Dean Smith, legendary basketball coach of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, passed away last weekend. He was 83.
I’ve been to games at the Dean Dome and have endured countless days of fandom by my sisters who are proud Tar Heel alums. But I never learned much about the man until now. Reading about Dean Smith after his passing opened my eyes to just how legendary he was to the game of basketball and his Carolina family.
Apart from coaching the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours and 2 championships and amassing 884 wins over his 36 year career, Smith also spurred major evolutions of the game itself, and pioneered strategies that are still seen today. He also ran a widely respected program that graduated over 96% of his players. And even more impactful than that, he was instrumental at de-segregating the sport in the South — offering scholarships to African-Americans and going with black students to restaurants to ensure they were treated fairly.
And he did this all with a humility and sincerity not often seen or rewarded today.
Fascinating article from The Verge into the media juggernaut that is ESPN — and how it’s making moves to keep pace with the latest technological and social media trends.
A salient point here is that in an era in which the model of traditional television shows are being threatened, ESPN’s strategy of seizing coverage of live sports is proving smarter by the month. The speed of the internet has made the venerable broadcast news shows antiquated, the pundit-driven 24-hour news cycle being chased by the cable news network has turned their product into garbage, DVRs and mobile devices are upending traditional ways of judging success, and new actors like Netflix and Amazon are entering (and now winning) in developing popular TV shows.
But you can’t easily disrupt the live nature of live sports.
Congrats to Brock for having BOOM California publish his richly textured, detailed exploration into the story of the house and land he owns in Oakland.
In it, Brock finds that the contemporary narrative of the anti-gentrification movement has in fact been an on-going cycle since the first settling of the land by tribes of the Ohlone Indians thousands of years ago. He goes back and researches the various people who laid claim to the land his house sits on, and the story of how his house and neighborhood changed in the past two hundred years.
I found in that history the pattern that I expected. One group pushes out another group, often aided by forces much larger than themselves: a royal army, a Gold Rush, an earthquake, racism, the law, or the gears of capitalism turning. Those gears grind some people to dust. Others manage to harness their power to make fortunes large and small. Whether a person ends up as the machine’s operator or its input is often not determined by anything resembling merit or even by individual decisions, however much we might like to pretend otherwise.
When you have essentially zero financial cushion, the little annoyances in life can end up having massive, life altering consequences. If your car breaks down and you can’t afford a $300 repair, then you could end up losing your job because you miss too many days of work, or get fired because you are late due to sub-optimal public transit. Salient quote:
Because our lives seem so unstable, poor people are often seen as being basically incompetent at managing their lives. That is, it’s assumed that we’re not unstable because we’re poor, we’re poor because we’re unstable.
This got me thinking…is there any sort of ‘real-time’ intervention model possible to provide an emergency financial cushion for people in need?