Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sports. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

From Negro Leagues to Cooperstown: Willie Mays' Extraordinary Journey Ends at 93

White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Willie Mays, the iconic Hall of Fame center fielder known as the greatest all-around baseball player of all time, died Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants announced. He was 93.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie Mays passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 93,” the Giants announced on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Mays, nicknamed “The Say Hey Kid,” had a professional baseball career that spanned four decades, beginning with the Negro Leagues in the late 1940s and ending with the New York Mets in 1973. He spent 21 years with the New York Giants, who would later move to San Francisco.

Born on May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama, Mays was introduced to baseball by his father, Cat Mays, a semi-pro player on several local Black teams. By high school, Mays excelled in several sports and began his professional baseball career in 1948 with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues.

Mays signed with the Giants in 1950 after graduating high school and was called up to the majors in May 1951 after barely a year in the minors. He debuted on May 25, 1951, and hit his first home run against the Boston Braves in his fourth game. He won Rookie of the Year that season, the first of many accolades.

Mays was a true five-tool player, excelling in speed, throwing, fielding, hitting for average, and hitting for power. He had a career triple-slash line of .301/.384/.557, with 660 home runs, 525 doubles, and 338 stolen bases. He led the National League in stolen bases and home runs four times each. Over 24 seasons, he grounded into just 45 double plays.

In May 2021, 10 hits were added to Mays’ career total when Negro League stats were officially integrated into MLB’s historical record. His home run total was not adjusted due to the lack of box scores from those games.

Mays missed most of 1952 and all of 1953 due to military service during the Korean War but returned in 1954 to have the greatest season of his career, hitting .345/.411/.667 with 41 home runs. He won MVP and was selected to the All-Star Game. Mays finished in the top six of MVP voting from 1955 to 1966, winning MVP again in 1965 and coming in second twice. He was selected to the All-Star Game 20 times, winning All-Star MVP in 1963 and 1968, and also won 12 Gold Gloves.

Mays’ most iconic play came in the 1954 World Series, known simply as “The Catch.” In Game 1, he made a stunning over-the-shoulder catch off Vic Wertz's drive and prevented any runners from scoring with a quick throw to second base.

Mays began a slow decline in the late 1960s, though he still posted a National League-best .425 OBP in 1971. The Giants traded him to the Mets in May 1972, and he played his final season in 1973.

After retiring, Mays became the Mets hitting coach until 1979, when he terminated his baseball contract to become a greeter at an Atlantic City hotel and casino. Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned Mays from baseball due to the gambling connection, but he was reinstated in 1985 by Peter Ueberroth, Kuhn’s successor.

The Giants, who retired Mays’ number in 1972, signed him to a lifetime contract in the 1990s, making him a permanent special assistant to the president. He spent years visiting the Giants’ minor-league teams, attending spring training, and making appearances on behalf of the club.

Mays is survived by his son, Michael. His wife, Mae Louise Allen Mays, died in 2013 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility. Though he wasn’t a unanimous choice, he received 94.68% of the vote.

In 2015, Mays received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

WATCH: Jay-Z's Surprise Performance Steals the Show at Brady's Patriots HOF Ceremony

Tom Brady's New England Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony received an unexpected jolt of star power Wednesday night when Jay-Z took the stage for an electrifying performance.
In front of 60,000 fans at Gillette Stadium, Jay-Z opened the ceremony with "Public Service Announcement (Interlude)," the song synonymous with Brady's entrance onto the field during his Patriots career. The six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, who played 20 seasons in New England, was visibly moved by the tribute.
The crowd, which included former teammates, coaches, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, roared as Jay-Z raised his hand and declared, "Put one hand in the air for the GOAT, Mr. Tom Brady, tonight!"

Brady, who retired after the 2021 season, expressed his gratitude to the fans, his former teammates, and coaches, and called Jay-Z's performance a "special moment."

Monday, June 3, 2024

Simone Biles Wins Record-Breaking Ninth All-Around Title at U.S. Gymnastics Championships

Photo Courtesy USA Gymnatics
Simone Biles secured a record-extending ninth all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Sunday, decisively defeating Skye Blakely. This victory cements Biles' status as the most decorated gymnast in history and sets the stage for her pursuit of a third consecutive Olympic all-around title in Paris.
Biles, a dominant force in gymnastics for over a decade, showcased exceptional athletic prowess throughout the competition. Her score of 119.750 comfortably surpassed Blakely's 113.850. The competition was notably affected by the absence of fellow Black gymnast Shilese Jones, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury. Despite this, the event underscored the depth of talent within the Black gymnastics community, with Biles standing as a beacon of inspiration for future generations.

Beyond her athletic achievements, Biles has made significant contributions as an advocate for athlete safety and empowerment, particularly within the Black community. Historically underrepresented and facing numerous barriers in gymnastics, Black athletes have found a powerful ally in Biles. The "Simone Biles Legacy Act," which mandates increased oversight within the U.S. Olympic Committee, is a testament to her commitment to creating a safer and more equitable environment for future athletes, especially young Black girls who look up to her.

Biles' triumph at the U.S. Championships adds to a career marked by both dominance and resilience. In 2020, at the Tokyo Olympics, she made headlines by prioritizing her mental health and stepping away from competition. This courageous decision sparked a global conversation about the pressures faced by athletes, resonating deeply, particularly among young Black women who identified with her vulnerability and strength.

From her early years in foster care to her rise to international stardom, Biles continues to inspire athletes of all backgrounds. Her routines, known for their technical difficulty and grace, constantly push the boundaries of what is possible in gymnastics. Off the mat, Biles leverages her platform to promote diversity and inclusion within the sport, encouraging young Black girls to chase their dreams on national and international stages.
Biles' latest victory at the U.S. Championships is a testament to her enduring dominance. As she prepares for Paris, she remains a central figure in gymnastics and a powerful cultural icon. To young Black athletes, she is more than a champion; she is a symbol of hope and inspiration, embodying the possibilities of perseverance and excellence.

Reflecting on her win and her journey towards Paris, Biles told NBC, "Today, it was just getting out there and getting comfortable and confident in my gymnastics and hopefully going to Olympic trials and making that next step towards Paris. I couldn't be more proud of how I'm doing this time of the year, just getting that confidence. Over and over, getting myself back in front of the crowd. And just doing what I do in practice."

Monday, May 6, 2024

West Coast Cool Meets Pigskin: Snoop Dogg Scores Historic Bowl Sponsorship with Gin & Juice

In a move that throws a playful pass at NCAA traditions, hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg has teamed up with his new premium spirits brand, Gin & Juice By Dre and Snoop, to sponsor the Arizona Bowl. Dubbed a "groundbreaking agreement" in the official press release, this marks the first time an alcohol brand has secured the presenting sponsor role for an NCAA bowl game.

Set to take place on December 28th in Tucson, Arizona, the "Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl Presented by Gin & Juice By Dre and Snoop" promises a unique fusion of gridiron excitement and Snoop's signature laid-back vibes. While the Arizona Bowl traditionally donates 100% of net proceeds to charity, this collaboration presents a bold new direction for the event. For Snoop, it's an opportunity to combine his passion for football – evident through his management of the Snoop Youth Football League – with promoting his latest venture.

"I've sent many players through my SYFL to colleges (and the NFL), so it's only fitting that I bring the 'juice' back to college football," remarked Snoop in the press release. The term "juice" nods to his iconic 1994 song, adding a nostalgic touch to the partnership. The impact on fan experience and overall reception remains to be seen, but with Snoop leading the charge, spectators can anticipate an unparalleled game day experience. In addition to the on-field action, festivities will include charity events, a special "SNOOPER Bowl" featuring youth teams, and ample opportunities to sample Snoop's latest Gin & Juice flavors.

The partnership represents a significant achievement for Playfly Premier Partnerships, the agency responsible for securing the deal. Utilizing fan data, Playfly aimed to "redefine how college sports and entertainment intersect," according to Founder and CEO Mike Schreiber. While some may view this as a positive evolution in collegiate athletics, others may question the implications of commercial sponsorship in the NCAA sphere. Nevertheless, the "Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl Presented by Gin & Juice By Dre and Snoop" is poised to leave an indelible mark on the landscape of college football, signaling a new era of collaboration and innovation.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BIG3 Co-founder Blasts WNBA as 'Male-Dominated System' After Clark's Record Nike Deal

John Mac, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh off her historic selection as the number one draft pick by the Indiana Fever, 22-year-old Caitlin Clark has solidified her status as a marketing powerhouse.

Clark is poised to ink a record-breaking $28 million endorsement deal with Nike, which includes the development of her own signature shoe line. This development comes on the heels of her decision to turn down a groundbreaking offer from the BIG3 league, sparking discussions about the future of gender equity in professional sports.

The BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 basketball league co-founded by music icon Ice Cube and Jeff Kwatinetz, reportedly presented Clark with a $15 million package. This offer significantly surpasses the standard rookie salary in the WNBA, which stands at $76,535, highlighting the substantial financial gap between the two leagues.

In a guest column for Outkick, Kwatinetz argued that the WNBA "underpays" its stars, attributing this to a "male-dominated system" that controls basketball and limits opportunities for women. He criticized the NBA for exerting influence over the WNBA, alleging that it hinders women from receiving their fair share.

Kwatinetz further claimed in his Outkick column that Clark "found out about the BIG3 offer at the same time as everyone else," insinuating that her agents, with ties to the NBA, may have shielded her from the proposal.

The BIG3 has positioned itself as a proponent of equality, emphasizing its promotion of diversity by featuring female athletes competing at a high level alongside men. They highlight their female coaches and Black commissioner as evidence of their commitment to inclusivity.

While the financial opportunity presented by the BIG3 was undoubtedly tempting, questions linger about whether Clark, renowned for her finesse on the court, would have thrived in the league's physically demanding, defense-oriented environment. Was the offer truly withheld by her agents, or did Clark harbor reservations for other reasons?

This situation has become a focal point for discussions regarding the unequal treatment of women in basketball. Ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice into the NBA's business practices may shed light on the complexities underlying these disparities.

One thing remains certain: Caitlin Clark's journey is just beginning. Her decisions will be closely monitored, with some viewing her as a potential symbol of resistance to change or a catalyst for progress in terms of compensation and treatment of female athletes.

However, Clark's groundbreaking Nike deal offers a ray of hope. This lucrative endorsement signifies her immense marketing potential and could pave the way for a more prosperous financial future for female athletes in the WNBA. The inclusion of a signature shoe line in the deal is particularly noteworthy, elevating Clark to an unprecedented level of visibility within the sport.

This windfall stands in stark contrast to Clark's WNBA contract. The Indiana Fever will pay her a standard rookie salary, totaling $338,056 over four years. This amounts to a yearly salary of $76,535 in her first year, increasing slightly to $97,582 in her fourth year, should the team exercise their option.

The glaring disparity between Clark's Nike deal and her WNBA contract serves as a poignant reminder of the financial challenges faced by women's basketball players. While Clark's marketability transcends the court, questions persist about the equitable compensation of elite female athletes.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

O.J. Simpson, Controversial Star of Sports, Screen & Music, Dies

O.J. Simpson, the former NFL star whose life was marred by athletic triumph, a sensationalized murder trial, and later imprisonment, has died. He was 76.

Simpson's death was confirmed Thursday by his family. In a statement, they wrote, "Our father, Orenthal James Simpson, passed away today after a battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his family. While this is a difficult time, we ask that you respect our privacy."

Simpson rose to prominence as a record-breaking running back at the University of Southern California, where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968. He went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, primarily with the Buffalo Bills, rushing for over 11,000 yards.

His public image shattered in 1994 when he was charged with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. The ensuing televised trial captivated the nation. Simpson was acquitted of the murders but later found liable for their deaths in a civil case.

Simpson also enjoyed a successful acting career, appearing in films such as the "Naked Gun" series. His foray into music included the video "Get Juiced," where he played pranks, including a reference to his infamous white Ford Bronco.

In 2008, Simpson was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas and served nine years in prison. He was released on parole in 2017.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Watch: Super Bowl Trailer Has Ludacris, Lil Jon Hunting for Usher in Vegas

Usher has dropped a star-studded new trailer for his Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show, igniting intrigue with a playful "Where's Usher?" theme. The seven-minute film, reminiscent of "The Hangover," follows a comedic quest through Las Vegas, led by Ludacris, Lil Jon and Taraji P. Henson as they search for the missing R&B icon.

Their journey takes them past iconic landmarks like Caesars Palace, where they encounter celebrities including Anderson .Paak, J Balvin, Wesley Snipes and the Blue Man Group. A surprise appearance by Andre 3000 as "Zoltar 3000" fuels speculation about potential collaborations during the live performance.

The trailer concludes with Usher performing for a bridal party at the Caesars Palace Fountain, showcasing his signature moves and hits like "Climax," "Nice & Slow" and "Bad Girl." The clip ends with Snipes comedically channeling Omarion's iconic dance moves to "Standing Next to You."

Usher's halftime show promises to be a monumental celebration of his 30-year career. With over 80 million records sold and hits like "8701" and "Confessions," his impact on the music industry is significant.

Anticipation is further heightened by the release of his ninth studio album, "Coming Home," two days before the Super Bowl. Presented by Apple Music as part of a multi-year partnership with the NFL and Roc Nation, the halftime show is expected to be a major draw for music fans worldwide. Super Bowl LVIII airs live on CBS February 11th.

Watch the trailer below.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Actor and NFL Veteran Carl Weathers Dies at 76

Photo Credit: Luigi Novi, via Wikimedia Commons
Carl Weathers, the renowned actor and former NFL player, died peacefully in his sleep on Monday at the age of 76. His manager, Matt Luber, confirmed the news.

Weathers carved his name in cinematic history with his iconic portrayal of Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" series, alongside Sylvester Stallone. His career, spanning decades, showcased remarkable versatility as he seamlessly transitioned between action-packed roles like "Predator" and "Action Jackson" and comedic performances in "Happy Gilmore" and "Arrested Development."

Weathers' impact extended beyond the big screen. He voiced Combat Carl in the "Toy Story" franchise and lent his comedic talent to the popular series "Arrested Development." Despite his fame, he remained grounded, expressing gratitude for his journey.

Before Hollywood, Weathers played football, excelling at San Diego State University and spending a season with the Oakland Raiders before joining the Canadian Football League. He later earned a B.A. in drama, returning to his passion for acting.

In addition to his acting prowess, Weathers harbored a lesser-known love for music. He released a single, "That's Love Calling," in 1981, showcasing his vocal abilities.

Survived by his two sons, Weathers leaves behind a legacy of captivating performances, diverse talent, and an enduring impact on film and television.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Watch: Cardi B Previews NYX Super Bowl Ad in New Teaser

Courtesy Photo

Cardi B will star in NYX Professional Makeup's upcoming Super Bowl commercial, airing during the second half of the February 12th game. The 30-second spot will feature Cardi B alongside other women, showcasing NYX's popular Duck Plump High Pigment Plumping Lip Gloss in a humorous and lighthearted manner.

A 15-second teaser released Thursday offers a glimpse of the commercial, featuring the rapper examining a tube of NYX gloss before applying it and uttering her signature phrase.

In conjunction with the ad, NYX is launching an exclusive "Cherry Spice" shade of the lip gloss, worn by Cardi B in the commercial. Priced at $13, the shade is available only on the cosmetics company's website.

This marks Cardi B's first-ever beauty partnership. The collaboration extends beyond the Super Bowl, with NYX launching the exclusive lip gloss shade and creating interactive social media experiences throughout the campaign.

Watch the teaser below.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Watch: Usher Unleashes 30 Years of Hits in Super Bowl LVIII Trailer Extravaganza

Move aside, confetti cannons; Usher has just raised the halftime bar by weaponizing an oven door. The King of R&B dropped the trailer for his highly anticipated Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show today, delivering a star-studded, genre-bending spectacle that promises to redefine the halftime experience.

Picture LeBron James belting out "Yeah!" from the window of his car, BTS' Jung Kook seamlessly gliding through Usher's signature moves alongside the artist himself, and a Latin twist on the iconic synth riff courtesy of J. Balvin — all ingeniously crafted using a squeaky oven door.

This isn't just a sneak peek; it's a 30-year musical odyssey set to explode on February 11th, showcasing why Usher rightfully claims a spot on the R&B Mount Rushmore.

The electrifying trailer kicks off with a gospel-infused rendition of "Yeah!" sung by an impassioned fan chorus, instantly transporting viewers through Usher's illustrious career. James joins the chorus, belting out the lyrics from his car window. Jung Kook, drawing from their viral TikTok duet, effortlessly glides through Usher's iconic moves alongside the artist himself.

Then comes the unexpected twist: J. Balvin, the Latin sensation, brings the playful spirit of Las Vegas to life by transforming a squeaky oven door into the iconic "Yeah!" synth riff, infusing a Latin flair into the sonic tapestry. But this is no mere nostalgia trip.

The trailer expertly weaves together glimpses of Usher's genre-bending prowess, from the early days of "Climax" to the pulsating beats of "OMG." Marching bands, a lone busker's flute, and a soulful gospel choir flash by, each a testament to the artist's multifaceted musical DNA.

Usher, in declaring earlier this year, "It's an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list," has set the stage for a show that promises to be unlike anything the world has seen from him before.

Witness the spectacle unfold in the trailer below, and decide for yourself if Usher is on the brink of redefining the Super Bowl halftime experience.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Ciara and Wilson Celebrate Birth of Daughter Amora Princess

Photo Credit: Instagram/Ciara
Singer Ciara and her husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, announced the arrival of their third child together, a daughter named Amora Princess Wilson, on Monday.

The couple shared the news on Instagram, posting a heartwarming photo of their newborn daughter snuggled in their hands. "Amora Princess Wilson, 9lbs 1oz. We Love You so much!" the caption read.

Amora joins Ciara and Russell's growing family, which already includes two other children: daughter Sienna Princess (6 years old) and son Win Harrison (3 years old). This brings Ciara's total number of children to four, as she also has a son, Future Zahir Wilburn (9 years old), from a previous relationship with rapper Future.

Ciara's pregnancy announcement in June 2023 was met with excitement from fans and friends. Throughout her pregnancy, she shared glimpses of her journey on social media, documenting her growing baby bump and expressing her joy at becoming a mother again.

Just hours before welcoming their daughter, Ciara and her older children cheered on Russell and the Denver Broncos as they secured a 24-7 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Usher Names Himself Alongside Icons on 'R&B Mount Rushmore'

In an recent interview with E! News, Usher made a bold and definitive statement, placing himself among the pantheon of R&B greats on what he calls the "R&B Mount Rushmore." He didn't hesitate to share the names of those who, in his view, belong on this musical monument.

With a self-assured tone, Usher declared, "I get to put myself up there." He continued, "Marvin Gaye is going up there, Michael [Jackson] is going to be up there, Prince is going to be up there, and I'd put a few incredible female vocalists like Whitney Houston up there. It doesn't necessarily have to just be men."

This revelation from Usher coincides with his preparation for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, slated to take place at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in February 2024. The announcement of his Super Bowl performance has generated considerable excitement, with fans and fellow artists eagerly anticipating what he has in store. Usher revealed that he's drawing inspiration from iconic acts like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Maroon 5, making his upcoming performance a hot topic in the music world.

Behind the Scenes: Usher's Super Bowl Journey

Usher's dedication to delivering an unforgettable Super Bowl performance is palpable. Juggling the responsibilities of his "My Way" residency in Las Vegas, he's fully committed to the extensive preparations for the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show.

In a candid interview with CNN, Usher shared his thoughts on returning to the live stage after the challenges posed by the pandemic. For Usher, the stage represents his comfort zone, a place where he can seamlessly connect with his audience and let his creative energy flow.

"It's all about having everyone together in one room, celebrating this music, and returning to a sense of normalcy," Usher explained. He underscored the profound significance of the live experience, emphasizing that it's his driving force and a source of deep passion.

While physical fitness is vital for maintaining the rigorous demands of his residency, Usher shared that his Super Bowl preparation is primarily a mental exercise. He's carefully crafting a message of unity and celebration for the performance.

"My performance will be a celebration of various aspects. I'll celebrate the places I've been, the inspirations that have guided me, the music that has touched souls, the dance that has brought joy, and the legacy of all the entertainers who have played their part in uniting the world," Usher revealed.

A Unique Tradition: Usher's Decision to Perform for Free

In an industry where artists often perform for exposure rather than payment during the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Usher has chosen to follow this unique tradition. The NFL, notorious for not compensating its halftime show performers, continues this practice, providing artists with an unparalleled platform to reach millions of viewers.

Usher, having been named the 2024 halftime show performer, revealed that he wasn't the NFL's first choice, with stars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lizzo reportedly turning down the opportunity. While he won't receive a performance fee, Usher recognizes the potential for vast exposure and the chance to connect with his dedicated fan base, making this a strategic move in his thriving career.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Simone Biles Makes History as the Most Decorated Gymnast with 6th World All-Around Title

Courtesy Photo USA Gymnastics
Simone Biles added yet another chapter to her legendary career by clinching the individual all-around title at the world championships for the sixth time on Friday. This remarkable feat not only solidifies her status as the most decorated gymnast in history but also exemplifies her enduring excellence in the sport.

A decade after her initial triumph in the same Belgian city at the tender age of 16, Biles demonstrated her unmatched prowess once again. Her performance garnered an impressive 58.399 points across the balance beam, floor, vault, and uneven bars, outshining Rebeca Andrade, the Brazilian defending champion, by a substantial 1.633 points.This victory marked Biles' 27th world championship medal, with an astounding 21 of them being gold. Her latest achievement followed a mere two days after she led the U.S. women's team to an unprecedented seventh consecutive victory in the team event.

Simone Biles' triumphant return to competition comes less than a year before the Paris Olympics. Despite formidable competition from Andrade and Jones, she continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest, a full decade after her reign began.Biles has maintained her dominance since returning to the sport after a two-year hiatus prompted by struggles with a mental block known as "the twisties," which affected her performance in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics. Although she withdrew from the individual all-around competition in Tokyo to prioritize her mental well-being, her return has showcased her unwavering commitment to excellence.

Her impressive comeback commenced with a remarkable display at the U.S. Classic in early August, followed by her eighth national title a few weeks later. This week marks her first appearance at the world championships since 2019.

Biles' journey continues, with upcoming competitions including the women's vault and uneven bars finals on Saturday and the balance beam and floor exercise finals on Sunday.

Friday's triumph further solidified Biles' standing, with a record-breaking total of 34 medals at the Olympics and world championships combined, making her the most decorated gymnast in history. At 26 years old, she has become the oldest U.S. woman ever to secure a world championships medal. Furthermore, her remarkable undefeated streak in all-around competitions has spanned since 2013.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Simone Biles' Leadership Propels Team USA to Seventh Straight Gymnastics Gold

Simone Biles, widely recognized as the greatest gymnast of all time, led Team USA to a historic victory on Wednesday by securing their seventh consecutive gold medal in the women's team final at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.Team USA's extraordinary performance resulted in a total score of 167.729, reaffirming their dominance in the gymnastics world and surpassing the Chinese men's team to establish a new record for most consecutive wins. Brazil, under the leadership of 2022 World all-around champion Rebeca Andrade, clinched their first-ever medal in this event with a silver, amassing a team total of 165.530. France claimed the third spot on the podium with a score of 164.064, marking their first team medal at the World Championships since 1950.Biles, already a legendary figure in the sport, achieved yet another remarkable milestone. With this team gold, she has amassed an impressive 26 medals at the World Championships, including a stunning 20 titles at global events. Her unrivaled prowess on the gymnastics floor continues to redefine the boundaries of excellence.

Her unparalleled success extends beyond the World Championships, with seven Olympic medals, comprising four gold, one silver, and two bronze. This brings her combined tally of World and Olympic medals to 33, a feat that ties her with the legendary Vitaly Scherbo, who represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Belarus.

Reflecting on the team's exceptional achievement, Biles emphasized their collective spirit and resilience. ""I think our grit and fight [makes this team special]. I mean, it wasn't our perfect meet today, we had a teammate go down, and we had some mistakes here and there, [but we] just keep going, keep pushing, keep relying on our training because it was not our best day and that was a little bit close watching those standings," she stated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

NBA Icon Michael Jordan Soars to Forbes 400's Elite Wealthy Club

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Michael Jordan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 22, 2016.
NBA legend Michael Jordan has achieved another groundbreaking milestone in his legendary career, this time off the basketball court. Forbes has officially ranked him at number 379 on its esteemed Forbes 400 list, making him the first professional athlete to ever earn a spot among America's 400 wealthiest individuals.

This prestigious entry into the Forbes 400 is attributed to Jordan's strategic move earlier this year when he sold his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA franchise he had acquired in 2010 for approximately $275 million.

Forbes estimates Jordan's current net worth at an impressive $3 billion. His journey to billionaire status began in 2015, driven not only by his basketball prowess but also his lucrative endorsement deals with iconic brands like Nike. This partnership, which started in 1984 with a contract worth $500,000 per year plus royalties, has remained a cornerstone of his financial success. As of the latest data, Jordan continues to receive yearly royalties from Nike, amounting to a substantial $260 million.

However, it's not just Nike that contributed to Jordan's financial empire. Over the years, he inked lucrative contracts with major brands such as Hanes, Gatorade, and Upper Deck, further bolstering his financial standing.

Beyond his wealth accumulation, Jordan has also become renowned for his philanthropic efforts. In celebration of his 60th birthday, he made history with a generous $10 million donation to Make-A-Wish America, marking the largest individual gift ever received by the foundation in its 43-year history.

While Jordan's prowess on the basketball court is legendary, with five MVP awards and six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls during his illustrious 15-season career, his off-court achievements continue to shape his legacy. His strategic investments and business acumen have made him an iconic figure not only in the world of sports but also in finance and philanthropy.

In the larger context of America's wealthiest individuals, Jordan's journey from the courts of the NBA to the elite ranks of the Forbes 400 is a testament to his unique blend of talent, business savvy, and dedication to making a difference.

As of Forbes' latest assessment, Elon Musk leads the Forbes 400 list with an estimated worth of $251 billion, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with an estimated wealth of $161 billion.

Forbes reports that the collective net worth of America's 400 richest individuals now stands at an astounding $4.5 trillion, equaling the record set in 2021. This sum even surpasses the 2022 GDP of Japan, which was $4.23 trillion according to the World Bank.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Atlanta Icon Usher to Take Center Stage at 2024 Super Bowl Halftime

In a historic move, Usher is set to headline the 2024 Super Bowl Halftime Show. The iconic singer from Atlanta will grace the stage at Allegiant Stadium, marking the first time the Super Bowl will be held in Las Vegas.

Usher expressed his excitement, stating, "It’s an honor of a lifetime to finally check a Super Bowl performance off my bucket list. I can’t wait to bring the world a show unlike anything else they’ve seen from me before."

Additionally, Usher announced that his ninth album, "Coming Home," will be released on Super Bowl Sunday. This marks his first album since 2016's "Hard II Love." The album will feature his previous 2023 release, "Good Good," featuring Summer Walker and 21 Savage.

Usher has a storied career with 18 top 10 hits on the Hot 100, including nine No. 1s, and four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200.

Seth Dudowsky, the head of music for the NFL, stated, "Usher is an icon whose music has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape throughout his career. We look forward to working with Usher, Roc Nation, and Apple Music to bring fans another Halftime Show for the history books."

This performance continues the partnership between the NFL and Roc Nation, with past halftime shows featuring renowned artists like Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, The Weeknd, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show will be presented by Apple Music for the second consecutive year. Last year's show with Rihanna became the most-watched halftime show of all time.

Super Bowl LVIII will air live on CBS on February 11, 2024.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Simone Biles Makes History: Clinches Eighth National All-Around Title at US Gymnastics Championships

Simone Biles, widely regarded as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, secured her eighth national all-around title with a commanding performance on Sunday at the US Gymnastics Championships.

Biles, 26, also became the oldest woman to claim the championship, outscoring Shilese Jones by a significant 3.9 points. Jones, the 2022 US and world championships all-around silver medalist, finished as the runner-up.

With her eighth victory, Biles surpasses Alfred Jochim's previous record of seven all-around gold medals, which had stood for 90 years since 1933.

"I think it feels really special," Biles shared with NBC, the broadcaster of the championships. "I’ve been doing it for so long, I feel like I don’t think about numbers, I think about my performance. And I think, overall, I hit eight for eight (routines)… I guess it’s a lucky number this year."After an extended hiatus from major competitions, Biles displayed exceptional poise and skill in her routines, emerging as the dominant force throughout the championships. Her performance on Friday and Sunday was nothing short of impressive, culminating in a remarkable floor exercise routine that garnered a score of 15.400.

As she concluded her floor routine to an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd, Biles was embraced by her teammates and coaches. Teammate Jordan Chiles also took the opportunity to acknowledge Biles' extraordinary achievement, waving her arms to the crowd to sustain the applause.

Amidst the celebration, Biles remained coy about her participation in the upcoming Olympics. "I like to keep (my goals) personal just so that I know what I am aiming for," she explained to NBC. "I’m trying to move a little bit differently this year than I have in the past. So I think it’s working so far, so I’m gonna keep it a little bit secretive."

Biles' triumphant return follows a two-year hiatus after the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where she withdrew from several events due to the mental block known as the "twisties." Remarkably, she executed elements in her routines that no other female gymnast has successfully landed in competition.The victory propels Biles, who has earned 27 U.S. titles and 35 national championship medals overall since her senior debut in 2013, into the World Championships/Pan American Games Selection Camp, scheduled for September 18-21 in Katy, Texas, where rosters for the 2023 FIG Artistic World Championships and 2023 Pan American Games will be finalized.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Tennis Icon Serena Williams Welcomes Daughter Adira with Partner Alexis Ohanian

Photo Credit: Serena Williams/Instagram 

The world of Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian expanded today with the joyful arrival of their second child, a baby girl named Adira.

Alexis Ohanian proudly confirmed the heartwarming news through an Instagram post that showcased a poignant family portrait. He expressed his gratitude and happiness in the caption, writing, "Welcome, Adira River Ohanian. I’m grateful to report our house is brimming with love: a contented and healthy newborn girl and a happy and healthy mama. Feeling profoundly grateful. @serenawilliams, you’ve once again bestowed upon me an unparalleled gift – you’re the GMOAT. A heartfelt thank you to all the exceptional medical staff who cared for my wife and our daughter 🙏. The moment when I introduced @olympiaohanian to her baby sister will forever remain etched in my memory."

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, both accomplished in their respective fields, already share the joy of parenthood with their five-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who was born in September 2017.

The revelation of Williams' second pregnancy took center stage at the 2023 Met Gala, where the tennis icon elegantly displayed her growing baby bump while adorned in a form-fitting black Gucci gown. Confirming the exciting news later on Instagram, Williams shared her enthusiasm about the forthcoming addition to their family.

In a poignant essay for Vogue last year, Williams shared her introspections and aspirations beyond the tennis court. Addressing her journey, she wrote, "I have never embraced the word retirement. It doesn’t resonate as a contemporary term for me. I see this phase as a transition, yet I'm conscious of the significance this term holds within a certain community. Perhaps the word that best captures my current path is 'evolution'." She continued, "I'm here to convey that my path is shifting from tennis towards other meaningful pursuits. A few years ago, I discreetly initiated Serena Ventures, a venture capital enterprise. Shortly after that, I embarked on the journey of motherhood. My intention is to nurture and expand my family."

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Music Icon Chuck D and MLB Forge Partnership to Commemorate Hip-Hop Culture

Courtesy of California African American Museum
Major League Baseball has joined forces with music icon Chuck D to commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop culture.

This Friday, the Bronx will take center stage as the co-founder of the pioneering musical ensemble Public Enemy assumes a special role as correspondent during the "Hip Hop 50 Live at Yankee Stadium" concert. This event also marks the launch of MLB's yearlong partnership with New York-based media company Mass Appeal's Hip Hop 50 initiative.

Described on the company's website as "a manifestation of the company’s commitment to celebrating the culture in the most authentic and globally impactful way possible," Hip Hop 50 is Mass Appeal's ultimate tribute to the genre.

In a move that merges music and sports, the rapper will be entrusted with capturing the essence of this star-studded gathering. His insights will be artfully curated into exclusive content across MLB's multifaceted platforms, including @MLB, @MLBLife social handles,, MLB.TV and MLB Network.

Reflecting on the profound significance of this collaboration, Chuck D expressed his excitement, stating, “As a longtime baseball fanatic, I am beyond honored to be the first Hip Hop artist to collaborate with Major League Baseball in this dynamic new way — connecting sound and culture to the stories of the game. Thank you to MLB for adding me to the lineup... and the pitch is on the way."

Throughout the year, he will engage in a sustained partnership with MLB. This collaboration will encompass MLB’s robust social media presence, the dynamic MLB Network, and captivating in-stadium videos — all deliberately aimed at unraveling the intricate relationship between baseball and Hip Hop culture.

A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Chuck D has long held a deep affection for the sport. In April 2023, he unveiled "We Wreck Stadiums," an album that pays homage to baseball's luminaries and their enduring impact on the sport.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Steph Curry Stuns Fans With Rap Prowess in 'Lil Fish, Big Pond' Music Video

Screengrab "Lil Fish, Big Pond" video via Twitter
Golden State Warriors' star Steph Curry proves he's a man of many talents as he showcases his musical prowess in a new rap song that's taking the internet by storm. Teaming up with Houston-based rapper Tobe Nwigwe, Curry's debut on "Lil Fish, Big Pond" has already racked up over 16,000 views on YouTube within just four hours of release.

In the music video, Curry and Nwigwe are seen bonding over a fishing trip, but it's the lyrics that have fans buzzing. Curry opens the song with his smooth delivery, boasting lines like "Daddy taught me how to flick my wrist, I'm my father's son" and "They should put the basket in the casket after I am done." It's clear that Curry's skills extend beyond the basketball court.

Watch the video below.