Beyonce doesn’t deserve NBA all-star cold...
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Feb 09, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

Beyonce doesn’t deserve NBA all-star cold shoulder: Arthur

The Toronto weather will be frosty enough for NBA all-star weekend. Let the rest go, people

OurWindsor.Ca

It’s easy to forget while the Leafs are trading 37 players in a day, but the NBA is coming to Toronto this weekend. Some of it is already here, so look busy, guys. Or cool, whichever. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

And that, in many ways, is what the all-star game is for. It is a party, yes. The restaurant co-owned by Drake, Fring’s, is booked for many parties, and no worries there. We can be secure in our ability to make people make unwise party decisions. Just ask Blake Griffin, who will not be at the all-star game after breaking his hand punching a Clippers trainer in Toronto. We’ve all been there.

But as for the rest: well, the Raptors sit in second place in the East, which is nice. General manager Masai Ujiri tried to get LaMarcus Aldridge last summer, and got the big man thinking before he went to San Antonio. The salary cap is exploding over the next two years, and everyone will have cap space. Very soon, the NBA will be college basketball, except with skill. The NBA, more than ever before, will be about recruiting.

The Raptors, for the first time in a while, have a team that doesn’t look like a minor island of misfit toys. The next step is, how will the city do? With not just all-stars but future all-stars in attendance, this weekend is like one big recruiting visit, and frankly there is already reason to worry. Of course, when you sell basketball in Canada, there is always reason to worry.

The cold, for instance. The temperature on Saturday is expected to reach a high of minus-17C, which will feel like minus-28C, because the wind will apparently be coming off the lake looking for souls to harvest. The low is forecast to be minus-23C, which will make it feel like you are in The Revenant. Maybe we can just tell NBA players that fur coats are back in. PETA may get upset, but PETA can’t create a good look at the basket in a one-point game.

There are the taxis. Taxis are threatening to strike over the weekend as part of the great war with Uber. This is less of a problem. NBA players don’t take taxis. This isn’t 1986.

And finally, we come to Beyoncé. Beyoncé is an NBA fan, and her husband owns an agency which represents some NBA players, including . . . er, Kevin Durant. Beyoncé performed at halftime of the recent Super Bowl, which you might have seen, in which she performed part of her new blazingly political song “Formation.” Some of her dancers wore Black Panther-style berets, and Beyoncé’s outfit had bullet belts, which literally almost nobody noticed. The song, and its video, includes the drowning of New Orleans, and the excessive use of force towards African-Americans by police in America. It also talks about sex and Red Lobster, and Red Lobster’s sales were up 33 per cent on Sunday versus last year, according to The Associated Press. Between you and me, the song is awesome.

Not missing a trick, the Toronto Sun published a Joe Warmington column about the controversy over Beyoncé’s performance, which included complaints from a few unnamed people on Twitter, an unaffiliated political candidate, Rudy Giuliani, and also . . . er, two city councillors. Jim Karygiannis, Ward 39, told the Sun that in advance of Beyoncé’s tour hitting Toronto, “Perhaps Immigration Minister John McCallum should have her investigated first? If someone wore bullets and supported (a radical group) here, they would not be welcomed in the United States — that’s for sure.”

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti also chimed in, which is always fun, but to his sort-of credit, he did not call for a federal investigation into Beyoncé. But wait! Neither did Mr. Karygiannis, according to him.

“I was asked if she should be banned,” said Karygiannis in a phone interview. “And I said that if people think she’s inappropriate and should be banned, this is the person who should make the call, not me.”

Ah! Well, we in the city know that Karygiannis and Mammoliti have a history of statements which do not always need to be taken seriously, but not everybody else does. Now we know that city officials are not really debating a ban on Beyoncé. No, it’s only one of the newspapers. For the record, PMO director of communications Kate Purchase said, “No, we have no intention of investigating Beyoncé.” Encouraging!

Karygiannis then said his feedback was running about 50-50 on a ban, and read aloud a letter from a Toronto resident that supported it and included the phrase, “I don’t think we need to spread racial fears here in Canada . . . banning her would hopefully teach her a lesson, if she’s bright enough to receive it.” Ah.

People, I cannot emphasize this enough: all-star visitors can wear warm clothes, and take the subway. But let’s avoid angering people who think Beyoncé is awesome, which is most of the NBA and in fact the thinking world. Company is coming over. Try not to embarrass us, OK?

Toronto Star

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