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From Air Jordans to Air Gordans

Have the prices of Jordans gotten to the point, where people have to manufacture their own shoes from scratch just to be able to rock a pair?

Brennen Jones

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Police in New York have seized over $36,000 worth of counterfeit Air Jordan sneakers that officers discovered during a routine traffic stop.  The officers found 246 boxes of the phony shoes.


The counterfeiters obviously had plans to benefit tremendously from the immense popularity of the Jordan brand, but this news story led me to ask a bigger question:

Have the prices of Jordans gotten to the point, where people have to manufacture their own shoes from scratch just to be able to rock a pair?

As a kid growing up, I never owned a pair of Jordans because my mother couldn’t afford them.  Then on top of that, I grew up at a time when Jordan beat downs were rampant, meaning that I literally saw or heard about people getting jacked for their kicks.  But even still, I wanted a pair of my own.  And no matter how hard I tried, my mother would never cave in to my constant pressure of me trying to be cool by owning a pair of Jordans.  Yes indeed, I grew up a Jordanless child.

And now in my adult years, I refuse to pay over $200 for a pair of shoes.  I’d rather take that money and invest it in myself or my business rather on some shoes that won’t make me run faster or jump higher anyway.  And even if they did, I’d still think twice before forking over the cash at my local Foot Locker.

And now I hope that some of the principals I now have will rub off on some of the youth of today’s society, especially members of my own family, who foolishly would rather look good in front of their friends, but have nothing to show for it in the end.

We have to teach them that education should be the most important thing going on in their lives at the moment and not how fly they look.  And that no matter how fly our children think they are, that no one will give a damn about that if they can’t read or write or can’t even function on a rudimentary level, just to be able to work at say a fast food joint.  (K-Fed disclaimer: No harm was intended to those that work at fast food restaurants with the writing of this article.)

Sure, everyone wants the finest things in life, because I most certainly do but it’s all about perspective.  I’ve seen too many children flunk out of school wearing the trendiest of clothes and driving some of the fanciest cars for even someone who works 40 plus hour weeks to be able to afford.

Something’s not right when you ask some of these children what is the name of the capital city in their own state and they don’t know.  Ask them what 50 Cents real name is and they tell you Curtis Jackson, but when you say Barack Obama, they’re like “who?” or that they think Malcolm X was a rapper or musician.  If you don’t believe me, just look around and ask for yourself.

So when I see that these guys were caught trying to sell fake Jordan’s in the hood, it didn’t surprise me.  They’re just giving the people what they want.  Who’s to blame them?  We live in a capitalistic society.  Isn’t that what the Land of Milk and Honey is all about?

Brennen Jones is the leading founder and publisher of TheUrbanTwist.com, a leading entertainment and media blog. He is also the founder of P.S. Web Pros, which is a web design and internet marketing company. He's also TheUrbanTwist.com's resident filmmaker and has produced and directed several short films under his Kitt HoRizon Films imprint and he's produced and have worked on video productions and commercials for various government agencies. He plans to turn The Urban Twist into a media haven so stay tuned. Brennen currently lives in Baltimore, MD. So be my friend on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!

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Basketball

LaVar Ball’s New Family Reality Show is Coming to Facebook

Can LaVar Ball’s boastful antics and familial dramas draw a TV-size audience for Facebook?

TUT Staff

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article>LaVar Ball has been surprisingly quiet throughout the month of August. Outside of taking a couple shots at Michael Jordan and taking part in a shooting contest with Ice Cube at a Big3 event, the Ball family patriarch has more or less stayed out of the spotlight. But that’s all about to change.

Ball managed to score a deal with Facebook back in June that would allow him to produce a reality show called Ball in the Family.  The first two episodes, which is a docu-series about LaVar Ball, his basketball whiz-kid sons, and his wife, will premiere Aug. 31 on the social platform. The show was funded by Facebook and produced by Bunim-Murray Productions, the company that brought you reality-TV shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Real World.

After tomorrow’s debut, new episodes of Ball in the Family will be available every Sunday beginning on Sept. 10.

Ball in the Family

The Ball family is changing the game on and off the court. Meet LaVar, Tina, and their three sons– all born to go pro. For LaVar, it’s all going to plan. But in life, there are some things you just can’t prepare for. Watch only on Facebook.

Posted by Ball In The Family on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Judging by the trailer, this looks like a pretty entertaining project. In the clip above, you can see everything from LaVar going off on LaMelo for not taking an AAU game seriously enough, to Lonzo talking with his girlfriend Denise Garcia about how their lives are going to change now that he’s in the NBA, to LaVar working with his wife as she rehabilitates from a stroke.

“We wanted to give our fans an unfiltered look into our lives and show them a side of us that isn’t typically seen,” LaVar said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Seeing as how LaVar and his family have literally been everywhere this summer, it seems unlikely that we’re going to see anything that surprises us too much.

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Reason Why LeBron is Still the King Even in Defeat

LeBron may not be the GOAT, but there isn’t any shame in being the King.

Brennen Jones

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LeBron James

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost last night to Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors.  The Warriors won their second championship in 3 years over these Cleveland Cavaliers.  And as you’d expect, Social Media erupted between two camps of people, those happy for KD finally getting his ring and those happy that LeBron lost so that the GOAT and Jordan comparisons will stop.


Well, I’m here to let you know that those comparisons won’t stop and in many ways, LeBron’s performance in these Finals has added more fuel to the fire.  Even the starchiest of LeBron haters can’t say that he didn’t ball out this series as he became the first man to average a triple double in the finals.  Nonetheless, doing it against perhaps the greatest NBA team of all time.

I’ve seen haters all series long try and rationalize that LeBron’s getting old or he’s tired because of this and because of that, almost trying to wish LeBron failing phenomenally, into existence.  I’ve even seen them flat out call LeBron sorry, or even saying that he sucked because he decided to pass to a wide-open Kyle Korver in game 3 instead of lowering his head and barreling over 3 defenders to the hoop.  Nevermind that this was a great basketball decision by James and it’s a shot that Korver normally makes.  And knowing that if LeBron would have driven against 3 defenders and missed the shot or turned the ball over, the haters would have gotten on him about that and had a field day.  They would have had even more to say.

Basically, if you’re LeBron James, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Which is exactly how we got here in the first place with KD teaming up with Steph in Golden State…to beat LeBron James.

Back when LeBron was with Cleveland the first time, he realized that he wasn’t being judged like other players. Due to him being the “chosen one” he knew that his status of becoming one of the all-time greats was in jeopardy unless he began to collect some rings. This is the reason why he left. It is highly likely that if he had never left he may still be ringless and folks again would have something to say about that. Even though he would have been the only star on the team and did the “Jordan thing” which is what most people point to when making the GOAT comparisons of how Jordan never left the Bulls.

That’s why I never bought into that argument when people try to knock him down when comparing him to Jordan. He had to leave (at the time) to win, and go up against the West. But ironically because of his dominance, he himself created this year’s Warriors by having KD follow his blueprint and actually improve upon it to make it more effective.

Now I am not saying that Jordan isn’t the GOAT because he’s my GOAT, but the argument for LeBron is closer than you think.  It’s a new day in the NBA and has been ever since KG and Ray Allen teamed up with Paul Pierce in Boston. We can’t overlook the fact that LeBron is the definition of “plug-and-play.” You can plug him into any lineup in the league and make that lineup become championship contenders. He’s been to the Finals seven straight times! The only man in the modern NBA who has done that.

Jordan never had to leave. if you look around the NBA landscape during Jordan’s years of playing, Superstars in their prime, for the most part, stayed with their respective teams which made it easier for someone like Jordan to stay with his and try to figure things out and find ways of beating them. Not to mention that his first All-Star caliber teammate, Scottie Pippen, came along at just the right time for him.  And the rest is history.

But teams at the top of Jordan’s conference during his era rarely had two Hall of Famers playing for them. Look at the Knicks with Ewing. Although they were a great team, Ewing was the only bonafide superstar on that team that eventually became a HoFer.

The Pacers had Reggie Miller. Detroit had Isaiah and Joe Dumars, along with depth. They also had Rodman right when he began to make his ascension into becoming one of the league’s best defenders.

Boston was an anomaly as they had Bird, McHale, Parrish, and even had Walton coming off the bench. The Heat had Mourning and Hardaway.  Although Hardaway isn’t in Hall of Fame yet he should eventually join Mourning.  The Magic had Shaq and Penny, and yes I know that Penny won’t be a Hall of Famer but he was that type of talent at the time.

Now, look at the teams Jordan played in the Finals. the Lakers had Magic with an injured Worthy. Portland had Drexler. Phoenix had Barkley and KJ, although he’s not a HoFer, he should make it eventually. the Sonics had Gary Payton and at the time Shawn Kemp who was playing at a Hall of Fame level. Utah, of course, had Malone and Stockton.

Now I’m not even going to try to rationalize and say that LeBron’s conference was tougher than Jordan’s by any stretch of the imagination.  Early on in his career, LeBron had Detroit and Boston.  And that was practically it.  Although LeBron did take his undermanned Cleveland team past Detroit (a team that won the finals a couple seasons prior) to make the Finals back in 2007, which should have never happened and remains one of his crowning achievements even though they weren’t able to topple the Spurs that year.  But that taste of defeat is what made LeBron realize he needed more help to win a championship, if he’s going to face teams like the Spurs on the other side of the playoff bracket, which is what he’s pretty much has faced every year he has been to the Finals, except for the year that he lost to a Mavs team with an inspired and confident Dirk.

OKC had KD, Westbrook, and Harden. The Spurs juggernaut had Duncan, Kawhi, Tony Parker, Ginobili and you might as well throw Popovich in there as well. And then these Warriors with Steph, Klay, Draymond and now KD. There’s no way that you can tell me that if LeBron would have stayed with Cleveland that he would have beaten any of these teams on his own.

And that’s what’s so disheartening about even trying to argue a point for LeBron possibly being the GOAT over Jordan.  It’s because people don’t look at the entire picture or differentiate between the eras to make a fair comparison. And they want LeBron to win by himself only to lose so they can knock him down even further.

To be clear, I’m also not trying to say that Jordan faced weaker teams in the Finals, although he did, but for the era, those great teams and these teams at the top was the norm.  Teams like Golden State and the Cavs are the new normal.  The problem is the rest of the league beneath these superteams.

LeBron’s been the underdog in half of his Finals trips, all with the Heat.  Jordan has always been on the better team going in, which in many ways helps define his legacy.  But let’s not forget that basketball is a team sport and Jordan’s played on better teams than LeBron easily in regards to their respective eras of competition.

The league as a whole is watered down from the bottom to the middle of the road teams.  But at the top, which is where LeBron is at, those teams are superteam strong. These Warriors and Spurs the past several years would have competed in any era, and are better than many teams during the Jordan era.

And ever since LeBron’s fiasco of a performance against the Mavs, he’s stepped up each and every time in the Finals. Whether they won or lost, you can’t say they lost because of him.

LeBron could have easily folded against this Warriors team, a team who has won 12 straight games in the playoffs before their Finals matchups against the Cavs, and lost only 1 game in their last 43 or so games until they lost to Cleveland in Game 4.

Instead, he averaged a triple-double and was the best player in the series.  There’s a lot to be said for that.

That is the reason why he remains The King.

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LeBron James to Open Public School for At-Risk Kids in Akron

James’ efforts have already helped more than 1,100 kids since 2011.

TUT Staff

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Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James will open a public school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, The Associated Press reports.


The LeBron James Family Foundation has partnered with Akron Public Schools to charter the “I Promise School,” to service students who might otherwise be left behind.

“This school is so important to me because our vision is to create a place for the kids in Akron who need it most — those that could fall through the cracks if we don’t do something,” said James, a four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, via the Associated Press.

The school is set to open for third and fourth graders in the fall of 2018, and then expand to grades 1-8 in 2022.

“We are excited about the potential of the I Promise School to provide specialized programming and invaluable resources for our students,” said David James, superintendent of Akron’s Public Schools. “We’ve seen the positive influence of the LeBron James Family Foundation on our students and we look forward to continuing to do everything we can to put our students in a position to be successful.”

James has previously partnered with the University of Akron to provide full scholarships for students in his program who qualify. His foundation’s Wheels for Education and Akron I Promise Network programs have helped introduced students to multiple careers they might not have otherwise encountered.

In all, James’ programs have helped more than 1,100 kids over the past six years.

“We’ve learned over the years what works and what motivates them, and now we can bring all of that together in one place along with the right resources and experts,” he said. “If we get to them early enough, we can hopefully keep them on the right track to a bigger and brighter future for themselves and their families.”

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