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.

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.

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.

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
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
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
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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
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
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.

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/
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
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 25 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.

1. Cody Rhodes

The blonde-haired “American Nightmare” has evoked the spirit of his Hall of Fame father and morphed into the top babyface in All Elite Wrestling. His fiery promos always pop the crowd, his hype entrance sets the tone for something monumental and his matches are the best fusion of old school & modern-day wrestling. Cody Rhodes put the world on notice when he competed in one of the best matches of 2019 against his own brother at Double or Nothing 2019. In the months since Cody has competed against most of the male roster within AEW and put on great matches with every last one of them. Cody is at the very top of the AEW food chain due to his maturation into a can’t miss prospect.

2. 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.

3. 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 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.

4 & 5. 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.

6. 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 PPV’s. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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 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.

13. 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.

14. 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 and prepare to be amazed.

15. 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 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.

16. 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 interested 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. FTR

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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

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.  

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
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/
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
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
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
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
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
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/
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
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
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
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/
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/
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
Leaders Style

10 Korean Streetwear Brands You Need To Know About

Paris, Milan, New York, London, Tokyo…and now Seoul! Within the past decade, Korea has become a hub of emerging fashion. With Korean cultural exports on the rise, including the growing cultish following of Korean pop music in the West, the demand for the ingenuity of Korean artists is higher than ever. 

“Today, South Korea is the most influential country in Asia, with its energy and creativity, its youth culture and the pop music and TV celebrities, who have become incredibly powerful, even in China and Japan,” remarked Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, in 2017. “These are all great sources of inspiration…There’s also a business reason. South Korea is a fast-growing market, a very interesting one, now also open to the Chinese and Japanese who like to travel here for tourism. South Korea has become a top destination in Asia.”

We’ve seen Korean designers like Hyun Mi Nielsen praised as the future of haute couture, but the nation is more and more becoming associated with cutting edge streetwear, resulting from an “injection of Western culture within the country [that] slowly started to pave the way to the success of street style that we see today. Koreans grew more and more accustomed to the street style references from abroad, from music to images of celebrities and other influential characters snapped at the main fashion events, this sparked the growth of demand for the next trendy ‘must-have’ items,” according to The Korea Times.

In celebration of this growing market, we’re counting down the hottest streetwear brands from Korea.

1. Pushbutton

Deconstructed fashion — clothing that takes the essential elements of a given garment and re-arranges them into something new and avant-garde — was pioneered by Rei Kawakubo and her Commes De Garcons label over the past few decades. Korean brand Pushbutton is continuing that thesis with clever subversions of outfit essentials: jeans with discoloration over the crotch, oversized skirts created out of parts from jackets, trench coats flowing with an abundance of fabric. The playfully transgressive aesthetic is appropriately gender-neutral and effortlessly eye-catching.


“Pushbutton always strives to make a beautiful balance between opposite concepts, such as feminine vs. masculine and sexual vs. sporty,” said Park Seung Gun, the brand’s creative director, to The Klog. “I believe in this highly competitive society, with societal issues like youth unemployment, Koreans try to gain confidence through fashion and beauty. I’ve seen Korean youth on the streets with a very bold fashion sense and they’re very open to expressing themselves. I think Korean fashion is all about taking risks and not being afraid of being different from others, and personally, I believe Koreans have a strong ego that allows them to feel free to express their own style.”

2. D-Antidote

D-Antidote is putting slight cyberpunk twists on American sportswear in their mischievous streetwear lines. Introducing subtle variations on basketball jerseys and clever corruptions of Western logos, D-Antidote is fresher than your average gear. Their recent “Space Jam” themed collection is the perfect example of propelling classic athletic garb into the future with interesting proportions and unexpected colorways. Their collaborations with Fila have already helped reinvigorate the latter brand in this new decade.


“I think that the fashion here reflects the environment,” said D-Antidote designer, Hwansung Park, to Hypebeast. “For example, when I was in London, if I wore something vivid or colorful, it sometimes wouldn’t fit with the aesthetic of the city. Whereas in Seoul, all of the buildings, shops and roads are very modern and new. So it means that people can digest these kinds of flashy colors easier than in other cities.”

3. Ader-error

Ader Error has now collaborated with brands like Maison Kitsune, Puma, and G-Shock — meaning they’ve got some seriously legit brands backing them up. Their typical look puts an avant-garde twist on typical 90s tropes like chunky sneakers, oversized knit sweaters, and distressed denim — but don’t let the infatuation with decade fool you, their stuff is far more sophisticated than your typical nostalgia trappings. 

In 2018, GQ described Ader Error as “the world’s coolest brand.” 


“We started this brand to communicate with people,” a brand rep told the mag. “We started as a fashion company but we don’t want to just be a fashion brand. We aim to be techy, lifestyle and that little something more – a new type of business.”

4. Nohant

Nohant is definitely less eccentric than many of the brands on this list: inspired by French style and retro fashion, this line is best for rebellious twists on basics and essentials. Jerseys, polos, and sporty summer wear are updated for 2020 with interesting stitching and smart construction.

5. thisisneverthat

Almost indistinguishable from Western normcore brands, thisisneverthat (has there ever been a catchier name for a company?) sells distressed workman’s jackets, pre-shredded baseball caps, and pre-scuffed New Balance sneakers. The minimal-effort designs fit in well with the cultish popularity of utilitarian brands like Carhartt amongst urban fashionistas who pretend not to care about labels. W Magazine went as far as calling thisisneverthat “South Korea’s answer to Supreme.”

6. Post Archive Fashion

It’s no surprise given the company’s name that PAF specializes in zany post-modern streetwear. Reminiscent of early Gareth Pugh but with bolder color palettes and far more chaos, PAF brings a certain kind of high-brow chic to its bizarre line of ready to wear. 


“The fledgling label has developed its own design language through an in-depth study of its growing archive,” explains Hypebeast. “Its creations fall either into PAF’s conservative conventional ‘RIGHT’ category or into the ‘CENTER’ or experimental ‘LEFT’ garment series.”

7. Hyein Seo

With a sparse color palette and intricate silhouettes, it’s shouldn’t be surprising that Hyein Seo’s designs are reminiscent of early Fenty X Puma collabs: Rihanna’s been seen out and about in this brand’s looks several times and clearly cites them as inspiration (in fact, she might even be straight-up stealing from them). Either way, Hyein Seo’s been in several magazine’s brands to watch lists for years, which makes sense given their avant-garde yet imminently wearable sensibilities. Hyein Seo’s clothes have previously appeared in the States by way of VFiles.

8. Mahagrid

Tye dye t-shirts, striped polos, skate decks, baseball caps, and board shorts: skateboard culture has clearly made its way to Korea with this brand’s line of 90’s inflected streetwear. Far more accessible (and affordable) than the couture collections featured elsewhere on this list, Mahagrid’s offerings are legible within the tradition of ultra-cool action sports.

9. Rocket X Lunch

Take the understated sensibilities of the ‘90s skate culture and add in a dash of Lynchian paranoia: Rocket X Lunch’s latest line of clothing, which uses the motif of the doppelganger throughout a collection of outwear, introduces a sinister theme to their wearable wares. Their latest designs take aesthetic cues from paranoid psychedelia, ‘60s British mod culture, and traditional stoner apparel in equal measure.

10. 99percentis

99percentis seems to specialize in post-apocalyptic outerwear that fits perfectly in the aesthetic universe of The Purge (if those films hadn’t been specifically about America’s glorification of violence). Balancing creepy, cute, and cool, the destroyed masks, jackets, and pants are battle-ready and immensely intimidating. Helmed by a designer mononymously known as Bjowoo, the brand’s anarchic outfits have previously been worn by Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber.

Categories
Sneakers Style

14 of the Best Puma Shoes You Can Buy Right Now

Of late and longing sneaker brands, Puma sits comfortably out of the fray of giants like Nike and Adidas but pops its head up regularly to remind us of the brand’s heritage and legacy in the sneaker game with novel releases and throwback retros. Now they might not be the current go-to sneaker company at the moment, but there’s plenty of heat sitting in their archives whether you’re looking for another Dad sneaker, archival silhouette, or super slept on collab. 

Their history in the world of basketball and lifestyle is long and storied. They’ve endorsed hardwood heroes like Ralph Sampson and Walt “Clyde” Fraizer and as of late they’ve even jumped on the “Dad” sneaker wave, resurrecting their 80s and 90s lifestyle runners as well as introducing new silhouettes for the modern market. 

Puma’s been banking heavily on chunky runners dominating the scene and even took a stab at relevance and newsworthiness with a new basketball silhouette a couple of years ago in 2018. Puma does have some other highlights like collabs with Diamond Supply Co. Rihanna, and Ronnie Feig, not to mention an ongoing relationship with Mercedes F1 driver, Lewis Hamilton. (Here’s his Sneaker Shopping episode that he turned into a promo for the brand) Despite what you know (or don’t) about the brand, there’s plenty of great sneakers and stories from the performance and lifestyle brand that you’ve been missing out on. So One37PM is here to set the record straight and take a hard look at what Puma has to offer in the form of 14 Puma sneakers that are worth your admiration, time, and purchasing power.

Puma Suede Classic (Collab with Diamond Supply Co.)
Puma

The Puma Suede Classic is one of those sneakers you probably ended up owning at some point in your life. This low top icon is made from a simple upper of suede with leather hits on the formstripe logo and a molded rubber outsole. What started as a 60s basketball warm-up shoe turned into a 90s hip hop staple and then found a secure footing as a casual lifestyle silhouette for more modern times. The Suede Classic has been an integral part of the brand’s lifestyle arm as a simple sneaker but has also enjoyed a run as a great canvas for creative collaboration. Below is their collaboration with Diamond Supply Co. but other versions of the sneaker see details like Swarovski crystals, a leather upper from MCM, an homage to Karl Lagerfeld, and a west coast skateboard spin courtesy of Santa Cruz skateboards, to mention a few options currently available.

Buy Now ($86)
https://stockx.com/puma-suede-diamond-supply-co-black
2. Puma Cell Endura
StockX

The Puma Cell Endura is everything we love about 90s runners and everything the current sneaker climate is craving. Extra chunky and super white, the sneaker features tasteful touches of neon green and black accenting throughout with a flexible and forgiving mesh upper. The sneaker’s distinctive eyelets and 90s Cell running technology helps this sneaker stand out. The outsole also features a distinctive hexagonal pattern while the midsole boasts visible air units and a throwback formstripe Puma logo that’s perfectly understated.

Buy Now ($75)
https://stockx.com/puma-cell-endura-white-black-green
3. Puma Spectra Thunder
SaksOff5th

While older sneakerheads may be familiar with the brand’s heritage and 90s running style, newfound fans of Puma may not be so knowledgeable. Puma’s attempt to cash in on  2018 Dad hype saw the brand release the Thunder Spectra, a chunky silhouette that turned some heads and gave those respective heads something to pay attention to. The stand out silhouette features an extra bulbous midsole atop an upper of mesh with suede and leather overlays. The black formstripe blends in well with the black mesh of the toe box while a bold color blocking of blue, red, and yellow accent the rest of the sneaker’s shape. ​​​​​

Buy Now ($60)
https://www.saksoff5th.com/puma-thunder-spectra-sneakers/product/0400011580297?site_refer=CSE_GGLPLA:Mens_Shoes:PUMA&CSE_CID=G_Off+5th_PLA_Women%27s+Shoes:Sneakers&gclid=CjwKCAjw8df2BRA3EiwAvfZWaNG0G_IXGDefOXYhGtwzNV4VeAmEm_bAubCC4170k6QeAZvhrL-e4RoCcJ8QA
4. Puma RS-X
Puma

Puma took a deep dive into their archives with the RS-X, a retro in reference to the RS running system technology of the brand’s 80s releases. The RS-X has been remixed and remastered with modern updates to the materials and technology. The versatile sneaker has seen a slew of colorways and collabs, letting sneakerheads have their pick, Transformers and MTV are just some of the collaborative options. My personal favorite is the RS-X³ which features a warm blue gradient pattern that starts hot on the toe and fades to a tonal mix of black, gray, and white as it reaches the heel cup and ankle collar of the sneaker.

Buy Now ($110)
https://us.puma.com/en/us/pd/rs-x%C2%B3-move-mens-sneakers/372429.html?dwvar_372429_color=01
5. Puma Future Rider OG
Puma

It’s no secret that Nike’s waffle runner is as famous as sneakers can get but the Swoosh wasn’t the only brand serving up that simplistic style of the ’80s running technology. Enter Puma’s Future Rider. A simple rubber, waffle print outsole meets a mesh upper with suede overlays for a dash of style in what is otherwise a performance silhouette (or used to be anyway). The Future Rider offers up some bold yet straightforward color scheme of red, blues, and neutral tones to give the sneaker a played down look that still uses a proper splash of color. Not to mention the Future Rider comes with a much more palatable price tag than some of the other waffle runner options.

Buy Now ($80)
https://us.puma.com/en/us/pd/future-rider-sneakers/372838.html#
6. Puma Cleated Creeper (Collab with Fenty)
StockX

2018 was a big year for Puma and few of their releases were as visible or striking as their collab with Rihanna’s Fenty brand which created the Puma Cleated Creeper. A standout in its “Surf” colorway, the sneaker was one of several silhouettes released in collaboration but it’s bright clash of blue and green all atop a translucent midsole and treaded outsole made it one for the record books and strengthens the conversation about Puma’s collaborative clout and ability to draw attention to the brand.

Buy Now ($285)
https://stockx.com/puma-cleated-creeper-surf-rihanna-fenty-blue-green-w
7. Puma Sky LX (Collab with Public Enemy)
StockX

Another hit straight from Puma’s 80s archive is their on-court performance silhouette the Puma Sky, reformed and remade as a casual lifestyle model that pays homage to the hardwood while bringing a luxury touch to the high-top sneaker. The shoe has some great details like a leather upper with suede as well as a perforated toe box. Their 2020 collab with Public Enemy is as relevant as ever and hits of red on the respective logo brandings as well as “Fight the Power” on the ankle collar bring the collab, and its message, full circle.

Buy Now ($90)
https://stockx.com/puma-sky-lx-public-enemy
8. Puma Clyde
Puma

Body: Puma’s recent resurgence in the basketball and lifestyle world has been noteworthy but original fans of the brand have always known Puma to be a trailblazing organization in the world of professional athletes. Their most notable and easily recognizable of course is that of Walt “Clyde” Frazier a bball star of the early 60s who signed one of the first-ever athlete endorsement deals with Puma. He sported a leather low top sneaker that went on to become the Clyde, an updated version of the classic suede for performance. The sneaker transcended the hardwood and went on to become something of a streetwear icon, young New Yorkers saved every dollar to meet the original $25 price point. The most recent version of the sneaker is available for $65 and features the same leather and suede it was known for but also includes the added detail of a gold foil on the lateral side to give the iconic sneaker an elevated lifestyle touch.

Buy Now ($65)
https://us.puma.com/en/us/pd/clyde-core-foil-mens-sneakers/364669.html?dwvar_364669_color=01
9. Puma Ralph Sampson Lo
Puma

Puma’s singing of Walt Frazier was a big step for athlete endorsements and signature silhouettes. Following suit with aligning the brand to on-court greatness, they snagged the endorsement of Houston Rockets’ Ralph Sampson, giving the 80s basketball star his own sneaker. The effortless style of the vintage model is timeless and with a variety of Lo and Mid style silhouettes to choose from fans of the brand and Ralph’s game can sport it with ease. A leather upper matches well with suede accenting and no one can overlook his gold foil signature on the side of the sneaker.

Buy Now ($80)
https://us.puma.com/en/us/pd/ralph-sampson-lo-vintage-mens-sneakers/371767.html?dwvar_371767_color=01
10. Puma Clyde Court
StockX

After a lengthy hiatus, Puma finally made their way back into the performance world with the Puma Clyde Court, paying homage to the influencer who started it all for Puma. The new model embodied the spirit and ethos of the first Clyde sneaker but with the top-level swagger and tech to compete with other on-court silhouettes. The sneaker was also meant to disrupt the current basketball sneaker market with its loud OG colorways, below a mashup of yellow, red, and black can be snagged for just over $100 while another “South Beach” colorway of bright blue and pink is worth noting.

Buy Now ($106)
https://stockx.com/puma-clyde-court-disrupt-orange-black-yellow
11. Puma Cell Alien
StockX

Originally debuted in 1998 Puma’s Cell Alien was intended to bring a running tech so advanced to the world that it was alien to the inferior product of the modern market. Whether Puma succeeded in doing so can be argued but you’d be hard-pressed to find a true 90s runner who disliked the Alien. Slated for a resurgence this ‘98 silhouette was a perfect retro for the year 2019, where 90s runners saw a restoration of their former glory. Visible air meets white mesh meets a bright color scheme meets overlays of suede. Everything you love about a simple, everyday sneaker but at half the price.

Buy Now ($84)
https://stockx.com/puma-cell-alien-og-white-black
12. Puma Disc Blaze (Collab with Ronnie Fieg and Colette)
StockX

The Puma Disc Blaze is one of those sneakers that simply doesn’t get enough credit. While unique lacing systems like Reebok’s pump soared to the forefront of the culture, Disc Blaze, a twist tightening system from Puma, didn’t truly get the attention it deserved. Despite that the sneaker was still the subject for a hot threeway collab between Ronnie Feig’s Kith, Puma, and French fashion house Colette (RIP). While other iterations of the sneaker are available for a much lower price point, there’s only one with a blue gradient and Kith’s founder’s signature on the heel cup. 

Buy Now ($200)
https://stockx.com/puma-disc-blaze-ronnie-fieg-colette
13. Puma RS-100 (Collab with Adder Error)
StockX

For all the walks down memory lane about Puma’s 80s running tech, we would be remiss to not mention the Puma RS-100, so let’s get into it a little bit. What started out as a simple running sneaker from 1986 got an incredibly cool addition in the form of a chunky block heel which acted as a module for holding data. Runners could log this data by connecting their sneakers to their computer, a truly impressive tech that came decades before Nike’s bright idea to hook up your run to your iPod via Nike + in 2006. The model didn’t see much success but a limited retro in 2019 as well as a collab with designer/artist collective Adder Error in 2018 paid homage to the computer sneaker with a chunky plastic heel block that didn’t connect to a computer but looked just as good if not better.

Buy Now ($245)
https://stockx.com/puma-rs-100-ader-error-whisper-white
14. Puma Blaze of Glory (Collab with Sneaker Freaker Magazine)
StockX

The Puma Blaze of Glory dropped in the early 2010s and featured a new look for the brand known for its Formstripe logo that this new silhouette came without. Instead of focusing on logo hits, the brand went hard with collabs which include boutiques like Size? and Bodega but few were as polarizing as their multiple collaborations with Sneaker Freaker Magazine. Four sneakers, all about sharks. Sole Collector even included them as some of the best shark themed sneakers, and below is “Bloodbath” the best color scheme of the four available.

Buy Now ($130)
https://stockx.com/puma-blaze-of-glory-sneaker-freaker-bloodbath
Categories
Sports Strength

25 of the Best WWE Theme Songs

The element of music means way more to the sport of professional wrestling than you might think.

The glitz and glamour associated with World Wrestling Entertainment encompass several things – the crowd, the bright lights, the stage setup, the entrances, the attire, and most certainly the wrestlers themselves. But the presence of recognizable and enjoyable theme songs that are attached to fan favorites and hated heels is central to one’s enjoyment of the show. It’s no surprise that some of your favorite wrestlers became so beloved due to their iconic tune that signaled their upcoming appearance. Setting the tone and getting everyone excited about what’s coming next is easily accomplished once the opening notes of a crowd popping theme song blares over the arena loudspeakers.

There’s a huge array of WWE theme songs that elicit feelings of warm nostalgia once they’re heard on your personal playlist and in the confines of a live event. These 25 songs are among the greatest WWE themes of all time and are required listening for anyone that considers themselves a connoisseur of squared circle theatrics.

1. “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Quick – go smash a random pair of glass cups in front of a line of fans waiting to get into a wrestling show. You know what’ll happen next? Each and every person in that group will begin belting out the greatest wrestling theme song of all time. “I Won’t Do What You Tell Me” is not only Jim Johnston’s greatest contribution to the WWE, but it’s also the most recognizable wrestling theme song of all time. It always warmed our hearts whenever Austin would do a run-in to deliver a heartfelt promo or deliver some Stunners because it meant we got to hear this song for a few precious minutes every time.

2. “The Game” – Triple H

Hunter Hearst Helmsley is a proud metalhead. And judging by the band responsible for this legendary tune, it’s easy to see why. While “My Time” is still a kickass theme in its own right, Triple H’s Motorhead assisted entrance tune is just that…damn…good. Once the arena grew dark and flashing lights began hitting every corner of it, this badass tune would play and signal the arrival of everyone’s favorite “Cerebral Assassin.” HHH concocted the perfect entrance alongside this song as he spat out his water at just the right time during the middle of this tough tune. HHH’s epic WrestleMania entrances always get a boost thanks to “The Game” and we hope that trend never changes.

3. “Are You Ready? – D-Generation X

Once Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chyna began running roughshod over their opponents and the authority meant to keep them in line, D-Generation X was born. Thanks to Chris Warren and the rest of the legendary DX band, we were treated to a quality theme song that would even rock a crowd at your local rock concert meet up. “Are You Ready?” is such an ideal tune for a stable of wrestlers that went against the grain, played by their own rules, and rejected the system meant to keep their antics from disturbing the peace. This theme has remained relevant for a lengthy amount of time amongst wrestling fans and will stay that way for years to come.

4. “Know Your Role” – The Rock

“If ya smell…what The Rock…is cooking.” If you were still running around the schoolyard during the wild and rambunctious days of the Attitude Era, you probably uttered these exact words at one point or another. Once Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson embraced his babyface calling when he was at the top of the WWE ladder, the very best version of his theme song was introduced. This epic instrumental is amazing on its own, but the addition of The Rock’s verbal assaults to his foes provides the perfect cherry on top. Fans have been treated to remixed renditions of this theme in later years, but this Attitude Era staple remains untouchable.

5. “No Chance in Hell” – Vince McMahon

Do you know who truly deserves the honor of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame? Legendary theme composer Jim Johnston. The man is responsible for producing some of the greatest WWE theme songs of all time and most of them are on this list. With the assistance of singer Peter Bursurker, Jim was able to create one of the Attitude Era’s most defining songs. And that song belongs to the evil boss in charge of WWE, Mr. McMahon. “No Chance in Hell” solidified Vince’s character as an overbearing jerk that used his power and influence to always get his way. It was so easy to boo him out of the building every time he showed up. But it’s always been pretty difficult to not recite the chorus to this catchy tune. This song perfectly describes “The Man.”

6. “Real American” – Hulk Hogan

The very first theme we mentioned on this list features the musical stylings of Rick Derringer, who’s most known for being a talented vocalist and excellent guitarist. His most famous contribution to the world of professional wrestling is Hulk Hogan’s super patriotic tune, “Real American.” During Hogan’s reign as WWF Champion and the face of the largest wrestling organization in the world, this tune symbolized his character in the best way possible. Crowds would spring to their feet and come alive whenever Hogan’s triumphant tune kicked in. It’s totally understandable if you ever get the urge to drop the big leg drop on someone whenever this comes on. Fun fact – “Real American” initially belonged to the tag team comprised of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo (the U.S. Express).

7. “Sexy Boy” – Shawn Michaels

Ever see that meme that asks what song would you choose to sing if your life was on the line? The prevailing answer from most folks just so happened to be this song, which features this unforgettable lyric – “I think I’m cute, I know I’m sexy. I’ve got the looks, That drive the girls wild.” “Sexy Boy” is one of those themes that seem like pure cheese the first time you hear it. But after repeated listens, it quickly grows on you and enters your morning shower playlist. Shawn Michaels has kept this tune by his side for such a long time now and it will never grow tiresome. Always keep this lyric in mind when women try to downplay your attractiveness, King – “I’m just a sexy boy.”

8. “Hitman” – Bret Hart

That screeching guitar lick at the beginning of this tune is unmistakable. It’s pretty crazy when you think about how much this theme was relied upon by several WWE stalwarts – The Hart Foundation (tag team and stable) and Bret Hart himself had this in regular rotation during their respective eras. Bret put the best version of “Hitman” to good use during the height of his career and brought Canadian crowds to their feet every time it was played. The Hart Dynasty and Natalya Neidhart incorporated a remixed rendition of “Hitman” that was decent in its own right. But the New Generation brand of “Hitman” is still the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

9. “Unstable” – The Ultimate Warrior

The hype derived from “Unstable” should make anyone reach high speeds as they randomly begin running down the street. Watching the Ultimate Warrior take off like a madman down the ramp whenever his theme hit was always a memorable watch. This simple yet impactful instrumental set the mood at an all-time high as it brought the Ultimate Warrior onto the man stage. Play this tune within the vicinity of an 80’s baby and chances are high that they’ll know exactly whom it belongs to. “Unstable” should be required listening for all aspiring track and field stars from this point forward. *begins shaking top rope*

10. “Break The Walls Down” – Chris Jericho

The countdown. The accompanying alarm noises. The fade to black. And then the massive pyro explosion that followed all meant one thing – the “Y2J” problem was about to take over. Chris Jericho’s days as a WWE Superstar started and ended with this unmistakable tune, which is still a solid listen for even non-wrestling fans. This song was especially triumphant during the days where Jericho would emerge from the darkness with his back turned and arms held out in a display of unrivaled power. “Break Down the Walls” is the type of theme that elicits feelings of excitement as it gave fans a lot to look forward to. And that was because they knew the “Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla” was about to enter the scene.

11. “Rest in Peace” – The Undertaker

Don’t front – when you were a youngster watching wrestling back in the day, this theme scared you half to death and caused you to put your TV on mute. That’s because it marked the arrival of one of the most spine-chilling acts in WWE history, The Undertaker. “Rest in Peace” has evolved over the years, which has led us to this refined rendition of such a ghoulish tune. The foreboding bells at the beginning set the mood as the lights go dark and smoke begins billowing into the arena. Then this song springs into gear as it slowly increases the fear factor felt during The Undertaker’s reveal. It’s one thing to watch these moments unfold on live TV, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to experience it all in person.

12. “Next Big Thing” – Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar invokes fear. Brock Lesnar represents supremacy. And Brock Lesnar also goes hand in hand with the word devastation. And every time his theme song kicks off, everyone knows he’s going to emerge and send someone to “Suplex City.” “Next Big Thing” has and always will be one of the most intimidating wrestling theme songs to ever emerge. Brock’s terrifying aura is magnified even more due in part to this fitting theme, which plays up his characteristics via an opening guitar shred and a bouncy beat to boot. Whenever the image of Brock bouncing around on stage with a championship belt around his waist comes to mind, this theme song helps fill in the blanks that can be heard during that vision.

13. “Metalingus” – Edge

Like his tag team brethren Christian, Edge’s history with theme music is more than satisfactory. His debut theme and Rob Zombie’s “Never Gonna Stop” were both pleasing to the ears. But Edge’s main event ascension also came at a time when he came out to his greatest theme song to date – Alter Bridge’s “Metalingus.” The flawless combination of the “You think you know me…” opening audio clip, the hard-edged instrumental follow-up, and the lead-in to the song itself makes this theme an all-time classic. When Edge shocked the world at the 2020 Royal Rumble, it felt so good to see him in good health and ready to rock the world again with this awesome theme song still intact.

14. “Cult of Personality” – CM Punk

“This Fire Burns” by Killswitch Engage has to be given its roses due to how perfect it was at the time of CM Punk’s initial WWE run. It did an incredible job of explaining Punk’s unrivaled passion and desire to be the very best in WWE. When he became the talk of the town back in 2011, he re-emerged with Living Colour’s biggest single backing him up. The people that sung Punk’s praises quickly fell in love with his new choice in theme music. And the song’s overall theme spoke well to Punk’s newfound gimmick change as the voice of the voiceless and the unlikely leader WWE needed at that time. “Cult of Personality” will forever be tied to the “Summer of Punk” that renewed fan interest in the WWE.

15. “Burn in My Light” – Randy Orton

Today’s Randy Orton is calculated, sinister and quick to strike at a moment’s notice. The Randy Orton from year’s past was a cocky little bastard who knew he was destined for greatness the minute he linked up with Evolution. And when he began holding out his arms in front of raining sparks, this theme song marked his ascension to the top of the card. Mercy Drive, the band responsible for this tough tune, provided an incredibly catchy chorus for a future legend who was ready to take what was his. A lot of fans miss this song and can’t wait for the day when Orton brings it back for old time’s sake when he goes babyface for the umpteenth time. “HEY!”

16. “I Walk Alone” – Batista

“The Animal” may be retired from the world of professional wrestling, but his memory will live on thanks to this Saliva rendition of his iconic theme song. You could tell that Batista was about to enter a higher plateau of wrestling superstardom once he switched over to this theme during his run at the top of the WWE. Lyrics like “I walk a mile inside this pit of danger” perfectly described Batista’s gimmick as the type of who’s willing to brave the harshest of in-ring trials. The machine gun pump from Batista himself and the rapid-fire pyro that came from it helped this song reach legendary status. “I Walk Alone” will sound so good on the very day that Batista enters to it during his WWE Hall of Fame induction.

17. “Blood” – The Brood

One of the hardest beats to ever accompany a wrestling theme has to be this one. Gangrel, Edge, and Christian would come up through a ring of fire on the arena stage while this headbanger caused a ruckus among a rabid Attitude Era audience. It says a lot about this theme’s high quality when the unnerving ghostly voices heard throughout it didn’t even bring it down one bit. “Blood” is an iconic wrestling theme song that wouldn’t be out of place if it were played within the confines of a late-night hip-hop spot. It’s just that good and worthy of its placement on this list.

18. “At Last” – Christian

Christian is a rare case when it comes to wrestling themes – throughout his entire career, the man has never been saddled with a terrible entrance anthem. From his introduction as a non-talkative vampire to a wily veteran, Christian has always been gifted with the catchiest of hard-edged melodies. The greatest of them all has to be this one, which was prominent during Christian’s solo heel run that took place after he split away from longtime partner Edge. What made it stand out is its opening lyrics that celebrated Christian’s switch to a man that’s finally ready to claim victory on his very own. The rocking tune and opera singers’ contribution to it all successfully made this song into an undeniable favorite during the early 2000s.

19. “The Rising Sun” – Shinsuke Nakamura

While the edgier remix of Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme is fine in its own right, it pales in comparison to his original melody. As this song became more familiar to wrestling fans around the globe, they began to join in and loudly hum it. And every time this occurs, it’s quite the eye-opening event. And whenever it’s played live (either with the aid of a talented violinist or amazing drummers), “The Rising Sun” sounds even more astounding. Nakamura’s very first theme elicits a positive response every time it’s heard and here’s hoping that it comes back the very day that he becomes a babyface once more.

20. “Glorious” – Bobby Roode

If you followed Bobby Roode’s NXT run, then you know just how impactful this theme was and still is. The proud and powerful vocalists that sing on this tune give it life and make you feel as if a living God is set to appear. The lyrics are empowering enough to get everyone in attendance to join in and sing it at the top of their lungs. The one time that this theme shined brightest is when an impressive gathering of singers sung over it while Bobby entered the arena like an avenging angel. “Glorious” is the type of tune you’d expect to hear on the very day that the skies open up and unveil God himself.

21. “Catch Your Breath” – Finn Balor

There’s just something about Finn Balor’s entrance that makes him feel like the coolest guy in the room. Whether it’s his regular entrance or his “Demon” assisted arrival, Finn’s crowd popping theme works wonders during every televised occasion. Once Finn lifts his arms with his adoring crowd, the best part of this theme kicks into high gear. WWE’s modern-day instrumentalists knocked this song out of the park on their very first try when it came to giving Finn the perfect entrance theme. Things truly ramp up whenever Finn dons himself in a demonic paint pattern and gives this theme even more extra oomph. “Catch Your Breath” deserves to be listed among the greats when it comes to the most memorable wrestling themes of all time.

22. “Oh You Didn’t Know?” – The New Age Outlaws

There are certain wrestling themes that elicit a feeling of call and response. The combination of “Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn lay claim to that type of tune and its’ easily one of the most recognizable wrestling themes of all time. The guitar chords that ring off for this tune still send fans into a frenzy like it once did during the Attitude Era. Hearing Road Dogg talks his ish while perfectly in sync with this song was always a joy to watch during this duo’s heyday. The New Age Outlaws can be proud to say that their theme song/entrance performance remains unrivaled to his very day.

23. “Burned” – Kane

Once that ominous church organ could be heard and the lights turned to blood red, everyone knew who was set to make an appearance. The opening moments of this fear-inducing theme prepared you for the booming flames associated with the man they call Kane. “The Big Red Machine” was pure terror every time he slowly strolled down to the ring while this song played in the background. Everything about this theme made it easy to understand just who Kane is and how horrifying his next act of violence would be.

24. “Power” – Nation of Domination

The WWF’s version of the real-world Nation of Islam was so hard to dislike. Even though Faarooq Asaad and his loyal African-American contingent were portrayed as dastardly heels, their reasoning for handing out rampant beatdowns was totally understandable. The theme song that marked their arrival was powerful and signaled a shift in the arena, as it was time for a crew of dangerous brothers to come through. This version of the song is simple, precise and straight to the point. There’s really no need to listen to the PG-13 rendition that featured the tag team of the same name spitting putrid lyrics to this excellent instrumental.

25. “Pain and Destruction” – Demolition

The leather and spikes clad force known as Demolition were unstoppable during their late 80’s/early 90’s WWF run. The comparisons made between them and The Road Warriors ran rampant amongst hardcore wrestling fans, but no one could doubt Demolition’s cool factor and entertaining in-ring assaults. Their badass entrance was made all the better thanks to this hardcore theme. It’s the purest form of metal and encapsulated the impending destruction that was sure to come anyone’s way when Demolition stomped down the aisle.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.