Bulls Show 99: Getting Over The Top

Fresh from the Vegas black jack table, ESPN’s Nick Friedell joins Nillz to discuss the fallout from Paul George’s devastating injury and the implications on Derrick Rose. Listen to Nick also talk about Rose’s return to playing at an elite level and whether (of course) the offseason acquisitions are enough to put the Bulls’ “over the top.”


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The origin of the high-five

Watch the 30 For 30 Short: “The High-Five” here

A new ESPN 30 For 30 Short debuted today and it was too good not to shed some light on it here. As the headline suggests, “The High Five” uncovers the uncommonly known story of how the simplest, most awesome celebration came about. The 1977 Dodgers invented the high-five as rookie Glenn Burke excitedly put his hand up to Dusty Baker after he hit his 30th home run of the season and… well, I’ll let Dusty describe it.

Interestingly enough, the documentary took an unexpected turn to this young baseball fan who was unaware of this story. Via Grantland:

From there, our short follows Burke’s story as he became a victim of bigotry and then a local hero for social change.

The short takes a serious turn and examines how different society was in the 70s. I’m glad to see the positives come out of it and I couldn’t help but feel for Burke, especially with how homosexual athletes don’t deal with the same bigotry as back then. Importantly as well, the doc does a great job highlighting the universal language a “high-five” has become and it’s amazing to see Burke’s invention unifying people today and for generations to come.

Watch the 30 For 30 Short: “The High-Five” here

So many great GIFs… and the best way to sum up LeBron’s return to Cleveland.


50 Cent & Trey Songz on ESPN First Take

Pre-Game 4, 50 Cent & Trey Songz joined the ESPN First Take debate desk with Cari Champion and of course, Skip & Stephen A. Naturally, the main topic at hand was the NBA Finals with both Fif and Trey weighing in on the Spurs-Heat series (50 also talked a lil boxing). This is great to watch after the fact as Game 4 obviously resulted in a Spurs route and makes Stephen A. look a little bad here. Looks like Trey’s Spurs in 6 prediction is going to be off… Spurs in 5?!

Also fun to re-watch after the fact (for a different reason): Yoenis Cespedes’ 300+ ft. throw from the other night. Still wow.


Empathy Test ‘Losing Touch EP’


The story of how I discovered Empathy Test is a heartwarming example of great marketing. With my eyes and ears on everything NBA Playoffs this time of year, a recent string of artistic vines released by ESPN have magnificently captured some of this year’s biggest moments. The first one I saw happened to be this weekend and I had to post it to the Design section:


The vines for ESPN were excellently created by Richard Swarbrick (a quick click there for his Twitter will show you all of them) and for each one, he credited the music to Empathy Test.

Here’s where the fun begins – discovering what infectious, powerful melody these 6 second playoff clips were set to.

I googled ‘Empathy Test’ to soon find out they are a synth/electro-pop duo (Adam Relf and Isaac Howlett) coming from London and signed to NYC’s Stars & Letters Records. A couple clicks later and I’m on their bandcamp pressing play on the 4 tracks on their debut Losing Touch EP, released this past February, searching for that beat in the Vine.

I actually thought the first track, “Losing Touch”, was initially the Vine until I replayed both and quickly realized “Last Night on Earth” (track 3) was the tune I was looking for. What’s cool about this momentary confusion though is that it speaks to the similar impact of the energetic synths that these two records have, and no surprise, they’re my top two of the four on the EP. You’ll also soon discover that each of the four tracks are flanked with high-pitched pop vocals that combined with the production sounds like a soundtrack for a movie. I’m thinking Drive and I feel I won’t be alone.

Whatever the movie, it deserves to be in one. All four tracks are a great soundtrack for your drive, workout, work, or really anything. Empathy Test has been my go-to all week as I’m glued above and on their SoundCloud for even more tunes. Nice choice, ESPN, NBA, Richard Swarbrick. Here’s to paying it forward on my end too. Enjoy!

Today’s Vine for last night’s Game 1…


Drake on ESPN’s NBA Countdown

Earlier today, it was announced that Drake will be this year’s ESPYs host, so to keep the good ESPN momentum going, Drizzy stopped by the ESPN NBA Countdown studios. I happened to catch this live and was a little mind blown to see their worlds collide. After all, I’m a Drake fan and Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose are two of my favorite sports personalities and then Drake jokingly tells Bill he gets a little loose after a couple Mike’s Hard Lemonades. Ha! Watch a clip above, ICYMI.


Avery Johnson, Jalen Rose, Drake, & Bill Simmons
Avery Johnson, Jalen Rose, Drake, & Bill Simmons