Tag: Magic Johnson

WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie to Be Honored with Statue Outside Staples Center in Los Angeles

 

WNBA great Lisa Leslie (photo via flickr.com)

WNBA superstar and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie will be the first female athlete honored with a statue outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Arash Markazi reported the news, writing that the Los Angeles Sparks and Anschutz Entertainment Group still have to iron out the specific date but agreed Leslie will be the 11th statue outside of the famed sports and entertainment arena. Leslie’s statue will also be the first of a WNBA player outside of a team’s home arena.

According to bleacherreport.com, Leslie went to the Sparks in the WNBA’s inaugural draft in 1997 and played her entire career with the team through 2009. During her professional basketball career, Leslie won three league MVPs, two championships, four Olympic gold medals and three All-Star Game MVPs .

Leslie, who was the first WNBA player to dunk in a game, was also named to eight All-Star teams and 12 All-WNBA teams, including eight first-team selections. In addition to her WNBA achievements, she once scored 101 points in a half during a game for Morningside High in Inglewood, and was named first-team all-conference in each of her four seasons at USC.

Leslie will now be forever memorialized alongside statues of Los Angeles legends such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Colin Kaepernick Receives 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Colin Kaepernick (GETTY IMAGES)

by Michael Rosenberg via si.com

“If I was walking down the highway with a quarter in my pocket and a briefcase full of truth, I’d be so happy.” – Muhammad Ali, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 19, 1968

Colin Kaepernick made his truth known when he first decided not to stand for the national anthem. He had a lot of football left to play and a lot more money to make when he made his decision. It was late August, 2016. People who were anonymous in life had become famous in death. Philando Castile. Eric Garner​. Alton Sterling. Freddie Gray. They were tragic symbols of a society that had taken a terribly wrong turn. As the anthem played ahead of the 49ers’ preseason game against the Texans, Kaepernick, San Francisco’s 28-year-old quarterback at the time, quietly took a seat on the bench.

It took two weeks for anyone from the media to ask him about it. Kaepernick explained that he was making a statement about inequality and social justice, about the ways this country “oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he added. “There are bodies in the street,” he said then, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In the last 16 months, Kaepernick’s truth has been twisted, distorted and used for political gain. It has cost him at least a year of his NFL career and the income that should have come with it. But still, it is his truth. He has not wavered from it. He does not regret speaking it. He has caused millions of people to examine it. And, quietly, he has donated nearly a million dollars to support it.

For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world. “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” says Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow. “Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

Previous Legacy winners—including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Jack Nicklaus and Magic Johnson—were deserving. But no winner has been more fitting than Kaepernick. Ali lost more than three years of his career for his refusal to serve in the military in opposition to the Vietnam War. Kaepernick has lost one year, so far, for his pursuit of social justice.

When Kaepernick first protested during the national anthem, he could not have envisioned the size and duration of the ensuing firestorm. But he knew there would be fallout. So much has changed in America since the summer of 2016, and so many words have been used to describe Kaepernick. But his words from his first explanation remain his truth:

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick kept his job for a season before being blackballed by the NFL—and yes, he has been blackballed. This should be obvious by now. Scott Tolzien, Cody Kessler, Tom Savage and Matt Cassel have thrown passes in the league this year, yet nobody has tried to sign Kaepernick, who is fifth in NFL history in touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kaepernick has been called a distraction, which is laughable— his coach last year, Chip Kelly, says there was “zero distraction,” and his 49ers teammates said the same. Most NFL players would rather be “distracted” by Kaepernick than try to tackle the guy who just intercepted Brock Osweiler.

Kaepernick has paid a price beyond missing games and losing paychecks. He has been battered by critics who don’t want to understand him. Some say Kaepernick hates America; he says he is trying to make it better. Others say he hates the military, but on Sept. 1, 2016, as the then-San Diego Chargers played a tribute to the military on the stadium videoboard, Kaepernick applauded.

Nobody claims Kaepernick is perfect. Reasonable, woke people can be upset that he did not vote in the 2016 election. But the Ali Legacy Award does not honor perfection, and the criticisms of Kaepernick are misguided in one fundamental way: They make this story a referendum on Kaepernick. It was never supposed to be about him. It is about Tamir Rice and the world’s highest incarceration rate and a country that devalues education and slides too easily into violence.

When Ali was drafted into the military in 1967 and refused to report, much of the country disapproved. Ali explained his refusal by saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

Time ultimately shined a softer light on Ali. For the last 40 years of his life, Ali was arguably the most popular athlete in American history. But in the late 1960s, he was deeply unpopular and his future was uncertain.

Ali was 25 when he was banned from boxing and 28 when he returned to the sport. Boxing historians sometimes wonder what he would have done in those prime years. But Ali did not look at it that way. Instead of focusing on the piece of his career that he lost, he talked about what he had gained: a sense of self, and of purpose, greater than he could ever find in the ring. He risked prison time. He did not know if he would ever be allowed to fight again. But he knew he was clinging to his truth. As Ali later told SI’s George Plimpton: “Every man wonders what he is going to do when he is put on the chopping block, when he’s going to be tested.”

Someday, America may well be a better place because of Colin Kaepernick. This is hard to see now— history is not meant to be analyzed in real time. But we are having conversations we need to have, and this should eventually lead to changes we need to make. Police officers, politicians and citizens can work together to create a safer, fairer, more civil society. Kaepernick did not want to sacrifice his football career for this. But he did it anyway. It is a rare person who gives up what he loves in exchange for what he believes.

To read full article, go to: https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2017/11/30/colin-kaepernick-muhammad-ali-legacy-award

Derek Jeter Becomes 1st Black CEO of Major League Baseball Team, the Miami Marlins

Derek Jeter (photo via tvone.tv)

via tvone.tv

Former New York Yankee Derek Jeter has officially become the first African-American CEO of a Major League Baseball team. The 43-year-old, is also part owner of the Miami Marlins, joining only one other African-American in that specific role (Magic Johnson‘s Los Angeles Dodgers).

And if you wonder where the five-time World Series champion stands on athletes kneeling during the national anthem, he’s totally on board, telling the New York Daily News,Everyone should be fine with that. They’re focused so much on the fact that they are kneeling as opposed to what they’re kneeling for. Peaceful protests are fine. You have your right to voice your opinion. As long as it’s a peaceful protest, everyone should be fine with that.”

Source: Derek Jeter Becomes First Black CEO Of Major League Baseball Team, Is ‘Okay’ With Players Kneeling

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

L.A. Lakers Legend Magic Johnson Takes Consulting Position with Former Team to Advise Ownership

NBA and Lakers Legend Magic Johnson (photo via latimes.com)

article by Tania Ganguli via latimes.com

In his first public comments since being hired as an advisor to Lakers governor and co-owner Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson tread softly about the Lakers executive of whom he has been most critical through the years.  His role, he said, was simply to help in any way he could.

“Jim [Buss] is calling the shots,” Johnson said during an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, the station that holds the rights to Laker broadcasts. “I want him to understand I’m just here to lend advice.”The Lakers hired Johnson on Thursday, two weeks after Johnson and Jeanie Buss were seen having dinner before watching a Lakers game together. Johnson’s duties will include “collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs, and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success,” according to a release on the team website.

Johnson, who was not available to other media outlets, described a versatile role, where he will advise team executives and employees on everything from business to basketball should they want it.He also indicated he did not want to force his way into any situation. He said he was open to helping Lakers Coach Luke Walton in working with players, but also open to being uninvolved in the players’ day-to-day development if Walton was comfortable with that.  “What I want to do is try to just, little by little build the Lakers back up to where they should be,” Johnson said.

Johnson spent 13 seasons playing for the Lakers, winning five championships and three MVP awards. During that time, he grew especially close with late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Jeanie and Jim’s father. The elder Buss sold an ownership stake in the organization to Johnson after he retired from playing. Johnson, who also has an ownership stake in the Dodgers and Sparks, sold his share of the Lakers in 2010.

To read full article, go to: Lakers hire Magic Johnson to advise ownership – LA Times

Denzel Washington Event Raises $17,000,000 for Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

504434762-in-this-handout-photo-provided-by-nbcuniversal-denzel
Denzel and Pauletta Washington with their children during a presentation at the Golden Globe Awards Jan. 10, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (PAUL DRINKWATER/NBCUNIVERSAL VIA GETTY IMAGES)

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

When you have as much star power and influence as Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington, and it’s put to good use, amazing things happen. While Barack Obama was giving his final White House Correspondents’ dinner speech Saturday night, the Washingtons were throwing a lavish party with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, all in support of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens later this year.

The fundraiser was an effort to secure the final monies needed for the museum, and needless to say, when the Washingtons put out a call, their friends have no problem donating.  The museum’s total cost amounts to $540 million, and so far, the government has contributed $270 million with the remainder coming in from events like the Washingtons’.

According to Variety, Saturday night’s soiree raised $17 million and included a pledge of $10 million from Shonda Rhimes.

“There is such a historical significance to this project,’’ said Denzel Washington. “It means so much for our community, our country and to future generations.’’

Magic Johnson closed the event with words that I’m sure resonated with everyone in attendance.  “We have to get everyone involved in this, making this a success,’’ said Johnson.

LL Cool J Honored With Star On Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame

LL Cool J Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
LL Cool J Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame (Source: Albert L. Ortega / Getty)

LL Cool J received Hollywood’s biggest honor by snagging a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.  The rapper is being lauded for his career accolades, including being one of the first rappers to sell 10 consecutive platinum plus selling albums, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Queen Latifah and Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs were in attendance speaking during the ceremony about what the actor/rapper’s career has meant to the entertainment industry.

Other notable attendees included Mike Tyson, Russell Simmons and Magic Johnson.

Congratulations, LL!

Watch the moment below:

article by Keyaira Kelly via hellobeautiful.com

“Empire” Star Jussie Smollett Honored by The Black AIDS Institute

Black AIDS Institute 2015 Heroes In The Struggle Reception Gala Reception And Awards Ceremony
Source: Paul Archuleta / Getty

2015 has been a breakout year for Empire star Jussie Smollett.

Before performing at the 2015 BET Awards, Jussie was honored by the Black AIDS Institute during the annual Heroes In The Struggle (H.I.T.S) gala. H.I.T.S pays tribute to Black Americans and the Allies who have contributed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Previous inductees of the gala include Maxine WatersMagic Johnson and President Bill Clinton.

According to Euroweb, Smollett was overjoyed when he heard the news about the honor.

“I got the call from Phil Wilson (President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute) who’s been one of my mentors since I was sixteen. He asked if I would be honored by the organization and I said of course. I love what the Black AIDS Institute has done and all of the lives that they’ve changed. I love Phil and to be honored by him is everything.”

Jussie was presented the honor by his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell and actor/activist Wilson Cruz. Other recipients of the 2015 award include the executive director of Empower U community health center, Vanessa MillsGregorio Millett, the Vice-President and Director of public policy for AMFAR and Janssen Therapeutics.

Jussie even spilled the tea about when we can expect his album to drop and what we can expect to hear from season two of Empire.

“It’s going to be fun. For ‘Empire’ season two, I’ve been recording with everybody from obviously Timbaland to Jim Beanz and also Swizz Beatz and Ne-Yo so it’s going to be dope. It’s going to be excellent!”

article by Veronica Hilbring via hellobeautiful.com

Born on This Day in 1958: Michael Jackson, the Incomparable King of Pop

Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas has launched the #MJWeAreOne campaign in conjunction with MichaelJackson.com.

Fans worldwide are urged to use Instagram by sharing videos — using the hashtag #MJWeAreOne — honoring MJ and sharing ideas of how to make the world a better place.

The MJ Global Party has fans celebrating Jackson’s birthday in live-time around the world using the hashtag #MJGBP2014. Check out the website here.

The fifth annual Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts is underway in Jackson’s birth home of Gary, Indiana. The three-day festival celebrates Jackson’s life and career while helping revitalize part of Gary.

So on this day, remember the King of Pop in your own way. Listen to your favorite MJ song. Watch your favorite Michael video for the thousandth time.

Below I’m posting one of my all-time favorite Jackson songs and videos, the John Singleton-directed “Remember The Time” and I know I’m going to shake my head (for the thousandth time) when Magic Johnson says “Behold, great Pharoah Ramses!”, laugh (for the thousandth time) when Eddie Murphy’s eyes bug out at Iman crushing on Michael, stare in awe (for the thousandth time) at the dance moves, and lose it (for the thousandth time) when Michael sings the “Rah dah /dah dah dah / What about us, girl?!” part because it is just so uniquely Michael, uniquely musical and uniquely inspiring.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Michael Jackson’s Indiana Hometown To Name School In His Honor

Michael Jackson

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Plans are in the works to name a school after Michael Jackson in the late pop star’s Indiana hometown.

The Gary Community School Board approved Tuesday a memorandum of understanding with Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson. The agreement that Jackson signed last month says the district “seeks to honor Michael Jackson and to inspire children to excel in the arts and education.”

District superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said she’s working with the Jackson family on which school to rename.

“A close relationship with the Jackson family to improve the quality of programs for the Gary Community School Corp. can mean tremendous gains for the school district and the city as a whole,” she told the Post-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1luhGfp ).

Michael Jackson spent the first 11 years of his life in Gary. His family moved to California after the Jackson 5 struck it big in 1969 with the release of their first album. Jackson, who died in 2009, last returned to Gary in 2003 and received an honorary diploma from Roosevelt High School near his childhood home.

Pruitt said renaming the school came up in a conversation with Katherine Jackson, who donated $10,000 during the Gary Promise scholarship event hosted by former NBA star Magic Johnson in April.

“She’s always wanted something left here,” Pruitt said.

The district has long struggled with high poverty levels, and the school board voted in June to close six of its 17 schools because of a $27 million deficit blamed in part on declining enrollment and the state’s property tax caps.

article via huffingtonpost.com