August 16, 2012

 

By Kenneth Miller

 

LA Watts Times Correspondent

 

 

 

From Watts to South Central, Inglewood, to Hawthorne and beyond, Lakers fans are rejoicing in the acquisition of superstar big man Dwight Howard joining the storied local basketball franchise.

 

It is one of those moments that sort of transcends your normal sports story. Not as important as the Martin Luther King assassination or the presidential election of Barack Obama, but you remember where you were when you heard about it.

 

I was sitting in Fridays on La Tijera waiting to be seated when the noise erupted. The Olympics were on the television screen and some obscure divers were in the pool, but it was all about Dwight.

 

“We Got Him!” Laker fans are not your normal breed. They don’t recognize the word pessimistic in the dictionary. They are always going to win the NBA championship. They actually HATE every other team in the league and the Celtics even more.

 

Winning 16 NBA championships and playing in 31 Finals will have that impact on you. Jerry, Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Elgin, Magic, Phil, Chick, Pat, it is an association that is THE ASSOCIATION.

 

So, here’s hoping that Dwight Howard realizes what he’s getting into by being traded to the Lakers from the Orlando Magic.

 

Laker fans are glad to know that you have been enjoying the shopping in Beverly Hills, the beaches in Malibu, the clubs in Hollywood and the adulation that has been rushed upon you.

 

They were thrilled to see you smiling at the introductory presser while mocking Kobe and embracing the opportunity of winning a championship.

 

They will be ecstatic when you put that Lakers uniform on for the first time whether it be in December or January.

 

These fans are not really even tripping about your next contract with the Lakers after the season is over… That is if you don’t win a championship.

 

You see, Dwight, as young as you are and as talented as you are, this whole big deal is just really about one small thing. A CHAMPIONSHIP!

 

The Lakers are like the Yankees in baseball, they realize that going to the playoffs and finishing in the conference finals as you did in Orlando is not good enough here.

 

Being an NBA All Star six consecutive years and three times Defensive Player of the Year are nice accolades, but pale in comparison to what the big prize is here.

 

Shaquille O’Neal understood that and no matter how much he despised Kobe he didn’t allow for it to get in the way of him winning three NBA championships here.

 

We know how hard it was for you to accept the path that Shaq took to title town, but what options did you really have? New Jersey? Oh we swept them in the Finals in their only shot. Houston? You mean our stepchildren in the West?

 

Listen carefully, Dwight! We are not concerned about your baby momma drama and three kids out of wedlock, it’s clear you are not the choirboy I first met when you were in high school and your Christian values have been challenged.

 

However, we gave up the future of our franchise Andrew Bynum because we believe that you are better.

 

Fact is your numbers indicate that you are an absolute MONSTER.

 

That is why the rest of the NBA is crying foul, questioning the integrity of the league because the Lakers are now such an overwhelming favorite to win the NBA championship next year.

 

There will be no stage and dancing to the tune of “Not ONE, Not TWO…” This is about 17, 18, 19 20.

 

I am sure you get the drift.

 

So,  here  is to inform you that city officials have already been contacted as to the exact route of the parade next June, a half million  invitations will go out in the mail and the seat at the front of the bus is all yours…

 

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

 August 16, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

 

[Editor’s note: Ken Miller is an award winning veteran journalist who spent 30 years writing for the L.A. Sentinel and has been a popular guest on local sports talk radio for several years. This is the first edition of his weekly sports column.]

 

Yo! Miller from the Bottoms here, spitin’ some sporty as you would from your twitter box or Facebook page.

 

The thoughts and dialect are not abject narratives from your college professor or prep English teacher, in fact I am not sure where d’ hell they come from since I never had access to either.

 

Finally, the Brits have told the world to go home so that now they can count them pounds and digest the finest body parts of the pig.

 

I am not quite sure that I was watching the Olympics or the Outerlimits. Most of the action I checked out was so late at night the results were already known and because London is a clear eight hours ahead of us what I assumed was primetime was pastime.

 

Clearly, the big winner of the games was lil Gabby Douglas whom many ignorant Black folk were so consumed with her hair style they totally missed out on her history making double gold medal efforts.

 

After Gabby had won the all around title, I didn’t quite understand why she was competing in the same events again for individual medals. It seemed a bit redundant to me. Sort of like winning the Super Bowl or NBA title and then saying, I think I’ll go back and play against the No. 8 seed.

 

Gabby’s mom had filed for bankruptcy to support her darling teenage child and I’ve read that her father is a just a sperm donor, so it will be 16-year old Gabby in a true rags to riches saga now being the breadwinner of the family.

 

I haven’t had Corn Flakes in a long time, but now that Gabby is on the box I might just see if they still taste the same with bananas and sugar.

 

Who cares if this Olympic team could have beat the Dream Team? All Laker fans should be concerned with is their superstar shooter being a sidebar on an Olympic Gold medal winning team where all of the most prominent stars are younger than 30.

 

It’s almost as if Kobe Bryant is already a shadow of himself, celebrating every three as if it were his last. Can anybody name more than a handful of the players that this team played against? Poor Nigeria…

 

Did Oscar De la Hoya and Golden Boy think they were going to keep eating all of those free meals off Money Mayweather as his rent-a-promoter?

 

The only question I have is what took so long for Mayweather and his filthy rich rapper homey Fitty to come to their senses and began reaping all of the financial benefits from the cash cow in the sport of boxing.

 

My main man DK kicked in a half mil to Money to try and secure a deal, only to be left contemplating a lawsuit to get it back. Now he too is on the outside looking in at what could be the new kids on the promoting block.

 

Finally, flags in the hood should be at half mass this week in memory of the late Chad Johnson or Ocho Cinco who was buried as a professional football player this week and as a celebrity husband.

 

I am sure that you heard of our boy getting caught by his non-Black wife of a month in a half with a sleeve of rubbers in the trunk of the car.

 

Instead of soothing his VH1 basketball wives cast member by lying and saying one of the other boys on the team left them there, Chad decided to go WWF and head butted her.

 

She ran from the car into a neighbors house called the po-po, he was arrested with a case of domestic violence, or the OJ Law. The Dolphins dump him the next day. The wife flees and says he needs help and now Chad ain’t got no money or no honey.

 

Then he sends out this lame statement about how he is going to focus on his NFL career. Chad wake up! It’s over. You can’t play football and you can’t play your wife. If a desperate team does pick you up the Boy Wonder Commish’ll immediately suspend you!

 

Until next week! Holla!!!

 

Follow me on twitter @kokenz

 

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 09, 2012

Associated Press

 

President Barack Obama is joining NBA legend Michael Jordan and an array of basketball stars to raise money for his re-election campaign later this month.

The Obama campaign is planning a fundraising ''shoot-around'' and dinner in New York on Aug. 22 featuring several NBA stars, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and others. Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Obama's favorite NBA team, and NBA Commissioner David Stern are co-hosting a $20,000-per person fundraising dinner with the president later in the day

Obama is a longtime basketball fan who regularly plays pickup games with friends and aides. His campaign held a fundraiser last February at the Orlando-area home of NBA player Vince Carter, who is also involved in the New York events.

The campaign is holding a ''shoot-around'' with players at New York's Chelsea Piers sports complex, including Anthony, Rondo, Wall, Paul Pierce, Kyrie Irving, Joe Johnson and former NBA centers Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. WNBA stars Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley are also participating in the event, which will cost $5,000 for a parent and child or two people to have a ''shoot-around skills session'' with the players. A $250 donation provides an autograph session with the players.

Obama's campaign plans to raffle off the chance for grass-roots supporters to attend the events.

A similar ''Obama Classic'' basketball event planned for last December was postponed after team owners and players reached a labor deal following a lockout.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 09, 2012

By Joy Childs

 

Sentinel Contributing Writer

 

 

 

“… I’ve raised an Olympian …Wow! …”

 

—Statement by Natalie Douglas, mother of gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas, to the Huffington Post upon her win

 

Delores Griffith knows that feeling. As the mother of Florence Griffith-Joyner, that’s much like how she felt when her daughter won Olympic gold in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

 

Griffith-Joyner would no doubt be in London for the Olympics right now. She would have gotten a kick out of Sanya Richards-Ross and Dee Dee Trotter’s performances there. “Flo Jo,” who still holds the world records for the 100 meters and 200 meters — and who was dubbed the “fastest woman alive” — might have even been their coach.

 

Though she passed away in 1998, Griffith-Joyner is still a huge presence in track, her feats, her aura, her spirit still mentioned at the recent Olympics track and field events.

 

But it takes her mother to give us her truth about her famous Olympian daughter, called Dee Dee by family and friends.

 

Hailing from Henderson, N.C., Griffith came to California to be with a sister, who was working on her Ph.D. at UCLA, and to go to school but ended up getting married to a man from Nashville, Tenn., and having 11 children. Asked their names in order, she consults a clock that bears their names on the wall and ticks them off:  Bobby, Weldon, Vivian, Kathleen (a successful real estate agent), Robert (a successful businessman), Elizabeth aka “Cissy,” Florence, Joseph, Lemuel, Gale and Eugene.

 

Were Griffith-Joyner’s talents genetic? Even in her 80s, Mrs. Griffith, whose slender build and beautiful brown skin bear the visage of someone who may have been yesteryear’s track star, explains — “Yes — but we didn’t call it ‘track’ back then … We ‘ran’ at gym time … And my mother ran a beauty shop, and she would give me one minute to get from home to that beauty shop … and I would run all through town …” She laughs at the memory.

 

Though she and her husband and children lived in Littlerock, CA (which is 11 miles southeast of Palmdale) for a bit, Griffith and her children eventually moved to the Jordan Downs projects in Watts to a five-bedroom residence.

 

Asked how she managed as a single woman to instill values in 11 kids in a Watts housing project, she recalled fondly the “family pow-wows.” They were held every Thursday and each week a different child was tasked to pick a Bible verse to speak on.  Also, each child got a chance to confess their wrongdoing that week as well as what Griffith had done wrong.

 

Now some mothers could have easily focused their attention and resources on Griffith-Joyner — something Griffith had seen other mothers do, which she loathed.  She says she promised God that if she had children she would be a mother to each of them and never compare them.

 

There’s one funny story about Griffith’s earliest memories of her track star daughter’s talents as only a mother could remember: “When she was in the walker, we called her “Lightening” because when she started to walk, she did not walk — she ran all through the house! … And then — oh — and when they were young and we lived in the desert, in the backyard, I would play racing with them …I would line them up … I was the starter and they would run to me …”

 

The following is an excerpt from a recent interview Griffith had with the Los Angeles Sentinel:

 

LAS:  So you knew way back then she could run fast. [Both laugh.] … And so when did she get serious about track?

 

DG:  When she was about 7, she started running at 102nd Street School … And Mrs. Annie Hall asked if the kids could join the Sugar Ray Robinson Organization. And I let them join. And every weekend she’d come and pick them up and take them to their track meets, and as they grew, they just enjoyed it so much … They couldn’t go if they didn’t get their work done on Friday. So on Saturday mornings, they got up to be ready to go with Ms. Hall …

 

All her years at Jordan High School, she did very well. And then she went to [California State University at] Northridge because she was working at a bank. And that’s where Bob Kersee confronted her [about running track] … And she came home and told me about it and she asked me what I thought about it … and I told her that I believe that at 18, it’s the first day of the rest of your life …You have to make your own decision ... and Bob talked to her, and she transferred from Northridge to UCLA.

 

LAS:  Did she ever say straight out that she wanted to go to the Olympics?

 

DG:  My cousin was out here from New York, and he talked to her a lot … And he told me she told him she was going to the Olympics when she was 12 or 13.

 

Her greatest achievement

 

LAS:  To you, what was her greatest achievement?

 

DG: I still think 1980 — the year she went to Eugene, Oregon. That was her first tryout for the Olympics and, though she came in fourth place, I expressed to her, ‘You’re still a winner because to think that you went out there — you went to Eugene Oregon! Think about how many people are trying to do things now and they don’t succeed.’ But she didn’t give up.  It was still her dream to go to the Olympics.

 

LAS:  And she qualified to go to the Olympics in 1984? … That wasn’t her greatest achievement to you?

 

DG: To be truthful with you, I never thought of the Olympics as thee Olympics. I never thought of it being as big as it was. It wasn’t until she really got into it and she talked to me and told me different things that I realized what she was doing ..

 

At this point Mrs. Griffith brought out one of Griffith’s many bibles, explaining:

 

“I told her when she started traveling overseas and everything, I told her, ‘Baby, you have to take your Bible with you and take God with you.’ I said, ‘Momma cannot be with you always.’ I said, ‘The only thing you can do is pray.’ 

 

Moving on to the allegations of steroid/drug use, Griffith, responding to the question of how all that affected her, sighed and said:

 

“It made me very, very angry and hurt ’cause you would have to have known her to know that this was not true … And as much time as we spent together, as a mother, you would know if your child is taking drugs.  Every drug test she took, she had a little something they gave her that was legal so …

 

“I was cleaning up her house one time and I found all these little things on a hook [film], and I was gonna throw them away but she said, ‘Momma, no — don’t do that. That’s the result of my drug test …’ so she kept all of them so after she told me that and I saw them for myself, it just really unnerved me ...

 

LAS: Would you ever allow for [the possibility of] there being another side of her that you as a mother just couldn’t have seen? A hidden side of her?

 

DS: Like I say …having talked to her and all, if there was a hidden side of her, it was really a hidden side … but she always respected me and gave me the honor [of the truth] as a parent.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 09, 2012

By JOHN PYE |

 

Associated Press

 

 

 

LONDON (AP) — After leaving the most important decision of her career up to her persuasive mother, Brittney Reese knew there was only one place to start looking when it was time to celebrate her Olympic gold medal in the long jump.

 

Reese claimed one of the three gold medals the U.S. track and field team won Wednesday night at the London Games, becoming the first American woman to win the Olympic long jump title since Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988.

 

“It’s a surreal moment,” she said. “I got very emotional — you do when you’re representing your country.

 

“My mom and aunt are here, so this is a great moment for me and my family.”

 

Within the space of a half hour at the packed, 80,000-seat Olympic stadium, Allyson Felix finally won the 200-meter title that had eluded her at Athens and Beijing, Aries Merritt won the 110-meter hurdles gold medal and Reese won the long jump.

 

The two-time world champion went into the competition with the best jump of the season and put down the best mark in the final with 23 feet, 4 1-2 inches (7.12 meters) on her second attempt. Russia’s Elena Sokolova took the silver medal at 23-2 1-2 (7.07) and Janay Deloach earned the bronze for the United States at 22-7 1-4 (6.89).

 

It was a major achievement for Reese, who could easily have been lost to track and field. She was considering offers for basketball scholarships when her mother, Carla Young, made a fateful decision for her: Stick with track and field, at the University of Mississippi.

 

“My mom fell in love with Ole Miss and they were still in contact with me while I was in my community college,” Reese said. “I sat down with her and she told me track is what I needed to do — and Mamma knows best, so that’s what i did.”

 

Now that she’s the reigning Olympic and world champion indoors and out — and is third all-time in the U.S. behind Joyner-Kersee and Marion Jones in terms of longest jumps — she could be excused for thinking about another career change.

 

But that’s not likely before the 2016 Games in Rio.

 

“I feel like this is just the beginning,” the 25-year-old Reese said. “I am going to train four more years and come back and hopefully defend my title.”

 

She dedicated the London Olympic title to the people of Mississippi and others who are still rebuilding in the wake of the deadly and devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

 

She does what she can — during the 2011 Thanksgiving season, Reese purchased 100 turkeys to be given away to help the homeless near her hometown of Gulfport, Miss — but the gold medal is special.

 

Reese lived through the disaster that damaged her house, but was conscious that she got off lightly and wanted to do something significant at the Beijing Olympics four years ago to give her friends and neighbors a boost.

 

“In ‘08 my goal was to come out there and get a medal. And when I placed fifth, I was devastated and cried the whole way back to the (athletes) village,” she said. “I had the whole Gulf coast behind me. I got a lot of emails, a lot of Facebook and Twitter about my Gulf coast family representing me, being there for me, and I wanted to come out here and do that for them.”

 

Reese and her family had to sandbag their home to avoid flood inundation during the disaster, but the ceiling of the house collapsed and forced them out.

 

“We were out of the house for like two months because we had mold and we were living out of mobile homes and trailers,” she said. “It was a tough time and (makes) you realize how blessed you are to have necessities.

 

“It was a real true eye-opener and my city is now rebuilt and we have most of the stuff back. But we don’t have a lot of the homes back. This was a great way for me to bring something home to them to show that we can all do this together.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

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