2016 has entered the record books as one of the greatest years for sports of all time. The Olympics is the summer’s pinnacle–this year, particularly for black America.
After controversy in the semifinals, the women’s 4×100 relay stamped their ticket to the final. They added 100m Silver medalist Tori Bowie as the anchor. Bowie, who clocked in 10.83 seconds in that final has had a tremendous season. I saw her in the trials and expected her to have an impact on Team USA’s quest for gold one more time in the relay.
Watching how far of a gap the USA women’s relay team had between them and the rest of the world was astonishing, but not surprising.
The pure domination that black women exuded from the beginning of the Olympics was undeniable and exhilarating to witness.
LeBron James lives and breathes “the ‘Land”. For most players, where they grew up has very little significance in the decision of where they’ll earn their salary.
For the past year and a half, people have been discussing and weighing in on the possibilities of where Kevin Durant — the summer’s premiere unrestricted free agent — would sign. Those conversations intensified once he and Russell Westbrook literally handed over their chance to play in the NBA Finals.
The one team that some people expected to pursue Durant is also the one team that’ll be missing from meetings in New York this week.
Kevin Durant has never been silent about his adoration for all things DC related. He’s never shied away from his roots. However, the Washington Wizards are officially out of the running in the Durant sweepstakes. In fact, Durant has never once said that DC was a desired or possible destination at this point in his career. That didn’t stop fans from being hopeful about a reunion.
America’s relationship with sports, more specifically sports heroes, is one of convenience and greed. Our memories of the greats are often served in palatable bits and pieces. This sentiment has been all over various social platforms since the untimely passing of the beloved Muhammad Ali.
It’s hard to say that the loss of Ali is sad because he lived a full life. But his death certainly calls attention to the collective conscience of America.
Ali spent nearly a third of his life suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. To watch the champ — whose physique was truly a marvel in his prime — slowly deteriorate over such a long time is gut-wrenching. When I look at how this massive personality of a man shrank into relative seclusion, it’s reminiscent of how we tend to treat our legends after the sport they dedicated their lives to end.
My relationship with the Orangemen traces back to the late 1990s. I suffered through the many letdowns and dry spells of college basketball in New York. I remember Damone Brown and Etan Thomas and Preston Shumpert and Jason Hart. In fact, the first Syracuse tournament game that broke my heart was in 2000 – when Mateen Cleaves and Mo Peterson thoroughly decimated the Orange.
Melo’s arrival was anchored by guard Gerry McNamara and fit-for-zone-defense sophomore forward Hakim Warrick. That year, the Orange had a rotation of players that could accomplish a deep run in March. And that they did. Playing in the Big East gave Syracuse the advantage every year because it wasn’t as strong of a conference.
Moving to the ACC was one of the best and worst things that could have happened for Syracuse basketball. Despite not being able to consistently dominate, the Orange have created an identity characterized as slow and methodical. They aren’t going to wow you with a lot of flash or deep threes. They are, however, solid at wearing teams down. According to the selection committee, that’s exactly how they fell into the tournament; becoming one of the most surprising Cinderellas the NCAA has had in a few years.
For the past decade, there’s been a handful of basketball programs that have been sure shots for your bracket all the way to the Final 4. There was the two-time defending champs Florida Gators, Mario Chalmers and the Jayhawks of Kansas, Anthony Davis’s Kentucky Wildcats, and last year’s Duke Starting 5.
These teams were dominant on both sides of the ball, spear-headed by future lottery picks. That 2012 Kentucky Wildcats team, in fact, is in the top 10 of best college teams of all time. All of these championship teams, for various reasons, had their own identity. They brought out the hate and the adulation from all. They embodied what March Madness is all about.
This year’s tournament lacks any of that shine. I couldn’t figure out what was missing until watching some of the conference tourneys over the weekend.
If you’ve ever been to a club in the city, you know that when drama pops off, the let-out is chaotic. Club entrances are literally on the street’s sidewalk so there’s no separation between partygoers. There’s no space to disperse. People are trying to find their friends. People are trying to hail a cab. They’re drunk. If someone’s been injured, the police arrive in hordes. Thabo Sefolosha was 1 of these people on the night of April 8 and it ended very badly for him.
Sefolosha pictured with teammate, Pero Antic who was also arrested. Antic however had his charges dropped.
Photo Credit: Jefferson Siegel
After Milwaukee Bucks forward Chris Copeland was stabbed inside the club, Sefolosha was arrested outside. That arrest resulted in a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the NBA playoffs. This is a big deal – both in terms of sports news and police brutality. Yet, no mainstream media is talking about the trial. It concluded earlier today and now it’s up to the jury. There’s been very little mention in sports media about Sefolosha’s broken leg, the ridiculous arrest, or even how his absence colored the Hawks’ lost in the post-season. So I fleshed out some thoughts about the testimonies and this case’s lack of coverage.
Rest my full piece on Medium
Stephen Curry’s meteoric rise is proof that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. In 2009, there was a lot of naysayers about Curry’s ability to transition at the NBA level. I remember many ESPN pundits saying before the draft that he was too small, that he played no defense, and had no handles. And what did Chef Curry do? He used it as fuel.
Curry partnered with CoachUp, a company that makes high level coaching sessions accessible to athletes. Covering all sports, the CoachUp platform serves as an online database that allows athletes at all experience levels to find quality, well-vetted coaches to help them improve their game; whether it’s for a high school tryout or an NBA D-League tryout. The company and Curry’s official relationship has been solidified today with the release of a new promotional commercial.
As I said in a post a few months ago, there’s so many niches Steph Curry can be a part of in spite of his privileged background. His starting point to present-day MVP and one of the best guards in the game is a great story for athletes who are set on proving people wrong.