featured image by Jamie Esquire

 

 

Congratulations to The New England Patriots on their stunning FIFTH Super Bowl win over The Atlanta Falcons!

 

Via New York Times:

When James White sneaked into the end zone from 2 yards away, completing a 34-28 victory (IN OVERTIME) that defied the bounds of credulity and secured the Patriots’ fifth title, his teammates stormed onto the field, flung their helmets and hugged anyone who moved.

Across the field, the Falcons watched from their sideline as if fossilized in amber, too exhausted and dumbstruck to move.

The Patriots trailed by 25 points with 2 minutes 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter — and by 19 with 9:48 left in regulation — and they won.

They won because of Dont’a Hightower’s critical strip-sack and Julian Edelman’s Velcro hands and the clock management and coaching of a maestro, Bill Belichick, but mostly because of a truism that has beleaguered the league’s other 31 teams for 16 years running: the Patriots have Brady, and no one else does, not even the Falcons, who boasted the N.F.L.’s most valuable player in Matt Ryan.

Not including their 3-second possession at the end of regulation, the Patriots, after mustering only a field goal on their first seven drives, scored on their final five possessions.

“At halftime, I would say we weren’t down at all,” Brady said. “We were disappointed in the way we played, and we knew that we could go out and do a lot better in the second half.”  read more here

 

 

The Williams sisters ROCK, and Serena, once again, makes history!

 

Via Associated Press:

 

Serena Williams has won her record 23rd Grand Slam singles title, and her sister was right there on the court to give her a congratulatory hug.

The all-Williams final — the first at the Australian Open since Serena won the first edition of the family rivalry here in 2003 — went to the younger sibling 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday night.

With her record seventh Australian title, the 35-year-old Williams moved ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era. Margaret Court has the all-time record and was also in the crowd for the final at Rod Laver Arena.

Court won 24 majors but collected 13 of those before the Open era which began in 1968 after the sport became professional.

The victory also ensured Serena Williams will regain the top ranking, which she lost in September after 186 straight weeks when Angelique Kerber won the U.S. Open.

It was Serena’s seventh win in nine all-Williams Grand Slam finals and the first since Wimbledon in 2009. It was 36-year-old, No. 13-seeded Venus Williams’ first trip back to a major final in 7 ½ years.

Serena sat on the court, holding both arms up to celebrate before Venus walked over to her sister’s side of the net for a hug.

 

“This was a tough one,” Serena Williams said. “I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person — she’s my inspiration.

“There’s no way I would be at 23 without her — there’s no way I would be at one without her. Thank-you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player I can be and inspiring me to work hard.”

Williams has won 15 majors since last losing to Venus in a Grand Slam final, at Wimbledon in 2008. That was the seventh and last major title that the older of the Williams sisters won.

Venus hadn’t made the second week of a major for a few years as she came to terms with an energy-sapping illness since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, and made her return to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year.

“She’s made an amazing comeback … I don’t like the word comeback,” Serena Williams said. “She’s never left. She’s been such a great champion.”

 

Congrats to both ladies!

 

 

Team owner and Chairman of the Board, Dean Spanos, made the official announcement that the Chargers will relocate from Sand Diego to Los Angeles.

“Turning the page and beginning a new era as the Los Angeles Chargers” is the plan for the organization, despite negative reaction from a lot of Chargers fans and NFL fans alike.

Read official letter below, which is also posted on the team’s website.

 

A letter from Dean Spanos

A photo posted by Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) on

It was 1994 when the world of figure skating, which is usually uncorrelated with drama, was rocked by a scandal that seemed like it was birthed off the pages of a dramatic movie script.

Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding were not only the two most popular figure skaters of that time, they were apparently friends away from the rink. That is, until a widely publicized attack against Nancy Kerrigan took place after a practice session at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her bodyguard Shawn Eckhardt hired someone to break Kerrigan’s right leg so that she would be unable to compete at Lillehammer. When she stepped off the ice after practice and walked behind a nearby curtain into a corridor, her attacker struck her on the knee with a telescopic baton. The injury forced her to withdraw from the national championship.

Here comes the doozy….Tanya Harding won that event.

Since that incident,  both Tanya and Nancy were selected for the 1994 Olympic team. By that time, Kerrigan had fully recovered from her attack.

Chile’, that whole scandal was enough to call Olivia Pope! I had never witnessed so much drama in sports, especially in figure skating! I can recall one moment when Harding boo hooed on the ice during the Olympics, because the laces to her skates “broke”, leaving her to plead with judges to allow her to change them. Meanwhile, Nancy was on the other side of the rink, appearing cool, calm, and collected while practicing her triple axel combination and double toe loops like a G!

 

Nancy fell behind Oksana Baiul by taking the silver medal, but that didn’t stop the world from cheering her on. I think everyone and their mama tuned in to the Olympics that year, JUST to see “The Young & The Restless” on ice!

We were all glued to the television, on edge, hoping Nancy wouldn’t fall, but she delivered so effortlessly! Her entire performance was a huge middle finger for Tanya Harding.

Then there was this….

 

Gillooly accepted a plea bargain in exchange for his testimony against Harding. Gillooly, Eckhardt, the attacker, and the getaway car driver all served time in prison for the attack.

Harding avoided further prosecution and a possible jail sentence by pleading guilty on March 16 to conspiring to hinder prosecution of the attackers.[20] She received three years probation, 500 hours of community service, and a $160,000 fine.

Harding’s involvement in the attack of Nancy Kerrigan led to months of media frenzy and overwhelming news coverage. She also became the laughing stock of every comedic joke on late night television, the subject on every magazine show, and was put on everybody’s shit list.

The last known shenanigans of Tanya Harding included releasing a sex tape and a short-lived boxing career. A return to the ice is unknown.

 

God bless her

 

As a Ravens fan, I’m deeply saddened to see Steve Smith Sr. go.

He’s shocked Ravens fans with his recent announcement to retire, making the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals the last game of his career.

Via Sports Illustrated:

Smith, 37, has played 16 seasons and sits in seventh place on the NFL’s all-time career receiving yards list with 14,697 yards. He has 67 receptions for 765 yards and five touchdowns in 2016.

“I’m about 89 percent sure,” Smith said.

Smith finishes his career having played in five Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls. In 2005, he led the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns and remains the lone wide receiver since 1992 to accomplish the triple crown. Smith is also one of just 14 receivers with more than 1,000 career receptions.

Click here for Smith’s press conference

 

 

 

Former NFL player, Keion Carpenter died Thursday morning in a Florida hospital. The former Buffalo Bills/Atlanta Falcons player was only 39-years-old.

According to Yahoo Sports, Carpenter was vacationing in Florida with family when he took a freak fall while playing with his son.

Via Yahoo Sports:

Carpenter was on vacation with his family in south Florida when he fell while playing with his son. A cousin, Jamila Smith, told the Baltimore Sun, “They were running to the car when (Carpenter) slipped, fell, hit his head and slipped into a coma. It was just a freak accident. He was always healthy; he went to the doctor, ate well and worked out.”

Listed at 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, Carpenter entered the league in 1999 with the Bills as an undrafted rookie out of Virginia Tech. He played three seasons with Buffalo, playing in 37 games, and starting 22 in his second and third seasons with the team. Buffalo traded Carpenter to Atlanta in 2002.

He spent four years with the Falcons, starting 39 of 46 games. Carpenter missed the entire 2004 season due to a torn ACL, but returned the next year to start 15 games. It would be his final NFL season.

In all, Carpenter played 83 games (61 starts), with 14 interceptions, one of them returned for a touchdown, and 198 total tackles.

A Baltimore native, Carpenter was both the quarterback and star safety at Woodlawn High, known for his 4.4-second speed in the 40-yard dash, and was also a standout basketball player.

At Virginia Tech, Carpenter was a special-teams phenom, blocking a school-record six punts, his final one coming in his last game with the team, the 1998 Music City Bowl.

In a statement, former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said of Carpenter, “Cheryl and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Keion Carpenter. Keion was the one of the rocks around which we built our program at Virginia Tech in the 1990s. He was a tenacious punt blocker and a relentless player on defense. More importantly, he had a heart of gold. His work with The Carpenter House and other charitable organizations to help those in need truly embodied the Virginia Tech spirit. Our condolences to Keion’s family on the loss of a great Hokie.”

After retiring from the NFL, Carpenter founded The Carpenter House in Baltimore; according to the foundation’s website, among its goals were “to support the development of healthy homes and environments for low income children to thrive and reach their highest potential for academic success…Our goal is to invest in, build and inspire communities of change.”

One of the programs at The Carpenter House is Shutdown Academy, which combined classroom instruction with football and cheerleading instruction. Carpenter founded Shutdown Academy with Aaron Maybin and Bryant Johnson, two other Baltimore natives who went on to the NFL.

 

Sending prayers to the entire Carpenter family, Keion will be sorely missed.

Award-Winning Actor, Idris Elba, has fulfilled his “lifelong ambition” by competing in professional kickboxing. The handsome actor/DJ from London, England has just won his first match.

“It has been a lifelong ambition of mine to fight professionally. Entering the ring to further test myself as a human being is a challenge I have been looking to take on for quite some time,” the ‘Beast of No Nation’ star tells ‘Deadline’.

Elba’s kickboxing journey will be documented in “Idris Elba: Fight,” a new series on Discovery Networks International, according to Deadline.

The three-part hourlong factual will see Elba undertake the physically and mentally demanding task of training to become a professional kickboxer — ultimately competing against a seasoned brawler in a no-holds-barred bout.

Shot on location in the UK, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and Thailand, Fighter is produced by Shine North and Elba’s company Green Door Pictures. DNI’s factual channels across more than 220 countries will air the series beginning in early 2017, including in the UK and the U.S.

During training, Elba discovers what it really takes to be a professional fighter and will push himself to the limit to overcome pain and fear, master specialized techniques and skills, and ensure both his body and mind are fit. He will receive mentoring from former world champions, trainers and coaches, and travel the world to incorporate unorthodox training methods and regimens to increase his chances for the main event. Elba does have some experience here, having done fitness kickboxing in his 20s.

Madonna posted an Instagram video of Idris’s match with the caption, “Idris Elba Smashes it at York Hall! 👊🏾😂🇬🇧”

 

Idris Elba Smashes it at York Hall! 👊🏾😂🇬🇧

A video posted by Madonna (@madonna) on

The ongoing joke behind Madonna’s caption is the recent rumor that Idris “smashed” Madonna, but Idris put that rumor to rest REAL quick!

 

 

 

Imagine being a chart-topping R&B singer/songwriter, preparing to perform one of the best highlights of your career, when suddenly it all gets snatched away in a matter of minutes.

That’s exactly what happened to Sevyn Streeter minutes before she was supposed to sing the National Anthem at the Philadelphia 76ers game.

Sevyn’s performance was yanked because of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Apparently, the sixers organization wasn’t for Sevyn’s “We Matter” shirt and took “precautionary measures” to avoid controversy.

The star took to the ‘gram to talk about the incident.

 

I was suppose to sing the national anthem at the @sixers and @okcthunder game in #Philly but minutes before @sixers organization said I could not because I was wearing a “We Matter” jersey. WTF!

Sevyn released a statement to The Associated Press, stating she was never given a dress code.

I’d say two minutes before we were about to walk out … the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game.

I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.

 

The sixers organization released a statement about the matter:

The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.

 

The organization has since released a public apology to the star, inviting her back to sing The National Anthem.

sixers

What do you think?

Should Sevyn accept their apology and sing?

 

 

Allen Iverson delivers his speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2016. The accomplished point guard from the Philadelphia 76ers was overcome with emotion, as he shared how his Georgetown University coach, John Thompson, “saved his life”.

After two seasons at Georgetown, Iverson was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1996 NBA draft. Listed at 6 ft tall, Iverson became the shortest first overall pick ever, in a league normally dominated by taller players. He’s an eleven-time NBA All-Star, NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2001, and won the All-Star game MVP award in 2001 and 2005.

Despite reports of personal struggles off the court, Iverson’s contribution to the game was never second-guessed! Iverson played 14 seasons of basketball as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons,  and Memphis Grizzlies. He even played ten games of Turkish basketball before an injury forced him back to the States for surgery.

Once he returned to the States, he never played professionally again.

Iverson announced his retirement in October of 2013. The 76ers organization retired Iverson’s jersey during a special halftime ceremony in March of 2014.

Iverson will not only be remembered for his signature killer crossovers. His tenacious effort on the court and his true love for the game is what solidifies him as one of the greatest players in NBA history. This prestigious honor is deserving, to say the least.

Watch full speech below!

The legendary Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, has executed a “3peat” of Gold medal wins, making it his final Gold medal win of his career[ninth gold medal of his entire career].

Team Jamaica took the gold in the Men’s 4×100 Relay, with Japan taking the silver, and Canada taking the bronze. The controversy surrounding Canada’s win is the team bumping Team USA off the podium, due to a baton error.

Via Time:

Bolt led the Jamaican team to gold in the 4 X 100-m relay in a time of 37.27. The race was tight when Bolt, running the anchor leg, grabbed the baton: the stadium erupted as Bolt exploded ahead of the field to win the third straight gold in the event for the Jamaicans.

Japan ran 37.60 to edge out the favored United States team for silver. The U.S., Jamaica’s longtime rivals in the relay, finished in a time of 37.62. It was enough to win bronze, but the Americans were disqualified after an earlier baton passing error and Canada took their place on the podium.

 

Bolt and friends celebrated their golds and his 30th birthday by gettin’ it in on the dance floor! Press play below!

Black Girl Magic Just keep getting sprinkled everywhere in Rio!

Congratulations to Kristi Castlin, Brianna Rollins, and Nia Ali, for taking all three medals in the 100-meter hurdles final.  The women have made history as part of team USA, executing the first sweep ever in the Olympic high hurdles by women of one nation.

Via Reuters:

Gold medalist Rollins described it a “sisterhood”, while Castlin added very much a 2016 twist in a phrase more often seen on social media with a hashtag in front of it.

“I think that it’s just very good to be a part of this whole black girl magic movement,” she said.

“We actually came into this not as individuals but as a team. We work together, we pray together and that is how we got this job done.

“It feels good to definitely be history-makers, trend-setters, moms, daughters, really just overcoming and just doing a great job and representing our country well.”

Castlin dedicated her bronze medal to victims of gun crime, a cause very close to her heart after her father was murdered in a botched attempt to rob a hotel where he was the manager.

“Losing my father at the age of 12 to gun violence, I’ve overcome so much,” said the 28-year-old. “I want to connect more with young people that have been victims of gun violence.

“I feel, when I was young, I definitely had a lot of good guidance but sometimes I didn’t have someone of my age that I really could talk too.”

Her fellow medalists have also had to deal with major challenges in their early lives – Ali when her father killed himself in a murder-suicide and Rollins when her father was sent to prison.