charlie bell and shane b

     On Wednesday, July 29, the stars shined bright at the Pure Michigan Pro-Am golf tournament. Serving as a friendly kick-off to the final Buick Open, many celebrities (…athletes and entertainers) were teamed up with professional golfers at the Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich.

     Many of the best golfers in the world were in attendance, including: Tiger Woods, John Daly, Jim Furyk, David Duval, and Woody Austin. They were asked to pair up with some of the more popular people in the world like Bob Seger (Rock Star), John Kuester (Pistons Head Coach), Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings GM), Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson (Pistons Legend), and Bill Laimbeer (Pistons Legend). With all of the odd pairings, the one that was pretty unique was Milwaukee Bucks’ guard, Charlie Bell and Houston Rockets’ forward, Shane Battier.

    Since their prep days, the two have been forced to compete against one another on the hardwood. As Bell held down the Flint area, Battier, a native of Birmingham, Mich., was making a name for himself in the Detroit area.

c. bell hs     In high school, Bell starred for Flint Southwestern Academy and Battier played for Detroit Country Day. In 1997, they finished in first and second place for Michigan’s Mr. Basketball award, with Battier ultimately winning, 896-863. This was largely due to the success of his team which captured the Class B state championship over Saginaw Swan Valley that year. 

    During their college tenure, they also competed against each other several times but most notably in the 1999 NCAA Final Four with Duke topping Michigan State 68-62. The Tournament was played at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 2000, Bell got redemption for the loss with a National Championship and recognition as one of the “Flintstones.”

   Now the two have a renewed rivalry in the National Basketball Association with Bell starring for the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference and Battier lacing up his sneakers for the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. Although it may seem as though Battier has been getting the better end of the rivalry, he surely lost the “Best Dressed” contest in the Pro-Am tournament.

     Battier showed up wearing a pair of the tightest light blue pants on the entire course to go along with a dark, striped shirt that did nothing for his attire with what looked to be Adidas basketball sneakers. Bell on the other hand sported a green Nike golf shirt, khakis, NBA socks, and a hat that read “YES! to HURLEY.”

     Immediately after the two left the 18th hole, they were swarmed by the media for under 10 minutes and I snuck in a couple questions (…my initials are by them). The others were asked by other journalists on the course…

You guys played in the Final Four right? Talk about your rivalry with each other…

SB: Yeah one year. In 1999 and we battle each other twice a year in the NBA and we still see each other so it’s a good little friendly rivalry.

Did you beat him again today?

SB: Probably

CB: But see my thing is that he plays in Houston so it’s the warm weather city and he can golf all year round. And you know Milwaukee and  us people here in the Midwest, we cant get on the course in November, December, and January so he has a slight advantage.

What are your thoughts on this being the last Buick Open? How does that hurt you?

CB: That’s really bad. I mean, year in and year out, this is something that I think a lot of people look forward to. The best golfers in the country coming here to Warwick Hills to the Flint area and this is the only tournament that comes on a regular basis in the state of Michigan. So I think the state of Michigan is losing a big tournament and a big draw as far as for the economy. It’s gonna be sad that this might be the last one.

battierSB: This has been a great tournament. I grew up watching it. It’s a thrill for me to be out here playing today and hopefully the PGA tour will realize that Michigan is a great golf state and we need to keep an event in Michigan and you never know what can happen. It’s a great event. I know that pros love playing here so hopefully we can try to keep the event here.

EW: Hey Charlie, I see that you’re on twitter quite often, have you been updating your twitter page out here on the course at all?

CB: Well, When I first got going but as the day went on it really wasnt nothing to twitter about. It was a bad day of golf (smiles). If I would’ve made a couple birdies, maybe I would’ve tweeted about it but it was a lot of bogeys and double bogeys and I aint wanna embarass myself in the tweeting land.

Any side bets between the two of you?

CB: No

SB: Nah

CB: I seen him out there on the practice range and I ain’t wanna bet nothing. I saw his swing looking pretty good.

After playing this tough course, can you talk about how hard golf is and how good these players really are on the golf course even compared to pro ball?

SB: Well these guys are pretty amazing and the things they can do with a little white ball. So we have a lot of respect as pro athletes for the amount of concentration and level of skill that you have to have.

CB: I would say basketball comes natural and it’s just one of those things where once you get out there, it’s kinda easy. But you know out here, this doesnt come natural like Shane said, this is tough. You really respect golfers a lot more once you get out here and especially when you’re out here by yourself and you can really have some fun. In basketball we practice our jump shot everday and golfers they practice their golf shots everyday so my hat goes off to them.

EW: It looks like you’re in better shape than when I last seen you, what have you been doing this off-season?

CB: Well, I’ve been working out a little bit, not as much as I want to. It’s been tough going back and forth from Michigan to Milwaukee, vacationing, trying to spend some time with the family but I’m trying to stay in shape. I got two months, August and September to go ahead and pick it up a little bit and I gotta come in ready because with Coach Skiles, if you dont come in that first week of training camp ready than, it’s gonna be a tough one!

Immediately after the event was over with, Bell tweeted “All over.Didn’t play very well but I had a great time and a lot of pro advice. Not a bad day at all. Off to Milwaukee for Jaime Foxx concert.”

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dre dirrell

Most purists know who Andre Dirrell is in the boxing community. If not, than they will be finding out very soon.

As he prepares for his first pro title bout on Oct. 10, as part of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which will bring together three world champions and three top contenders in a multi-layered tournament, he has been part of a media frenzy.

Who wouldn’t want to talk to a guy that will be going over to England to take on the WBC Champ, Carl Froch? But no one really knows who he is as a person, not the boxer! Here’s 10 things you may not know…

1. What is your favorite music to listen to before a fight?

AD: R&B. No specific artist, I listen to them all but that’s what soothes me and is relaxing. If I aint got it on my radio, I got it on my headphones and I just work out to R&B, it’s just relaxing before a fight.

2. What’s your typical training regimen before a fight?

AD: I just get up early in the morning, run a good 4 or 5 miles. By nightfall, I get in the gym and I do it all again.

3. Who is your favorite fighter of all-time?

AD: Muhammad Ali of course. He’s just an all-around sporstman, he’s a great personality, very outspoken and I look up to that. He stood up for what he believed in and in the ring he took his job very seriously.

4. What’s your favorite movie?

AD: I love comedy. I laugh so easy so I love comedy. Again, I dont got a favorite movie, I just love to laugh so comedy.

5. Outside of boxing, how do you relax?

AD: To relax? That’s a toughy because I dont relax too much. I play the game all day. I play Madden, that’s what I get into, Playstation 3 all day so it takes me out of this world so the game is what I do mainly.

6. What’s the first place you have to go when you get to Flint?

AD: To see my kids! I stick around my kids. I take them to the park and then I head right back down to Berston and back to training.

I come home, see my family, see my mom and I go from there.

7. What’s the first thing you did with your money when you won your first pro fight?

AD: Paid my rent (laughs). I was always backed up when I came home, well it used to be, not now. But when I first started, my rent would always be backed up so the first thing I did when I got back was paid 2 months of rent.

8. Who was your favorite celebrity to meet?

AD: I haven’t met very many, I met a lot of sports people but I haven’t met many celebrities but like maybe Jaheim. He’s a cool dude, he loves boxing. We still kick it to this day.

9. What’s your favorite pair of shoes?

AD: Jordans or Nikes. I got my blue Air Max Nikes on right now and I love Jordans, so one of the two.

10. When you win the title, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do?

AD: Oooooh Weeee! Get a house. I’m in a little town house but I want my own place. I gotta pay my taxes first (laughs) then get a house and we’ll see what happens next.

Armando L. Sanchez / The Saginaw News

Photo by Armando L. Sanchez / The Saginaw News

Who says business isn’t a relevant topic to the sports community? If you still believe that than you’re obviously not aware of all the work put in behind-the-scenes. Without the business end in full tact not only would players not be marketed properly, they wouldn’t be as popular, and they surely wouldn’t be paid as much!  

Fathead CEO and minority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Patrick McInnis, is one of those business guys. He’s literally went from a businessman to a BUSINESS MAN!! (a la Jay-Z). This is a huge feat for someone who’s initial aspirations were none of the above.

Recently I caught up with the Flint native in an over-the-phone interview (via Twitter) to talk basketball, hard work, Fathead, and the King of Akron…

EW: Obviously you are a big sports guy, can you give me a little knowledge about your own personal sports background?

PM: In high school I attended Flint Powers high school. I played football, basketball, and baseball. My passion was football and from there I played football at Eastern Michigan and then from there I wanted to go to the NFL like every other kid’s dream (but) it didn’t work out.

I had a chance to go play in Europe, which ultimately became NFL Europe but my wife kinda gave me an ultimatum-either football or her- so I chose her which was the better move so unfortunately I didnt go over to Europe and play so that in terms of me playing is my background. But obviously I always wanted to be involved in pro sports so back in 2005, the opportunity came around for me to buy into the Cleveland Cavaliers so I did that and became a minority owner of the Cavs and really that’s a variation of my original dream of making the NFL. Then in 2006, I had the opportunity to buy into Fathead as an investor. So again, I took another step towards pro sports and in February of this year when the opportunity came to run Fathead, I jumped all over it and here I am.

EW: Do you feel as if your sports background has helped you become so successful with running your national organizations?

PM: Absolutely! I think it’s helped me throughout my entire career because when you play sports at the high school level and then at the college level, it creates a sense of discipline. Especially at the college level because that’s a job so you have to be very structured, obviously you’re on a tight schedule so it requires discipline, and to be able to juggle school, sports, and have social time and do it effectively and not drop out of school, I think that’s where the discipline comes in.

But with sports it creates that mentality that you have to play when you’re hurt, you gotta play through the injuries because if you dont and you’re a critical part of the team, they you’re gonna let your teammates down so those are principles that transcend over into business because obviously in business you go through tough times especially in the last year and a half where the economy has been absolutely horrendous! So it’s kinda the same mentality that you’ve gotta play through the injury and play through this tough economy and motivate people to bring the company through that.

EW: What’s usually a typical day for you in the office?

PM: The great news is that it’s different everyday but usually when I get in, we always have a meeting in the morning. So at 9:30, we bring the entire team together, just like sports and we talk about what we did in the previous day, what successes we have, where we can improve, so that’s just a quick 15-20 minute “huddle” as we call it and that’s how we start everyday.

Then from there it can be a variety of things. Usually I have 3-4 meetings a day with potentially new companies that we would wanna team up with or sell our product to as well as when you have a team, there’s issues on the team, you know that players want to talk to the coach and it may be a personal issue, it may be a issue that relates to the job, but those are all the things that you have to work through as a coach so that’s all I do.

EW: What’s your favorite Fathead that the company has came up with?

PM: My favorite Fathead is the LeBron James MVP Fathead which we just came out with.

EW: Have you showed it to LeBron? and do you two still talk even though you’re obviously so busy?

PM: Well LeBron is busy obviously playing basketball so it’s more of one of those relationships where it’s just ‘Hey! How you doing?’ But he certainly has seen the Fathead, he has one and he loves the product.

bron fatheadEW: Is he a pretty cool guy to work with generally?

PM: Oh yeah! he’s a great guy. I mean, he’s mature beyond his age. When you talk to him, you feel like he’s in his 30’s and then you remember that he’s only 23. It’s absolutely amazing. He handles his fame very well.

EW: So being an owner of the Cavs franchise, are you pleased with the new direction that the team is moving in? Especially with the addition of Shaquille O’Neal…

PM: Absolutely! I think last year was a huge dissapointment and that was a lesson that you cant believe your own hype. Sometimes you gotta ignore the noise and play. I think we had ourselves going into the Finals before we played all our games and that was a valuable lesson. But I think definitely adding Shaq brings a toughness that we didnt have without a doubt.

Now there’s been a lot of questions whether he’ll be able to run the court or not, but I’ll tell you this, last year he played 75 games. That’s the most he’s played since 2000 so that’s a good sign and on top of that, now he’s really trying to get in shape and I think he views this as his last ride for a chance to go out with a championship. So he’s taking it very seriously. In fact, he’s doing this reality show where he’s gonna do all the different sports. He’s gonna swim and play all these crazy sports and part of that is that he really wants to get in great shape for next year so that he can hold up for an entire season.

EW: How cool do you think it would be for a Lakers-Cavs showdown in this year’s Finals? Obviously it was big last year with Kobe-LeBron, but adding Shaq into the mix makes it even more dramatic…

PM: Oh that would be the NBA’s dream right now. Obviously like you said, this year would have been some great ratings without a doubt just because of Kobe and LeBron, but now with Shaq and his history with Kobe and being with LeBron and you’ve got Ron Artest over on the Lakers.

I just think that’s the NBA’s dream and based on the acquisitions of both teams, that could very well be the stage next June for sure.

EW: What advice do you have for the people who may be looking to make it out of the struggle in Flint and other small cities similar to that atmosphere, to ultimately be in your position?

PM: First of all I think one of the things that Flint doesnt get credit for is that yes it’s a factory town, a blue collar town, and I’m proud of that. Because If you think about it, it’s about work ethic. That’s what Flint’s always been about , blue collar, work hard and get it done and that’s one lesson that I’ve took away from that city and all the people that I’ve met in it is just hard working people. So I think if you work hard, and my dad has this philosophy that the harder you work, the luckier you get and I believe that to a tee so if you work hard, obviously good things will happen.

Number two, is you know I leverage Flint because of the hard times but when you bring up Flint everybody wants to talk about it because of the athletic history there. So I tell everyone where I’m from and I it’s a great conversation peace and relationships are key and I think if I were telling someone from Flint what to do is that you gotta align yourself with as many successful people as possible. Talk to everybody that you get the opportunity to talk to and form great relationships. So definitely expand your horizons, meet as many people as possible and work hard. There’s been a lot of young kids that come in and wanna be the CEO before they’ve become the salesperson. But one thing that you should remember is no matter how insignificant you may look at a job, you should take the job and be the best you can be!

Ryan Slocum Interview!

July 21, 2009

slocum 

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

Favoring an ESPN/upbeat style in his delivery, Flint natives are blessed on a nearly nightly basis to watch ABC 12’s Ryan Slocum perform at work. 

Whenever the bright lights have grazed his pupils and tanned his skin, he has delivered the latest news in sports with vibrant energy. For the past seven years he has worked in his hometown covering the latest in local sports as well as the national events in the area like the Buick Open, the Final Four,the NBA Finals, and the Super Bowl.

After catching up with the two-time Emmy nominee, he had a few things to soundoff about (cough, cough…Pistons, Tigers, and Tiger Woods.)

EW: What are your thoughts on the Pistons moves this summer?

RS: I dont know what is going on. I havent been happy with the direction they were going in since 06. I think they shouldve made a move in 06, they definitely should’ve made a move in 07 when Rasheed flipped out and got kicked out of that game in Cleveland.

So I dont know what the direction is that (Joe Dumars) is going. I like Ben Gordon but you’ve got Rip and you just resigned Rip and I dont see how that’s gonna work. Who’s gonna play in crunch time? You know Gordon’s playing in crunch time, we saw it against Boston.

EW: Are you pretty surprised with the sucess of the Tigers this season?

RS: Yes, I didnt think from going back to last year that they’d be as good. Who knew Edwin Jackson would be as good as he was? Who knew that the hitting would be the big problem? You tell me that and that they’d still be in first place…

Verlander’s been lights out, they’re pitching pretty well and they’re doing better than I thought but there’s a long way to go. They gotta hit! You can’t keep losing games 2-1.

EW: So from the Tigers to Tiger Woods, how do you feel about him missing the cut in the British Open and do you hope that he still decides to come to this year’s Buick Open?

RS: Oh yeah! Oh my gost, you could have Phil Mickelson, Ernie Ells, and all the guys come to the Buick Open and not bring in Tiger or just bring in you and me with Tiger and it would be bigger than if all 10 of those guys came. There’s a different feeling in the air when he’s here, the crowd is here and you’re seeing arguably the greatest golfer of all time but I think because of the schedule it’s gonna be trouble. So I dont think he’s gonna come and with him not making the cut, who saw that coming? I didnt see that coming at all but it was a great story (laughs).

EW: Two of your stories have been nominated for Emmy’s, why do you think you have been successful with Emmy nominations?

RS: I have no idea, a lof of that is subjective, some people like one thing and other people like another thing. So I just got a bunch of people at that time that liked what I did. Those stories that have been were the ones that I like doing the best. They’re like human interest stories but they’re kind of like heart touching stories.

The ones that were nominated were the ones about Adrian Hunter and his whole story from Central to Grand Blanc. I like doing stories like that whether it’s Marquise Gray, Mateen Cleaves and the old Flintstones, or this kid Adrian Hunter, those are great.

EW: How do you stay creative with so much work on a weekly basis and constantly having to come up with new story ideas?

RS: I’m always thinking of stuff. A lot of my stuff you will hear is pop culture references, whether it’s a movie or something you hear people saying. You just always have to be thinking and thinking outside of the box. I watch Sportscenter and I try to talk like I’m just talking to you when I do my highlights like ‘Hey check this out,’ amd treating it as if no one has seen it before. I try to make people laugh and get people to watch.

EW: What’s the best part of the job?

RS: Going to games and getting to sit in the front row, courtside! Nothing beats that and then you get to have relationships with these athletes. You’re almost like part of it and it actually makes you feel like ‘hey, you did make it’ to the NBA a little.

EW: Who has been your favorite athlete to cover so far?

RS: My favorite local player ever to cover was Roy Williams when he played for the Lions. He got a bad rap but he was pretty misunderstood. After every touchdown that he’d get, he’d find a little kid and had the ball to the kid and every single day outta practice he’d go get a kid and he’d pull them outta the guard rale and that’d be his personal waterboy for the day and he’d sign a jersey and all that. He was always a team, team guy!

EW: What’s the best part of working in your hometown of Flint?

RS: First of all growing up here, you can’t beat working in the city that you grew up in because I actually care. I like when the Pistons won the championship, that was like the greatest thing ever, nothing’s gonna beat that. I care! I wanna see them do good. It’s a privelege because you know Flint’s gonna put out athletes.

I’m in the locker room when the Pistons win the title. In a suit, champaign fight, and I’m standing in the middle of it. I look at it like Charles Barkley (one of the 50 greatest players) and Patrick Ewing (great player), never won a title or been in a locker room when a team has won a title. Ryan Slocum, has been in a locker room of an NBA championship team covering his home team. It’s the greatest thing ever, nothing’s gonna beat that!

LL Cool P

LL Cool P

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

Laval Lucas-Perry had every reason to quit!

After battling with the NCAA to keep his full elgibility upon leaving his freshman season at the University of Arizona after one semester, he kept a positive attitude. “LL Cool P,” as he was dubbed by my man Ryan Slocum at ABC 12, contributed right away for the Michigan Wolverines.

Playing in 26 games (…starting in 12) , the Flint Powers grad averaged 6.5 points per game and comes into this season with even higher expectations after a solid run in the NCAA Tournament last year. As he transitions to the point guard position, Lucas-Perry seems more than ready to shine.

I recently caught up with the Academic All-Big Ten honoree to briefly talk hoops while he was in Saginaw supporting Clifton Ryan’s “Heroes For Kids” golf outing.

How did you feel about the season you guys had last year? You guys went really far when no one really expected you to…

It felt pretty good. We made it to the NCAA Tournament, we made a lot of improvements and strides from last year when we went 10-22 to 21-13 and we just look for bigger and better things next season.

What are the things that you have been working on this summer to come back as a better player for the team next year?

I lost some weight, I’m getting quicker, trying to get stronger and just really trying to fill that point guard position next year that coach needs me to do.

With the many guards on the team, what will you do to try to seperate yourself from the pack?

I gotta do the little things. I gotta be a better defensive player, I gotta again shoot the ball better and just work on my ball handling and vocal skills as a point guard and to be a leader. So that’s what I plan on doing this year and that’s pretty much it.

I hear that you’re going to the LeBron James Skills Academy this week, what are you most excited about learning while you’re there?

It’s always a pleasure getting invited down there and I just look to make some noise down there. I’m gonna play my game, play with LeBron and just learn some things to about how it is to play with NBA players.

The Original

The Original

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

Back when Stevie Wonder topped the charts with his hit “Superstition,” and “Shaft in Africa” was new, Flint native Justus Thigpen was suiting up for the Detroit Pistons.

In the 1972-73 season, Thigpen became the first basketball player from Flint to play professional basketball, paving the way for the younger athletes in the city. He didnt get there by surprise though, Thigpen lit up gyms across the nation with his lights out shooting and knack for scoring.

Prior to his brief stint with the Pistons, he starred for several semi-professional teams including the Flint Pros of the Continental Basketball Association where he averaged 41 points a game!

During Mateen Cleaves’ “Piece of Mine” Initiative, I had a word with the legend.

Talk about your experiences during your journey to the NBA?

It started a long time ago, I tell you that. I guess it started from the playgrounds, that’s where you honed all your skills because as far as high shool, I didn’t play but one year of high school ball and that was my senior year at Flint Northern. Then it went on, progressed and I had a successful college life and after college I had a chance to travel the world, play ball over in France and then went on to the American Basketball Association and played there with the Pittsburgh Pipers and some of the old timers might remember a guy named Connie Hawkins…he was there so I got a chance to deal with the Hawk. From there we had a CBA league and I did well playing with guys like George “Iceman” Gervin, he was in there and some of the Russell boys out of Pontiac. Then from there (I) went to the Detroit Pistons with the likes of guys like Dave Bing and Bob Lanier. I was in the league with Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe and you learn from these guys, so basketball has been good to me.

What do you think separated Cleaves and Peterson from all of the others who thought they were going to the league out of Flint?

Dedication! You see these guys with dedication and hard work. Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell, all the guys from Flint that I had an opportunity to see and be a part of, you see you cant get there without it. No matter what it is, if you’re gonna be a janitor, be the best janitor and they were the ballplayers and it reflects on what they’re doing now.

Who was the best player that you’ve seen in Flint (…outside of yourself)?

You gotta put that on there! (laughs). It’s hard to say because of the people now, everybody has their own style. You’re good at what you do. If you’re a scorer, you’re good a scoring. If you’re a defensive ball player, you’re good at defense.

Back in my day, I was known as a shooter and a scorer and that’s who usually got the limelight but now they got guys that play different positions. Like we didnt have what they called the 1’s and the 2’s and all. If you played guard, you played guard and whoever got the open shot (they) took it unless it’s crucial situations and you didnt want the guy that’s 0 for 10 taking the shot (laughs). But everybody is really a specialist and back then it wasnt like that, you just played the game.

Out of all of the talent that you’ve played against like Connie Hawkins and Iceman, who was your toughest player that you ran up against?

Well it’s a bunch of them (laughs). There was a guy named Fred Carter that played at Philadelphia, now Fred Carter was real fast and strong. Fred Carter and Earl Monroe. But with Earl Monroe, when you get to that level, these guys were not out there trying to hurt a rookie, they were out there to help him. So Earl Monroe was instrumental, but I guess the hardest guy to check would’ve been Austin Carr. He went to Notre Dame, he was six foot five and he was a shooter and a scorer. He was hard to check. But then he told me I was hard to check! (laughs).

Sloc Dog!

Sloc Dog!

In the world of sports, the guys reporting the news are often as overlooked as Tito Jackson for their efforts.

The process of gathering, producing, and presenting the information can be just as challenging as actually performing the event being covered. The Fli City of Michigan known as Flint, can make their claim for having one of the best reporters/anchors to grace their televison screens. For the past seven years (…his anniversary was yesterday), ABC 12’s Ryan Slocum has informed viewers in the area about the latest in sports on a near nightly basis.

Favoring an ESPN/upbeat style in his delivery, Slocum has shined whenever the bright lights have grazed his pupils and tanned his skin. Growing up in Flint and attending Flushing high school may have helped give him this confidence.

If Slocum’s confidence was formed on his home turf, his skills were perfected at Grand Valley State University, where he expanded his studies and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting. Before working at the ABC 12 offices, “Sloc Dog” worked in Grand Rapids for WGVU.

Since the beggining of the summer, I have been afforded the opportunity to learn directly from him and pick his brain at every chance possible. Dont worry, it hasnt bothered him though, in fact he is more than helpful.

A few of the things that have stuck with me in this time is that the ability to communicate effectively to decode the news to a clueless audience can be as hard as actually doing the interview. The grind to meet a specific deadline can face just as much pressure as taking the final shot in crunch time. The focus to get accurate and timely news with a solid script can be just as devastating as delivering the knockout blow in a championship bout.

Ryan Slocum has earned my respect (…no respect to Greg Molzon, he has too).

To be as successful as him you have to have swag! Flint is a city as tough as Tyson in his prime and only the strong survive. Not only has he held his own in ABC 12’s studios, he has went into the homes of several athletes (in the hood!) and came out with golden stories.

It doesnt matter if he’s flying to Pittsburgh to cover the Stanley Cup Finals, driving to Auburn Hills to film the Pistons, or driving on Saginaw Street to shoot hoops with kids at Berston, Slocum remains a professional. The slick haired, sports junkie, who listens to hip hop in his spare time should continue to keep the locals excited when they tune in to watch.

The man sometimes rocks the Air Jordan 12.5 when covering stories…what other reporter can do that? He has swag!

The ‘Heroes For Kids’ golf outing was held today in Saginaw, Mich.  Hosts of the event were Saginaw natives Lamar Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Clifton Ryan (St. Louis Rams).

Woodley didnt attend the event because of prior engagements (cough, cough…ESPYs) but Ryan picked up the slack by inviting several athletes from Michigan State University as well as the University of Michigan. The two schools were able to put their in state rivalry aside for one day.

Some of the athletes included: Blair White (MSU wide reciever), Kirk Cousins (MSU quarterback), Nick Sheridan (U of M quarterback), and Laval Lucas Perry (U of M baller).

I snapped a few photos of the event before my camera died:

Kirk Cousins (MSU Quarterback)

Kirk Cousins (MSU Quarterback)

MSU Reciever, Blair White, in conversation...

MSU Reciever, Blair White, in conversation...

Blair White

Blair White

GEDC0070

U of M Quarterback, Nick Sheridan, preparing for interview

U of M Quarterback, Nick Sheridan, preparing for interview

Sheridan and ABC 12's Ryan Slocum

Sheridan and ABC 12's Ryan Slocum

White and St. Louis Rams' Clifton Ryan

White and St. Louis Rams' Clifton Ryan

Here are some of the pics that I snapped from the camp (…the lighting in the gym sucked!)

Mo Pete telling insight

Mo Pete telling insight

pumping up camp!

pumping up the camp!

Camp Counselor/TCU standout, Corey Santee!

Camp Counselor/TCU standout, Corey Santee!

Mateen leading the way

Mateen leading the way

Flint Northwestern High School

Flint Northwestern High School

Cleaves getting air time!

Cleaves getting air time!

Camp Jerseys

Camp Jerseys

Lamar Rice (NBDL), Camp Counselor

Lamar Rice (NBDL), Camp Counselor

Motivation

Motivation

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Flint native and NBA New Orleans Hornet, Morris “Mo-Pete” Peterson collaborated with Reebok for the fourth annual “MoPete Flintstone Basketball Camp” at Northwestern High School. The camp was free for youths ages 8-17.

It focused on building the fundamental basketball skills, teaching the importance of teamwork, as well as keeping a positive attitude and hard work. Some of the camp counselors included: Corey Santee (former TCU standout), Mateen Cleaves (MSU legend), Antonio Smith (former MSU baller), Nick Stapleton (blacktop legend), Lamar Rice (NBDL player), Nicole Holmes (UNO standout), and Dejuan Wiley (former MSU baller).

Children attending the event were all attentive and ready to work hard!

While covering the event with my intern at ABC 12 in Flint, Mich., Mo Pete offered some insight to us:

ABC 12: Does hosting these camps ever get old to you?

MP: It never gets old coming back. I’m very excited about having the kids here and also the staff got up early and I really appreciated the guys getting up early and teaching the kids. We’re out here just having a good time right now.

ABC 12: Do you try to switch things up and do them differently each year?

MP: I try to get better every year. Every time we have our camp we just wanna come in and bring some enthusiasm and I think we done that.

ABC 12: How much can a kid learn in a week’s time? Do you think they get a lot out of the camp?

MP: We’re not here to tell every kid to be an NBA player but we are here to teach them hard work and discipline and I think at the end of the day they do get a lot out of it. A lot of kids from my camp are hitting me up on Facebook and Myspace and telling me how excited they are about the camp and how much they’ve grown and I get a chance to just see them grow and that’s what I get a lot of joy from because at the end of the day it’s all about them and their experiences and just trying to give them a positive experience.
  
ABC 12: I’ve bet you’ve been asked this a million times but how important is it for the kids in this community to actually see you? You’ve been where they are and made it so how is that for you?
  
MP: It’s important to be here. A lot of times they see me on t.v. and you look at some athletes and it’s like they’re hard to touch. You see them on t.v. but you never get a chance to see them in person so I try to tell the kids that they can be whatever they wanna be in life.
 
I’m giving you a hug and just being a part of their lives because I know the affect that it had on me as a kid meeting Glen Rice and all our Flint stars. They made me feel like I could achieve my dreams and that’s what I try to give them and try to be here and spend my time with them.
 
ABC 12: How proud are you of these other guys who are here early to give their time with all of their busy schedules?
 
MP: It says a lot about these guy’s character’s. Ladies and guys! for them to get up early and give their time, this is a free camp…so it’s great. I cant tell you how special it is for them to show up because they couldve been laying in the bed or doing other things but they chose to come spend some time here and teach these kids some basketball, so that says a lot about them.