NFL Training Camp Report
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by LM Otero
Frisco: It has to feel awkward for the NFL to see the Dallas Cowboys in such a poor state of affairs. For so long it's been one of the most competitive divisions in all of football, but not so much as of late. And in 2020, the wheels essentially fell right off of the wagon. But now, it's time to hit reset, and every team in the NFL has a record of 0-0. And with 17 games now on the schedule, the landscape is different for every NFC East team -- be it due to key players returning, free agency and draft additions and/or coaching changes -- leaving some very real questions to be answered as training camps get underway. The road to the playoffs and the NFC East crown and the playoffs officially begins now -- in camp.
Now let’s talk about the return of Dak Prescott to the Dallas Cowboys. There is no question on what Prescott can be for the Cowboys. The two-time Pro Bowler led the No. 1 offense in the NFL in 2019 and again through the first five weeks of 2020, before going down with a compound ankle fracture that ended his season. One mandatory surgery to repair the damage and one voluntary procedure to strengthen it beyond pre-injury form later, and Prescott is arguably better than 100 percent as he wraps his new ankle in Jordan's -- having divorced from Adidas this offseason.
With a historic four-year deal finally in hand, there's a lot of pressure on Prescott to, at worst, be what he was and, at best, to take another step forward in 2021. And considering his war chest of receivers and a motivated Ezekiel Elliott, the stage is at least set for it, with the biggest question being on if it'll take him a few weeks to hit stride or if it'll be as early as Week 1 in his battle with Tom Brady.
One of the main concerns will be the Cowboys defense under the leadership of Dan Quinn. Since Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard were sent packing in 2020 to make room for Mike Nolan on the defensive side of the ball, and it turned out to be a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Nolan didn't go over well in the locker room and his attempt to force feed an entire scheme change down the defense's gullet in an offseason that lacked minicamp, an entire preseason and a traditional training camp ended exactly as you would've predicted it did, but now it's Dan Quinn's turn in Dallas and -- also having the added benefit of a traditional and complete offseason -- is an instant hit in the locker room and has the pedigree (as a coordinator) to turn things around quickly in Dallas. It won't be easy though, as he tries to sift through the battle at LB and his still unsettled corps of defensive backs.
Finally let’s talk about Coach Mike McCarthy. McCarthy had a lot working against him, but as to avoid allowing him to escape all accountability. After all, he's the one who hired Nolan in the first place. Last season there were a rash of injuries to key and cornerstone players -- including his QB -- so owner Jerry Jones is willing to ignore the 2020 season altogether when it comes to assessing McCarthy as the right hire. Having fired Nolan and gone heavy on defense in this year's draft, along with the return of Prescott and Co. from injury, if the Cowboys don't contend in 2021, McCarthy will be in the hot seat.
The Journey of Juneteenth with Ms. Opal Lee
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network
Fort Worth: Ms. Opal Lee is a name to remember. She is trailblazer that doesn’t know the meaning of no, can’t and etc. She has been passing out flyers in the community for over 40 years in SE Fort Worth at the corner of Evans & Rosedale. On Saturday morning at 10 A.M., hundreds walked from Evans Avenue Plaza to the Tarrant County Courthouse in downtown Fort Worth on Saturday to celebrate a historic Juneteenth day.
Let’s just say this walk was something of a double celebration. People gathered to commemorate Juneteenth itself, a day that recognizes the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. But they also gathered to celebrate the fact that Juneteenth had finally become a federal holiday, and that it all happened in large part because of the efforts of Fort Worth activist Opal Lee. For over 40 years, she has ensured that Fort Worth commemorated Juneteenth and for over two decades, the 94-year-old Lee has advocated to have Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday as a member of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. In 2016, at the age of 89, she started a to walk the 1,440 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, DC to bring awareness to the need for Juneteenth to be a national holiday that transitioned to a symbolic walk. She has continued to walk 2.5 miles all across the country to continue to bring awareness.
On Thursday, five years after she made that initial journey, Lee stood alongside President Joe Biden as he signed a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Lee was given an ovation at the White House and posed next to the president and members of Congress as the bill became law. On this past weekend when Juneteenth arrived, Lee prepared for her walk in Fort Worth where she encountered a gathering much different than the one of years past. The party started early, around 8 a.m., with food, music, guest speakers and hundreds of people at the Evans Avenue Plaza in Historic Southside. Lee arrived as a celebrity, her vehicle immediately crowded by people and cameras. She was escorted to the nearby Fort Worth Association of Federated Women’s Clubs building before the walk.
The walk began around 10 A.M. The 2.5 mile stretch, each mile representing each year it took for enslaved Texans to be freed after the Emancipation Proclamation, ran along East Hattie Street, crossed Interstate 35W and North on Main Street toward downtown. Over 600 registered walkers, enduring 90-plus degree heat, wore shirts bearing an image of Lee or emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter” or highlighting one of the dozens of organizations that participated. Behind them were dozens of trailers, trucks and cars adorned with Juneteenth imagery.
Dione Sims, Ms. Lee’s granddaughter and Executive Director of Unity Unlimited, Inc. the producers of Juneteenth Fort Worth had these comments to share about this great moment. “Celebrating Juneteenth today took on new meaning for me as someone who has always been around it just because of my grandmother. Having worked with her these last five years for national holiday recognition, I’ve come to appreciate the passion she has for making sure everyone can find a reason to commemorate when the enslaved gained freedom. Juneteenth is a unifier because it highlights the accomplishments of those who worked together for freedom – Fredrick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, the Quakers, Harriett Tubman, Nat Turner and John Brown – giving of themselves for what they believed would make a better nation. Juneteenth is more than an African American holiday and everyone can find themselves in the story including our Latino brethren who help slaves escape to freedom in Mexico where there are noted Juneteenth celebrations there today. Juneteenth as a holiday now gives educators a chance to teach the truth about our nation’s history because it will be on the calendar and not overlooked. Finally, Juneteenth is a foundation from which to build conversations about systemic racism because we have acknowledged that there was a starting point from which it began, where mindsets and concepts of superiority were birth which still plague our existence today. If we can acknowledge our past, then we can rectify what wasn’t fully implemented and correct what needs to be done about reparations. So, enjoy this Juneteenth 2021 as it will take on even grander celebrations in the coming years as we ‘Celebrate Freedom from the 19th of June to the 4th of July.’”
For more information about Unity Unlimited, Inc. go to www.opalswalk2dc.com. For more information on the historical significance of Juneteenth, check out this article.
Top Seeded 76ers Fall in Game 7 to the Atlanta Hawks
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by Curtis Compton
Philadelphia: The Atlanta Hawks continue to find ways to pull of those wins and on Sunday is was Trae Young the franchise star. The Hawks are going to the Eastern Conference finals because Kevin Huerter performance that saved them when they desperately needed someone to score. The role player was a star as the Hawks won Game 7 of the semifinal at Philadelphia Sunday night.
This Game 7 featured Young, whose fine performance this postseason has bolstered his credentials one of the best young players in the game. The Sixers have Joel Embiid, second in the latest MVP voting, and fellow former No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons. None of those guys decided Game 7 of East semifinals Instead, it was Huerter who carried the Hawks to the 103-96 victory. Young couldn’t make a shot (he’s got a sore right shoulder). Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, usually the No. 2 scorer, was slowed by a right knee. The Hawks went to Huerter and he gave them exactly what they needed.
Huerter scored a team-high 27 points to Young’s 21. He made 10 of 18 shots while Young missed 18 of 23. At winning time, Young was missing step back 3-pointers and losing the ball out of bounds. Huerter was scoring over smaller defenders, making clutch free throws and tapping a pass ahead to Danilo Gallinari for a breakaway dunk that put away the Sixers. “It’s that confidence he’s playing with now,” Hawks forward John Collins said. “We’ve all seen his skillset he possesses and how he plays the game, mentally and cerebrally. But it’s really about confidence for Kev. It’s grown.” It’s happened at the perfect time for the Hawks. Huerter couldn’t crack Coach Nate McMillan’s starting lineup for the first three games of the series. Solomon Hill got the call once Hunter (knee) was ruled out. McMillan eventually put Huerter in the lineup because he was looking for more shooting.
The Hawks led 93-89 when Young lost control of the ball for a turnover. Huerter quickly fouled Simmons near half court. That was a smart play because Simmons was clearly shaken by his struggles shooting the ball. He hardly looked at the rim all night - Simmons passed up a wide open dunk late in the game - and he didn’t want anything to do with free throws. Simmons made one of two attempts to cut Philadelphia’s deficit to 93-90 with less than two minutes to play. Sixers forward Tobias Harris scored at the basket to make it 93-92 with one minute to go. The Hawks urgently needed a score.
Huerter delivered by drawing a shooting foul against Matisse Thybulle on a 3-point try. Huerter sidestepped into space and shot the ball as Thybulle hit him across the head. Huerter made all three free throws for a 96-92 lead with 54 seconds left. The Sixers set up Embiid for a drive to the basket. Gallinari knocked the ball away from Embiid as he tried a spin move. The ball went to Huerter, who passed ahead to Gallinari. Maybe this will be the thing that elevates Huerter from decent bench player to something more. He was the No. 19 overall draft pick in 2018, the same year Young was selected fifth. Teams are happy to find an average starter that late in the draft.
Atlanta will face the Milwaukee Bucks on this Wednesday at 7:30pm, the game will be on TNT. The Western Conference finals started on Sunday with the Phoenix Sun win game 1 over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Sun are looking for the return of Chris Paul in game 2.
Hinchliffe Stadium is “Brought Back to Life”
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by Todd Plitt
Now, after lying vacant for 24 years, Hinchliffe Stadium is coming back to life. Government officials, architects and baseball historians recently gathered at an emotional groundbreaking ceremony on last week to restore the 89-year-old stadium and a return of pride and dignity. The stadium will resurrect memories of the old Negro Leagues where the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans played. This is the site of the 1933 Negro League World Series called the Colored Championship of the Nation. It was where Paterson Eastside and Paterson Central High Schools played in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. And it is the home of Paterson hero Larry Doby.
This is where Doby was discovered in a Negro League tryout with the Newark Eagles. He was the first player to go directly from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues on July 5, 1947, breaking the American League color barrier with Cleveland, just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was inducted in 1998 into the Hall of Fame. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the refurbished Hinchliffe Stadium will be “New Jersey’s Field of Dreams,’’ but actually it’s much greater than just baseball. It tells the story of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the constant struggle for civil rights.
Now, more than ever, this project will deeply resonate in the community and throughout all of baseball, bringing the Negro League history back to life at the intersection of Liberty and Maple Streets in Paterson. The project, which will include a 75-home senior center, a restaurant, pre-school, 815-space parking deck, and a 12,000-square foot event space to honor the Negro Leagues, was the brainstorm of Brian LoPinto. LoPinto, 41, co-founder of a non-profit group called Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium, grew up just two blocks from the stadium, one of only two Negro League ballparks still in existence. He feared the ballpark would be demolished after Laval Wilson, the former Paterson Public Schools superintendent, announced in 1996 it would cost $4.8 million to restore it or $4 million to tear it down.
The project is expected to be completed by August, 2022, if everything goes smoothly. It will immediately become a beautiful source of pride for the community, and a destination for baseball aficionados.
This is where 20 Hall of Famers from the Negro Leagues played. It’s where Josh Gibson, by far the greatest player Doby ever saw, played. It’s where Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston and Buck Leonard played. It’s also where Doby played high school football on Thanksgiving Day.
Once completed, Hinchliffe will host high school baseball and football games. Soccer matches. Track events. There will be concerts and music festivals, too, bringing back memories of when Duke Ellington performed in one of his last concerts in 1971. “The greatest thing of all,’’ LoPinto says, “is that Hinchliffe will have a voice again. The great voices of the Negro Leagues. You’ll hear Doby and Gibson and (Monte) Irvin. They didn’t have a voice during their playing days, but they sure do now.’’ You’ll hear them loud and clear with their days in the Negro Leagues forever celebrated.
Dallas & Dak
4 Years, $160 million deal
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo Courtesy of Insidethestar.com
Dakota “Dak” Prescott had said he wanted to be a Cowboy for life. The Cowboys had insisted there was no moving forward without Prescott. And yet, negotiations lasted more than two years. Until Monday. Prescott and the Cowboys agreed to a four-year deal worth $160 million with $126 million guaranteed. Prescott could earn up to $164 million in four years, and the deal includes no-trade and no-tag clause. Thus Prescott could return to the negotiating table as soon as three years from now. At that point, he'll be just 30 years old.
With an NFL-record $66 million signing bonus, Prescott is set to earn $75 million in 2021 – one year after he played out a $31.4 million franchise tag. Over his first three years, he'll earn an average of $42 million per year, the people said. Technically, the deal that voids to four years will span six to give the team accounting flexibility logging Prescott's hefty signing bonus.
Only Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year extension worth $450 million last July, will play on a contract with a higher annual salary or guarantee than Prescott. Prescott's deal is set to expire seven years before Mahomes'. The Cowboys announced generally Monday evening that the deal had been reached, with a more detailed press announcement scheduled for Wednesday. Prescott is expected to address reporters then.
The Cowboys drafted Prescott 135th overall in 2016. He rose from fourth-string quarterback to immediate starter in a matter of months, supplanting Tony Romo as the Cowboys' face of the franchise. Prescott started 72 straight games, including three playoff games, from 2016 through the fifth of week of the 2020 season. He compiled a 42-27 regular-season record, throwing for 17,634 yards and 106 touchdowns to 40 interceptions. He racked up another 24 rushing touchdowns as well as his receiving touchdown one quarter before his 2020 season ended abruptly.
Prescott was off to his best statistical season in 2020, averaging 371.2 passing yards per game, when a designed run went awry and he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. He was carted off the field of AT&T Stadium in tears, an ambulance waiting to transport him to a local hospital for immediate surgery that night to clean the wound and repair the fracture. Prescott hasn't played since, though he is again walking. "I’m a Cowboy and couldn’t be happier, "I look forward to working along Coach McCarthy, the staff, and my teammates to be the best team we can be in pursuit to our goal of a Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers “Rout” the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV 31-9
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network
Tampa Bay FL: The Kansas City Chiefs’ dream to run it back woke up to a harsh reality in Super Bowl LV. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady dissected the Chiefs’ defense with three touchdown passes en route to a convincing 31-9 win Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Chiefs were down 21-6 at halftime and then tried to play catch-up the rest of the way. Tampa Bay’s defense quieted the Chiefs’ offense, which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the league at 415.8 yards per game. The Chiefs amassed 350 yards Sunday but couldn’t connect down the field as the Bucs played their safeties deep. The Chiefs’ offense found no semblance of rhythm. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket numerous times behind a shuffled offensive line.
“It was a bad day to have a bad day,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I’m not going to lay it on the offensive line. When we lose, we all lose together on this.” The Chiefs converted a paltry three of 13 third-down attempts (23%). Mahomes was sacked three times, hit eight times and picked off twice. Add it up and the result was a one-sided Chiefs loss in the biggest game in football.
“They played better than we did, and that’s my responsibility,” Reid said. “I take full responsibility for it. You can’t do the things we did and beat a good football team like that, particularly at this level.” While the Chiefs were let down on numerous fronts, nothing stood out more than the yellow flags littering the ground. Penalties became the theme for the Chiefs in the first half: eight for 98 yards, the most in Super Bowl history. The Chiefs, however, hurt themselves repeatedly in the first half, especially on Tampa Bay’s fifth possession.
Brady’s interception was wiped out by a defensive holding call on KC cornerback Charvarius Ward. The Chiefs’ defense held to force a 40-yard field goal attempt, which kicker Ryan Succop, the former Chiefs kicker, nailed. A neutral-zone penalty on wide receiver Mecole Hardman gave the Buccaneers a first down instead. Brady made the Chiefs pay with a bullet to streaking tight end Rob Gronkowski, who raced down the right sideline for a 17-yard touchdown. Gronkowski finished with six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs’ undisciplined play was highly uncharacteristic and greatly contributed to their downfall. They finished the game with 11 penalties for 120 yards.
Sunday presented the first Super Bowl matchup between QBs who’d won each of the two most recent Super Bowls. Mahomes won Super Bowl LIV, Brady Super Bowl LIII with the New England Patriots. Mahomes made some typically miraculous throws only to be let down on the receiving end. In the first half, his off-balance pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill would have been a touchdown, but the ball bounced off Hill’s facemask. Mahomes also threw a pass in the third quarter on a fourth-and-9 play when he was parallel to the ground. The pass was intended for running back Darrel Williams near the end zone it caromed off Williams’ facemask.
Forced to scramble a lot, Mahomes ran for 33 yards on five carries. The Bucs seemed well prepared for Hill, who torched them with 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12. Sunday night, Hill had seven catches for 73 yards. Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce had 10 catches for 133 yards on 15 targets. “(Buccaneers defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles) had a good plan,” Reid said. “But like I said, I could’ve done a whole lot better of putting these guys in a better position to make plays.”
Hammerin' Hank Aaron Has Gone Home
by Willie Epting Jr. / Clesportstalk.com / BGCsports Network / The Not Cleveland Sports Beat, Photo courtesy of MLB.com
There are times in life when you feel as though you know
people without ever having met them. Stuart Scott, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman and others are some to name a few. The individuals listed were larger than life figures in each of their respective
fields. The same is said about Henry Louis Aaron, Sr. Aaron passed the morning of January 22nd at 86 years young.
The baseball prowess, home run hitting records and his fielding exploits are numerous and the stories are endless. But Hank, the man, came from humble beginnings from the deep south in the City of Mobile, AL. Growing up in a day and age when racism, social injustice and inequality were at a fever-pitched, Aaron remained undeterred in the pursuit of his dreams to make it to the highest level of baseball.
Hammerin’ Hank’s on the field accomplishments will forever remain some of the greatest in the history of not just baseball, but in all of sports. The unbreakable record of 714 career home runs, he crushed. Amid death threats for him and his family, Aaron stared directly in the face of these inequities and did what he did best…bash baseballs. And who can forget that iconic day in history in Atlanta, of all places, when the record-breaking home run sailed over the left-center field fence. There he was rounding the bases with two white guys flanking him on either side while congratulating him on the feat. It is one of the most celebrated celebratory moments in history.
Aaron’s impact has been felt far more off the baseball diamond. As an advocate for equality, Hank displayed humility and self-discipline help to create initiatives for a fairer and more equal America. Upon retiring from the Majors in 1976, his footprints and fingerprints remained on the game he loved so very much. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 after receiving 97% of the vote. (Side note: Who does not vote 100% for the All-Time HR King?). He received what is arguably the most prestigious award of his life when former President George W. Bush awarded Aaron the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. This award encompassed who Aaron was a man, a baseball player and someone who just wanted to make the world a better place. In the midst of the pandemic and growing mistrust of African Americans of the Covid-19 vaccine, there Hank was, out front getting the shot to soothe the fears of the skeptics.
“I’m hoping someday that some kid, black or white, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I’d be pulling for him.” Hank Aaron
Get your rest, Hammer. You were truly one of the greats.
Alabama Wins BIG over Ohio State 52-24 for the 2021 College Football Championship
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by Al Diaz
Miami Gardens: DeVonta Smith ran into the end zone at Hard Rock Stadium untouched — again — and pointed his right index finger toward the sky. The Heisman Trophy winner, arguably the single-handed best player in college football during this arguably most challenging college football season, had done it again. He was the best player on the field, on an offense that featured three of the top five finalists for the Heisman. He was nearly impossible to defend, an almost weekly occurrence. It led to an often-seen conclusion over the past dozen years at the end of a college football season: Alabama hoisting a national championship trophy.
Behind Smith’s 12 catches, 215 receiving yards and three touchdowns — all in the first half — the top-ranked Crimson Tide capped their undefeated, 13-0 season with a 52-24 win over the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff National Championship in front of a socially-distanced crowd of 14,926.
The only thing that stopped Smith: A dislocated finger on his right hand early in the third quarter, one that relegated him to the sideline two plays into the second half and into the locker room shortly afterward, where the team doctors “tried to put it back in place.” He returned to the sideline midway through the fourth quarter wearing a gray Alabama T-shirt, a Heisman Trophy mask and a lot of bandage on that right hand. By that point, though, the game was basically decided. A season like no other — one played under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, one who’s start seemed uncertain let alone its finish — had an ending that was all-too-familiar.
Alabama was on its way to its sixth title since 2009 under Nick Saban, who won his seventh overall title and broke his tie with Bear Bryant for most national titles by a college football head coach. It’s the Crimson Tide’s third title in the College Football Playoff era, also winning in 2015 and 2017. And it’s Alabama’s second perfect season under Saban, who guided the Crimson Tide to a 14-0 record in 2009, when the Alabama dynasty began.
Alabama averaged 48.5 points per game over its 13-game season. It eclipsed the 50-point mark seven times, including four of its final five games. On Monday, Alabama put up 621 yards of offense, their second-most in a game this season.
Ohio State (7-1), down 13 players before the game started and without running back Trey Sermon one drive into the game after he suffered a collarbone injury, kept up with Alabama for about 25 minutes of regulation. The Buckeyes matched Alabama’s first two touchdowns with rushing touchdowns from Master Teague III — first from 8 yards out and then from 4 yards out — to keep the game tied 14-14 with 11:43 minutes left in the first half.But Alabama outscored Ohio State 21-3 over the final stretch of the first half, with Smith hauling in two of the Crimson Tide’s three scores, to essentially put the game out of reach.
Oooo La La La in Lakerland Story by Willie Epting Jr. / Cleveland Sports Talk / BGCsports Network, Photo courtesy of Clesportstalk.com
The year 2020 continues to provide us with twists and turns in the sports world. The Los Angeles Lakers capped off an abbreviated and unprecedented NBA season in October with its 17th NBA championship. Think about that for just a moment. THE NBA SEASON WAS CAPPED IN OCTOBER!!!!! As if things were not uncharacteristically strange enough, the NBA draft just completed on November 19th and free agency officially opened the day after.
Let’s start there. The Lakers possess the most-prized free agent of this offseason with
PF/C Anthony Davis. “The Brow” has already opted out of his final year, but the expectation is he will sign a more lucrative but shorter-term deal to
stay in L.A. This is the Lakers’ top priority as the start of the 2020-2021 season looms.
Gone are PG Rajon Rondo, C/F Dwight Howard and C JaVale McGee. Rondo, who was instrumental in the Lakers’ run to the title has signed with the Atlanta Hawks. Howard is taking what little talent he has left to the City of Brotherly Love as he will back up C Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. McGee was traded to the Cavaliers for a bag of basketballs that were slightly deflated.
The Lakers have quickly reloaded by bringing in more talent, younger talent and more skilled players to replace the trio mentioned above. Switching locker rooms is Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell as he joins the Lake Show from the Clippers. The Lakers have also signed C Marc Gasol and G/F Wesley Matthews while re-signing G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and F Markeiff Morris. Trading G Danny Green to the OKC Thunder for G Dennis Schroder adds more consistent scoring in the backcourt and strong defense.
The path to 18 for the Lakers championship count and title number five for LeBron James is looking stronger than the pursuit of the 17th title. For Laker fans, there is genuine hope for a repeat. For the world, let’s hope there is no repeat of a pandemic and a return to sports normalcy.
Steelers “Narrowly Escape” Cowboys with 24 to 19 win to remain undefeated at 8-0
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys
Arlington: Ben Roethlisberger saved the Steelers from an embarrassing defeat by throwing for 306 yards and three touchdowns to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 24-19, and remain as the NFL’s only unbeaten team. The victory gave the Steelers (8-0) their best start in franchise history, eclipsing the 7-0 start in 1978. But it wasn’t an overwhelming performance by the Steelers, who had the benefit of several costly Dallas penalties on their final two scoring drives. Roethlisberger brought the Steelers back from deficits of 13-0 and 19-9, finally taking the lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron with 2:14 remaining to cap a six-play, 79-yard drive. The drive was kept alive, though, when defensive end Aldon Smith was called for roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion.
The Cowboys, a 14 ½-point underdog, had allowed the most points in the NFL and had managed just 22 points in their previous three games since quarterback Dak Prescott was injured. But they jumped to their leads thanks to a couple of big special teams plays of 73 and 64 yards and a leaky Steelers rush defense that gave up 144 yards one week after allowing the Baltimore Ravens 265 yards on the ground. When quarterback Garrett Gilbert, making his first NFL start, was sacked by defensive end Cam Heyward with 1:37 remaining, it appeared to end the Cowboys’ final threat.
But after the Steelers were stopped a fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 19, the Cowboys got as far as the Steelers 23 with four seconds remaining when Bud Dupree hit Gilbert’s hand as he was throwing, forcing an incompletion. Gilbert was 21 of 37 for 243 yards and a touchdown. But he was also intercepted in the end zone by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick with the Cowboys looking to add to their 19-15 lead.
The Steelers cut the lead to that score on the first play of the fourth quarter when Roethlisberger threw a 31-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster in the middle of the field, capping a six-play, 75-yard drive. But, for the second time in the game, Chris Boswell missed the extra point, this time when it was blocked. Roethlisberger, who left the game at the end of the first half with a left knee injury, completed four passes to Smith-Schuster for 80 yards on the drive.
But the Cowboys came right back on the ensuing possession and looked as though they would pad their lead, thanks to a 64-yard kick return by Rico Dowdle on a play where the Steelers got to kick off from the 45. But, on third-and-goal from the 7, Gilbert was hit by Heyward and linebacker Robert Spillane and Fitzpatrick intercepted his wobbly pass in the end zone. The Steelers moved to 8-0 and the Cowboys are now 2-7, riding a four-game losing streak heading into next Sunday’s bye. They don’t resume play until Nov. 22 at the Minnesota Vikings. But the Cowboys might return a team with renewed confidence following the stronger than expected effort against the Steelers. Andy Dalton is expected to return at quarterback but Gilbert showed some promise in his first career career start while becoming the team’s fourth different starter in 2020 and marking the first time the Cowboys have had three different starters in three straight games since 1994.
Story by Willie Epting Jr (Freelance Contributor)/ Cleveland Sports Talk / Host of #Bros of BB & The ShakeBack / BGCsports Network, Photo by Hipsters Remedy
The Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka were determined to surround LeBron James with enough weapons for what would be an historic championship run.
Rewind to July 6, 2019 when the Lakers traded Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for perennial All-Star Anthony Davis. Davis had done everything he could to force the Pels to move him.
The Lakers instantly became many experts’ choice as one of the favorites in the Western Conference. That distinction would no doubt be challenged by their Staples Center roommate in the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles would soon complete their acquisitions with other veterans such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, two other world champions with SG Danny Green and PG Rajon Rondo, C/PF Dwight Howard, and others. This formula proved to work well as the Lakers raced out of the blocks and all the way to the best record in the Western Conference. Enter; the coronavirus pandemic which would of course shut down the season for four months.
As the brain trust of the NBA formulated plans for restarting the season, the “Bubble” was formed in Orlando, FL for seeding purposes. The Lakers continued their pre-postponement stellar play by marching through the Portland Trailblazers, the Houston Rockets, and the Denver Nuggets before facing James’s former team, the Miami Heat.
While it appeared the Lakers had a tremendous talent advantage over their Eastern Conference counterparts, most of the six games of the NBA Finals were hotly contested. However, the Lakers superior talent proved to be too much as they were able to subdue the Heat in six games. Davis and James displayed their superior talent in leading Los Angeles. James now has four championships and was named the Finals’ MVP for the fourth time in his first ballot hall of fame career. He is also the only player in NBA history to have won Finals’ MVP with three different teams (once in Cleveland, twice in Miami, and now in Los Angeles). Davis has tasted his first sip of from the championship cup.
Winning this title will certainly fuel the fire for the debate of who the G.O.A.T. is; Michael Jordan or LeBron James. However, the Lakers with duo of James and Davis should be in prime position for another Lakers’ crown in the 2020-2021 season.
It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers vs The Tampa Bay Rays
from Globe Life Field in Arlington
Story by Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network,
Photos by Eric Gay & Dennis Pordy
Arlington: The World Series started on this past Tuesday and baseball fans are so excited to be attending the games in person. Last week it was the NLCS National League Champion Series between the Atlanta Braves and the LA Dodgers. That series went the distance of seven games in where the Dodgers rallied to clinch the championship.
Meanwhile on the ALCS American League Championship it was the Houston Astros against the Tampa Bay Rays. Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 4.08 regular season; 2-1, 4.66 postseason) took the loss in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series on Wednesday, allowing four runs over six innings, including two home runs, throwing 96 pitches, including 13 at 100 mph. Also got three double-play ground balls, his first since May 2019. Loss ended a streak of 11 straight games in which Rays had won when Glasnow started. He started clinching games in Wild Card and Division Series. Made three relief appearances vs. Dodgers when with Pirates. Glasnow is expected to be the starter in game one.
The Dodgers will go with LH Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16; 2-1, 3.32) took the loss in Game 4 of NL Championship Series, allowing four runs over five innings after having his start pushed back two days because of back spasms. Won Game 2 in Wild Card Series over Brewers and Division Series over Padres. Three-time Cy Young Award winner’s career 11-12, 4.31 mark in 35 postseason games (28 starts) is a hot topic compared to his 175-75, 2.43 regular-season mark. Is 2-0, 1.88 in two starts vs. Rays, in 2019 and 2013.
The teams finished with the best records in their leagues and share a bond in personnel and philosophy, as Andrew Friedman helped build the Rays organization into a winner and then left after the 2014 season to take over the Dodgers. The Dodgers made the match happen with a 4-3 win over the Braves on Sunday night in another tense Game 7, Cody Bellinger’s seventh-inning homer putting them ahead to stay. They came back from a 3-1 series deficit to win three straight games and secure their third NL pennant in four years. The Dodgers, who went 43-17 during the season and eliminated the Brewers and Padres, will be a tough matchup.
And, with Major League Baseball allowing about 10,500 fans per game in socially distanced seating, they are likely to have a significant advantage there, too, based on the loud crowd cheering them on.
The Lakers’ Winding Path Ends with a 17th Championship, and 1st Ever “BUBBLECHIP”
Story by Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network,
Edited by Darrell D. Day / BGCsports Network, Photo courtesy of NBA.com
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games to take home the franchise’s 17th championship. It was the fourth title for LeBron James. It was not a season. For the Los Angeles Lakers, it was an obstacle course. It was 12 months packed with tragedies and togetherness. It was disjointed and odd, unprecedented and often unpleasant, an odyssey that began for them in a Chinese hotel amid a geopolitical feud and ended in a mostly empty arena at Walt Disney World, the site of the world’s most famous bubble since the invention of chewing gum. But for all the disruptive forces that rocked the N.B.A., the Lakers triumphed in the end.
The Lakers won their 17th championship — and their first with LeBron James as their centerpiece — with a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night in Game 6 of the N.B.A. finals. A mere 355 days after the Lakers played their season opener before a packed crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles, they toppled the Heat, four games to two, to finish off their playoff run on an elaborate made-for-TV sound stage that lacked spectators, aside from a few of the players’ family members and friends.
It was one of the hard realities of competing for a title in a pandemic, one that had forced the N.B.A. to suspend its season for more than four months before play resumed in July within the league’s self-contained slice of Disney World outside Orlando, Fla. The Lakers went about their business in isolation, winning it all as their fans cheered from home.
No player was more brilliant than James, who, at age 35, was named the finals’ most valuable player for the fourth time in his career. After making his ninth trip to the finals in the past 10 seasons, and his 10th appearance over all, James has now won four championships with three franchises. He powered Sunday’s rout — the Lakers led by as many as 36 — with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. For the series, he averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists while shooting 59 percent from the field.
James was pushed by the Heat’s Jimmy Butler, who solidified his place as one of the league’s most dynamic two-way players. Butler had extended the series in Game 5 by finishing with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, his second triple-double of the series. Ultimately, Butler and Heat posed just one final test for the Lakers, who felt the effects of the league’s longest season.
Let’s remember the start of the year when the unimaginable: On Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles. Bryant, an iconic and polarizing star, had spent his entire 20-year playing career with the Lakers, winning five championships, before he retired in 2016.
Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ general manager, was among Bryant’s closest friends, and many current players revered him. Artwork of Bryant and his daughter appeared in spaces across the city — and beyond. Fans left flowers and handwritten notes at the team’s practice facility. A public memorial was staged at Staples Center, where Beyoncé sang and Michael Jordan wept. Just over two weeks later, the season was indefinitely suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. As the hiatus dragged on, protests against police brutality and racial injustice roiled the country, and many players used their platforms as celebrities to bring attention to those issues. Some even questioned whether the season should be canceled so as not to be a distraction.
Yet, through it all — calamities, big and small — the Lakers remained determined to chase the franchise’s first championship since 2010, which was also Bryant’s last title. On Sunday, James left on top. After a season full of tumult and change, at least that much was familiar. Congratulation LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers, Thank you Magic Johnson for break him to the Lakers organization.
Cowboys “Snatch Victory from the Jaws of Defeat”
with a 40 to 39 win over the Atlanta Falcons
Story by Cedric Bailey - Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by Ron Jenkins
Arlington: The Atlanta Falcons had 39 points and zero turnovers in their loss against the Cowboys. Entering Sunday, teams were 440-0 when scoring 39 points with no turnovers since 1933, when turnovers were first tracked, according to Elias. According to ESPN Stats & Information, teams were 1,875-6 when leading by 15 or more points in the final five minutes of regulation over the past 20 seasons. The last team to overcome such a deficit was the New Orleans Saints against Washington in 2017. The Atlanta Falcons built a 20-0 lead and were up 29-10 at the halftime before collapsing in the second half. They held a 15-point lead with 4:45 to play and found another way to lose the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Perhaps running back Ezekiel Elliott said it best: “We weren’t supposed to win it, we weren’t supposed to win that game. It is a testament to the type of guys we have in this locker room, and we went out there and got it done.” Even after the Cowboys rallied from deficits of 20 points in first-quarter, 19 points at the half, 15 points with 7:57 remaining and nine points with 4:57 left, Elliott still couldn’t believe the Cowboys emerged with a most improbable 40-39 win Sunday afternoon. “It almost felt unreal, you know?” Elliott said after the game. “With the start that we got off to, came out flat, turned the ball over three times, weren’t really focused on really, uh, honestly, I don’t know. We didn’t get off to a good start at first.
With 2:32 left to play in the fourth quarter, the Falcons’ win probability was 99.9%, according to ESPN. Before Sunday, another ESPN stat said that teams were 1,875-6 when leading by 15 or more points in the final five minutes of regulation over the past 20 seasons. The Cowboys’ record is now 2-35 when they trail by 19-plus points at halftime. The Cowboys rallied due to the heroics of quarterback Dak Prescott, who completed 34 of 47 passes for 450 yards with a passing touchdown and three more on the ground, and the wizardry of Greg Zuerlein, whose squib onside kick after Prescott’s last score run that made the score 39-37 had the Falcons so mesmerized they failed to make a play on the ball before the Cowboys were eligible to touch it. But once the ball traveled those 10 yards, C.J. Goodwin pounced on it and set the stage for Zeurlein’s game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired. Prescott’s play and Zeurlein’s kicks have been well chronicled, but here are five other plays that also a big impact on a Cowboys’ comeback for the ages.
On Sunday, three of the Cowboys’ first five drives resulted in fumbles. To make it even worse, they all happened in the first quarter and all resulted in Falcons points. The first two were touchdowns and the last one resulted in field goal points. The Cowboys almost lost this game before it even got started well. With things like injuries, missed assignments, and other wacky things going on all over the NFL in these first two weeks, the fumble fest was about par for the course, but you can’t have that almost three straight times to begin the game. Dallas will now travel to Seattle to face Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Seattle defeated the New England Patriots 35-30 on the last play of the game. Game time is 3:25pm.
Luka Doncic leads the Dallas Mavericks to a
“HUGE WIN” over the Clippers in OT.
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Kevin Cox
Lake Buena Vista FL: The Magic is truly happening at Disney World in Florida. The main reason is because of a young kid that grew up in Slovenia, Luka Doncic didn’t watch many NBA games or highlight shows on TV. He had a good reason. “It was like 3 a.m. in my country and I had to go in school in the morning,” the Dallas Mavericks’ second-year standout said of the sport’s usual air time. Doncic became a one-man international highlight show on Sunday, capping a 43-point, 17-rebound, 13-assist performance with a buzzer-beating three-point basket that left the Clippers reeling. “Luka just raised his level of play, just like a star should,” Dallas guard Trey Burke said, “and we followed behind him.”
Doncic was the one who put himself in the middle of a happy pileup on the court at the Disney World campus, letting out a roar after his 28-foot shot gave Dallas a 135-133 overtime victory and tied the teams’ first-round playoff series at two games each. “Just a phenomenal effort,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said, a sincere yet still inadequate description of Doncic’s exceptional performance. “We know this kid has got a flair for the dramatic. He’s a performer as well as a great player. He’s a guy that looks for these moments and is completely fearless.” The Clippers acquired Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for games like this, for times like this, when they need leadership and direction and someone to carry the team on his back. Leonard had 32 points on Sunday but George’s postseason shooting woes continued with a three-for-14 performance.
Doncic, who rolled his left ankle Friday night, was questionable until game time. Kristaps Porzingis, who averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds for Dallas in the first three games, couldn’t play at all because of a sore knee. The Clippers appeared to pounce on those advantages when they took a 21-point lead in the second quarter. But they couldn’t pull away, awakening memories of the most painful collapse in their playoff history. In 2015 they held a 3-1 edge in their second-round series against the Rockets, lost Game 5 in Houston, and blew a 19-point late in the third quarter of Game 6 at home. They lost that series and still haven’t gotten past the second round, a journey Leonard and George were brought in to lead. The Clippers can’t think about reaching the Promised Land of the conference finals if they can’t beat Dallas in this round, and it’s suddenly far from sure that they’ll advance.
Burke praised Doncic’s ability to focus no matter the pressure, situation, or chippiness of the game. “He plays with a different type of passion,” Burke said. “He don’t back down from nobody. That’s one of the first things I seen about him last season, is it don’t matter who’s talking to him, he’s not going to back down. It kind of raises his level of play, to be honest.” Carlisle said Doncic reminded him in some ways of Jason Kidd and Larry Bird, no small compliment. “I think both those guys are from the same fabric competitively, and in terms of their will to win and their resourcefulness to find ways to impact the game in unique forms,” Carlisle said. “It’s not just about putting the ball in the basket. It’s about giving teammates confidence. It’s about knowing how to channel your emotions.”
Finally let’s talk about Trey Burke, Burke might be 15 inches shorter and 65 pounds lighter than the 7-3, 240-pound Porzingis. But he played huge in the 135-133 overtime win that evened the first-round series 2-2. Burke had 25 points and continued to be by far the best replacement player in the NBA bubble and arguably the nicest surprise of the season for the Mavericks. Burke has fit in seamlessly with the Mavericks, partly because he filled a need when he was signed in July and also because he knows Rick Carlisle’s system. Burke was part of the Porzingis trade in the 2018-19 season, then left the Mavericks in free agency. Dallas will now prepare for game 5 on Tuesday and game 6 on Thursday. If necessary a game 7, we will continue to watch the magic of Luka and the Dallas Mavericks road in the playoffs.
Texas High School Football
By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of FWISD
Arlington: As football coaches across North Texas began to digest the UIL’s plan for starting athletics in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Many High School coaches have scrolled through a wave of texts and calls since the announcement.
The UIL’s announcement of a regularly scheduled start for Class 4A and smaller schools and a delayed start for larger schools triggered a mad scramble among coaches to revise their slates of games. For Fort Worth Dunbar Class 4A team, the challenge proved particularly severe since the wildcats can’t begin play until late September because of a Dallas County schools such Dallas Madison and Dallas Kimball that prohibits organized workouts until the first week of September.
Coach Lawson and O. D. Wyatt Coach Zach Criss wasn’t alone in hustling for a game. Coaches in classes 5A and 6A focused on the district-certification date of Dec. 5, which marks the final day that a school can complete district play and determine playoff participation. In Class 4A and below, most area coaches will be able to compete in their previously scheduled games, but a handful will have to adapt to local ordinances prohibiting workouts until September or rework schedules that originally included schools in larger classifications.
Of the UIL’s six conferences, the top two (6A and 5A) would be delayed from starting their seasons as scheduled because, generally, those are the parts of the state where positive COVID-19 are still the highest. Practices would not be able to pick up again until Sept. 7, although some competition would be able to start that day. But football is another story. The earliest games could be played will be Sept. 24, and the delayed start would push the state championships in January.
Meanwhile, the four smallest conferences (4A, 3A, 2A and 1A) would be able to maintain the current schedules and have student athletes return to practice as soon as Aug. 3. All competition would be able to start in mid- to late August, and the state championships would remain unchanged. “Our goal in releasing this plan is to provide a path forward for Texas students and schools,” said UIL executive director Dr. Charles Breithaupt in a press release. “While understanding situations change and there will likely be interruptions that will require flexibility and patience, we are hopeful this plan allows students to participate in the education-based activities they love in a way that prioritizes safety and mitigates risk of COVID-19 spread.” Fort Worth area 4A schools include Kennedale, Dunbar, Benbrook, Carter-Riverside, Eastern Hills, Western Hills, Diamond Hill-Jarvis, Castleberry and Lake Worth.
Dallas Mavericks Come Together in
Support for George Floyd
By Cedric Bailey
Dallas: Our country is in the midst of Covid 19 on trying to reopen and returning back to normal. However it was on Memorial Day when George Floyd, an African-American man, died in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white American Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd's arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd's back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on as he stood nearby.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was among those attending a prayer vigil outside Dallas Police headquarters on Sunday. Cuban was reportedly accompanied by Mavericks players Dwight Powell, Justin Jackson, Jalen Brunson and Maxi Kleber. The vigil was organized to honor the memory of George Floyd, who died in police custody last week, and to take steps to help the community heal as violence continues to erupt across the country. Also in attendance were Dallas police chief Reneé Hall and Dallas mayor Eric Johnson. Cuban also shared the following comments on his social media page. “This is our community; our country,” “Both are hurting. I wanted to be here to listen. To understand better the pain the African American community is going through. And to show that the Mavs organization will be here to help.”
Dwight Powell had this to say as well. “I think it’s important for anybody who cares about justice and the things that are going on in this city and the things that have been going on in this country for a long time. “It’s important to be a part of the conversation,” he added. “I think Mark has done a great job, in his leadership of us and showing us that we have a voice. To be able to be here and hear the voice of the community — share their opinions and thoughts and feelings — it was very important for us to be here today.”
The Mavericks group was among the many players attending gatherings and protests this weekend in the wake of Floyd’s death. Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. were all in attendance at various protests.
The strong majority of NBA teams have also released statements condemning Floyd’s death and the systemic racism it reflects, including the Mavericks. The Texas Rangers, Dallas Wings and the Dallas Stars have issued statements also.
Will the NBA Season Return in 2020
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network
Austin: On Monday afternoon, after the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder became the latest NBA teams to reopen their practice facilities, 17 of the 30 franchises had allowed players to return to conduct limited, voluntary workouts and rehabilitation under team supervision.
But not everyone has been invited back yet. Head coaches are not allowed to take part, according to NBA guidelines that govern how teams can reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Clippers coach Doc Rivers does not expect to remain sidelined for long. On the same day that a small group of Clippers players returned to the team’s Playa Vista facility, Rivers reiterated his optimism that an NBA season on hold since March 11 eventually will resume. For now, such a restart remains only a possibility, but with more than half the league hosting individual workouts again, optimism has grown in some corners of the league. The NBA has allowed only teams in states where stay-and-home orders have been eased to reopen their doors.
Still, any optimism remains cautious, given the strict guidelines put in place to even reopen team facilities and conduct limited workouts. Some teams have asked coaches to wear masks on court. Getting into the Lakers’ El Segundo facility Saturday required guard Quinn Cook to have his temperature checked and leave his shoes outside. He described the precautionary measures during an Instagram live session with teammate Jared Dudley.
Meanwhile the state of Texas’ turn is right around the corner. Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced that on May 31, professional sports in Texas can resume without fans. Abbott also said youth sports and overnight camps can resume on the same date. Abbott’s announcement about pro sports in Texas, which already had set dates in June for IndyCar’s Genesys 300 (June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway) and the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge (June 11-14 at Colonial Country Club), comes the same day New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and California Gov. Gavin Newsom said pro sports could soon resume in their respective states, too.
Cuomo said he’s asked New York teams in major sports to start planning for a resumption of their seasons without fans, while Newsom said “that first week or so of June” could be when pro sports return in California, also without fans. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football -- whoever can reopen -- we’re a ready, willing and able partner,” Cuomo told reports during his daily news conference. “I think this is in the best interest of all the people and the best interest of the state of New York.” We will continue to follow the numbers daily on the number of people that are affected by Covid 19.
The Dallas Cowboys Draft, Oklahoma Wide Receiver “CeeDee” Lamb in the 1st Round
By Cedric Bailey / LaVida News / BGCsports Network
CeeDee Lamb said he did not know where he would fall in the first round of the NFL draft, but the Dallas Cowboys certainly never expected him to be available with the 17th overall pick.With an opportunity too good to pass up, the Cowboys selected the Oklahoma wide receiver in Thursday's first round, marking the first time they took a receiver in the top round since Dez Bryant in 2010.
The Cowboys entered the first round thinking defense, especially after losing cornerback Byron Jones and pass-rusher Robert Quinn in free agency. They had their chance to select LSU pass-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson, but went with the best-available-player approach by taking Lamb. In fact, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Lamb was the sixth-rated player on their draft board, and the Cowboys passed on three different trade-down opportunities.
"Lamb prevailed," Jones said. "We just didn't want to miss him. Those trades ultimately are supposed to add another player to be valuable, but we couldn't trump him. He was just there. He's a football player. He's a playmaker. He just earned it." Entering the draft, many expected Lamb to be the first receiver selected among one of the deeper groups in recent memory. Instead, he was the third behind Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders, No. 12) and Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos, No. 15), the two former Alabama stars.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys did not do a pre-draft mock that had Lamb available at 17. "We felt like he was a top-10 player in this draft and we'd never see him," Stephen Jones said.Lamb said he had one conversation with the Cowboys during the pre-draft process, at the scouting combine in February. "I didn't know they'd take me, but when I saw my phone, it honestly surprised me," Lamb said. "It was everything I dreamed of on that phone call."
Lamb is added to a receiver group that includes Amari Cooper, who signed a five-year, $100 million deal that included $40 million fully guaranteed, and Michael Gallup. Both receivers had more than 1,000 yards last season, and Cooper was added to the Pro Bowl. Lamb had two 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma and scored 32 touchdowns in 41 games. "He's a dynamic football player," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. "He carries that alpha status. The ability to play what I refer to as all four positions, inside, outside, move around, create favorable matches as we move into the upcoming season. We want to have flexibility to move all our perimeter players around. By far felt he was a dynamic player with the ball in his hands." The Cowboys figure to have an explosive offense with the trio of wide receivers, running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and a solid offensive line, even after the retirement of center Travis Frederick, with tackle Tyron Smith and guard Zack Martin.
Lamb will wear the number 88, the same number that Drew Pearson, who was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in January. He's an All-Decade player from the 1970s and a member of the Ring of Honor. Michael Irvin, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was one of the emotional leaders for the Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s, when the team won three Super Bowls. And Dez Bryant is the Cowboys' all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 73. Those are some big shoes to fill for Lamb, but it seems like the Cowboys believe he's up for the challenge.
“Ready or Not” Here Comes the
NFL Draft 2020
By Cedric Bailey
Bristol Conn: The 2020 NFL Draft will take place on next Thursday. The original plans were to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders. The 2020 NFL Draft will be presented across ABC, ESPN, and NFL Network, April 23-25 -- the second straight year that The Walt Disney Company has worked with the National Football League to offer a multi-network presentation for all seven rounds. The 2020 NFL Draft will serve as a three-day virtual fundraiser benefitting six charities that are battling the spread of COVID-19 and delivering relief to millions in need. The National Football League, ESPN and ABC hope the 2020 NFL Draft will bring fans a small but welcome diversion in the middle of a difficult and unprecedented time.
ESPN and NFL Network will combine to offer a singular presentation across both networks, while ABC will present its own distinctive, prime-time telecasts for rounds 1-3, in addition to simulcasting the ESPN and NFL Network telecast of rounds 4-7.
The 2020 NFL Draft telecasts will now originate from ESPN's Bristol, Conn., studios and adhere to proper social distancing guidelines and local workplace rules due to COVID-19. Draft hosts and a limited number of commentators will be in-studio while a majority of the analysts, reporters and other experts will contribute remotely from home studios. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will introduce the picks from his home. As previously announced, the NFL Draft will also feature a "Draft-A-Thon" which will pay tribute to healthcare workers and first responders in a variety of ways -- including raising funds for the work being done to combat the impact of COVID-19. Funds will help support six national nonprofits and their respective COVID-19 relief efforts.
The Dallas Cowboys will have the 17th pick in round 1 and 51st pick in the 2nd round. Rumor has it that the Cowboys will go after Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma and Trevon Diggs. Murray is one of the top 20 prospects in this class because of his physical and mental toughness, as well as his positive character. The Cowboys re-signed Sean Lee, but his career is near its end. Dallas invested premium picks at linebacker in 2016 (second-round pick and first-round value Jaylon Smith) and 2018 (Leighton Vander Esch, 19th overall), so let's keep the even-year LB selections coming with Murray, who can play on the weak side. Diggs is one of several former SEC cornerbacks who could bolster the team's depth at that position. He's a big, strong outsider corner capable of taking over the spot vacated by the departed Byron Jones. Note that Dallas has two 2021 free agent cornerbacks in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. The Cowboys will look to the middle rounds of the draft to add another pass rusher, as they did with Dorance Armstrong and Joe Jackson the past couple of years. Be sure to join us online for the "Overhyped, Unofficial, & Slightly Censored" NFL Draft Talk- live broadcast online at www.bgcsports.net and on Facebook @ bgcsports1 at 7pm central, on April 23rd from an "Undisclosed Location"!
Franchise Tag has been placed on Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Robert Deutsch
Monday was the date that the Dallas Cowboys was supposed to sign their QB Dak Prescott. However the Cowboys have offered quarterback Dak Prescott one of the largest contracts in NFL history. The Cowboys’ proposal to Prescott is more than what Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz received last year. As it stands, the Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott on Monday, which is worth a projected $31.6 million for the 2020 season. However, Prescott’s agent, Todd France, and the franchise continue to talk about reaching a long-term deal. One of the major holdups in the deal is the length of the contract. Prescott would like a four-year deal while the Cowboys are seeking a five-year deal.
A shorter deal would allow Prescott to come back to the bargaining table after large contracts are settled with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Houston’s Deshaun Watson. Prescott will be 30 and in his prime in 2023, the last year of an expected contract. In the last year, Goff, Wentz and Russell Wilson each reached new deals that set the market for the position.
All three quarterbacks, with one year remaining on their deals, received four-year extensions. Wilson signed for a total of $140 million with $107 million guaranteed. Wilson has the highest average salary in the NFL at $35 million he also signed a four-year extension worth $128 million with $107.9 million in guarantees. Wentz averages $32 million per season. Goff has the highest total guarantees at $110 million and averages $33.5 million per season. The last known previous offer by the Cowboys to Prescott was an average salary of $33 million with guarantees of $105 million. But now they’ve surpassed those numbers as they seek to put an end to these talks.
The Cowboys have until July 22 to sign Prescott to a long-term deal or he will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 12, 2020
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO DELAY 2020 OPENING DAY BY AT LEAST TWO WEEKS
Spring Training Games Cancelled As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) Today and WBCQ Games Postponed;
MLB Will Continue to Evaluate Ongoing Events and Effects on 2020 Scheduling
Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.
MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.
MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.
Southeast Missouri State Redhawks "Punches Ticket" to the NCAA Tournament
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by MaCabe Brown
EVANSVILLE — There is a reason that basketball fans call the month “March Madness”. It’s all about the seeding’s in their conference. In this case it has been 12 years since Southeast Missouri State women’s basketball finished with a winning record. The Redhawks hadn’t advanced past the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament since 2008.
This year the No. 3-seeded SEMO punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament Saturday afternoon inside Ford Center with a 67-47 win over top-seeded Tennessee-Martin before 494 fans. It clinched the OVC title in the rubber match after each team won at home in the regular season.
SEMO (25-7) beat both of the OVC’s co-champions this week, and that was after needing a buzzer-beater to win Thursday against Tennessee Tech. The Redhawks was picked sixth in the preseason poll before going 14-4 in OVC play, so the fifth-year coach. Rekha Patterson received OVC Coach of the Year honors last week. A native of Red Springs, North Carolina, Patterson was a four-year letter winner and two-time captain in women’s basketball at North Carolina A&T, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2001. She received a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in sport management from Baylor in 2004. She has lead the Redhawks with following positions of fifth, sixth, sixth and eighth in her first four seasons.
"The biggest thing over these three games is we win together," Shephard said. "To do what we did, it takes everybody. You can focus on her and someone else steps up. The SEMO way wins games, it wins championships." It’s been some time since SEMO women’s basketball was strong. The program faced sanctions in 2008 that called for the forfeiture of 44 victories and placed them on probation for two years. It was found to have provided impermissible transportation, housing and meals for prospective student-athletes.
They hadn’t finished with a winning record since then. But for the first time in five years, the OVC will have a new representative in the NCAA tournament. The Redhawks rose from the ashes this season with the league’s best offense before getting red-hot in Evansville this week to upset the favorites.
In closing we are very proud of former Crowley Eagles guard Taelour Pruitt. The Redhawks were down two points with nine seconds remaining in overtime against Tennessee Tech, Pruitt drains a 25-foot 3-pointer to win the game and advance in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The play was ESPN’s top play of the evening highlight. Up next the Redhawks basketball team will prepare for the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Selection Show on Monday, Mar. 16 at Dogwood Social House on campus in Cape Girardeau, MO.
Team LeBron Wins the NBA All-Star game 157-155
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by John Kim
Chicago: This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago was definitely a night to remember. It was a game with a lot of fun to watch by the Chicago community. Let’s just say that basketball fans will be talking about this for years. Former players such as Michael Jordan, Candace Parker, Dwyane Wade and Isiah Thomas spoke lovingly of the city, standing before a detailed scale model. So did performers such as Chance the Rapper, Keke Palmer, Buddy Guy, artist Hebru Brantley and others. “Chicago was the place where I became a man,” former President Barack Obama added, later reflecting on the central role sports plays in the city.
Michael Jordan’s onetime Bulls ball boy was almost everywhere during All-Star Weekend, it seemed, a great ambassador for the city and the sport. He also performed a beautiful setup about Chicago and basketball as a prelude to the game, much as Jennifer Hudson did with her tribute to Kobe Bryant.
Now let’s talk about some of the key moments of the game. There were a lot of elements from Sunday night at the United Center worked (the new format), but some didn’t such as the national anthem with the terrible performance from Chaka Kahn. It was Chicago’s Anthony Davis who also paid tribute to the late Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Davis, a Laker, sank a free throw to win the game for teammate LeBron James’ side. “Joel Embiid was trying to say we shouldn’t be able to win on a free throw, but, hey, that wasn’t in the rulebook,” Davis said. “I’m just glad we got the win.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came up with something to motivate the All-Stars to play competitively after some ridiculously lax games in recent years. Under the new rules, each team could win $100,000 for its charity by winning a quarter, and each of the first three quarters were up for grabs. The fourth, untimed quarter had to be won by reaching the “target score” — the higher cumulative score through three quarters plus 24, in honor of Kobe Bryant — with more money for the winner’s charity. At first, the new format seemed to fail. Team LeBron blew out Team Giannis 53-41 in the first quarter, and Team Giannis returned the favor 51-30 in the second quarter.
The game tightened in the third, which ended at 41-41. The fourth quarter got a bit physical — a total of 21 fouls in the quarter — and had the air of a playoff game as Team LeBron overcame an 11-point deficit to win 157-155. Giannis Antetokounmpo said his brother and Bucks teammate Thanasis told him “this has been the most fun All-Star he’s been a part of. And I asked him why, and he told me, ‘Because you guys were really competitive. You guys were playing to win.’ ”
Kansas City Chiefs Rally to win Super Bowl LIV over the
San Francisco 49ers 30- 21
By Cedric Bailey
Miami: To win a Super Bowl it takes a lot of hard work plus knowing everything about your opponent. Coach Andy Reid has been there before during his coaching days in Philadelphia with the Eagles. Now he serves as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and starts the day in the mornings and late into the nights. It’s a requirement of a coach’s job.The game started with the 49ers that took Dustin Colquitt’s punt deep in their own territory but were methodical in the drive that followed, including a 32-yard run to the right by Deebo Samuel that required a touchdown-saving tackle by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. The Chiefs limited the Niners to a 38-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, and trailed 3-0 — perhaps not so worrisome considering they’d found themselves down by 24 points against the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round game and by 10 to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
Then the Chiefs went to work. They went 62 yards in 10 plays, a drive that consumed 5 minutes, 58 seconds and ended with Mahomes’ 1-yard run for a touchdown. The eventual Super Bowl MVP became the first QB to score a rushing TD in a Super Bowl since Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII. That’s where the first quarter ended, the Chiefs ahead 7-3 after Harrison Butker’s extra point. For the Chiefs, it was a clear improvement over the scores after one quarter in their first two playoff games of this postseason, when they trailed the Texans 21-0 and Titans 10-7.
The Niners started the second quarter with the ball, but Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland picked off Jimmy Garoppolo on second down, and KC was in business again. The Chiefs followed with a nine-play, 43-yard drive capped by a 38-yard field goal by Butker that made it 10-3 Kansas City. But Garoppolo was better on the 49ers’ next drive, and so was the vaunted San Francisco rushing attack. The Niners had the Chiefs on their heels during a methodical 80-yard march capped by Garoppolo’s TD pass to Kyle Juszczyk.
At the two-minute warning, the Chiefs faced second-and-8 at San Francisco’s 46. Their drive ended in a Colquitt punt that Byron Pringle almost downed near the goal line. Instead, it was a touchback and the 49ers took over at their own 20 with 59 seconds remaining until intermission with a 10-10 score.
If Garoppolo started the game cold, he sure heated up after halftime. By the time the third quarter came to a close, he was 17 of 20 for 183 yards. And he didn’t need to get the Niners into the end zone because his teammates stepped up, too. While San Francisco’s defensive front (especially defensive end Nick Bosa) harassed Mahomes nonstop, Gould punctuated a nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 42-yard field goal. Bosa sacked Mahomes and forced a fumble that the Chiefs were fortunate to recover, and on the next play KC’s star quarterback threw an interception right into the chest of Niners linebacker Fred Warner. Garoppolo stepped into a nice pass for a long gain in the flat to wide receiver Kendrick Burne, converting a third-and-8 from the Chiefs’ 37. Another completion to Juszczyk brought the 49ers to the Chiefs’ 1, and Raheem Mostert plunged in for the short touchdown on the next play. San Francisco led 20-10.
Suddenly the Chiefs were clawing for anything they could get. And things were about to get worse. Mahomes’ second career postseason pick came early in the fourth quarter of his first Super Bowl. He’d entered this game with 11 playoff touchdowns and zero interceptions in the postseason. He had a career-low passer rating of 49.78 in Sunday’s game as the Chiefs dug in for their second drive of the final period of their first Super Bowl in five decades. But they still had confidence that Sunday’s misfires were an aberration — it was the first time in 440 days Mahomes had thrown more than one pick in a game.
Starting at their own 17, the Chiefs put together a nice drive highlighted by a 44-yard completion from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill on third and long. San Francisco’s Tarvarius Moore was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on a throw intended for Kelce, setting up the Chiefs at the Niners’ 1, and Mahomes found Kelce on the next play for a touchdown. The crowd was awake again, the Chiefs down just three after their 10-play, 83-yard drive in a mere 2:43. With 6:13 remaining in the game, it was time for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s guys to show what they were made of. They did, stopping the Niners and forcing a punt. Mahomes then hit Sammy Watkins and Hill for long passes that put the latter over 100 yards receiving on eight catches. Watkins, who caught a perfect spiral in stride down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain, was now at 98 yards receiving on five catches ... and the Chiefs fans in attendance were back on their feet.
On third-and-goal from the 5, Mahomes put the Chiefs ahead 24-20 with less than 3 minutes left on a TD toss to Damien Williams that was upheld on review. The Chiefs came up with yet another defensive stop, and Williams put the icing on the cake with a touchdown run down the left sideline. Ballgame. The Chiefs had overcome double-digit deficits in all three of their postseason games en route to their first world championship in half a century.
LSU Tigers Win the National Championship over Clemson 42-25
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Sue Ogro
New Orleans: The LSU's Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow finished off the Tigers' first national championship since 2007 with a performance that saw him take down a pair of vaunted FBS records. Burrow's five passing touchdowns in LSU's 42-25 win over Clemson brought him to an even 60 on the season, breaking the FBS record held at 58 by former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan since 2006. He added a rushing touchdown to bring his total touchdowns responsible for to 65 on the season, toppling that FBS record -- also Brennan's -- that had stood at 63. "This was a long time coming," Burrow said after the win, smiling. "I'm kind of speechless right now. This was fun." Burrow took down both marks on a single pass to Thaddeus Moss in the third quarter. That 4-yard touchdown that marked Burrow's 59th of the season came midway through the third quarter and extended LSU's lead to 10. Clemson wouldn't get any closer on what coach Ed Orgeron called a "magical" night in the Superdome for his players, especially those with New Orleans ties.
One of those players was Ja'Marr Chase, who caught the first two of Burrow's touchdown passes just two years removed from starring at Archbishop Rummel in Metairie. Chase's 52-yard score in the first quarter broke a three-way tie with teammate Justin Jefferson and former Florida receiver Anthony Reidel to set a new SEC single-season record for receiving touchdowns at 19, and his 14-yarder in the second quarter extended that record to an even 20. But the night at the Dome belonged Burrow in the end. He logged his fifth rushing touchdown in the season from 3 yards out in the second quarter, then hit a 6-yard touchdown to a wide open Moss with 10 seconds until halftime. That score tied both of Brennan's marks and also sent LSU into the locker room up 28-17 and with 21 consecutive points after they'd gone down 17-7 earlier in the quarter. Burrow's fifth and final touchdown pass came on a 24-yard heave to Terrace Marshall in the fourth quarter.
And after Burrow finished off a season that will go down in the history books, Orgeron likened his quarterback to the Saints' signal-caller who became the NFL's career leader in touchdown passes on the same field just a few weeks earlier. "[Brees] and Joe are a lot alike in a lot of ways," Orgeron said, "as far as their work ethic, as far as their leadership on the football team." Brennan does have one caveat to claim over Burrow in the record books, though, having compiled his total in 14 games. Burrow, by virtue of playing in the College Football Playoff Championship game, accrued his total in 15 games.
The 2018-19 Clemson team was the first team in history to go 15-0. LSU becomes the second to reach that mark and will be ranked among famous teams like the 1995 Nebraska team and the 2001 Miami team, among many others.
“There’s a New Sherriff in Town”, and his name is "Mike"!
By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Frisco: Just in case you missed it, Jason Garrett is no longer the Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. This past Sunday evening the team finally issued the statement that Garrett’s time was up. Then on Monday morning after interview former Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis on Saturday, Mike McCarthy the former Green Bay Packers coach was offered the position. Mike McCarthy will be the ninth head coach in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. McCarthy's contract with the Cowboys will be for five years, according to a source.
New Orleans Saints linebacker’s coach Mike Nolan will be the Cowboys' defensive coordinator under McCarthy was the offensive coordinator on Nolan's San Francisco 49ers staff in 2005 before being hired by the Green Bay Packers as head coach in 2006. Nolan, 60, has served as defensive coordinator for several NFL teams, most recently the Atlanta Falcons from 2012 to 2014. McCarthy replaces Jason Garrett, who went 85-67 as Dallas' coach from 2010 to 2019, with the team hoping that McCarthy can do for the Cowboys what he did for another storied franchise -- win a Super Bowl.
In February 2011, McCarthy led the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV win against the Pittsburgh Steelers at AT&T Stadium, his new home with the Cowboys. McCarthy compiled a 125-77-2 record with the Packers and made the playoffs in nine of his 13 seasons. In addition to the Super Bowl season, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship Game two times, but his tenure ended sourly, missing the playoffs in 2017 and getting fired after 12 games in 2018.
McCarthy spent last season going through a study of trends across the league while also planning for his next job. He interviewed for the New York Jets' vacancy after the 2018 season and turned down the chance to speak with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. Before interviewing with the Cowboys over the weekend, he spoke with the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants regarding their vacancies.
McCarthy's arrival will bring an entirely new offense to the Cowboys after running mostly a Garrett scheme. McCarthy played a key role in the development of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the Cowboys believe he will be good for Dak Prescott, who is entering his fifth season. Perhaps of note to the Jones family, McCarthy had a 7-3 record against Dallas while with Green Bay and twice ended the Cowboys' season in painful ways, in the divisional round of the 2014 and '16 playoffs. In Green Bay, he dealt with the shadows of championship coaches Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren. In Dallas, he will deal with the shadows of championship coaches Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson.
Cowboys “Dominate” the Eagles with a 37 to 10 victory on SNF
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Yong Kim
Arlington: Last week Cowboys fans were on social media and various radio stations asking for the release of Coach Jason Garrett. With losses against the Saints, Packers and the winless New York Jets, Cowboys fans were questioning the team’s heart and leadership. This past Sunday evening it was the Philadelphia Eagles on the schedule. The outcome in favor for the Cowboys as the Eagles that committed four turnovers in Sunday’s 37-10 loss to the Cowboys, including three by Carson Wentz (two lost fumbles and an interception). The first two — Dallas Goedert’s fumble on the Eagles’ first possession, and the first of Wentz’s two fumbles on the second possession — were devastating. They gift-wrapped a 14-0 lead for the Cowboys just six minutes into the game.
Goedert’s fumble not only killed a potential Eagles scoring drive but also gave the Cowboys the ball at the Philadelphia 45-yard line. It took just six plays for them to score from there. Wentz’s fumble was caused by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who beat right tackle Lane Johnson and knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. It set the Cowboys up for business at the Philadelphia 14-yard line and it took just two plays for them to score from there. Jim Schwartz’s defense needs no help giving up points early. The Eagles have allowed a league-high 51 points in the first quarter and 121 in the first half. Only the Giants have given up more first-half points (129).
Wentz’s other two turnovers came in the fourth quarter after the Cowboys had taken a 30-10 lead. He forced a pass to Alshon Jeffery in the middle of the field that was picked off by safety Xavier Woods, then fumbled a shotgun snap on the Eagles’ next possession. On Sunday night, the Eagles’ average drive start was their own 18.8, while the Cowboys’, with a lot of help from the Eagles’ four turnovers, was their own 41.7. Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ offensive line shredded an Eagles run defense that had held opponents to 3.3 yards per carry in their first six games. The Cowboys rushed for 189 yards, 111 in the first half when the game was decided. They averaged 6.8 yards per carry on first down in the first half. Elliott finished with 111 yards on 22 carries. The Cowboys had six double-digit-yard runs, and he had four of them.
The Eagles had their poorest tackling effort of the season. On an 11-yard run by Elliott on the Cowboys’ third touchdown drive, five Eagles defenders — Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Akeem Spence, and safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod — missed tackles. On a 16-yard pitch to Elliott, Graham, McLeod, and Jenkins all failed to bring the Cowboys running back down. Dak Prescott completed 21 of 27. He was 7-for-8 on third down, though nine of the Cowboys’ third-down situations were 6 or fewer yards.
On the Cowboys’ second-quarter touchdown drive that put them up by 21-7, Prescott completed 6 of 6 attempts for 50 yards on the 12-play, 71-yard drive, beating the Eagles’ soft coverage over the head with slants. The Eagles got a little more help from their pass rush Sunday than they did a week earlier, but not much. They had a pair of nice back-to-back pressures late in the first quarter — a sack by Derek Barnett and a third-down pressure by Josh Sweat — that forced Chris Jones’ only first-half punt. But aside from that, Prescott usually had plenty of time.
In closing will now head to the bye week before traveling to New York to face the Giants on Monday night football on November 4th.
Cowboys Training Camp Begins, without their
By Cedric Bailey, Photo Courtesy of CBS Sports
The Dallas Cowboys opened it training camp over the weekend without it’s star running back Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas has offered the 24-year-old running back a new contract, according to the NFL Network, which cited unidentified sources. The report adds Elliott and his team haven't made a counter offer. Elliott, who has spent his entire career with the Cowboys after being selected fourth overall in the 2016 draft, officially became a holdout Friday when he did not report for the opening of Cowboys' training camp in Oxnard, California. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract, and reportedly is seeking a record-setting deal that would exceed Todd Gurley's four-year, $57.5 million deal with the Rams.
The Cowboys said during the offseason that they are hopeful to reach a new deal and keep Elliott long-term, however, Dallas' executives also have reiterated that it'll take time to reach an agreement. Cowboys executive vice president and CEO Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett fielded questions Friday about their running back's absence, insisting Dallas is focused on the players that showed up to training camp. "We are focused on the guys who are here … we're not going to focus on the business of football," Garrett said.
Jones added: "It's going to do no good to address this situation every day, but we will be working on [a contract] behind the scenes." Elliott is set to earn a base salary of $3.9 million for 2019, and the team last month picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie contract that will pay him $9.1 million for 2020. He earned his second rushing title in three years with 1,434 yards on a league-high 304 carries with six touchdowns last season, while adding 77 receptions for 567 yards with three touchdowns.
Meanwhile Ezekiel Elliott will be in Mexico as the Cowboys' training camp gets underway, but not to party. The Cowboys running back will be training in Cabo San Lucas as he continues to hold out from preseason duties due to his desire for a new contract. FYI Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper aren't sweating not having set contracts heading into training camp. Prescott is heading into his fourth season with the team, while Cooper is set to complete his first training camp as a Cowboy after he was traded to the team midway through last season from the Raiders.
Fort Worth’s Tylan Wallace is looking forward to a great season in the Big 12
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Kent
Arlington: These are the words spoken by OSU defensive back A.J. Green when he was asked about Wallace’s potential. Wallace was a Biletnikoff Award finalist last year and he has a good chance of making it back on that list this season. One of three national finalists for the Biletnikoff Award presented to the nation’s outstanding receivers.
Wallace played for Coach JJ Resendez at South Hills high school. He was ranked among the top 15 players in Texas high school football history in terms of career receiving yards, wrapping up his career with 3,760 yards and 48 touchdowns on 182 receptions plus earned a spot in the Under Armour All-America Game following his senior season … Caught 56 passes for 933 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior and also gained 165 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries plus a first team all-state selection and district offensive MVP
Now let’s talk about the other teams in the conference. While Oklahoma may be the runaway title favorites, Texas has its own brand of hype. After quarterback Sam Ehlinger declared the Longhorns "back" following their Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia, there's no retreating. At the very least, Tom Herman's team won't be able to overachieve anymore following a 10-4 season; it's back to the days of realistically believing in Big 12 titles -- if not more. Ehlinger, the Big 12's preseason Offensive Player of the Year, will be at media days, and there's a good chance he'll garner the largest crowd of any player in attendance. Between his possible Heisman chances and Texas' playoff hopes -- not to mention that Sept. 7 game against LSU -- there will be major talking points existing for Ehlinger and this team.
Oklahoma and Texas are the top two teams according to the preseason picks, but can any others break through? Iowa State is generally considered the most reliable third option, and there's merit to that argument. The Cyclones return quarterback Brock Purdy, who elevated ISU's offense after taking over last October. This team also returns just about everyone from arguably the conference's nastiest defenses a season ago. We know Matt Campbell can coach, so is this finally the window for Iowa State to do what was previously unthinkable and get to the Big 12 title game?
Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU make up the mid tier in the preseason poll. Obviously, they all have questions, from Baylor's defense to quarterback battles with the Pokes and Frogs. But they have playmakers, too. Baylor's Denzel Mims, Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace and TCU's Jalen Reagor are first-team All-Big-12 caliber types, and they'll all be welcome additions to media days. In closing, The Big 12 remains strong, rich and has gained access to the playoff in the past two years; that, in and of itself, is another huge bullet point for the conference.
Dallas Wings fall to the Chicago Sky at College Park in Arlington 89-79
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson
Arlington: The Dallas Wings were in action on this past Sunday at College Park in Arlington, Texas. The Wings have a record of (5-11) fell to the Chicago Sky (9-8) 89-79 on Sunday, July 14 at College Park Center. The Wings were led by rookie Arike Ogunbowale’s 20 points, the fifth time she has scored 20 or more points this season, and Isabelle Harrison chipped in 15 points in her return after missing the previous game due to injury.
The Wings and Sky traded baskets until Chicago took a 24-20 lead into the second quarter. The Sky would push it’s lead to 34-24 before Dallas ripped off a 12-0 run to bring themselves in front and the Wings would head to the locker room up 46-41. Chicago would wrestle the lead back on a three-pointer at the 6:45 mark of the third quarter and maintain its lead for the remainder of the game.
Imani McGee-Stafford started her fourth contest of the 2019 season, scoring 11 points in just 16 minutes and bringing down eight boards, tying her season high. Kaela Davis added 10 points, her third straight game scoring 10 or more points and the first time she’s compiled multiple games of scoring 10 or more this season. The Wings start a two-game road trip by facing the Phoenix Mercury Wednesday, July 17 and follow with the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday, July 18. Dallas returns home to face Phoenix again on July 20 at 7 p.m., the team’s last game before the All-Star break.
Meanwhile the Wings will bring back it’s Faith and Family night on Saturday August 3rd at 7pm. Their opponent will be the Las Vegas Ace’s and Gospel artist Fred Hammond. For more information, please call 817.469.9464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Skaggs of the Los Angeles Angels passes away during road trip in Texas
By Cedric Bailey
Grapevine: Monday afternoon the Los Angeles Angel pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found unconscious in his hotel room. Skaggs, the 27-year-old Angels pitcher found in his room in Southlake, Texas, brimmed with a confidence that he leavened with a dry wit. He grew up an Angels fan in Santa Monica and joined the organization as a first-round draft pick. He battled injuries throughout his career, but his belief in himself never slackened. Last year on Players Weekend, Major League Baseball’s annual event honoring youth sports, he wore the nickname “SWAGGY” across his back, and he competed with demonstrative verve.
The death of Skaggs stunned the sport and left the industry in mourning. The Southlake Police Department did not offer a cause of death but indicated neither foul play nor suicide was suspected. A game between the Angels and the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington was postponed. “Tyler was one of the bright, young lights in this world,” former Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We all feel the pain of his loss and pray for some comfort to his family.”
Skaggs was approaching the prime of life — healthy on the mound, and newly wed to his wife, Carli, in December. For the Angels, there was the sickening symmetry of a decade ago, when 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver. The organization released a statement during the afternoon that read, in part, “Tyler has, and always will be, an important part of the Angels Family.” His teammates relayed their grief and shock. "Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel right now,” outfielder Mike Trout wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Carli and their families. Remembering him as a great teammate, friend, and person who will forever remain in our hearts . . . We love you, 45.”
The baseball fraternity echoed those sentiments. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper said the left-handed Skaggs possessed the best arm of any pitcher he faced in amateur baseball. Former teammate Huston Street recalled Skaggs’ blend of certainty and calm. Another former Angel, Jered Weaver, described Skaggs as the “ultimate competitor.”
Chris Woodward, Rangers manager, whose game against the Angels on Monday night was postponed: "It’s one of those moments where you are numb to life. I personally heard tremendous things about him. Everybody spoke highly of him. Just a sad situation." "There were a lot of emotional guys in there [the Rangers' clubhouse]. You could tell that. Some guys knew him. [Jesse] Chavez had actually played with him in LA. Some guys who didn’t even know him were pretty physically shaken, you can tell. This happens far too often, I feel like. Jose Fernandez, there have been a few tragedies recently, and it’s just heart-breaking. You can tell our guys were pretty upset." Delino DeShields posted the follow comments, my heart is crushed. Life is so unpredictable and we should never take anything for granted. This isn’t just a loss just for the Los Angeles Angels but a loss for our entire baseball family and community.
Mavericks Resign Seth “Swaggy-Swagg” Curry to a 4 year deal!
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Scott Strazzante
Dallas: The Dallas Mavericks on Monday finalize terms with one unrestricted free agent, a familiar face, 6-2 guard Seth Curry, to a four-year, $32 million contract. The Mavericks also on Monday agreed on contract terms to keep two players, restricted free agent forward Maxi Kleber (four-year, $36 million contract) and guard J.J. Barea (one year, $2.5 million). Otherwise, Dallas ended Monday night on hold for Danny Green and, ostensibly, a backup center, moves that are logjammed while the two Los Angeles teams await whether Kawhi Leonard will sign with one of them or remain a Toronto Raptor.
The apparent good news for the Mavericks is that with salary cap space drying up leaguewide, they are one of only three teams with more than $10 million of space. Their $22 million of space is behind only the L.A. teams' roughly $32 million apiece, carefully prepared for Leonard's insertion. If Leonard decides to remain a Raptor, a source said Green, 32, most likely will, too, with Toronto remaining a favorite to defend the NBA title it won three weeks ago.
But if Leonard bolts to the Lakers or Clippers, the LA team that lands him won't have the cap space to also sign Green. The question then becomes whether Green would choose the Mavericks or, if offered, the L.A. team that misses out on Leonard. On Monday, Green's friend and podcast co-host Harrison D. Sanford tweeted "The case for Danny Green to the Mavericks." Sanford's reasoning included Green's likely role as a starter, his defensive prowess, that he "knows [Luka] Doncic relatively well," "coaching staff" and "Good $."
The Mavericks and many fans didn't need the sales pitch. Green would bring his considerable pedigree as not only having won NBA titles with San Antonio (2014) and Toronto, but also an NCAA championship (2009) with North Carolina. And of course there's Green's 3-point shooting. His 45.5% marksmanship last season was second in the NBA, behind Brooklyn's Joe Harris (47.4%). And guess who ranked third? It was Seth Curry, who shot 45% while coming off the bench in Portland, where he averaged 9.3 points. By the way, the NBA's fourth-best 3-point shooter was Curry's older brother, Steph (43.7%). Landing Green in addition to Seth Curry would be a coup for a Mavericks franchise that shot the fourth-most 3-pointers last season, but ranked 27th in the NBA in percentage.
Luka Doncic Wins the NBA Rookie of the Year Award
By Cedric Bailey
Santa Monica CA: To no one's surprise, but to the joy of the Mavericks and their fans nonetheless, Luka Doncic on Monday night received the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the NBA Rookie of the Year. Doncic, 20, received the trophy, named after the former Philadelphia Warriors' head coach, during Monday night's NBA Awards show at the Barker Hangar. Doncic joins Jason Kidd as the only Mavericks to win Rookie of the Year. Kidd shared the honor with Detroit's Grant Hill for the 1994-95 season.
Monday night's Rookie of the Year result, determined by media voters around the NBA, was widely expected despite a late-season surge by Atlanta point guard Trae Young, the player for whom Doncic was traded on draft night last June. Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists last season for the 33-49 Mavericks, compared to Young's averages of 19.1 points, 8.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds for the 29-53 Hawks.
Slovenia native Doncic joins Spain's Pau Gasol (2002) as the only Rookie of the Year winners who didn't play high school or college basketball in the United States. Rookie of the Year winners Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons (Australia) and Andrew Wiggins (Canada) also were born outside the U.S., but played high school and/or college basketball here.
Last season, the 6-foot-7 Doncic has now joined 1961 Rookie of the Year winner Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game. Luka has posted eight triple-doubles, the third-most by a rookie behind Robertson's 26 and Ben Simmons' 12. Doncic also broke Magic Johnson's record for the most triple-doubles (seven) by a player before his 21st birthday. Doncic becomes the first Mavericks winner of a major NBA award since Dirk Nowitzki was named NBA finals MVP in 2011.
Rangers win series at home vs the Chicago White Sox’s
By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Ron Jenkins
Arlington: The Texas Rangers continue to find ways to win at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers closer shut down a late White Sox rally with his first four-out save in three years, and Texas beat the Sox 7-4 on Sunday. Kelley struck out Tim Anderson — who was celebrating his 26th birthday — to strand runners at second and third in the eighth after the White Sox had scored three runs to pull to 5-4. He pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save, preserving the win for rookie Adrian Sampson (6-4). The 25 pitches were the most Kelley has thrown this season."We like to keep his pitch total down," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "He's so max on every pitch that it's not in his best interest or ours to keep him out there for too long."
Tim Federowicz and Danny Santana hit two-out, two-run homers in the second inning to help the Rangers win for the third time in four games. They took two of three from the White Sox and have either won or split eight straight series. Sampson, who earned his first major-league win on May 17, allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one. He gave up the run on three straight singles to begin the fifth inning, Eloy Jimenez scoring on an opposite-field hit by Anderson. Sampson retired the next three batters without allowing the ball out of the infield.
In the Sox’s half of the eighth, Pete Fairbanks, the first of three Rangers relievers, allowed all four batters he faced to reach, walking James McCann with the bases loaded with none out. Brett Martin came on and got Jimenez to hit a fly ball to center. Delino DeShields broke in two steps, then retreated, the ball caroming off his glove and rolling toward the fence with two runs scoring on the play.
The Rangers are now on the road to face the Detroit Tigers that started on Tuesday thru Thursday. Friday it’s off to Tampa Florida against the Rays. The team will return to Arlington on next Monday vs the Los Angeles Angels heading to the 4th of July. The team trails the Houston Astros in the A.L. West by 6 games and a game for the 2nd wild card spot. Look for Joey Gallo to make a return to the lineup on this week. Left-handed reliever Kyle Bird was optioned after Sunday’s game to make room for Joey Gallo, who is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday in Detroit. Gallo has been in Surprise, Ariz., rehabbing from his strained left oblique this week. He was placed on the injured list on June 2. Hunter Pence, who has been on the IL with a groin strain since June 17, is expected to return on Wednesday.
“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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 / Lavida News / BGCsports Network
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 / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, 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.
Former Dunbar Wildcats Coach Robert Hughes Honored by the City of Fort Worth
By Cedric Bailey / Lavida News / BGCsports Network
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 / Lavida News / BGCsports Network, Photo by Darrell D Day / BGCsports Network
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.