Thursday, February 28, 2013

Extra Tidbits: Lakers Talk and Hip Hop Thoughts.

The Lakers are 11-5 since I made my last recap video and there's reason for me to chop it up on Kobe becoming a facilitator. As great as he's played, I'm happy that Mike Antoni remembered that he's a coach and has to use his players better.

I also chip in with some words on my fellow Lakers fans regarding. Dwight Howard's free agency. Stop caring and stay focusing on this season. It's beneath us to beg for someone to make a decision and I darn sure don't want to guilt anybody to committing here. They gotta want it. But til then, I'm only worried on hoping Dwight can be effective while still not at 100%.

Also, here's a bonus for you. Starting this week, I'm going to a weekly blog post over at my man XLUSIVE's website. We've collaborated before and I wrote a review on his debut album back in 2011. I'll be talking music over there so it'll be a nice change of pace from here.

Here's the first post - Reliving 1993, the year the West Coast took over hip hop led by Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. It set the stage for The Game and now Kendrick Lamar and the Black Hippy Crew breathing life into hip-hop.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quvenzhane Wallis and The Onion: When Satire Goes Horribly Wrong

I came home Sunday night from a nice dinner with my girlfriend and her family celebrating her brother's birthday. I briefly got to catch glimpses of the Oscars* at the restaurant and I was ready to sit back and enjoy the post-awards coverage.

Then lo and behold, I catch wind of what The Onion posted on Twitter of the 9-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhane Wallis. The fiery Best Actress nominee made me smile when I saw her pose cheerfully as they announced her during the ceremony. In case you missed it, my apologies for reposting this horrible word but it must be shown

Click on the picture to blow it up and then look to your right.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Information Overload = Less Knowledge, Good Analysis?

"Information has become more important than the source of information.” I read this quote while reading an San Francisco Weekly article discussing Bleacher Report’s rise and it made me think. If anything, this sums up the era we now live in.

Information is more easily available now than ever before. There are more voices telling us what to know and Bleacher Report is one of many sites taking advantage of this. I was attracted to write for them because even though there’s a wealth of voices, it gives you a chance to stand out with your style and insight when done right.

But it makes me wonder about a few things long term. I explored some of these ideas last year and now it makes me think even more about the future. My future as a writer/sportswriter/thinker and our future in society's ability to be critical thinking consumers. This isn't a criticism but a critique of we're getting so much but losing things just as valuable as information.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thank you Dr. Jerry Buss: Forever a Los Angeles Treasure

Dr. Jerry Buss was not just the owner of the Lakers for 33 years. He was the man who marketed Showtime to the world. He bought the Lakers, Kings and the Forum with the vision to make them even bigger just like he had made himself from a poor Wyoming boy to a billionaire businessman respected by NBA peers, fans and players alike.

10 championships and winning 66% of their games since 1979 doesn't tell the full story. When you talk about Los Angeles' biggest sports icons, Dr. Buss should be up there with Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, John Wooden and Magic Johnson. This is my way of thanking him for what he did to my city and making the Lakers an international brand and part of this city's identity.

It's probably the saddest day as a Lakers fan since Chick Hearn died. These are just a few words from me on his memory and impact as somebody who grew up just five minutes from the Forum.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Enough of the Lazy Michael Jordan Comparisons

In honor of Michael Jordan's 50th birthday on All-Star Sunday, I have one simple request: Can we stop lazy comparisons to him. I know it's tempting but we as fans need to stop this madness.

It's even more maddening to me because ever since I became an NBA fan at 10 years old (1994), I've listened to guys be awarded the "Next MJ" tag. Harold Miner, Penny Hardaway, Jerry Stackhouse, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, and of course Kobe Bryant. It's a game that's become predictable and sad when that doesn't come true.***

You know when I got tired of it for good? 2007. The day that ESPN's Jemele Hill made a convincing argument for Kobe being better than Jordan. I saw a debate on it on the message boards and it got pretty nasty as usual. A Kobe-MJ comparison made no sense because as I was getting a deeper sense of NBA history and analyzing game something hit me.

Me in 2007: "A Kobe-MJ debate tends to overrate Kobe and criminally underrate MJ." Basically saying that folks tended to elevate Kobe while forgetting the complete package that Jordan had.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sherman Maxwell: The First Black Sportscaster

Before we all loved "Boo-yah!" by Stuart Scott. Before Greg Gumbel and Fred Hickman became pioneers at ESPN and CNN, respectively. Before OJ Simpson was on Monday Night Football. There was Sherman "Jocko" Maxwell, the first recorded Black sportscaster in history.

Maxwell got his start in 1929 doing a 5-minute weekly radio sports report on WNJR in Newark, New Jersey. Despite being turned down 25 times, his persistence was rewarded and soon he became all around the state. He expanded to do radio on WHOM and WRNY in the 30's and 40's and he devoted his energy to his love of baseball.

With the Negro Leagues in full swing at that time, he would call games on the radio and even served as the PA announcer for the Newark Eagles. He'd also submit game stories since the Newark Star-Ledger didn't send anyone to cover Negro League games and eventually wrote a column in Baseball Digest

Maxwell stayed in radio until 1967. He was inducted into the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame and died in 2008 at the age of 100. As the great Sam Lacy was a pioneer for me and so many others in print, Maxwell made waves for future Black sportscasters in radio and television. His stories and recordkeeping would prove crucial to preserving the history of the Negro Leagues as time passed.

To Mr. Maxwell, I say thank you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Black History Month: William H. Lewis

Here's someone I stumbled on late last night looking up some stuff on Jackie Robinson. I knew that Robinson was an All-American football standout and I wondered if he was indeed the first. Turns out, he wasn't (just like he wasn't the first professional Black baseball player) and the guy who was had quite a legacy.

William H. Lewis had a life worth celebrating and it's no surprise that he made history in a region that has been friendly to racial progress in this country: New England. Check the resume of Mr. Lewis in sports and law.

- The first African-American college football player when he suited up at Amherst in 1888. He was noted for his great skill on the field and off the field as an orator and the great W.E.B. DuBois attended his graduation ceremony.

- While attending Harvard Law School, he continued his career and was the first Black All-American college football player in 1892 and 1893 (he was also named Captain of the All-America team in 1893). As a center, he was praised for his quickness, maturity and intelligence and was named Harvard's first Black team captain in his final game. The legendary Walter Camp named him to his All-Time All-American Team in 1900 and hailed him for revolutionizing the position for mobility.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Max Robinson: A Media Pioneer

For Black History Month, I’ve always had a tradition of telling unfamiliar stories. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of seeing the same legends recycled in schools and among news programs. But ever since I was at my newspaper, I wanted to celebrate more than just the normal.

Today, I celebrate a media pioneer who has been forgotten by some in the 25 years since his death. Max Robinson may not be a name most people under 30 know but as a journalist, he was one of many who made it possible for me to have a career.

He spent 26 years in the business but it was a five-year stretch where he became a national name and blazed a wider trail. In 1978, he became part of ABC World News Tonight as he co-anchored the news Frank Reynolds and Peter Jennings and on July 10, he made history being the first Black person to anchor a network news broadcast.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Love/Hate Vibe with National Signing Day

Tomorrow is National Signing Day and I'm not completely giddy about it. It's been a conflicted issue for me since I stopped writing full time as a reporter in 2010 and as I've seen NSD become an all-day spectacle, I start wondering why. I wrote this back in 2011 expressing why I think NSD can be misleading and two years later, I feel even more jaded about it.

I love NSD because it's a kid, his family and friends celebrating him going to college. I've always celebrated when an athlete or student makes that decision because it's a big moment for them to determine the next few years of their life. When you get that acceptance letter in the mail, you feel like you've made it. When an athlete picks a school, they've made it.

I don't even mind how huge the celebrations are. We should celebrate college decisions as much as we celebrate prom or any big moment in a kid's life. Schools should celebrate it whether it's academic or athletic. 

I respect how the kids and families make their decisions. How they have to wade through the process. How kids earn their scholarships through their hard work/discipline and I especially love those seniors who had to work hard for that scholarship that final year.

What I don't like is the meat market that NSD has become. It's grown into a monster that has exposed fans are selfish jerks, the problem with the letter of intent and colleges treating it more like a business.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quoth the Raven: "WE ARE THE CHAMPS"

Who would've thought that turning off the lights and part of the power would've flipped a switch and turned this Super Bowl from a rout into a thrilling showdown? The city that never lacks excitement had one more great sports moment to add to its history and what a win for the Baltimore Ravens! 

Joe Flacco made himself a very rich man in victory. 11 touchdowns, 0 INT's this postseason means he's validated himself as a franchise quarterback. As a free agent Super Bowl MVP, he just earned his huge paycheck and showed why I call him Pretty Flacco or now Trinidad Flacco. "Don't Believe Me, Just Watch"

Jim Caldwell deserves a ton of credit as well. He turned Flacco loose calling the plays and as offensive coordinator, he was the driving force of this turnaround. The coach who lost Super Bowl XLIV, was fired from the Colts last year and didn't get offered a head coaching gig last month found redemption in New Orleans. I'm happy for him because he got back to the mountaintop and now has another ring on his resume. Memo to the NFL, he's living proof the Rooney Rule must be expanded to coordinators.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl 47 Predictions and Tidbits

In between me being jealous of my media brethren and sisthren partying and occasionally working in New Orleans, there is a game we all want to see Sunday. And if you ask me, it's hard to predict and figure out what could happen.

The red-hot 49ers and their red-hot QB Colin Kaepernick, the 4th Black signalcaller to appear in the Big Game. The surging Ravens powered by an incredible postseason by Joe Flacco and the last game of leader Ray Lewis. Who to choose, who to choose.

Oh yeah, did you hear both coaches are brothers? Don't think I heard that enough yet.

Anyways, picking this game is pretty hard. My inner Cowboys fan wants to say no to San Francisco, the 90's rival I grew up despising and respecting. Yet they have several factors.