lascaux, France is a complex of caves, many of which contain paintings from the Magdalenian period around 15,000 years ago. Some of these depict people wrestling in the same way that we see collegiate athletes doing today. That’s probably because you don’t need much equipment to competitively wrestle with someone. With some exceptions, many of the oldest sports and athletic practices follow the same rule. Wrestling was introduced into the Ancient Olympics in 708 BC and has since had a heavy presence, even now in the modern games, with the 1900 Olympics being the only year it wasn’t present. Of course, wrestling has progressed to even be an absolute essential in MMA, with multiple UFC champions coming from a wrestling background (155lb champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, 170lb champ Kamaru Usman, 205lb champ Jon Jones.) It’s generally considered the best base for a mixed martial arts career. Even prehistoric drawings in Japan seem to show sumo-style wrestling.

2. Swimming
WAVE: The Museums, Galleries and Archives of Wolverhampton/Getty Images

In the Libyan Desert section of the Sahara is the Gilf Kebir plateau. There, you’ll find the Cave of Swimmers, which was discovered in the 1930s but dates back to 10,000 years ago. Archaeologists believe that certain cave paintings show humans doing the breaststroke and doggy paddling, although there is some debate. In terms of sport, the earliest we can technically date competitive swimming is back in the 1800s. In 1896, it made its first appearance at the Olympics, for men only. However, in Ancient Egypt, there were monuments to the Pharaohs dated around 2000 BC that indicate swimming amongst other competitive sports like athletics, wrestling and weightlifting, supporting the argument that it was done competitively thousands of years before appearing at the Olympic Games.

3. Archery
Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Archery comes close to wrestling in terms of how far back it dates. Arrows themselves date much further back, to approximately 60,000-70,000 years ago. But evidence suggests that the bow and arrow as a combination were invented around 20000 BC, used back then at least predominantly for hunting and survival by our ancestors. But at the same Cave of Swimmers in the Sahara mentioned above are depictions of archery, so in a similar way to swimming, though it was late to the Olympics, first appearing in 1900, its competitive history is likely a long one. Archery also battled somewhat of a decline when firearms began to be popularised, so the fact that it exists today for sports and hunting is impressive.

4. Sprinting
Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Although running itself has been done for literally millions of years, to pinpoint a time where we have evidence of it being done competitively and/or as a sport is a difficult job. It’s likely that sprinting has been done for as long as humanly possible, but we can only confirm what we have evidence for. We can see depictions of people running and/or sprinting about 15,000 years ago and the first-ever Olympic event to take place was a foot race in 776 BC. In fact, the first thirteen editions of the Ancient Olympic Games featured only foot races from one end of the stadium to the other. Even today, the 100m sprint is perhaps that most attendees look forward to, thanks to Usain Bolt.

5. Boxing
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The earliest form of boxing we have evidence for comes from around 3000 BC through sketches in Iraq. Coming in at around 1650 BC is the first evidence of boxing gloves in a painting of Minoans punching each other, but even later than that in Ancient Greece, boxers would wrap leather thongs around their hands as protection. Though the premise of boxing has not changed so much, back then, there would be no rounds and although you may have been allowed to go to the body, evidence suggests that the head was by far the primary target. Interestingly, during the Roman gladiator period around 393, boxing was abolished, deemed too brutal. It naturally reappeared and today is one of the most popular sports around, our current form evolving from 16th century styled boxing in Great Britain.

Sports have been a huge part of human history and as with anything, to understand the history of the competitive nature of sports and how they have been ingrained in society is to understand sports moving forward. We live in a strange time where spectators have had to be removed from sporting events but 2020 will certainly be a year for the history books. Perhaps going a few months without sports will reinvigorate our passion for them.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 11 Best Netflix Car Shows

This one’s for the car enthusiasts. The people who get an adrenaline rush from going fast and putting the pedal to the metal. I’m sure we all know that Netflix is full of shows to binge no matter what your interests are, so if you happen to love horsepower, chassis, and the open road then this list is for you. Now don’t get us wrong, not every show is going to be for the expert car lover, there’s something on here for car lovers of all levels and walks of life. Buckle up and let’s go.

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1. ‘Comedian In Cars Getting Coffee’

This show has everything. Coffee. Cars. Comedians. Comedians in said cars getting various kinds of coffee. Netflix’s sleeper hit stars famous comic Jerry Maguire as the creator, star, and interviewer in this reality show. But just because you’ve read the premise doesn’t mean you’ve watched the show. Every episode is a new comedian and a new coffee. But the best change in the show is the cars. Each episode features a new vintage car gorgeously detailed, fully restored, and ready for the open road. Maguire manages to weave his comedic genius perfectly with that of his guests, creating a genuinely amusing and interesting 20-minute episode every single time. The guests range in age and status, from Gen-Z favorite John Mulaney, to legend Jerry Lewis. The best part? This Netflix original is in its 11th season, meaning you can use it as your next binge or make it your morning routine for the rest of quarantine. Either way, Maguire and your favorite comedians are just one click away.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80171362
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2. ‘Formula 1: Drive To Survive’

The first time I watched Formula 1, I knew absolutely nothing about the world of Formula 1 racing. But Formula 1: Drive To Survive is about more than simple car races. The documentary series goes in-depth to cover the world of Formula 1 racers and their lives, both on and off the track. The teams: Focault and Mercedes, just to name a few. The sport: fiercer than anyone could possibly imagine. And the stakes? They’re higher than anything you’ve ever seen before. At the very center of the series is a race for the very heart of soul of Formula 1 racing. Regardless, for fans and newbies alike, the entire series is one hell of a ride.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80204890
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3. ‘Fastest Cars’

Ever wanted to watch​a minivan make a Porsche GT3 eat its dust? Then look no further than Fastest Cars. This unknown Netflix gem pits basic cars think minivans or 1997 Hondas, against the world’s most celebrated sports cars. The twist: these cars are sleepers, cars modified from their model set to be faster, stronger, and savvier than their looks betray. After modification, each custom ride is battle-tested by experienced drivers and mechanics, before going head to head with their competition. Even better, each episode is an hour-long, giving viewers plenty of time to place their bets and go behind the scenes on how these cars reach peak modification. Want to see matchups you never expected? Then this is the show for you.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80190009
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4. ‘Dead To Me’

Yes, Netflix does classify this as a dark comedy about a mother struggling with the death of her husband, and a psycho friend that she makes on the road to recovery. But, if you read between the lines and or in this case, between the scenes, Dead To Me also tells the tragic life of a gorgeous periwinkle blue Mercedes Benz AMG GLC and horrible people in its life. And honestly, if that doesn’t sound like an instant classic, I’m not sure what kind of car show you’re really looking for.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80219707
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5. ‘Car Masters: Rust To Riches’

The team at Gotham Garage has one goal: make cash and make cash fast. Their avenue? Flipping cheap, destroyed classic cars and turning them into instant cash cows. While the business of flipping cars may sound easy, there’s nothing uncomplicated about these restores. While some cars look like easy finds, secrets lying just below the hoods could prove too difficult for this crew to manage. To land the big fish, the crew has to place their money and jobs on the line. With boss Mark Towle at the helm, Gotham’s team is ready to take on their toughest cases yet, for the chance of one huge payday. If you’re interested in shows like Antique roadshows and Pawn Stars, then this is the one for you.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80194704
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6. ‘White Rabbit Project’

You’ve binged countless hours of Mythbusters. Now get ready for Netflix’ White Rabbit Project. From the same minds that brought you timeless myth debunking comes a new tech show, focused on the world’s greatest, most mind-blowing, literally blowing up, inventions. White Rabbit Project takes Mythbusters’ same work ethic and sleuthing to a new era of heists, cars, and more. Starring Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara, these Mythbuster alums do more than just explore new tech. They also rank them, giving the show a set of stakes that makes it a great watch, and an even better binge.

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https://www.netflix.com/title/80091245
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7. ‘Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father ‘

Ok, so hear me out. While Travels With My Father doesn’t feature cars in its pitch deck, nothing beats the way this comedic duo teams up on cars. The premise is simple. Jack Whitehall, a British comedian, and general American best friend, wants to complete the gap year he left behind in 2009. But this time, he’s bringing his father along with him, in the hopes to celebrate life and bond in a way they never have before. And on the way, the Whitehalls get to their next travel spots using the most incredible of cars, making this a fun, and truly amusing ride.

Watch
https://www.netflix.com/title/80186848
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8. ‘Inside West Coast Customs’

This simple garage in California is hiding a pretty big secret. Inside is a family of artists who work together to turn cars into technical and creative masterpieces. Inside West Coast Customs gives viewers the, quite literally, inside look into the family of one of America’s most coveted garages. The remod-reality show starts with factory-fresh models of normal cars and keeps going until they are unrecognizable treasures. Even celebrities like Mark Walhberg and Justin Beiber have thrown their support, and coin, behind this place. And this show isn’t just pretty before and after shots. Inside West Coast Customs go in-depth, providing logistics, specs, mechanics, and more on all of their most successful rides. Ready for car transformations? Then Inside West Coast Customs is the show for you.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80135640
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9. ‘Rust Valley Restorers’

What’s better than a normal car show? A show that turns every man’s trash into lasting treasures. If that sounds exciting to you, then you’ve found a real prize in Rust Valley Restorers. A truly hidden gem, Rust Valley is a Canadian junkyard, stretching across pockets of the Rocky Mountains. In it, a family team works to restore and enjoy classic cars. Started as a History channel original, this Canadian documentary show follows the lives of real car lovers as they restore trashed cars into the classic contraptions they used to be in their glory days. And their experience spans far beyond simple fixes. The cast, Michael Hall, Avery Shoaf, and Connor Charman-Hall, spread their magic across a veritable cornucopia of cars, from a wartime 1941 Dodge Power Wagon to a neon classic 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger. If you’re looking for a fun watch, and some great cars, you’ve come to exactly the right place.

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https://www.netflix.com/title/80203254
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10. ‘Highway Thru Hell’

Hell isn’t usually the aptest description for a fun car show. But in this discovery channel original, fun is far from the point. Coquihalla Highway, in British Columbia, is one of the busiest, most important, roads in trucking. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous. Facing rockslides, steep hills, collisions, and more, this reality television show follows the lives of the employees of Jamie Davis Heavy Rescue company and their daring rescues on the most treacherous roads in North America. With the importance of the roads, crews must race against the clock to reopen the path while trying to rescue both truckers and cargo. The result? An engaging real-life drama about the lives of British Columbia’s real-life heroes.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80094603
<code>": "<iframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/saXM2VOBI0M\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen></iframe> ", "hed": "11. \u2018Hyperdrive\u2019 ", "subhed": "", "buttonText": "Watch Now", "buttonUrl": "https://www.netflix.com/title/80189648", "dropCase": false, "mediaId": null, "jwplayer": ""</code>
11. ‘Hyperdrive’

Executive produced by Charlize Theron, the woman who brought you Furiosoa, Hyperdrive is Netflix’s latest foray into Reality TV. A cross between amateur racing and the heart-stopping madness of American Ninja Warrior, Hyperdrive follows the story of talented street racers who are competing in what Netflix calls “one of the biggest automotive obstacle courses ever built.” But these are more than car races. For every contestant a viewer sees, a detailed and usually emotional backstory is sure to follow. Starting with 28 competitors of every nationality, age, and more, the competition quickly gets fiercer. By the end of the competition, only 6 contestants are left. Then, the real race begins. For a reality show that only lasts 10 episodes, Hyperdrive is a great afternoon binge with pretty high stakes and an incredibly satisfying ending.

Watch Now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80189648
Categories
Sports Strength

Here Are The 15 Best NBA Rookies

Coronavirus notwithstanding, the NBA has a bright future. A big reason for optimism is the recent rookie class of 2019 that has made an impact in a small amount of time in the association. Just this season, number one overall pick Zion Williamson came back from injury and wowed the league for a couple of months. Second overall pick Ja Morant has the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoff race. There has been a multitude of other bright stories including the surprising play of unheralded prospects like Eric Paschall, Terence Davis, and Brandon Clarke.

Impact on winning, individual contributions, consistency, offensive, and defensive impact were all factors in these rankings. These are the best rookies during the 2019-20 NBA season.

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1. Zion Williamson

Out for the first half of his rookie season after knee surgery, the anticipation for Zion Williamson’s debut reached levels we hadn’t seen since LeBron James in 2003. In his debut, Williamson scored 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter against the San Antonio Spurs. With pogo sticks for legs and the strength to knock defenders over like bowling pins, Williamson has unique skills that have translated well in his abbreviated time in the association.

Though Ja Morant is likely to take home the Rookie of the Year award, Williamson has proven himself as the top first-year player in a short amount of time. He averaged 23.6 points in a shade under 30 minutes in the 19 games he played this season. One can only imagine what the phenom will do with a full training camp and a solidified role.

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2. Ja Morant

The point guard position is the toughest position to learn in the NBA for incoming rookies. That wasn’t the case for Ja Morant who has dominated throughout his rookie season. The Murray State guard leads all rookies in assists (6.9) and is second in scoring (17.6). He is the leading factor in the Memphis Grizzlies surprising the NBA with a 32-33 record and control of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

Morant’s blazing speed, off the rails, handles, and slick passing is only a part of the package. Morant has shown a better than advertised jump shot and is only 20 years old. The likely winner of the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year, pencil him in for a slew of All-Star appearances in the future.

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3. Brandon Clarke

Clarke was expected to be a solid player, but he’s overachieved in his rookie year as a quality two-way player. Clarke’s shooting splits are off the charts. The forward is shooting 62.3 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three. That level of efficiency is unheard of for a rookie. On defense, Clarke has proven himself as a good defender of the pick and roll and can switch onto smaller players.

Picked 21st overall and acquired in a draft-night deal by the Grizzlies, Clarke has been the ultimate sleeper pick for Memphis. At the age of 23, he has a bright future as a complementary piece off the bench to fit alongside Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson, Jr.

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4. Kendrick Nunn

Undrafted in 2018 out of Oakland, Nunn’s stock took a major hit due to a domestic violence assault guilty plea while he was at the University of Illinois. After a stint spent in the G-League last year with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Nunn has found a home with the Miami Heat.

Third in rookie scoring (15.6 points), Nunn became the starting point guard for Miami and has been a surprise contributor for the Heat. With a shooting percentage of 36.2 on 362 three-point attempts, Nunn is a quality secondary scoring piece to build around star Jimmy Butler in Miami’s offense. Though he’s not the prototypical point guard playmaker, Nunn has established himself as one of the more explosive scorers in the league.

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5. Michael Porter, Jr.

A medical redshirt during the 2018-19 season, Porter has all of the talents to become a significant contributor in the future. Projected to be a top pick coming out of high school, back problems caused Porter to fall all the way to 14th in the 2018 NBA Draft. 


Porter is on a loaded roster that features a crowded frontcourt that included Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Jerami Grant. Porter hasn’t been able to fully showcase his skills as Denver has eased him along this season, but he’s flashed the athleticism, shooting ability, length (6’10” and seven-foot wingspan) and versatility that teams were salivating over. His 25-point outburst against the Indiana Pacers in January was an eye-opener. Porter’s potential stardom could push Denver over the top in the franchise’s quest to compete for a championship.

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6. Terence Davis

Undrafted in 2019, Davis has found a home with the Toronto Raptors. He gambled on himself in the draft, refusing to be drafted in the second round and signing a two-way contract. Holding out hope for a guaranteed contract, Davis eventually signed with the Toronto Raptors after a strong Summer League showing. At the age of 23, Davis’ play has been a revelation. 

Displaying the capabilities of a strong 3-and-D player on the wing, Davis has a bright future Toronto surprised the league, staying in the thick of the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture. Part of that is a deep roster, and Davis has been one of the major surprises around the league. He’s shooting 39.6 percent from three this season and with his combination of athleticism and skill, he should have a long career.

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7. Eric Paschall

The 2019-20 season was a nightmare for the Golden State Warriors. An NBA Finalist in five consecutive years and a team that never lost more than 25 games in a season in that stretch, the Warriors reached 25 losses before the start of the new calendar year. One bright spot in the season of despair was rookie Eric Paschall. 

Selected 41st overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Paschall is a bonafide scorer. Standing just 6’6”, Paschall is a throwback tweener forward with an ability to post up and knock down the midrange jumper. Next season when the Warriors have their full squad back, Paschall will likely be an impact player off the bench.

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8. P.J. Washington

From the beginning, Washington has been a solid and steady presence for a Charlotte Hornets club in the early stages of a rebuild. Recording 27 points and seven three-pointers in his NBA debut, Washington’s perimeter jumper has been a revelation. Though he won’t wow you with eye-popping feats of athleticism or brute physical force, the 6’8” Washington will have a long career if he keeps up his productivity. In his rookie season, Washington has knocked down 37.4 percent of his three-point attempts and he’s been one of the better rebounding rookies.

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9. Tyler Herro

One of the better shooters in last year’s draft class, rookie Tyler Herro has made a major impact in Miami. Not afraid of the moment, Herro has the confidence to pull up from anywhere and he’s already had a series of clutch moments for the Heat. Sure, there are questions about Herro’s defense against top-notch competition, but he’s already proven himself as a strong NBA rotation player.


Sixth in scoring (12.9 points) for the egalitarian Miami offense, Herro is a solid option off the bench with his ability to shoot from outside. It’s perfect for a Heat team in desperate need of a three-point shooting last year. Plus, he might be the best-dressed rookie. You can catch Herro usually posted up on the NBA style league fits account.

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10. Jaxson Hayes

Expected to see limited minutes during this season, the 20-year old Jaxson Hayes stepped into a bigger role due to a multitude of injuries in New Orleans’ frontcourt. An athletic big that can run the floor, Hayes is one of the most intriguing prospects in the pros currently. A solid rim protector and rim runner out of the pick and roll, Hayes was eighth in the NBA in true shooting percentage (67.5 percent).


A football player during his formative sports days, Hayes began to prioritize basketball after a growth spurt in the middle of his high school years. The 6’11” center is a part of New Orleans’ deep pool of youthful talent and is sure to become an athletic nightmare for the opposition.

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11. Matisse Thybulle

A defensive ace, Thybulle’s length, and versatility is just one piece of a jumbo Philadelphia 76ers lineup that features no rotation player under 6’5”. Known at Washington for his ability to pile up stocks (a combination of blocks and steals), Thybulle has continued to be a disruptor on defense in the pros. Armed with a seven-foot wingspan, Thybulle leads all rookies in steals (3.5 steals per 100 possessions) and it’s not particularly close.

The 20th overall pick in last year’s draft, Thybulle’s main weakness is the lack of an offensive game or identity. He can’t create off the dribble, but his three-point shot (35.2 percent) has proven to be solid enough to keep him on the court. If he ever adds consistency and volume to his perimeter jump shot, Thybulle will be the perfect two-way piece to fit alongside Philadelphia’s star tandem of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

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12. Coby White

The seventh overall pick by the Chicago Bulls, Coby White gets shots up. He’s top-40 in the NBA in field goal attempts per 100 possessions this season. Before the season was suspended, White had found his groove, averaging 24.7 points on 46.8 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from three in his last 10 games. 

At times, White’s penchant for jacking up long-distance shots and his limited vision as a passer is a problem for the Bulls’ offense. White’s explosive and electric creativity on offense does make him seem better fitted as a super-sub in the spirit of fellow tweener guards Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford. If he’s going to be a starter, he’s going to have to look to improve his playmaking and also tidy up on the defensive end.

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13. R.J. Barrett

Barrett is one of the more divisive rookies in recent memory. The ability to get to the free-throw line and create shots for himself off the dribble were tools Barrett had upon his arrival in New York. Still, Barrett struggled for much of this season with a high-usage and inefficient game. A poor shooter, Barrett shot the ball at a 32 percent clip from three, and 61.4 percent from the free-throw line. 

Still, there’s hope that Barrett can turn it around. He was put into one of the worst situations of any rookie in New York where the Knicks’ spacing is nonexistent. Playing in a crowd in the paint and playing with ball-dominant vets like Julius Randle and Marcus Morris was not ideal for Barrett. It was a contributing factor in his struggles. If (and it’s a big if) the Knicks can upgrade the team around Barrett, there is some hope for the future.

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14. Cam Reddish

Reddish got off to a rough start as a rookie. Through the first two months, Reddish only converted on 32 percent of his overall field goal attempts. This included a ghastly 26.1 percentage from the three-point line. 2020 has been a bad year, but not for Reddish. Since the start of the new year, the former Duke Blue Devil shot 39.7 percent from three and scored in double figures in 18 of his last 27 games.

Reddish has slowly started to figure out his place on the court, and has played strong defense all season. With Trae Young’s small size defensive limitations, a wing that is versatile and capable of guarding multiple positions on the floor is a necessity for the Hawks. If Reddish continues to develop, he can become the perfect perimeter complement to Young in Atlanta’s rebuild.

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15. Rui Hachimura

The first-ever Japanese-born player to be drafted in the NBA, Rui Hachimura has been solid for the Washington Wizards. Slotted at the power forward position, Hachimura is sixth in points (13.4) and second in rebounds (6.0) among all first-year players. The 6’8” forward has been weak on the defensive end and limited as a three-point shooter. Hachimura has piled up his points in the paint and from midrange. 

The Gonzaga product will have to improve his shooting range and defense to prove himself as the frontcourt cornerstone to play with Washington’s all-star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.