October 07, 2021

By Jarred Davis

Contributing Writer

 

Waiting anxiously in a rain delay, Bubba Wallace joyfully cheered with his team once learning he had accomplished everything that he worked so hard for. A historic moment.

Wallace made history on Monday afternoon at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, becoming the first Black driver to win a Cup Series race since Wendell Scott scored his only victory in 1963.

 The Alabama native spoke on what it meant to become the second Black driver to win the Cup Series race and his feelings were pure after becoming victorious in his 143rd career start.

 

 

"I never think about those things, and when you, when you say it like that, honestly it brings a lot of emotion, a lot of joy, to my family, fans, friends. It's pretty damn cool," Wallace said after the race.

 

There were seventy-one laps to go in the race when Wallace was leading the way by a comfortable margin, but rain showers were strong enough to call the event, declaring him the winner after 45 minutes of attempting to dry the track.

 

"Talladega, we're winners," Wallace added in a video posted on the Twitter account of Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway. "What a perfect weekend, or weekday, I should say. I just knew something about it."

 

 

NBA legend and 23XI Racing co-owner, Michael Jordan congratulated Wallace on his win, knowing the amount of magnitude that was on display.

"I'm so happy for Bubba and our entire 23XI Racing team. This is a huge milestone and a historic win for us," Jordan said in a tweeted statement. "From the day we signed him, I knew Bubba had the talent to win and Denny and I could not be more proud of him. Let's go!"

Jordan and Denny Hamlin announced Wallace as its only driver earlier in the year, as 23XI Racing made its NASCAR Cup Series official debut at the Daytona 500 on February 14, 2021, at Daytona International Speedway.

Wallace shocked the sport of NASCAR last year when he announced he wouldn’t return to Richard Petty Motorsports for the following season.

 

“I appreciate Michael Jordan; I appreciate Denny for believing in me and giving me the opportunity. … It’s pretty fitting that it comes here at Talladega,” Wallace said.

Wallace is a name that has been on display not for just racing, and instead was at the forefront of getting the Confederate flags banned from racing, facing adversity on social media and from crowds.

 "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with confederate flags," Wallace said last year in an interview on CNN. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

In June 2020, NASCAR announced it was officially pulling the banner off its racetrack properties for good.

“There’ve been plenty of times when I wanted to give up. You surround yourself with the right people, and moments like this that you appreciate,” Wallace said after the win.

Wallace dealt with pain and a moment of shock just last year at the same track, when a noose was found in his garage stall, sparking an FBI hate-crime investigation.

The FBI determined Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime, stating the noose had been in the garage since at least 2019.

 

"It’s Talladega. It’s his home state. Everything that happened at Talladega last year. Things that Bubba didn’t ask to happen, but he had to go through it," Hamlin said on the win.

The 23XI racer accomplished more than just winning a race, he showed the world he belonged while motivating others.

 

"This is for all the kids out there that want to have an opportunity and whatever they want to achieve and be the best at what they want to do," Wallace said holding back tears.

"You're going to go through a lot of bulls---. But you always got to stick true to your path and not let the nonsense get to you.”

 

"It's definitely been tough going to some of the tracks this year, we get some of the most boos now," Wallace added.

"Everybody says as long as they're making noise that's fine, but you know, I get booed for different reasons, and that's the tough thing to swallow.

I appreciate all those who were there doing the rain dance with us, pulling for us, supporting me my whole career, but especially those who have supported me with everything that's gone on the last 15-16 months."

Wallace emotionally broke down in tears once he returned to his parked No. 23 Toyota car, a number that will forever be well-known in the sport of basketball and now NASCAR.

“Stay strong. Stay humble. Stay hungry. Been plenty of times when I wanted to give up,” Wallace said.  

Category: Sports

September 30, 2021

City News Service

 

A 26-year-old employee of the Los Angeles Clippers' digital content group who was reported missing died in a car crash, it was announced today.

Assane Drame was last seen at about 11 p.m. Monday at the Clippers downtown office at 1212 Flower St., according to his sister Fatou.

Drame was reported missing to police the following afternoon after his roommates had not heard from him and noticed his car was not parked at their Palms residence, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Friends began a search for information on Drame's whereabouts through social media, and his work contacted his father and sister in New Jersey out of concern for his whereabouts.

Drame's sister sought information on his whereabouts via social media Wednesday morning, but reported at about 4:35 p.m. that she had learned he died on Monday night.

“I tried to reach out to as many people as I could personally,” Fatou tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “I'm sorry if this is how you find out, but unfortunately Assane passed away from car accident.”

Further details on the traffic collision were not available.

Drame had lived in Los Angeles since 2019 when he was hired as an intern by the Clippers, The Times reported. He later worked as a video assistant with the team's digital content group and created video vignettes that were published on social media.

“The Clippers organization mourns the loss of Assane Drame, a dedicated employee, a talented videographer and a loyal friend,” the team said in a statement.

 

Category: Sports

September 30, 2021

By Betti Halsell

Contributing Writer

 

Basketball requires unity under the hoop and along the sidelines. International basketball player, Pooh Jeter, understands the need to win as a whole team, which includes the person holding the clipboard.  Resurrecting the energy of diversity within coaching, Jeter is seeking more support for Black coaches by reenergizing the Black Coach Association (BCA). 

Jeter spoke exclusively with the Los Angeles Sentinel, providing the play-by-play as he dissected the reasons athletes need to see their likeness  in their coaches and the demand for the collective community to look out for each other. 

Participating in the efforts to bring the BCA back is coach, Jason Hart, who recently made a colossal transition in his athletic leadership career. The University of Southern California athletic department shared their mixed feelings of sadness and joy, when learning of Hart's changeover to head coach for the NBA G League’s Ignite.

Around the time of his transition, Hart made a statement on Twitter, “The NBA hiring of African-American coaches is changing the game! Relatability seems to be the narrative now!! I’m next!” Shortly after that tweet, he received the opportunity to be a part of an NBA division, as head coach. 

 

Reflecting on the revival of the BCA, Jeter said, “One of the co-founders that we decided to do this with is Jason Hart. He’s now a coach for the G league’s Ignite team—and that was our whole issue because he hit me up, venting one time about how there are no Black coaches—head coaches in men's basketball, in the Pac-12.”  

"That was kind of weird,” Jeter said. He stressed the importance of support in recruiting coaches from the Black community. Jeter said, “That led to us having conversations about trademarking ‘Black Coaches Association’ and that turned into an amazing opportunity of hitting up other Black coaches that I know.”  Jeter shared his vision of seeing Black coaches being uplifted within the sports industry. 

As an athlete, Jeter has felt the spark and motivation coaches bring to the team. He found it important to make the BCA a priority, seeing the growth of this entity all the way through. With a committed team behind him, Jeter is confident that the BCA is back and here to stay. 

The first pulse started with picking up the phone. Jeter explained that he made numerous calls, reaching out to influential people from his past in order to bring more athletic unity into the future. 

Finding himself aligned with legends, Jeter acknowledged the titans of the first BCA. Through their efforts, Jeter has the undistinguishable fire to make the BCA feel like home for the collective community in sports. 

Those who led the first BCA included John Thompson, John Chaney, George Raveling, and Nolan Richardson. In order to realign with the need for Black coaches, Jeter prompted himself to answer a critical question, “What do you we need to be doing to be prepared for the opportunities?” He began hunting for that answer last year. 

“From then to now, we see in the NBA, they just hired seven Black coaches. It was from the lack of having six before, to now having 13,” Jeter continued, “Since we been having the movement and the association, a lot has been happening.” Jeter has put the key in the ignition, revving up the awareness of the imbalance in diverse coaches. 

Some of the pillars that the renovated BCA will lean heavily on includecultural responsibility, honesty, education, trust, authentic relationships, and mentorship. This information was found on Slam Online. The BCA will fill every need to make Black coaches and athletes succeed in their careers. 

Jeter has leaned in for many hurdles around the coach's clipboard. Beginning with his career as the number two all-time scorer for the university basketball team, the Portland Pilots, in 2005, Jeter was named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week in February of that year, after averaging 22.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.0 rebounds,leading the Pilots to victories over Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. His statistics were made available on portlandpilots.com.

By 2006, Jeter’s career took shape in the NBA D-League with the Colorado 14er’s. In 2007, he laced up his sneakers overseas to play in Ukraine, Spain, China, and Israel. Coming back to the states, Jeter honored the Sacramento Kings with his talents. 

Jeter shared more of his sentiments in past interviews about his dedication to the revival of the BCA. “I’m a point guard and have been all my life-- so I have been a coach on the floor.

If you look at our board members, Head Coach of University of Virgina Tina Thompson, Assistant Coach for Boston Celtics Damon Stoudamire, Head Coach of Bishop O’ Dowd High School Lou Richie, and WNBA Head Coach of Seattle StormNoelle Quinn, to name a few,” Jeter said.

He continued,“By being with them more and having the knowledge from playing in every basketball league, I started saying, ‘you know I could do this and be a coach.

So, I have some interest from some people, I think that is something that I can see myself doing in my next chapter.’”

He continued, “However, I am still a pro playerand I want to finish this out first, but if the opportunity presented itself, I would consider it.”

To address the frustrations in the lack of respect for Black coaches in the industry, the BCA will “develop coaches, improve hiring practices and encourage the use of mental health services for our student-athletes and BCA members.”

Category: Sports

September 23, 2021

By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

Wyatt Worthington II got his start in golf as a young teen growing up in Ohio.

To hear Worthington tell his uplifting story, his ascension up the leaderboard was both a product of his father’s commitment to the game and a chance meeting with Tiger Woods.

“I was 13 when I met Tiger,” Worthington recalled. “But [before that meeting], I would watch my dad hit balls. I didn’t think much of it at the time because no one I grew up with at the time knew anything about the game.”

Worthington remembers picking up one of his father’s golf clubs and swinging.

“I got the ball up in the air, and I was hooked,” he exclaimed.

Worthington’s career has soared.

This summer, he won the 76th Southern Ohio PGA Professional Championship in Columbus, shooting 10-under-par.

 

“It is historic,” Worthington said, noting the rarity of an African American topping the leaderboard.

Worthington credits his father and Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion, for his success.

As a young teen, Worthington met woods during a First Tee and Woods Foundation event. Woods helped the young man with his swing and provided the kind of confidence that helped Worthington qualify to play for the PGA Championship in 2016.

Only the second African American in nearly a quarter-century to qualify for the PGA Championship, Worthington barely missed qualifying a year earlier.

Despite his success – or, perhaps, because of it – Worthington advocates for more African American participation.

“This beautiful, amazing, and majestic game needs more representation and more people who look like me and you involved,” Worthington declared.

“Hopefully, that can change,” he said.

“I think I was the first African American to win a Section Championship in Ohio. I’m one of just a handful of African Americans to tee it up in a major championship, and that’s a jaw-dropping stat that is the history of golf.”

Continuing efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the sport, the PGA of America and the PGA Tour have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association that represents the Black Press of America.

Worthington added that he hopes his success will help the game build on its diversity, equity, and inclusion mission.

“We [African Americans] don’t have the support, access, and opportunity, that most of our peers are fortunate enough to have,” Worthington continued.

“It’s tough. As African Americans, we don’t have the type of social network our peers have to get that help and support. I hope I can have some type of exposure to the people who may not be introduced into the sport, and hopefully, that can change because this is an amazing game.”

Category: Sports

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