Categories
Sports Strength

ONE Championship vs. UFC: How the Two MMA Organizations Stack Up

MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, if you even consider it a sport, that is. If MMA is basketball, the UFC is the NBA. If MMA is pro-wrestling, the UFC is the WWE. If MMA is soccer, the UFC is the entire damn Champions League. Dana White’s organization basically monopolizes the market and no matter how good of a product another promotion can offer, that will take years to change.

With that being said, for more hardcore fans of the sport, there are additional options to the UFC that are worth checking out. Of course, Bellator has their Light Heavyweight tournament coming up which is one of the more exciting things they’ve ever done. PFL’s Lightweight and Featherweight tournaments feature the likes of Anthony Pettis and Lance Palmer, respectively. ONE Championship just had a big event where former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez both competed and despite them both losing, the future seems bright for Chatri Sityodtong’s promotion.

If you need to be brought up to speed on ONE, here’s how the Singapore-based promotion works and compares to the UFC.

A Brief History of the UFC

The UFC has been around since 1993 and it hasn’t always been the rapid grower that it is today. In fact, in the early 2000s when the Fertitta brothers were going to purchase it with Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta’s lawyer advised him against it, despite the $2 million price tag which seems like peanuts today, considering the current valuation is over $6 billion.

When the sport was still looked at as human cockfighting to most, the former UFC owners ran towards regulation and Dana and the Fertittas only continued that way. Rules and regulations were added and the sport was being cleaned up, to some extent. Today, the UFC lives on ESPN and has been one of the leaders during the pandemic.

A Brief History of ONE Championship

Compared to the UFC, ONE Championship is still a baby. It was founded just ten years ago, in the summer of 2011, by Chatri Sityodtong and Victor Cui. It was created because despite believing that martial arts were Asia’s “cultural treasure,” they didn’t have their own promotion. Today, it is by far Asia’s largest promotion and on the rotation for hardcore fans of the sport.

Most first became familiar with ONE when they were a part of the first, and to this date, the only ever trade between two MMA promotions. Fresh off of his first loss in years and unsatisfied with his standing with the UFC, Demetrious Johnson got traded with Ben Askren, the latter of which was undefeated and retired due to the lack of opportunity to face the best in the world in the UFC. All parties agreed that the pair would be happier in each other’s organization, and so the trade happened. From there, ONE signed Sage Northcutt, Eddie Alvarez, and more big names in the sport, along with Miesha Tate, who became their Vice President.

As well as MMA, ONE Championship also hosts Muay Thai and Kickboxing events which differentiates them from most promotions and certainly the UFC, who only do MMA. They have separate MMA, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing divisions where each has its own weight divisions and champions. As a result, there are 22 ONE Championship champions.

Approach to MMA

If you’ve ever watched an old Pride FC event that took place in Japan, then you know that the Asian approach to MMA and the attitude towards fighters is very different than what we have in Europe and North America. For those classic events, crowds would go silent for the fights and only make noise once they were over. MMA fighters were superstars then and some of that respect is what ONE is going for in Asia. On their website, they state that they are “a celebration of Asia’s greatest cultural treasure and its deep-rooted Asian values of integrity, humility, honor, respect, courage, discipline and compassion.”

The UFC’s tagline is a little simpler: “as real as it gets.” You could argue that it embodies all of what ONE celebrates, but that would be a little disingenuous. There’s less of a culture of respect in the UFC, which some have criticized, but it’s what gets fans watching. Without trash talk and brash personalities, you don’t get a Conor McGregor or a Ronda Rousey who bring a bunch of eyes to the sport.

Judging Criteria and Rules

You only need to have seen a few UFC pay-per-views to know the rules and judging criteria off by heart. Jon Anik and even Mike Goldberg reading them out at the start of every event is a classic piece of every fight card.

UFC fights are scored by three judges who use the 10-point must system, a scoring system brought over from boxing. The winner of the round receives 10 points, their opponent receiving 9 or less. Judges score based on effective striking and grappling, effective aggressiveness, and fighting area control, also known as octagon control.

In terms of things that are not allowed, the list is fairly large. Perhaps that’s a surprise to people that have seen some of the more gruesome elements of the sport, but it’s true. UFC fighters cannot partake in the following: headbutting, eye-gouging, biting, spitting, fish hooking, hair pulling, pile-driving, striking to the back of the head, striking the throat, extending the fingers towards the eyes, downward-pointing elbows, strike the groin, kicking or kneeing the head of a grounded opponent, stomping a grounded fighter, holding an opponent’s gloves or shorts, holding the fence, small joint manipulation, throwing an opponent outside of the fighting area, intentionally placing a finger into any orifice, cut or laceration, clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh, timidity, abusive language in the fighting area, disregard a referee’s instructions, unsportsmanlike conduct that results in injury, attacking an opponent after the period of combat, attacking an opponent during the break, attacking an opponent under the care of the referee and interference from the corner.

ONE Championship differs from the UFC massively in terms of the judging criteria it utilizes. Just like Pride FC did back in the day, in ONE Championship, judges score fights as a whole and not round by round. For casual fans who only know the biggest boxing and UFC fights, perhaps that concept is hard to wrap your head around, but there’s a very strong argument that it’s the better way to do things. When Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski fought their rematch last year, it was argued that a change needed to be made to the judging and this was one of the suggestions.

Judges score ONE fights based on whether there was a knockdown or near submission, then on internal or accumulated damage done, then on striking combinations and ground control, then on completed or defended takedowns and finally on effective aggression.

In terms of its ruleset, unlike the UFC, ONE Championship does not adopt the unified rules of MMA. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s the wild west of MMA. Generally, you can and can’t do the same things over in ONE as in the UFC. The main difference is something we saw come into play at ONE’s big event earlier this month, where Demetrious Johnson fought Adriano Moraes. In ONE, you’re allowed to throw knees at a grounded opponent, and of course, DJ suffered his first-ever KO loss to a knee while he was grounded in the title fight.

Weight cutting

There have been instances where fighters have looked so unhealthy during the final stages of a weight cut that a commission calls the fight off, but generally, UFC fighters really suffer to make the limit for their weight class. Fighters will generally diet down throughout their training camp and then cut a bunch of water weight in the days leading up to the weigh-in. While there haven’t yet been any serious injuries or deaths related to weight cutting in the UFC, many feel as though it’s only a matter of time until something truly devastating happens.

Well aware of this, ONE Championship has been credited with trying something different with its weight classes. It essentially does away with fighters having to dehydrate themselves as part of their weight cut. The promotion carries out weight checks and hydration tests throughout the week of their fight, forcing fighters to pick a healthier weight class for themselves. Every weight class is essentially one higher than its name equivalent in the UFC.

Viewership

Being the leader in MMA that it is, UFC basically holds all of the records when it comes to viewership. If you look at a list of the biggest PPVs in MMA in terms of buys, the UFC holds the first 187 spots. No, that’s not a typo. At the time of writing, the 187 biggest MMA PPVs of all time are all UFC shows. They had their tied-2ndbiggest event just a few months ago, too, with the Poirier vs. McGregor rematch. Their trilogy fight should be right in that territory too.

For ONE, they called this April 2021 the biggest month in the history of their existence. Despite this, ONE on TNT I fell short of the mark, bringing in just 196,000 television viewers. This made it the 88th highest-rated cable show that day, a little disappointing considering it’s arguably the biggest card they’ve ever put on.

Categories
Sports Strength

The Most Memorable Pro-Wrestling Mic Fails, According to The Wrestling Classic

Hey everyone! It’s “The Wrestling Classic” Justin here with another article for One37PM. This was inspired by pages such as @wrestlbotch on Instagram and the Botchamania channel on YouTube. This article is not a list, but more of a trip down memory lane with some of the most memorable mic slips and promo botches of all time.

When it comes to professional wrestling, we know how important the promos are to guiding a story or hyping up an upcoming match, but sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Whether it’s the pressure of live television, trying to remember a script or both, there have been a lot of memorable mic mishaps on television. Some of these moments were funny, some of them were cringe and others were controversial but all of them were memorable indeed. I tried to find each moment online so you are able to relive these moments while reading the article, but if I couldn’t find it online, I will make sure to share the dates for the events so you can go find the clip. I hope you all enjoy!

Hulk Hogan Promo 2003

The Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon feud was two decades in the making. They were the two men who were essential players when the WWF went national and blew up in the 80s. It was Hulk Hogan on-screen as the mega over superhero and Vince McMahon pulling the strings as the man behind the magic. Hogan returned to the WWE in 2002 after seven years in WCW and it felt inevitable that he would feud with Vince McMahon eventually, since Mr.McMahon became a primary heel character on screen during those years. In a promo in the midst of their feud debating who really contributed more to the wrestling boom, the Hulkster messed up his lines and verbally said he was going to try again, exposing his flub only to mess it up again before finally nailing it. The expressions on Vince McMahon’s face were hilarious as he reacted while still staying in character.

Lex Luger vs NWA Cyberspace

The “Total Package” Lex Luger was never known for being a promo guy, but this promo still went viral. It was for an independent company named Cyberspace Wrestling Federation where he was set to face Ron Killings at their Superbrawl Saturday event. He mispronounces “despicable,” he doesn’t know the name of the promotion’s event and he can’t take his own shirt off. It’s really one of those promos that once you have seen it, you can’t forget it. When you think about Lex Luger, it always comes to mind for some reason.

It’s Live Pal – Sid

When it comes to promo botches, Sid is a fan favourite and needs no introduction. He had the look, was a multiple time World Champion, was in the main event of Wrestlemania multiple times and a larger than life superstar, but the “Ruler of the World” will also always be remembered for the nasty bump he took when he broke his leg. And mic slips like this one. Live television was not friendly to Sid and this was one of those moments. He wanted to restart his promo after messing up but good ol’ JR had to remind him that they were live. Due to the Mandela effect, many people believe Jim Ross said “we’re live pal” when he actually said “it’s live pal.”

Mean Gene F Bomb

“Mean Gene” Okerlund is one of the greatest backstage interviewers of all time. Okerlund was never one to not call people out on camera and throughout the years we have seen clips of Mean Gene bloopers on pre-taped promos, but we rarely saw him lose composure live on television. Therefore at the SummerSlam 1989 event, when the Summerslam sign fell behind him as he was preparing to interview Rick Rude and he dropped the F bomb on PPV, it was a rare occasion. The cameras quickly cut back to Jesse Ventura who came up with a quick-witted response. Bruce Prichard mentioned on his podcast “Something to Wrestle With” that they aired that by accident.

Mike Adamle – Jeff Harvey

This one will always be memorable to myself because I still jokingly call Jeff Hardy “Jeff Harvey” from time to time. Mike Adamle came from the background of broadcasting for American Gladiators and the WWE was very excited to have him join their family. However, the WWE Universe mainly remembers Adamle for his blunders on the mic such as this one at the Royal Rumble 2008 in his debut, when he confidently called Jeff Hardy by the wrong name. After transitioning from a host, to interviewer to commentator, they landed on having him as the Raw General Manager. He made a few more memorable mic blunders before ultimately leaving the company.

Magnum TA’s Promise to Tully Blanchard

For those younger fans who are smartened up on Magnum Terry Allen (better known as Magnum TA), he was a big star for Jim Crockett Promotions in the mid eighties. Many people in the business have claimed that he was going to be the Hulk Hogan of JCP if it wasn’t for his career being cut short due to an unfortunate motorcycle accident. This mic slip also came from an era where there weren’t scripted promos, so the superstars had to just go out there and do their thing. I just wanted to point that all out before you check out this clip, because what Magnum said he was going to do to Tully Blanchard is pretty funny and an unintentional sexual innuendo.

Roman Reigns Forgets His Lines
WWE

Over the years, the wrestling world has been very harsh when it comes to Roman Reigns’ promo cutting skills. When The Shield broke up and Roman no longer had Rollins and Ambrose to back him up, it took him time to really feel comfortable on his own when it came to promos. Throughout the years we really saw him blunder a handful of times, including during a promo battle with John Cena. In my opinion, I never thought Roman was bad at cutting promos but just not great at remembering his lines. He was in the era when your character’s promos are basically written for you word for word and most of the stuff WWE expected Roman Reigns to say never really sounded like what an actual human would say. The promo from TLC 2014 was one of the first times it seemed like Roman Reigns forgot his lines when trying to declare himself for the 2015 Royal Rumble. Regardless of why I think it happened, it’s still pretty funny.

Kicking Legs

Man, I miss Owen Hart. The King of Harts just had such a distinctive voice and was extremely charismatic. He was the youngest of the Hart family kids and really different personality wise from his older brother Bret Hart. When the WWE felt like they wanted to go the brother versus brother route, they had Owen Hart turn on The Hitman at the Royal Rumble to take their feud to the next level. As much as Owen is remembered for his memorable promos—such as the ones from the Slammy Award events in the 90s—he’s remembered for that time he said he kicked Brets “leg out of his leg” in an interview live after turning on him. Owen was on a roll describing why he did what he did, but the moment he said the line about kicking Bret’s leg out of his leg, you could tell he realized what he said didn’t make much sense. He kept going, but the fans never let that go. I’m pretty sure I saw a custom action figure mock up that was made specifically honoring this promo. It made me smirk.

The Narcissist
WWE

Curt Hennig was truly a once in a lifetime superstar. Hennig is near the top of many fan lists when it comes to popular stars who never won a major World Championship. He was introduced to the WWE as the perfect superstar with vignettes of him exceeding at various different games and sports. If you have never seen those vignettes before, I would highly recommend checking those out. Although Mr. Perfect was dubbed as absolutely perfect, he also had his mic slip moment. It was Wrestlemania 9 and the perfect one was set to face off against Lex Luger, who recently made his debut under the Narcissist character. Prior to the match, Mr. Perfect was cutting a promo and he just couldn’t pronounce the word “Narcissist.” He tried multiple times before just giving up and laughing at his own inability to due so. Mean Gene helped turn it around, but it was nice to see Hennig react to his own blunder.

Miz’s First Night

Mike Mizanan had his first taste of fame from being on MTV’s “Real World” but always dreamed of being a professional wrestler in the WWE. Therefore, when he finally made it to the company, it wasn’t easy for him to break away from being that guy from reality television. It actually took The Miz years to really be taken seriously from the fans and his peers.

This leads me to believe that the way he forgot his lines on his first Raw appearance didn’t do him any favors. The Miz was the host of the Diva Search in 2006, which was a contest to find the next women’s star for the company. The issue here was that The Miz forgot all the information he needed to know about the contest, whether it was because of nerves or just not knowing. He even had the phone number that the fans were supposed to use to vote written on his wrist and visibly read it on the air. The Miz would go on to be one of the best talkers in the business, so there is something satisfying seeing him in a situation like this because it’s relatable, but is also a great example of how professional growth can work.

The Infamous Booker T Promo

Throughout the years Booker T has said a lot of memorable stuff in his promos and on commentary, but this is the one Booker T would most likely want to forget. The fans won’t ever let him. Harlem Heat was one of the most dominant tag teams in World Championship Wrestling and in wrestling generally during the 90s. Booker T and Stevie Ray were real life brothers, which made their chemistry as a team undeniable and it led them to become multiple time tag team champions. Their promos were full of intensity too which was common for that time. When Booker T started feeling himself and started going in on this promo, it was hard for himself to slow down. Therefore when he addressed Hulk Hogan, he got too into the “street” character and called Hogan the N-Word on live television. There was instant regret and disappointment on his face once he realized what he just did. Literally seconds after, you could see how shaken up he was by letting that word slip out. Years later, Booker T admitted it was one of his worst moments of his career especially at the time that it happened.

What’s My Line

Randy Orton is one of my favourite wrestlers from the last couple of decades. He’s been a constant character in the WWE since 2002 and is so good at what he does that it’s rare to see him really mess anything up. It’s crazy to me that someone who was once dubbed the “Legend Killer” is realistically a legend himself today. Regardless of his position in the company or his status, he’s also had his memorable mic fail moments. In a promo with Sheamus years back, it seemed as if Randy Orton completely lost his train of thought and forgot his next line. In what they tried to make look like trash talking, you could see Orton asking Sheamus for his next line. Sheamus helped him out and Orton finished the promo, but it was fun seeing the veteran asking the newer superstar for a helping hand under the pressure of being on live television.

The SilverDome

It was Wrestlemania 30 and, of course, the man who was the main event of the first nine events, Hulk Hogan, was the guest host. Hogan was popular for his over the top promos in the 80s and 90s, which, even when he seemed to blunder, he always still found his point by the end. He was considered one of the better promos in his day and at least a memorable one for those who weren’t fans of his. At Wrestlemania 30, he kicked off the show to get the fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans pumped and excited for the rest of the night.

However, he just couldn’t get the name of the venue correct. He kept referring to it as the SilverDome, which was the now defunct venue where Wrestlemania 3 took place. I know it’s a place Hogan holds close to his heart because its where he slammed Andre the Giant, but the wrestling fans booed each time he messed up the venue name. Later in the same segment, both “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock came out as well, and they both poked fun at Hogan’s venue mix up.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

In Honor of National Anime Day, Here Are 5 Animes to Watch Right Now

Anime is getting bigger and bigger and as gaming continues to grow, we will likely see anime get bigger as well. It’s an interesting phenomenon because they aren’t directly related.

Today is National Anime Day, so if you’re a fan or just looking to get into the genre, you’ll need some great shows and movies to watch. We’ve compiled five of our favorites, and we want to stress that this list is not ranked at all but is just for people who want to get into anime and want to know what to watch.

1. ‘Attack On Titan’

 Attack on Titan, the Anime, premiered in 2013 with the final episodes coming within the next year or so. I think it’s safe today that AOT is probably the best new-gen anime out there. Well written, great production, and just storytelling out of this world, this show just packs a punch. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by three enormous walls that protect them from the gigantic man-eating humanoids referred to as Titans.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/attack-on-titan-9c91ffa3-dc20-48bf-8bc5-692e37c76d88
2. ‘Full Metal Alchemist’

Full Metal Alchemist is probably one of the most story-oriented anime and has some amazing fight scenes.

The show excels at creating emotional attachments to the many characters such as the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric.

In the show, the brother’s defy this world’s law of science by finding the philosopher’s stone and using alchemy to bring their mother back to life. 

watch on netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70204980
3. ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’

The newest and hottest out of the five, Jujutsu Kaisen just might be the anime that brings a more general audience into the anime world.

Jujutsu Kaisen is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Gege Akutami. The anime does a fantastic job blending action, horror, and adventure with its outstanding animation from studio MAPPA.

watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/series/urn:hbo:series:GX8fnVgocBIZDKQEAAABF?utm_id=sa%7c71700000077053038%7c58700006528832595%7cp59043298904&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyN-DBhCDARIsAFOELTmg74UZhHhqZtdZwwK7BvRUON4TOqdYC6Uleg6f92NxnFH0NcxWjUkaAoEzEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
4. ‘Demon Slayer’

In my opinion, Demon Slayer is the most underrated on this list. Demon Slayer (the Manga) is illustrated beautifully, so it’s no surprise that the Anime is just as eye-catching. The show starts with a young boy finding his family slaughtered and his sister being turned into a demon, thus beginning his journey to fight the very monsters that robbed him of his loved ones.

watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/demon-slayer-kimetsu-no-yaiba-2c3e4b00-30d9-434d-bccc-cf346e40e868?&cmp=7958&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BM+Search+TV+Shows&utm_term=%2Bdemon%20%2Bslayer%20%2Bwatch&ds_rl=1263136&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyN-DBhCDARIsAFOELTkSEwb4cCD1B1FiMozL3Ip5OWsRycZmN5BsVdMMJIM7U_uzrO_RV-8aAhgUEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
5. ‘Death Note’

Death Note and Attack on Titan are actually both made by the great Japanese animator Tetsuro Araki. For fans of Attack on Titan, you should watch Death Note as well as it is another masterpiece. The story follows a young teen genius who finds a book that gives him the ability to kill anyone just by writing it down.

watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70204970
Categories
Sports Strength

10 New MLS Jerseys You Need to Buy

Proper football is a culture unlike any other when it comes to the creativity that goes on for so many clubs and leagues behind the scenes.

Each year, clubs will use their kit releases as an opportunity to hype fans up for the new campaign, draw attention to a new key signing or distract them from the fact that the team might not be very good.

Whatever the case may be, Major League Soccer and adidas’ partnership has been incredibly fruitful over the years and produced some amazing kits across the league.

With the 2021 season kicking off Friday, we’re taking a look at 10 of the new kits that you absolutely need to consider buying.

Philadelphia Union “BY⚡️U”

The “BY⚡️U” kit displays lightning bolts throughout and the light blue gives off San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers vibes. Absolutely incredible kit out of Philadelphia as the Union look to be one of the Eastern Conference’s top sides again in 2021.

LA Galaxy “Community”

The Galaxy’s “Community” kit throws it back to an MLS original jersey the club displayed in their inaugural campaign back in 1996. LA fans will surely be happy to throw it back to their roots, and this one will definitely be a top seller with all retro kit aficionados like myself.

Seattle Sounders “Jimi Hendrix”

There’s literally nothing bad to say about Seattle’s “Jimi Hendrix” kit. The ode to the rock legend is amazing in itself, but the purple and orange color scheme really makes it pop, while also giving off a hard rock vibe. It’s only fitting for the Sounders, who traditionally play Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” prior to every home game at Lumen Field.

Inter Miami “Palma”

The second-year club throws the obvious nod to the palm trees that line Miami Beach in south Florida, but the subtlety of the kit is honestly a much-needed improvement from their plain jerseys of a season ago. The black base with pink trim really is unique in MLS and makes this kit stand out from other clubs.

Sporting KC “Argyle”

Sporting KC seemingly always comes out with fire kits, and although this one may be simpler than previous years it’s still classy as hell. The traditional horizontal stripes goes perfect with their navy and light blue color scheme.

New York City FC “Bronx Blue”

NYCFC’s traditional sky blue has been a hallmark of their home kits since 2015, but this is the first time the club has really altered its actual design that they’ll don at Yankee Stadium. The faded vertical stripes are subtle, but when you look closely the kit is really well done. Definitely sets them apart from Manchester City’s kits a bit more.

Austin FC “Inaugural”

Whenever a new MLS club joins the league, there’s hope that different colors will be used to represent it and set them apart from everyone else. Although Timbers green has become associated with Portland, this Austin kit gives off Atlanta vibes with the thick vertical stripes. Solid start for Austin, who have certainly won fans over very quickly without having played a game yet.

FC Cincinnati “Dynamic”

Maybe it’s just because my personal bias says the orange and blue go really well together, but this is a severely underrated kit. The pinstripes look isn’t utilized enough, and honestly this one looks much better than what Atlanta put out after their change to thinner stripes in 2021.

FC Dallas “Community”

FC Dallas provides shade of France at the 2018 World Cup into this kit, and they definitely nailed it perfectly. Very elegant design and one that will definitely make casual fans want to pick one up.

Chicago Fire “Lakefront”

The Fire’s “Lakefront” kit has so many layers to it, and that’s makes it so great. The navy horizontal stripes create an optical illusion that mimics the Chicago flag’s light blue border and then boasts large stars in the center. The kit features six faded stars down the center, and it’s truly an awesome way to end this list.

Categories
NFT Sports

Now Is a Good Time to Start Practicing Patience with NBA Top Shot

It’s OK to go fishing.

That’s what Jack Settleman, noted NFT enthusiast and contributor to this very website, said last weekend when discussing the state of NBA Top Shot on a YouTube livestream.

Settleman’s statement crystallized a lot of what I’ve been feeling about a platform that has had a rapid rise, and is now creating frustration, confusion even, from a lot of its users. 

FUD is high for Top Shot, with optimists pointing to the NBA Playoffs—still a long five weeks away—as a near term opportunity for another exciting time in the marketplace.

But despite the negativity, this is a community, an ecosystem, that’s still engaged. Really, really engaged.

In the month of March, when “undercutting” rose to prominence and many moment’s lowest-asks cratered 50% or more, contributing to a decreasing overall marketcap, new users continued to come in and explore the platform. While many may have been relying on pack drops and not investing through the marketplace, all indications remain that when registration is open, new users will continue to sign up at an impressive pace.

Even further, existing users didn’t let up on their overall engagement.

Top Shot has spawned an incredible ecosystem. With much of its transaction data and activity publicly accessible, and its entire premise built on an entirely new way to express your NBA fandom, moonlighting podcasters and data analysts have given way to and endless amount of resources and information to speculate and discuss what’s going on with Top Shot—every minute of every day. 

The frenzy has been unrelenting.

In fact, since December, daily user sessions and average session time on NBATopShot.com outpaced that of two prominent investment platforms, Fidelity.com and Schwab.com, according to SEMRush.com. Yes that’s right, people are probably checking their Top Shot collection value and the marketplace more frequently than their equities portfolio, the latter of which is quite literally a window into what makes our world go around.

Websites like MomentRanks.com and LiveToken.co, new staples in the Top Shot ecosystem, are still too new to obtain reliable data, but you can probably assume they’d further confirm how frequently the Top Shot community is checking in and feeling a forced need to take action themselves, whether they really need to or not.

https://www.semrush.com/
SEM Rush

It’s all great as an indicator for future growth and success, but it asks the question if the amount of consumption is necessary, or even wildly unhealthy?

If you enter a new position on a stock, set up your dollar cost average strategy on Bitcoin, or buy a sought after Ja Morant rookie card, it’s very unlikely you are looking at their value incessantly (unless you day trade), with the intent to flip or, in the case of what’s happening too often in the Top Shot Marketplace with very little justification, panic selling for an immediate loss or small gain due to fear and impatience. 

The speed and immediacy inherent to Top Shot certainly can be a good thing, but it’s brought with it a contagious reflex that if something exciting isn’t happening right at this minute, or the next minute, that Rome might start burning. And we might have too many people around to hint at that, and too many more to spread the news ourselves.

Collectibles shouldn’t be like that.

My suggestion? Practice some patience!

Maybe even embrace periods of boredom or de-prioritizing Top Shot. Look at the marketplace as a space rich with moments with cool stories built around them. Buy what you want, sell what you don’t, maybe check your account value a few times a week, then go on with your life. You’ll be blissfully ignorant to the the dangerous pump and dumps, quick price drops, and be better off for it. Top Shot will still be there, along with all those Sam Merrill’s Top Shot Debut moments.

I don’t believe Dapper Labs built this with the intent to demand your constant attention as a requirement to enjoy the platform and experience. The market may stabilize, FUD may diminish, and our general feeling about what we’re investing in may improve… if we just go fishing.

Categories
Sneakers Style

The 20 Best Waterproof Sneakers For Men

If you are anything like us, then you are very particular about your sneaker care regimen. Growing up with two sneakerhead parents I was always told one thing: you don’t wear your sneakers in the rain, or any place where you could potentially be around a lot of water. So for most of my life, I have stayed away from wearing sneakers in rainy weather or any other setting where I knew there was going to be a lot of water in the attempt to avoid ruining a perfectly good pair of kicks. Many of my colleagues feel the same, so that had us thinking about whether or not there was some sort of middle ground. Certainly a good pair of waterproof sneakers could solve that problem right? 

You don’t always have to put your sneakers back in the closet whenever the forecast shows rain, and we have compiled a list of 20 different waterproof sneakers that you can rock with your rainy day attire. Check them out and let us know what you think!

1. Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 Running Shoes
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.belk.com%2Fp%2Funder-armour-charged-pursuit-2-running-shoes%2F0438671088735.html%3Ffeed%3Dshopping%26cm_mmc%3DPLA-GOOGLE-Evergreen_Shoes_NewCustomer_SHOP_NA-SHOES_NONE_EVGNPLA-0438671088735%26s_kwcid%3DAL!5203!3!498647611897!!!g!1184529756121!!92700060992480701%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNxSu9UwTEvHUE7UphNhb0mV1xxssizsx5YfDq3Ld7DlMn8U3AMCaEaAgjQEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
Belk
Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 Running Shoes

There’s a select few who enjoy doing their daily runs/jogs in the rain. If you are in this category, then the Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 Running Shoes are just for you. Light and comfortable, the shoe has a mesh upper with breathable fabric, and a cushioned midsole to protect your feet while running. Some running shoes can also be worn casually, and these could also go well with regular athletic attire. Regardless of where you choose to wear them, your shoes will be safe in the rain.

BUY NOW, $49
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2. Vessi Vegan Waterproof Sneakers
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fvessi.com%2Fproducts%2Fmens-everyday-midnight-black%3Fdfw_tracker%3D45602-31979521245269%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNZDfNFu_kQ2VsXh-aTsvm-MxsY_rcPUdfRsEiix_twOftiW2XalNkaAk-BEALw_wcB
Vessi
Vessi Vegan Waterproof Sneakers

Not only are the Vessi sneakers waterproof, but they are also Vegan which is a double bonus. Similar to the Under Armour shoes, these also have a mesh upper and comfortable midsole. Vessi guarantees that these are 100 percent waterproof, and the Vegan Sneakers have received mostly positive reviews from buyers with one even admitting that they literally stuck their sneakers in the pool for extra confirmation. That is a bit on the extreme side, but at least we know for sure that these shoes are extra protective.

BUY NOW, $135
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3. Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Academy MG
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Nike
Nike Tiempo Legend 8 Academy MG

Being an outdoor athlete means carefully considering the durability of your shoes when making your purchase. Since soccer players are primarily outdoors, it would be wise to have rain cleats on hand in case you have to play on a day with poor weather. The Nike Tiempo Legend 8s have calfskin leather along with a multi-ground plate for traction on both natural and artificial grass, meaning that you won’t have to worry about ruining your shoes, or slipping while playing. A win-win all around if you ask us.

BUY NOW, $52.97
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4. Adidas Terrex Agravic Trail Running Shoes
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adidas.com%2Fus%2Fterrex-agravic-trail-running-shoes%2FFX6977.html%3Fcm_mmc%3DAdieSEM_Feeds-_-GoogleProductAds-_-NA-_-FX6977%26cm_mmca1%3DUS%26cm_mmca2%3DNA%26dfw_tracker%3D24819-FX6977-0010%26ds_rl%3D1257009%26ds_rl%3D1256970%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hPtoehLpGT0mcjSXVgJmRvlXagPdd3QiBno2r3FfbR2t309A4RXFG0aAv-tEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds%26kpid%3DFX6977%26sourceid%3D543457011
Adidas
Adidas Terrex Agravic Trail Running Shoes

Adidas offers plenty of outdoor sneakers, but since we already have a few solid black shoes on this list, we decided to give you something more colorful. These are primarily hiking sneakers, but they come with waterproof material if in the instance you get stuck in the rain, or find yourself having to maneuver through puddles. The Continental Rubber Ground outsole makes it easier to walk in wet conditions, and provides good ankle support. On a different note, these seem more prone to getting dirty due to the colors, so we recommend them only for hiking, camping, etc.

BUY NOW, $100
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5. Nike Cortez Nylon
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstockx.com%2Fnike-cortez-basic-nylon-black-white-metallic-silver%3Fcountry%3DUS%26currencyCode%3DUSD%26size%3D8%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds%26%3Futm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_medium%3Dcpc%26utm_campaign%3DOD-Segment-Sneakers-AdultSizes-(US)%26utm_campaignid%3D1032998786%26content%3D244607812448%26keyword%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNcpMo5pNcjvfHkbPMKOzjjvB0_Qw1GNJcm6oGzhSgIHp6XH-eMkd0aAmtvEALw_wcB
StockX
Nike Cortez Nylon

Yes the Cortez is waterproof, so you can breathe a sigh of relief if you already have a pair in your closet or plan on purchasing soon. This shoe is designed to hold up during rainy weather, and Cortez’ in general are a strong sneaker that can hold up for a long time if taken care of properly. That said, we still wouldn’t recommend making these your go-to rain sneakers as it can wear down the overall appearance of the shoe. Just our opinion.

BUY NOW, $80
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6. Steve Madden Maxima
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stevemadden.com%2Fproducts%2Fmaxima-blush-multi%3Fvariant%3D34747444985989%26ab_version%3DB%26utm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_medium%3Dcpc%26utm_campaign%3Dsmart-shopping-bestseller%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNexdsnplhyMDWhpHy5YuNs581I17EzfNBcabUOl2-2ImzfDUImiucaAuGcEALw_wcB
Steve Madden
Steve Madden Maxima

At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily think these are water resistant, but according to Steve Madden they are! These just may be the most stylish sneakers on this list, and are so nice that you almost don’t want to wear them in poor weather! Steve Madden has three different colorways for these: Baby Blue, Maxima Blush, and Charcoal, and all are priced at $100. Not a bad buy at all.

BUY NOW, $100
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7. North Face Men’s Back-To-Berkeley Low WP
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thenorthface.com%2Fshop%2Fmens-back-to-berkeley-low-wp-nf0a4obs-c1%3FvariationId%3DU6V%26utm_content%3Decomm%26utm_medium%3Dcpc%26utm_source%3Dgoogle%26utm_campaign%3DUS%2B%257C%2Ball%2B%257C%2BHybrid%2B%257C%2BSHOP%2B-%2BAUT%2B~%2BAll%2B-%2BMed%2B-%2BSale%2BItems%2B-%2BGeneral%26utm_term%3DPRODUCT_GROUP%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hM-lF-dvKiOwFY9CqXGvsI7Q8Itim-gu2NOYpMLZz9geont5lol3rQaAjgtEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
North Face
North Face Men’s Back-To-Berkeley Low WP

The Berkeley’s are a waterproof sneaker made specifically for hiking, but you can also use them for everyday wear too. The shoe features a DryVent Waterproof membrane, rustproof hardware, and temperature sensitive rubber lugs to ensure that your shoes are protected and slip-resistant. Simple, but effective.

BUY NOW, $75
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8. Adidas Lite Racer Adapt 3.0 Sneakers
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.shoecarnival.com%2Fmens_adidas_lite_racer_adapt_v3_sneakers%2F67-2227875.html%3Focid%3Dpdsearch%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hMoNHHgc0zONhGeaA1ePwgSJ_BC70xYLn0raSqXBLqGpYcClfe63c0aAkfTEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
Shoe Carnival
Adidas Lite Racer Adapt 3.0 Sneakers

The Racers are a slightly cheaper alternative that still gets the job done. While not on the ‘stylish’ side, the shoes are comfortable, lightweight, and most importantly waterproof. There isn’t too much to these sneakers—they are your standard resistant shoe built for rain, water puddles, and pool days, but you don’t have to spend that much as opposed to other brands.

BUY NOW, $59.98
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9. Columbia Mid-Breeze Shoe
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbia.com%2Fp%2Fmens-sh%252Fft-mid-breeze-shoe-1888641.html%3Fdwvar_1888641_color%3D527%26dwvar_1888641_size%3D8
Columbia
Columbia Mid-Breeze Shoe

Columbia shoes may not be at the forefront of every major sneaker drop, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out. Eye-catching and a solid fit, the Mid-Breeze sneakers have a mesh upper to protect against rain, and carefully designed ankle support. The only concern on this shoe may be the laces. The confetti laces are a nice touch, but could wear pretty easily if often exposed to bad weather. However, that is a pretty correctable fix as laces can be easily swapped or replaced.

BUY NOW, $54.98
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.columbia.com%2Fp%2Fmens-sh%252Fft-mid-breeze-shoe-1888641.html%3Fdwvar_1888641_color%3D527%26dwvar_1888641_size%3D8
10. Salomon Outbound Trail Shoe
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dsw.com%2Fen%2Fus%2Fproduct%2Fsalomon-outbound-gtx-trail-shoe—mens%2F459023%3Fcm_mmc%3DCSE-_-GPS-_-G_LIA_Shopping_Athletic%2520%2526%2520Sneaker-_-LIA_Athletic%2520%2526%2520Sneaker%26cadevice%3Dc%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hPz6pkvrAPQhjovdaqmGtIrh80LUi4cuj7vhdsFvNc9KKw29d4rhrgaAoV9EALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
DSW
Salomon Outbound Trail Shoe

While we have never personally owned a pair, the Salomon sneakers seem to be ranked pretty high on the list of must-have water resistant shoes. Just about any hiking/trail shoe is going to be waterproof due to the possibility of rain and puddles, but unlike some of the others, the Salomons are also interchangeable for work due to their color and design. The laces are waterproof too, which is always a great feature because having to consistently replace laces can be somewhat annoying.

BUY NOW, $99.99
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11. UGG’s Cali Sneaker Low Weather
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ugg.com%2Fs%2FUGG-US%2Fmaster-sale%2Fcali-sneaker-low-weather%2F192410376643.html
UGG
UGG’s Cali Sneaker Low Weather

Have you ever had UGG sneakers? Well if not before, now would be a good time to give them a chance. The texture is neat because at first glance the shoe appears to be suede, but it’s really waterproof leather. The UGGs have flexible outsoles, cushioned insoles, and also has a black colorway option if that is more of your style. The waterproof leather has sealed seams for additional protection, and the shoes in general are great for jogging/walking, but still fancy enough for dinner.

BUY NOW, $90.99
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12. Nike React Miler Shield By You
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nike.com%2Fu%2Fcustom-nike-react-miler-shield-by-you-10000945%2F8975279016%3Fnikemt%3Dtrue%26cp%3D71606177307_search_%257CPRODUCT_GROUP%257CGOOGLE%257C71700000041489779%257CAll_X_X_X_X-Device_X_Nike-FullPrice_X%257C%257Cc%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds%26%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNpz1a0XAXTlI7Qob3VHzdVKx5NJk8D4NhtuwOKaDwdwbkKdvJx_BUaAlH5EALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
Nike
Nike React Miler Shield By You

Heading back to Nike, the Reacts are made to be a long lasting shoe that can withstand terrible weather conditions. Nike allows you personal customization options where you can choose your lace shroud, toe/tongue, and base. This is the first sneaker on this list that offers personal design options, which is cool because you can create a shoe based on your own preferences.

BUY NOW, $165
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13. Columbia Outdry Mid Shoe
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.footlocker.com%2Fproduct%2F~%2F71247247.html%3Fsource%3Dshoppingads%26locale%3Den-US%26SID%3D9114%26inceptor%3D1%26cm_mmc%3Dpaid%2520search-_-google-_-g-_-PLA-_-DPA-_–_-P-_-Prospecting-_–_-6541284388-_–_-113484952238-_-PLA-_-712472477.5-_–_–_-%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hNkYiHd9IXJGBKWeQ5ekJAhJOBZB6Hyw8f7RLt89Cmc6PcqnrTfd18aAjFcEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
Columbia
Columbia Outdry Mid Shoe

Columbia deserves another entry on this list because we definitely had to include the Outdry Mid Sneakers. The shoe has a water resistant upper complete with full-grain leather overlays. These sneakers are also on the smaller side, and have a sock fit. If you want you could rock with the standard black color, or choose from four other colorways if you are looking for something more vibrant.

BUY NOW, $130
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14. Timberland Men’s Boltero Sneaker Boot
https://go.skimresources.com?id=27667X1584577&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.famousfootwear.com%2Fproduct%2Ftimberland-mens-boltero-sneaker-boot-1044447%2Fblack-out-90723%3Fpartnerid%3Dadwordspla%26utm_source%3D71700000079624379%26utm_term%3Dp60625640333%26utm_content%3D1044447-90723-10.5M%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwpdqDBhCSARIsAEUJ0hMcmXp1DR9EMveEFcSan3vSmlV1MgxDRNEKmXSSQsyMN3DYoKjMgfoaApszEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
Columbia
Timberland Men’s Boltero Sneaker Boot

Let’s switch it up and go with something different. Sneaker boots tend to be a hit or miss depending on whether you love or hate them, but these are doable. While the Bolteros might be better suited for the winter season, these could work for those icky days when snow and ice melts into water. Timberland currently has two colorway choices available (black or the standard Timberland sand), and is perfect for everyday wear.

BUY NOW, $79.99
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15. Under Armour Charged Assert 8
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Under Armour
Under Armour Charged Assert 8

How about another Under Armour? The 8s are covered in mesh all around, while providing extra cushioning for comfort and support. The EVA sockliner is an added feature, and the rubber outsole provides stability when walking through slippery conditions. Other features on the 8 include: a lace-up closure, a round toe, and comfort technology. The reviews on these sneakers are definitely worth looking into as those with foot conditions have raved about the overall comfort level, and others have noted the shoe’s breathing room. Whatever the case, Under Armour seems to be pretty good at this water resistant sneaker thing.

BUY NOW, $49.99
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16. Ryder Indestructible Shoes
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Indestructible
Ryder Indestructible Shoes

Any shoes labeled as being ‘indestructible’ are worth the buy. Like many of the other sneakers on this list, the Indestructibles are layered with a waterproof mesh material, and the shoe has a ‘tactical combat’ design along with a military-themed colorway. Providing long-lasting protection, the Indestructibles are built with a special military grade kevlar. While lightweight, kevlar is a strong material that can withstand any weather condition, and the outsole also features military material to keep your feet safe. If desired you can choose to add on no-tie laces, and the breathable mesh helps to prevent sweat. 

BUY NOW, $79.00
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17. Vans UltraRange Rapidweld
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Vans
Vans UltraRange Rapidweld

While suede and rain are typically not a good combination, certain suede materials can work in the rain depending on the overall structure of the shoe, and other materials used. By now you know that regular Vans and bad weather are an automatic no-go, but the company does offer a water resistant option for those that still want to rep Vans in poor weather.

The UltraRange sneakers are constructed with water-based inks , and also have…you guessed it…a breathable mesh in the upper. Lightweight with sock-fit cushion, you can get out a lot of these shoes, and there are loads of colors to choose from depending on what you are feeling. The reviews are great too, so this is certainly a good buy that is worth the investment. 

BUY NOW, $89.95
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18. Atoms Shoes
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Atoms
Atoms Shoes

It took some convincing for us to really believe that these shoes are waterproof, but after some digging, we found out that the Atoms Shoes have passed the lie detector test. Made with high durability coated TPU yarn blend, the Atoms feature a custom foam midsole, and non-slip rubber outsole. In addition to being water resistant, the sneakers have a ton of other unique features such as laces that only need to be tied once (yes once), and an antimicrobial copper lining that serves to keep the sneaks squeaky clean. These are also very stylish, and can be dressed up or down depending on the event.

BUY NOW, $129
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19. Olukai Olukai Ālapa Lī Trench Blue
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Olukai
Olukai Olukai Ālapa Lī Trench Blue

These Hawaiian-themed joints are another great investment if you are wanting to add a pair of waterproof shoes to your sneaker lineup. Priding themselves on the Hawaiian active lifestyle, the Trench Blues were literally made for the water as they can be used as a surfing sneaker. If these sneakers can withstand a full surfing day, then they can definitely handle a thunderstorm.

The only difference from the other shoes on this list is the unique drop-in-heel feature, which is somewhat rare on sneakers. If you are somebody that needs to have ankle support for stability, then this shoe may not be for you, but if you are okay with low drops, then these are potentially a solid choice.

BUY NOW, $100
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20. Nike Air Force 1 GTX
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Nike
Nike Air Force 1 GTX

Last but not least, the Forces. No this is not a figment of your imagination—Nike really does have a waterproof version of their Air Force 1s, and in our opinion they have a case for being one of the hardest Forces in the Nike Lineup. The crisp leather combined with the GORE-TEX technology makes the shoes so fresh, so clean, and an absolute must. If you are feeling the brown patent colorway, then you can choose either the all-black version or the deep brown edition if that’s more your style. Not bad Nike, not bad.

BUY NOW, $70.97
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So what did you think of this list? Are there any that we missed? Let us know your thoughts!

Categories
Culture News

3 Wine Regions to Buy On a Budget

While I taste the best wines from all over the world, there is a time and place for everything. I am still a 33 year old that has to rent along with many of the other bills that come in every month. Today, I am here to expose 3 regions where high quality wines are made, but don’t hold a price point that is built on the backs of heavy marketing and branding. While price can be a good indication of the quality of wine, it isn’t always the final say. So make sure to try wines from these regions that will taste like a wine priced 2 to 3 times what you pay!

1. Portugal

If you ask most “Wine Drinkers” in America if they drink Portuguese wines, they will most likely know about Port before anything else. While they make some of the best after dinner wines in the world, there is a lot to be said about their normal, everyday wines as well. 

Over the past decade or so, more and more wines are coming out of Portugal. The popularity has exploded from the elevation in prices from some of the other places like France, Spain, and even the US. Their most famous white wines are the cheap, but extremely delicious Vinho Verdes. A little bit of bubbles makes for a fun white wine drinking experience, and you won’t have to spend more than $9 a bottle! 

The reds on the other hand can be a bit confusing with all the different indigenous grapes they use. In the end though, if you are spending $15 on a bottle of wine from Portugal, it will have the quality of wines that cost $30 to $50 in places like Bordeaux. Now is the time to drink and stock up on some of these wines, because they won’t be much of a secret as time goes on and the prices will rise like the rest of the world.

2. Mendoza

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the California wine industry had their biggest growth when it came to popularity.  With that came a major increase in pricing. Over time, some wines, especially Malbec, were making their way into the US and it slowly became the alternative to the California wines. The wines were very similar in style: big fruit flavors upfront, savory mid palate, and a long finish of vanilla from the oak.  

Now you can find an endless amount of wines and varietals coming out of Mendoza that rival some of the best in the world. I am constantly getting emails and notifications about wines scoring huge reviews and finding out that they only cost $15 to $20 a bottle! I don’t see this changing anytime soon, so you can bank on being able to get these wines at a reasonable price for some time to come.

3. New Zealand

New Zealand is synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc. It has been for some time, but we can thank those wines for opening our eyes to the other fun projects that are happening on the large island. The cool climate of the region creates very Old World style wines that keep the acidity high for crisp white wines, and the structure balanced in their reds. 

Sauvignon Blanc is still king there, but now we are seeing more and more other whites and red wines making their way across the Pacific Ocean.  Recently I have been blown away by Rieslings, Pinot Noirs, and even Bordeaux blends. Some of them are getting insanely high scores, and none are breaking the bank. Literally 90% of the wines coming from New Zealand are less than $25, and many of them drink like they would be $50 or more. I am extremely excited to see where these wines go in the future, but I hope that they will always be a great value to bring home.

So next time you are out at your favorite wine shop, make sure to ask the consultant there to point you in the right direction to not only try something new, but also try something that you may find yourself buying on a regular basis.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

Epic Games Nets $1 Billion in Funding for Metaverse Growth

To say that Epic Games is a financial goldmine would be a massive understatement.

The game publisher/development studio powerhouse rose to prominence thanks to the Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament, which paved the way for the company to become a money-making juggernaut due to Fortnite’s immense success. At the moment, Epic Games is valued at $28.7 billion. And judging by a recent round of funding, it looks like the established gaming operation will become even more profitable as time goes on. On April 13, Epic Games proudly announced via a blog post that it just got done completing a $1 billion round of funding. One of the largest investments came from Sony Group Corporation with $200 million – this latest batch of funding follows another investment from Sony that resulted in Epic netting $250 million in July of 2020, which was reported by PC Gamer.

“Epic continues to deliver revolutionary experiences through their array of cutting edge technologies that support creators in gaming and across the digital entertainment industry. We are excited to strengthen our collaboration to bring new entertainment experiences to people around the world. I strongly believe that this aligns with our purpose to fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation. Some of the other companies that chose to invest in Epic Games’ further growth include BlackRock, Appaloosa, Baillie Gifford, Luxor Capital, etc.

Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, noted that this latest round of funding will play a huge role in furthering its “Metaverse” growth efforts. “We are grateful to our new and existing investors who support our vision for Epic and the Metaverse. Their investment will help accelerate our work around building connected social experiences in Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys, while empowering game developers and creators with Unreal Engine, Epic Online Services and the Epic Games Store,” Sweeny stated. Seeing as how Fortnite has morphed into the ultimate crossover gaming experience, it comes as no surprise that a ton of outside entities are hitching their financial wagons to Epic Games’ continued success.

When the term metaverse gets mentioned, visions of an interconnected virtual world that requires a single login for all of Epic Games’ thriving titles come to mind. Imagine a future where players hop into a game session that allows them to seamlessly move between Fortnite, Rocket League, Fall Guys, and any other future gaming IP’s the company chooses to develop next.

Epic Games is certainly going through a lot at the moment. The gaming entity is doing its best to keep pushing Epic Games Store as the go-to marketplace for PC games and smack dab in the middle of an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. Judging by the two tweets posted above, Tim Sweeny is quite unbothered by recent reports of his company bleeding money due to its decision to give free games to users of its digital gaming storefront. And with the stacks of cash coming in from Fortnite on the regular, it looks and sounds like Epic Games’ financial wins will far outweigh its mounting losses.

Categories
Sports Strength

James Sands Kicked Off NYCFC’s Youth Movement

New York City FC launched itself into Major League Soccer with a bang that featured star European players, a passionate Yankee Stadium atmosphere and the support of one of the Premier League’s wealthiest clubs in Manchester City.

David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo were brought to the club to draw initial attention to NYCFC, who became the second New York market team to begin their MLS journey. 

After a few years of brief success and a lot of attention drawn, all three players exited and moved on to other ventures after long, successful careers internationally. That’s when NYCFC began to take a different approach for squad building, resulting in an influx of youth and focus on its academy system.

That’s where James Sands comes into the equation. The club’s first-ever Homegrown player signing, Sands has been involved with NYCFC indirectly for years prior to him inking his first professional contract. 

He came up with well-known youth organization, New York Soccer Club, who have become a direct affiliate of NYCFC since the MLS side made its league debut in 2015 and began to expand its footprint in not only New York City, but the rest of the Tri-State area.

Having grown up roughly 20 miles from NYCFC’s state-of-the-art training facility in Orangeburg, New York, Sands is the truest definition of a Homegrown player and he’s taken that title in stride by displaying how other players can take advantage of these situations through persistence.

“I’ve always been pretty good at handling pressure situations,” Sands told One37pm. “I try not to think about it too much, but it’s definitely important for me to show all the young players in the area that there’s a pathway to the first team and a pathway where you can eventually play games.

“A lot of clubs sign young players, but they’ll ship them out on loan or not really provide them with an opportunity to break into that first team regularly, and I think that’s something really unique about New York City.”

Now entering his fifth season with the club and fresh off a five-year contract extension that Sands signed in March, the shift in philosophy at NYCFC has never been more evident.

Sands has been a cog in the midfield and defensively for New York City over the past two seasons, and figures heavily into the squad moving forward with the exit of Alexander Ring over the offseason.

There’s no question that Sands will be a regular in manager Ronny Delia’s system in 2021, but the question remains where. The New York native doesn’t seem to mind where he plays though, as long as he has the opportunity to excel and progress further as a player.

“I really think it depends on the style of play,” Sands said. “I think some leagues I’d be better suited for center back and others I’d be better in an advanced role as that No. 6. I’m glad in MLS I can keep working on both because it’s only going to help me in the long run.”

That “long run” Sands is referring to is the path that several of his teammates have been able to capitalize on over the past two seasons. 

Giovanni Reyna and Joe Scally both completed moves to the Bundesliga during recent seasons, and Reyna, in particular, has really shone at Borussia Dortmund alongside superstar striker Erling Haaland and England internationals Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham.

New York City FC

Although neither Reyna nor Scally had the experience of Sands in MLS, both were able to capitalize on NYCFC and City Football Group’s relationships worldwide and progress their careers in Germany where clubs have shown a willingness to provide valuable minutes to youth players over the years.

Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Chris Richards and Weston McKennie are just a few of the other success stories that have been a direct result of the Bundesliga’s youth initiatives, and although Sands would love the opportunity to play there or somewhere else in Europe in the near future he remains focused on the job at hand in MLS.

“It’s something I’ve been very open about in the past and I’ve talked with the club and coaches about that,” Sands said. “For me I really want to help this club win a trophy, and I think this year is as good as any to do that.

“But I’ve also discussed with them what I need to do to continue to develop and show that I’m ready for that next level. It’s nice to have everyone at the club on board and on the same page about that.”

Sands and several other young NYCFC players are vying for that big opportunity overseas after watching their teammates and others across MLS complete those moves. 

That’s why the 20-year-old believes his club’s shift to a younger set of talent could be beneficial for not just him but so many others in the organization like Justin Haak and Andres Jasson.

“The trend toward younger players is probably a good one,” Sands said. “David, Frank and Andrea were all really important players for this club that helped establish the culture of our team early on and definitely helped bring fans to games, which has been so incredible for a new club.

“I think with the younger players we have now there’s a lot of ambition. You know, guys who want to get to the next level, so there’s lots of incentive to play hard and show well for the team.” 

Despite the shift in culture at NYCFC, Sands is forever thankful for the chances he had playing alongside Villa and Co., and believes the experience he received sharing the field with various World Cup legends has undoubtedly affected his game for the better. 

“It was a tough environment to go into and not because of anything they did, just their backgrounds in the game,” Sands said. “You have these World Cup legends next to you, but I think if you just realize that you’re training with the first team for a reason then it makes it all a little easier.

“I learned really quick though that they were all such good guys though, and they were just trying to give back to the younger players on our team and be as helpful as possible. I got very comfortable asking them questions on the field, but also just their experiences as well.”

NYCFC has a very unique relationship with outfits around the globe, most notably the fact the club’s CFG ownership also controls Manchester City.

Icon Sportswire / Getty Contributor

That partnership has resulted in Sands and other players at the club having the opportunity to see Man City firsthand, whether that be traveling to England or the multiple-time Premier League champions coming stateside.

Sands has always been a huge Pep Guardiola fan, dating back to the Spaniard’s days at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Man City. The NYCFC midfielder deeply admires Guardiola’s style of play he instills in his players and particularly how his team’s defensive midfielders play the game.

“I think any team Guardiola is on I always try to keep an eye on the number 6 they have,” Sands said. “Rodri at Man City is a player I really watch a lot now. I just think any player under Guardiola has a chance to become so much better in  his system.

“I also really like watching the young Americans do well too. I think it helps us in MLS make those moves to Europe and definitely paints a better picture of what American soccer looks like.”

Like many young kids across the U.S., Sands wasn’t solely focused on soccer growing up, playing lacrosse, basketball and flag football as well as the beautiful game.

However, once he reached middle school his focus shifted to soccer, and from there it’s been a steady rise that’s led him to this point in his career.

Sands’ passion for the sport came from his family, who along with his three siblings have all played soccer at high levels, despite their parents not having a background in soccer. Sands’ twin brother, Will, plays at Georgetown University, while their two sisters, Katherine and Elizabeth, play at Williams College and Bowdoin College, respectively.

“I played a lot of sports when I was little, but soccer was the sport my sisters played most so I kind of followed their lead,” Sands said. “The funny thing is neither of my parents played soccer growing up so it’s weird that they have four kids all playing the game into college and beyond that.” 

Sands also helped improve himself off the field during this past year as the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on many around the world. 

During his off time, the 20-year-old started taking classes at Southern New Hampshire University — a school that has a direct partnership with MLS.

Sands joked that he needed to keep up with his three siblings, who have all attended top academic colleges around the country. He hopes to eventually receive his diploma in addition to his budding career on the pitch.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

Four Things I Wished I Knew Before Starting MiniSuperHeroesToday

In a recent study done by The Sun, it was discovered that 1 in 3 kids want to be a YouTuber, and 1 in 5 kids want to be a Blogger/Vlogger. I am both of these things, but I never planned to be. I absolutely love what I do for a living, which includes building LEGO, then turning around and creating content around what I build for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and of course articles like this. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my LEGO hobby would someday become a career, but that’s the reality I’ve worked to build and I am truly grateful. It has been a lot of hard work, but I truly believe anyone can do this within their interests given the dedication and determination. 

With that being said, it’s not often that content creators pull back the veil and really talk about what it’s like. In March 2021, I celebrated my six-year anniversary of creating daily content online without ever missing a day. Yes, you read that right: WITHOUT EVER MISSING A DAY. Creating daily content with a perfect record is an achievement I am proud of, and I have learned a lot about myself, my followers, my hobby, and what it is to be an influencer.

Today, I want to share the four things I wished I knew before starting my influencer journey in hopes that it inspires you. Whether you’re working on building a new page or breathing life into an existing one, I hope these influencer insights help you gain a better picture of what life is like, un-photoshopped and unedited:

1.) Nobody takes you seriously… until they do.

I started my influencer journey in 2015 while studying my Freshman year at Belmont University. I was going through a tough time personally, and I had a random idea while looking at the toys I’d had on my desk: I challenged myself to post a daily LEGO photo on Instagram and see how long I could go for. That challenge remains ongoing to this day and has taken me further than I’d ever imagined. I went from a 19-year-old with six LEGO figures on his desk to a 25 year old with over 3,000 minifigures, a literal LEGO room in my house and a partnership with LEGO themselves through the coveted LEGO Ambassador Network.

My wildest dreams have (and continue) to come true every day. I had people I thought were friends laugh at my account when I started it, and for a long time, I ran my account anonymously. These days, more people think it’s cool than not when they learn about my alter ego, but things were not always that way when I had less than 200 followers and nobody took my dream seriously. 

Lesson Learned: The first few chapters of becoming an influencer are the hardest, but that’s why most people aren’t influencers. Stay true to yourself, don’t focus on the numbers and be consistent. Eventually, you’ll end up exactly where you want to be, right when you’re meant to be there.

2.) Finding a healthy balance of how often to post is important.

I wish I wouldn’t have made myself a “daily content creator,” because there are times I’ve felt uninspired to make a new post. At the same time, my daily commitment is what kept me going all these years. Just like the gym, once you skip a day it becomes a slippery slope to start skipping more often. Stay committed, stay focused, but don’t burn yourself out! 

After more than half of a decade, it seems silly for me to skip a day at this point. I know my following would forgive me if I missed a day, and the world certainly would not end, but at this point I might as well keep my perfect streak going!

Lesson Learned: Don’t overcommit to a schedule you can’t handle, but DO commit to a plan that holds you accountable!

3.) Finding a niche is crucial, but don’t stress it too much.

My original niche was “white background photography,” since that was the only way I could photograph my minifigs at my humble dorm room desk my freshman year. The white background quickly became “my thing,” and even to this day, when I deviate from it I do see a decrease in my engagement. Sometimes I wished I was more of a “general photography” page, but at the same time, I am glad my images have a certain consistency and brand to them. Catch-22! 

Lesson Learned: Give people something to expect and recognize when they engage with your content. Let them know it’s your post before they even see your name attached.

4.) Getting started is more important than how you get started.

My first IG photos were taken on an iPhone 4s while I knew nothing about lighting, composition or any other photography basics. Still, I was able to attract an audience through storytelling, posting content at the right place at the right time and offering consistency. The fact that my first 100 photos look awful by today’s standards doesn’t matter in the long run; it helped me build a solid fan base all those years ago that has transitioned into my audience today, eclipsing 150,000+ followers across all platforms.

Lesson Learned: Your first several dozen pieces of content will probably be subpar, but that’s what will set you apart. Everyone dreams, but very few people do

I wouldn’t trade my influencer journey for anything. Although I’ve been at it for over half a decade, I truly feel like I’m just getting started and the best is yet to come! I wish you all the success in the world in whatever path lies ahead for you as a content creator, and if you ever have questions, DM me on IG and tell me you read this article.