Growing up, every kid wanted to be like Mike. It seems Kanye West believes he actually accomplished that fanciful feat.
The New York Times' Jon Caramanica (via Complex) sat down with the hip-hop superstar to talk about all things West. Fortunately, this bombastic interview hit a couple of sharp notes regarding the sports world.
First, West was asked about his persona as someone constantly trying to promote himself.
I think you got to make your case. Seventh grade, I wanted to be on the basketball team. I didn’t get on the team, so that summer I practiced. I was on the summer league. My team won the championship; I was the point guard. And then when I went for eighth grade, I practiced and I hit every free throw, every layup, and the next day I looked on this chart, and my name wasn’t on it. I asked the coach what’s up, and they were like, “You’re just not on it.” I was like, “But I hit every shot.” The next year—I was on the junior team when I was a freshman, that’s how good I was. But I wasn’t on my eighth-grade team, because some coach—some Grammy, some reviewer, some fashion person, some blah blah blah—they’re all the same as that coach. Where I didn’t feel that I had a position in eighth grade to scream and say, “Because I hit every one of my shots, I deserve to be on this team!” I’m letting it out on everybody who doesn’t want to give me my credit.
I guess Taylor Swift—the singer who had her 2009 MTV Video Music Award acceptance speech hijacked by West—should probably send an angry letter to West's eighth-grade coach.
Before we get to the truly juicy sports quote, I have to mention how much I adore West and his belief he has the market cornered on disappointment. It's as if he were the only kid ever cut from a team or disrespected by a myopic coach.
Then again, this particular hardship turned him into one of the most prolific modern artists, so a very slow clap for the coach who didn't want a kid who "hit every shot."
Caramanica then offered with, "And you know you hit your shots." That's when we got a West quote that is like a Jordan dunk from the free-throw line:
Yeah—you put me on the team. So I’m going to use my platform to tell people that they’re not being fair. Anytime I’ve had a big thing that’s ever pierced and cut across the Internet, it was a fight for justice. Justice. And when you say justice, it doesn’t have to be war. Justice could just be clearing a path for people to dream properly. It could be clearing a path to make it fair within the arena that I play. You know, if Michael Jordan can scream at the refs, me as Kanye West, as the Michael Jordan of music, can go and say, “This is wrong.”
I will go ahead and skip over the fact West believes it is now his duty to right these injustices, lest they tarnish the dreams of some young fan who would have been a superstar if it weren't for that award Beyonce lost.
Really, the best part is West calling himself "the Michael Jordan of music," making me only slightly stunned he didn't call himself the Michael Jordan of basketball as well.
Sports fans have an ongoing debate as to the heir apparent of the former Bulls star. Perhaps the LeBron James' and Kobe Bryants of the world should just admit they are exactly like Mike. That would clear things up nicely.
In all seriousness, the entire interview is big, bold and outrageous. In a sense, it's really what we have come to expect from a man who exudes confidence at every turn.
You simply have to take in every last wonderful word of the entire interview. There, you will get fantastic quips like this one delivered after he was asked about his incident with Swift:
"It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is."
If that weren't enough, West ends the interview much the same way a basketball player would with a buzzer-beater to win the game:
"I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus."
Artists, much like athletes, get their inspiration from all places. We hardly fault the man's motivation.
And to think we have been searching for the next Michael Jordan for years. We never thought of taking a look at the music world.
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