Lang’s World: Ten Pearls of Whitaker’s wit and wisdom on sports and beyond 2.8.18

Lang Whitaker | Grind City Media
Feb 8, 2018 12:01 PM ET

Watching the Philadelphia Eagles topple the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last Sunday took Lang Whitaker to the center of some controversial sniping between his hometown favorite Atlanta Falcons and division rival New Orleans Saints. (Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Good Old-Fashioned Hate

There apparently has been some organizational disagreement of late between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints. I suppose “of late” is a bit unnecessary, since the teams have been geographical rivals for decades – even for all those years when both teams stunk. Still, in recent years there’s been new fodder added to the equation. The Falcons, of course, went to the Super Bowl last year, where they blew a 28-3 lead against the Patriots. The Saints had nothing to do with that -- they were busy polishing off their third consecutive 7-9 season. But since the Falcons lost the Super Bowl, Saints fans have been leading the pack on social media when it comes to making light of the Falcons’ historic loss. Even the Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ largest newspaper, has gotten in on the act by somehow turning their “Eagles Win the Super Bowl” news story into a headline about the Falcons losing last year. Apparently, it hasn’t only been the fans. Recently, another New Orleans paper reported that during the Falcons’ game in New Orleans a few months ago, the Saints brought up Atlanta’s 28-3 failed Super Bowl lead repeatedly , about which the Falcons weren’t happy. And while they shouldn’t be happy about it, that doesn’t mean it’s not fair game. Frankly -- and I say this as a fan of the Falcons -- the Falcons deserve to be made fun of for blowing a 28-3 lead and losing the Super Bowl. That was ridiculous and memorable and awful. Even if the Saints literally had nothing to do with it, they are allowed to go wild and make fun of it if they want. But that also means they, too, are now fair game. They’ve opened the door to be made fun of, and lo and behold – call it karma or whatever – they just gave the rest of the NFL plenty to joke about. Just weeks ago, the Saints choked away a lead with 10 seconds left and the chance to go to the NFC title game on the line, as Marcus Williams incredibly whiffed on a tackle. (This coming just seconds after Saints coach Sean Payton turned and mocked Vikings fans.) So when New Orleans comes to Atlanta this season, shouldn’t the Falcons prepare a full game of #BlewDat memes? After all, the memes are already out there... Perhaps the Falcons are trying to take the high road by not responding. But like it or not, that’s not how the world works anymore. Besides, there’s another Atlanta team unafraid to mix it up on social media . Whatever happens, just remember all is fair in love and Tweets. Maybe just think twice before you press send.

2. Fly Eagles Fly

As much as I loved seeing the Patriots lose on Sunday night, I really enjoyed this video (warning: language may be NSFW, depending where you W) of Philly native Kobe Bryant celebrating the Super Bowl win of his Philadelphia Eagles over New England ... Kobe might be one of the biggest celebrities on planet Earth, but when his favorite team wins a big game, he reacts like just about all of us would. (Well, I assume that’s how I’d react to my team winning a Super Bowl. But I’m a Falcons fan, so I wouldn’t really know.)

3. Crunchy

Some big fake news this week from the world of snacks, as it seemed as though Doritos was set to announce plans for a new chip. No, it wouldn’t be some random new flavor – Peppermint Doritos! – but instead a whole new style of chip: All you women out there, please enjoy a dainty bag of LADY DORITOS Alas, as it turned out, Lady Doritos aren’t actually happening ; the company noted they already have Doritos for women, which are called “Doritos.” To be honest, the sound of the wrapper crinkling and the crunching of the chip is the number one giveaway when I’m trying to sneak some snacks at home. The answer? Quieter food. Genius. I’ll take all those Lady Doritos.

4. The Search For Jackie Wallace

I like to share reading recommendations in this column, which could be anything from a book to a short story. The thing I read that stuck with me this week was this article written by a photographer from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which tells the story of Jackie Wallace, a local football hero who played in several Super Bowls before he ended up living on the streets. . And just when all hope seems lost, things turn around for Wallace and life starts going in a positive direction, until everything turns back around the wrong way, and then... well, just read it. This is a heartbreaking and inspiring story, beautifully told in words and photos by Ted Jackson.

5. Lord Of The Rings

Did you know the Winter Olympics start today? I am generally not a winter sports enthusiast, so I wasn’t actually aware that we were about to start until I caught a commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday night. I know almost exactly nothing about these Olympics, other than they’re taking place in South Korea and the only athletes I know are the ones who were featured during the Super Bowl. Also Shaun White, because he’s always in the Winter Olympics and “The Flying Tomato” is one of the greatest nicknames of all time. But despite not knowing any of this stuff, I will watch as much of the Winter Olympics as I can. To me, there’s nothing better than live sports, so I will have the games on all night for the next two weeks. And by the end of this week I will consider myself an expert on all things Winter Olympics. Now, I just need to extend my back porch so I can finally get into curling full-time.

6. Urban Skiing

And just in time for the Winter Olympics, Paris finally got enough snow so that people can ski the streets!

7. NBA-Alike

This week, let’s go with Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams and Captain Hook . (Also, here’s a non-NBA lookalike that is terrific.)

8. Can They Kick It?

Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl drew some attention for his shirt, which seemed to really be something a man of the woods would wear. Or maybe a Mac. Anyway, what my eyes jumped toward was not his shirt but his shoes: JT debuted a pair of Jordan IIIs that were a special collab between Timberlake and legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, with a reflective swoosh on the side . As much as I love the original IIIs – and this opinion may be heretical – I think I like the IIIs with the swoosh even more than the originals.

9. Animal Takeover

Nigel was a guy who lived his life on the edge -- the edge of a cliff. Nigel, you see, was a bird. More specifically, a gannet who was living in New Zealand. And Nigel had no friends. The reason he didn’t have any friends is because he really enjoyed hanging around with other birds… who were made out of concrete . Which means they weren’t birds, strictly speaking. Other real birds arrived on his island, but Nigel was too into his fake relationship with the concrete birds. He was such a lonely bird that his nickname was “No Mates Nigel,” which, to be honest, sounds a little like bullying from the scientists who gave him that name, SMH. It sort-of reminds me of the movie “Her,” except instead of being about humans and technology it’s about birds and concrete. RIP, Nigel.

10. Go Forth With Song

Did you know “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers has been on the UK charts ever since it was released , which means it’s been in the Top 100 now going on 13 years? It’s an awesome song, so let’s close with it this week... The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Memphis Grizzlies. All opinions expressed by Lang Whitaker are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Memphis Grizzlies or its Basketball Operations staff, owners, parent companies, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Memphis Grizzlies and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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