What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

‘NBA LIVE 19’s’ top rookies

EA Sports reveals the best ratings for the league’s newcomers

2:57 PMNow that we know the top rankings for each position, we can now turn our excitement and curiosity toward the 2018-19 rookie class. No need to beat around the bush, let’s break down the top rookie ratings.

Top rookies in NBA LIVE 19

  1. DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (84 OVR)
  2. Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings (82 OVR)
  3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (81 OVR)
  4. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (81 OVR)

Young might not have been happy about his NBA 2K19 rating but I’m sure this one might make him feel a little better.

5. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (81 OVR)

6. Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic (81 OVR)

7. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (80 OVR)

 

Honorable mentions

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (79 OVR)

Grayson Allen, Utah Jazz (79 OVR)

Kevin Knox, New York Knicks (78 OVR)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers (78 OVR)

Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers (77 OVR)

Meet the winners of the 101st American Tennis Association National Championships

Florida residents dominate as tournament moves to Sunshine State

3:31 PMFor all the jokes that are made about the interesting things that take place in Florida, at the 101st American Tennis Association National Championships, Floridians absolutely dominated by winning both the men’s and women’s open finals.

Thousands turned out for the weeklong tournament hosted by the United States Tennis Association National Campus and witnessed Rodney Carey (Lake Park, Florida) and Isabelle Porter (Jupiter, Florida) raising the champion’s trophies after their respective victories.

The ATA is the oldest and longest-running African-American sports organization in the country. After being banned from participation in the United States Lawn Tennis Association, the organization was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1916, with its mission being to elevate black tennis.

A year later, in Baltimore, the inaugural ATA National Championships were held. A tournament that started out with only three events – men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles – and was excluded from the governing body of tennis, now has 50 competitive events and has struck a long-term deal with the USTA.

Porter won a straight sets match (6-2, 6-2) against Californian Aysha Hayes (Pinole) thanks to her punishing serve and big ground strokes in her return game. The men’s open final was much more competitive as No. 2 Carey knocked off top-seeded Jordan Harrell (Lithonia, Georgia) in a two-set match that was decided by a match tiebreak in lieu of a traditional third set (2-6, 6-3, 10-5).

Harrell wouldn’t take the loss too hard as he paired with James Jackson (Clarksdale, Mississippi) to beat Puerto Rico’s Carlos Baez (Manati) and Fidel Serrano (Dorado) in the men’s open doubles final. Rishona Lewis and Chacadyah Lewis, both of Lake Worth, Florida, defeated Aysha and Azaria Hayes, 6-0, 6-3, to take home the women’s open doubles championship.

‘NBA LIVE 19’s’ top player ratings: Agree or disagree?

EA Sports reveals the remaining top-five players at each position

10:53 AMAfter dropping the NBA LIVE 19 player ratings for the top five point guards earlier in the week, EA Sports has released the top ratings for the rest of the positions. We’ll start with the top five shooting guards.

SHOOTING GUARDS

  1. James Harden (94 OVR)
  2. Klay Thompson (91 OVR) 🤔
  3. DeMar DeRozan (90 OVR)
  4. Jimmy Butler (90 OVR)
  5. Victor Oladipo (89 OVR)
SMALL FORWARDS
No surprise here that LeBron James is still king of the top five small forwards and the highest-rated player in the game. But is Kevin Durant really that far away after winning two Finals MVPs against James?
  1. LeBron James (97 OVR) 👑
  2. Kevin Durant (95)
  3. Kawhi Leonard (92 OVR)
  4. Paul George (90 OVR)
  5. Gordon Hayward (85 OVR)
POWER FORWARDS
Next up we have the top five power forwards, and it’s no surprise that Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is the highest-rated at his position. But he also has the same rating as DeMar DeRozan! Hmmmmmmm.
  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (90 OVR)
  2. Draymond Green (88 OVR)
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge (87 OVR)
  4. Kevin Love (87 OVR)
  5. Kristaps Porzingis (86 OVR)

CENTERS

Since Joel Embiid is the cover athlete on the game, I expected him to get a nice seat among the top five centers. But I don’t know about him being ranked two slots above DeMarcus Cousins, even if you include the injury. 🤷🏿‍♂️

  1. Anthony Davis (94 OVR)
  2. Joel Embiid (92 OVR)
  3. Karl-Anthony Towns (91 OVR)
  4. DeMarcus Cousins (90 OVR)
  5. Rudy Gobert (89 OVR)

Kevin Hart giving back by handing out scholarships to HBCU students

His Help From the Hart Charity Fund is partnering with the UNCF to award $600,000

3:05 PMLast week, actor and comedian Kevin Hart saluted LeBron James on the opening of his I Promise school for at-risk youth in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio. Now, we have a reason to salute Hart.

In a partnership involving the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) and Hart’s own Help From the Hart Charity Fund, 18 KIPP students will have an opportunity to earn a college degree.

Through this partnership, a $600,000 scholarship will be established to provide funding in order to support KIPP students from eight different cities who are attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

“The Help From The Hart Charity Scholarship will not only support students but will also demonstrate support for HBCUs,” said UNCF CEO and president Michael L. Lomax. “Research shows that HBCUs matter, and that HBCU students are having a positive college experience, but they also have an unmet financial need. Together, Kevin and KIPP have made an investment that will have a significant impact. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”

Kevin Hart with several of the students at the announcement of the Help From The Hart Charity Fund’s launch of a $600,000 scholarship program with the United Negro College Fund and the Knowledge Is Power Program.

Photo by Paress Salinas

The 18 scholarship recipients range from the Arkansas Delta to Washington, D.C. The recipients were selected based on their academic and personal accomplishments and could be given significant renewal awards based on need.

For Hart, the purpose behind the partnership is twofold: Not only does he get to invest in a child’s education, but he also gets to show support and emphasize the importance of HBCUs.

“Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”

According to KIPP board of directors chairman John Fisher, not only will this scholarship benefit students by allowing them to pay for their education but it will also help inspire them to achieve their dreams.

“Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the hard work of these 18 KIPP students recognized by Kevin Hart and UNCF through this generous scholarship program,” said Fisher. “Michael Lomax has been a longtime KIPP supporter and friend and a tireless champion for young people. We are incredibly grateful to both UNCF and Kevin Hart for their partnership and support to help our students thrive in college and achieve their dreams.”

Helping with the education of future generations has become a notable feat among today’s most prominent celebrities. Along with James and Hart, Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose recently announced a $400,000 college tuition program called “Rose Scholars.”

In light of the generosity from Hart and other stars, Lomax wishes that this precedent of giving back to education remains a constant in society moving forward.

“Giving back to build better futures is the name of the game,” said Lomax. “And we hope that others like Kevin will understand why educational investments are so important, especially now, and step up to help more deserving students.”

Andre Drummond keeps the In My Feelings Challenge going

The Detroit Pistons star kept the dance craze alive with kids at Jr. NBA World Championship

10:25 AMIt appears that the #InMyFeelingsChallenge is still going strong. This time, everyone give a round of applause to Detroit Pistons star Andre Drummond for keeping the dance craze alive for a group of young ballers.

On Sunday, more than 300 youth players from 35 countries filed into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, to kick off the inaugural Jr. NBA World Championship. The boys and girls joined Drummond for a dance-off right before the tipoff ceremony, and they pulled off the massive challenge.

The dance party took on a life of its own as the youths, ages 13 and 14, did the Cupid Shuffle and listened to other music, forming a bond en route to the championship that will run until Aug. 12.

A global event! #JrNBAWorldChampionship 🙌

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Drummond and former WNBA player Jennifer Azzi took questions from the players that ranged from how to become a highly noticed post player to on-court advice. Drummond responded with sage advice. “Any player needs dedication to their craft and the determination to succeed,” Drummond said.

The first day ended in some one-on-one action between Drummond and players from the different teams, and the rest of the week will showcase skills of the players and coaches participating from all over the world.

One-on-one with @andredrummondd! #JrNBAWorldChampionship 😂🚫

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After the tipoff ceremony, players and coaches made their way to Magic Kingdom to take part in a parade and park day.

According to its website, “The Jr. NBA World Championship is a first-of-its-kind global youth basketball tournament for the top 14U teams from around the world. The tournament features boys and girls divisions, each comprised of 16 regional champions (eight U.S. teams and eight international teams) that will compete in the inaugural championship in August 2018 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.”

‘NBA LIVE 19’s’ best point guards: Agree or disagree?

EA reveals the top-five rated floor generals

3:19 PMWhen it came to letting the players and the gaming community know what the overall ratings would be for their new game, NBA 2K19 beat NBA LIVE 19 to the punch. But perhaps EA needed that extra time to implement a much harsher grading scale and cause a greater debate. Now that the ratings are in, we’ll start by taking a look at some of the overall top ratings for the NBA’s best point guards.

 

POINT GUARDS

  1. Steph Curry (94 OVR)
  2. Russell Westbrook (93 OVR)
  3. Kyrie Irving (93 OVR)
  4. Chris Paul (92 OVR)
  5. John Wall (90 OVR)

Former Jackson State great Robert Brazile finally gets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

‘Dr. Doom’ played 10 seasons for the Houston Oilers

1:20 PMJust over a decade ago, around midsummer, the division of ESPN that oversees the MEAC/SWAC Challenge reached out to a handful of black college greats with an opportunity to be in the 2010 class of MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends.

The award, established in 2009 as part of the early-season historically black college and university (HBCU) game, was established to honor trailblazing football giants who put in work — with no TV exposure and less-than-adequate equipment, but with a work-twice-as-hard passion for success.

When reached by phone at his home, one of those awardees, Jackson State University great Robert Brazile, responded with the kind of glee and gratitude befitting enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I’m so honored,” Brazile said of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Legends award, which was also given to Grambling State University icon and former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams that year. “To even be in the same room as some of the other awardees is the ultimate honor for me.”

For all he’s done — in college, in the National Football League and for HBCUs — Brazile should hardly be so humble.

Recruited as a tight end at Jackson State, Brazile — who had size, speed and agility in an era when all three were rare — moved from offense to defense in his freshman season after three linebackers suffered knee injuries. How serendipitous for a player who’d end up finishing his college career with 33 wins, two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) titles, All-American honors and a trip to the Senior Bowl.

The NFL’s Houston Oilers selected Brazile with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the draft, two picks after Walter Payton, Brazile’s college roommate who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in a year when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won it for the second straight season.

Brazile’s star, not to mention Payton’s, would shine even brighter after he reached the pro ranks. Nicknamed “Dr. Doom,” the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Brazile played 10 seasons, all with the Oilers, and was voted to seven consecutive Pro Bowls (1976-82). He was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1975 and a first-team All-Pro selection in both 1978 and ’79. He was also a catalyst on those Oilers teams that advanced to the AFC Championship Game — teams that lost twice to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Over his career, he had 147 consecutive starts.

For decades, actually almost 35 years, Brazile has waited for his opportunity to receive his gold jacket and enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That wait ended in 2018, and Brazile’s name sits alongside enshrinees Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher and Brian Dawkins.

Surely, if anybody had reason to shout, “ ’Bout damn time” from the mountaintop, it would be Brazile.

“I say it was travesty that he had to wait that long,” said Elvin Bethea, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker and the Oilers’ all-time single-season sack leader, who was inducted into the Hall in 2003. “All the people that went before him, not that they weren’t outstanding, but Brazile? He came in and was Rookie of the Year. He set a foundation that he just kept building on. Why it took him so long to get in is a question many should have. . . . It happened late, but it happened.”

Brazile, now 72, is just as giddy to get that call as he is to get any call that shines a light on HBCUs, his family and his career.

“I’m like the Boy Scouts — I’m prepared and ready to go,” Brazile told The Houston Chronicle last week. “My parents are 86, and I’m so happy and grateful they’ll be with me this weekend. They’ve been such a big part of my life, and I’m so blessed they’re able to share this honor with me.”

More icing on the cake for Brazile was the presence of Walter Payton — in the form of Payton’s son, Jarrett, who attended the awards ceremonies as a correspondent for WGN-TV News in Chicago.

Said Payton: “He said that seeing my dad and I hug back in ’93 [when Payton was inducted into the Hall] was one of his proudest moments because he knew my dad was deserving of the honor and one day he knew he would be here in Canton himself.”

Feedback worth waiting for.