Brandon Carr

Brandon Carr

On Saturday, June 27, 2009, I went out with ABC 12 for my internship and extensively covered Brandon Carr’s golf scrabble at the Swartz Creek Golf Course in Flint, Mich. The event was sponsored by the Carman-Ainsworth Football Parent Club (CAFPA). Funds were raised for the football team. 

Carr is a cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs entering his second professional season. He entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick (140th overall) of the Chiefs in the 2008 NFL draft and became the first Chiefs rookie corner to start all 16 games since CB Kevin Ross in ‘84. Carr spent his collegiate career at Grand Valley State and atteded Flint Carman-Ainsworth in high school.

Joining him at the scrabble were his two former high school teammates and soon-to-be NFL rookies: Otis Wiley (Detroit Lions) and Daniel Skuta (Cincinnati Bengals).

Wiley, the hard-hitting safety from Michigan State University,  signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent after expecting to be a draft pick. He was full of jokes all day and brought great energy to the event.

Skuta, Grand Valley’s all-time leader in sacks, signed two-year free-agent deal with the Bengals.

Here are some of the sites from the day:

Otis Wiley

Otis Wiley

Wiley and Carr Clowning!

Wiley and Carr Clowning!

Carr focused

Carr focused

Carr putting

Carr putting

Me and Dan Skuta

Me and Dan Skuta

Me and Wiley

Me and Wiley

Me and Carr

Me and Carr

Carr doing his interview (...I couldnt get anyone else doing there's, I was too busy holding the mic...my arms were tired...lol...intern work!)

Carr doing his interview (...I couldnt get anyone else doing there's, I was too busy holding the mic...my arms were tired...lol...intern work!)

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R.I.P Michael Jackson

June 26, 2009

1958-2009

1958-2009

mj2

Michael Jackson: The King of Pop. The Prince of R&B. The Greatest Entertainer of All-Time. The world lost a true genius!

The seventh child of the Jackson family has been entertaining the world since he was 11 years old with his older brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon) in The Jackson Five. Known for their hit records “I want you back,” “ABC,” “I’ll be there,” the group trancscended the music not only of their era, but music as a whole.

In 1972, Mike showed the world his ability to shine on his own when he recorded the song Ben which served as the theme song to the movie of the same name. Ben was Michael’s first of thirteen number-one pop hits in the United States and launched a megastar.

The caramel-toned kid with the huge fro and high-pitched voice officially broke away from his brothers and became a man when he collaborated with producer Quincy Jones to create his first solo album. Released on August 10, 1979, Off the Wall, featured a new sound that Jackson was crafting to set America up for the biggest album in the history of popular music. Thriller!

Released on November 30, 1982, with the classic cover of him leaning on his left shoulder sporting the white suit and black shirt unzipped, nine of the 10 songs were released as singles. They ALL reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts. The album also won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984 and is currently the best selling record of all time. Since that time, Michael has released “Bad,” “Dangerous,” “HIStory,” and “Invincible,” which has made him one of the biggest artists in music history.

His ability to bring all races together was unmatched. His influence was like no other (…Chris Brown, Usher, Ne-Yo, Lloyd). His relevance in music will never die.

As a kid, I wanted to be Michael (…who didnt?) and I still frequently listen to his music today. From his Christmas carols to his solo joints, Michael has been relevant in my life (…and still is) since I was brought into this earth. My auntie used to bump the Dangerous album, Jackson’s first official project of my time, and recite every word to “Remember the Time.” Working with Michael Jordan on “Jam” was also a huge moment for me because I got to see the behind-the-scenes footage in Jordan’s move “Air Time.” Jordan took the time away from the NBA playoffs to make the video with Jackson!

If I could make a 10 track disc (…in no order) of my favorite Michael Jackson songs they would be:

1. Human Nature

2. Dirty Diana

3.  I Wanna Be Where You Are

4. Baby Be Mine

5. Liberian Girl

6. Ben

7. I Saw mommy Kissing Santa Claus

8. Off the Wall

9. Can You Remember

10. Beat It

*Honorable Mention: Billie Jean, Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Lady In My Life

I was prepared to see his final comeback and it would have been epic! Outside of Tupac’s death, this passing has affected me the most of any celebrity.

So everybody try to moonwalk on the kitchen floor and grab their crotch that one last time in memory of MJ…the greatest musician of all time!!

iron mike

Before the death of several close mentors, friends, and relatives. Before the fame and glory. Before the marriage to Robin Givens. Before the influence of Don King. Before James “Buster” Douglas!

There was a focused man that reigned supremecy over the Heavyweight divison of boxing. Marveled by many and feared by most, his name was “Iron Mike” Tyson.

Rocking nothing but black trunks, black boots (…minus the socks), red gloves, and a ripped towel as his robe, Tyson admired the spartan look and thrived off the intimidation factor when he stepped into his office. Nas put it best in his song “Legendary” written for Tyson when he said ‘spirit of the streets, walks in the ring, from Brownsville to Spofford to boxing king!’

Blessed with daedal skills and animal strength (…just ask Michael Spinks or anyone else from that era), Mike ran the 80’s. He won 33 of his first 37 fights by way of knockout and had to the potential to become the greatest boxer ever! 

fight nightThis is the Tyson that EA Sports looked to characterize in their new game “Fight Night: Round Four.” Gracing the cover alongside Muhammad Ali, gamers can’t help but to get excited to play this game, that is set to hit game shelves nationally today.  

Although this is not the first video game that Mike has been a part of, it could pan out to be the biggest. In 1987, Nintendo released “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!” which was a fan favorite with only one professional boxer billed as the headline. Now as EA Sports is set to release their game featuring “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” with their star studded roster of boxers, this game has no reason not to register as an instant classic!

*click on the pic to view this post at It’s Just Sports!

stephen a

As much as I enjoyed watching the 2009 NBA Playoffs and Finals, there was one ever-present perspective that I had grown accustomed to hearing that was noticeably void: Stephen A. Smith!

Since his May 1 departure from ESPN, the station is missing that in-your-face-style that I grew up to, which ultimately made me choose journalism as a profession.  On Smith’s website (StephenA.com) he described his experience with the network as “a wonderful, wonderful ride, filled with great accomplishments, great memories and, most importantly, great friendships.” 

After listening to his latest podcast on his website titled “LA Wins NBA Finals,” it’s still crazy to me that this man is absent of a job. Everything Smith represents is a billboard of urban America. He gives the world our point of view on a professional stage, with wit and creativity.

On the 10 minute podcast he discussed the latest news in sports including the NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and Shaquille O’Neal. He also went on the record to say that “Kobe Bryant has cemented his stature as arguably one of the 10 greatest players in NBA history!”

In classic Stephen A. form, he showed his dissatisfaction with America’s infactuation with Brett Favre. He went on to say that “it just disgusts me that he’s still making news. As far as I’m concerned the man should just walk away. I know he’s a hall-of-famer but he’s just irritating because he’s retiring and un-retiring,” concluding that “he should just go away!” 

These are the types of things that America NEEDS to hear! The voice of an analyst who is raw and uncut without any fear of what the general public’s view of him/her is. Stephen A. was one of the few (…along with Charles Barkley and Scoop Jackson) who was willing and able to bring this style into effect.

No matter what stage was, big or small, Stephen A. kept it real. I can attest to this because when I met him at the Nuggets versus Pistons game on March 3 he kept it real. The game was Chauncey Billups’ return to Motown and he gave me a brief interview in the fourth quarter that I will always remember. He addressed the AI/Billups trade better than I’ve heard by saying “when you bring in somebody that’s basically a foreign element to a system that’s been running pretty much like a machine for the last six or seven years, there’s going to be some kinks in their army.”

So get him back on the air! Televison needs the loud-mouthed, Hollis, Queens native, with the the mini ‘fro that picked on KWAME Brown. The ‘hood is missing it’s sports spokesperson.

*click on the pic to view this at It’s Just Sports!

The Best Since MJ Retired!!

The Best Since MJ Retired!!

 
 The writers of It’s Just Sports frequently disagree with each other. Sometimes these disagreements escalate to the point that we need a back and forth to settle our disputes in a little session we call Point-Counterpoint. It’s therapeutic. Pardeep Toor and Eric Woodyard debate the merits of Mr. Kobe Bryant this week.
*click on the pic to view this at It’s Just Sports. 

Since the dawn of time (or at least since 1996), man has asked the question, ‘What makes Kobe Bryant aka the Black Mamba so unstoppable?’ What makes his dunk so unstoppable? What makes his three-point so unstoppable? What makes his overall unstoppableness unstoppable?

This is Kobe Bryant! Need I say more? Nike did a great job at capturing the essence of the confidence and drive of this child prodigy turned NBA legend throughout their latest MVPuppets commercials.

He’s Tiger Woods on the hardwood, Marvin Gaye in La La Land, Ice Cube in a Lakers uni, Denzel Washington in Nike’s, Malcolm X in time-out huddles, Albert Einstein in … well, you get the point. He’s great!! He has consistently silenced his doubters one-by-one, but one question has hovered over the latter portion of his career…’Can he do it without Shaq?’

Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing the question, and now its irrelevant because he has led his team to the Finals two straight years and to the championship this year — he finally DID IT without Shaq.

But the criticism was absurd, I think it was ignorant! Winning a title without Shaq wouldn’t have made or broke his legacy in the NBA because not only had he been on a championship contender without Shaq, he’s actually gotten better without him. The stats don’t lie! (…a la Bill Marshall)

Since Shaq’s departure from Hollywood, Bryant has averaged 29.9 points per game in the 5 years on his own as opposed to his 21.6 per game in the eight seasons with the Diesel clogging up the middle. He’s also won an MVP award, scored 81 points, scored 61 in the Garden, scored 62 in three quarters, multiple First Team All-Defensive recognitions, and the list goes on.

Now add four-time NBA champion to that, NBA Finals MVP to that, and one of the greatest statistical performances in Finals history to that! (…32.4 points and 7.4 assists per game to be exact).

He constantly stepped up in the season when it mattered the most, finishing the regular season averaging just 26.8 points, 5.3 boards and 4.9 dimes per game, he came on strong in the playoffs as he jumped his scoring up to 30.2, his boards up to 5.4, and his assists up to 5.5.

The efficiency he displayed during this run also gave effulgence to his troops, notably Derek Fisher and Trevor Ariza, in crunch time, so I don’t ever want to hear that he isn’t a leader.

Bryant will go down as one of the top-5 greatest players of all-time, joining the likes of Larry, Magic, Michael, and Wilt. A string of players known by just one name. And then there’s Kobe (…doesn’t that sound like it just fits?).

What he’s had to endure with his personal life is also amazing because it has not affected his performances or mental focus one bit out on the court. After the accusations in Eagle, Colorado, all of his endorsement deals were stripped, he was robbed of several MVP trophies, suffered several first round exits from the playoffs, as well as hindered from becoming the American icon that he was on his way to becoming beforehand.

This within itself should place him amongst the greats because they never had to endure the type of distractions that he had to deal with and still keep their focus on the game.

So say what you want to about Kobe Bean Bryant (He’s too arrogant! He’s a fake MJ! His Adidas shoes were ugly! He’s overrated! Lebron’s better!). There is one thing that you can’t deny and that is he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball.

KOBE BRYANT FINALS MVP- JUNE 14, 2009

KOBE BRYANT FINALS MVP- JUNE 14, 2009

q woods

*This week I did the ‘Athlete of the Week’ feature at ABC 12 in Flint. The story is on Quintin Woods, a Flint native who will be starring at the University of Kansas this season for football. Click on the pick to view the story!!

Quintin Woods makes a personal comeback

  Eric Woodyard

FLINT (WJRT) — (06/10/09) — After a string of disappointments, a Flint Southwestern Academy graduate is on a quest to prove that anything is possible in his latest journey.

When Quintin Woods walked across Flint Southwestern Academy’s stage to graduate in 2006, he seemed to have the world on his shoulders. Then things quickly took a 180-degree turn.

“Coming out of high school in 2006, I had a scholarship down to Michigan. I was a non qualifier with the ACT, so I had to go the JuCo route.”

He had trouble adjusting at first because his confidence took a major hit. “It was times where I ain’t even go out. I ain’t even want to do nothing. I just stayed at home because I had to sit out for a whole year trying to battle the ACT, trying to battle, fight, go to court and do this.”

Rising from obscurity, Woods starred at Bakersfield Community College where he registered 80 tackles and eight sacks last season, earning himself a full ride scholarship to the University of Kansas.

As Woods looks to write another chapter of his life this season, he has a message for the younger athletes in Flint. “I see a lot of kids that don’t really take school seriously, and I was one of them kids too and it backfired on me. So I always tell kids to just stay positive and try to do the right things always and school.  Just be on it.”

Fresh Kicks! 

Despite the notable difference in uniform color, there is a key attribute that seperates the Orlando Magic’s rookie guard/forward, Courtney Lee, from when he plays at home and when he’s on the road.

His sneakers!

On the road he rocks the Nike Huarache 09’s…a solid shoe, but nothing spectatular. At the crib though…he hops up out the bed and turns his swag on when he laces up the Nike Air Penny 3’s. Classic kicks from a classic player!!

pennyThe number 3 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, starred for the Magic from 1993-1999 before injuries cut his career short. During this short stint, Penny’s swag also stayed on a hundred. A lot of this had to do with his personal style; his kicks were always fresh, he could handle the rock with ease despite being 6-7, and his jersey let it be known that he was numero uno!

Lil Penny, Hardaway’s trash talking sidekick, also played a huge role in his coolness as well.  In the Air Penny 3 commercials, Tyra Banks was added to the mix to give viewers a little eyecandy.

The best commercial from this particular sneaker was called  ‘frozen moment.’ It showcases Penny at the park doin’ work while Lil Penny talks trash, several kids from the neighborhood watch from outside, and Tyra looks disinterested in the action while everything moves in slow motion with an emphasis on the shoe. 

In my opinion, any player that has a contract with Nike and doesn’t have his own signature shoe should be required to rock ANY old school Penny Hardaway sneaks at one point. All of his joints were hot and had the flyest commercials to complement them.

Although Lee has been assigned the tough task of trying to slow down the Black Mamba in the NBA Finals, he has to feel a bit refreshed knowing that his sneakers are dope. Rocking the kicks of the last man to stop MJ from getting a title with the Bulls has to serve as some kind of motivation.

*click on the pic to view my post on It’s Just Sports!

Unstoppable!

Unstoppable!

Since the dawn of time man has asked the question, ‘What makes Kobe Bryant aka the Black Mamba so unstoppable?’ What makes his dunk so unstoppable? What makes his three-point so unstoppable? What makes his overall unstoppableness unstoppable?

This is Kobe Bryant! Need I say more? Nike did a great job at capturing the essence of this child prodigy turned NBA legend throughout one of their latest MVPuppets commercials.

He’s Tiger Woods on the hardwood, Marvin Gaye in La La Land, Ice Cube in a Lakers uni, Denzel Washington in Nike’s, Malcolm X in time-out huddles, Albert Einstein in…well, you get the point. He’s great!! He has consitently silenced his doubters one-by-one but one question has hovered over the latter portion of his career…’Can he do it without Shaq?’

Quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing the question because he has lead his team to the promised land without the Big Fella for the second year in a row and looks like he’s on pace to finally DO IT without him (…As he showed in his 40 point outing last night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic). Not only do I feel like this question is obsurd, I also think it’s ignorant. Winning a title without Shaq will not make or break his legacy in the NBA because not only has he been on a championship contender without Shaq, he’s actually gotten better without him. The stats dont lie!

shaq-kobeSince Shaq’s departure from Hollywood, Bryant has played at a stupid high level! He’s averaged 29.9 points per game in the 5 years on his own as opposed to his 21.6 per game in the eight seasons with the Diesel clogging up the middle. He’s also won an MVP award, scored 81 points, scored 61 in the Garden, scored 62 in three quarters, multiple First Team All-Defensive recognitions, and the list goes on.

Bryant will go down as one of the top-5 greatest players of all-time! Joining the likes of Larry, Magic, Michael, and Wilt. A string of players known by just one name. And then there’s Kobe (…doesn’t that sound like it just fits!).   

What he’s had to endure with his personal life is also amazing because it has not affected his performances or mental focus one bit out on the hoop court. After the incident in Eagle, Colorado, he was left for dead as all of  endorsements were stripped, he was robbed of several MVP trophies,  suffered several first round exits from the playoffs, as well as hindered from becoming the American icon that he could have been. This within itself should place him amongst the greats because they never had to endure the type of obstacles that he had to deal with and still keep their focus on the game, except for maybe Magic.

So say what you want to about Kobe Bean Bryant: He’s too arrogant! He’s a fake MJ! His adidas shoes were ugly! He’s overrated! Lebron’s better! There is one thing that you can’t deny and that is he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. Period!

Is it possible to stop something that’s unstoppable? Is the answer to the question yet another question? We may never know. Yet in knowing the unknowing is unstoppable!