Don't Let the Light Skin Fool You


In the words of Young Jeezy, "My president is black, my Lambo's blue, and I'll be god%*@ned if my rims ain't too."
Okay.
Well.



I don’t have rims to throw on the Lambo‐‐that I don’t have‐‐but the first part of his verse is true. Isn't it? Bring up Barack Obama around most black folks and we're liable to hang you if you aren't speaking in admiration about our 44th President of the United States. I've seen the meme's and most likely you have too ...













We often use Obama to express our excitement with being unapologetically ‘black’.  Which ironically poses the conundrum: What or who is the barometer of ‘blackness’? Is it Kobe Bryant?
Whom, according to Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers, stated that he was driving to the hole
like a ‘light‐skinned dude’? Which then inspired Jordan Clarkson to thoroughly posterize his next opponent the way a “dark‐skinned basketball player would."


Quoting Clarkson via the  LA Daily News:  “All I remember that is Kobe telling me I’m going to the hole like a light‐skinned dude”, Clarkson said. “I have to go to the hole like a dark‐skinned dude. As soon as the lane opened up, that’s all I could remember.”



So that’s what it was? He saw the lane open up and holy sh#%!  Jordan Clarkson went Super Saiyan god mode and became a dark skinned dunker of authority after receiving the wise words of Mr. Jelly Bean Bryant?










What I would like to know, is how did Jordan Clarkson know how to interpret what The Mamba was trying to imply? Jordan Clarkson attended The University of Tulsa and The University of Missouri before forgoing his senior year so I know the brother is educated. I say that because my first thought would have been, "Going to the hole like a light‐skinned dude?


But what  about?








  
Or,





[source: http://nbanewscorner.blogspot.com/2012/01/top-5-dunkers-in-league.html]




I would've been thoroughly confused. However, due to the effects of stereotypes (and the way we give them power) it seems that the message resonated and even worse‐‐‐it had enough effect to inspire an outcome that implied: being darker is being stronger; angrier;  and more aggressive. However, like most stereotypes, they hardly represent an accurate truth. I think these gentlemen would agree.



[source: [http://www.religiousleftlaw.com/2012/05/malcolm-x-and-martin-luther-king-jr-violence-nonviolence.html]


Brothers and Sisters,

We are watching history in the making‐‐before our very own eyes. Stephen Curry leads the band of young Warriors towards what looks to be a second NBA Title after dispensing of the Cleveland Cavaliers last season; and carrying over the success and knowledge they gathered from their finals experience‐‐ causing them to step on the throats of most of their opponents. Every. Single. Game.


They've used all of the doubts and disrespect to fuel their rabid frenetic orchestrated defensive chaos that they unleash on teams‐‐while simultaneously turning that defense into lightening quick streams
of blue, yellow, and black‐‐zipping the ball intricately throughout the hardwood floor often resulting in lopsided wins.


‐They are aggressive
‐They are explosive
‐They are showmen


And they are led by two of the best shooters in NBA history. Both Klay and Steph are arguably the best at their positions and they are almost as light as the screen I am typing these words upon. And at the end of the day, does it really matter?





[source: http://www.rantsports.com/nba/2014/10/07/golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-and-klay-thompson-are-leagues-best-backcourt/]





What we witnessed last year, and what we are witnessing this NBA season, is the evolution of basketball. The Warriors are the Showtime Lakers evolved, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are from the tree of Kobe Bryant in regards to their offensive approach to the game. On January 23, 2015
Klay Thompson's offensive arsenal was on full display scoring 37 points in one quarter, going 13‐for‐13 from the floor including nine three‐pointers which is also an NBA record. His teammate Stephen Curry boasts a most unique scoring trait: the ability to go cold blooded full blown assassin at any given time. Stephen Curry closed out last years NBA season with 286 3‐pointers made (NBA Record); and
this year through the first 50 games, he is ready to surpass his previous record by the halfway season mark. Unimaginable.


However, it took for the Warriors remarkable start of the season in order to gain the respect they currently have today. Visit your favorite basketball websites and within the chat sections you will see admiration, envy, and straight lunacy in regards to the various comments being made about Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and the Warriors special brand of basketball. I have heard everything from "They're destroying the game", to, "Stephen Curry is overrated.". Nevertheless, the Warriors keep winning. The splash brothers keep burning down nets; and they all pull together as brothers who admire and respect each other’s differences and cover for each other’s mistakes. Maybe if we all took a page out of the Warriors’ book, we'd be less afraid of each other’s differences and be able to appreciate each other’s greatness. The way the Warriors have capitalized.
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An Absoloot Inspiration

If you love Hip Hop, R&B or just flat out great music, then you should have Absoloot's songs in your CD case!  When I first heard of "Absoloot" in the music business, I truly was amazed.  I remember thinking to myself "Wow, rap can be great without the cursing, gun blazing, gangster style that I've been used to listening to since I was 12 years old."  Absoloot absolutely nails it when it comes to great lyrics that invoke a positive message to people of all ages but especially to our youngsters growing up in this crazy place we call earth.

Absoloot has been a hit since he first started spitting lyrics years ago because of the message he was looking to promote from within.  He's since got a label with "As I Am Records" partnered up with Pepsi as a sponsor and developed many incredible relationships with other music artists, pro athletes and celebrities.  He is currently working with 99 Jams which is the Hip Hop station down here in South Florida.  Absoloot has been on a mission not only where he resides in South Florida, but all over the world where people can hear his music which speaks words of wisdom and conveys a positive influence to our youth.

One of his main messages has been about Anti-Bullying and not only created a song around that belief but also a comic book of sorts which has professional drawings and illustrations that goes along with the lyrics to the song.  It's called "Keep Dreaming" and will be out shortly.
Absoloot did the same thing with another one of his many hit tracks in "American Soldier."  You can hear all his songs in the link listed below.  This man is one of the few artists who truly means what he says and it's not a negative aspiration.

I've seen it up close and personal as he has recently been performing at high schools around his community with other artists on the "I Am Respect Tour" that is promoted by former NBA star and current spokesman Keyon Dooling.  They aren't doing this for money!  Keyon and Absoloot have teamed up to speak to our kids and deliver a message that can be nothing but positive.  Most people are out there trying to make a buck by any means possible and I don't knock that.  We all have to survive.  However Absoloot has given countless hours of his time to be able to travel from school to school and let these kids know that they don't have to fight, rob, cheat, steal or kill to get what they want out of life.  Keyon speaks at these events and talks about how he was sexual abused as a child.  Did that stop him from playing 12+ years in the NBA?  Nope!  If anything it inspired him!

Absoloot sees and hears about these kind of things all the time and spends his time writing songs about how to improve the lives of our kids.  You don't believe me?!  Well just listen to any of his songs and I challenge you to find the "F" word on any track.  Absoloot doesn't need to rap about getting high, getting gangsta, getting girls or getting jail time.  No, he avoids that through inspirational rhymes.  Not to mention the beats are amazing as well.  You can listen to his music here https://www.reverbnation.com/absoloot for free and join the other 70,000 plus followers he has on Twitter @Absoloot.  I wouldn't write this article if I didn't feel it needed to be written.  The world is a better place because of people like Absoloot and Keyon Dooling.
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"I Am Respect Tour" For Youth Awareness

We see affluent people or those in the spotlight do good, bad and ugly things every day.  It's the nature of life.  Some millionaires or even billionaires can be the most greedy and cheap people you will ever meet.  Maybe that's why they stay rich!  But are they happy?  Do they ever give back to the community and make others feel happy?  You see money can't buy happiness no matter how many 0's and commas your bank account has.  If you have it in your heart to want to help others and speak to our youth to try and ensure our children's future is better than we can ever dream, then that's something money can't buy.

Former NBA player and spokesman around the league, Keyon Dooling doesn't need his bank account to raise awareness for youth and help them grow from young boys and girls to respectable men and women in the future.  That's what the "I Am Respect Tour" is all about.


The mission of the "Respect Foundation" which was founded by Keyon and his wife Natosha in 2012 is"to provide support, resources, and information to help ensure the safety of children regardless of age, race or sex."  The idea behind this heart felt beautiful event was actually sparked by a terrible past.

You see Keyon Dooling was sexually abused as a child.  He is not afraid to speak about his unfortunate past because he believes by doing so he can raise awareness to this subject and any other kind of abuse a child may be under.  Keyon has hosted and spoke at several events regarding this matter.  I have attended them personally and have got to know the former NBA star in recent years and I can tell you that without a doubt, everything he is doing is for the benefit of others.  Keyon didn't have to create a foundation for youth and he certainly doesn't have to tour various cities around the world to make a buck.  He is a true inspiration and that is evident when you meet the man and see that wide smile across his face as he continues to be an ambassador for good will.

Click the link to learn more about this event and others in the future but especially about the book "What's Driving You?" presented by Keyon Dooling and is available on eBook and as a soundtrack.  Don't miss out!  http://shop.whatsdrivingyou.net/
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Chip Fit for Kap Back at Quarterback

San Francisco 49ers fans began to remember the old days when Jim Harbaugh came in to the Bay Area and resurrected this once great franchise back from the depths of the league to Super Bowl contenders.  That era was short lived after 4 years with the former quarterback who helped turn Colin Kaepernick into an NFL superstar.  With Harbaugh gone and a 1 year failed reclamation project in Jim Tomsula, the 49ers went searching for the next coach to try and restore this team back to greatness.  So naturally they hired.....Chip Kelly?

Most pro football personnel and media members had written off Chip Kelly as an NFL head coach and assumed that he and his high powered offense would get an offer from a big time University and become their new head coach.  Yet it appears CEO Jed York and his general manager Trent Baalke see something in coach Kelly and want to give him a shot.  The question is; is Chip a good fit for Kaepernick?

I highly doubt the 49ers will select a quarterback in the first round of the draft coming up in late April despite having the #7 pick overall.  Quite frankly, none of them appear to be worthy of such a high draft pick yet some suspect San Francisco will be looking for a new young quarterback to take the reigns in the Bay.  We have seen so many rookie QB's come into the league and perform at a high level immediately, especially over the past 4 - 5 seasons.  So maybe the Niners go that route.  But they have other holes to fill and we've seen Kaepernick perform at an elite level for a few years.  Yes, he has regressed and that could be due to coaching, personnel changes, a shift in offensive strategy and a variety of other things.  But we have seen him succeed and he's only 28 years old which means he has plenty of time and room for growth.  This seems to be one of the big reasons why the 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

We know Kelly likes to run a fast paced, high tempo, move the ball down the field quickly type of offense.  If you remember when Greg Roman was the O.C. in San Francisco that that's exactly what they did and they did it using the "Pistol" formation which is what Kelly revolves his entire offense around.  It didn't work well with the Philadelphia Eagles because he didn't have a mobile quarterback like Kaepernick who actually poses a threat to run the ball out of the Pistol using the "Read Option."  No defense feared Sam Bradford running the ball so the Eagles were never able to develop a steady rushing attack.  If Carlos Hyde can get healthy and add another RB to spell him and make plays then we can see the 49ers look like they did 2 years ago.

On top of what they have now, the organization has over $40 million to play with in free agency to possibly sign some big time players.  They need help on the offensive line, defensive line and it couldn't hurt to get a top level receiver along with a 3rd down type of back.  They can make good with their first pick by taking a top tier offensive lineman to help out what will be a fast paced, athletic offense that will need to block a bunch of defensive stacked boxes since Kaepernick hasn't proved yet that he can be a successful pocket passer.

But in Chip Kelly's offense, much like when Greg Roman was around, he doesn't have to be a great pocket passer.  It worked before and it can work again!  They will simplify the offense and make it user friendly for Kap and his crew.  Don't be shocked to see Colin Kaepernick return to form in the 2016 season.
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Super Bowl 50: NFL Playoff Predictions

It's playoff time!  We watch 17 weeks of hard hitting, high flying, head smashing football to get from 32 teams to 12 teams in the post season tournament.  The regular season has flown by once again as the final week gave us excitement, nail biting nerves and head scratching moments as we watch our teams make one final push on the field for a playoff spot or post season positioning in hopes of getting home field advantage.  Most fans are disappointed as only 12 teams make the dance and the other 20 NFL teams and their fans prepare for the draft.

The NFL is a tricky league and the only guarantee going into each season is that the New England Patriots will make the playoffs.  This year like any other in this league, was full of surprises including Andrew Luck's absence taking the Colts out of the playoffs for only the third time since Peyton Manning became their QB in 1998.  Kirk Cousins made the Redskins organization look smart for a change as RGIII was benched in favor of the quarterback who was drafted behind the Heisman Trophy winner from 4 years ago.

Sticking with quarterbacks, who would have thought Ryan Fitzpatrick could lead the Jets to the brink of a post season berth?  Andy Dalton was playing at an MVP level until he busted up his thumb on his throwing hand.  Now A.J. McCarron falls under the pressure of getting the Bengals their first playoff victory since 1990.  Big Ben Roethlisberger is in pretty good shape right now and will be the best quarterback playing in the Wild Card Round starting this weekend.  Yes even over Aaron Rodgers who isn't playing his best football.  Quite frankly, his counterpart on Sunday afternoon Kirk Cousins has been playing better than the reigning MVP in Mr. Rodgers.

Alex Smith continues to go under the radar as a solid QB and maintains that "Game Manager" status.  Smith rarely turns over the ball and that will be key in their match up with the Houston Texans who have made the playoffs despite the quarterback carousel under Bill O'Brien.  If Brian Hoyer is healthy then he'll get the start.  If not then it will be Brandon Weeden under center Saturday afternoon in Houston.  Let's just say we shouldn't expect many points scored in this game between Weeden and two stingy defenses.  Take the under!!!

I believe the Seahawks at Vikings could be the best game in the Wild Card Round.  The one thing that can inhibit this from happening takes place even before kickoff and that's the weather.  Temperatures are expected to feel sub zero in Minnesota on Sunday and some players simply don't play as well in freezing temperatures.  In a passing league these teams will likely heavily rely on their stud running backs in Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch who could be back after suffering a week 11 injury to his abdomen.  His back up Thomas Rawls was filling in beautifully until he went down for the remainder of the year due to a fractured ankle  If Lynch can't play then it will be up to Christine Michael.  If you're saying to yourself right now "Who?"Don't worry, you're not alone!

It's prediction time!  The usual suspects are around like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and even Alex Smith but their surrounding talent is suspect as injuries accrued and players who seem to be underachieving.

Honestly the only quarterback in the playoffs right now that is good enough to lead a team to the Super Bowl and has a great supporting cast is Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals.  In my opinion, Arizona has the best all around team from offense, to defense to special teams.  And you can include a former coach of the year in Bruce Arians who may take home that honor again in 2015.  The Cardinals have the #2 seed in the NFC and I believe they are more than capable of traveling to Carolina and beating the 15 - 1 Panthers.  Or maybe not.............

2015 NFL Post Season Picks

AFC: 

Wild Card
#5 Kansas City 31 - #4 Houston Texans 13
#6 Pittsburgh Steelers 23 - #3 Cincinnati Bengals 20

Divisional Round
#5 Kansas City Chiefs 27 - #2 New England Patriots 18
#1 Denver Broncos 24 - #6 Pittsburgh Steelers 21

Conference Championship
#1 Denver Broncos 27 - Kansas City Chiefs 17

NFC:

Wild Card
#6 Seattle Seahawks 23 - #3 Minnesota Vikings 10
#4 Washington Redskins 31 - #5 Green Bay Packers 23

Divisional Round
#6 Seattle Seahawks 31 - #1 Carolina Panthers 28
#2 Arizona Cardinals 38 - #4 Washington Redskins 17

Conference Championship
#2 Arizona Cardinals 25 - #6 Seattle Seahawks 19

Super Bowl
Arizona Cardinals 20 - Denver Broncos 17

The Arizona Cardinals wins their first Super Bowl in franchise history:
MVP  - Larry Fitzgerald (119 yards rec, TD)
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NFL Week 9: Power 32

Power 32 has been my segment of the NFL power rankings during the season.  I feel now is an appropriate time to reveal the first edition of "Power 32" as we have reached the midway point of the 2015 season.  Needless to say at this time every year we have teams we expected to be ranked higher and are surprised at how well some of the underdogs are doing halfway through the season.

If I compared my pre-season rankings to my week 9 power rankings, well let's say it doesn't look the same.  There are the obvious teams you know are going to be at or near the top as long as their quarterback stays healthy.  Then you have teams you thought would be on the rise but but have already risen and could be playoff bound.  Let's see what The Sports Prophet thinks about all 32 organizations up until now:

1. New England Patriots - At the ripe old age of 38, Tom Brady is playing as good as ever.  When Gronk is healthy the Pats are the toughest offense in the league to stop.  This season reminds me of the one after "Spygate" when New England went 18 - 1 and Brady broke all kinds of records.  Seems we have the same thing here after "Deflategate" where The Brady Bunch is out for blood.

2. Cincinnati Bengals - These are regular season rankings, not playoff rankings!  And right now the Bengals are playing great football on both sides of the line of scrimmage.  They've proven they can score a bunch of points on a good defense like when they racked up 36 against Kansas City.  They've proven they can shut down a top offense like the Steelers and have even been able to come back against the reigning two time NFC conference champs in the Seahawks when Cincy scored 17 in the 4th quarter comeback.  Let's see if their fortune turns for the better in 2015 and Andy Dalton can finally come through in a playoff game.

3. Denver Broncos - It's hard for me to put the Broncos at #3 but after what their defense did to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers I simply have no choice.  I never thought a team led by Peyton Manning would be winning despite his poor play in the first half.  It's mind boggling that the Broncos are undefeated but you have to give them credit.  If Peyton can improve, and that's basically all he can do after his horrific start, then Denver can beat anyone, anywhere...

4. Green Bay Packers - Speaking of the devil, just because they got thumped at Mile High last weekend doesn't mean the Packers aren't one of, if not the best team in the NFC.  The defense has played much better than expected and Rodgers is still perhaps the best player in the entire league.  They may not be undefeated anymore but that won't matter if they can grab home field advantage in the post season.

5. Carolina Panthers - Many would argue that Carolina should be ranked ahead of Green Bay.  Not in my opinion.  I give the Panthers great respect for beating Seattle but so did the Packers.  The Panthers defense is the reason why Carolina sits on top the NFC South with a perfect 7 - 0 record.  Oh yea and there's that Cam Newton guy who seems to put the offense on his back every game and has become an MVP candidate in the process.

6. Arizona Cardinals - You may have them ranked a bit higher but I'm not completely sold.  True they have a top 3 defense and an offense that has come alive since Carson Palmer came back.  Nobody was happier about his return than Larry Fitzgerald who has rejuvenated his career as well.  This team has talent all over the place and are a legit contender in the NFC.  They even have great Special Teams play!  Nobody is gonna want to play this team come the post season.

7.  Atlanta Falcons - This team started fast and will need to finish fast with the Panthers holding the lead in the division.  The Falcons at least seem Wild Card bound for the playoffs.  Matt Ryan to Julio Jones may be the best 1 -2 combo in the league.  Now they've added a legit running game with Devante Freeman and a defense that has woken up under the tutelage of new head coach Dan Quinn who masterminded those great Seahawks defenses over the past few years.

8. New York Jets - What?  Yup!  This defense is excellent!  Granted they just went on a west coast trip to Oakland and got crushed but we see that all the time when an east coast team goes west and vice verse.  Not to mention that the Raiders aren't your older brothers Raiders anymore.  Oakland is a legit team but so are the Jets.  Here's the problem though.....what's going to happen at quarterback?  If it's gonna be Geno Smith then I have no doubt that the Jets will be out of the top five by next Tuesday.

9. St. Louis Rams - Whoa look who cracked the top ten!  Letterman would be proud!  Why do I rank this team 9th overall?  Glad you asked!  Maybe you've seen this rookie named Todd Gurley.  They're already giving him the Rookie of the Year award.  However, Amari Cooper may have something to say about that.  Experts are already calling Gurley one of the best RB's in the NFL.  This makes Nick Foles job much easier and be able to get the ball in their other play-makers hands in Tavon Austin who reminds me of Percy Harvin.  We all know the defense can get to the QB and cause turnovers.  They have the old school combination of a tough run game and a solid defense.  That's a pretty sweet formula.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers - Rounding out my top 10 is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They fell short in Big Ben's return vs. the Bengals last Sunday and even worse lost part of their 3 headed monster in LeVeon Bell, who many say is the best running back in the league.  I know DeAngelo Williams is no LeVeon Bell but Williams fit in very nicely in Bell's absence earlier this season.  The Steelers still have a top notch passing game between Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.  Surprisingly the defense is playing better than expected and this team has plenty of experience.  I'm a big fan of Mike Tomlin and I believe he'll rally the troops for a playoff run.

Here's the remaining rankings:

11. Seattle Seahawks
12. New York Giants
13. Oakland Raiders
14. Minnesota Vikings
15. New Orleans Saints
16. Miami Dolphins
17. Buffalo Bills
18. Indianapolis Colts
19. Kansas City Chiefs
20. Philadelphia Eagles
21. Houston Texans
22. Dallas Cowboys
23. San Diego Chargers
24. Baltimore Ravens
25. Tampa Bay Bucs
26. Washington Redskins
27. San Francisco 49ers
28. Cleveland Browns
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Chicago Bears
31. Tennessee Titans
32. Detroit Lions
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Rugby Great Andy Goode Announces Retirement

Andy Goode has just announced his retirement after a plague of injuries has prevented him from continuing his professional rugby career.

Goode, who played for Wasps Rugby Football Club, ends his career with London Irish, having played seventeen tests for the England national team. It was announced in February that Goode would join London Irish at the end of the season on a one year contract, but sadly his spell at the club will end much sooner than expected, commenting, “they have a fantastic Training facility at Hazelwood and I wish them every success in the future under their new coaches and leadership”.

In a statement made by Goode, he said, "I'm really disappointed I can't continue my career at London Irish and I've really enjoyed my short period with them”. The news comes as Goode struggled to recover from persistent injuries, which he sought surgery to correct in the summer, but sadly full recovery was not made. At 35 Goode leaves a great mark on English rugby. Aside from being a professional rugby player, Andy Goode is available for public appearances, and brand opportunities through the London based MN2S, a celebrity talent booking agency. 

Reflecting on his professional career, he said, “I can honestly say I've loved playing for every team and I feel immensely proud to have achieved what I have at each club". In an emotional retirement announcement, he went on to say, “It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce my retirement from rugby, after 17 years of playing the game I love, my mind is willing, my body, after two operations in the summer, unfortunately isn’t. Rugby has been unbelievable to me over my career and I’ve enjoyed some incredible highs and always tried to play, train, talk and live it with a smile on my face.

The first of a veritable plethora of accomplishments is the impressive feat of being the second highest scorer in rugby Premiership history. Goode’s seventeen year career first began with Leicester Tigers, where he made a major contribution to four successive Premiership titles and two European Cup triumphs, amassing 199 appearances between 1998 and 2008.

Goode won seventeen caps with the England national team, making his debut in 2005 in the Six Nations, where he scored against Italy. The former England no.10 appeared again in the 2009 Six Nations, scoring the opening try and sixteen points overall.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, after announcing his retirement, Goode reflected on his career, saying, “To represent England seventeen times is such an honour and something I'll look back on with pride,' said Goode. Winning the Premiership five times, the Heineken Cup twice and the Anglo Welsh Cup, were more than I could ever have wished for”.

As well as being a great rugby professional, Andy Goode is also a dedicated and established celebrity speaker, available for booking at corporate entertainment events or as a guest after dinner speaker. If you are interested in booking Andy, please contact one of MN2S’s experienced talent agents.
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