“WE THE NORTH”! Toronto Raptors Win their First NBA Championship
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Jane Tyska
Oakland: It’s the final game at Oracle Arena in California and the Golden State Warriors were trying to find a way to stop the Toronto Raptors. With Kevin Durant going down in game 5 in Toronto, Coach Steve Kerr was trying to find the right line up to slow his opponent down. The Warriors fell agonizingly short in their 114-110 loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on Thursday.
After winning three NBA championships in the previous four years, they were denied their fourth on their home court. Fans roared at Oracle, but it wasn’t enough to make up for an injured Kevin Durant and the loss of Klay Thompson to a torn ACL in the third quarter after he scored 30 points. Andrew Iguodala scored 22 points, Stephen Curry scored 21, DeMarcus Cousins brought 12 points and five rebounds off the bench, and Draymond Green had a triple double, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the momentum of the Raptors, who honed in on their prey in the last minutes of the game. “It’s hard to put into words how I feel about our team,” Coach Steve Kerr said. “I’ve been lucky to be their coach, and that’s what I told them in the locker room.” As fans trickled out of the arena for the last time after 47 seasons, it was the end of an era in Oakland.
Meanwhile it was Draymond Green that flew to New York this past weekend to visit teammate Kevin Durant, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon last week in the NBA Finals. Green’s main reason for dropping in on his teammate is to simply check on his well-being in person and he “was not in recruiting mode.”
Durant, who is expected to opt out of the $31 million option year with the Warriors in two weeks, will miss all of next season after surgery on Wednesday to repair his ruptured right Achilles tendon he suffered in Game 5. Speculation is that the Knicks, Clippers and Nets may be the Warriors’ most serious competitors for Durant’s services when free agency begins on Sunday, June 30. More clarity will emerge during the draft and when free agency begins for now, Warriors fans are unanimously wondering where the Warriors go from here.
KD might have a likely season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon. Klay might be out through the first half of next season with an ACL injury to his left knee. The Warriors have not changed their interest in giving both KD and Klay max money. The reason? Well, KD and Klay are great players, obviously. There’s zero value in hoping either player accepts a pay cut since the Warriors have enough cash flow to absorb luxury tax penalties. It’s scary to think if that is all the Warriors do. But they won’t. Add in Steph and Draymond obviously. They will have a No. 28 pick. They will use a taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.3 million (my money is on Rudy Gay or Brook Lopez). There’s some decent guys who could be available on veteran’s minimum deals, including Malcolm Brogdon, Elfrid Payton or Reggie Bullock. Next time we will take a look at the Toronto Raptors and talk about the Lakers move to pick up Anthony Davis from the Pelicans.
Wings fall to the Minnesota Lynx
in home opener 70-57
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Dallas: Damiris Dantas scored 20 points, Sylvia Fowles added 19 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double this season and the Lynx beat the Dallas Wings 70-67 on Saturday night to improve to 3-0. They are the last team in the league to still possess a perfect record. The Lynx haven’t allowed their first three opponents to shoot better than 40% and have held them to 10-for-61 on three-pointers. Dallas shot 37.5% from the floor, improving the Lynx’s record to 108-3 when they hold an opponent to 40% shooting or worse.
Dallas (0-2) finished 5-for-21 behind the line, making four in the second half to make it close after falling behind 41-27 at the break. Dantas’ 20-point night was her best offensive output since she scored a career-high 22 points on June 13, 2017, and the three steals she recorded tied her career high, which was last accomplished on Sept. 11, 2015.
The victory extends the Lynx’s winning streak in the series to 12, dating to an 86-78 home loss on June 21, 2015, when the franchise was based in Tulsa. Minnesota is 32-2 in the past 34 meetings, which includes a 17-game winning streak. Kayla Thornton led Dallas with 12 points. Meanwhile much of the hype was built around the fans seeing star rookie guard Arike Ogunbowale in action for the first time. Even her brother, Buccaneers running back Dare Ogunbowale was sitting courtside to watch his sister’s first game in front of the crowd at College Park Center. Ogunbowale started her home debut with a drive and layup off the glass for her first of what should be many points in that building.
She led the Wings with nine first-half points and finished with 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting, making her the only starter to score in double figures. “The energy was great,” Ogunbowale said. “It’s a team game, so I’m not really critiquing myself yet, but overall I think we played well, just came up short.”Late in the fourth quarter when the Wings needed a basket, one of the most clutch shooters from women’s college basketball last season in Ogunbowale was on the bench. That bench lineup consisted mostly of Azura Stevens, Allisha Gray, Brooke McCarty-Williams, Kayla Thornton and Theresa Plaisance. That lineup outscored the Lynx bench 39-6 and cut what was once a 17-point lead by the Lynx down to two early in the fourth quarter. Stevens, in her first game back from a concussion, spearheaded the charge with 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in just over 26 minutes. “I finally got my groove back,” Stevens said. “We were just playing with a lot of effort. That was really the only big difference. We were just fighting, showing a lot of heart.” The Wings will now travel to Indiana to face the Fever on Friday evening and in Washington D.C. against the Mystics. The next home game will be on June 13th vs the Indiana Fever at College Park in Arlington.
The 2nd Annual Ethel Ransom Scholarship
By Cedric Bailey
Arlington: The 2nd Annual Ethel Ransom Scholarship golf tournament was held on this past Monday from the Shady Valley Golf Course in Arlington. This year’s tournament had a total of 66 participants of golfers from within the Metroplex that competed for various prizes. We spoke with the President Ms. Audrey Irving about the tournament that was in honor of Fort Worth Attorney Bobbie Edmonds and Retired Judge L. Clifford Davis who served as honorary chairs for the tournament.
The Ethel Ransom Humanitarian and Cultural Club of Fort Worth was established in 1933, the organization’s mission is to promote education, literacy and interracial understanding while raising the standard of the home by advancing the social, economic, moral, civic and religious welfare of the family. For several years now, the organization has promoted education by providing scholarships to deserving students in the underserved communities of Fort Worth. Their goal is to make a greater impact in the community with the success of the tournament.
According to Irving, the format for the tournament was a 4-person scramble (best ball). Awards will be presented during the luncheon for first through third place finishes, as well as for longest drive and closest to the pin competitions for men and women. There were also additional awards that were presented to first place ladies and co-ed teams.
In closing, Irving goal is to have at least 100 participants for the 2020 season. Last year’s event was held at the Woodhaven Country Club in Fort Worth. She considers it an honor for African American Men Women to travel thru out the DFW and play golf and raise money for scholarship to send students to college. To register your company or team, go to www.ethelransomclub.org and click on the Golf Tournament link. If you have any questions, please contact La’Wonda Peoples at 817-689-4344 or Audrey Irving at (817) 909-8702.
Rangers Hold off the Seattle Mariners with a 10-9 win
By Cedric Bailey
Arlington: The Texas Rangers returned home to Globe Life Park in Arlington to win the series against the St. Louis Cardinal thank to extra inning 5 to 4 win on Sunday afternoon, The Rangers are at home against their division rivals the Seattle Mariners. Now for the Mariners the trouble started from the first pitch of the game for Mariners starter Mike Leake, which Shin too-Choo lined into left field for a single. The ball skipped past Domingo Santana for the Mariners’ 54th error, allowing Choo to advance to second. The next pitch from Leake was lined into right field by Danny Santana, allowing Choo to score from second. Two pitches, two hits, one error and a 1-0 lead for the Rangers. With two outs, Leake walked massive slugger Joey Gallo and served up a three-run homer to Rougned Odor that smacked off the back wall of the upper deck in right field. Like the others, Odor jumped on the first pitch he saw from Leake Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a solo homer to right-center that made it 5-0. Leake did eventually slow down the Rangers’ bats. He worked the next two innings scoreless, despite base runners in both innings. But it didn’t last.
Cabrera led off the fourth inning with his second solo homer of the game, a fly ball over the wall in right-center, to make it 6-0 and Choo doubled home Ronald Guzman in the inning to make it 7-0. Leake finished the night with six innings, seven runs allowed on 11 hits with a walk and four strikeouts. In the sixth inning with the Mariners trailing 7-0, Mitch Haniger led off with a single. Edwin Encarnacion doubled to left-center to move Haniger to third. Ryon Healy scored Haniger with a one-out sac fly to center. The Mariners picked up another run on Tim Beckham’s soft infield single to cut the lead to 7-2.
But the moderately narrowed gap in Texas’ lead was replenished against the Mariners’ patchwork bullpen. Hunter Pence hammered a two-run homer off Ryan Garton in the seventh, and his replacement Parker Markel gave up a solo homer to Joey Gallo to make it 10-2. Those two homers proved costly considering the late rally by the Mariners in the eighth and ninth. The Rangers led, 10-2, after seven innings, but had to hold off a late comeback attempt by the Mariners for their fifth win in their last six games.
This is the sixth time in club history that the Rangers hit back-to-back home runs twice in one game. The last time was Aug. 7, 2009, against the Angels from the combinations of Josh Hamilton/Hank Blalock and Omar Vizquel/Michael Young. This also marked the ninth time Cabrera has hit two home runs in a game in his career and he has nine in 22 home games this season. He has not hit one on the road. It’s the third two-homer game by a Rangers player this season along with Nomar Mazara on April 24 against the A’s and Odor last Thursday against the Royals. The Rangers will be on the road in California to face the Angels for three game and start another 3 game series vs the Seattle Mariners on next week.
Texas Rangers close out the series with a Win over the Pittsburgh Pirates
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Gene Puskar
Pittsburgh- The Texas Rangers finally defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 on Wednesday. The Pirates, without starting pitchers Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon, forced reliever Nick Kingham into a starting role. Kingham pitched four innings and gave up two runs on three walks and three hits. Kingham had five strikeouts and threw 78 pitches, 50 of which came in the first two frames.
Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo hit his 12th home run of the season and 100th of his career off Kingham in the third, a two-run shot that drove in Elvis Andrus. Josh Bell's mammoth home run in the fourth tied the game. The ball traveled 472 feet and was the fourth homer to hit the Allegheny River on the fly in PNC Park history. Bell's blast was the fifth-longest home run in the ballpark's history and Bell's ninth of 2019. First baseman Josh Bell celebrates after hitting a two-run homer into the Allegheny River on the fly against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday at PNC Park. The home run extended Bell's hitting streak to eight games. He entered the game 10-for-29 with seven RBIs, five doubles, and two homers in the seven games before Wednesday.
Gregory Polanco drove in Starling Marte and Adam Frazier to give the Pirates a two-run lead in the fifth inning. Colin Moran hit a pinch-hit home run in the sixth to make the score 6-2. Moran pinch-hit for Jung Ho Kang, who hasn't had a hit in his last 20 at-bats. Six runs is an offensive explosion by Pirates standards. It wouldn't be enough. Richard Rodriguez pitched two innings in the fifth and sixth and Francisco Liriano pitched a scoreless seventh.
But Hunter Pence hit a grand slam off Michael Feliz to tie the score in the eighth. Maybe if Keone Kela were available, he would've pitched in that situation. Or if Kingham could've been more efficient, maybe each of the pitchers gets pushed back an inning. Maybe Pirates manager Clint Hurdle could've used Kyle Crick or Felipe Vazquez when Feliz got in trouble, but Crick had pitched a lot in the previous week and Hurdle could've only been able to use Vazquez for one inning. Tyler Lyons then gave up three runs in the ninth to give the Rangers the 9-6 win to salvage the series split.
The Rangers will continue it’s road trip with a 4 games series against the Houston Astros and three game in Kansas City vs the Royals.
Next Stop…….Basketball Immortality!
The Hall of Fame
By Dave Michaels (NTSN), Photo Courtesy of LA Times.com
Number 41 in your programs, number 1 in your hearts, the best of the best—the 14 Time All Star, the League MVP, and a World Champion! The ONE the ONLY, Dirk Nowitzki! Twenty one years in one uniform, 21 years playing for the same team, and 21 years of bringing a brand of basketball to a league, to a city that everyone can appreciate, and not once could you say anything wrong about his ability!
Yes, the sun rose on a Thursday morning in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas and for the first time in 21 years, there will no more Dirk Nowitzki hitting a fade away jumper from 15 feet out of the rim and letting fall between the twine of the net of the basket. It is not the first time in the history of Dallas/Ft. Worth sports, that a “hero” had to step down from his playing days, and call it a career. Though rare that it is that you get to have that one player in your city for his entire career, and for that matter 21 years, give or take a few years.
Lets look at the others that have graced the front page of the Sports sections in this sports town. Troy Aikman—10 years with the Dallas Cowboys, played his entire career in the same uniform, and retired with THREE Super Bowl Rings, Hall of Fame induction, Cowboy Ring of Honor, and countless Cowboys records. Michael Irvin, 11 years as a Cowboy receiver. THREE Super Bowl Rings, Hall of Fame induction, Cowboy Ring of Honor and COUNTLESS records in the Cowboys record books. Emmitt Smith—oops didn’t finish his career in a Cowboy uniform, nope he was released then went to Arizona to play one year for the Cardinals. But not before setting a NEW NFL Rushing Record, leap frogging over Walter Payton, and—YES, THREE SUPER BOWL RINGS—Hall of Fame induction, Cowboys Ring of Honor, and oh yeah that little thing known as a records.
Those are just a handful of the Cowboy greats, throw in Roger Staubach, and his TWO Super Bowl Rings and Hall of Fame Induction and Cowboys Ring of Honor and we can just stay on this subject for the rest of article. What about Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, he played the majority of his career for the Texas Rangers, but won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins, and then bounced around to other teams, there is a patter that is about to follow, that not everyone one gets to start and finish with the same team- for a career. Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars, started in Minnesota with the North Stars then the team moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars, and he played until they released him and one last season with the Detroit Red Wings and then retirement. The Stars did indeed retire his #9 sweater—and he does have a Stanley Cup Championship and numerous All Star appearance and Olympics as well! Just to continue with this theme, prior to free agency, players were the property of the teams and their owners, they would start and end their playing careers with the same team unless they were traded to another team.
Look at Babe Ruth, started out with the Boston Red Sox, until the owner needed capitol to get a play on Broadway that, pretty much, FLOPPED. But none the less the New York Yankees paid to bring the Bambino to the Bronx and that is where he led them to championship after championship. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, all wore the pinstripes throughout their careers, but other guys like Billy Martin who, after a few altercations, was placed on the trading block and sent to Kansas City, (the Team owns you to do as they please, not getting the best offer from a team when your contract is up). The few players that were able to start and end their careers with the same team, during the age of free agency, Cal Ripken Jr. comes to mind, who played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, and broke the Iron Man’s record for consecutive games played. Twenty years with the same team and played in 2632 games. Now that is a record that I doubt anyone will ever break, but then again, we said the same thing about home runs, and track records, that have fallen, all because, as the adage goes, “Records are made to be broken”.
Dirk Nowitzki, will be forever entrenched in the lore of the Dallas Mavericks, there were others that came into the Maverick fold, Brad Davis, Rolondo Blackman, Steve Nash, Jet Terry, and a host of others. But NO ONE will ever wear the number 41 ever again, and no one will touch what he has done for this team, for this city, or this community, and for his fans!
When the NBA season starts for 2019-20, it will be without Dirk as well as another star Dwayne Wade, who also retried this season, and the landscape will be in the hands of the other youngsters that will make their mark in the NBA.
Luka Doncic, has started his legend this year, as the rookie phenom, and the Wunderkind, to take the place of the Big German, as Nowitzki has come to be known over the years. There will be others, you can rest assure of that.
Come the dawn of a new season in six months or so, it will be a new roster and a new caliber of player to wear the uniform of the Mavericks and with that, hope will once again be on the side of the fans and maybe there will be a shimmering of hope that another NBA Title looms on the horizon. Though when you think about it, it has been a lot of retirements happening since last summer, with the Rangers announcing the retirement of Adrian Beltre, and soon his number will be retired at the Ball Park, and to think they won’t even wait for several years to pass before they do that. Makes you wonder, how soon will Mark Cuban do that for Dirk, and retire 41 before he goes into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Thanks for all that you have done Dirk, for the Mavericks, the City of Dallas, and for the Community you have adopted as your home after coming over from Germany! Danke Shoen! Mein Herr! Just a thought!
Baylor Bears win their Third Women’s NCAA Championship
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chris O’Meara
TAMPA, Fla. -- Everything about the first 29 minutes of the NCAA women's championship game said Baylor was going to win. The Lady Bears dominated in the paint, with their guards, in transition, making Notre Dame look a step slow and totally out of sync. With 1:22 left in the third quarter, Lauren Cox fell to the court, clutching her left knee. Her teammates looked on, stunned. The arena fell silent. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey went to check on Cox. She vowed the Bears would win the game for Cox. Meanwhile, assistant coach Bill Brock huddled the players together.
"He said, 'Guys this is basketball. It happens, but we're Baylor. And we're here in this moment right now. Let's go finish this game, let's go win this ball game,'" Moon Ursin said. "We just wanted to get it done for her."
The final outcome was a win for the Lady Bears' 82-81 win over Notre Dame on Sunday night was as much about Cox as it was about how Baylor reacted, and how a grad transfer point guard kept a promise she made to all her teammates and became the Women's Final Four's most outstanding player.
Notre Dame, a second-half team throughout the tournament, looked emboldened and far more aggressive. The Fighting Irish went on a 13-5 run with eight points from Arike Ogunbowale to close the gap to three early in the fourth quarter. Then, Notre Dame's Marina Mabrey got going from the 3-point line, hitting three straight to help tie the game at 74 with 5:18 to play. Two minutes later, Notre Dame had its first lead since the 8:20 mark of the first quarter. After trading buckets and free throws, Jackson hit a jumper with 33.8 seconds left to put Baylor ahead. But Jessica Shepard was fouled and hit both her free throws, tying the game at 80. The game came down to the play of Chloe Jackson driving layup with 3.9 seconds remaining Sunday put Baylor ahead 82-80.
"I've never felt so valuable. That screen was something serious!" Richards said. But there was no time to celebrate. Not surprisingly, Ogunbowale got the ball on the other end. The star of last year's Final Four has become such a clutch player in the fourth quarter, it almost felt like a given she would make something happen. She drew a foul and went to the line with 1.9 seconds remaining. Ogunbowale is an 80 percent free throw shooter. She lives for pressure situations. As she stepped to the line, Jackson prayed, "Just let her miss one." The first one missed. She tried to miss the second one, but it went in. Baylor successfully inbounded the ball, denying the Irish a chance to repeat as champions.
As the final buzzer sounded, Kalani Brown embraced Cox on the bench. The two post players have formed the backbone of Baylor's team, and the motto "Together to Tampa" was largely inspired to try to get Brown the championship in her senior season. As Baylor set up the ladder to begin cutting down the net in celebration, Cox's mother, Brenda, stood nearby: "I'm so happy for this team. All year long they've worked together and they deserve this. I feel sad for Lauren, but she'll be back. She's a fighter. She'll be back."
Cox was the first player up the ladder, taking one tentative step after the next. "For us to win probably was a miracle in itself when you lose a player of that caliber," Mulkey said. "But from the time I left her on that floor to get to that huddle, I needed to regroup. I needed to make them understand, 'We're going to still win this basketball game.'"
The 34th Annual Stellar Awards from Las Vegas
By Cedric Bailey
Las Vegas: The 34th Annual Stellar Award recorded on Friday, March 29 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The biggest night in gospel music, hosted by Kirk Franklin, will premiere on BET Network on Easter Sunday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT. The stand-out highlight of the evening was an emotional tribute performance by Kelly Price, Erica Campbell and Regina Belle honoring the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Family members of the late-legend Brenda Corbett, Jordan Franklin and Kecalf Franklin were presented with the inaugural Aretha Franklin ICON Award to give posthumous recognition of her profound impact on the Gospel music genre and unforgettable contributions. The night’s biggest winner of the annual show was performer Jonathan McReynolds, who swept the awards taking home eight Stellar Awards including AT&T Artist of the Year, State Farm Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year, Producer of the Year, Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year, Contemporary CD of the Year and Urban/Inspirational Performance of the Year. Jekalyn Carr received three awards for Albertina Walker Female Vocalist of the Year, Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year and Traditional CD of the Year. The Walls Group were awarded twice as Duo/Chorus Group of the Year and Contemporary Duo/Chorus Group of the Year.
A special award presentation was also given to honor gospel legend Delores Washington Green of The Caravans with the Dr. Bobby Jones Legend Award. Gospel star Yolanda Adams and Stellar Awards Founder, Chairman & CEO Don Jackson inducted James Robinson Jr. (Malaco Gospel), Jackie Patillo (Gospel Music Association) and Phil Thornton (RCA Inspiration) into the Stellar Honors Hall of Fame. This year’s line-up of performances included an energetic opening number by Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin stirring the audience to their feet performing new music and a rousing medley by Phil Thompson, Kelontae Gavin and Maranda Curtis. Other performers included Brian Courtney Wilson, Koryn Hawthorne, Todd Dulaney, Charles Jenkins, Jekalyn Carr and emerging new artists Jabari Johnson, Will McMillian and more. The show will continue to air around the country in broadcast syndication from April 27 through May 26 (check local listings). For more information visit us at www.thestellarawards.com.
In closing I would like to say "Thank You" to all to gospel music fans that voted for the WFMI as the winner for the Large Market Radio station of the year.
Dirk Nowitzki Passes Wilt Chamberlain for the NBA #6 Scoring Spot
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Dallas: NBA fans packed the American Airlines Center on this past Monday evening to watch #41 make history. Dirk Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place on the NBA's career scoring list, but Elfrid Payton had his fifth straight triple-double to help the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Dallas Mavericks 129-125 in overtime Monday night.
Payton finished with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Dallas rookie Luka Doncic had a triple-double of his own with 29 points, 13 boards and 10 assists. Julius Randle scored 11 of his 30 points in the final 3:29 of regulation, helping the Pelicans rally to force overtime. Doncic made the second of two free throws with 1.9 seconds left to tie the score at 110, and Randle missed a turnaround at the buzzer. Payton and Frank Jackson each had six points in OT for the Pelicans, who ended a six-game losing streak.
Nowitzki moved past Chamberlain (31,419 points) on one of his signature long-range jumpers with 8:35 remaining in the first quarter. The 40-year-old German took a feed from Doncic and backed down Kenrich Williams before turning and launching from the top of the key.
Entering the game needing four points to pass Chamberlain, Nowitzki started for the ninth time this season. He made his first two shots to end the suspense with a sellout crowd on its feet. His first basket was a 20-footer off an assist from rookie Jalen Brunson. Nowitzki finished with eight points, giving him 31,424 in his 21 seasons -- trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. The two jumpers were a fitting way for Nowitzki to pass Chamberlain, whose listed height of 7-foot-1 is only an inch taller than Nowitzki. But the two reached their point totals with contrasting styles of play.
Chamberlain once averaged more than 50 points in a season, dominating inside to such a degree that the NBA widened the paint in an effort to neutralize him. Nowitzki, meanwhile, has made nearly 2,000 3-pointers in his career, establishing the trend of big men with long-range shooting capabilities. He's an 88 percent free throw shooter, 37 points higher than Chamberlain's mark.
Also serendipitous was Nowitzki reaching the milestone at home -- he is the only NBA player to spend 21 seasons with one team. The club launched a new marketing campaign Monday called 41.21.1, commemorating his uniform number and his tenure with the team. It is anticipated that this will be his final season, though Nowitzki has only said publicly he will decide at the end of the year. Up next will be Portland on Wednesday on the road, Sacramento on Thursday at the AAC and Saturday vs the Golden State Warriors in Dallas.
Jet Relays this weekend in Fort Worth at Clark Stadium
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores
Fort Worth: The 2ND Annual Jet Relays Soul Festival will be held on March 9, 2019 at Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. This is the second year for this memorable event that will showcase the track & field talents of our local high schools, and HBCUs from across the nation. Activities will kick off at 8:00am. Around 10,000 spectators are expected to attend in support of their favorite school's team as they participate in the relay races and to engage in an entire day of family-friendly festivities which will include a Car Show, Live Music Entertainment, Health & College Fairs and a variety of Vendors and Food Trucks.
Jet Relays Soul Festival was founded in February 2017 by Germain Trotter as the result of a desire to create a safe and positive environment to educate student athletes on manifesting their best abilities, healthy lifestyles, and competing at an elite level. From this desire, he partnered with Hallmark Track Club founder, Newton Braziel. Through this collaboration, Trotter’s vision to host an annual competitive track & field event became a reality. This event will also serve as a dynamic platform for coaches and scouts to see high school athletes preparing for their college athletic careers.
Tickets are now available and can be purchased online at www.jetrelays.com.
For additional information, contact Dr. Brendalyn Jackson at 817-812-8165.
NBA All-Star Weekend from Charlotte North Carolina
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Burton
Charlotte: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving back together for a night, after both left Cleveland, worked out just fine in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. Irving drove the lane in transition, and hit James with a no-look pass for an uncontested dunk and a late 10-point lead. That completed a Team LeBron comeback from as much as 20 points down for a 178-164 victory over Team Giannis at Spectrum Center.
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant won Most Valuable Player with a 31-point, seven-rebound performance for Team LeBron. Los Angeles Laker James, top vote-getter from Western Conference, finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. Irving, who now plays for the Boston Celtics, added 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Meanwhile this weekend in Charlotte has been a continuation of the reception Nowitzki has received in arenas throughout the NBA, with fans understanding that they might be seeing him for the last time.
"I've enjoyed the last few weeks," he said. "Here and there it's been emotional, and it's kind of tough to perform when fans are yelling, 'We want Dirk!' and I'm coming in the second half ice cold and they want me to score right away. That's a little hard at times, but it's been super emotional and an emotional and a wonderful ride that I'll never forget." After Sunday night's third quarter, players from both teams gathered on the court to honor Nowitzki and fellow "special roster addition" Dwyane Wade of Miami, who were given framed commemorative All-Star jerseys.
Behind Nowitzki's 14 All-Star appearances, the Maverick with the next-most is Rolando Blackman, with four, then Mark Aguirre with three. The only other Mavericks with multiple All-Star Game berths are Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Michael Finley. "I didn't know what to expect when I got here when I was 19, 20 years old," he said. "My first year was super hard, trying to get adjusted to the speed of the game, the athleticism, trying to get through the first year.
When Kidd returned to the Mavericks in 2008 at age 34 and helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title at age 38, Nowitzki was in his early 30s."He was late-30s getting massages pregame," Nowitzki said of Kidd, "and I was always rolling my eyes, like, 'Come on, old man, get going.' Now, however, the Mavericks have 25 games left - which might or might not be the last of Nowitzki's career. "We still want to make the push," he said. "We feel good about the young guys and the season. We want to finish strong and let's see if we can get hot here down the stretch."
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray Enters the 2019 NFL Draft
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by LM Otero
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Now that Kyler Murray has decided to play in the NFL instead of reporting to spring training as a first-round draft pick by baseball's Oakland Athletics, the questions can shift to the Heisman Trophy winner's height. The former Oklahoma star says everyone will get their answer at the NFL combine next week. And that was after Murray listed himself at 5-foot-10 Monday before accepting the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top college quarterback.
"I've been a 5-10 projected in the first (round), I mean, that's crazy to me, the fact that I'm already projected that high," Murray said. "I'm not over 6-foot. I haven't seen that since I've been alive." The 21-year-old who won three state championships and didn't lose a game as a high school quarterback in the Dallas area said football became a factor in his decision simply because he finally had a chance to play again.
After signing a contract for a $4.66 million signing bonus as the ninth overall pick in June by Oakland, Murray led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in his only season as the starter while posting the second-best passer efficiency rating in Bowl Subdivision history. Before throwing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and running for 1,001 yards and 12 scores, Murray's only extensive college experience was a rough freshman season at Texas A&M in 2015. After transferring to Oklahoma, he was the backup to 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield, the top pick in last year's draft.
Murray said he hasn't decided the specifics of his participation in the NFL combine, but Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley believes his time in the 40-yard dash could be an eye-opener. Murray said it's been "two, three years" since ran a 40, at 4.3 seconds. Meanwhile the 2019 NFL Draft will be the 84th annual meeting of National Football League (NFL) franchises to select newly eligible players. The draft will be held on April 25–27 in Nashville, Tennessee. The first round will be held on April 25, followed by the second and third rounds on April 26, and will conclude with rounds 4–7 on April 27. A record-high 111 eligible applicants announced their intention to enter the 2019 NFL Draft as underclassmen, which primarily included juniors and redshirt sophomores who forewent future years of college eligibility. In order to be eligible to enter the draft, players must be at least three years removed from high school. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft was January 14, 2019.
#ThatsaWrap! The Los Angeles Rams Run through the Cowboys 30-22
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Wally Skalij
Los Angeles: The Dallas Cowboys defense had a huge responsibility to stop the Rams running game. It was the combination of C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley that controlled the Rams running game of a 1-2 punch. On Saturday, Anderson and Gurley combined to rush for 238 yards and three touchdowns, Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals and the Rams controlled Ezekiel Elliott en route to a 30-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC divisional playoff game before more than 77,187 at the Coliseum.
The Rams are one victory from playing in the Super Bowl. They advanced to the NFC championship game and will play the winner of Sunday’s divisional-round game between the top-seeded New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Rams lost to the Saints and the Eagles during the regular season and were struggling in early December.
With Anderson filling in for Gurley, the Rams and Jared Goff bounced back with consecutive victories over the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers, earning a bye through the wild-card round of the playoffs and setting the stage for Saturday’s game. The Cowboys boasted the NFL’s fifth-best rushing defense during the season, and limited the Seattle Seahawks, the league’s top rushing team, to only 73 yards in a wild-card victory last week. Anderson rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries, and Gurley ran for 115 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries. The Rams outgained the Cowboys in total yards, 459-308.
The Rams’ defense entered Saturday’s NFC divisional-round playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys with one challenging goal — stop Ezekiel Elliott. The NFL’s rushing leader had run for more than 100 yards seven times during the regular season. In last week’s wild-card victory over the Seattle Seahawks he did it again. Elliott scored a touchdown but rushed for only 47 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per carry. The Cowboys converted only one of 10 third-down opportunities. It was a clutch effort by a Rams defense that during the season ranked 23rd in rushing defense, giving up 122.3 yards per game.
The Rams stopped Elliott on a key fourth-down play in the fourth quarter. They had three tackles for a loss, Suh pressured Dak Prescott with a pair of quarterback hurries and Dante Fowler added a hurry and recorded an eight-yard sack.
In closing Cowboys fans are wondering about the status of the teams future. Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has apparently already decided the fate of his coaching staff, including embattled offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Garrett said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan Monday morning that he expected Linehan and the entire staff to return.
“I do. We don’t anticipate any significant changes on our staff,” Garrett said. “Obviously, we’re still evaluating everything on our football team. We’re 36 hours after the ballgame but we’re going to keep trying to grow as a staff and as a football team. We’ll evaluate what we did and just keep trying to get better.” The entire staff will coach the NFC in the Pro Bowl for the third time in the last five years.
WNBA All-Star Weekend from Minnesota
By Cedric Bailey
Minneapolis— It was Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore that won her third straight All-Star MVP award to lead Team Parker past Team Delle Donne 119-112 in the WNBA All-Star Game. Moore scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists to win the MVP award on her home court.
"It's crazy, it really is, to just be fortunate enough to continue to be in positions to win, to be playing well, to be healthy," said Moore, who joined Lisa Leslie as the only three-time MVP of the game and became the all-time scoring leader in All-Star history, passing Tamika Catchings' mark of 108 points. Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky also scored 18 points and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings added 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists for Team Parker.
Team Delle Donne's Kristi Toliver of the Washington Mystics led all scorers with 23 points, including 7-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers. Rookie A'ja Wilson of the Los Vegas Aces added 18 points. Toliver made five 3s in the final 5 minutes of the game as Team Delle Donne came back from a 14-point deficit. But Moore drilled a 3-pointer of her own with 1:26 to play, pushing Team Parker's lead to six and all but sewing up the MVP award.
Eschewing the traditional East-vs.-West format for the first time, the league let Captains Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks chose up sides from a pool of the top players in All-Star voting. That allowed for the rosters to be heavily dominated (16 of the 22 players) by the Western Conference, home of six of the top seven teams in the league standings.
"How did we follow the 3-point contest?" asked Parker, who called it her personal highlight of the day. "We had some of the best shooters in the world competing. To have to make 21 to even get into the top two, to then have a shoot off, to then have Allie hit 29? ... That was awesome." Wings star Liz Cambage capped off the contest with a dunk, becoming the sixth different player to do it in the game. “I was going to pull up and take a 3, but Candace said I should dunk it so I did," said Cambage, a 6-foot-8 post who set a WNBA single-game scoring record earlier this year with 53 points. With talk of adding a skills contest to next year's festivities, Quigley playfully suggested Cambage push for a dunk contest, a suggestion that the gregarious Australian shut down instantly.
Big 12 Media Day 2018 with the TCU Horned Frogs
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Jordan Ray
Frisco: College Football Season will start on next month and the TCU Horned Frogs will open the season against the Southern University Jaguars at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. On Monday we had the opportunity to sit down and talk about the upcoming season. Now if you’re still wondering who TCU’s starting quarterback will be in 2018, Then it will be Shawn Robinson, even if TCU coach Gary Patterson is hesitant to declare his starter on July 16.
They have Robinson, who played in six games as a true freshman in 2017, including a start against Texas Tech in Lubbock. Even Patterson pointed out that it “was a hard place to play.” Obviously, he’s the guy that played the most games,” Patterson said at the Big 12 media days at The Star in Frisco. “He was able to win this last year. So obviously he’s proven himself, he probably has the edge.”
Transfer Mike Collins has impressed and will get a chance to play behind Robinson, and if Robinson falters early, Collins or Grayson Muehlstein could find themselves with a bigger role. But neither have thrown a pass before for TCU. They are Plan B for the Frogs. Justin Rogers, who is still recovering from knee surgery that wiped out most of his high school senior season, won’t likely be 100 percent until the final third of the season. He’ll probably get a good look during some games late, especially with the expanded redshirt rules that allow players to play in four games without losing their redshirt eligibility.
“Probably top-to-bottom, depth chart-wise [quarterback is] the best we’ve seen,” Patterson said. “But you’ve listened to me before, I don’t judge quarterbacks in practice or stats, anything else. I judge ‘em on Saturdays. Robinson is one of five TCU players attending today’s Big 12 media event, another sign that Patterson isn’t really hiding his intentions.
“We’re going to have a good skilled group around them and how do they grow up and become leaders and I think one of the biggest ways to become a leader is to come to this event and get a chance to see all of you and see, really, what’s out there, what you represent and the people that are going to be talking about you and what you do. So I thought it was a good thing.”
Be sure to listen to our interview with Coach Patterson on the BGC Sports Network online at 8am and 2pm at www.bgcsports.net
LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers
By Cedric Bailey
Cleveland: This past Saturday night it was Magic Johnson showing up at the home LeBron James at 9pm by himself. Let’s just say that Magic knew that if he could look James in the eye and talk to him, they’d connect. They had too much in common for that not to happen.
They talked about basketball and what the Lakers’ future could be, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly. James was already interested in the Lakers. He didn’t mind that the Lakers weren’t a ready-made championship team; he could help build that. They bonded as men who’d grown up in the Midwest, men who saw basketball as a doorway to the business world and a way to effect social change.
For more than two hours they shared their experiences, members of one of the tiniest and most elite fraternities. And now the Lakers have a superstar again. James chose the Lakers on Sunday evening, within the first 24 hours of NBA free agency. Instantly, the shine returned to the league’s glamour franchise. After five years of missing the playoffs, infighting, turmoil, bad contracts and snubs in free agency, the Lakers got the player whose opinion matters more than anyone else’s every four summers.
James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million, which he can sign as early as Friday; he can opt out after the third year, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly. His representatives let the Lakers know their decision minutes before releasing a one-sentence announcement on the Twitter account of Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James.
James’ decision changes the league’s balance of power and gives the Lakers front office led by Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka its long-anticipated offseason triumph. In James, they get a four-time NBA most valuable player who’s reached the NBA Finals for the past eight years, winning with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He was named MVP of all three championship series.
Now he’ll try to match Johnson and Kobe Bryant, both five-time NBA champions, as a member of the franchise they both elevated. Now, James comes to a Lakers team loaded with young players that won just 35 games last season, well below the organization’s level of historic excellence. Stay tuned for our next report on the latest moves from the NBA thru out the month of July.
Rangers Pitcher Bartolo Colon Make History with the
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by John Sleezer
Kansas City: There's a new all-time wins leader from the Dominican Republic: Bartolo Colon. Facing perhaps the AL's lightest-hitting team, Colon on Monday made his first quality start in June in the Rangers' 6-3 win over Kansas City and passed Juan Marichal for the all-time wins lead by Dominican natives. Colon now has 244. He trails Nicaragua's Dennis Martinez by one for the all-time lead in wins by a native of Latin America.
Colon, who has been homer prone lately, got the benefit of facing a Royals team with absolutely no power. Kansas City, which began the day tied for last in the AL with 60 homers, did not hit a home run against Colon. Since April 21, Colon has not allowed at least one home run in three starts; two of them are against the Royals.
Meanwhile the Rangers also got some additional good news as Elvis Andrus' return Monday to the Texas Rangers' lineup. And that's just fine with manager Jeff Banister, who has decided the best way forward is to keep getting his group of infielders as much playing time as possible. Andrus, who came off the disabled list and was in the starting lineup for Monday's victory over the Kansas City Royals, pushed Jurickson Profar into something of a no-man's land. On Monday, Profar started at second base, pushing Rougned Odor to the dugout.
But Odor is scheduled to be back in the lineup the next two days, and will see as much action as Profar, Banister said. Banister he met with his infielders before Monday's game and said the plan is to get all of the infielders, including Andrus and Adrian Beltre, at least five games a week. You can also add to the infielder mix rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has been tabbed as Robinson Chirinos' backup catcher after Jose Trevino was optioned back to Double A Frisco. Kiner-Falefa is scheduled to make his first major league start behind the plate on Wednesday.
Banister said Profar and Kiner-Falefa have earned a chance to remain everyday players. And Odor, he said, is trending in the right direction both defensively and at the plate. Odor is hitting .263 with seven walks in his past 22 games. Profar will split time between third, shortstop and second base by giving Beltre and Andrus days off their feet each week. "It's going to be really hard," Banister said of the juggling act. "I equate it to a basketball team trying to find enough touches for everybody."
The Rangers will return back to Globe Life Park on this weekend with 3 games vs the Twins, 3 games vs the San Diego Padres and close out the 4th of July weekend against the White Sox and Houston Astros.
Warriors Win another NBA Championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores
Cleveland: The NBA Season is now in the books because Act IV of the Warriors and Cavaliers is over. One could sense its inevitable conclusion after Game 3 when LeBron James spoke to the media in terms of resignation about his Cavaliers and their nemesis, the Warriors. In that press conference he broke down—player by player—why the Warriors are a better team than the Cavaliers
James’ Game 3 concession speech marked the end of the series, and Game 4 was just a formality. The Cavs gave it a sporting chance in the first half, though the Warriors were never threatened. By the third quarter the Warriors pulled away, and a prolonged, anticlimactic garbage time ensued. The Cavs threw in the towel very early, and while they sadly went through the motions on the court below, the public address system blared out a hollow “Let’s go Cavs!” track that morbidly cut through the stunned silence of the Q. All that the Cleveland fans had left them in them were a few boos. By the fourth quarter, there were cheers, but they were coming from the surprisingly sizable contingent of Warriors fans who made it to Cleveland. The Cavs went out with a zero and four whimper, and the Warriors, once again, bathed the visitors’ locker room in champagne.
Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, 2018 NBA Champions. They have won more games (265) than any team in history over a four year period. No team had even won 251 games in a four year period before that. In that span, they were 63-20 (a historic winning percentage of 76%) with a bloated +709 differential. The numbers confirm the dominance that we have witnessed since the 2015 season. The Warriors have surpassed their wildest expectations, and they are a dynasty. Only 5 other teams have won as many championships as the Warriors.
For the Warriors organization there was certainly an ecstatic joy that came with claiming the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the third time in four years. No longer will the number arrangement of 3 and 1 when referencing the Warriors and Cavs be anathema for the Warriors and their fans. That curse has been reversed. But with each additional crowning achievement comes a different response from the main actors of this drama, a fulfillment that is more layered and nuanced. For young players like Nick Young, Quinn Cook, and Jordan Bell, who reached the mountain top for the first time, the moment was emotionally overwhelming and intoxicating. But for the other players for whom this was their second or third Championship the response was a little more reserved and reflective. The players made it through a long, grueling season where they had to press harder to find motivation and where injuries and internal conflict set them back. Myers said to reporters that 2017 was the honeymoon, and the 2018 season was the marriage. For the vets, especially, this championship was the most rewarding for the simple fact that they had to dig deeper for it. Steve Kerr had to be the parent, so to speak, and the players, especially Shaun Livingston and Steph Curry, expressed a deep appreciation for how he handled the internal adversity. There was a look of deep, wisdom-filled satisfaction on Kerr’s face throughout the celebration after the game. Relief, vindication and gratitude rolled into one. One could see on his face that he had been through a grueling campaign, and the war was finally over. In the end, the players celebrated the fact that they held strong and kept together, defeating the internal demons that stir trouble in men’s souls. There was a deep appreciation for one another, for their coach, and for their on-floor leader, Steph Curry. Though Kevin Durant had an MVP level series, it felt as though it would be Curry’s turn. But the voters had other ideas. And if you look at the numbers, they were probably right: Kevin Durant’s Finals Averages: 28.8 points 10.8 rebounds 7.5 assists, Steph Curry’s Final Averages: 27.5 pts, 6.8 ast, 6.0 reb enough said.
Dallas Wings End the Seattle Storms Winning Streak
Story by Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Arlington— Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 27 points and Center Liz Cambage added 25 to help Dallas hold off Seattle 94-90 on Saturday night. The Wings rebounded from a tough loss to New York to end a three-game road trip by cooling off the Storm, which had won five straight. Cambage built on a 28-point, 16-board outing against the Liberty by grabbing seven boards and hitting 10 of 15 from the free-throw line.
The Wings (3-3) held the Storm’s Jewell Loyd to just 16 points, ending her string of scoring 20 or more points in five consecutive games. She was just 5 of 17 from the field, including 1 for 8 from behind the three-point line.The Storm set a WNBA record with 17 three-point field goals in its previous game. But against Dallas, Seattle shot just 6 for 23 from behind the arch.
Loyd’s two free throws with 3:22 left got Seattle within 81-80 after the Storm (5-2) trailed by 17 at the half. Cambage then scored the next seven points, including going 5 for 5 from the foul line to give the Wings a cushion. Seattle wouldn’t go away though, getting within 92-90 with 2.2 seconds left after Breanna Stewart banked in a runner. Diggins-Smith sealed the win with two free throws.
Stewart paced Seattle with 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting and collected seven rebounds. Natasha Howard had 19 points and nine rebounds. Sue Bird sat out the game to rest and rookie point guard Jordin Canada got her first start. She had nine points, nine assists and a career-high five steals. The Storm was outrebounded 36-26 and gave up 34 points in the first quarter, the most allowed in any quarter this season.
The Dallas Wings have signed Australian center Cayla George, the team announced in a statement Sunday. Dallas waived center Breanna Lewis to make room. George played with the Phoenix Mercury in 2015 and 2017, averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game across 66 games. She was in camp with the Connecticut Sun this preseason but did not make the roster.
"Cayla brings a versatile game to our roster, with the ability to play multiple positions on the floor," Wings president and general manager Greg Bibb said the statement. "She is an outstanding rebounder and a player who has the ability to extend her shooting range well outside the paint. We are excited to add her to our team."
The Wings will now travel to Indiana on this Friday to face the Fever and back to Arlington on June 12 to play the Phoenix Mercury.
Grambling State University Graduation 2018
By Cedric Bailey
Grambling Louisiana: It was a beautiful Friday morning and it was Mother’s day weekend. The speaker of the commencement was Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. Marshall set the tone early by referring to her days as a cheerleader in California. She starting her speech with the GSU Cheer and sharing her college day’s as well. “‘Diversity’ is being invited to the party; ‘inclusion’ is being asked to dance.” Were the words that she wanted the students to remember as they walked across the stage.
Marshall, who The Network Journal recently named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business, has already had an impact on Grambling State students after recently hosting a student visit at the Mavericks headquarters in Dallas, TX. “Meeting Cynthia Marshall was definitely something I didn’t know I needed,” said Sara Renee Garner, sophomore in Grambling State’s Department of Mass Communication. “As a black woman in a male-dominated industry, she is like superwoman. Meeting her, I saw all of my dreams personified.”
There were several golden moments from the graduation such as the story of Mr. Robert Parham who deliver on a promise he made to himself and his mother more than 40 years ago. “I promised my mother years ago that I would finish my degree at GSU and it feels good that I was able to keep my promise,” Parham said. “I was inspired to push forward by my son who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics and has been working for the last eight years.” A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Parham is best known to most for his three decades of football achievement. In 1981 he was selected and played for the San Diego Chargers of The National Football League for two years and was a free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 1983 -1984.
As Grambling State University’s leading rusher from 1978-80, he amassed 2,700 yards over that span as GSU won three consecutive SWAC titles. He was three times named Black College All-American, three times named to the All-SWAC first team and in 1980; he was named Black College Player of the Year. He was also awarded the Jake Gaither Award and broke the rushing record of Paul “Tank” Younger having gained 3,448 yards.
“I am very excited to award Robert Parham his degree. As a young man growing up here in Grambling, I remember Mr. Parham being an outstanding football player for Coach Eddie Robinson,” explained Grambling State president Richard Gallot. “I truly admire his desire to complete his coursework and earn his degree. I hope his story of never giving up and finishing something he started, serves as motivation to others that it’s never too late to get your degree, “The currently retired and inductee from the 1976-1980 era said his advice to anyone returning to school would be, “to never, never, never, give up.”
In closing there was a total of 425 Candidates & 3 Doctorates Awarded, Jodeen Shillingford Scores Top Honor as GSU Valedictorian. Shillingford is originally from Wesley, Dominica, plus she is a Double-major student in Accounting and Computer Information Systems finishes with 3.92. During her time at Grambling State Shillingford volunteered with a number of organizations both on and off campus. Her volunteerism includes outreach through the National Association of Black Accountants; Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program; Louisiana CPA (LCPA) Student Chapter, Beta Gamma Sigma; Sigma Alpha Pi; and the International Students Organization.
The Class of 2018 Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame
Story by Dave Michaels, Photo courtesy of Cottonbowl.com
On Tuesday the 8th of May, 2018, the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association inducted 6 new members into the Hall of Fame, that was held at AT&T Stadium, which is the site for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, and those six members included two legendary coaches, and four players.
John Robinson former Head Coach of the University of Southern California, Houston Nutt, former Head Coach of both the University of Arkansas and Ole Miss, along with players such as Wallace Triplett from Penn State, the 1948 Classic against SMU, Quentin Coryatt from Texas A&M who was in the 1992 Classic against Florida State, The Oklahoma Sooner Roy Williams who was in the 2002 Classic against Arkansas, and the Heisman Trophy winner, Ricky Williams out of the University of Texas.
Each one of the inductees have a story, each one has a memory or two that they shared, but the common thread among all of them, was that, the Cotton Bowl Committee that welcomes the teams, treat them better than most other Bowls, that would include the Granddaddy of them all the Rose Bowl.
Speaking with the former USC Coach John Robins, he said that “they had the best week that I could have ever imagined. The Rose Bowl, (now don’t quote me on this) they don’t treat you that good. “ Robins went on to say that the friendships that were made then are still there today, and even though they have been friends for all these many years, Robins says, that no one has gotten older.
Houston Nutt, brought two teams to the Cotton Bowl, the Razorbacks of Arkansas when they took on the Oklahoma Sooners, only to lose 10-3, then brought his next team to the Classic, the Ole Miss Rebels who closed out the Ol Dame of the Cotton Bowl Stadium against Texas Tech, then opened up AT&T Stadium against Oklahoma State, we spoke to Coach Nutt, and asked him about the distinction of closing the old one and then opening the new stadium, he said that every time he thought about it he “got chills”. It brought back memories about the old stadium where he played and coached in games there, then to come to the new AT&T Stadium to bring in the new era of the Cotton Bowl Classic. Nutt goes on to say that the most important thing that he remembered doing for his team is that, he wanted to bring them into the building and let them practice, and in doing so, be in awe of that 60 yard Video Screen that sits above the field. For his players to get it out of their system that they are on the big screen and can see every pore of their face, just to get all of that out of their system before they had to take the field against the OSU Cowboys.
Former Penn State running back Wallace Triplett, from the 1948 Classic, where the Nittany Lions took on the SMU Mustangs, only to lose to the Mustangs on that January day. The House that Doak Built belonged to the defense, as both teams scored only 13 points each to end that classic in a tie. Triplett didn’t make the trip to Arlington, Texas for the induction ceremony, but his daughter and grand daughter represented him, and represent they did well. Both women spoke of Triplett’s humbleness, and that even though he was the first African- Americans ball players to be drafted by the NFL, he was still struck, how the prejudice played around him outside of the world of sports. Triplett’s family said that he barely spoke of his time playing football, both for Penn State as well as for Detroit Lions, where he was picked in the 19th round of the 1949 Draft. Triplett has a room that is enshrined to him in a town just north of Detroit, that has his ol number 12, as well as his Army Uniform. Artifacts of a man who loved the game of football, but also knew that after his playing days were over, he needed to be a father and a husband to a family.
The big Linebacker out of Texas A&M, Quentin Coryatt, a man, who after his playing days has a hard time with talking to large crowds of people. You notice this when he is standing in a room, and he starts to have anxiety, there is nothing wrong with this condition, another famous football player had the same symptoms, and he became a recluse to a point, and was able to overcome this, his name is Earl Campbell. Coryatt, made his way for the ceremony, but not during the little one on one sessions with the media. Seeing him though, reminds you of his days when he played for the Indianapolis Colts and the one year for the Dallas Cowboys, considering his accolades of being named All Southwest Conference in 1991 for the Aggies, and a College All American that same year, being named to the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame was just a natural for him.
The Oklahoma Sooner, former Dallas Cowboy, and Cincinnati Bengal, Roy Williams, as he was being asked questions, the one that came up was his fondness memory of his appearance in the Classic, when he went up against Arkansas in 2002. Williams’ response was a little surprising, but then again not really. He spoke of the visit to the Children’s Hospital, and to the Shriners Hospital, seeing the kids, and brightening up their days, but more so, how the kids encouraged him and the players from both sides of the ball. Williams went on to say that the hospitality of the Cotton Bowl staff was “over the top”. Williams remarked about the gifts that were given the players, and being that he was a poor kid growing up, here is all of these gifts, and for the most part, he says he still has them, and when he sees them, reminds him of his time in the New Years Day Classic.
The other Williams that was inducted into the Hall of Fame was the Heisman Trophy Winner for 1998, the running back that broke Tony Dorsett’s College Career Rushing Record, and also finding a way during the season to pay homage to the man that claimed to have built the mystique of the Cotton Bowl, Doak Walker the Heisman Trophy Winner from SMU. Ricky Williams was a one of a kind football player. Recruited out of San Diego by head coach Mac Brown, the running back was a showcase player for the University of Texas during his playing days. Coach Brown talked Ricky into returning to the 40 Acres in Austin for his Senior year, and in doing so, solidified his foundation in the hearts of Longhorn Fans, and in the writers who voted for him to win not just the Heisman, but also the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Doak Walker Award, just to throw out some hardware for his efforts. Williams says that his Cotton Bowl experience was capped off, when he ran for a touchdown against Southern Mississippi on that January 1st 1999, cloudy, misty, cold day in Dallas. The touchdown, Ricky says, had to be something special, because he had planned to strike the “Heisman Pose” after he scored. It just so happened, that the run for that TD was a 37 yard scamper and as soon as he hit pay dirt, the pose was struck, the cameras all were there to catch it and make it a scene to remember. What made that run even more special, was the fact that it was 37 yards, and if you think about it, Thirty Seven yards. 37 is the number that Doak Walker wore in his football career at the Hill Top known as SMU. Williams’ jersey number 34 was retired by the University along with Earl Campbell’s number 20, the only two Heisman Trophy winners to represent the University of Texas.
The ceremony was hosted by the voice of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Brad Sham, His remarks about the class that was being inducted, of how remarkable each player and coach was to the Classic, and how each one of the inductees could have been a showcase all on their own, but in this particular class the six that went in, were a Class all of their Own.
Villanova Wildcats knocks off Michigan for the NCAA Men's Basketball
Championship in San Antonio
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Charles Fox
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Donte DiVincenzo had come to the rescue before for Villanova in the NCAA tournament, putting up 18 first-half points to get the Wildcats out of the doldrums in a second-round win over Alabama. DiVincenzo did it again on Monday night, and in doing so, carried the Cats to their second national championship in the last three years.
DiVincenzo scored 31 points, a career high and a record for most points by a non-starter in an NCAA tournament game, to propel Villanova to a 79-62 victory over Michigan at the Alamodome. The Wildcats, the No. 1 seed and East Region champs, finished the season with a team-record 36 victories against only four losses, winning their third national championship overall. They won all six NCAA games by double digits, by an average margin of more than 17 points. DiVincenzo shot 10 of 15 from the floor and 5 of 7 from three-point range in establishing a career high. He also was the last guy to dribble the ball for Villanova, heaving the basketball skyward at the buzzer.
Mikal Bridges added 19 points for the Wildcats. Jalen Brunson, who sat out 7 ½ minutes of the second half in foul trouble, managed just nine, but it didn’t matter. The Cats shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 47.4 percent for the game, while limiting the Wolverines (33-8) to 43.6 percent. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 23 points and Moe Wagner added 16.
DiVincenzo’s big first half carried Villanova out of a seven-point hole midway through the first half. He went 7 of 10 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range, sparking Villanova to a 37-28 lead. The rest of the team went 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 9 from three in the opening half while accounting for 19 points. The Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 18 early in the second half, with a three-pointer by Mikal Bridges giving them a 51-33 lead with 14:37 left to play. But Brunson went to the bench with 10:51 to play after picking up his fourth personal foul and Michigan showed some life, cutting the deficit to 56-44 on Charles Matthews’ layup with 9:08 remaining.
DiVincenzo, however, then stepped up and drilled back-to-back three-pointers 52 seconds apart to increase the margin back to 18, and later he hit both ends of a one-and-one. Bridges then took over with a pair of threes and two free throws to get the lead up to 22, 74-52, with 3:50 remaining. Brunson wound up sitting out for 7:30 and the Wildcats’ advantage went from 13 points to 20. The defense also kicked in after Michigan’s 8-of-12 start. The Wolverines connected on just three of their final 16 attempts in the half and experienced droughts of 5:12 and 3:33. Wagner scored 11 points in the first nine minutes, but he did not have a single point the rest of the period.
Dallas Wings Add Liz Cambage to Their 2018 Roster
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Arlington: The Dallas Wings are preparing for its season in the metroplex. According to the team President Mr. Greg Bibb they have been talking with Liz Cambage about returning to the WNBA. Meanwhile Cambage said yes and accepted the teams offer. It has been four seasons since Cambage last played in the WNBA. The Australian center played in her home country and in China in that time.
Wings Coach Fred Williams kept in regular contact after he became the franchise's head coach, asking how she was doing and when she was coming back. Former teammate Skylar Diggins-Smith stayed in touch via social media. Team president Greg Bibb pitched her on the team, the city, the opportunity.
On Monday, it all came to the team's vision came to fruition. Cambage was introduced as the newest member of the Wings during a press conference at the College Park Center, Bibb and Williams on either side or Diggins-Smith in the front row. For Cambage, physically and mentally she is finally ready to return to the WNBA. Cambage had been playing professional basketball since she was 18. In 2014, she tore her Achilles and faced a grueling recovery.
After winning bronze in Rio, she took a year-long hiatus. The only basketball game she watched in that time was when she visited Arlington last May as the Wings sold her on a return to the WNBA. So when she returned to Australia's WNBL for the 2017-18 season, she was refreshed. She led the league in points per game and was second in MVP voting.
"I found my love of basketball again," Cambage declared. "I can't wait to be back in the WNBA and with an amazing group of girls." It's a group that was severely lacking in size. When a reporter asked Williams if Cambage's height at 6-foot-8 would help the team, Diggins-Smith burst into knowing laughter.
Cambage will provide an anchor for the Wings defensively. Then on offense, she returns to the league with a refined offensive game that she did not possess even as she averaged 16.3 points per game in her final WNBA season in 2013
Dallas Mavericks Name Cynthia Marshall as its Interim CEO
By Cedric Bailey, Photo Courtesy of Dallas Mavericks
Dallas: The Dallas Mavericks have been the talk of the NBA sports world since the all-star break. There was a Sports Illustrated that about the organization in a negative way. The Mavericks hired Evan Krutoy and Anne Milgram to lead an independent investigation. Krutoy served as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney's office for over 20 years and served as Acting Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. Milgram is a professor at New York University School of Law, and a former New Jersey attorney general. The NBA has said it will closely monitor the investigation.
Meanwhile on this past Monday team owner Mark Cuban introduced Cynthia Marshall, as the interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of a scathing article exposing the basketball organization’s culture of sexual harassment against women, is about to give a whole new meaning to the idea of March Madness.
Meeting with the Mavericks for the first time this morning, she laid out a plan for the next month. It includes completing the internal investigation already launched by Cuban; personally meeting with each of the organization’s 141 employees; and formalizing a detailed process for transforming the organization’s dysfunctional culture and refining its operational effectiveness, with an emphasis on all systems and policies related to reporting and addressing employee complaints.
All eyes will now be on Marshall, as she attempts to manage both the fallout and rebuilding of this beleaguered NBA franchise. Once the first African American cheerleader at UC Berkeley, the telecommunications veteran is now the NBA’s first woman CEO.
“Changing industries can be difficult under normal circumstances, but there will be a lot of people rooting for her and available to assist with the transition,” says Kathleen Frances, chair and president of Women in Sports and Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports. “It is a positive step to bring in someone with her experience and credentials. Adding women to the executive suite is always a good investment. That, coupled with the full support of ownership, will be critical to her success.”
Now let talk about Ms. Marshall who was named as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America by BE in 2015, Marshall is a quick thinker, straight talker, and highly respected leader who was senior vice president, Human Resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T before she retired in 2017 to launch her own consulting firm.
With more than 30 years of telecommunications experience, in addition to HR, she has held positions in operations, network engineering and planning, and regulatory/external affairs. Admittedly, however, Marshall says she has never experienced sexual harassment herself. “From the minute I walked into AT&T in 1981, when it was just ‘the phone company,’ safety was critical to the culture,” Marshall recalls. “It took precedence over all else. We need that same kind of mindset everywhere in corporate America. Some think it’s just the nature of work, the nature of companies, for members of certain groups to be harassed and made to feel uncomfortable or compromised in some way. No! It is not. In almost 36 years of work, I never felt I was being sexually harassed. That is how I know it is possible.”
Many people have responded with various comments such as Cynthia will be a fabulous interim CEO. We loved her at AT&T and I'm sure you will love her at the Mavs!
Former Dallas Mavs Derek Harper “Finally” Honored on Sunday Evening
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Dallas: Derek Harper was the 11th overall pick of the 1983 NBA draft and spent 16 seasons as a point guard in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.
After graduating from Roosevelt Junior High School and then North Shore High School in West Palm Beach, Harper played three seasons for the Fighting Illini and coach Lou Henson having his best season in 1982–1983, when he led the Fighting Illini in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Harper was named First-Team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-American in 1983, and was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both 1981 and 1982. Harper averaged 4.7 assists per game for his collegiate career, and led the Big Ten in assists in the 1981–1982 seasons. Harper was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.
Harper was the perfect fit for the Mavericks. From 1986-93 he averaged nearly 18 points, seven assists, and two steals per game, earning a reputation as one of the best two-way players in the game and setting several Mavericks records along the way, some of which still stand today. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in assists and steals, and ranks top-five in points, games played, and games started. His No. 12 jersey will forever hang in the rafters alongside Brad Davis’ No. 15 and Rolando Blackman’s No. 22.
On a night when the Mavericks looked back to honor one of the best point guards the franchise and this league has seen, celebrating his competitive spirit and the fact that he “left it all out on the floor,” as Harper said himself, there was a sense that Harper can give one more gift to this organization. He might not spend hours talking with Smith every day, but it’s clear the legend is there for the rookie.
You won’t see many players as universally respected as Harper is within this organization. J.J. Barea even took his son, Sebastian, to the floor during halftime to watch the former Mav’s speech. (Barea is Harper’s favorite player.) Shawn Marion and a host of other former Mavericks were at the game, too. It was a special night. There was an outpouring of love from guys who are 20 years old to guys who have been out of the league for more than 20 years, all of it deserved. And their admiration and respect appeared to mean more to Harper than we will ever know. “It’s great, well-deserved, and long overdue,” Dirk Nowitzki said.
Southeast Missouri Signs Crowley’s Taelour Pruitt
By Cedric Bailey
Crowley: Taelour Pruitt has leaded the Crowley Eagles basketball team to the playoff for the past three years. Last year’s team lost in the Area round to the state runner-up Mansfield Timberview. On last Wednesday Pruitt accept a scholarship to play her college basketball career for Southeast Missouri.
Last week Coach Rekha Patterson announced the signing of Crowley Eagles basketball player Taelour Pruitt for the Redhawks 2018-19 roster. Guard Taelour Pruitt joins the Redhawks from the lone star state of Texas where she has been a three-year letter winner and three-year starter for Crowley High School. In three years, she has posted averages of 17.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals. Pruitt was named District MVP, First Team All-District, All-Region, All-State and Second Team All-Area. She played summer ball with the Lady Jets. At Southeast, she intends to study Nursing.
Patterson on Pruitt: "Taelour is a point guard that understands the game and is able to play and make decisions at a high level." Taelour’s family was in attendance at the school gym along with her teammates and Coach Amy Gillum on last Wednesday. The later open the 2017-2018 season on the road. The outcome was second place in the Lady Panther Tip Off Classic (Colleyville Heritage). The defeated Bishop Lynch, Colleyville Heritage and South Grand Prairie to get the championship game. The outcome was a 5point loss against Plano West.
In closing we had the opportunity to speak with the Pruitt family about the accomplishments of Taelour basketball career at Crowley. "We are so very proud of Taelour, most don't know that she puts a great deal of work into her craft. We are so excited that she has reached another goal she had for herself. Congratulations Little TP, on with the next four years." The Pruitt Family.
Houston Astros Celebrates its 1st Baseball World Series Championship over the Dodgers
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Gina Ferrazzi
The 2017 baseball season final over and this season’s matchup went the distance between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. It all came down to game 7 where former Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish gave up a leadoff double to George Springer. The next batter, Alex Bregman, hit a grounder to first baseman Cody Bellinger. Darvish ran to cover first base, but Bellinger’s throw sailed behind him, allowing Springer to score and Bregman to reach second. Bregman stole third and doubled the Astros’ lead to 2-0 on a groundout by Jose Altuve.
The two-run deficit silenced a Dodger Stadium crowd that was rocking the previous night. The Dodgers never recovered. The fans didn’t either. With two outs in the second inning, Darvish served up a two-run home run to Springer, which increased the Astros lead to 5-0. “My slider wasn’t sharp,” Darvish said. “Against a batter like Springer, it was difficult. In the end, with the count 3-2, [catcher Austin] Barnes called for a slider, but with the quality of my slider today, I figured the same thing would happen [as it did in the first inning], so I went with a fastball instead.” Darvish was removed from the game, this game matching his last as the shortest start of his career.
Darvish said that he never previously thought about wanting to pitch in a World Series because it was never a dream of his when he grew up in Japan. He does now. He will be a free agent this winter. Asked of what he would look for in his next team, he replied, “I want to pitch again in the World Series. An organization that has a chance to make that happen would be best.” Darvish paused. “I would like to return here with the Dodgers,” he said. The ending was nowhere near as heartwarming. Yu Darvish failed the Dodgers on the sport’s greatest stage. Darvish did the unimaginable and inexcusable, following one historically atrocious start with another, the second coming Wednesday night in a 5-1 defeat to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series. He never gave the Dodgers a chance to win the championship they waited 29 years to reclaim, giving up five runs while registering only five outs at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander looked devastated when he entered a postgame news conference. His eyes were watery. His face was red.
Darvish gathered himself and spoke of how he wanted to repay the Dodgers for an enormous debt he felt he owed them. “They gave me a lot,” he said in Japanese. “I’ve had some painful ones in the past. To be honest, since coming to the major leagues, my passion toward baseball had started to decrease. I was really concerned about that, especially in the last three years.” Darvish gulped.
History will record his July 31 trade to the Dodgers in absolute terms. Darvish helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, winning a game in a National League division series and another in the NL Championship Series. That’s not what will be remembered. The organization’s goal wasn’t to reach the World Series. It was to win it. You get what you pay for, right? Darvish spent the previous 51/2 seasons with the Texas Rangers, who parted with him for what felt like a minimal cost. The most prized prospect the Dodgers traded for him was Willie Calhoun, a defensive liability who didn’t figure into their long-term plans.
In closing we salute the Houston Astros for lifting the spirits of baseball fans in the State of Texas as the 2017 MLB World Series Champions.
Willie Criss to be Honored at the Harambee Festival
By Cedric Bailey
Fort Worth: In the Lone Star state of Texas football is at the top of the list for the family of Coach Willie Criss. Each week in the fall Coach Criss is at the Press box scouting football for the O.D. Wyatt Chaparrals. Many people refer to coach as “Daddy Criss”. He is the father of Anthony Criss at Arlington Sam Houston and Zachary Criss at O.D. Wyatt High School.
It all started back in the day when Coach Criss started coaching in 1961 for $280 a month and finished in 2007 with more than 100 wins and his name on the field house at Fort Worth Wyatt High School. But the 81-year-old never saw these two sons and four of his grandsons would follow his footsteps in the coaching arena.
“Every last one of them — when they went off to school, it was the furthest thing from their mind,” the elder Criss said. “They said, ‘I’m not going to coach.’ I said, ‘OK. I don’t mind that. Whatever you do, that’s you.’ From Texas Southern, Texas A&M, Midwestern State or Baylor the family returned home to start their coaching career just like their grandfather and parents did. Dominique Criss, 29, Quinnin Criss, 26, Antwaun Criss, 34 and Meyer Criss, 25, coach under Zachary at Wyatt. Antwaun and Meyer are Zachary’s sons. Dominique and Quinnin are Anthony’s.
But 55 years ago, Willie was skeptical when he heard about a job opening in tiny Diboll, south of Lufkin. He was a graduate assistant at Texas Southern, where he graduated from in 1958. After two years at Diboll, Willie got a job as an assistant at Como High in Fort Worth. When Como closed, he moved to Dunbar, where he coached Anthony and Zachary as a defensive coordinator. Willie got the head job at Wyatt in 1984 and retired the first time in 1997, as Anthony took over.
After three seasons, Anthony moved to Arlington Bowie. Willie retook the Wyatt job in 2004 and won his 100th game, before retiring again in 2007 when Zachary replaced him. By then, Antwaun was on staff at Wyatt, and Meyer was a rising defensive star for the Chaparrals. Dominique, who played at Baylor and graduated with a degree in business, was also contemplating a career in coaching.
In closing it would take us several weeks to call out the names for the former players that have played college football or in the NFL under the leadership of Daddy Criss. However on this weekend many will get the opportunity to show their love for a man show love and spoke words of encouragement during their life as a student athlete. Be sure to stop by the Harambee festival this weekend for the recognition to a great role model for the Fort Worth Community. For more information please contact Debra Lewis at (817) 229-7778.
Morning Star Prayer Center Provides Relief Assistance for Houston Community
By Cedric Bailey
Houston: Last weekend America had the opportunity to witness the impact of Southeast Texas from Hurricane Harvey. This storm caused major flooding thru out cites such as Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and surrounding communities. Americans responded such as various organizations provided services such as shelter, food and counseling to help the evacuees rebuild their families and start over.
The Morning Star Prayer Center under the leadership of Elder Helen Collins-Epps received a call for “Help” on Wednesday of last week. Partners on the ground in Houston wanted to know could the Prayer Center help some families who had lost everything. She and her team immediately responded and stepped out by faith. The first objective was to secure a place for prayer. After making a few calls Pastor Ross and Lady Dandy Cullins opened their doors without hesitation, knowing that all the items being delivered were going to another church. They welcomed us with open arms and overwhelming kindness.
The Prayer Center purchased as much as they could and then called for help from other partners. World Vision, Bishop Kevin and Pastor Sonja Dickerson and the Day Springs church were the first respondents. She called me and asked could I go as well as help her to get the message out that there was a need for help in Houston. It was amazing to see what can happen in a few days when people join together in prayer and walk by faith.
People begin to call and respond to the needs of the people. A group of young people stepped in and volunteered their time all day Saturday, as well as others from different dominations. Four vans were secured and filled to overflow capacity. She was asked to pray over drivers and volunteers that were also loading trucks to send to other areas. So amazing to see how just a few days ago the country was in an uproar fighting over flags and statues, and now standing together and saying “how can we help”. Tim and Christi Hutto (New York Life Ins. Co. Downtown Fort Worth) went shopping and filled the request Elder Epps had sent. While Elder Epps and Leah was shopping there were Hispanic ladies in the dollar store who asked who are you buying for, and after hearing the story said we want to help. We don’t have much but what we have we want to share with those in need. They brought a SUV full of all kinds of new items.
The intercessors prepared to travel to Houston walking by faith. At 5am Sunday morning the trip begin. As we reached Fairfield, Texas we meet a group of Hispanic families who were from Wichita Falls. Their trucks were loaded with water, food and etc. to bless the people. It was interesting neither of us knew exactly what to expect we just each knew we were walking by faith to help those who needed our help. As we stood together on the parking lot of the gas station we joined hands and prayed together. We did not know each others names and or addresses we just knew we were on a MISSION. As we were praying a white lady walked up and said here please let me help in this small way. Maybe this can buy you gas on the trip. On the other side trucks with furniture were also loaded heading to Houston as well. Three white men were driving those trucks. Here each of us were from different backgrounds not concerned about who was black, white or Hispanic we just knew there was a need and we wanted to help.
This is what our country is about, people helping people. The women of God said “We can create a storm in the midst of the storm”. A prayer storm was created in Houston on Sunday night. People were blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you Elder Epps for allowing me to go. Praying for hours at the Solid Rock Baptist Church on last night I believe pulled down strongholds and blessed so many. The Morning Star Prayer Center does not just pray but they are a force in action making a difference in the lives of people here and anywhere they can. The Intercessors are an amazing group of people.
Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Dedication
Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys
Frisco: The Dallas Cowboys honored its former players on this past Monday with “The Ring of Honor Walk” at The Star in Frisco. It was a historic celebration that welcomed nearly all living members of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor to the home of the Cowboys team and organization. There were a total of 21 former Dallas Cowboys in attendance.
Here are the names that were recognized Bob Lilly, Don Meredith**, Don Perkins, Chuck Howley , Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, Tom Landry**, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Bob Hayes**,Tex Schramm**, Cliff Harris, Rayfield Wright, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Drew Pearson, Charles Haley, Larry Allen & Darren Woodson. **Member’s family unveiled monument in their honor.
The Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor is dedicated to former players and coaches who have made outstanding contributions throughout the team’s history. The Ring of Honor Walk presented by Dr Pepper is located along The Star Boulevard and Cowboys Way, leading up to Tostitos Championship Plaza and Ford Center. Along the Walk, each Cowboys legend is individually recognized with a list of their accomplishments and a monument established in their honor.
“The Ring of Honor Walk is the ideal way to recognize both the Cowboys organization and its history,” said Jerry Jones Sr., Owner, President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys. “We hope that the Walk will help keep the relentless dedication, commitment and heart of our Ring of Honor member’s top of mind as the team heads into the new season.”
“Our nearly 30-year partnership with the Dallas Cowboys has enabled us to excite and engage legions of fans who have overlapping passions for both America’s Team and Dr Pepper – two iconic Texas brands. The Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Walk adds a wonderful new dimension to our longstanding sponsorship,” said Jim Trebilcock, Chief Commercial Officer for Dr Pepper. “We are thrilled that Dr Pepper will be a part of this experience, joining fans visiting The Star in celebration of the legends who shine the brightest in the history of this storied club.” The Star in Frisco is now welcoming the public for viewing of the Ring of Honor Walk as well as the restaurant and retail spaces located within the grounds of The Star.
Meanwhile the Dallas Cowboys will play its next home Preseason match up against the Oakland Raiders from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Jones and Tomlinson Leading the Way for North Texas at the NFL Hall Fame Weekend
By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of Star Telegram
Canton: The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 — Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner — all had stories to share with a full house at Memorial Civic Center for Sunday’s Enshrinees’ Roundtable event. Guided and prodded by NFL Network emcee Steve Wyche, the disparate group of personalities dispensed 45 minutes of powerful and hilarious entertainment.
Danish kicker Morten Andersen was just a funny guy. Andersen gets up on stage and explains his nickname was ‘The Matador’ and, with a wave of his arm as an imaginary opposing player on a kickoff came at him, he sidestepped ‘him’ and said “Ole.” When asked about his toughest opponent, Andersen mentioned Gerald Riggs. Riggs missed that memo on kickoff return. “He was the scariest guy I encountered, I was a speed bump,” Andersen said of the former Atlanta and Washington running back.
“By the time Gerald caught it, I was down around the 20-yard line,” Andersen said. “He ran right up the middle and it was like the Red Sea parted. The sidelines were my friend; I could get them out of bounds. But he ran up the middle. I thought he was going to juke me; he ran over me.” Kickers want to be tough guys on the field too but know, “my situation was different,” Andersen said, “my uniform was very clean. In pregame I cut myself shaving one time and thought ‘I’ve got an opportunity here.’ “I started putting blood all over my pants. At the end of the game I put water on my head, like I was sweating. One of my teammates came over and said ’What happened to you?” Warner was both thoughtful and insightful in assessing the Class’s two running backs, Tomlinson and Davis.
“When you think of the Hall of Fame, there are so many ways to get here,” he said. “LT, drafted high, greatness from the time he stepped on the field. Then you have TD. I can associate with TD because a lot of people (didn’t think) he played long enough. Meanwhile it was Kurt Warner was both thoughtful and insightful in assessing the Class’s two running backs, Tomlinson and Davis.
“When you think of the Hall of Fame, there are so many ways to get here,” he said. “LT, drafted high, greatness from the time he stepped on the field. Then you have TD. I can associate with TD because a lot of people (didn’t think) he played long enough. “But what I appreciate was when he played, he was the best. Those two guys were the best of
their eras, and they did it in completely different ways. (The Hall of Fame) isn’t always about 14, 15-year careers ... it’s what you do in those moments that matter.”
Finally let talk about the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who squeezed in about as many names humanly possible in a shade less than 37 minutes, mentioning from Jimmy Johnson all the way to his faithful, longtime administrative assistant Marylyn Love. Once again showed no hard feelings exist between himself and Jimmy, his two-time Super Bowl-winning coach who was instrumental in putting the Cowboys back on the map, an accomplishment warranting Hall induction next year.
Here is a list of the former Cowboys coaches actually saw either at Jerry’s induction or Friday night party: Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Dave Wannstedt, Norv Turner, Hudson Houck, Tony Wise, Les Miles, Jim Bates and Mike Pope. As for the former players, other than Cowboys Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Mel Renfro, Bob Lilly, Rayfield Wright, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Charles Haley, there were Tony Romo, Nate Newton, Daryl Johnson, Bill Bates, Darren Woodson, Greg Ellis, Flozell Adams, Babe Laufenberg and Billy Davis.
Ivan Rodriquez Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017
By Cedric Bailey
Cooperstown- The Texas Rangers had moment to remember during the final weekend in July. On Sunday afternoon it was their former catcher known by many as “Pudge” Let’s just say that his speech mirrored his career: spectacular, emotional and passionate, bringing out his intense love for teammates, fans, family and the game of baseball. There were times when Ivan Rodriguez had to stop and gather his emotions, especially when talking about his parents, Jose and Eva, his children and his Puerto Rican heritage. But Rodriguez knocked it out of the park and touched all the bases in his speech as he was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon.
Rodriguez said after it was over. "I am an emotional person. At the beginning, I was nervous, but after that everything came out OK. It was great, it was emotional, but it was a dream to be a part of this select group."
It was also a big day for the island of Puerto Rico. The field behind the Clark Sports Center was filled with hundreds of fans waving the Puerto Rico flag and cheering Rodriguez, the fourth player from the island to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fellow Puerto Rican inductees Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda were present on Sunday, with the fourth being the late Roberto Clemente.
Rodriguez's speech ended just eight minutes before Adrian Beltre hit a double in Arlington for the 3,000th hit of his career. It was an extraordinary day in the history of the Rangers. He is the sixth former Rangers player to be elected to the Hall of Fame and the first position player. The others are Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Rich Gossage, Gaylord Perry and Bert Blyleven. Rodriguez, who spent the first 13 of his 21 seasons in Texas, and Ryan are the only ones wearing Rangers caps on their plaques. He paid tribute to boyhood hero Johnny Bench, told stories about Nolan Ryan and Ken Griffey Jr. and saluted other catchers from Puerto Rico: the Molina brothers, Benito Santiago, Javier Lopez, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Jorge Posada. He talked about his childhood dreams.
He saved the last for the Rangers, mentioning former teammates, including Juan Gonzalez, former managers Bobby Valentine and Johnny Oates, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, executives Tom Grieve, Tom Schieffer, John Blake and Taunee Taylor, former owners George W. Bush, Rusty Rose and Tom Hicks, and current owners Bob Simpson, Ray Davis and Neil Leibman. “Their wonderful scouts, Sandy Johnson, Manny Batista, Luis Rosa and Omar Minaya, discovered me at the age of 16, and I spent 15 years of my professional life with them," Rodriguez said. "I grew up there and am proud to wear their cap forever in the Baseball Hall of Fame."
Adrian Beltre’s Historic Run for 3000 Hits
By Cedric Bailey
Arlington: Texas Rangers fans had the opportunity to watch Adrian Beltre make history at Globe Life Park. However it was his fourth try, that Beltre connected. After striking out in his first at-bat against Baltimore starter Wade Miley, Beltre ripped a double down the third-base line on a 3-0 count in the fourth inning to ensure his place in baseball lore. He became the 31st player in Major League history to reach the milestone and the first Dominican-born player to do so.
"Today, when I got my second at-bat, I thought, 'This has to be it. I don't want to have the fans waiting, my family is waiting for it. I don't want to drag it one more day,'" Beltre said. "When I got the 3-0, I was doubting myself. 'Should I swing, or should I just take?' The way Miley was pitching, I thought, 'This is going to be the best pitch he will throw me.' And I decided, if it's going to be on the plate, I'm going to swing. And I did."
He strode into second, paused, collected himself, and then the celebration began. The Orioles near him offered their congratulations, and a steady stream of Beltre's teammates emerged from the dugout as fireworks boomed over the Arlington sky. Beltre turned, saw his children running toward him and prepared for a hug, except they sprinted right by him and into the outfield.
They reached a covered portion of the right-center-field wall and unveiled a facade dedicated to Beltre's achievement. Only then did they sprint back to the infield dirt and into their father's arms.
"What happened today after the hit has been the best moment in my life. I didn't know how to feel, because I had no idea what was going on," Beltre said. "I feel proud of them. I saw the joy in their faces, and a lot of things you do in your career you do for your kids and your family. My kids and my wife have been so supportive over the years, that this moment was for them. When I saw that, I felt like I was on a cloud, because I really saw the joy in their faces. It was a nice moment to enjoy with them -- my family, my wife." He tipped his cap, turned and faced the delirious Rangers faithful at Globe Life Park, and accepted his place in history.
Meanwhile on Monday MLB announced Adrian Beltre and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton have been named the American League Co-Players of the Week for the period ending July 30th Beltre is the second Ranger to win A.L. Player of the Week honors in 2017 with Nomar Mazara being selected for the week of April 2-9.
The 38-year-old slugger joined Hall of Famers George Brett and Wade Boggs as the only 3,000-hit club members to accomplish the feat while playing a majority of their games at the third base position.
Homes for Hope Mission Trip to Mexico
By Cedric Bailey
San Diego CA: YWAM/SDB (Youth with a Mission) is located in San Diego, California and was started in October 1991 by Sean and Janet Lambert. Their vision in the beginning was to mobilize groups that wanted to come to Mexico and beyond to serve the needs of the poor, both practically and spiritually. This past Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend a mission trip at the San Antonio Del Mar campus is our flagship property. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Baja California, Mexico. This campus is located 20 minutes south of the U.S. border, and is in between Tijuana and Rosario.
Turner 12, under the leadership of Founder and Executive Director Coach John Carter, and Arlington’s First Rate Investment, under the leadership of founder and CEO David Stone, answered the call of the Lopez family. Here is the letter that was submitted to Homes of Hope on last year. The father Carlos shares the following story, “it’s been a struggle paying rent with the income I have, and we've had to move several times. My pay is only $80 per week and things have been very tough for our family. Our church helped us when we were finally able to buy a piece of land and now we look forward to having a house that doesn't leak; where we have a bit more space. Thank you from Carlos, Ana along with our 3 children Hirving Hazael, Yulliona Sarai, Jenifer Estela.
Well on last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Jud I. Stone and the members of First Rate to build a three room house for this family. There were at least 10 other homes that were built in Mexico for several other families. The Lopez’s worked with students from Turner 12 and another group from Phoenix Arizona. We later traveled to Wal-Mart and purchased food and clothing for the family. Gifts were presented and a plaque to celebrate the dedication of the new home. Everyone had the opportunity to give thanks to God for answering those prayers! Today the Rosario’s have a new place to lay there head thanks to efforts of Turner 12, First Rate and the Stone family.
You can learn more about The Turner 12 by visiting their website at www.turner12.org. For those interested becoming a mentor, donor or volunteer, you can contact Coach Carter at (214)384-7912 or you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the Beat Goes ON! Or is that… and the BEAT DOWN Goes On?
By Dave Michaels
Here we are once again, the American League Division Series. The Texas Rangers vs the Toronto Blue Jays! Weren’t we just here a year ago? Why YES we WERE! Let’s recap quickly!
The Texas Rangers go up two games to none in the best of five series last year, winning two in Toronto, then they come back to Arlington, Texas, needing ONE win to advance to the American League Championship Series! ONE WIN! That’s all! JUST ONE! What happens next, the Blue Jays go on and win THREE in a row, but the dramatic fifth and deciding game! Well let’s see!
The Rangers actually have a lead going into the 7th inning of that game, and not one, not two, but THREE ERRORS in four at bats, and the Rangers have given the Blue Jays LIFE! Then its Jose Bautista at the plate, and with two on, hits a mammoth, majestic, rainbow of a home run to left field to give the Jays the lead going into the final two innings of the game. Oh and if that’s not enough, insult to injury, when Jose “BATS” hits that colossal shot to the cheap seats, he takes his bat and flips it and stands at home plate!
Basically showing up the Rangers, and letting the HOME TOWN fans revel in its splendor! The rest they say is history! NOT SO FAST my young friends!
Come to the regular season, 8 months later, the Blue Jays and the Rangers are playing a regular season game, and Jose Bautista is at the plate in Arlington, Texas, and he gets plunked by a pitch, no big deal, he stares down the pitcher, and maybe an exchange of pleasantries go back and forth, but then all of a sudden and hit up the middle, and a double play ball.. tailored made, in the hands of Rougned Odor, however, Bautista take a hard slide into second base and gets a bit of Odor for good measure. Once again, words are exchanged and a push comes out of it, and the next thing you see is Bautista doubling up his fist, but before he gets a swing in, Odor just knocks the taste out of Bautista’s mouth, with helmet going one direction and sun glasses going in another, and then both benches clear, and coaches are involved and fingers are pointed, and names are being called—and it looks like something out an after school free for all!
Well these two teams will once again meet up in a Division Series best of five starting this week in Arlington, and if anything, we should all be aware that THIS is bigger than the game- “THIS” being the back ground story between Odor and Bautista!
Something we are certain that Major League Baseball would much rather have down played, and not being shown on every sports broadcast on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, CNN Sports, and every local TV station in both DFW and Toronto!
The Game is supposed to be bigger than the story, the GAME is what people come to watch and be a part of, and cheer for their teams to advance to the next series! In Toronto, the fans there are a bit, hmmm how shall we say…. Brutal! They throw bottles of beer and little children as they did last year during the Division Series and again this year during the ONE GAME PLAYOFF with the Orioles, a fan in left field threw a full bottle of beer in the path of the Orioles left fielder Kim, and not that it distracted him from the catch, but just plain stupidity!
So what can the Rangers expect when they go up to Toronto on Sunday to take on the blue birds of happiness? Security will be tighter and the fans will be kept a close eye on that is for sure. As for the fans in Texas, well that’s another story! The stadium, Globe Life Park, holds 49,000 plus for full seated capacity, a bit more if you wish to stand or get obstructed views, but none the less, since both games on Thursday and Friday will be played at 3:08 and 12:08, respectively, one can only imagine that there will be less than full for both days!
Thank you Major League Baseball for giving the Team that is the number one seed, with the best record in the American League, the worse possible start times in their region, and day games in Texas, lets face it, yes its October, but that just means we are in the upper 80’s instead of 105. Oh and with that last statement, let’s not EVEN get into the fact that the Rangers and the City of Arlington wish to build a new DOMED stadium for this baseball club. That’s another story for another time!
For now, it’s the Blue Jays and the Rangers part II! My money is on Jeff Banister and the Texas Rangers, they have a bit of a bad taste in their mouths from last season, and even though their battle cry is NEVER EVER QUIT, I think for now its UNFINISHED BUSINESS! Just a thought.
Odyssey Sims of the Dallas Wings makes the USA Olympic Team
By Cedric Bailey
Odyssey Sims is a native of Irving, Texas that graduated from MacArthur High School. On this past Monday evening she and Aerial Powers of the WNBA Dallas Wings were selected to the 11-member USA Basketball women’s select team. The team will play against the U.S. Olympic women’s team on July 25 in Los Angeles before the Olympic team begins a three-city tournament against France, Canada and Australia.
Sims played on the team representing the USA at the 2011 Summer Universiade held in Shenzhen, China. The team, coached by Bill Fennelly, won all six games to earn the gold medal. Sims averaged 6.2 points per game. This is not her first time wearing the red, white and blue Sims was selected to be a member of the team representing the USA at the 2013 Summer Universiade held in Kazan, Russia. The team, coached by Sherri Coale, won the opening four games easily, scoring in triple digits in each game, and winning by 30 or more points in each case. After winning the quarterfinal game against Sweden, they faced Australia in the semifinal. The USA team opened up as much as a 17 point in the fourth quarter of the game but the Australian team fought back and took a one-point lead in the final minute. Crystal Bradford scored a basket with 134 seconds left ant he game to secure a 79–78 victory. The gold medal opponent was Russia, but the USA team never trailed, and won 90–71 to win the gold medal and the World University games Championship. Sims was the third leading scorer for the team, averaging 12.7 points per game. She led the team in assists with 32, and steals with 12. She was named co-MVP of the tournament, along with Russia's Tatiana Grigoryeva
Also on the select team are Kelsey Bone (Phoenix Mercury), Kahleah Copper (Washington Mystics), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Natasha Howard (Minnesota Lynx), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Sugar Rodgers (New York Liberty), Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty) and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).
The team will train alongside the U.S. women’s national team as it prepares for the Olympics in Rio. Meanwhile the Wings will return back to action on this Sunday July 17 at 3:30pm vs. the Minnesota Lynx at College Park in Arlington.
Cleveland Cavaliers Win the 2016 NBA Finals with a 93-89 Victory over the Golden State Warriors
By Cedric Bailey
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- There were plenty of moments that helped define the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 7 win against the Golden State Warriors -- the Cavs' first NBA title. One came late in the fourth quarter from LeBron James. His offensive effort got plenty of attention during this series, but his block might've saved the Cavs from a tough loss.
The Warriors had a rare fast break opportunity where Stephen Curry dished it off late to Andre Iguodala. His layup would have given Golden State a two-point cushion with under two minutes remaining. But James came soaring from behind and swatted Iguodala's attempt. It was only fitting that such a crushing experience end with an unprecedented comeback in the Finals after trailing, 3-1. The Cavs also won two of the last three games on the court of a Golden State team that won a record 73 of 82 games in the regular season, was 39-2 at home, and had not lost three games in a row since Nov. 20-23, 2013.
This one was for the Cavs of this year most of all, for Kyrie Irving, who almost matched James' lead, for all the others who were similarly driven but less extravagantly gifted. But it was for far more, given how long it had been, this one was for Craig Ehlo, who has crumpled in disbelief on film too many times. This time, greatness was airborne in the person of James and wearing Cavs colors.
And it was for Gerald Wilkins -- different spelling, different Wilkins from Lenny, little brother of the high-flying Dominique Wilkins -- but also beaten by a Michael Jordan shot. This one was for Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams. They played beautiful basketball. They never could get past the Bulls. This one was for all the fallen Cavs teams. It was for Lenny. Nobody had to call him by his last name. Lenny Wilkens risked it all by double-teaming Jordan for the first time on the last play of the ferocious first-round series in 1989. Jordan would have beaten five men if that's what it took. It was the most painful chapter in an old story of greatness beating the Cavs.
Finally, it was for the fans that came out to the old Arena, because somebody had to. It was for the ones who went to the Coliseum in the cornfields in Richfield and made the backboards shake during the Miracle Year while Fitch was trying to diagram locker room plays on them and who sat in the ear-ringing silence after Jordan hit the Shot and who fell in love all over again last year with James and his scrub sidekicks in the 2015 Finals.
Muhammad Ali, “the Greatest” Boxer in Human History is Called Home to Glory
By Cedric Bailey
Muhammad Ali will truly be missed from the sports world. Ali was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sporting figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring. He was born as Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training when he was 12 years old. At 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his "slave" name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971. By that time, he had not fought for nearly four years—losing a period of peak performance as an athlete. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed "The Greatest", he was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were the "Fight of the Century", "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila" versus his rival Joe Frazier, the first Liston fight, and "The Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman. Ali retired from boxing in 1981.
As of Monday we learned that services will be held on this friday. Ali’s home going celebration is expected to be watched globally, family officials announced that a total of 33,500 tickets would be available for a Friday memorial at the KFC Yum! Center and an Islamic prayer service Thursday at Freedom Hall.
In addition, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will join the speakers at the 2 p.m. memorial Friday, already set to include former President Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, wife Lonnie Ali and several others. Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for the Ali family, said the 30-minute Islamic funeral prayer will be held Thursday at Freedom Hall starting at noon (with doors opening at 9 a.m.) and should accommodate about 18,000 people. The said the decision to have the Jenazah prayer service at Freedom Hall commemorates Ali's last fight in Louisville, in which he defeated Willi Besmanoff in 1961.
The Yum Center interfaith service Friday at 2 p.m. will include clerics from several religions, including The Rev. Kevin Cosby of Louisville, Rabbis Michael Lerner and Joe Rapport of Louisville, a representative of the Buddhist religion and U.S.Senator Orrin Hatch representing Mormons. There will be a poetry reading by Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of Malcolm X. For those unable to attend, it will be streamed live from www.alicenter.org. The event will be open to the public with limited seating. Information and details on tickets will be released as they become available. Afterward, a private reception will be held at the Ali Center for friends and guests. The family has asked that, instead of cards or flowers, donations be made to the Ali Center.
Dallas Cowboy 2016 NFL Draft Report
By Cedric Bailey
Arlington- The 2016 NFL Draft is now in the books and the Dallas Cowboys made some key picks for the upcoming season. Let’s just say that this season will go down as one of the more unique three-day events the Cowboys have had since Jerry Jones bought this franchise in 1989. Jones and his staff just completed their 28th NFL Draft, and while the jury will be out for a while on just how good this new crop of players will be. The Cowboys didn’t make any trades in these seven rounds, something that has occurred just one other time (2011) since the 1989 draft.
But to enter the draft with nine picks and take them all at the original spots is not common for this team, who likes to deal. By taking Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the draft, he becomes the second running back taken in the first round since Emmitt Smith and just the second in franchise history in the Top 5 along with Tony Dorsett, who went second overall in 1977.
Not far behind Elliott was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who suffered a devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State – ironically enough the injury occurred on a play he was trying to tackle Elliott. But Smith, who won the 2015 Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, underwent knee surgery on Jan. 7 to repair a torn ACL and LCL. One thing that raised the Cowboys’ comfort level in making the pick was their knowledge of the injury. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dan Cooper, who has been one of the Cowboys’ medical doctors on the sidelines for years. Smith is not expected to play this year, but the Cowboys felt like his upside was too good to pass, even with a high-second round pick.
Another highlight in the draft was the selection of Dak Prescott, who becomes the first quarterback taken by the Cowboys since 2009. The former Mississippi State standout scored 111 touchdowns in his four years for the Bulldogs, including 41 on the ground.
One of the bigger surprises of the draft was the Cowboys’ final pick. Baylor’s Rico Gathers is big, he’s strong, and plays with an attitude and mean streak. The problem is, he’s shown of that on the basketball court. The Baylor power forward hasn’t played football since he was 13 but he’s trying to make the transition to tight end, just like Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas have successfully done.
“Villanova Does It Again” with a Buzzer Beater over the North Carolina Tar Heels
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David J
HOUSTON - Villanova won the national championship with a miracle finish in 1985, and pulled off another miracle Monday night to win it all once again - 31 years later. In the final 4.7 seconds, Ryan Arcidiacono dribbled up the court and found Kris Jenkins with a perfect pass, enabling Jenkins to knock down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer and giving the Wildcats their second national championship in school history with an incredible 77-74 victory over North Carolina at NRG Stadium.
The second-seeded Wildcats (35-5) finished a magical run through the NCAA tournament with another explosive offensive performance and good defense, but they needed every ounce of fortitude after the Tar Heels (33-7), a No. 1 seed, came all the way back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game, 74-74, on Marcus Paige's three-point basket with 4.7 seconds left. Villanova coach Jay Wright called timeout to draw up a play that he described as "an end-of-the-game situation where we put the ball in Arch's hands and let him make the decision." Arcidiacono went around a screen from Daniel Ochefu and then made the decision to pass to Jenkins. Jenkins released the ball with 0.5 seconds remaining and it swished through, touching off a wild celebration with players pouring off the bench and streamers and confetti being released from above in the cavernous football stadium. Shortly after the players' celebration began, Jenkins broke off and found his mother, Felicia. He stepped over a press table and got her in a long hug, tears flowing from both faces.
Arcidiacono was named most outstanding player of the Final Four, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Josh Hart and Phil Booth. Many of the Wildcats' players from the 1985 title team, plus head coach Rollie Massimino, were in the crowd of 74,340. That team shot 78.6 percent for the game and 90 percent in the second half in 'Nova's 66-64 upset of Georgetown for the 1985 national championship. Playing his 144th career game, a program record, Arcidiacono scored 16 points, hitting 6 of 9 shots from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Jenkins added 14 despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble.
But before Jenkins' shot, the offensive hero of the night for Villanova was sophomore
guard Phil Booth, who had scored only 27 points in 'Nova's five previous tournament games but scored a career-high 20 on Monday night. Booth hit both of his three-point shots and sank 6 of 7 shots
overall, mostly on drives to the hoop. Paige led the Tar Heels with 21 points and Joel Berry II added 20, but the Wildcats did a decent job holding Carolina's big men, Brice Johnson and Kennedy
Meeks, in check. Johnson scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds but had just one offensive board. Meeks shot just 1 of 8 and scored four points with seven rebounds. The Tar Heels
outrebounded Villanova, 36-23, but the Wildcats outscored the Tar Heels, 32-26, in the paint. This game will go down setting up one of the most memorable finishes in NCAA
Broncos Shutdown Cam and the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 24 to 10
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Patrick Smith
Santa Clara CA: Super Bowl 50 is over and Former DeSoto Eagles and Texas A&M Aggie Von Miller and the Orange Rush attacked the Carolina Panthers with breathtaking ferocity, tired of hearing about their quarterback, Cam Newton, tired of seeing their dancing moves, exhausted by a perceived lack of respect. Let’s just say when Miller reached the corner, a call came out, "Von, turn the music on. It's time to celebrate!" That’s when thing really got going, as the Broncos crept closer and closer to an improbable 24-10 championship victory, the Denver defense ran everywhere. The Broncos defense led by MVP Miller, but with a cast from line to backfield filled with play-stoppers staked a claim as one of the best in NFL history. They grounded all-pro Carolina quarterback Cam Newton for a record-tying seven sacks.
Carolina lined up the NFL's highest-scoring offense. The Broncos countered with the No. 1 defense. The Broncos know defense wins — because they lost so badly. They were blown out of the Super Bowl two years ago, a 43-8 loss, despite a high-powered offense behind Manning. In playoff games against Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, New England's Tom Brady and Newton, the Denver defense hit the quarterback 36 times with 14 sacks. They knocked down 25 passes. They allowed just one touchdown pass.
Newton's Panthers averaged 31.2 points this season. They scored as many as 44 in one game. They scored 80 points in two playoff games before the Super Bowl. The Denver defense wrecked their run. The Broncos allowed just a 1-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Stewart in the second quarter and a Graham Gano field goal in the fourth. That's it. This became the Broncos' script in their Orange Crush-ing season. Denver scored just 22.2 points per game. But they allowed just 18.5. The Broncos played in 14 games this season decided by a touchdown or less.
In the first quarter, after Miller sprinted around the right side of Carolina's line and punched the ball away from Newton, Malik Jackson recovered the ball for a touchdown. That was Denver's only touchdown for 57 minutes. No team has ever won the Super Bowl without an offensive touchdown. The Broncos nearly did. But Miller's sack of Newton late in the fourth quarter — after he muscled around the left side of Carolina's line — forced a fumble that T.J. Ward recovered. That led to a C.J. Anderson 2-yard TD run.
For all the importance of Peyton Manning's likely final game — he will take time to make up his mind Miller and the Orange Rush broke the Panthers' will and their hearts. "This is magical," Miller said. "It's something you dream about." Denver owns its third championship, and it's most unlikely since John Elway guided the Broncos to a 31-24 upset of Green Bay. That snapshot exists forever as owner Pat Bowlen stood on the podium and gave credit to Elway. Eighteen years later, Elway returned the favor.
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Billy Calzada
San Antonio: This matchup started when starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, was suspended and sent back home to Fort Worth. This was the perfect time for the coaches to start thinking about the golf course and spring practice.
But that’s when TCU coach Gary Patterson turned inspirational after the worst first-half performance in his 15-season head coaching career. This game has been labeled as one of the greatest bowl game comebacks in the history of college football started with a wardrobe change. Patterson laughs at how stupid that sounds, but it felt necessary. His TCU team was down 31-0 to Oregon when he sneaked into his Alamo Dome office at halftime and quickly changed clothes. The black, long-sleeved mock turtleneck wasn't working, so he turned to his purple, short-sleeved Nike mock turtleneck, a lightweight shirt that absorbs sweat and evidently, “absolves fear”. Patterson had to change visors, too, to make the new look match.
And then his Horned Frogs scored 47 points, 38 of them in a row, and miraculously stunned Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime to steal a Valero Alamo Bowl victory Saturday night. The 31-point deficit had been understandable, almost justified. The Frogs had no business winning this one. Yet there they were, standing under a shower of confetti and balloons after pulling off the most insane rally imaginable. When the festivities were over, players snapped photos with fans and family.
Now let’s look at how TCU scored in the second half started with a 10-play drive for a TCU field goal. Oregon goes three-and-out. An 11 play drive for a touchdown. Oregon fumbles the kickoff. Another easy TCU touchdown. Now it's 31-17 and the Ducks are panicking. That’s when TCU QB Bram Kohlhausen really got the team started. Something finally clicked for Kohlhausen, the senior transfer who'd never started a game in his career, and there was no stopping him. He hit on 19 of 26 throws for 255 yards after halftime and scored four touchdowns, including the game winner on an option keeper that was as unexpected as his breakthrough.
We also have to talk about the shutout from the TCU's defense. Oregon backup Jeff Lockie was struggling to even catch snaps against the Frogs' swarming D. The Ducks could run only 18 plays in the second half still, this game had to go to overtime. And double overtime. And then triple overtime. For a team that won on a miracle tip at Texas Tech, needed a bomb to beat Kansas State and somehow stuffed Baylor in a monsoon in overtime, this was the masterpiece.
By the time he was done celebrating, Patterson was simply too exhausted to contemplate it all on Saturday. Like everyone else who'd just witnessed one of the game's most unbelievable comebacks -- tying the bowl record set by Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl -- he walked off asking the night's impossible question. "How do you explain any of it?" Patterson questioned. "I mean, seriously, how do you explain any of it?"
Former Dunbar Wildcats Coach Robert Hughes Honored by the City of Fort Worth
By Cedric Bailey
Fort Worth City Council Woman Gyna Bivens attended an event honoring Robert Hughes in 2014. A resident in the
community asked the question about honoring former I.M.Terrell/ Dunbar Wildcat Coach Robert Hughes with a street in his honor. Bivens remembered that another former Fort Worth had a street named in
her honor and that she was retired and still living. So she went to work and was able to get the votes to get Cass Street changed to Robert Hughes Drive.
Many of Coach Hughes family members such as his children, brothers and sister witnessed this historic day on the past Saturday morning. On Saturday, October 17, the City of Fort Worth will recognize former Fort Worth ISD Coach Robert Hughes, Sr., with the naming of a street in his honor.
By city ordinance that portion of Cass Street, between Ramey and Fitzhugh, will now be known as Robert Hughes Street. This street is immediately adjacent to the eastern side of the Dunbar High School Campus. The Board of Education First Vice President Christene C. Moss, Councilwoman Bivens, along with Mr. Walter Dansby, Judge Lisa Woodard, Constable Michael Campbell, State Representive Nicole Collier and other dignitaries and guests, were on hand to personally congratulate Coach Hughes.
From 1973 to 2005 Coach Hughes coached at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and prior to that he coached at I.M. Terrell High School. When Coach Hughes eventually retired he did so as the all-time winningest high school basketball coach with 1,333 wins. His son, Robert Hughes, Jr. is the current coach at Dunbar High School.
By Cedric Bailey
Fort Worth Texas, can you imagine at the age of 5 and getting ready to celebrate your 6th birthday, and your parents ask you the question, “What do you want for your birthday”? And instead of a birthday party at Chucky Cheese you inform your parents that you want to help start a shoe drive for elementary students, who couldn’t afford new shoes. So, Samorah’s parents, Ashley and Courtney Whitten, planned a birthday party and asked everyone to bring a pair of shoes as a gift. The response was so wonderful, that at least 50 kids were blessed with a new pair of shoes. That was in 2014. Meanwhile in 2015, Samorah had another birthday celebration that included her family and church. Once again she had another birthday party and the church participated and once again 50 more kids were blessed with a brand new pair of shoes.
This past weekend Ashley and Samorah took the shoe drive to the community by spending sometime at her grandparents family business, “Off the Bone BBQ” at 5144 Mansfield Hwy, in Forest Hill, TX. The store invited the Big Game Christian Sports Network, a.k.a. BGCsports to host a live radio broadcast & tailgate party for the college football fans and Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt and Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats fans. Dunbar Coach Todd Lawson, joined BGCsports show host & sports analyst, Charles Boyd to talk sports and asked the customers for their support. This event was held from 11am to 1pm on the “Off The Bone” parking lot, and helped to raise $500 for Samorah’s 2016 shoe drive.
On January 28, this year she will celebrate her 8th birthday with the funds to assist another 50 kids in receiving new shoes. If you would like to support the next shoe drive, then contact the Whitten’s at (682) 559-5644 or stop by “Off the Bone BBQ” in Fort Worth.
TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE JUAN IGOR GONZALEZ
The Journey Back Home©
On July 11, 2015 The Texas Rangers Baseball organization will induct two new members, Juan Igor Gonzalez and Jeff Russell into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. Let’s take a moment and focus on Juan and his return to the ballpark in Arlington now known as Globe Life Park.
Juan joined the Texas Rangers baseball club as a minor league player in 1986. He made his major league debut in 1989 with the Rangers as a right fielder and continued through the 1999 season with the Rangers. Juan briefly returned to the Rangers in 2002 through the 2003 season. He also played with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, and the Kansas City Royals. Juan’s last MLB appearance was in May of 2005 with the Cleveland Indians. The bulk of Juan’s career was experienced as a Texas Ranger and so it is fitting that he receive this honor.
This induction is long overdue, Juan was a major contributor to the Rangers, and his numbers speak for themselves. Something else that is very evident, Juan has the numbers to win his way to Cooperstown. Allegations of steroid use should not put a stain on his reputation. Whatever happened to “innocent till proven guilty”? I think there may be some question as to whether a man can be “blacklisted” because he lacks a smooth tongue or media savvy.
Juan received an invitation to enter into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame alongside his friend and former teammate Ivan Pudge Rodriguez in June 2013. Juan respectfully declined his induction at that time.
I recently spoke with sports analyst, Mark McLemore who played with Juan 5 years. Mark said “People make the assumption that Juan is this big mean guy. He said “Juan is just the opposite. He was a super funny guy that kept us laughing in the clubhouse.” Mark added, “he was great at driving in runs.” Juan would tell me “just get on base and I’ll bring you in. Juan drove in guys that were not even in the game.”
Mark said “I am super happy for Juan, he deserves this.”
Juan wanted to finish his career with the Rangers. He wanted to play in Texas to be near some of his family and friends. Juan still cherishes his days of sitting and talking with former President George W. Bush and had the greatest respect for Johnny Oates as well as Tom Scheiffer.
I went to Puerto Rico to interview Juan about his upcoming induction. The journey took me to Vega Baja where I quickly learned that Juan is known by all as “Igor”. The people’s faces light up when they speak of him. It’s almost as if he is a mayor, congressman or maybe even a Vega Baja President. They all had wonderful things to say about Juan and this gave me a real insight into “Igor”.
I continued to the Rodrigo Guigo Otero Center where I met a gentleman named Jose “Willie” Quinones and I eventually found out that my search was over. Juan was in Texas visiting his seriously ill mother at an Arlington medical facility. Upon my return to Texas I learned the sad news that Juan’s mother passed away on June 15th.
My visit to Vega Baja was the best. Whether I spoke to family, friends or a handsome man trimming his hedges; I heard of Juan’s participation in the community, and his passion for helping young ball players who hope to enter the big leagues one day. His passion for the game continues through his work in the community.
Congratulations to Juan!
By Cedric Bailey
Plano- Many of us grew up watching the Harlem Globetrotters on TV and in person. Marques Haynes was often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history, passed away on this past Friday in Plano, Texas, of natural causes. In two stints with the touring team — from 1947-53 and 1972-79 — Haynes played in more than 1,200 games for a team that combined dazzling skills, theatrical flair and circus antics.
While playing at Langston (Oklahoma) University, the acrobatic Haynes caught the attention of Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein in 1946 after leading Langston to a win over Globies. Haynes remained at the school, but after graduation joined the Globetrotters. He led them to victories against the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA in 1948 and 1949. Haynes was more than mere showman on the court, although his dribbling skills were eye-popping displays that often had opponents standing and watching in awe. He led Booker T. Washington High School in his hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to the unofficial national championship in 1941 and was a scholastic All-American that season. He then starred at Langston, an NAIA school where he was a four-time all-conference selection and team MVP. Haynes led Langston in scoring all four years and the team had a 112-3 record, including a 59-game winning streak. The Globetrotters retired Haynes' No. 20 jersey in 2001, one of only five players to be so honored.
The Globetrotters will dedicate their 90th anniversary tour in 2016 to Haynes and will wear a uniform patch in tribute. "Marques was a pioneer, helping pave the way for people of all races to have opportunities to play basketball and for the sport to explode on a global scale," Schneider said. "His unique and groundbreaking style of play set the tone for modern basketball as we know it. Anyone involved with basketball worldwide is indebted to Marques. He was the consummate Globetrotter.
Haynes was also a great businessman, This past Monday I had the opportunity to speak with Art “Bones” Smith who started The Harlem Thrillers. Smith said that Haynes would stop in Ardmore to play some games in the city. During that season it Haynes that asked Smith to join his team and they traveled the country for a couple years. There other team such as The Harlem Magicians that were founded in 1953 by Lon Varnell with other former Harlem Globetrotters. Frank Luster, also played with the Harlem Globetrotters and the late great Marques Haynes during his day’s with the Harlem Globetrotters. This team would play games against the Boston Celtics and other NBA teams as well.
Hall of Famers and Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon said that Marques Haynes was the leader and I don’t think he’s gotten the credit that he deserves,” Lemon said. “If you’re looking at it in positions he was probably the greatest point guard of all time and without a doubt he was the greatest dribbler.” “There’s nobody that can even compare, past or future or present with what Marques did,” Lemon added.
Haynes is survived by his loving wife, Joan Taylor Haynes &two daughters, Marsha Pearson Loggins and Marquetta Gregory. A celebration of his life will be held Friday, May 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at New Life Community Church, 25631 Smotherman Rd., Frisco, Texas 75033. Interment will follow at Ridgeview Cemetery in Allen, Texas. The family will receive friends Thursday, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen, Texas.