Raheel Ramzanali: Some other icons Kendrick Perkins might have missed out on besides Chewbacca

Raheel Ramzanali: Some other icons Kendrick Perkins might have missed out on besides Chewbacca
Do you know this wookie? Kendrick Perkins does not. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NBA Playoffs isn’t short of good stories this year, but the strangest story thus far has to be Kendrick Perkins not knowing anything about Chewbacca. Chewy has been in the zeitgeist since 1977, when Star Wars first hit the big screen so Perkins not knowing who he is has to be the most mind-blowing story yet.

Look, I get that Kendrick has dedicated his life to being a professional basketball player so I won’t use this prime real estate to destroy him for not knowing who Chewbacca is ; I’m the same age as Kendrick so I wanted to take the time to catch him up on other really really really popular and “new” things that he should know about as he maneuvers through life. These are things he should recognize right away if they were sitting courtside:

  • Back to the Future - While not as old as Star Wars, this classic film series has some of the most recognizable pop culture references known to man. From the self-lacing shoes that Nike recently recreated to the jaw-dropping Delorean, Back to the Future references are as important as Chewbacca. Oh, and hoverboard!

  • Barney - The big purple dinosaur was once the most-known kid programming character ever and if he sat down courtside, it would be a huge deal. I know Barney is now a tantric sex therapist, but that shouldn’t take away from his pop culture recall.

  • The Avengers - Come on, even Kendrick knows about the Avengers.

  • Pogs - Man, just unfollow me if you weren’t down with Pogs growing up. Pogs were the Beanie Babies for cool dudes. It was a life changer when Pogs teamed up with Michael Jordan to release the ultimate collaboration for sports fan. You think Supreme x Louis Vuitton was popular? Psh, Pogs x MJ was it!

  • Michael Jordan - For some reason Kendrick strikes me as a guy that totally ignored the existence of Michael Jordan so he has no idea about His Airness.

  • Crying Jordan Meme - If he doesn’t know MJ, there’s no way he knows about the MJ Crying Meme.

  • The MJ vs LeBron Debate - Hey Kendrick, all the cool kids are doing it so you better be up on this pop culture trend where we must take sides and destroy the other side’s legacy.

  • 98 Degrees - You can keep your Backstreet Boys and N*Sync, I’m here for the legacy of 98 Degrees and Nick Lachey. He was the original “damn I feel so bad for him being married to her” reality star. Even though he was with prime Jessica Simpson, he was also the first true reality star where we saw just how miserable one guy could be married to a famous pop icon.

  • Red Velvet Cupcakes - For a stretch there in 2010, Red Velvet Cupcakes were all we talked about in everyday conversation. This one cupcake generated thousands of cupcake shops and even a television show where we celebrated war, but the only casualty was deliciousness - This is Cupcake Wars.

  • Smartphones - Kendrick is gonna lose it when he learns about these “new” things that make life so much easier, yet tear us apart as humans.

  • Lil Tay - Honestly, I don’t even know what a Lil Tay is so I can’t speak on this one, but I know most people know about this trend.


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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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