Big Wos: More Life & More Takes For Your Headtop

If you’re someone like me with very specific interests that you can’t discuss with your irl friends, you probably really enjoy podcasts. Most of my favorite podcasts delve into two worlds: Hip Hop & NBA Basketball. Luckily for me, the two happen to cross paths very often and when they do you get shows like TrueHoop’s Black Opinion Matters Monday (or #BOMM). Unlike other TrueHoop podcasts, which typically focus on the latest in NBA news, #BOMM is more concerned with the latest in black entertainment and the basketball talk takes a back seat.

It’s without a doubt the funniest show TrueHoop has to offer and I probably wouldn’t have found it if it wasn’t for NBA Twitter/Rap Twitter menace, @BigWos. The Queens native can be heard on #BOMM as well as other TrueHoop podcasts praising LeBron and Drake (rightfully so), and throwing out hot takes (and sometimes takes people just don’t wanna hear). I talked to him about how he got on the podcast, the back story behind his hottest take, and what he thinks of Drake’s More Life🌺.

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A: How did you end up on the True Hoop podcast?

W: Ummmm I went on Amin’s old web show, TrueHoop TV After Dark, as a fan guest and I guess the producer Jade Hoye just kind of took a liking to me and always remembered me. Also I was a big fan of the Friday live show on spreecast (RIP!) and was a pretty faithful viewer and active participant in the little chat that they had. One day I kind of made a joke in the chat that Brian Windhorst was doing such a better job than the other three guys (Tom, Amin, and Ethan) and Jade hit me on a private message and ask me to go on camera and tell the joke. The rest was history.

A: And now you’re a regular with an alter ego lol. As enjoyable as Kaileigh’s monologues and Ethan’s smoldering takes are, I think I along with many others look forward to Black Opinions Matter Monday’s the most. Was BOMM Amin’s idea or something you two & Jade came up with?

W: The BOMM thing happened pretty organically. It kind of started off with us reviewing the latest episode of Power (shouts to Jerry!) every week because we just liked the show. And at first we would have Tom or Ethan or Windy on whether they had seen the previous episode or not. But I think as it became a staple guys (who hadn’t watched the show but happened to be black) became a little more apprehensive about coming on because they wanted to be able to contribute to the convo. That’s when we started the running joke that Ethan was banned because he flaked a couple of times and that joke sort of turned into all white guys were banned from Monday period. And we kind of took it from there. Then one day, and I can’t remember who or how it came about (was either Amin or myself, but more likely Amin. I honestly can’t recall at the moment) we decided that our show was the “Black Opinions Matter” show. And we kind of liked the idea that we were “the black show” on TRUEHOOP  and the whole thing just kind of took on a life of its own. When power ended we decided we’d review Atlanta every week and pretty much just touch on anything that kind of fell under the broad purview of “black culture”. And I think the premise has worked out pretty well so far.

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A: The Knicks seem to be the team that gets talked about the most on BOMM lately. On & off the court they’re consistently among the most incompetent in the league. Let’s say we put you in Phil Jackson’s chair. How do you make the Knicks a decent team & organization?

W: I think they just have to commit to a plan. Embrace the fact that you’re not a good team and stop with the “win now” charade. People have rightfully crushed them for the Noah deal, but they have to commit to not throwing bad money after bad money. Just play your young guys like Willy, Kuz, KP, and Justin Holiday. They’re finally in a position to actually make all their draft picks going forward. Let Rose walk, try to find a home for Melo, and quit signing washed up vets. The NYK position isn’t as awful as it seems, finally.

A: I think this year has been especially tough for people trying to decide who the MVP is. Who do you think should win & who do you think will win?

W: To me, it’s going to come down to Harden and Kawhi and it’s basically that the team success is going to carry the day as far as MVP is concerned. Also, I just have this creeping feeling that not many of the traditional, old guard media cares much for Russ. And when you’ve got a race this close where we’re literally splitting hairs, the “How much do I even like this guy and wanna see him win?” factor matters in an outsized way. It’s been said enough, but I think the only take that is a bad take, as it pertains to mvp, is the “How can you possibly think player x deserves it?!?!?!” As long as it’s either Bron, Kawhi, Harden, or Russ someone very deserving of the award will win. But I think it’ll be Harden lol.

Illustration by Eliza Trono.


A: So you’re loved & hated amongst basketball twitter for your hot takes, your hottest (on the surface, at least) being “Gordon Hayward is better than Kyrie Irving.” Obviously there’s some merit to that but I want you to explain

a.) why you think that’s true

b.) why compare the 6’3 point guard to the 6’8 forward in the first place

and c.) why do you think it upset so many people?

W: This whole Gordie > Kyrie thing, like most things, really just started as a conversation, me, Haberstroh, Windhorst, and Tim McMahon were having a conversation just about the relative value of Kyrie as compared to this reputation that he seems to have amongst fans, especially on twitter and in barbershops. And Tom was just pointing that he’s generally a pretty awful defender for his position and two, that he’s one dimensional on offense. And there were the usual caveats about how valuable his elite 1-on-1 scoring ability is, especially on a team like CLE where they don’t have an abundance of that type of scoring ability.

And again I’m coming from the standpoint (which admittedly I never mentioned on the original pod) of someone who’s been a very close Bron observer for over a decade now and when I think about the elite teammates that he’s had in the past, I just don’t think Kyrie has risen to the level of say Chris Bosh and/or Prime Dwyane Wade. And it seems like Kyrie’s reputation is that of someone who was on the level of those two while playing with Bron and it just seems completely unearned in my honest opinion. 

It’s not to say that Kyrie is some bum, but the success achieved by CLE since Bron’s been back has not been by virtue of some uber eliteness displayed by Kyrie. Its been elite level defense come the highest leverage games and the greatness of this generation’s best player. I say all that to say that my point was supposed to be couched in the idea of Kyrie’s perception amongst the basketball public. Then Gordon came up randomly and the question was sarcastically posed “well I guess you’re going to say Gordon Hayward is better than Kyrie too, huh?”. And my response was, “yeah, in a vacuum, I’d probably rather have gordie.” A guy who plays a premium position because of how scarce the talent is at wing. and who shoots, dribbles, passes, and can adequately defend his position… and I think the Hayward juxtaposition is what blew that take up.

Because, again, Kyrie’s perception amongst the average fan is that of an all world player/talent and Gordon… well let’s just say that’s not exactly his rep. And so the meme that I was this huge Kyrie hater or just a huge Gordie lover was born. Best part about all of this is that the year has gone on and the Cavs have kind of sucked anytime Bron’s sat and the Kyrie narrative has sort of shifted, while Gordie has made the all-star team and Utah’s shown themselves to be a legit squad all year and so the perceptions of both players are now starting to catch up with where I already was way back when this whole thing started.

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A: Anyone who follows you knows you’re a big Drake fan. More Life’s been out for a few days, what do you think of the playlist?

W: You’ll be shocked to learn this, but I love the project. And it’s mostly for all the reasons that I’ve come to be such a huge fan of the guy over the years which his appreciation for a diversity of sounds and genres as well as form. The guy will sing, rap, sing/rap, use different flows and cadences all on one project. And as with all of his music, there’s the experience I get in my own headphones, then there’s the shared experience that we’ll all have out in the world at parties, bbq’s, rooftops, the beach, etc etc. To me that’s the best part of what he’s doing, his music actually lives out in the world. It’s a fun time to be an OVO devotee.

A: I agree 100%! And of course, part of being a big fan of OVO is watching Twitter jump thru hoops to slander Drake no matter what happens, even if it’s totally something unrelated. He’s the target of a lot of resentment from rap fans & his legacy is constantly being questioned despite his record breaking feats. Why do you think this is?

W: Well there’s a lot of things happening there. First and foremost is that he currently occupies the seat of top dog in all of black music (although I still kind of think this is Beyoncé) and that’s just the nature of being in that position. He’s the biggest target and it wouldn’t be right if all he ever got was universal praises. It’s good for folks to challenge the merits of his music and to point out the things that he needs tightening up. I truly think steel sharpens steel that way. Secondly, I just think he’s an easy target. He’s goofy, he’s Canadian, there’s countless pics and vids of the time that he spent not being the fully formed rap behemoth that he is today. He just doesn’t fit the mold of who or what the guy who’s occupying his current position traditionally is. But what I’ll always say about all of that is people, especially in Hip Hop, have this constant demand that folks be “real” and in viewed thru that prism Drake embodies that in a way that few people ever have. And I say that because he’s not naturally cool in the way that Nas and Hov so clearly are/were and so there’s a risk in being unabashed in your goofiness/corniness in the public space the way drake does. We know it’s not an act because nobody would actually try to appear as this corny and goofy. You look at artists like say Plies and Rozay, who I happen to like, who do you think is more “real” as far as the face that the choose to wear out in public? Them or Drake? I think we all know that answer to that lol.

Anteneh Gebre is a writer. The NBA currently owes him approximately $70 dollars.

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