Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on Limited TV Series About Madam CJ Walker

LeBron James / Octavia Spencer (photos via variety.com)

by Justin Kroll via variety.com

NBA superstar LeBron James is continuing to make moves off the court. James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is adding the first scripted drama to its growing slate. The project also boasts Oscar-winning talent: Octavia Spencer.

Spencer is attached to star in the limited series about entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker’s life, with James executive producing along with his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter. Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination. The steaming service had no comment on their involvement in the project.

Nicole Asher is on board to write and co-exec produce and “Black Nativity” helmer Kasi Lemmons will direct the pilot and also executive produce. The series is based on the book “On Her Own Ground” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, who will also serve as a consultant on the series.

Walker, the daughter of slaves, was orphaned at age seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. She spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. However, everything changed following Walker’s discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women. She counted W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington among her friends.

Zero Gravity Management’s Mark Holder and Christine Holder optioned the book from Bundles in early 2016. Spencer got wind of the project and aggressively pursued the part. Once word spread that Spencer was attached, WME, who reps both Spencer and James, pitched the series to James as his production company’s entryway into the prestige genre.

SpringHill president Jamal Henderson brought the project to Carter’s attention and the two moved quickly to land the property. With Nicole Asher set to write, Spencer starring, and James and Springhill on board as producers, the package was presented to potential buyers, with Netflix acting fast and the favorite to land the series. “I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”

To read full article, go to: Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on TV Series About Madam CJ Walker | Variety

Marshawn Lynch Sits During National Anthem in Raiders Pre-season Game

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

by Jeremy Woo via si.com

Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch appeared to stage a silent protest before Oakland’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, taking a seat during the playing of the national anthem. AP photographers snapped Lynch taking a seat on a cooler on the sidelines as the anthem played.

Lynch’s apparent protest comes in wake of this weekend’s violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va. and falls in line with what Colin Kaepernick started around the NFL last season as players found ways to protest racism and police brutality during the playing of the anthem before games.In Charlottesville, white nationalists with torches marched, chanted racial slurs and attacked counter-protestors in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday.  The situation escalated and resulted in one person’s death and 19 injured after a car driven by an angry member of a white nationalist group plowed over another group of counter-protestors.

LeBron James is chief among a number of other athletes who have spoken up against the violent, racist rhetoric on display. Lynch came out of a one-year retirement to join his hometown Raiders this season. He is expected to play a major role for the team this year.

To read more, go to: Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem in Raiders preseason | SI.com

LeBron James Plans “I Promise” Public School in Akron, Ohio for At-Risk Kids

LeBron James (photo via newsone.com)

article by Michael McLaughlin via huffingtonpost.com

Basketball superstar LeBron James plans to open a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for students at risk of falling behind in academics. The I Promise School will open for elementary students in the fall of 2018 with support from James’ family foundation, according to plans revealed on Tuesday.

It plans classes for students in third and fourth grades during its first year, and will expand to include grades 1 though 8 by 2022. The school will draw students who “are at-risk in reading and who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers,” the LeBron James Family Foundation said in a statement. James, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star forward, was raised by a single mother. He entered the NBA in 2003 after emerging as a basketball phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron.

James spoke about the school at an event Tuesday in a historic Akron theater. “Even though I was underprivileged,” he said, he was lucky to grow up with mentors, his mother and close friends.“They would not let me get off course,” he said. ”A lot of the kids I see today in the community and all over the world are not lucky enough to have the same mentors and the same people around that can help their dreams become reality.” The I Promise School aims to provide a supportive environment for students who lack guidance, James said.

“We definitely understand how important it is to create an environment where our most challenged and at risk students feel safe, supported an cared for,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James at the event as a wall of adults in “We are family” T-shirts stood on stage. A formal proposal for the school will be submitted for school board approval in October. James has previously offered Akron kids educational opportunities. He created 1,100 full-tuition scholarships in 2015 to the University of Akron for teens who completed an “I Promise” program that included goals for attendance and grades.

To read original article, go to: LeBron James Plans Ohio Public School For At-Risk Kids | The Huffington Post

Antoine Fuqua and LeBron James Make Deal with HBO for Multi-Part Muhammad Ali Documentary

Muhammad Ali Documentary Coming to HBO

Muhammad Ali (PETER BROOKER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

The “Greatest of All Time” is getting the HBO treatment.  The cabler is partnering with director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and LeBron James for a multi-part documentary about the life of Muhammad Ali.

The as yet-untitled documentary, which will explore Ali’s greatest triumphs and comebacks, has started production. It hails from James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and Fuqua’s Fuqua Films. No air date has been set.

“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of world sports,” said Kary Antholis, president of HBO miniseries and Cinemax. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, we were committed to helping him realize this film, and our enthusiasm has only grown as Antoine Fuqua has developed his compelling cinematic vision for telling one man’s incredible journey.”

Said Fuqua, “Muhammad Ali meant many things to many people, and he is someone who had a deep impact on me from an early age. Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside of the ring, is a privilege, and a dream come true.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/hbo-muhammad-ali-documentary-hbo-lebron-james-antoine-fuqua-1201939411/

LeBron James Donates $2.5 Million for Muhammad Ali Exhibit at National Museum of African American History & Culture

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James (DAVID LIAM KYLE VIA GETTY IMAGES)

 article via huffingtonpost.com

LeBron James is donating $2.5 million to support a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the basketball star and the museum announced on Thursday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers forward said he was a longtime fan of Ali, one of the most beloved sports figures in history, who died on June 3 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s syndrome.  “Every professional athlete, regardless of race and gender, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Muhammad Ali,” James said in a statement. “His legacy deserves to be studied and revered by every generation.”

The “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change” exhibit features items from the late boxer, including a training robe worn at Dundee’s Fifth Street Gym in Miami. While the exhibit details Ali’s sports journey, it also highlights his community activism, spirituality and politics.

“We are extremely grateful to LeBron James,” said Damion Thomas, curator of the museum’s Sports Gallery. “As the most socially active superstar in sports today, LeBron James is a testament to the influence of Muhammad Ali (who) embodied the racial and social tumult of his times, blurring lines between politics and sports, activism and entertainment.”

James’ business partner, Maverick Carter, is also contributing to the exhibit, which has been on display since the museum opened on Sept. 24.

The funds will also support the museum itself, which is located on the National Mall.

To read more, go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lebron-james-donates-25-million-muhammad-ali-exhibit_us_582dd99ae4b058ce7aa98273?

NBA Stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade Address Gun Violence, Racial Turmoil at ESPYs

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NBA basketball players Carmelo Anthony, from left, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speak on stage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP)

article by Evan Grossman via nydailynews.com

No highlight, championship or individual accomplishment showcased during the 2016 ESPY Awards Wednesday night was more powerful than the show’s cold opening.

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James teamed up for a moving call to action for other athletes to use their celebrity, influence and resources to make a difference in a divided America plagued by gun violence, injustice and racism.

Anthony turned to Instagram last week as the nation was torn by the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the retaliatory attack that led to the deaths of five Dallas police officers to urge others to inspire change. This week, he said he plans to use the Summer Olympics as another platform to spread his message, indicating he is not taking this lightly.

Reminiscent of Muhammad Ali’s black athlete summit from the summer of 1967, Melo started the show on a moving note when he was joined by fellow NBA stars Paul, Wade and James in a three-and-a-half-minute speech that, because of its social significance, timeliness and let’s face it, the need right now for more thoughtful and serious social leadership, may have eclipsed the legendary Jimmy V speech as ESPN’s finest moment.

Carmelo Anthony right to use Olympics as a platform for protest

Below is the transcript of their speech.

Carmelo Anthony:

071316116155, 21334631,

NBA basketball players LeBron James, from left, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade on stage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, in Los Angeles. (CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP)

Good evening. Tonight is a celebration of sports, celebrating our accomplishments and our victories. But, in this moment of celebration, we asked to start the show tonight this way, the four of us talking to our fellow athletes, with the country watching.

Because we cannot ignore the reality of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us.

Adam Silver praises Carmelo Anthony for ‘speaking from the heart’

The system is broken. The problems are not new. The violence is not new. And the racial divide definitely is not new.

But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high. Continue reading

Golden State Warriors Star Stephen Curry Voted NBA’s 1st Unanimous MVP

Stephen Curry becomes the 13th player in NBA history to win multiple MVP awards and the third point guard to do so, joining Magic Johnson and Steve Nash. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

Stephen Curry becomes the 13th player in NBA history to win multiple MVP awards and the third point guard to do so, joining Magic Johnson and Steve Nash. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

article by Marc Stein via espn.go.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry became the first unanimous NBA Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, winning the award for a second straight season.  Curry swept all 131 first-place votes, including 130 from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters and one from the Kia MVP fan vote. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was second in the voting, followed by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James.