Sports

Rita Azar illustrates NBA basketball story for 360 MAGAZINE.

NBA Protests

by Justin Lyons

The clock struck 4:05 p.m. on Aug 26 in Orlando, and neither the Magic nor the Bucks were on the court for the tip-off of the fifth game of their playoff series.

Playing their home games just 40 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin, it’s safe to say that the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police literally hit close to home for the Bucks players.

The Orlando Magic originally took the court for their game, but they decided to leave when it appeared the Bucks weren’t coming. That court was now empty aside from the NBA logos, the regulation markings and “Black Lives Matter” in bold text across the side closest to the scorer’s table.

Then, the tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski came at 4:13 p.m. Orlando time saying that the Bucks officially decided to boycott the fifth game of the series.

News broke later that the Rockets, Thunder, Trail Blazers and Lakers all decided to boycott their games, as well, in a show of unity.

It was the spark that started the fire, as basketball wouldn’t be played again until Aug. 29.

Bucks guard George Hill was one of the most outspoken players on the team regarding the shooting of Jacob Blake, making it very clear that he couldn’t continue to play basketball to distract from the reality of what’s happening in the United States.

The Brewers, the Milwaukee baseball team that plays its home games just a short drive from where the Bucks play, also decided to cancel their Aug. 26 game against the Reds.

Brewers star Christian Yelich said it was a unanimous decision from the team to not play.

“I think the Bucks spearheaded it for us,” Yelich said. “They started the discussion. It gave us a conversation to have. It was eye-opening for us, and we felt like it was the right thing to do.”

The NHL also joined in the protests, postponing games Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.

Later on the night of Aug. 26, Shams Charania reported via Twitter that the Lakers and Clippers, both of which are still contenders for the title, voted to boycott the rest of the season. LeBron James reportedly led the movement to cancel the season, which is no surprise given his history of fighting for social justice.

Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Bucks were able to get in contact with Blake’s father very quickly. Blake’s father was moved to tears by the gesture.

According to an article from ESPN, Antetokounmpo said, “Obviously, it’s gonna be games that you come in and score 30, 35, 50 or whatever the case might be, but that you’re going to remember. The way we felt, we’re going to remember the way we felt for the rest of our lives.”

The Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, which begs the question of how they will respond. Hill expressed disappointment that he had to be in the Orlando bubble instead of fighting for justice, so it should be interesting to see where the Bucks go from here.

Eyes are also shifting to the NFL, which starts Thursday. The entire nation will have its eyes on protests and social justice initiatives from a league that has been just as outspoken as the NBA.

“Hard Knocks: LA” Debuts Season Finale

The season finale of “Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” debuted on HBO on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. The show, which followed the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles throughout preseason, came to an end two days before the beginning of the 2020 NFL season.

At 8:20 p.m. ET tonight, the defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Field in Kansas City, Missouri. The stands will be operating at 22% capacity.

In a preview for the finale, Tyrod Taylor, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, reflects on preseason uncertainty and his readiness for the regular season during an early morning workout. 

“Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” will have encore plays Wednesday nights and will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HardKnocks and follow @HardKnocksHBO, @NFLFilms and @RamsNFL & @Chargers for updates.

“Hard Knocks: Los Angeles” is narrated by Liev Schreiber.

Rita Azar Illustrates a Video Games Article for 360 MAGAZINE

Colin Kaepernick x Madden 21

by Justin Lyons

Colin Kaepernick is officially back in Madden.

For the first time since 2017, football fans and Colin Kaepernick fans will have the chance to use the ex-49ers quarterback in the signature football game from EA SPORTS.

The announcement came from EA SPORTS themselves, saying, “Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.”

Though Kaepernick is not signed to a team in real life or in Madden, he is available to sign to any team in Franchise mode. He’s also available in Play Now mode.

His jersey is also available in The Yard, a mode new to Madden this year that allows users to express themselves creatively. His signature celebration, which is available upon scoring with Kaepernick, depicts the quarterback raising his fist in the air to signify Black Power.

Kaepernick has been rated 81 overall, which is good for the 15th best quarterback in the league, tied with Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

According to EA SPORTS, that number was determined using data-driven simulations. They did take into account the fact that Kaepernick has not played since 2016, but his mobility and big play ability earned him the 81 overall rating.

EA SPORTS also said players looking to have complete control over their Franchise mode can change his rating however they see fit, including bringing him up to 99 overall. Adjusting his stats to 99 overall would make his only company the likes of Aaron Donald, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas, Stephon Gilmore and the only 99 rated quarterback in the game, Patrick Mahomes.

Kaepernick was among the first in professional sports to kneel during the American National Anthem in protest of police brutality. Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the 2016 season, and not one of the 32 NFL teams has made a move to acquire him.

Largely suspected of being a victim of blackballing, Kaepernick has since worked as an activist in the community, especially with children. He has led rights campaigns and camps and was the face of a Nike campaign in 2018 that carried the slogan “Believe in something. Even if means sacrificing everything.”

Roger Goodell encouraged teams to sign Kaepernick in a conversation on ESPN in June, just weeks after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.

The killing of George Floyd seemed to awaken large corporations throughout the United States, leading many to make statements, including the NFL.

Though criticized for not speaking out sooner, the NFL and Commissioner Goodell released a statement via Twitter on June 5 saying, “We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

NFL teams cancelled practices and scrimmages in the past month after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Action taken after these events could remove the stigma NFL owners appeared to have when it came to signing Kaepernick, and fans who believe in his message and talent would love to see him on the field again soon.

Allison Christensen Illustrates a Sports Article for 360 MAGAZINE

2020 Summer Olympics

by Justin Lyons

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are following the old show business gospel of “the show must go on.”

John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, spoke with AFP to say the Olympics would indeed begin in July 2021, whether COVID-19 is still around or not.

The summer games were originally scheduled to take place this summer, but complications from COVID-19 delayed them until next year.

Coates said the next Olympiad will be “the Games that conquered COVID.”

According to BBC, chief executive of the Tokyo Games Toshiro Muto also said it was possible for a limited audience to be in attendance and wanted to avoid having no spectators.

BBC also reported that Muto said a vaccine was not necessary for the games to go on.

Sports were warmly welcomed back in the United States in July, and the National Football League will return this week. Though basketball, baseball and hockey are finishing their seasons without fans, plan for fans in football stadiums remain tentative.

Fans around the country will have their eyes on the situation, and we obviously hope to see fans cheering on their home countries next year in one of the most unifying events in the world if conditions so permit.

Rita Azar illustrates a design article for 360 MAGAZINE

G-SHOCK

Casio announced the release of the G-SHOCK GMWB5000TCF-2 on Thursday, the newest addition to the Full Metal GMWB5000 collection.

The new design is composed of a lightweight titanium case and band, DLC coating to prevent scratching and a blue camouflage design.

This new watch offers premium G-SHOCK features like Two-Way Time Sync technology which combines Bluetooth and Multi-Band 6 to show the correct time anywhere in the world. The model also offers a STN digital display to improve readability for the wearer.

It also self-charges with solar technology, aiming to combine practicality and functionality with style.

The GMWB5000TCF-2 retails for $1,700 and can be found online with G-SHOCK, in retail stores and at G-SHOCK’s Soho location.

Rita Azar illustrates football player for 360 MAGAZINE

3 Common Misconceptions People Have About DraftKings

Daily fantasy sports are a type of fantasy sports (DFS) game where each contest takes place over a matter of days or hours. This is opposed to traditional fantasy sports, which take place over a whole season.
 
Just like with traditional fantasy sports, you build a team from a roster of players and earn points based on how well their team members play. You can also place bets and earn money by competing against other players via online platforms.
 
DraftKings is perhaps the most popular of these online platforms. Developed in 2012, they call themselves “the leader in daily fantasy sports” and boast a user-base of eight million players, far greater than their closest direct competitor, FanDuel.
 
Despite this popularity, there remain a number of major misconceptions when it comes to the DraftKings platform. Hopefully, by refuting these, you’ll be able to see why DraftKings is the right DFS platform for you!
 

Playing DraftKings requires more luck than skill.

 
It’s easy to see why this is a common belief. There is an element of luck in everything we do, but especially in sports – for example, a player you have in your lineup may be injured before the game, or not played by the coach during the game.
 
However, this does not mean that luck is the only thing involved when playing DraftKings. If you want to be truly successful, you will need to do your research. For example, you will need to be aware of any last-minute lineup changes before deciding on your roster of players for the game. Just because a player is famous does not mean that they are performing well, so you will also need to be aware of players’ current stats.
 
This is just some of the research that will go into being successful at DraftKings, so it is certainly not all based on luck.
 

Most games on the website are fixed.

 
There have certainly been cheating scandals about other daily fantasy sports games and websites, which makes it easy to see why many players believe that games on DraftKings have been fixed as well.
 
However, DraftKings is vigilant about cracking down on any cheating users. It uses the latest software and technology to detect anyone trying to subvert the system and takes strict action against such players. With a strong security system, you can be assured that even if some other websites have cheating problems, DraftKings is legit.
 

DraftKings uses bots to cheat players out of money.

 
Again, this is an understandable belief because of many such scandals. However, with a large user base, DraftKings is 100% legitimate and features only real players.
 
There may be players attempting to use bots in order to cheat other users out of money. However, DraftKings takes quick and decisive action against such users. Furthermore, it will never use “official” bots to affect your ability to win money – your winnings are always solely based on your matches with your rivals.
 
Ultimately, DraftKings is a great way to challenge your knowledge of sports against other users. 

Football illustration by Rita Azar

‘Hard Knocks’ – Episodes 1 & 2

HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ is back, which, if you’re an NFL fan, is really exciting. It means that football is close. Fall is coming, training camp is starting and 32 teams will clash over the course of the next five months until only one is left holding the most coveted trophy in the game.

This year, things are looking a little bit different. The three other major sports in the United States had their seasons interrupted or delayed by the pandemic. The NFL finished its season about a month before everything began to close and we stopped gathering, so the league had some time to prepare if the virus was still around come August and September. Well, here we are in the middle of August, less than two weeks away from the opening month of the football season, and the pandemic is still changing the sports world.

This year’s version of ‘Hard Knocks’ is taking advantage of a huge opportunity. In 2015, the NFL had zero teams in Los Angeles. Now, the Rams and the Chargers both call it home. The Rams beat the Chargers there, but they’ll be sharing the brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood beginning this upcoming season. If they can share a stadium, why not share a documentary series? Double the teams, double the drama.

Just two episodes in, it’s obvious that this season is different from every other season of ‘Hard Knocks,’ and I don’t just say that because of the pandemic. If you’re a fan of the NFL, there’s so much star power to lay your eyes on this season, and the first episode doesn’t miss a chance to capitalize on that. We’re getting the inside scoop on guys like Aaron Donald, Jared Goff, Jalen Ramsey, Derwin James, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa, who inked his five-year, $135 million deal right in front of us.

I think we tend to take the contract stuff for granted when it comes to these athletes. I know signing a nine-figure deal is life-altering, but it happens so often with these huge stars that we don’t think twice about it. If we do think twice, we’re either eyeballing the amount, criticizing it for being too high, or raising our eyebrows at the amount knowing the team is walking away with a star player for less than he or she is worth.

Before watching ‘Hard Knocks,’ I saw that Bosa signed the extension, but I didn’t think about the way it changed his life. That’s what I love about this show. These guys are freak athletes, built to withstand one of the most extreme sports for our entertainment, but they’re also humans. Bosa signing that deal is the climax in a long life of hard work and sacrifice, and he’s going to be able to provide for his family for generations if he’s wise with it.

I also love things like the juxtaposition between Sean McVay’s home life and Anthony Lynn’s home life. Lynn, the head coach of the Chargers, barbecues in his backyard and uses a napkin attached to a fork by a rubber band to brush sauce onto his chicken legs. McVay, the head coach of the Rams, cracks open a bottle of rosé with his fiancé at his outdoor glass fireplace overlooking the world.

We get to see Jalen Ramsey, who’s going into his first full season as a Ram, go house hunting. So far we’ve learned a lot about Ramsey as a competitor and a person, both on and off the field. He has been front and center for a couple of my favorite moments so far. First, in a Zoom meeting with reporters, he fields a question about a contract extension, which he doesn’t have yet. While we see many players around the league holding out of football activities for financial security, Ramsey insists that he’s in LA to play football, and his agent and the front office will handle the financials.

The reporters continue to pry, which sets Ramsey off, and he walks out of the interview. He does end up returning, but I get why he’s upset. I also get why the reporters are asking the question, so it’s a two-way street. While we’ve seen players say they have no plans to hold out then proceed to hold out, I still admire Ramsey for that position. It can’t be easy to negotiate million dollar deals and play football under normal conditions let alone the conditions we’re looking at right now.

Then, of course, we see how these two teams are handling the pandemic. Immediately upon arriving for preseason meetings, all of these players get their temperatures taken. They’re asked questions that probably aren’t too different from everyone visiting an office or an on-site job every day. Do you have a fever? Do you have a sore throat? Are you coughing? Have you been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Right in the back of my mind, I remember last season of ‘Hard Knocks’ when the Raiders had hundreds of guys in their meeting rooms. Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Raiders, would tell his team, “Knock on wood if you’re with me,” and the thunderous knocking of over 100 football players hitting their desks poured through the speakers.

These two teams can’t do that in 2020. We see team’s socially distancing and maintaining that six feet of separation everywhere they go. Team employees even use tape measures to make sure that locker hubs are six feet apart, and the teams don’t allow anyone to sit in the first four rows in meeting rooms. Everyone is masked up, including the coaches, and it seems like they’re truly doing their best to avoid the spread of the virus.

Also, as a huge baseball fan, I love that they use the Marlins as an example of how important the safety precautions are. One guy with the virus could cause an outbreak throughout the entire team and put the season on hold. It doesn’t just affect the person with the virus. It affects everyone they’ve already come in contact with and everyone they might come in contact with. One person can derail the entire season, and it’s fascinating to see such a fragile situation in the hands of men whom we normally think of as the strongest and toughest on the planet.

All of the players are also receiving tests on a regular basis. I don’t know what it was, but something about seeing Keenan Allen and Casey Hayward both act so nervous before their tests made me feel a little bit better about my outlook on the tests. To be completely honest, the fear of having the Q-tip shoved into my brain is making me more strict about my pandemic behavior. It feels good to see professional football players who are just as uneasy about the test as I am.

In the second episode, everyone in camp received a wristband, and while they don’t go too deep into how they work, I imagine they keep track of social distance. If they can figure out whose wristband has been fewer than six feet away from someone who tests positive, they might be able to shut it down quickly by quarantining those players.

They also get the option to wear face shields, which could be a very practical solution to the mask debate. In the first episode, Sean McVay makes a big deal about preferring the plastic face shield over the fabric mask, and it looks like the players will wear something really similar inside their helmets. It sounds like a simple solution to a huge problem. Teams can’t send their players onto the field in hazmat suits, but if they can avoid spitting and breathing on each other, I think that’s a huge step in the right direction.

As per usual, we get to watch all of these positional camp battles that we’d never get to be inside the locker room for without ‘Hard Knocks.’ I love that the second episode touches on Austin Ekeler, who is a star because of the preseason. He’s one of the guys who made the most of his opportunities, and now he’s a starter on a team that’s expected to compete. A lot of guys won’t have those preseason games to make an impression this year. They’ll get fewer reps in practice to show off their skillsets. While it’s not impossible to make an impression, it sure is more difficult.

I enjoyed seeing Justin Herbert work on his game. I remember when Kyler Murray first came into the league and had to learn to take snaps as a professional quarterback. He took a lot of heat for things like clapping to call for the snap, but it looks like he’s going to be just fine. I really hope Herbert can overcome that kind of criticism, which he’ll inevitably get. He has the arm talent, but we’ll get to see if he can overcome the transition.

I also loved seeing Anthony Lynn talk to his players about protests during a Zoom meeting, which launched into an entire conversation between coaches and players. Specifically, Lynn said that his main focus is football, but they can’t focus on football when injustices are taking place off the field, so Chargers players are encouraged to protest however they see fit.

The conversation continued in smaller Zoom groups. In one of those groups, Chargers long snapper Cole Mazza mentioned that he had family in the military who are very much against kneeling during the anthem. Chargers coaches and other players explained that the kneeling had nothing to do with the military and everything to do with racial injustice. I think that’s really important to see in a show like ‘Hard Knocks,’ which draws plenty of football fans on both sides of the issue. Those are the conversations that need to be had, and all players and coaches were extremely respectful of each stance.

To be completely transparent, I caught a Chargers game in Carson last season as a fan of an away team. Fans of the team I went to see probably outnumbered Chargers fans ten-to-one, and I’ve respected the Chargers since then. Their fans had good attitudes about the whole situation, and I felt bad for the players on the Chargers who didn’t play a game in front of a home crowd the entire year.

I’m pulling for them to have a better season and build a bigger fan base in their new market, so I’ll be tuning in every week for more ‘Hard Knocks.’ I’d probably be tuning in no matter which team was on the show, as we’ve been deprived of football for seven months, but I’m extra curious this year.

For anyone just as curious as I am, you can see a new episode of ‘Hard Knocks’ Tuesday on HBO at 10 p.m. EST, or you can stream the show on HBO Max. You can also catch the companion podcast on any podcast streaming platform or on YouTube and HBO Max.

One Love illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Oakley – One Love

Today, Oakley® unveils a powerful remake of Bob Marley’s iconic anthem – One Love – as part of the brand’s 2020 For the Love of Sport Campaign. The official release aims to inspire hope and positivity during a time of uncertainty by celebrating sport, and how it can enlighten and uplift. The reworked verses were co-written by Oakley Athletes including Diamond DeShields, Ryan Sheckler, Oksana Masters, Caroline Buchanan and Ítalo Ferreira. This reinterpretation evolves the classic song into a modern-day love story, amplified by an official music video that showcases a dynamic display of passion and determination as viewers follow athletes’ individual journeys and the way sport has impacted their lives and the people around them.

American-born, British-Jamaican singer-songwriter, Celeste, was selected to perform the song because of her ability to convey a message through her soulful-tones and her mantra to create meaningful music that can make a difference. Most recently, Celeste, won the 2020 Brit Rising Star Award and was named the number one breakthrough act on the BBC Music Sound of 2020 List. 

Oakley’s For The Love of Sport campaign honors one of the most universal passions – that of sport. During the writing process, Oakley interviewed those with an intimate connection to sport – its global network of athletes. In conversation, they explored the unifying qualities of sport through their personal journeys, including recent stretches of solitude and peaks of frustration. Their reflections revealed a commonality between them – sport’s ability to push-through boundaries, and overcome adversity, even during the toughest times.

“Sport has the power to evoke emotion, whether participating or spectating”, said Ben Goss, Oakley Global Marketing Director. “And the world is in a fragile place right now. By sharing what drives us and our athletes, this love of sport, our hope is that it can have a positive impact on uplifting the community during these uncertain times.”

The globally recognized One Love track by Bob Marley was a call for unity in 1965 when it was first released, and its message still rings true, 55 years later. The Oakley remake is part of a yearlong celebration of what would be Marley’s 75th birthday in 2020 and it preserves the song’s uplifting chorus and chords that inspired a generation, and refreshes the verses to captivate a contemporary audience.

“Sport, specifically soccer, was my Dad’s second love after music, and it brought him a great deal of joy throughout his life,” said Ziggy Marley. “The world really needs love right now, and we’re thrilled to work with Oakley on this amazing reinterpretation of One Love, so it can be meaningful to a new generation during a time when it’s needed most.”

Oakley’s One Love will debut exclusively on SiriusXM’s Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio channel during a live broadcast with a special introduction from Skip Marley at 8AM PST on August 11, 2020. The official music video will go live simultaneously on Oakley’s YouTube channel and Instagram TV and the song will be available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow Oakley: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Allison Christensen illustrates a sports article for 360 MAGAZINE

Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District

Downtown Orlando is about to get a major overhaul.

The hotspot will undergo a $500 million renovation in the form of the ambitious Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Situated right across from the Amway Center, which houses the Magic and the Solar Bears, it will include a 300-room hotel, over 400,000 square feet of offices, 80,000 square feet of event space, more than 100,000 square feet of retail and an open-air plaza.

SISCO, who will provide the technology for the project, agreed to terms with the project owners, Cityzenith, and will use Cityzenith’s SmartWorldPro2™ Digital Twin platform. The platform integrates all software and services for large scale projects such as the Orlando Sports & Entertainment Smart District.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Cityzenith, said he is delighted to work with SISCO, and called the project “the most-advanced and feature-rich 3D Digital Twin model of a city in the United States.”

Jansen also said he aims to boost Cityzenith’s “Clean Cities – Clean Future” mission.

“Currently, 10,000 cities produce 70% of global greenhouse emissions and just 100 – megalopolises like New York, Tokyo, London and Paris – produce 25% of that total. It must change, and SmartWorldPro2™’s ability to create digitally-twinned cities to inventory GHG emissions and streamline sustainable urban redevelopment initiatives makes it the platform of choice for executing energy transition projects on any scale, whether a district, a campus, a city, or an entire country.”