My first reaction, before noticing the many intriguing details of this social media video, was awe. In that moment, I let myself swim in the universe this social media edit created. In the midst of all that is happening around the KU program, KU Hoops social media provided something we won’t soon forget. This wasn’t @KUHoops merely tacking their own comment onto a larger trend, as is the modus operandi of most corporate-style social media accounts. This was something singular, something dense, something that required further attention and thought.
Bill Self. Did Bill Self just… uhhh…
Did Bill Self just do that?
Bill Self saunters into a record store—Lawrence’s Love Garden, in fact, a location I know well. The clip, which features the whining synth that could only be from “Ain’t Nothing But a G Thang,” is portrayed in black-and-white, which is not something that happens in the “G Thang” music video. There’s a lot to unpack, at first glance. But Self’s body language cuts through the noise.
Back to the saunter. It’s an exaggerated saunter. Those shoulders look heavy; I can feel them push air back and forth. He’s swinging through the Love Garden like few ever have, and that would include former Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock (who worked there at one point) or one of the guys from Ghosty. He’s on a mission, a journey onto which we can project everything: our season’s hopes, our children’s future, our souls. There’s no room for a value judgment, at least yet: we now mark our time with the video’s release, everything before, and everything after. The Bill Self Late Night teaser clip just is.
The next few points are obvious, but need to be noted for posterity and Streak Talk bookkeeping purposes. Despite being in the cross-hairs of the NCAA for dealing that may-or-may-not have involved Adidas runner TJ Gassnola, that’s a crisp white Adidas basketball t-shirt. No Kansas logo is in sight, despite the historical abundance of Adidas gear within the walls of Allen Fieldhouse—this is a plain Adidas shirt, a billboard for Self’s message. Adidas Basketball. The chain, which is a garnish to the sky-high levels of DGAF present here, is a dollar sign chain, because the allegations involve money. This is the most brazen sports strut in recent memory.
Self makes way to the rap aisle at Love Garden—it just so happens that two of the ten total rap CDs at the Love Garden are Snoop Dogg CDs. He grabs them contentedly, before slowly building toward a climactic wink. Oddly, for a video who’s entire point is its metaphorical wink, the wink itself is poorly executed—it’s possible that Self is just bad at winking, and maybe they could have cleaned that up in post. But the actual wink is beside the point, since we’ve seen about 15 unfiltered seconds of pure metaphorical wink at this point.
In the period since this video dropped, I’ve fielded all sorts of reactions, from astonished to jubilant to scolding. I can see it from all sides; this is a multifaceted clip, open to dozens of interpretations. Is any one interpretation the right one?
Is it a direct shot at the NCAA? Yes. Could it hurt him in a court setting? I don’t know. As a KU fan, am I so geeked out of my mind that finding a stream to Friday’s opening practice is a necessity for living my life in these troubled times? Yes.
I have a feeling we’ll come back to this later. Stick a pin in this. The saunter is forever.
Also of note from this week: Ochai in the lottery?!!