NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Overwatch 2, Blizzard's China Problem and Extra Life

Nerds Around Town: Overwatch 2, Blizzard's China Problem and Extra Life
ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

Tomorrow we'll shout out a new charity event, today we celebrate all of the hard work that went into Extra Life. Helping the Adventure Begins in Conroe earn over $7k for the cause was a true pleasure. In donations they raised around $3600 and then in hourly donations there was another estimated $3000 raised, it was a great and exhausting and trying time. 25 hours of streaming and working and gaming and hosting and entertaining, it was intense but totally worth it.

BLIZZARD

Blizzard announced/confirmed Overwatch 2 and released a trailer called "Zero Hour". As usual its cinematically awesome, all of the little videos they've released over the years have been amazing and there's no question they are the undisputed kings of great cinematics for their video games, however looming like a shadow over what should have been awesome news was China and the Hong Kong controversy.

THE CHINA STORY

So in a way all of this still starts with Daryl Morey's tweet about standing with Hong Kong. That tweet mired the NBA and its players in this awkward place where capitalism dictates they expand forever into more and more complicated markets but then American pride dictates that we crush people who bow down to the whims of a communist government that oppresses the freedoms of its people while cheaply making our iPhones and supporting our entertainment industry. The spotlight on American companies and the Chinese markets bled into everything including video games. There, a prominent eSports player FROM HONG KONG named Ng Wai Chung, was banned by Blizzard and had his prize money withheld at first for life than was shortened to a few months after fan backlash for speaking in support of the protests. There is a delicate balance to these things that has to be struck between all roads, here's a truth that nobody will like… Capitalism is both the root of this problem and the solution to it. Capitalism is what led these people to take China's money and it is the eventual all consuming greed that will rot away China's core beliefs eventually leading them to take a "money before all other things policy" like America has not so secretly come to adopt over the years. We know this to be true because we were once a nation of principles and beliefs about bigger things and now we just don't care about anything that doesn't affect our wallets directly.

ONE WEEK AWAY

We are now officially one week away from the release of Disney+. We are literally at the dawn of the NEXT big chapter in the streaming TV wars. It's confusing to think where it will all end, obviously Disney will keep acquiring things and Amazon's position feels secure considering the strength and size of the brand overall, so its just Netflix, HBO Max, CBS and the Peacock that will eventually have their fates decided. I think the thing that has hurt Netflix the most is that CBS' free sign up had millions of people signing up to watch their streaming exclusive Star Trek show. Those numbers were way over the estimates and left many people staring dumbfounded at their screens when NBC took that as a sign that a network exclusive service could survive alone. Moving NBC from cook to supplier so to speak. Netflix and HBO Max while kings of original content have to face the facts that they are standing alone as just essentially large content producers that haven't had to deal with much competition before. Now things are looking grim as a big dog steps in. Netflix is going to have to address their debt portfolio and find more revenue streams and things to partner with, perhaps merchandise and licensing deals for original projects, maybe reverse engineer the Disney concept the otherway. Otherwise they will eventually be eaten up by one of the true giants, they're publicly traded, they have shareholders who value a strong return, it is simply a matter of time and math.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my Father's unexpected passing. It's an odd day, one where I just tried to not think about what it meant for as long as possible. One where I just wondered what the hell happened to the last year. How is he? Is he looking down on us? Is he happy? Have we let him down? I just don't know how to feel sometimes, I love him and I miss him and I hate how much I feel like I let him down over the years. I hope he gets to see the things I'm working on now and that they make him proud.

Feel free to check out my brand-new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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The Coogs are back in action Friday night. Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images.

Jamal Shead wasn’t anywhere near the player he is now when he joined the Houston Cougars in 2020. His coach offers an unvarnished opinion about his talented guard.

“When he came in, I thought he was a long way away,” coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I thought his immaturity was an issue. His day-to-day practice habits were an issue.”

Four years later, the 21-year-old Shead barely resembles that freshman player, and his leadership and defensive tenacity has the second-ranked Cougars heading into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed for a second straight season.

Shead, who was named a first-team AP All-American on Tuesday, will lead Houston (30-4) in the first round of the tournament Friday night against 16-seed Longwood. The Cougars are in the tournament for a school-record sixth straight season.

Sampson reflected on Shead’s journey this week after he received his latest accolade in a season where he’s already become the first player in Big 12 history to win player of the year and defensive player of the year honors the same year. Sampson said Shead's parents didn't baby him even during those freshman struggles.

“He didn’t have anybody to call home and cry to or to listen to excuses,” Sampson said. “That was never going to be an issue. His mom and dad are unusual in that they say the coach is always right. They knew he needed the culture that we’ve established here.”

So, with the help of Houston’s veterans, Shead began to develop and by January of his first season things started to click for him. By February, he started challenging the veterans or as Sampson recalls: “kicking their butts in practice some days.”

“I think our program raised that kid from being a kid to being a man and this is the end result,” Sampson said. “I think it is a great story in that when things were really tough for him, he didn’t quit, he didn’t transfer.”

Shead admitted that dealing with Sampson’s strong coaching style took a while to adjust to and he still remembers a colorful one-liner he used to call him soft back in his early days on the team.

Now that he’s grown into the team’s leader, he appreciates how Sampson coached him.

“He has the utmost belief in you and the utmost trust in you when you earn it. And he never wavers with that,” Shead said. “That guy has trusted me since Day 1. He’s taught me so much. He might get on me the hardest, but I know it’s out of love. I know he loves me, so I never take it personally.”

Shead has a wealth of tournament experience after reaching the Final Four as a reserve as a freshman. He moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore when the Cougars advanced to the Elite Eight and won American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year honors last season when Houston made it to the Sweet 16.

He leads the Cougars this season by averaging 13.1 points a game and averages 6.2 assists and 2.3 steals. He has scored in double figures in 25 games this season, including 11 of the last 12.

He’s confident that Houston is ready for a deep tournament run.

“Coach says it all the time, he doesn’t compare teams, so I don’t really try to,” he said. “But I think this team is prepared because of our mindset right now, our preparation is always good because we have the best coach in America and probably the best coaching staff in America. So, our preparation is always going to be good because they’re going to have us ready … it’s all about who’s going to be the toughest and I think we’ll be one of the toughest teams out there.”

The biggest factor in that toughness is the team’s defense, which is led by Shead. Houston leads the nation in holding teams to just 57 points a game.

“Our defense is our defense,” Shead said. “We’re No. 1 in the nation. We take pride in that. We turn you over, cool. But we’re going to try to make you miss. We’re going to make it as hard as possible every possession.”

And the coach who once thought Shead was a “long way away” from contributing to his team, now revels at the player he has become.

“The three things Jamal learned to control was Jamal and then his attitude and then his effort,” Sampson said. “When those three things became his strength, he became the best defensive guard I’ve ever coached and the greatest leader I’ve ever coached.”

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