See what the Shape Shift Report team dug up this month!




MJ never got to play a game in flip-flops. 

The NBA is a curious thing, because it is at once exceptionally brilliant, but also weighed down by rules that make things petty and crap and sad. Like: these people spend every day, day after day, for decades, doing exactly one thing, and that thing is ’throwing a ball about.’ That's it.


And they get paid, just, so much money to do this. Millions. Tens of millions. More millions than you’ll ever make. Sounds great, yeah? Sure, yes. But then players get fined, like, hundreds of thousands of dollars for wearing the wrong color of shoes.


Imagine losing that much money over something so small. Imagine how frustrating that would be. Imagine, for a moment, your life as a professional basketball player. How embarrassed would you be to grab a beer with the lads who all have real jobs and you tell them that?

"What's you get up to today, mate?" "Wore a very tough tank-top and chucked a ball into a hoop all day, what about you?" "Yeah I... I actually have a desk job." "Sorry that deal you mentioned last week ended up falling through. How much did you lose? Anyway, I had to pay a 150k fine because my signature shoes don't match my team's away uniform."  NO. The National Basketball League’s front office is out of control. 


Speaking of basketball and shoes and fines: the NBA is removing all footwear restrictions for the upcoming season. Players can wear whatever they want, every night, now. Yeezys? Allowed. Off-White CST-001s? Sure. Unlaced Timbs? Why the hell not. 


A nice rule change, this. Just you zipping around the court, euro stepping to the basket, double-clutch fadeaways from the corner, dropping a triple-double in a pair of  those blue snakeskin Palace loafers. Wake up, James. You live in Silver Lake and have to be on the westside in twelve minutes. 


Read more here.


— James Royce, Studio Manager + Writer at Matte Black

Photo courtesy of  GQ

Photo courtesy of GQ

Photo courtesy of WNBA

Photo courtesy of WNBA




Jesus saves, so he can afford an international MUNDIAL subscription.


A few weeks ago, I went to a bar in my dad’s old Adidas pullover (actually from the 90s) and a book bag, looking for all the world like I actually enjoyed listening to The New Yorker Radio Hour. I wedged into a spot at the bar and whipped out the most recent MUNDIAL magazine. What’s MUNDIAL? Well it’s a quarterly football lifestyle magazine that loads of hip English people really seem to like. It’s got a bit of everything: fans, kits, photography, boots, nostalgia, illustrations, “pub reviews,” and heaps of amazing words. Entertaining words. Some of the best words being circulated about right now. Seriously, the quality of writing in MUNDIAL is amazing. So good I've now managed to mention it one three consecutive times. The photography and creative certainly ain't awful, either. So, even if football or soccer or joga bonito or whatever you want to call it isn’t really your thing, it's hard to be bored thumbing through an issue of MUNDIAL.


Anyway, I whipped that out and was immediately embraced by a group of nearby bar jocks. You know the ones. Always at the bar with all their mates. Watching baseball or something. Shots, beer, shots, beer, pitcher, pitcher, shot. Someone drops their glass and they all shout “Wahey!”  What I am saying is: an aggressive bunch. And for some reason they decided to tack me onto their rounds, because they saw the magazine and wanted to talk soccer. That then moved carefully into my territory to slowly have me explain to them what makes a good magazine a good magazine and why MUNDIAL stands out from the rest. They admitted that they loved to read and enjoyed owning nice magazines that their girlfriends could spread about a coffee table. They told me watching the World Cup was one of the best experiences they'd had all summer. They also ordered me a lot of free drinks so I didn’t go anywhere. We spoke in a way that two alien social groups do when there's no aggression or friction, just a quiet seeking of some common ground. At the end of the night I left with a promise they’d pick up a copy of the mag. MUNDIAL, if you’re reading this, I demand: some sort of commission. Or at least a free copy of the new issue that comes out here in two weeks that has that snappy photo of Arsenal superstar Héctor Bellerín rocking a track suit and sport coat pasted on the cover. What an outfit. What a shot. What a magazine.


Read more here


— James Royce again, Studio Manager + Writer at Matte Black

(A legendary contributor for this issue - bless you, dear James).

Photo courtesy of Mundial

Photo courtesy of Mundial

Photo courtesy of MUNDIAL

Photo courtesy of MUNDIAL




Something happens when we lose a legend. 


When I heard of Aretha Franklin's passing, it felt as if the air around me stood still. And, in it's place, a flood of memories began to fill the space. Days sitting in the living room, Aretha's voice singing in the background. Family barbecues, Aretha's voice fueling the grass path that served as a dance floor. Afternoons spent prepping for family dinners - Aretha's voice filling up the space that the sounds of pots and pans didn't occupy. 


Aretha Franklin's voice moves these seemingly small memories of mine more than ever, which is why Hanif's article stands out from the rest of it's kind. This line in particular hits home - "... Aretha Franklin, who had a voice which could raise bodies in a church, or a bar, or an otherwise silent corner where two people sat, falling into or out of love. Aretha could provide it all, for any moment you could dream up and even the ones you couldn’t." 


Aretha's ability to tap into these moments, to articulate these emotions with her voice, lives on through her records. And her voice will continue to be the soundtrack of many memories to come. 


Read more here


— Aria Davis, Integrated Marketing Manager at Matte Black

Photo courtesy of  E!

Photo courtesy of E!