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

Picture this: Kawhi and Kobe together in California

The Raptors forward worked out with the Lakers legend in Newport Beach

11:43 AMKawhi Leonard will soon be in Toronto in preparation for his first season with the Raptors. The two-time NBA All-Star forward will be a free agent next summer, but a source has told The Undefeated that he will be open-minded about re-signing with the Raptors.

Even so, the Los Angeles-area native posing with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after working out in Newport Beach, California, on Thursday night will only add to the intrigue of Leonard potentially coming home to sign with the Lakers. While Leonard was injured with the San Antonio Spurs last season, there were numerous reports that he wanted to resume his career in Los Angeles.

Leonard also worked out with new Lakers forward LeBron James, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman several weeks ago at UCLA. While Durant and Osman were there, much of the social media intrigue was about Leonard and James working out together and perhaps joining forces with the Lakers.

Raptors fans, however, should be well-aware that their basketball staff members Phil Handy (who posted the photo), John Corbacio and Jeremy Castleberry attended both workouts with Leonard. Also, Handy, a new Raptors assistant coach, previously worked with Bryant with the Lakers and James and Osman with the Cavaliers. Spurs assistant coach Chip Engelland also once helped Leonard improve his shooting form by using examples of Bryant, who has also worked out with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Candace Parker this offseason.

David Williams II is stepping down as Vanderbilt AD

Was the first black athletic director in SEC history

1:26 PMDavid Williams II, the first black athletic director in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history, announced on Tuesday that he is leaving his position at Vanderbilt.

Williams, who was also the first African-American vice chancellor in school history, took over the Commodores program in 2003 after three years as a faculty member and was officially designated athletic director in 2012. He will continue in the role until his successor is named.

Under the 70-year-old’s watch, the Commodores football team reached five bowl games (winning three) after not appearing in a single postseason game since 1982. Outside of football, Vanderbilt won four national championships, including one apiece in baseball and women’s tennis and two in women’s bowling.

Williams was also instrumental in helping further break the color barrier in the SEC, hiring football coaches James Franklin (the first black coach in a major sport at Vanderbilt and just the third black football coach in SEC history) in 2010 and Derek Mason, who replaced Franklin, in 2014, making Vanderbilt the first SEC school to hire multiple black football coaches.

The departure of Williams leaves just one black athletic director in the SEC: Auburn’s Allen Greene, who was hired away from Buffalo in January (Greene is the third black athletic director in conference history and the first at Auburn). Unless Williams is replaced by another African-American, his retirement will also bring the number of black athletic directors in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) down to 12.

While Williams is leaving his football post, the school announced he will transition into a full-time role as tenured professor of law at the Vanderbilt Law School, a position he’s held since 2000.

“It has been a remarkable run and I have cherished the opportunity to work with so many passionate and committed students, coaches and staff,” Williams said in a statement. “After 27 years as a senior administrator in higher education, I am also excited to move back to my first love of teaching and to bring all that I’ve learned and experienced fully into that role.”

Remaining Black athletic directors in FBS

  • Allen Greene, Auburn
  • Bernard Muir, Stanford
  • Carla Williams, Virginia
  • Derrick Gragg, Tulsa
  • Eugene Smith, Ohio State
  • Damon Evans, Maryland
  • Lynn Swann, USC
  • Martin Jarmond, Boston College
  • Ray Anderson, Arizona State
  • Sean Frazier, Northern Illinois
  • Warde J. Manuel, Michigan
  • Mark Alnutt, Buffalo