Ze Letterbox (2nd edition)


The Sun is shining, the weather is sweet and there is no better way to celebrate this beautiful day other than sitting inside answering emails from readers from all over world!

(Yes, I’m a loser.)

Question: In your convenient contradiction article, you claim that whenever a white person says Nigga, they are labelled as a racist. What about Eminem? Why did you leave him out? Was this a convenient omission? – Robert

Matt: No, definitely not an omission. For starters (and I’m not a fan of Eminem’s music at all, so forgive me if I’m wrong here…) but I have never heard him say “Nigger” or “Nigga”. If he does drop the N-Bomb, then in no way am I condoning it. But is it worse than if Tupac or DMX says it? Absolutely not.

People are people, regardless if they are black or white. It’s not a difficult concept. The media tries to divide society in order to create tension and hate. Let’s not let them win this. So much can be accomplished if we look beyond what is rammed down our throats to sell newspapers.

Question: Hi Matt, fantastic race article. You referenced the oxford dictionary in convenient contraction, citing “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” as a contradiction with black people using Nigga and white people not being allowed to. To me, it is a question of difference, not superiority. What are your thoughts? – Tom

Matt: Thank you for the kind words and the excellent question. There is some grey area here so I am glad you asked this and I can address it. There is one pivotal part to the oxford definition; “to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or race.” Now, as I explained in the article (but looking back, did a horrible job of tying to the definition) the perception is if a white person says “Nigger”, it is instantly viewed as a racist comment. If a black person, however, says it, it is viewed as a form of endearment.

To me, the instant assumption that a white person is racist as compared to the black person (when they say the same thing) is a clear distinction of inferiority and superiority, in my opinion.

But thank you for the question.

Question: I can’t believe you are talking about the Riley Cooper comments. This is outside the hype!! Ignoring the hype should be what you are all about. Sell-out. – Ian

Matt: Why thank you. Yes, I did do an article on the reaction to the Riley Cooper comments. I think racism is an important topic as it does still exist in society today. If you think that is me being a sell-out, I couldn’t care less.

Question: Did you really just compare Spike Lee to Riley Cooper? Haha – Jason

Matt: I surely did. Well, I compared a statement made by Spike Lee to what Riley Cooper said, and the vastly different reactions despite both being ignorant and divisive. I stand by that comparison. If you want to challenge it and show me how it is incorrect, you’ll have to go a little deeper than “haha”.

Question: Minorities have to be critical of the majority in order to get our voices heard. We don’t have be inclusive of everyone. – Amy

Matt: No No No. First of all, equality should be for everyone. We as a society shouldn’t be pushing the agenda of one minority over the majority. This is the primary problem that minorities have. They have become so focused on the progression on their group and demographic, they have lost sight/ interest in everyone else. This is why Dr Martin Luther King was such an amazing human being. He was able to identify this as a problem way back in the 60’s and pushed for equality for everyone.

Now, Amy, you say you don’t have to be inclusive of everyone. Are you really promoting inequality here? Apply this line of thinking in today’s society, and if the “majority” started saying that towards minorities. A contradiction is a contradiction, regardless of it’s from a minority or majority.

Question: Great article about Isiah! I never bought into the reasons that were given to us why he was left off the team, but I never articulated them before. I showed my friends and have bookmarked your page. Keep it up. – Morgan

Matt: Thanks. It’s one of those burning questions that unfortunately will never have a happy ending because we can’t go back in history and undo an injustice. I just hope we, as basketball fans, can acknowledge that he should have been on that team.

Question: You sound like an Isiah Thomas apologist. Who are you going to pick: Magic and Michael or Isiah? That’s what I thought. – Ed

Matt: I’ll take all 3 of them. Simple.

Question: As an avid reader (I follow you on twitter and have Outside the Hype bookmarked), I love your work. What is your plan for Outside The Hype? – John

Matt: Thank you, John. If you like the work being done here, please keep in mind that it isn’t just me who is contributing to OTH. We have a variety of talented contributors that write articles and hop on the podcast and have twitter accounts. Give them a follow and say hello!

As for your question, it’s very interesting that you have asked this. I have recently received expressions of interest for this site. I, however, am not ready to sell it. I love what I’m doing here, and I love that it is an ad free environment and I can talk about anything that comes to mind.

Question: You were caught out! Last podcast you admitted that you hate Kobe and Lebron by saying you using their failures to rank them. Chris pointed you out on this too. You’re a fraud. – Sol

Matt: I have Kobe and Lebron in my all-time top 10 players of all time, so I wouldn’t say that is me “hating” either of them. The question of failures is interesting, however, and I will go further into detail here.

Great players, all of them, from Magic to Jordan to Kareem to Bird to Shaq, they have all had success. What they have done on the court is what matters. This is both good and bad. If a player has a glaring weakness, he drops the same way if he has an amazing strength, they go up on the list.

It’s simple really. If fans expect me to change logic so their player is perceived to be better, I suggest you watch some ESPN or Fox Sports. Here, I will hold players to a consistent standard.

Question: The redoing the top 50 looks like a great idea. But can you explain to me why you are separating NBA history into two sections? Thank you. – Blake

Matt: Thanks. The reason for the separation was the game was very different back before the 3 point line was introduced. It’s interesting when we look back how it has changed, and very little has to do with the 3 point shot itself. Defenses have changed. Coaching has changed. Player athleticism has changed. Travel and professionalism has changed.

It’s almost too difficult to compare and rank players from these two different eras. But, I haven’t started yet, so there is a real possibility that I bring them back together and just have one list.

Question: Iverson was a thug that shot the ball way too often. The way you celebrated him was disgusting. You’ve lost a fan. – Andrew

Matt: I just put on some violin music and re read this comment. It nearly brought a tear to my eye.

Question: That Iverson article was hot! You should do more written work, especially after the Isiah Thomas article as well. – Petar

Matt: Thanks, Petar! I will definitely be writing a lot more. Glad you’re enjoying it.

Question: Surely it was an oversight on your behalf that you have MVP chants in opposing cities in your Kobe moments feature but not him actually winning MVP? – Matthew

Matt: You are absolutely right, Matthew (this is the first time I’ve said this sentence and not lied to myself). I can’t believe I missed this, especially when you consider I used the image of him holding the MVP award for the main picture in the first part of the countdown.

Question: How could you leave out Kobe’s 4th quarter against Dallas in 2003? – Will

Question: What about Kobe vs. T-Mac in 2004 when Kobe explodes in 4th quarter? – Anthony

Question: How did you not mention Kobe’s game winner vs. Detroit 2004 game 2 of the finals? – Seth

Matt: Those moments were all given serious considerations to the list. The reality is, even if the countdown was Kobe’s 50 most memorable moments, there would have been some great accomplishments/ plays left off. If you think there’s a moment that should have made it, tell me what you would have replaced it with and we can have a discussion.

Question: For a site that claims to “outside the hype”, why would you dedicate an entire podcast to Madden 25? – Justin

Matt: There is no doubt that Madden is heavily marketed and hyped. I won’t dispute that. What I will say is there is some substance to the series. They have consistently produced good games, with the occasional great one thrown in from time to time. The podcast was not dedicated just to Madden 25, we discussed other topics as well. The section on Madden 25 was a fair and honest discussion about our thoughts and expectations on the game.