It’s been debated to the point of irrelevancy. Most will tell you, Jay-Z over Nas, especially with the back-minded consideration that the former has Beyoncé on his arm. And Kelis probably hates Nas… So. Much. Right. Now!
It was always mostly about lyricism, amongst the variety of other factors that go into one’s musical experience. I still personally struggle with the debate. They are the two best rappers alive, and for my money, not alive, too (at risk of committing hip-hop blasphemy in not buying into the over-inflated value in the lives and skills of Tupac and Biggie after death).
If Jay-Z’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, is a 9.8, then Nas’ debut, Illmatic, is a 9.9—I’m hesitant to give anything, even LeBron’s basketball skills, a perfect 10. Ask me in the early-to-mid-2000s (Blueprint albums to the Black Album), and I’d be more inclined to say Jay-Z. Ask me later in my timeline (Street’s Disciple/Hip Hop is Dead to Life is Good), and I’d be more inclined to say Nas (including up to this very day).
I’ll concede that some of Nas’ lows are lower than Jay-Z’s lows, and that Jay-Z’s overall career is more decorated. And I might also find some irony that Nas’ “Ether” effectively killed the mano a mano battle between the two (although Hova’s “Blueprint 2” retaliation off the Blueprint 2 album was pretty badass).
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 75, Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors; contributors: Kyle Weidie and John Converse Townsend via televised broadcast.]
So Bradley Beal’s rookie season over. After originally injuring his left ankle in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 3 and then missing six straight games through March 15—being declared “day-to-day” the whole time—Beal came back for three games. He then injured that same left ankle, again. Beal was declared “day-to-day” from March 21 through March 29, missing five straight games. He returned to the court last Sunday against the Toronto Raptors and played again on Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls. His jump shot, and game, seemed present (he did make a career-high six 3s against Toronto), but Beal was clearly not himself during those two contests. He looked stiff. So on Wednesday, the Wizards shut him down for the season, as they discovered a “stress injury” to his right fibula, a clear indication that, in playing, Beal was compensating for his left ankle injury.
What does it all mean? Bad, #SoWizards luck, that’s what. Should Beal have paid more attention to the signals his body was likely sending him? Should the Wizards medical staff have better monitored the rookie for such issues? Probably a little of both. The injury doesn’t diminish a very good rookie season for Beal, and it doesn’t have an affect on a meaningless chase for the ninth spot in the East. The Wizards caught the stress injury, albeit seemingly a tad late, Beal will get rest, and, according to team release, he will return to basketball activity in six weeks.
After the Toronto game, I asked Beal (video below) if this particular ankle injury was the type where it helps to get back on the court and work some of the stiffness out.
“Throughout my life, I’ve always sprained my ankles. That’s probably any basketball player,” said Beal. “But I always just kept playing. Now, it’s something totally different. These are ankle injuries I’ve never had before. It’s affecting different areas of my ankle and my leg. It’s just something that I just have to deal with and take time to be able to rest it.”
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 74, Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls; contributors: Dan Diamond and Adam McGinnis from the Verizon Center, and Sean Fagan up I-95 in Brooklyn, N.Y.]
Entering Wednesday night, here are the NBA’s top five teams in defensive rating–a stat that measures opponents’ points per 100 possessions. Essentially, it’s a pure way to track which teams are best at keeping opponents’ points off the board.
“Vesely wants to represent!” pic courtesy of my Czech friend Honza Moucha
In the first week of March, Jan Vesely told Czech Sport Daily that he wants to represent the Czech Republic at EuroBasket 2013. Is anyone surprised? Probably not, but in his homeland this constituted big news. Honza hasn’t played for the Czech national team in four years, and some fans at home surely began to grow angry at him not suiting up. His last game happened to be in August 2009 during the relegation round of EuroBasket 2009 qualification, where the Czechs went 3-3, losing to Oleksiy Pecherov and the Ukraine team in their final game. In six career games for the Czech Republic senior team, Vesely has averaged 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists.
That final game also marks the last time Jan played on the same team with his close buddy Tomas Satoransky, back when they were a couple of cool teen kids nicknamed “The Gunpowder” (Tomas) and “The Detonator” (Jan) by the Czech media. Vesely has indicated that he’s longing for games where he can play a crucial role, and he will get the opportunity to do so on September 4, 2013, when the Czechs open EuroBasket in a game against the host nation, Slovenia. It seems Vesely was so anxious to play that he picked up a phone and called George Zidek, the Czech National Team GM. Said Zidek, “The fact that Honza called me personally, I consider it the most important [thing]. In the past, it was not always the rule. We talked about our preliminary plan for preparation and games, then Honza chatted with Coach Budinsky and declared his interest in representing the country.”
Some quotes Vesely uttered in the short interview:
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 73, Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center, and Adam McGinnis from the heart of Mount Pleasant.]
The Wizards have shown the ability to bounce-back this season, at least on their home court. And that’s exactly what they did on Easter Sunday, providing a solid showing against a decent Raptors team in a 109-92 win. Washington tied the all-time series with Toronto at 33 games apiece and moved to 22-18 with a healthy John Wall. Below, Randy Wittman talks about what he called one of Wall’s “better all-around games,” and then I provide the game reaction (also submitted to ESPN’s Daily Dime).
Wall finished with 18 points, 10 assists and merely a single turnover. He set the tone from the tap and played the measured point guard people want to see more consistently. Acknowledging that Wall did score a career-high 47 points a week ago, Wittman called the effort against Toronto one of Wall’s “better all-around games.”
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 72, Washington Wizards at Orlando Magic; contributors: Conor Dirks, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie from the comfort of their abodes.]
[#WittmanFace to Kevin Seraphin, image via @Above_Legit]
[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 71, Washington Wizards at Oklahoma City Thunder; contributors: Rashad Mobley, John Converse Townsend and Kyle Weidie from the comfort of their abodes.]
[Why the long #WittmanFace? via @recordsANDradio]
[John Wall's post-game tweet, which seems to have been deleted for some reason. Adam McGinnis was on top of the screen-grab.]