Shaquille O’Neal Honored by Los Angeles Lakers with Statue in Front of Staples Center in Los Angeles

Shaquille O’Neal and his Statute (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

article by Chelsea Edwards and Rob Fukuzaki via abc7.com

A 9-foot, 1,200-pound bronze statue of Laker great Shaquille O’Neal was unveiled in the front of Staples Center in  Friday. The statue, which is connected to Staples Center and suspended 10 feet off the ground, was brought to downtown Los Angeles on Thursday prior to the unveiling ceremony.

The ceremony at Star Plaza outside Staples Center included live music, a Ferris wheel, interactive games as well as speeches from O’Neal himself and his teammates, colleagues and friends. Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke at the event.

“I just want to say thank you. I’ve learned so much from you as a player. Everything you’ve done for this city, everything you’ve done for this franchise,” Bryant said. “Kids, your kids, you guys should know your dad was a bad man. Congratulations and much love to you, my brother.”

A few of O’Neal’s six children also spoke during the ceremony and helped him unveil the massive statue hanging above the ground. O’Neal thanked Jerry West, his former teammates and, of course, the fans for believing in him throughout his career. “This moment is very unexpected because I see two Lakers ahead of me that definitely deserve this statue,” he said. “To the fans, you know I love you, and I just wanted you to know that I heard you in the games when I was missing free throws.”

At the end of his speech, he chanted, “Can you dig it?” to a cheerful crowd. O’Neal played for the Lakers from 1996 to 2004, leading the team to three consecutive NBA championships and winning the NBA finals MVP award each time.

Source: Shaquille O’Neal honored with statue in front of Staples Center | abc7.com

Documentary “The Duce’s Boxer” Details How Leone Jacovacci, an African Italian Boxer, Humiliated Mussolini

1928 European Middleweight Champion Leone Jacovacci (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

A documentary about Leone Jacovacci, a black Italian boxer who discredited 20th century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s racist ideology by winning a European boxing title is making waves in Italy and abroad, reports Variety. “The Duce’s Boxer” tells the story of Jacovacci, an African Italian born in the Congo who won the 1928 European middleweight title by beating Mario Bosisio, a white Italian boxer supported by the country’s Fascist leaders, in front of 40,000 fans in Rome’s National Stadium.

Mussolini, outraged, then ordered Jacovacci and his achievement erased from Italy’s history books. But 89 years later, Jacovacci’s story has been resurrected. “The Duce’s Boxer” premieres today (March 21) in 25 Italian cities to mark the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Based on the book “Black Roman” by Italian sociologist Mauro Valeri, a former head of the country’s National Xenophobia Observatory, “The Duce’s Boxer” is directed by first-timer Tony Saccucci. Saccucci used archive footage from Italian state film entity Istituto Luce and photos provided by Jacovacci’s family, according to Variety.

Saccucci found that footage of the title match had been tampered with by Fascist censors. Jacovacci’s story is reminiscent of American track-and-field athlete Jesse Owens’ feat when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, debunking Hitler’s creed of Aryan supremacy.

To read more, go to: New Documentary Details How a Black Italian Boxer Humiliated Mussolini | EURweb

Ex-NFL Player and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle Chosen for Harvard Neurosurgery Residency 

Myron Rolle (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

article by Michael David Smith via nbcsports.com

Myron Rolle’s NFL career didn’t last long, but he always made clear that he had higher priorities than playing football, and he’s just taken a major step in his real calling. Rolle, a 2010 sixth-round pick of the Titans who also spent time with the Steelers, has been chosen for a neurosurgery residency at Harvard after he completes his education at the Florida State University College of Medicine this spring.

(Getty Images)

“Seven years of neurosurgery is a big deal, something I wanted for a long time, really excited about it. Today is just great, it’s remarkable,” Rolle told WCTV. Rolle was a star player at Florida State who once arrived late to a game because he had an interview for a Rhodes Scholarship.

He spent a year studying at Oxford between the end of his Florida State career and the start of his NFL career, and although he spent a couple years in the NFL, his primary goal was to become a doctor.“Saving lives and helping people live a better life,” Rolle said, “that’s going to make life worth living.”

Source: Ex-NFL player Myron Rolle chosen for Harvard neurosurgery residency | ProFootballTalk

Kenyans Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat Win L.A. Marathon Men’s and Women’s Races

L.A. Marathon Men’s Winner Elisha Barno (photo via latimes.com)

article by Sam Farmer via latimes.com

Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat, both of Kenya, were the men’s and women’s winners Sunday of the Los Angeles Marathon. Barno, who pulled away from fellow Kenyan Daniel Limo in the final mile, crossed the finish line in Santa Monica in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds.

Jepkurgat won the women’s race in 2:34:23, almost two minutes faster than Kenyan Jane Kibii at 2:36:14. More than 24,000 runners from 63 countries are participating in the “Stadium to the Sea” race, the fourth-largest marathon in the U.S. and 10th largest worldwide.

To read more, go to: L.A. Marathon live updates: Kenyans Elisha Barno and Hellen Jepkurgat win men’s and women’s races – LA Times

Colin Kaepernick Secures Cargo Plane and $1 Million in Aid via GoFundMe for Somalia

Colin Kaepernick (photo via essence.com)

article by Paula Rogo via essence.com

Kaepernick is putting his money, and power, where his mouth is

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to make philanthropic waves after securing a way to provide relief to the people of Somalia. After joining a Twitter campaign beseeching Turkish Airlines to send a cargo plane with aid, the former quarterback announced on Twitter Friday that he had secured one from the airline to bring supplies to the East African nation.

Turkish Airlines is one of the few that travel to Somalia, and the flight is expected to take place March 27.

The GoFundMe page’s goal is $1 million, a number it quickly surpassed in 24 hours.

“This is a victory for the people, this is a victory for the people of Somalia,” said Kaepernick. “It was done out of love, out of respect for these people. We wanted to bring structure to this so we’re going to use the name Love Army for Somalia. So use the #LoveArmyforSomalia. This is amazing, let’s keep building, let’s keep going.”

To see full article, go to: Colin Kaepernick Secures A Plane and $1 Million In Aid For Somalia | Essence.com

NBA Champion Stephen Curry Helps Donate 20,000 Shoes to Children in Africa

NBA star Stephen Curry (photo via vibe.com)

article by Desire Thompson via vibe.com

Stephen Curry has used his star power to help Liberty University collect over 20,000 shoes for children in Africa. CBS Sports reports Curry paid a visit to LU on Wednesday (March 1) for the drive and the school’s convocation.

Curry teamed up with Kick’n It for a Cause founder and LU alum Chris “COSeezy” Strachan for the “Kick’n It for A Cause Shoe Drive.” Started by Strachan, the organization is an extension of the lifestyle sneaker brand Kick’N It.

The shoes donated will be sent to children in the Republic of Congo, in hopes of reducing illnesses contacted through bare feet. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention cites the top causes of death in the DRC include diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory infections, and malaria.

Kick’n It will continue accepting donations for the cause until March 5.

Find out how you can help here.

To read full article, go to: Steph Curry Helps Donate 20,000 Shoes To Children In Africa

Magic Johnson Named President of Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers President Magic Johnson (photo via Variety.com)

article by  via Variety.com

NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been named the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations in an overhaul of the struggling team’s front office. The team announced on Tuesday that general manager Mitch Kupchak has been let go and that Jim Buss will no longer serve as executive VP of basketball operations.

Buss is the son of the deceased Lakers owner Jerry Buss and brother of Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss. The team is currently 19-39 and in 14th place (of the 15 teams) in the NBA’s Western Conference.

Johnson was hired as an adviser to the Lakers earlier this month and subsequently said he would like to “call the shots” for the team. The announcement did not specify whether Johnson will handle day-to-day operations. “It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as president of basketball operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family,” Johnson said in a statement. “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

Johnson played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons, leading the team to five NBA championships in what was widely known as the team’s “Showtime” era. He won three Most Valuable Player awards Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ president, governor, and co-owner said that the team is actively searching for a new general manager.

To read more, go to: Magic Johnson Named Lakers President | Variety