The following segment debuted in February as a part of “SportsCenter’s” Black History Month special. It’s still timely because it highlights how sport mirrors society in a way that we have made progression but we’re still not fully where we need to be when it comes to topics such as race and gender. ESPN Sports Columnist Jemele Hill sits down with 13-year-old, multi-sport star Mo’ne Davis and six-time Olympic, track and field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee to discuss these issues.
There’s more to Imani McGee-Stafford than what meets the eye. The University of Texas center not only uses basketball as an escape, but she also uses poetry as a form of expression to release her pain and pour hope into others. Lives have been and will be saved because of her boldness to speak up and out about her struggles. Here’s her story:
Arguably the best women’s college basketball player this past season was also the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft. The best player in Notre Dame women’s basketball history – yes, better than Skylar Diggins – Jewell Loyd has been a spectacular player since her freshman year as a Fighting Irish. The 2015 espnW National Player of the Year was so amazing, she decided to forego her last year of college eligibility to take her talents to the WNBA, which is rare for women basketball players. Although her former head coach, teammates and others in the sports industry knocked her for the decision, heading to Seattle as the No.1 pick with the money she has coming her way from the WNBA and overseas doesn’t seem like a bad look after all. Now that Loyd has moved on to the big league, who’s creating the most buzz entering the 2015-2016 season? Read More
I’ve always pondered why it’s acceptable for male coaches to coach women at the college and professional levels but it’s not as acceptable for women to coach men at those levels. Although it’s not abnormal to see a woman coaching Amateur Athletic Union or high school boys, it’s still rare. San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon is the first full-time paid woman assistant in the NBA – which is a crack at the glass ceiling – but I look forward to the day when it becomes normal for women to be the head coaches of college and professional men’s basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. I think since sports such as basketball, baseball and football are contact sports, they are stereotyped as needing a man to be in control and call the shots. There’s a little more lead way with Olympic-style sports such as track and field, swimming and tennis for women to get away with being head coaches, partly because these are a mix of individual and team sports and they’re more graceful. On the other hand, I don’t understand why people would throw tantrums over the thought of a woman coaching a masculine sport like football, but men coach feminine sports like volleyball and gymnastics, and it’s acceptable. Read More
My previous post discussed the greatest women’s basketball player of all time (G.O.A.T.), Cheryl Miller. Now, I want to offer some perspective about the greatest men’s basketball player of all time, since it’s a little more difficult to decipher. Whenever the best men’s basketball players are discussed, the most talked about names are Walt Frazier, Julius Irving, Oscar Robertson, George Gervin, Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and even Lebron James. Of course, the most favored of all these players is Jordan. When I think of the GOAT, I think of a player who makes his or her teammates better, impacts the game on offense and defense, must be the best player for his or her franchise and has to have championships under his or her belt.
Without a doubt, Jordan falls into all of these categories, but why is it that we only associate guards with the GOAT? Read More
Every sport has its own greatest player of all time (G.O.A.T.), but since I’m former basketball player, I want to discuss my favorite sport. There’s no question that Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller is the GOAT on the women’s side. At 6-foot-2, she could shoot, dribble, pass, run the floor and block shots. She dominated at the high school, college and international levels. According to complex.com, she set the California single-game scoring record by putting up 77 points. She later broke that record by dropping 105 points against Norte Vista High School, leading her team to 179-15 victory. At the University of Southern California, she won two national championships (1983 & 1984), was NCAA Tournament MVP both years, had a career 3,018 points and 1,534 rebounds, four-time All-American, three-time Naismith College Player of the Year and led the Trojans to a 112-20 record during her tenure. She still holds multiple records at USC.
She led Team USA to a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, CA and was drafted by multiple professional teams – the Women’s National Basketball Association did not exist at this time – including a men’s league. Read More
It seems that every athlete wants to be a rapper and ever rapper wants to be an athlete, at least this is the case for African American males. Athletes such as Ron Artest, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and others have tried to rap, and many rappers have played sports and decided it wasn’t for them (Shaq was actually a decent rapper). On the other hand, rappers such as 2-Chains, Roscoe Dash and others have had a short stint on the hardwood. I always wondered why this is the case? Maybe the rappers were undersized – most rappers are short – and maybe athletes’ word plays weren’t strong enough. One thing that’s for sure is that you can always catch rappers at sporting events and athletes at a hip-hop concert. Even in the film “Brown Sugar,” Boris Kodjoe’s character is an NBA player who is an aspiring rapper. In his song “January 28th,” J. Cole says “I turn the TV on, not one hero in sight, unless he dribble or he fiddle with mics.” I think the commonality between the African American males that rap and play basketball, or even football, is their economic statuses. Read More
June 17, 1994 is arguably the wildest day in sports history. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “June 17, 1994” highlights the sporting events – NBA Finals, MLB game, Stanley Cup and U.S. Open- surrounding the highway chase and capture of O.J. Simpson on charges of murdering his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Unlike most documentaries, it does not consist of interviews and voice overs. It is a compilation of footage from the sporting events and news sources covering the events on June 17 and the days leading to it. However, I don’t want to focus on the entire documentary, I want to focus on how Simpson’s situation was handled because of his status as a star, NFL running back. People didn’t know if he was guilty of the crime he was accused of or not but they still supported him. Fans stood outside of his home chanting “Juice,” held signs that said, “Save the Juice,” and “We love the Juice.” The police officer speaking to Simpson during the chase even referred to him as “Juice” – did he forget that he was speaking to a man wanted for murder or was it just me? Read More
Photo Credit: Star-Telegram.com
This headline is the same headline the New York Daily News used when this story first broke on January 10, 2015. Can anyone guess what’s wrong with it? The headline conveys the cause of Tarpley’s death was due to drugs, but the cause of death was kidney failure. Although he was removed from the league because of his drug abuse, I’m sure he and his family didn’t want him to be remembered as a drug addict, especially if he was clean prior to his death. If I was the sports editor, the headline would’ve read “Roy Tarpley, former Dallas Mavericks center, dies at 50.” Some other good examples are “Former Mavericks big man Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by espn.go.com or “Former Michigan great Roy Tarpley dies at 50” by mlive.com.
Mentioning in the article his NBA career was cut short due to drugs would’ve been fine – following with the positive things he did for his community – but including ‘drug-plagued’ in the headline wasn’t necessary. Journalists have to make ethical decisions and in my opinion, this decision was unethical when it comes to his family and his legacy. Even national and prestigious media outlets make questionable decisions, so it’s important to decipher good journalism from bad journalism. To all my aspiring and current journalists, make sure you know the difference.