Roosevelt Finishes The Job

COLLEGE PARK – Eleanor Roosevelt High junior forward Jahmal Cochran grabbed a rebound following an East Broadneck High School senior Jaamar Young miss and when he threaded a bounce to streaking senior Cameron Brown in transition who posterized Broadneck forward Logan Vican and send Roosevelt fans into a frenzy.

” I just wanted to run the floor and (Cochran) gave me a nice pass,” Brown said,  “After that I just do what i usually and go to the rim.”

Roosevelt captured their third state 4A title in this decade and fourth overall with their 77-48 win over East Broadneck High School Saturday night. The Raiders had multiple outstanding perfromances from their senior quartet of Cameron Brown (25 points, 14 rebounds, three steals double-double), Jaamir Butler (13 points and four steals), Isaiah Gross (10 points) and Kyle Rose (Six points, 10 assists, six steals) to junior guard Jahari Simon scoring 12 points. Meanwhile, the Bruins were led senior Jamar Young and his 22 points and eight rebound stat-line.

” I’m just super excited, i’m super proud of these guys” Roosevelt head coach Brendan O’Connell said, ” They’ve been one of the most fun teams to coach all year long. So happy for these seniors because they’ve been such a big part of what we’ve been doing for the last four years. They deserve it.”

The way the game started out, it seemed like Broadneck and Roose were in for a dogfight. At one point early in the first half the Bruins knocked down three 3-pointers in a row, leading the Roose 16-9, their largest lead of the night. Roose would respond and dominate from the second quarter on when they hold the hot-shooting Broadneck to just 27 points the rest of the way. On the other hand, the Raiders blew the game open scoring 27 themselves in the second quarter and establishing a lead that was never threatened.

“We’ve been doing that all year,” O’Connell said, ” We’re extremely hard to guard because we just got a lot of skill on offense.”

Roosevelt took a one-possession lead midway in the first half when Gross nailed a heavily contested 3-pointer. Things got out of control in the second half with the Raider unleashed a 21-0 run, including a no-look scoop pass from Rose to Cochran and then a Rose alley-oop to Brown to bring Xfinity Center a frenzy. From there the state title was only a formality. At the end of the game, the Roosevelt defense, utilizing their elite athleticism, embracing physicality, and length led to the Raiders scoring 26 points on 14 forced turnovers, scoring 16 points in transition, and scoring 28 points in the paint.

” You don’t get touches on the defensive end ,” Gross said, ” So you just impact the game on the defensive end and I’m glad that my defensive ability led to this win.”

Post-game, a question was raised about whether or not this Roosevelt team was the greatest after going 24-3, including going undefeated against PG county opponents. O’Connell said he would need a few days to consider the question, but Isaiah Gross just a few seats down confidently shook his head yes, demonstrably stacking the other teams against his and putting his on top.

” Just coming in here and ending the year off on a high note was really great to me,” Gross said, ” You can’t ask for anything better.”

Overtime Thriller Ends In Buzzer Beating Fashion

ROCKVILLE – Sophomore guard Ryan Cornish was ice cold all night, but with the score tied at 53-all he streaked into open space and received an outlet pass from senior Djordje Orcev and unfurled a running jump-shot to secure a tight victory and a MPSAA 4A West sectional title.

“I’m not going into a second overtime,” Cornish said defiantly on his game-winner, “I know I had to get that win and I had to make that layup.”

Richard Montgomery High School and Gaithersburg High School needed overtime

before they could determine the winner of the boys 4A West sectional final. The Rockets ended up the winners, 55-53 despite an off night from almost all of their major players. Cornish led all scorers with 20 points, Orcev contributed 11 points, and junior Devin Liyanamana rounded the Rockets out with 10 points. The Trojans were led by sophomore Jao wing Ituka, sophomore Mandela Tark, and sophomore forward Jordan Hawkins, who scored 17 points, 12 points, and 10 points respectively.

“This is what high school basketball is all about,” Head coach David Berslaw said, “ I love that we have this with Gaithersburg, I love how we’re going back and forth. I just love what us and Gaithersburg are creating.”

Gaithersburg was able to play their style of basketball all night, crashing the boards, and imposing their will physically throughout the night. Meanwhile, the Rockets couldn’t finish at the rim, their jump-shots clanked frequently, but their defense was outstanding. The Rockets game-plan of pressing full-court, as well as using a 2-3 zone and double-teaming Ituka And Hawkins whenever they had the ball up top worked to perfection. The aggressive trapping scheme helped the Rockets to force double-digit turnovers, while also forcing the ball out of their star sophomore wings.

The staunch defensive performance also helped on a night when the biggest lead was only a five-point lead by the Trojans. The low scoring affair afforded the Rockets a path to be able to fight back slowly, taking their third lead of the night when Cornish drained a long pull-up for 2, giving RM a 41-40 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Trojans nearly pulled a victory when they took a three-point leAd late in the fourth with a minute to go, but Liyanamana answered the ball scoring on a fast break layup, and then fed Orcev for a game-tying layup off a botched out-of-bounds play.

“ I just had to step up,” Liyanamana said, “ we know not everyone’s going to score 20 points every game. We’re a very balanced team everybody can play their role and know what to do.”

In overtime it was the Cornish show, scoring all six of the Rockets points. Despite being off the mark with his jump-shot all night, it was a pair of free-throws that gave him the confidence to drain that aforementioned buzzer beater.

Sidwell Friends Shocks Wilson In DCSAA Title Game

WASHINGTON D.C. – Sidwell Friends School senior Dean Mazlish had the ball in his hands with six and a half seconds left and down two points against defending District of Colombia State Athletic Association champion Woodrow Wilson and shocked the DMV hoops scene when he launched the game-winner over senior Romaro Hutchinson.

“We threw it in down court and they were pressing so there wasn’t enough time to run the play,” Mazlish said, “I came down I saw the clock had like, three seconds and I knew I had to improvise. Went behind my back, saw the guy kinda just, take a step back so I had to pull -up.

The Quakers won their first ever DCSAA title Sunday night over the Tigers, 63-62. Guard Jason Gibson led all scorers with 24 points, and forward Jack Lewis contributed 18 points of his own. Junior wing Dimingus Stevens scored a team-high 21 points and was followed up by senior Boston College-commit Jay Heath and his 17-point performance.

Sidwell was able to grab a eight-point lead early in the second quarter off a Gibson 3-pointer and if Wilson didn’t unleash a 10-0 run, including a breakaway dunk and back-to-back 3-pointers Stevens, the Quakers looked like they were primed to extend their lead to double-figures. Following a pair of free-throws from senior Carlos Dunn to give the Tigers a 27-26 lead with seconds to spare in the first half, Mazlish was able to take back a one-possession lead when he nailed a 3-pointer right before the buzzer sounded off.

Wilson came out in the second half and after initially trading buckets early on, reeled off a 12-3 run that culminated in a 44-35 lead after a pair of Stevens free throws. The Quakers gradually battled back and took the lead late when Gibson went on a personal 13-6 run and took a two-point late within a minute of the game. Heath responded when he got to the lane, drew a foul, and then sunk two free throws to tie the game up. Both programs had a final chance to hit a game-winner but Gibson’s shot was too strong, while Heath’s desperation from beyond half-court fell shot. The pair of missed shots forced an unexpected overtime at 53-all.

One development the crowd and coaches were interested in was the fact that the trio of Carlos Dunn and Mitchell twins (University of Maryland-commits Makhi and Mahkel) fouled out within the closing minutes of regulation.

“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” Gibson said, “ my seniors came (up) big for me when I fouled out and I can’t ask for a better group of guys.”

During overtime, the Tigers took the first of the extra period off a Stevens layup, but gave up six straight points including a Gibson to Lewis dime for a 3-pointer that gave the Quakers a 59-55 lead midway through overtime. Wilson responded sinking four free throws in their subsequent possessions, but Gibson drew one more foul but then fouled out the next Tigers possession with 39 seconds left. The Tigers were able to get one more stop and looked to cement their win when Dimingus Stevens caught a Heath pass in stride and layed the ball up to make it 62-60. Tigers head coach Angelo Hernandez called a timeout immediately after with just over six seconds left while it looked like Lewis sunk a possible buzzer beater. Although the shot was waived off, Malzin caught the ball out of the timeout and sunk the Tigers on an incredible dagger 3-pointer with the clock hitting zeroes.

“This amazing,” Mazlish said after climbing the ladder to get his piece of basketball net twine, ”This is the best way to get out.”

Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

Gonzaga Wins An Improbable Third WCAC Title In Last Five Seasons

WASHINGTON D.C. – After coming up short in the 2018 Washington Catholics Athletic Conference championship,Gonzaga College High School junior Terrance William and senior Anwar Gill told their teammates and head coach Steve Turner all season that they’ll be back to make up for that letdown.

“Everybody was counting us out at the beginning of the season,” Gill said, ” We got the W and it just feels good.”

Monday night, Williams and Gill fulfilled their promise and led the Purple Eagles to a 60-56 win over St. John’s College High School. Williams scored a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, Gill followed up with 19 points and eight rebounds, and junior Myles Stute put up 10 points and eight rebounds. The Cadets were led by Casey Morsell(19 points), Darius Maddox(14 points), and Ishmael Leggett(11 points).

” They’ve been dying for this,” Turner said of his championship squad, “This has been all they’ve talked about since the day we lost here last year at the same time. They worked their tails off. We’ve had some ups and downs and when it mattered most, this team bonded at the right time to make it happen for them to stand here tonight as WCAC champions.”

If you followed the WCAC all season, you know that these two programs being in the championship was a shocker. Gonzaga hit bottom when they lost to PVI, 69-44, but ended the conference and regular season winning 14 of their next 15 games. St. John’s themselves had some tough moment collapsing late in games, including losing to PVI and Baltimore Polytechnic in buzzer-beating fashion. They changed things around on an early season 10-game winning streak but they ended up losing four of their final seven regular season games to PVI twice and DeMatha and Gonzaga as well. However, three of the losses came to DeMatha, Gonzaga, and PVI at a combined 14-points, and looked to be playing their best basketball despite the losses.

Gonzaga and St. John’s came out trading buckets from the opening tip, until the Purple Eagles went off on an 11-0 run, with Williams scoring nine of those points, including back to back turn-around jumpers. Gonzaga turned an 18-9 lead into a 13-point lead after a Williams reverse layup gave the Purple Eagles a 28-16 advantage. St. John’s refused to give in and cut the lead to 29-22 after Morsell nailed a 3-pointer, but Stute came back with a tip-in and gave Gonzaga a nine-point lead going into the second half.

The Cadets were able to cut their deficit to seven points once again after going on a 9-2 run at the free-throw during a sloppy third quarter where St. John’s got a 10-2 advantage in team fouls. The Cadets and Gonzaga went back-and-forth in the fourth quarter. The Purple Eagles built a 12-point lead when Stute corralled an offensive rebound and put it back up to make 51-39, Gonzaga. The Cadets responded with a 9-0 run, cutting the lead to 55-53 when Leggett knocked a 3-pointer to make the score 51-48 midway through the final frame. Gill came back down after a timeout laying the ball up on end and stripping Casey Morsell and throwing down a dunk in the subsequent possession to make it 55-48. John “Manzie” Wilson then connected with Morsell for a timely 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 30 seconds left in the game, but Williams was able to close the game out at the free-throw line, knocking five down.

“It’s a great moment,” Williams said, ” You know close throughout the game, solidifying the championship win, live for moments like that.”

Poly Breaks St. Francis’ Heart

Towson ~ You’re teammates trusting you to hit the biggest shot of the game even though you hadn’t scored all night says a lot. That’s exactly what happened when Justin Lewis drew a double-team and threw a precision pass to Ian Wallace who hopped into it for a dagger 3-pointer over Jordan Toles with just just 15 seconds to go in the game.

“The first option option wasn’t there (and) of the course the plan was to get the ball to the rim,” Wallace said, “They closed in on Justin so I had to be ready to shoot the ball at the arc.”

The final tally being 59-58, Brandon Murray(game-high 22-points), Justin Lewis(16-points), and Rahim Ali(11-points) carried Poly to a thrilling marque victory over St. Francis. The Panthers were led by Rajeir Jones’ team-high 21-points, followed by Jamal West and his 15-points.

“Our program was built around wanting to test ourselves in games like tonight,” Poly head coach Sam Brand said, “St. Francis was one of the first of my AA teams that would play us. We been doing this six years now and its been a big time atmosphere and competitive game every time.”

Playing at SECU Arena and a college court, both Poly and St. Francis acclimated to the size and depth of a college arena and decidedly played some high level basketball. The Engineers and Panthers went back and forth for the entirety of the first half, with Poly grabbing their second lead of the game when Ali finished a layup off a Murray assist to make it 26-25 at the half. The third quarter is when the Panthers flexed their dominance with multiple different defensive looks to get the Engineers fit. It resulted in a 21-11 scoring quarter.

“We got it, it only takes one run,” Ali told his teammates “The game is a game of runs and I knew that ours was google to come. All that matters is we had the last run we was going to win.”

After being down by as many as 11-points late in the third frame, the Engineers methodically climbed their way back into the contest to steal victory. During the decisive fourth quarter the Engineers narrowed the lead down to 52-47 after a Murray dunk. After a quick spurt from from the Panthers to make it 56-50 the Engineers responded with their own 9-2 run. The run was punctuated by back to back three pointers, first from Murray to make it a one-possession game at 56-53. The latter coming from the aforementioned 3-pointer by Wallace. The play was a perfect amalgamation of Brand telling his players they’re all stars earlier in the day and anyone can make the winning play. Tole raced back down the court and drew a foul to get to the line but missed both free throws, and when Amani Walker missed the front end of a one and one, the Panthers again had another chance but couldn’t put down any of their point-blank tip in chances.

“We just knew we had to push” Murray said on the last run, “We all came together, the heart and the soul of the team is through everybody. It’s from one-14 and it’s not even just the starters it’s not (anybody) it’s all of us.”

Video courtesy of Brooks Warren

Roose keeps Bowie an arms-length away

Bowie ~ The PG County 4A division is touted as having some of the most physical and competitive teams in DMV hoops circles and tonight’s thriller was another example of how you can never take a day during divisional play.

“We’re just happy to get another win,” Roose head coach Brendan O’Connell said, ” May have not been pretty at times, but it’s a win.”

Eleanor Roosevelt outlasted Bowie in a Friday Night Hoops thriller, 76-70. Jaamir Butler scored a game-high 26-points(four 3-pointers) while Cam Brown scores 18-points of his own to lead the Raiders. The Bulldogs received a double digit contributions from Kyree Freeman-Davis with his 23-points, Bobby Carson(12-points), and Nigel Santa-Cruz(11-points)

“Early on I was just hitting shots and my team noticed,” Butler said, ” Coach talked at the timeouts and was telling us that they saw I was hot so they wanted me to get the ball and if I’m open just put it up.”

The Prince George’s County 4A division game was nearly a replica of their earlier matchup when Roose stomped on Bowie 79-57. The Raiders offense was humming for nearly the entire contest, building a 20-point edge through the dominant play of Butler. The Raiders put together a strong thIrd frame behind an individual 9-0 run from Butler. The senior guard used his length on the boards for a tap-in, hit a nifty up-and-under layup, nailed his third 3-ball of the night, and finishing it with a trip to the free throw line creating a 55-35 lead.

Heading into the final frame down 20-points, the Bulldogs were desperate for a run to get back into the contest. That’s exactly what they received early on in the quarter when Bowie ripped off a 9-2 run. The run was punctuated by an and-1 bucket from Carson that brought the Bulldog faithful to their feet. After the ensuing free throw, the gap was closing before Butler swished a pair of free throws and made it 66-54. The sudden cold-shooting and defensive breakdowns were exasperated by Isaiah Gross fouling out at the 2:12 mark after battling foul trouble all night. The Bulldogs responded by reeling off yet another run going 9-2 once again, nearly blowing the top off the building when Freeman-Davis nailed a cold-blooded 3-pointer to make it 73-70 with just 23 seconds left in the game. Willie Rivera was fouled on the following possession but the freshman guard showed nerves of steel and hit both of his free throws.

“Playing in AAU, even in middle school I’ve played in games like (this),” Rivera said, “A lot of people in the crowd, and I just knocked down the free throws. I just knew I was going to make it.

Jordan Harris’ 3-pointer following a time-out clanked off the right rim. The Bulldogs valiant push fell short when Bowie turned the ball over and and Brown, went one for two at the line. The Bulldogs next opponent is Wise while Roose plays Suitland next.

Washington Wizards’ 2017-2018 Regular Season Schedule Released

The Washington Wizards are coming off a 49-33 season, and a second-round playoff exit against the Boston Celtics that went to seven games. During the offseason, the front office did what it promised to do when they retained restricted free agent Otto Porter, as well as resign John Wall to the designated player veteran exception.

With a core of Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter in place the Wizards present and future looks as bright as its ever been. Not to mention the sudden dissension going on in Cleaveland, the Wizards are primed to advance further than they have in recent memory. After a strong first year with Scott Brooks at the helm, expectations of the first 50 win season since 1978-1979 campaign and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance are widespread.

National Exposure:

In a show of good faith, the  NBA schedule makers have finally rewarded the Washington Wizard with the gift of seventeen nationally televised games. Out of those seventeen games, all four matchups with the Boston Celtics will be on TV for everyone to see. The two franchises had one of the most physical playoff series last season, and its easy to see why the NBA would want to capatalize on the purest rivalry in the sport right now. Fans will be pleased to see that three out of the four games against the Cleaveland Cavaliers will be on that national schedule as well. After the overtime thriller they had last season, any regular season contest between the conference foes is potential must-see tv.

Predictions:

For 2017-2018 the Wizards are essentially running it back with the same core group of guys in Wall, Beal, Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. The starting lineup played a league leading 1,347 minutes together. With that type of continiuty and chemistry coming back, the starters must have even more confidence in each other on both sides of the court.

The bench mob was also upgraded with some solid talent in Tim Frazier and Jodie Meeks. The two guards have the offensive chops to really be able to give Wall and Beal a chance to rest. Kelly Oubre Jr is now in that pivotal third year, Ian Mahinmi is coming back injury free, and the ever solid Josh Smith to hit feathery jumpers. The hope is that after averaging only 27 PPG as a unit last season, the Wizards bench mob can only improve from here. Scott Brooks needs this unit to really step up and play consistently solid minutes in order to get over that hump. Being the weak link once again is a non-option.

Record Prediction: 52-30

Along with the Wizards schedule, the Association released the regular season schedules of the 29 other franchises this past Monday, including its nationally televised games. In one of the more intriguing developments of the offseason, the Association has no teams playing four games in five nights. This was all because a plethora of star players sat out marquee games, as well as critical comments by Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr. 

Wizards Win In Overtime vs Kings Behind Bradley Beal’s 31 points.

It took a little longer than expected but the Washington Wizards won their sixth game of the season in overtime. DeMarcus Cousins nearly won the game with his spectacular 36 points and 20(!) rebounds. He was able to take the game over late in the 4th quarter hitting a variety of turnaround jump shots, layups, and dominating the boards. The Wizards dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 10 points in the overtime session and helped deliver a much needed W after a disappointing loss against the San Antonio.

Tensions were high once again as Scott Brooks, John Wall, and Marcin Gortat all picked up technical could in the first half. This is Wall’s fourth tech of season, which puts him behind former college teammate DeMarcus Cousin. For the night the rest of the starters played well, in particular ever-improving glue guy Otto Porter  had 15 points, 8 rebounds, and played the passing lanes well gathering 3 steals. Porter also continued to do the dirty work on the unsung glue guy, holding Rudy Gay to just 18 points, including forcing him into six turnovers and 1-4 performance from the 3-point line. Kelly Oubre notched his first career double picking up 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points. .

The Wizards Commit 24 turnovers, Including a career-high 11 from John Wall

24 times the Wizards turned the ball over. 24 times! Nine of those turnovers were unforced. What’s worse is John Wall, the All-Star and leader of this team, had 11 of his own. Now more so than ever Wall has been throwing ill timed passes and dancing around the ball like it’s no ones business. Not sure what needs to be done but Wall, who previously has been a strong decision maker, has to find his groove back in that department

Wizards Finally Defend the 3-point Line

The Wizards have routinely allowed teams to make double digit 3-pointers but tonight only allowed three to fall. That maybe due to the fact that along with the Wizards, the Kings are one of the worse 3-point shooting teams.

 

 

Wizards Blow Out Celtics Behind Otto Porter’s 34 points

The Hop-Even with Bradley Beal getting hurt(again) , the Wizards gained their second win of the season behind Otto Porters big time 34 points and the team hitting 10 3-pointers. John Wall chipped in 19 with 7 assists and pulled his weight, and Marcus Thornton filled in admirably after Bradley Beal got hurt late in the 1st quarter.

The Wizards seemingly channeled all their frustrations over the loss to the Rockets and the results of the election and unleashed the might of God onto the Boston Celtics. Playing quite possibly their best first quarter on both sides of the ball as they thrashed the Celtics 34-8. In the second quarter they were outscored 35-24 but the game was never in doubt.

The second half was more of the same as the Wiz just continued to play with never before seen emotion and togetherness on a night where a win would seemingly soothe the angst of the DMV. For the game the Wizards outpaced the Celtics in every stat. They out rebounded 54-31, including 19 on the offensive side. They also assisted on 29 of 46 made baskets. On the defensive side they stole the ball 10 times and blocked seven shots.

This will hopefully be the confidence booster the struggling Wizards need against the defending champion Cavaliers. Stay tuned here to The Hop to get a recap of that game.

 

Otto Porter Headed For a Breakout Season?

Otto Porter has emerged as the key glue guy and a good 3rd option for the Wizards offense. He’s been able to score in double digits in all but one game. He’s been cutting to the basket and hitting more spot-up jumpers has opened up the floor for his teammates. Doing the things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score and making winning plays. Porter in his three prior seasons had difficulty finding his role and confidence but now in his fourth year seems to have things clicking for him.

Will Bradley Beal Be Available to Play Against the Cavaliers?

The injury-prone Bradley Beal has once again gone down. This time suffering from hamstring tightness. The Wizards announced that he would be a game time decision but hamstring injuries don’t go away in two days. My personal optimism as far as his availability goes isn’t very high.

What’s Going on With John Wall?

For the second time in as many games John Wall was ejected. This time it was for a flagrant 2 foul late in the 4th quarter with the game basically sealed up? Wall has to be incredibly frustrated with not only the teams slow start, but things off the court. Even though he said he wasn’t ” worried about other players pockets” and claimed he wasn’t upset about the massive shoe deal James Harden it’s clear the perceived slights of his career are getting to him. He has to figure out how to channel that anger and use it on the court.

Athletes Have A Voice, Too

When unfathomable tragedy occurs in our world, fans have come to expect entertainers to reach out to their fan base and address these events through social media, interviews or music. Comedians, radio personalities, actors, musicians, and tv talk show hosts alike are begged to use their influence to express their concerns. Whether right or wrong millions of fans hang on the word of their favorite celebrities.

Whenever an athlete speaks out on something such as police brutality they’re immediately rebuked for it. Instead of applauding the athlete, fans will tell them “Stick to (insert sport here), not political statements,” as if being a professional athlete somehow equals absence of intelligence. It incorrectly assumes that the gift of their athletic ability precludes their ability to exercise their first amendment right. Many of these individuals parlayed being great athletes into college scholarships. If they decided to leave school early, they took summer courses and graduated at a later time. For example, NFL players such as Ben Roethlisberger, Emmitt Smith, and Troy Polamalu went back to school in the offseason and finished their degrees. In the NBA, popular names like Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, and Vince Carter made time to graduate college. Curtis Granderson, JJ Putz, and THE Bo Jackson are part of the short list of MLB players (34) with a college degree. Contrary to popular belief, there is a large group of professional athletes dedicated to not only their specific sport craft, but also their education.

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Athletes have just as large if not bigger platform on social media as other non-athlete celebrities. Even before the internet and smartphones existed, black athletes were welcomed by the Civil Rights movement and they actively did their part to stand up for what they believed in. Pioneers like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Kurt Floyd, Hank Aaron, Paul Robeson, Althea Gibson, Wilma Rudolph, Dick Allen, Curt Flood, Craig Hodges, Magic Johnson, Arthur Ashe, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, all of them did precisely that. These activist legends all fought to make a change and their impact is still felt today. They fought for integration in their sports, battled constant racism at games and events, protested against wars, religious views, job growth, HIV/Aids advocacy, plight of POC in general, and women’s rights as well.

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Superstars today have those pioneers to thank for greater equality in sports and endorsements. Nowadays athletes have a wider platform from which to speak, thanks to social media. On any given day, a fan could see their favorite player or runner post pictures, videos, and tweets creating conversation on social issues. LeBron James tweeting or posting pictures talking about Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, or Trayvon Martin reaches the world faster than ever before. Serena Williams can watch a video of a police officer killing an innocent black man and tweet about her anguish and it could be reposted and retweeted by millions of people – it’s more effective than holding press conferences. Athletes across the board make the political statements: they wear shirts with slogans on it, make political gestures, or attend protests. Although it can be controversial to do so, athletes at all levels can and do make statements. Whether high school, college, or professional these gifted people have the right to free speech to spark changes. To expect or allow only certain celebrities to address socio-political issues and attempt to hush the voices of athletes is simply un-American. Some of these athletes, having grown up surrounded by a measure of plight and violence themselves and having achieved despite the odds against them may be equipped with a heightened ability to relate and convey a message that is stronger and more positive than others. Not saying there aren’t actors or musicians or entertainers who have lived in the grime of the country, but there shouldn’t be any exclusivity in who gets to say what.

At the end of the day, everyone must recognize that we live in a scary world. Of course all lives matter, there isn’t a single human life that is not precious. However, to say All Lives Matter is like taking away the voices of people who are still fighting to be treated the same as everyone else. The whole Black Lives Matter movement started because black lives are being taken away and black families are being destroyed due to a political system and culture that has created fear and hatred for black lives.No lives matter until people of color can stop worrying about being accosted and aggressively approached solely based on their appearance. No lives matter until hate groups are eradicated. Everyone’s opinions and perspectives, including those of the athletes must be respected and listened to in order to create a new system that welcomes equality for all men and women.