All Articles Tagged "african-american athletes"
(New York Times) — Lewis Brown, a high school and college basketball prodigy who spent the past 10 years living on a sidewalk in Hollywood, seemed on the verge of a second chance. He had scraped enough money together to get a California identification card so he could fly to visit a sister in New York who had thought him dead. Friends said that he would finally get off the street. That was on Tuesday. But Wednesday, around 6 a.m., Mr. Brown, breathless and frantic, was pleading for someone to call an ambulance. By the time help arrived, Mr. Brown — 300 pounds, 6 feet 11 inches — was lying on the ground. A half-hour of efforts by four paramedics — as his neighborhood friends shouted: “Come on, Big Lew! You can make it” — could not save him. For Mr. Brown — a star high school center who once seemed destined for a spot in the N.B.A. — all that was left on Thursday was a Staples shopping cart carrying a few of his possessions: a pair of sneakers, a blanket, a laminated copy of a New York Times article from this year that detailed his sad story of decline, bitterness, drug arrests and missed opportunities. The remainder of his belongings — a mattress, some tattered clothes — had been put into a Dumpster.
by Mark Anthony Neal
Deron Williams’ recent announcement that he was planning to play abroad during the NBA lockout with the possibility that many other NBA stars are also considering doing so, highlights the successful globalization of the NBA; it is one of the world’s most recognizable brands. But as David J. Leonard recently suggested, “Whereas the NBA hoped to cultivate and capitalize on stars from China, Germany, France, Brazil and elsewhere,” and market them to global fans, “it has been African American stars that have captured the hearts and minds of many global fans.” Leonard notes, the NBA’s desire for expansion has unwittingly given the leagues’ players—80% of whom are of African-descent—bargaining leverage in the midst of an owners’ lock-out.
NBA players have long been in a unique position; with regards to the NBA. the players exist as both the labor and the product, and despite the escalation of players’ salaries in comparison to a generation ago, their labors have primarily increased the coffers of the league’s owners. In contrast to their capacity to generate wealth for the owners and commissioner David Stern (whose job is to advocate on behalf of the owners), the players themselves have very little input in the basic affairs of the league (i.e. salary-caps, dress codes, minimum age limits, etc).
Given their role as the NBA’s primary commodity, the question is not whether NBA players should play in Europe or elsewhere during the lockout, but whether the players should think about creating a professional league of their own that would maximize their labor, economic value and provide a legitimate alternative to the NBA. If the players were to look for a model, there is no better one than the Negro Baseball League.
When Moses Fleetwood was released by the Syracuse baseball team in 1889, he became a historic footnote: the last African-American to play in Major League Baseball until Jackie Robinson broke through the so-called “color line” in the spring of 1947. Fleetwood and many Black players until Robinson were subject to an unspoken decision by a cabal of Major League owners and players to ban Black players from the league. In effect the owners locked-out some of the best American baseball players of the early 20th century.
(USA Today) — New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t telling Major League Baseball anything it doesn’t already know. Baseball appears to lack appeal and access to some blacks, whether they are participants or fans. And Granderson wasn’t necessarily trying to stir the pot when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Count the number of African-American fans.” On a recent trip to Texas, Granderson said it was difficult to push the count to double digits. ”At first, it starts off as a joke (with teammates),” Granderson said. “As the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it’s easy. (In Texas), it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.’ ”
(The Grio) — The calls came as soon as Shaquille O’Neal decided to retire, all wanting to hire one of theNBA’s greatest entertainers. TNT’s “Inside the NBA” studio show had been O’Neal’s favorite as a player, so the choice was easy. Get ready for the Big Analyzer, Big Commentator, or whatever other nickname he takes in the next phase of his career. O’Neal agreed Thursday to a multiyear deal with Turner Sports to become an analyst on itsNBA coverage, where he will fold his 7-foot-1 frame into the fourth chair on the TNT set alongside Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson.
(ESPN) — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin appears shirtless on the cover of this month’s gay men’s magazine Out and discusses his passion for equality issues. Irvin publicly acknowledges that the impetus for taking a stand comes from his relationship with his gay brother, Vaughn, who died of stomach cancer at age 49 in 2006. Irvin had not spoken publicly about his brother previously, according to the magazine. In the article, Irvin describes how his brother’s sexual orientation contributed to his own issues. He says that he found out his brother was gay in the late 1970s, when he found Vaughn wearing women’s clothing. Michael Irvin was rattled by the experience and has figured out since that it contributed to his own womanizing behavior. Working with a Dallas area bishop, T.D. Jakes, Irvin looked at the past.
(Philadelphia Inquirer) — The Michael Vick comeback story has come full circle. Nearly four years after he was dumped by Nike, the Eagles quarterback was re-signed for promotional services by the worldwide leader in sports sneakers and apparel, according to the company. ”We have re-signed Michael Vick as a Nike athlete,” spokesman Derek Kent said Friday. “Michael acknowledges his past mistakes. We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field.” The deal, the exact details of which are unknown, is believed to be the first for a major athlete who was dropped by an endorser only to be re-signed later. Vick did not respond to a text message seeking comment, but he released a statement.
(Kiss My Black Ads) — Entertainment Studios, the company owned by Byron Allen, has announced that is will launch a new high-definition channel early next year with programming intended for an African-American audience. Legacy TV, which has not yet made a deal with a TV or satellite provider for carriage, is expected to offer programs on black history and biographies of African-American leaders.
Tiger Woods should feel extremely blessed. What other athlete could lose several sponsors after a very public sexual scandal, have a near 20 month winless streak on the golf course, and have their annual earnings plummet $50 million over the past two years, yet still be ranked as the highest paid athlete in the world? Yup, it’s true, according to Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid athletes. Athlete’s earning figures were derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income in the 12 months ending May 1st. Out of the list of 50, 17 black athletes made the cut for being some of the highest paid in their respective sport. Do any of these ranked surprise you?
(ESPN) — He has been a giant since the day he entered this world 64 years ago. Thirteen pounds and 22 inches at birth. Six-foot-8 by the time he was in eighth grade. A legend on both coasts before he ever played a game for John Wooden or caught a pass from Magic Johnson. His size and his stature became as much a part of his identity as the game he played so well and the city he always stayed so near to. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has always been a giant of a man. Until now. Until this silly, sad episode over statues and hurt feelings that has left him standing only two feet tall. In the past 48 hours, Abdul-Jabbar has revealed a lifetime of insecurities and fractured, perhaps forever, a lifelong relationship with the Lakers. While his tantrum may have begun innocently, because a reporter simply asked him why the Lakers hadn’t yet honored him with a statue outside Staples Center, his tone grew angrier and more bizarre by the hour.
By Gresham Harkless
Athletes make more money than a lot of people would ever dream of in their lifetimes. Even with these large contracts, however, there is no guarantee that after their playing careers have ended, these men and women will hold on to their wealth. But rather than leave their futures to chance, some athletes balance what they do on the court or field with business endeavors. The Atlanta Post takes a look at ten African-American athletes from the present and past that easily transition from their jumpsuits to business suits.
While Melo’s childhood dream of playing for the New York Knicks may have had nothing to do with money, the opportunity is likely to prove lucrative. His move from Denver to New York is going to open up countless endorsement opportunities. One of the first came in the form of a 128-foot Boost Mobile billboard mounted two blocks from Madison Square Garden. One day after Anthony was traded, VH-1 announced that they would air a reality show featuring Anthony and his wife La La Vasquez. Melo is also signed to Michael Jordan’s Jumpman brand.