Throwback Thursday: Classic USWA tag team wrestling

This week, I have a clip that features two WWE trainers, a Superstar, and one of the biggest names in pro wrestling history all in one tag team match.  Looking back 25 years ago, this footage is golden.

“Superstar” Bill Dundee & Steve Keirn vs Steve Austin & Tom Prichard – and if that isn’t good enough for you – the late Tojo Yamamoto is ringside causing trouble.  Enjoy!

Speaking of “Superstar” Bill Dundee – I have one more clip I would like to share on Throwback Thursday.  Only this time, we go back just one week ago to Memphis Wildfire Wrestling‘s RETURN of the BURN.  Maria & I went head to head with Bill Dundee in the main event at Woodland Hills Event Center.  Things got a little out of hand in the end!

Don’t miss Memphis Wildfire Wrestling‘s Memphis in Mayhem at Woodland Hills Event Center on May 28th.  For more details, click here.

Fun Fact:  Steve Keirn and Tom Prichard have both been trainers for World Wrestling Entertainment.  Prichard is a former WWE Tag Team Champion, while Keirn was one half of The Fabulous Ones.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and Cerrito Live. Follow him @DustinStarr.

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Mid-South amateur boxer Mike Davis’ skills drawing comparisons to Floyd Mayweather

DALLAS — Amateur boxer Mike Davis is often referred to as “Iron Mike,” a nickname that was given to him a couple of years ago by his coach, Devonshea Smith.

GREATEST EVER? Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Floyd "Money" Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

GREATEST EVER? Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Although former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is widely known as “Iron Mike” in the professional boxing world, Davis essentially has added a unique distinction to such a familiar label.

Among the reasons is those who have followed Davis closely since he made his debut on the amateur circuit three years ago don’t merely liken his mechanics to Tyson.

Instead, many believe Davis’ immense skills have drawn comparisons to that of Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the undefeated, five-division world champion and world’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound boxer who will square off Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao in a much-anticipated bout in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

He reminds me of Floyd Mayweather with his confidence and drive,” Alicia Davis, Mike Davis’ mother, told MemphiSport during a telephone interview from St. Louis Thursday afternoon.

'IRON MIKE' --- To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight October 2012 and won by unanimous decision. He’s since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them. (Photo submitted by A. Davis)

‘IRON MIKE’ — To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight October 2012 and won by unanimous decision.
He’s since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them. (Photo submitted by A. Davis)

Dubbed the Battle for Greatness or The Fight of the Century, Mayweather, who boasts a 47-0 record with 26 knockouts, will put his unified WBA, WBC, WBO welterweight titles on the line against an upset-minded Pacquiao, whom many media pundits sense is arguably the champion’s toughest foe to date.

A native of Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines and nicknamed, “Pac-Man,” the 36-year-old Pacquiao brings a 57–5–2 record into Saturday’s main event, having won three consecutive bouts.
Thirty-eight of Pacquiao’s wins have come as a result of knockouts.

“Yes sir, I am big on Mayweather because I think he has some skills I want to follow someday,” Mike Davis said.

To his credit, Mike Davis, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, has held his own in such a brief time on the amateur boxing circuit. For starters, this slim, speedy 12-year-old six-grader took part in his first competitive fight in October 2012, winning by unanimous decision. He has since had 31 competitive bouts, having won a majority of them.

“He has a good right hand and slip punches well,” Alicia Davis said. “The sky is the limit because he started at a young age and continues to advance.”

Fortunately for Mike Davis, his skills haven’t gone unnoticed, in large part because the organization for which he fights is sanctioned by USA Boxing.

Mike Davis owns a No. 3 national ranking in the Silver Gloves, 75-pound division in rankings that were released recently by USA Boxing.

BOLD PREDICTION --- As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.  “Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

BOLD PREDICTION — As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.
“Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

Having weighed in at just over 78 pounds, he was upgraded last week to the 80-pound division.

Although a recent weeklong illness prompted his mother to pull him from the upcoming regional bouts in Oklahoma in mid-May so he could concentrate on academics — her son is a member of the Junior National Honor Society — Mike Davis said his primary focus over the next few weeks is to condition regularly, keep his weight down, and gear up for preparing to add to his already congested trophy case.

“For all of my (upcoming) fights, I’m going for the win,” Mike Davis said. “And for Jr. Olympics and Silver Gloves (competition), I’m going for the belt.”

As for whom he thinks will emerge victorious Saturday between Mayweather versus Pacquiao in what many boxing experts believe will the highest grossing fight in history, it is no secret that Mike Davis believes Mayweather will walk out of the ring still armed with an unblemished mark.

“Mayweather I think got more heart than Pacquiao,” Mike Davis said. “He got mad speed. He has the right amount of speed over Pacquiao to win. I think he’ll win by unanimous decision, because sometimes you’ve got to have much power to fight Pacquiao. But I think Mayweather will fight his fight.”

Much like “Iron Mike” has done on the amateur circuit in recent years.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Playing Hurt Podcast: Will The Grizzlies Win the NBA Finals

beleivememphis-113908431-630_0Join Cerrito Live and HardBashin producer CJ Hurt and Sports 56 producer and WUMR Sports DESK host Drew Barrett as they take you on a sports odyssey full of twists, turns, and a good time during  Playing Hurt Podcast.

MemphiSport Live

D. C. area AAU hoops standout Malachi Baker flourishing with solid support of his father

Just recently, Malachi Baker was going on and on about how his keen ability to progress on the basketball court has come to fruition, in large part because of the unyielding contributions of his father, Stephen Baker.

Baker“My dad has been very supportive,” Malachi said. “I often practice with him at home and he always encourages me to do my best. He even watches NBA TV with me every morning to watch the highlights. He buys me NBA collector’s cards every season and he takes me to the Wizards games from time to time to see (All-Star point guard) John Wall.”

Still, among the grandest reasons Malachi has enjoyed success on the amateur basketball circuit in recent years — particularly as a rising AAU standout — is that even for a nine-year-old, he steadfastly takes heed to his father’s pivotal advice.

Especially his occasional constructive criticism, a trend by which this youngster has gone to great lengths to embrace ever since he first began dribbling a basketball at the age of four.

YOUNG ALL-STAR --- Fortunately for Malachi Baker, a young, vibrant, assertive player who has developed a reputation for boasting an assortment of immense basketball smarts, he has managed to flourish in his brief time of playing competitive hoops, most notably in the Washington, D. C. area. For starters, Malachi, a Takoma Park, Maryland native who attends Mattaponni Elementary School, has become a fixture on the AAU circuit in recent years, having traveled to a number of establishments throughout the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions, where he’s had the luxury of putting his skills on display. (Photos submitted by S. Baker)

YOUNG ALL-STAR — Fortunately for Malachi Baker, a young, vibrant, assertive player who has developed a reputation for boasting an assortment of immense basketball smarts, he has managed to flourish in his brief time of playing competitive hoops, most notably in the Washington, D. C. area.
For starters, Malachi, a Takoma Park, Maryland native who attends Mattaponni Elementary School, has become a fixture on the AAU circuit in recent years, having traveled to a number of establishments throughout the East Coast and
Mid-Atlantic regions, where he’s had the luxury of putting his skills on display. (Photos submitted by S. Baker)

“I hate it when he criticizes me sometimes but I know it’s for my own good,” Malachi said. “The best advice that my father and coaches have given me is to keep trying to get better and never quit playing or dreaming.”

Fortunately for Malachi, a young, vibrant, assertive player who has developed a reputation for boasting an assortment of immense basketball smarts, he has managed to flourish in his brief time of playing competitive hoops, most notably in the Washington, D. C. area.

For starters, Malachi, a Takoma Park, Maryland native who attends Mattaponni Elementary School, has become a fixture on the AAU circuit in recent years, having traveled to a number of establishments throughout the East Coast and

Mid-Atlantic regions, where he’s had the luxury of putting his skills on display.

Add to the fact that his father had played such an instrumental role in his life on and off the hardwood, and it’s no wonder it’s safe to assume the sky’s the limit for this up-and-coming youth athlete.

“He first attended a basketball summer camp around this time,” said Stephen Baker, explaining when he first discovered his Malachi’s admiration for basketball. “For the next three years, he would attend various basketball clinics that the rec centers would have. This is the only sport that he plays thus far.”

For Malachi, it is a sport in which this youngster has shown no signs of giving up anytime soon.

As Stephen tells it, his son not only has learned the importance of valuable sportsmanship — a trend by which a number of his peers often struggle with at this age — but he has become knowledgeable of the various mechanics and fundamentals needed to enjoy success as an amateur.

ONE BUSY DAD --- On game days, arguably no one seems as giddy and excited as Stephen Baker who, even while watching his son compete from the stands, he get to witness firsthand a rising young athlete --- who, because of his ability to become teachable --- is destined to become a household name someday. Much like Wall, the Wizards’ prized two-time All-Star point guard.

ONE BUSY DAD — On game days, arguably no one seems as giddy and excited as Stephen Baker who, even while watching his son compete from the stands, he get to witness firsthand a rising young athlete — who, because of his ability to become teachable — is destined to become a household name someday.
Much like Wall, the Wizards’ prized two-time All-Star point guard.

“His rec league coach from this past season was extremely helpful and very encouraging,” Stephen said. “His current AAU coach is very patient and a natural teacher who is tough on discipline which is exactly what Malachi needed.”

On game days, arguably no one seems as giddy and excited as Stephen who, even while watching his son compete from the stands, he get to witness firsthand a rising young athlete — who, because of his ability to become teachable — is destined to become a household name someday.

Much like Wall, the Wizards’ prized two-time All-Star point guard.

“I always tell him to just keep at it and never quit,” said Stephen, when asked what is among the life’s lessons he offers his son. “The easiest thing you can always do is quit. The sky is the limit for him because I believe he has that “IT.” Whatever that “IT” is, he has “IT.”

And because little Malachi is armed with the proverbial “IT” factor, his father deemed it necessary to enlighten the sports world of a sign of things to come.

“In time, the world will be introduced to him to see “IT” for themselves,” Stephen said.

Stay tuned.

Young Malachi is just starting heating up.

 

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphis BTW graduate Monika Jones celebrates her one year ‘DeltaVersary’

MonikaEDITOR’S NOTE: On behalf of NBA Southwest Division Reporter Andre Johnson, the staff of MemphiSport.com extends a hearty, fabulous, colossal, well-deserved one-year DELTAversary salute to Memphis’ own, Monika Jones. Monika4

Without question, the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated landed a tremendously great acquisition when Monika became a lifetime member of this longstanding African American organization, in large part because this Memphis Booker T. Washington and Lane College alum undoubtedly boasts a heart that is bigger than life. Monika2

Monika3Monika, on this day and beyond, clearly, Delta Sigma Theta is a much better sorority because, well, you are now a lifetime member. We salute you and the crimson and cream clad ladies of Delta, most notably the Jackson, Tennessee chapter

— Andre Johnson

 

DreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, friend, loved one, etc., with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

SURPRISE! Happy Birthday to the Kansas Jayhawk alum known as ANNIESHA! From your loving family!

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Anniesha raises the curtain yet another jubilant, festive birthday celebration, the staff of MemphiSport.com pauses to extend a well-deserved salute to this dynamically talented young lady. Of course, we could have done it without the help of her mom and big sister.

Teresa1SALUTE TO ANNIESHA FROM YOUR SIS, TERESA: “Anniesha graduated from high school in 2001, then graduated from University of Kansas in 2006 and then she became a doctor in 2009, graduating from Parker College of Chiropractic. Anniesha is a loving sister an awesome mom and a great wife. She is my favorite person to be around. She always makes me laugh and she is just all around a good person. Teresa9Teresa3

I am so proud of her because from day one, as long as I can remember she’s always said that she was going to be a doctor and that she was going to drive a Toyota Camry. And that was back when Toyota Camrys are ugly cars. Now, Anniesha is a doctor and she drives a Toyota Camry! She has a wonderful family, her children are beautiful fun loving kids, her husband is kind hearted and is a loving father. I’m so proud to call her my sister!

She has done everything that she said she wanted to do and I know that the best is yet to come for her. I am doing this as a way to say thank you for being who you are and for showing me that as long as you have a dream and you go for it and you say focused you will always make it! I love her and I just wanted to do something special for, her something different and out of the ordinary. So I wanted to say happy birthday to the best chiropractor that I know!

Teresa8You take what you do very seriously and you will always stop to make sure that someone is OK and you are very big on healing and making sure that you’re not just healed on the outside but healed on the inside as well. I love you! Happy birthday! I truly believe in your success as you open your new practice and you continue practicing medicine and healing everyone. And I know that you as long as you keep focused and you keep staying true to your dream you’re going to change the world Dr. Anniesha Henderson! I love you sweetheart you’re my favorite younger sister! Happy birthday!”

SALUTE TO ANNIESHA FROM YOUR MOM: “Hi Anniesha this is mom. I just wanted to say happy birthday to an amazing young lady. I’m so very proud of you for all that you have accomplished. It’s a blessing to be here to see you turn 33 years. Where has the time gone. In these 33 years you’ve done some amazing things, including being an amazing doctor. I appreciate how you care about people, love on people and want them to take care of themselves. You even take care of us, your family. You don’t just push us away, but you give us the same quality care you give your patients. Teresa2

Teresa4You take time and talk to us about our health because you want us to be healthy. I’m also proud of how you take care of your own family, your two girls, Eric and Joseph. I’m just excited that God has blessed me to be your Mom. I want you to know that and I love you so very much and am very proud of you. Happy birthday. I hope and pray that is one of the most amazing birthdays you’ve ever had.”

We LOVE You Niesha!! Happy Birthday from all of us!! — Your loving mother and little sister!

 

DreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, friend, loved one, etc., with a unique celebratory tribute that will be designed like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

 

Memphian Monika Jones learns vital life lesson from mother amid sister’s murder

Tina2Monika Jones was asked recently what has been the single, most underlying lesson her mother, Ida Stewart -Jackson, has ever taught her.

For Jones, one familiar, yet life-changing word came to mind.

Forgiveness.

MOM'S IMPACT -- Thirty-one years old at the time, Jones recalls like yesterday how her sister’s untimely, yet shocking death “ripped her mother’s heart out” unlike any other encounter in her life. “No one sends their child to college to be a murdered,” a teary-eyed Jones explained. “I literally saw mother heart ripped from her chest. Her health deteriorated. Her days became painful. It was a struggle just to wake up every day, but yet she praised God and held on to her faith without reservation…more than I can say for myself. We are still grieving to this day. Some days are better than others and this is a pain that will never go away.”

MOM’S IMPACT — Thirty-one years old at the time, Jones recalls like yesterday how her sister’s untimely, yet shocking death “ripped her mother’s heart out” unlike any other encounter in her life.
“No one sends their child to college to be a murdered,” a teary-eyed Jones explained. “I literally saw mother heart ripped from her chest. Her health deteriorated. Her days became painful. It was a struggle just to wake up every day, but yet she praised God and held on to her faith without reservation…more than I can say for myself. We are still grieving to this day. Some days are better than others and this is a pain that will never go away.”

“My mom has shown me the true meaning of perseverance and forgiveness and I use her teaching every day in my professional and personal life to impact the lives of others,” Jones said during a recent interview for MemphiSport’s Second Annual Salute To Mother’s Day Tributes.

To grasp a clear understanding of just how far Jones, a Memphis Booker T. Washington and Lane College graduate has come with regards to forgiveness, look no further than the devastating developments that sent shock waves throughout her family and the sports world some four years ago.

On March 3, 2011, Jones’ sister, Middle Tennessee State basketball standout Tina Stewart — a former Memphis Central High hoops star who was “chasing her dreams” according to her high school, Niki Bray — was found dead with several stab wounds in her apartment near the Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus.

Shanterrica Madden, Stewart’s then-18-year-old roommate, was charged with Stewart’s murder, news that ultimately generated national headlines and gave way to arguably the most horrific moment in Jones’ life.

Thirty-one years old at the time, Jones recalls like yesterday how her sister’s untimely, yet shocking death “ripped her mother’s heart out” unlike any other encounter in her life.

“No one send

MISSING TINA --- On March 3, 2011, Middle Tennessee State basketball standout Tina Stewart --- a former Memphis Central High hoops star who was “chasing her dreams” according to her high school, Niki Bray -- was found dead with several stab wounds in her apartment near the Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus.

MISSING TINA — On March 3, 2011, Middle Tennessee State basketball standout Tina Stewart — a former Memphis Central High hoops star who was “chasing her dreams” according to her high school, Niki Bray — was found dead with several stab wounds in her apartment near the Murfreesboro, Tennessee campus.

s their child to college to be a murdered,” a teary-eyed Jones explained. “I literally saw mother heart ripped from her chest. Her health deteriorated. Her days became painful. It was a struggle just to wake up every day, but yet she praised God and held on to her faith without reservation…more than I can say for myself. We are still grieving to this day. Some days are better than others and this is a pain that will never go away.”

Still, in spite of her family’s shared pain of having to bury its beloved Stewart who, according to many, was destined to make a run at landing in the WNBA ranks, Jones doesn’t shy away from the notion that her sister’s death, coupled with the monumental faith her mother displays daily are what essentially prompted her to establish a close knit relationship with God.

Today, more than ever before, forgiving others who have wronged, betrayed, or mistreated her has become virtually a customary trend, of sorts, for Jones, the mother of three.

“My mother brought me back to Christ even though her heart has a hole so deep it’s inconceivable,” said Jones, a longtime employee for the State of Tennessee.

TinaLike forgiving others, Jones acknowledges that mourning her sister’s brutal death often makes some days tougher to stomach. Conversely, because of her mother’s tireless guidance and her unyielding desire to observe the situation from God’s perspective, she routinely finds the strength to recall and cherish those assortment of fond memories about which she and Stewart established.

“The last card my sister Clantina sent my mother said: “I want you to be strong like you have always taught me,” said Jones, constantly wiping tears from her eyes. “Not knowing that this would be the last message she would receive form her baby girl. I am so blessed to have her as my mother. When I thank God, I thank Him twice for her. I thank him for allowing me to be just like her.”

Especially when it comes to learning the significance of forgiving or, in Jones’ case,  letting go and letting God.

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do,” Jones said. “It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t do. (My mother) is my best friend, my everything and I’m so proud to be just like her. ‘The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my Father God, and I will exalt him.’ Just as my mother has taught me and shown me test and trials, and she is my testimony.”

Jones said as her eyes began to flood with tears.

Once again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether your mother is living or deceased, if you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, etc., with a unique Mother’s Day tribute that will feature an in-depth story like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Southwind’s Maliq Brewster is No. 3 in Senior Class after overcoming brutal obstacles

Wendy Brewster has been married to her husband, Marcus, for 15 years. They have three sons.

MaliqMainWhen it comes to the couple’s middle child, Maliq DeAndre Brewster, his mother often refers to him as “a chubby little guy” who, according to her, has always been “very friendly and active for his size.”

A senior at Memphis Southwind High, 18-year-old Maliq will be faced with what obviously is a good problem, of sorts.

DEFYING ODDS --- Even after undergoing multiple procedures and additional tests, it’s safe to assume that Maliq essentially had taken his illness in stride. In fact, it seemed he had passed such an obstacle in flying colors just like his array of high school assignments How else to explain why this academically-talent, gifted kid today owns a cumulative grade point average of 4.19.

DEFYING ODDS — Even after undergoing multiple procedures and additional tests, it’s safe to assume that Maliq essentially had taken his illness in stride.
In fact, it seemed he had passed such an obstacle in flying colors just like his array of high school assignments
How else to explain why this academically-talent, gifted kid today owns a cumulative grade point average of 4.19.

For starters, Maliq is one of the most decorated students in Southwind’s forthcoming graduating class, considering he will be the No. 3 overall graduate this year.

Add to the fact that he boasts a laundry list of colleges vying to offer him an academic scholarship this fall, and it’s no wonder why things are holding up favorably for one of Memphis’ top high school students for this year’s class.

“There is nothing he can’t do,” Wendy said in assessing her son’s academic success in recent years. “We are very, very excited for him. (Graduation night) will make me cry. He may be No. 3 at Southwind High, but he is one of our number ones.”

To get a thoroughly indication of why Wendy and her family will likely find themselves armed with Kleenex and handkerchiefs on graduating night, look no further than the tumultuous events that recently surrounded their son.

MIRACLE CHILD --- To get a thoroughly indication of why Wendy and her family will likely find themselves armed with Kleenex and handkerchiefs on graduating night, look no further than the tumultuous events that recently surrounded their son.  Approximately eight years ago, Wendy’s mother noticed that Maliq was losing weight at a seemingly swift pace, a sequence that seemed unfamiliar to his loved ones. Consequently, the Brewsters had taken him to a nearby pediatric center for observation. What they discovered shortly thereafter sent shock waves throughout their household. After a scheduled referral by doctors and a couple of performed colonoscopies, it was discovered that Maliq was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

MIRACLE CHILD — To get a thoroughly indication of why Wendy and her family will likely find themselves armed with Kleenex and handkerchiefs on graduating night, look no further than the tumultuous events that recently surrounded their son.
Approximately eight years ago, Wendy’s mother noticed that Maliq was losing weight at a seemingly swift pace, a sequence that seemed unfamiliar to his loved ones. Consequently, the Brewsters had taken him to a nearby pediatric center for observation. What they discovered shortly thereafter sent shock waves throughout their household.
After a scheduled referral by doctors and a couple of performed colonoscopies, it was discovered that Maliq was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Approximately eight years ago, Wendy’s mother noticed that Maliq was losing weight at a seemingly swift pace, a sequence that seemed unfamiliar to his loved ones. Consequently, the Brewsters had taken him to a nearby pediatric center for observation. What they discovered shortly thereafter sent shock waves throughout their household.

After a scheduled referral by doctors and a couple of performed colonoscopies, it was discovered that Maliq was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

For the Brewsters, such news was apparently too difficult to stomach, in large part because they had no prior family history surrounding the disease.

Maliq“The doctor said, ‘You’re the sickest well-looking child I know,’” Wendy explained. “So, for the past couple of years, he was medicated but he had extensive swelling of the legs and losing protein. The next option was surgery.”

Even after undergoing multiple procedures and additional tests, it’s safe to assume that Maliq essentially had taken his illness in stride.

In fact, it seemed he had passed such an obstacle in flying colors just like his array of high school assignments

How else to explain why this academically-talent, gifted kid today owns a cumulative grade point average of 4.19?

“All of this and not missing a day of school,” Wendy said in assessing how her son conquered Crohn’s. “Even after appointments, he wanted to go (to school). He didn’t want to miss any school work.”

Exactly one week before Christmas, though, doctors had planned a surgery for Maliq only to discover he had more Crohn’s infection than the human eye could observe during preliminary tests, a development the Brewsters feared would ultimately give way to additional complications.

Maliq has two brothers, his older brother Raheem-Asad Merriweather, 23, and his younger brother Cameron Brewster, who is 14.

Maliq has two brothers, his older brother Raheem-Asad Merriweather, 23, and his younger brother Cameron Brewster, who is 14.

Consequently, Maliq underwent two blood transfusions, but the surgery had to be stopped because of excessive blood loss. After an approximately 24-hour delay, surgery was resumed and, according to Wendy, “It was a success.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Come graduation night, before Maliq’s name is called to receive his diploma, the Brewster’s middle child will likely recall his life-changing story capped by a dramatic comeback for the ages.

Chances are, there likely won’t be a dry eye in the place, at least among those who are familiar with Maliq’s life-changing story.

“He is our walking and talking miracle,” Wendy said of Maliq.

Now with arguably his life’s grandest occurrence all but a distant memory, Maliq now faces a much-anticipated dilemma, or a good problem, of sorts.

So far, he has narrowed his college choices to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Xavier-Louisiana, and Hampton University.

“I will encourage my peers to not give up and they can do anything they want,” Maliq said. “People will talk about you whether you do good or bad. There will always be criticism, so do what makes you happy. I want to be a male nurse, because I’ve come this far and overcome the adversities that have been set before me. So I believe I can do anything I set my mind to.”

Spoken like one of Memphis’ top high school students for this year’s class.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

After nearly 20-year absence, Shapreta Smith and her mom amend broken relationship

DALLAS — According to God’s manual, when Jesus said to His disciples: “”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” what He generally insinuated is that such a commandment wasn’t only directed toward the 12 who followed Him daily, but rather it is meant for all of humanity to take heed.

For Shapreta Smith, given the close knit bond she has established with her mother, Shirley Brister, in recent years, it’s safe to assume that she has grasped a thorough understanding of this life-enhancing notion.

MomFeaFor a little more than two decades of Smith’s young life, she and mother admittedly did not have what she described as a “close relationship.”

In fact, as this native of Magnolia, Mississippian tells it, communication between her and her mother was virtually nonexistent.

But after years of soul-searching, self-assessing, and evaluating her ties with her mom, Smith ultimately had come to realization that it was time to officially address what undoubtedly was the grandest barricade of her life.

In a nutshell, Smith, who admittedly “was listening to one side of the story from family members and friends but I never heard her (mother’s) side,” sensed she owed it to herself to amend and bring closer to the distance between her and her mother.

BACK WITH MOM --- For a little more than two decades of Shapreta Smith’s young life, she and mother admittedly did not have what she described as a “close relationship.”  In fact, as this native of Mississippian tells it, communication between her and her mother was virtually nonexistent.  But after years of soul-searching, self-assessing, and evaluating her ties with her mom, Smith ultimately had come to realization that it was time to officially address what undoubtedly was the grandest barricade of life.  In a nutshell, Smith, who admittedly “was listening to one side of the story from family members and friends but I never heard her (mother’s) side,” sensed she owed it to herself to amend and bring closer to the distance between her and her mother.

BACK WITH MOM — For a little more than two decades of Shapreta Smith’s young life, she and mother admittedly did not have what she described as a “close relationship.”
In fact, as this native of Mississippian tells it, communication between her and her mother was virtually nonexistent.
But after years of soul-searching, self-assessing, and evaluating her ties with her mom, Smith ultimately had come to realization that it was time to officially address what undoubtedly was the grandest barricade of life.
In a nutshell, Smith, who admittedly “was listening to one side of the story from family members and friends but I never heard her (mother’s) side,” sensed she owed it to herself to amend and bring closer to the distance between her and her mother.

No doubt, she’s delighted she did as she celebrates MemphiSport’s Second Annual Salute To Mother’s Day.

That’s because today, more than ever before, Smith and her mother have put their checkered past where it belongs: behind them.

“After the truth and a clear understanding had been revealed, God gave us the strength to forgive each other and mend what had been broken so many years ago,” Smith said during a recent interview.

Long before Smith and her mother had reestablished their ties, Smith — who currently resides in the Dallas area with her husband, Malcolm Smith — recalled many nights when she dozed off to sleep on what was a pillow drenched in tears.

“Many nights I cried wondering why I had not been chosen to have my real mother by my side,” Smith said. “I wanted what my younger brother and sister had. Over time, I grew a strong resentment towards her and never wanted to be in her presence and the input from family never made that resentment weaken. So many events happened that it is too many to name. When I grew up, I began to see more and more of her in me.”

And because Smith eventually had begun to assume an assortment of her mother’s characteristics, she sensed it was time the woman who gave birth to her 24 years ago ultimately witness those intriguing habits.

Shapreta Smith and husband, Malcolm, currently reside in the Dallas area.

Shapreta Smith and husband, Malcolm, currently reside in the Dallas area.

Up close and in person.

Before it was all too late.

“One day I called after months of not speaking after a previous disagreement and apologized for the misunderstanding,” said Smith, explaining how she had gone about rekindling her relationship with her mother. “She forgave me and I forgave her and we’ve been rocking ever since. So, no, my tribute isn’t about a memory of being tucked in at night, getting boyfriend advice as a teenager, getting punished for sneaking out, or even spending time together growing up. It is about forgiveness.”

A pivotal life concept that, given the close knit bond she has established with her mother in recent years, Smith has come to grasp and apply to her daily living.

That’s because after a little more than two decades, all is well now.

Mom and daughter are exactly where they supposed to be.

Back together again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether your mother is living or deceased, if you would like to pay homage to your mom, grandmother, wife, girlfriend, etc., with a unique Mother’s Day tribute that will feature an in-depth story like this one, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

DreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

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