HBO Sports Special: “THE SHOP” Episode 2

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The second installment of The Shop aired on 10/12/2018 at 9:30pm EST and here’s a quick recap of that showing. The first half of the episode featured other professional basketball players discussing life in the limelight. In addition to LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter, we had Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers) and Mo Bamba (Orlando Magic) present. The conversation was easy to follow, and a good deal of it focused on year one in the league versus life after.

LeBron and company capture an experience that is based on authenticity and finding yourself, versus submitting to everyone else’s expectations. Each person’s perspective is what makes this show a movement by itself. It is easy to forget that the people we celebrate are just that… people. Oladipo talks about being traded twice, navigating the spaces of media, and still believing in himself in a way we don’t really get to hear people talk about. The trades dealt a blow to him as a person, and he really captured the challenge in finding your own space where nothing is ever really promised. It’s easy to dissect statistics, root for or against athletes, but they too are subjected to doubt, insecurities, and fears- on a worldwide stage.

The conversation also included Serena Williams with Donne and LeBron celebrating her for all of her greatness.  While we see the experience, women face on the court, those battles aren’t just for the women to tackle. Donne really hits the nail on the head when she shares her thoughts on fighting for fairness and the shared responsibility of the fight: “we have to fight these battles so that hopefully one day your daughter won’t have to.”

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The second half, and probably the most talked about part happens when Drake makes an appearance. After they exchange hairline and perm horror stories (I get all of this as a bi-racial man, fortunately, my mom was Black and took me to a Black barber so not nearly as bad as Drake- whew!), Maverick lead the conversation into dealing with professional challenges. As if Kanye West isn’t in the news enough, Drake shares the storyline of their most recent interaction in a way that, if you aren’t canceling Kanye by now, you probably will once hear of his tactics to ignite the Pusha T/Drake Beef.

To me, this is where The Shop shines. It’s a good conversation! Nowhere else will you see this kind of conversation on TV. Sure, there’s still some planning, editing, and preparation, but LeBron is not Oprah or Diane Sawyer… and that’s what’s so good about it. His guests are his friends, and people who are of influence in today’s culture. For a moment in time, we see them in a way that feels intimate, raw, and uninterrupted. The topics are relevant, and if nothing more, push the celebrity aside, and allow the person to come through. It was good to hear Drake talk about that experience, the inner conflict in releasing a diss record, the rules to the game, and ultimately deciding to do what was right for himself and no one else.

You can stream The Shop on your HBO NOW/GO apps or go to www.hbo.com and log in with your cable subscription. Until next time, here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure!


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