Free Speech and what it means to be an American

The rhetoric has increased as officials and players from both the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) deliver their messages to President Trump, responding to what #45 has said about people, especially athletes earning millions, who then disrespect the US Flag and the thousands upon thousands of service men and women who have died to protect our Freedoms.
Trump US FlagMany people cite Colin Kaeperneck as the person who sparked this, yet it seems that Hillary Clinton is actually the one who really set this country on a collision course between the left and right.  That she could accuse Trump of being a racist, misogynist, etc., and those labels accepted as fact by her followers shows how blind these people are.  If Trump oppresses blacks, women and others as Hillary claims why do so many of those people work with him, and in key areas of his business and administration?

If Trump is really a misogynist why on Earth would he have had a woman running his campaign for President of the United States of America? Why would a black woman run the Eric Trump Foundation? There are numerous examples to cite how and why the labels plastered upon him by Hillary are simply not true.  The video below by Lynne Patton really tells a different story than what Hillary spews.

When #45 stated that NFL players should be fired for disrespecting the US Flag I tend to agree with him.  A football player, a basketball player, a musician, when they are on their stage and being paid, they are being paid to ENTERTAIN us, nothing more, nothing less.  If they wish to speak up about what they perceive as social injustices then they should do it on the right platforms, get booked on national radio or TV and cite evidence of the oppression and who is actually doing it.

Colin stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  Sorry, Colin, the United States is NOT oppressive. There are people who are, yes, but not the country as a whole.

When Steph Curry blindly accepts Hillary’s and Barack’s condemnations about our president and says he does not wish to visit the White House, fine. Don’t go. But don’t expect me to support you anymore because of your blinded beliefs that the president is the cause of our discontentment, our current division. Your pal LeBron called #45 a bum. Real class, Bron. You are losing all respect I have had for you (and what you do for your community). You, too,  are blinded by Hillary and Barack.  Barack is a Socialist, and an advocate for One World Order and the freedom we have here and now will not be available in that world.

Hillary is a traitor, she committed Treason against the United States.  She left people to die in Benghazi and lied about it.  She used an unsecured server and Blackberry and lied about it for months.  She is a chronic liar. Remember when she was running for president in 2007-2008 and claimed, “I remember landing under sniper fire in Bosnia.”  This was proven a lie with video footage, all was peaceful.  When she and Slick Willie left the White House in 2001 they had taken $190,000 in valuables that were not their property, i.e., they stole the items. And, yet, you supported her for president.  Steph, Bron, why on Earth would you do that?  How could you do that?

Open your eyes and take a real look at what is happening.  The Oakland Warriors stated, “in lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion—the values that we embrace as an organization.”

Let us discuss what they want to celebrate: “equality, diversity and inclusion.”

What do you call a college campus that cancels speaking engagements by conservatives?  And this week they cancelled “Free Speech Week.”  Why did the Oakland Warriors or, better yet, Steph, not speak out against UC Berkeley for their blatant disregard and disrespect for the First Amendment?   Seems quite hypocritical to me.

These athletes could learn a few things by listening to two-time heavyweight champion and Olympic Gold Medalist George Foreman, who criticized people such as Kaepernick for kneeling during the National Anthem, and who said, “A lot of [Americans] died in war so that they could have that privilege.  We all came in the era where we were patriotic.  The greatest day of my life was when I put on the colors, representing the United States.”

Foreman added, “I love the United States, and I love the flag.”

Let me state, for the record, that I am a Patriot.  I am also a direct descendant of Chief White Hair of the Osage Indian Nation.  And, I am related to Patrick Henry and deeply believe in his words:  “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”  It is because of Henry, James Madison and a handful of others that we actually have the Bill of Rights because the US Constitution, as originally written, did not lay out individual rights.

And, even though our country may be flawed because of individual agendas by people who are suppressive and oppressive to others, not just minorities, it is still the best country in which to live and raise a family.

I am sorry, but if you disagree with that statement above, then you should move to whatever country it is you feel is better.  Period.

Peaceful protest is fine, but on a stage where you are paid millions per year to entertain, it is, in my humble opinion, totally inappropriate to disrespect the US Flag and the men and women of our military who have kept – and do keep – us free.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement

On Sunday, November 29, Kobe Bryant formally announced his retirement, to take place at the end of the 2015-2016 season.  This was done via a written poem simply titled “Dear Basketball,” published on The Players’ Tribune website.

As the Los Angeles Lakers were playing that evening, all attendees received a letter from their star titled, “When we first met, I was just a kid.”

Kobe Bryant Fan Letter
Image via Twitter/ArashMarkazi (ESPN Staff Writer)

Regardless of anyone’s personal love or hate opinion, future NBA Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant is a bonafide legend.  Many of today’s younger players have looked up to him, as he had looked up to Michael Jordan.

Reaction to his announcement was as it should be.  Following are but a few from the hoops world, which are pretty typical of those found around the web:

“It’s time for u to take it all in… sit back, relax & enjoy all that u have built. Love u lil bro @kobebryant” —  Shaquille O’Neal (@Shaq)

“We have lived incredible moments together on and off the court. Thanks for everything brother! @kobebryant #ThankYouKobe” — Pau Gasol (@paugasol)

“Hard to believe @kobebryant is finally going to hang it up. One of the NBA’s great champions. Enjoy the rest of this season my friend.” — Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen)

“Cherished every second out there with you @kobebryant !” — Paul George (@Yg_Trece)

“You loved the game @kobebryant and the game loved you back! Proud to know you and honored to have represented the #PurpleandGold together!” — Rick Fox (@RickFox)

Kobe Bryant quote
Image via Facebook/LA Lakers

Following three injury-plagued years, The Black Mamba’s numbers this season are definitely off from his 25+ point career average.  But, there is no denying that there are very few players who have amassed the scope of accomplishments he has been able to achieve over his years with the Lakers.  Following are a few of the more significant highlights of his storied career:

* 20 years with the same team (NBA record)
* 17-time All Star (16 as a starter)
* All Star MVP Award four times
* Five-time NBA Champion
* NBA Finals MVP twice
* 3rd on the all-time NBA regular season and post-season scoring lists
* NBA scoring leader twice
* Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner

And, in 2006, Bryant set the second highest single-game scoring record by a player with 81 points vs the Toronto Raptors.  Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors still holds on to the #1 spot with 100 points in a 1962 game against the New York Knicks.

Enjoy you farewell tour, Kobe, as we have enjoyed your play and absolute dedication to the sport.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

LeBron James and Education

Despite anyone else’s personal opinions about the man’s performance and decisions on the basketball court and his balling life and career, I know of no better high-profile role model for youth (and adults) in the sports or entertainment professions than LeBron James.

This multi-award-winning Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was drafted after his unprecedented third selection to the All-USA first team high school hoops squad in 2003.  His pro career began and he won Rookie of the Year, showing the world his dedication to the game.

Two years later he established The LeBron James Family Foundation that initially held a bike-a-thon to raise money for various philanthropic activities.  The Foundation expanded their bike-a-thon to become the Wheels for Education (WFE) program and include an academic piece. The paid and volunteer staff have assisted hundreds of students achieve a better life, especially through the “I Promise” aspect of the program.

Each year, LeBron and his Foundation select third grade students to become members of WFE. They start their year with a two-week technology camp co-sponsored by the Akron After School program and the Foundation.  During the academic year, students receive support, encouragement and whatever intervention is needed.  But it doesn’t end there.  Assistance continues to their high school graduation.

However, he decided that it did not end there.

Earlier this year, LeBron’s Foundation made the announcement that the University of Akron (UA) and he, through the Foundation, would provide scholarships to as many as 2,300 students to the university beginning in 2021.

That is quite a commitment and says much about the man.

In addition, UA established the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education where UA President Scott Scarborough said, “You can come to LeBron’s college and become a teacher, help kids succeed in life.”

As to the man himself and his relationship to the WFE students … here is an example of a message he sends to them, this portion of one is from Sept 29, 2015, titled “On Time”:

“How has school been going? Is everyone arriving to school and class ON TIME? Remember that’s a big part of our PROMISE. Early is on-time, on-time is late, and late is… you don’t want me to find out you’re late!!!

“It’s very important to me that you are setting the right example for my Wheels for Ed kids. They are looking up to you. If you’re doing the right thing, they’ll do the right thing.

“Continue to set the example for your classmates.

“Your friend,

“LeBron”

While I am definitely aware of many who do good works, it would be great to see more athletes and celebrities serve others with undertakings of this size and scope.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NBA All Star Game 2015 – West 163 East 158

And, yet, another scoring record for the NBA All Star Game held at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, Sunday, February 14, 2015, with the West outlasting the East 163-158, for a total of 321 points, beating the 2014 outing of 318 points. The teams combined to make 48 3-pointers, obliterating the previous high of 30, a record which was also set last year.

Eventual All Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook had a hot hand (shooting 16-for-28, 5-for-9 beyond the arc) and his 41 points was just one point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time All Star game scoring mark of 42, set over five decades ago in 1962. Westbrook (Oklahoma City) joins Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors) and Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls), who dropped 40 in 1988, as the only players to ever top the 40-mark during the mid-season classic.

Russell Westbrook
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

It should be noted that Chamberlain set his mark in 37 minutes of play, while Westbrook was in the game for only 25 minutes. The OKC guard did set a record for points scored in a half, with his 27 topping the previous high, 24, accomplished by Glen Rice (Charlotte Hornets) in 1997 and Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) in 2014.

There was another, different, mark achieved Sunday as the Gasol brothers, Pau (Chicago Bulls) and Marc (Memphis Grizzlies), became the first siblings to start in the annual best-of-the-league series. They even faced off for the opening tip, which was won by older brother, Pau, for the East.

LeBron James
Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports

Had the East been able to pull out the victory, the game being tied at 148 with four minutes to play, it is likely Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James might have taken the MVP trophy home, scoring 30 points on 11-for-21 shooting, though only 4-for-12 from long distance, while grabbing five boards and adding seven assists.

In a game that is totally driven by offense, with very little defense being played, the West players shot 65-133 (48.9%), with 25-65 (38.5%) from 3-point-land, and the East was 65-130 (50%), but only 23-68 (33.8%) beyond the arc. Other players who put on a show were James Harden (Houston Rockets) with 29 points (firing 11-for-16 overall, 7-12 from 3-point) with eight boards and eight assists, and Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks) with 21 points, all from long-range, where he was 7-for12.

Reserve West guard Chis Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) had a game high 15 assists while Pau Gasol led both squads with 12 rebounds, beating brother Marc, who was second highest with 10.

Over For Now.

Main Street One