MSL Interview: Bongo Lady and Al Kapone reenact classic Grizzlies-Thunder moments

Al Kapone Bongo

Bongo Lady and Al Kapone reenact classic Grizzlies-Thunder moments with MSL host Kevin Cerrito.

Click here to hear Al Kapone’s new Whoop That Trick Grizz grindhouse version.

 

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

 

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @marcus__hunter.

MSL Podcast: 4.19.14 ‘Playoff Playhouse’


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HOUR 1:

(Segment 1) Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter  talk about the Grizzlies vs. Thunder playoff series.
(Segment 2 )  I Love Memphis’ Holly Whitfield stops by in studio to talk about the newest I Love Memphis Podcast and a controversial list about Memphis.
(Segment 3)  Shenanigans.


HOUR 2 1/2:

(Segment 1)  The girls from Links and Laces  join the guys in studio to preview the golf event on April 25 & 26 in Tunica.
(Segment 2) NBA fan of the year Bongo Lady in studio.
(Segment 3) Bongo Lady and Al Kapone  reenact classic Grizzlies-Thunder moments.
(Segment 4) Memphis Flyer Grizzlies writer Kevin Lipe calls in for his weekly segment to talk everything Grizzlies.
(Segment 5) Hang Up & Listen with every caller getting a entry in the drawing to be on the MSL team at Links & Laces Golf Tour.


Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @marcus__hunter.

 

VIDEO: ‘True Detective’ inspired Grizzlies Playoff Video

Playoff season always inspires creativity from Memphis Grizzlies fans.

Just in time for Game 1 of Grizzlies-Thunder, local film editor and sports fanatic Drew Fleming put together a ‘True Detective’ inspired Grizzlies video.

Watch:

True Grizzlies 2014 Playoff Video from Running Pony on Vimeo.

 

Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.net

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Grizzlies backup point guard Nick Calathes suspended for failed drug test

When Memphis Grizzlies backup point guard Nick Calathes was met by scattered boos midway through the third quarter of a December 11 game against Oklahoma City, among those who rushed to his defense was Mike Conley.

BUSTED --- Grizzlies backup point Nick Calathes played a pivotal role in the team's surge the second half of the season. However, the rookie likely won't be available for the playoffs after the NBA on Friday suspended him for violating the league's anti-drug policy. (Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

BUSTED — Grizzlies backup point Nick Calathes played a pivotal role in the team’s surge the second half of the season. However, the rookie likely won’t be available for the playoffs after the NBA on Friday suspended him for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. (Photos by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

 

“I hated the boos and all that stuff that were geared toward Nick because we all were playing bad,” Conley, the Grizzlies starting point guard, said. “It wasn’t just one person. It was a collective effort. It was like they were looking for someone to blame and that’s not the case. And I’m so happy he got his chance to show people what he can do and to show people those boos weren’t warranted.”

Unfortunately for Calathes, who flourished into an efficient relief man for Conley the second half of the season, he likely won’t be available for the Grizzlies’ latest playoff run.

The NBA on Friday announced that Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

According to various media reports, the drug Calathes had taken is called Tamoxifen. According to a WebMD.com, Tamoxifen is the most commonly used hormone therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. Tamoxifen is often called an “anti-estrogen.”

Attempts to reach Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien Friday night were unsuccessful.

Calathes, 25, has filed a grievance on the ruling and has denied using any performance enhancing drugs, although it is unclear if the former University of Florida standout will be allowed to suit for the No. 7 seed Grizzlies (50-32) when they play the second-seeded Thunder (59-23) in the opening round of the playoffs.

Game 1 of Memphis and OKC’s best-of-7 playoff series is Saturday night at 7:30 CST.

Prior to his suspension, Calathes had witnessed his role increased significantly, in large part because of a January 7 trade in which the Grizzlies sent then-backup point guard Jarryd Bayless to Boston for veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee. Calathes, as result, was installed as Conley’s backup and didn’t disappoint in his new role.

Named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in February, Calathes manufactured the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA during that month and was second among Western Conference rookies in scoring (10.7 ppg) and assists (apg).  Also, he was tied for second in rebounds (3.6 rpg) and was second among NBA rookies in field goal percentage (.495) and steals (1.75 spg).

His considerable progress after the All-Star break was among reasons Conley earlier this week said he was looking for Calathes to have an efficient postseason.

Calathes has filed a grievance on the ruling and has denied using any performance enhancing drugs.

Calathes has filed a grievance on Friday’s ruling by the NBA and has denied using any performance enhancing drugs.

“I think (Calathes’ display) it set us up pretty well, knowing that we’ll be getting a lot of experience from a lot of guys who have been there like Nick Calathes,” Conley told MemphiSport prior to the Grizzlies’ regular season finale against Dallas. “He’s going to play huge minutes for us and we need that kind of experience from him going into the playoffs.”

Conley, the longest-tenured player on Memphis’ roster, also emphasized the importance of the Grizzlies avoiding distractions heading into the postseason.

“It’s very important that we stay locked in and continue doing what we’ve been doing and not worrying about what the media is saying and things from the outside,” Conley, said. “We just need to control what we can control on the court.”

However, the news the organization fielded Friday surrounding one of its key reserves is something that could prove detrimental in this, the Grizzlies’ fourth consecutive playoff appearance.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger on Durant for league MVP: ‘I don’t care’

Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger wasn’t in mood to talk about Kevin Durant on Thursday, particularly all the hoopla surrounding what has been an MVP season for the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar.

“I don’t care,” said Joerger, when asked if Durant is the frontrunner for league MVP.

NO R-E-S-P-E-C-T --- Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger on Thursday appeared disinterested in discussing Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant's MVP season. When asked if Durant is the frontrunner for the award, the rookie head coach replied, "I don't care." (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

NO R-E-S-P-E-C-T — Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger on Thursday appeared disinterested in discussing Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant’s MVP season. When asked if Durant is the frontrunner for the award, the rookie head coach replied, “I don’t care.” (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Whether Joerger’s remarks will serve as bulletin board material, of sorts, for Durant, the NBA’s most-talked-about player, remains a mystery. Regardless, when the Grizzlies (50-32) square off against the Thunder (59-23) Saturday night at 7:30 CST in Game 1 of their best-of-7 opening round playoff series in Chesapeake Arena, the Memphis rookie head coach is fully aware Memphis will be facing a team that’s destined to atone for last year’s second-round upset.

Last year, the Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history after knocking off Oklahoma City four games to one. While Durant was as good as advertised in that series — he averaged 28.8 points and 10.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assists through five games — his superb numbers weren’t enough to overpower a deep Grizzlies team, which won four straight after dropping Game 1.

Memphis extended its season, in large part because the Thunder were without All-Star point Russell Westbrook, who missed the remainder of the playoffs after he injured his right knee in Game 2 of OKC’s opening-round playoffs series against the Houston Rockets. Westbrook injured his knee after he collided with Rockets guard Patrick Beverly while attempting a steal.

When the teams meet Saturday in what figures to be an intense, rugged postseason matchup for a third consecutive year, OKC will have Westbrook back in the fold. That, according to Joerger, will provide the second-seeded Thunder with something they missed in last year’s series — another efficient scorer to complement what has been arguably the best year in Durant’s six professional seasons.

“Oh, they’re much better (with Westbrook in the lineup), a much more potent team,” Joerger said. “They’re switching a lot of stuff defensively and they’re very athletic and their defense has gotten better and better.”

Still, despite all of the Durant-for-MVP discussions in recent months, Joerger elected to assume the hands-off approach when given the chance to assess the season of the league’s most explosive player. Durant emerged as the leading candidate to dethrone Miami’s LeBron James of back-to-back MVPs when he scored at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games, a streak that came to a halt in an April 8 win at Sacramento.

PURE DOMINANCE ---Durant emerged as the leading candidate to dethrone Miami's LeBron James of back-to-back MVPs when he scored at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games. (Photo by Bill Waugh/Rueters)

PURE DOMINANCE —Durant emerged as the leading candidate to dethrone Miami’s LeBron James of back-to-back MVPs when he scored at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games. (Photo by Bill Waugh/Rueters)

When asked if sense Durant will use the MVP award as motivation, or sorts, heading into this series, Joerger once again said, “I don’t care.”

Even if Durant isn’t using his MVP season as inspiration throughout the postseason, last year’s upset to the Grizzlies will almost certainly fuel the fire of the league’s premiere player.

“He’s not going to use the trophy as motivation,” Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince said. “He’s going to use us beating them last year as motivation. That has nothing to do with the MVP season. I don’t think that has anything to do with it at all. It’s more so, ‘These guys got us last year.’”

Earlier this season, Durant publicly pinned most of blame on himself for how last year’s playoff series against Memphis unfolded.

“Individually, I took a lot from that series and looked at what I could have done differently,” Durant told MemphiSport prior to a December 11 game against the Grizzlies. “But it was a learning experience for us all not having our point guard for that series and having to adjust on the fly.”

THUNDER STORM --- Despite averaging 28.8 points during last year's playoff series against Memphis, Durant and Co. were eliminated in five games. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

THUNDER STORM — Despite averaging 28.8 points during last year’s playoff series against Memphis, Durant and Co. were eliminated in five games. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Now with Westbrook back in the lineup, his presence will restrict the seventh-seeded Grizzlies from placing so much emphasis on Durant, who averages an NBA-best 32 points per game.

“The attention is going to be a lot more tougher with Westbrook being in there this time around, so our job is going to be much harder,” said Prince who, along with shooting guard Tony Allen and reserve swingman James Johnson, will likely be assigned to guard Durant. “The success we had on (Durant) last year, we had so many bodies we could throw at him, so many different things we could do, so many different aspects with Westbrook out.”

Which, of course, will make for an entirely different playoff rematch this time around, especially for a Thunder squad in which its featured player will be christened as the NBA’s No. 1 player in any day now, something about which Prince has paid close attention to.

“I don’t think he’s the frontrunner (for league MVP),” Prince said of Durant. “I think he’s already won it. I mean, they have the second best record in the NBA. He played well throughout the whole year. His basketball awareness went up another level as far as rebounding more, finding other guys, dictating the tempo on the floor.

“Every part of his game went up a notch,” Prince continued. I’m not just talking about putting the ball in the basket. I’m talking about other things on the offensive ends. I think that’s what people wanted to see from him this year and he’s done that. I think Kevin has won it pretty handily this year.”

Regardless of who isn’t in the mood to talk about it.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist

Throwback Thursday: Memphis stars are highlight of WrestleMania XXX

Undertaker loses at WrestleMania XXXAs we reflect back on WrestleMania XXX, the two biggest highlights from the evening came from matches involving former Memphis Wrestling stars.  As I mentioned in “Memphis Showcased at WrestleMania“, there’s a rich history involving former Memphis Wrestling stars.  None greater than what we witness at the thirtieth annual WrestleMania.

This week’s Throwback Thursday takes a look at two athletes who passed through the ranks of Memphis Wrestling on their way to WrestleMania XXX.  Not only did these wrestlers have high-profile matches on the grandest stage of them all, but their matches were the highlights of the evening.  Or possibly one highlight and one low-light – depending on who you cheer for.

Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H to earn a spot in the Main Event for the World Heavyweight Championship.  As most of us predicted, Daniel Bryan was awarded his WrestleMania moment by capturing the Championship in a Triple Threat match in the Main Event.  Not only did the former Memphis Championship Wrestling standout win the title on the biggest night of the year, but he was able to share his road to WrestleMania with his fans in Memphis, TN.

The feel-good story for Memphis stars at WrestleMania ends there.  The next highlight – or low-light – comes as one of the most shocking outcomes in WrestleMania history.  Our MSL crew unanimously picked The Undertaker to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania to become 22-0, a streak that has never and will never be duplicated.  Even former WWE creative writer Andrew Goldstein joined MSL and spoke very strongly about how The Undertaker’s streak would always stay intact.

Brock Lesnar pinned The Undertaker fair and square in the middle of the ring at WrestleMania XXX.  The audience was shocked… complete silence.  It was almost as if something happened that wasn’t scripted or planned.  The Undertaker had been beaten at WrestleMania.  The Streak had come to an end.  The Deadman was now 21-1 at WrestleMania.

Let’s take a look back at The Undertaker’s historic winning streak at WrestleMania.

The Undertaker might not be undefeated at WrestleMania anymore, but 21-1 is certainly an honorable record that will stand the test of time.

Which Memphis Wrestling star will be the next to be featured at the showcase of immortals?  Only the best of the best make it to WrestleMania… and only the greatest performers are immortalized at WrestleMania.

Fun Facts:  The Undertaker has never pinned Brock Lesnar in a one on one battle.  Daniel Bryan lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus at WrestleMania XXVIII in twenty seconds.

Want to see live Memphis Wrestling action?  Friday night, April 18th catch Championship Wrestling action at the Faith Community Life Center in Southaven, MS.  The address to the event is 7340 Greenbrook Parkway.  Dustin Starr with Maria collides with Derrick King.  Also, meet Memphis Wrestling legend “Superstar” Bill Dundee!  Tickets are only $10 for adults & $5 for children (3 & under are FREE).

 

“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at MemphiSport.com.

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

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VIDEO: Do you smell what The Grizz is cooking?

The Rock Grizz

Last night at FedExForum, the Memphis Grizzlies closed out their season with a big victory over the Dallas Mavericks.  Not only did they claim their 50th win on the season, but it gives much-needed momentum heading into the NBA Playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Grizz was on hand to send a message of his own:  JUST BRING IT.

Impersonating The Rock, Grizz arrived on court to hoist the World Heavyweight Championship high in the air.  Take a look as The People’s Grizz makes his grand entrance.

In the last few weeks, Grizz has been searching for his perfect entrance.  He has impersonated Hulk HoganUltimate WarriorStone Cold Steve Austin“Macho Man” Randy Savage & now The Rock.  Each of the wrestling superstars mentioned wrestled in Memphis at some point in their careers.

Who should Grizz impersonate in the NBA Playoffs?  Be sure to tweet him your favorites @grizz.

(Photo credit:  Memphis Grizzlies Official Facebook Page)

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

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Grizzlies-Thunder 2014 NBA Playoffs Schedule and TV Times (Updated with local broadcast info)

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The Grizzlies and Thunder will meet in the NBA Playoffs for the 3rd time ever this postseason.

Here is the schedule:

Games 1, 3, 4 and 7 of the best of seven series with the Thunder will be shown on SportSouth, while Games 2, 5 and 6 will be televised by FOX Sports Tennessee.

Game 1:  Sat,  April 19 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC.  8:30 PM CDT tip (ESPN & SportSouth)

Game 2: Mon,  April 21 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC. 7 PM CDT tip (TNT & FOX Sports Tennessee)

Game 3:  Thurs,  April 24 at FedExForum in Memphis. 7 PM CDT tip (TNT & SportSouth)

Game 4:  Sat, April 26 at FedExForum in Memphis. 8:30 PM CDT tip (ESPN & SportSouth)

*Game 5:  Tues, April 29 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC.  TBD, (TBD & FOX Sports Tennessee)

*Game 6 : Thurs, May 1 at FedExForum in Memphis. TBD (TBD & FOX Sports Tennessee)

*Game 7 :  Sat, May 3 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC. TBD (TNT & SportSouth)

* = if necessary

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Zach Randolph on his future with the Grizzlies: ‘I’m dedicated to this team’

Zach Randolph has been in the NBA long enough to realize that with the playoffs comes a flurry of distractions.

Among the potential perplexities the Memphis Grizzlies’ franchise player is facing on this, the last day of regular season, is whether he intends on exercising his player option for next season.

DEVOTED VET --- Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph on Wednesday said he has yet to assess whether he will exercise his player option for next season, but reiterated that he wants to "stay a Grizzly." (Photos by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

DEVOTED VET — Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph on Wednesday said he has yet to assess whether he will exercise his player option for next season, but reiterated that he wants to “stay a Grizzly.” (Photos by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Randolph, 32, who can opt out of his contract at season’s end, is in the third of a four-year, $71 million deal the former Michigan State star signed in April 2011. If Randolph returns to the Grizzlies for a sixth full season, the two-time All-Star would make around $16 million in 2014-15.

Following Wednesday morning’s shoot around as Memphis prepares to face the Dallas Mavericks in a nationally televised game at 7 p.m. CST in FedExForum, Randolph fielded questions about his future with the organization.

“No, I haven’t thought about that,” Randolph told MemphiSport when asked if he has thought about whether he will exercise his player option next year. “I’m still dedicated to this team, all day, every day.”

Selected with the 19th overall pick in 2001 by Portland, the 6-foot-9 Randolph was traded in July 2009 to the Grizzlies for Quentin Richardson and has since been the catalyst of a Grizzlies team that generated its highest winning percentage last year (.063) and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

And, after having blossomed into an All-Star caliber player with the Grizzlies following brief stints with Portland, the New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers, the 13-year-veteran on Wednesday reiterated that he wants to finish his career with the organization.

“I’m a Grizzly,” Randolph, the team’s leading scorer, said. “I want to stay a Grizzly. I haven’t even thought about (next season). I’m worried about the task at hand and that’s winning in these playoffs.”

Tied with Portland for the NBA’s longest winning streak (four games), the Grizzlies solidified a fourth consecutive playoff berth with 97-91 win Monday night at Phoenix.

Just as he’s done in recent years, Randolph, who averages 17.2 points and 10 rebounds per game, has played a pivotal role in Memphis’ surge, particularly after the All-Star break.

Randolph appeared to be in playoff form when he scored a season-high 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting against the Suns, energy Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said his star big man must match if Memphis is to manufacture a deep postseason.

 

GAME CHANGER --- Randolph was a force in Monday's playoff-clinching win for Memphis when he scored a season-high 32 points in a 97-91 win at Phoenix.

GAME CHANGER — Randolph was a force in Monday’s playoff-clinching win for Memphis when he scored a season-high 32 points in a 97-91 win at Phoenix.

“That was a heckuva performance against Phoenix the other night,” Joerger said of Randolph. “He’s been such a problem for teams. You know, you have teams that want to take out of the perimeter, stretch him out, and make him play pick and roll. And with him, whether they’re putting two guys on him of whatever it may be, he’s been aggressive.”

What’s even more astounding, Joerger acknowledged, is how Randolph has steadfastly assumed the business-like approach in a year mired by distractions. In mid-December, for instance, Randolph became the subject of trade rumors in a reported deal that would have sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans for fellow big man Ryan Anderson.

Then after the Suns inquired about Randolph just days before the All-Star break, the Grizzlies reportedly turned down the offer, thus removing Randolph from the trade block.

While Randolph has publicly said he was “hurt” over being rumored to be dealt, Joerger said the Grizzlies managed to play up to their identity during a critical stretch in the season, in large part because Randolph didn’t appear fazed by such talks.

“He’s been professional about it,” Joerger said. “He’s stayed focused. He’s been the consemate teammate. Guys go to him. He’s got a lot of advice, a lot of experience. It’s been more than just what people see on the court.”

Now that Randolph is starting to field questions once again about his future with the playoffs set to start this weekend, he contends his primary focus is the monumental task that awaits the upset-minded Grizzlies.

That is, a first-round date with either the San Antonio Spurs or Oklahoma City Thunder.

“That’s a part of the business man,” Randolph said of the inquiries about his future. “We’ve been through a lot of adversity…injuries, guys going down, missing a lot of games. So that’s a part of the game. You just have to overcome stuff like that, stick together, and keep fighting.”

All day, every day.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Mid-Southerner Barbara Rush supports her daughter’s athletic strides 12 hours away

Longtime educator Barbara Rush is a native Mid-Southerner.

GO GETTER --- Despite suffering a torn ACL her senior season at Lincoln High in Nebraska, Marla Overstreet overcame the mental aspects of her injury and recently earned a spot on Doane College's cheerleading squad. Overstreet's mother, Barbara Rush, is a teacher at Shadow Oaks Elementary in Horn Lake, Miss. (Photos submitted by Marla Overstreet)

GO GETTER — Despite suffering a torn ACL her senior season at Lincoln High in Nebraska, Marla Overstreet overcame the mental aspects of her injury and recently earned a spot on Doane College’s cheerleading squad. Overstreet’s mother, Barbara Rush, is a teacher at Shadow Oaks Elementary in Horn Lake, Miss. (Photos submitted by Marla Overstreet)

Among the things she missed about this area while spending years in Lincoln, Nebraska is the southern hospitality. On the other hand, Rush doesn’t shy away from the fact that she misses the progress her daughter, Mar’Lakuittia Overstreet, has made as a multi-sport athlete at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska.

“I am extremely proud of Marla’s had work and perseverance,” Rush, the cousin of former NFL wide receiver Landon Cox, told MemphiSport. “Her dedication and commitment have truly paid off for her. She strives to achieve both in academics and personal success.”

For the 21-year-old Overstreet, that she recently earned a spot on Doane’s cheerleading squad is among the reasons she has thoroughly embraced college life, let alone weathered the assortment of challenges higher education often creates.

For starters, Overstreet sensed that she would never partake in any form of athletics after she endured what undoubtedly was the most tumultuous encounter for a high school athletic standout.

Starring in both track and field and basketball for Lincoln High, Overstreet seemed well on her way to fulfilling her dream of landing a college athletic scholarship. Unfortunately, her senior year was mired by turmoil when the all-state dual sport athletic suffered a torn ACL during a game.

As Overstreet recalls, it was a devastating occurrence about which essentially changed her life, in large because she was Lincoln’s starting point guard and the catalyst of a team that was projected to make a lengthy postseason run.

The injury occurred when two players inadvertently collided into Overstreet’s knee. Consequently, she made repeated attempts to emerge to her feet and walk on the court on her own power. But to no avail, Overstreet was left grounded as a concerned Lincoln team looked on.

What they feared the most eventually had indeed occurred. Overstreet had in fact blown out her knee and was ruled done for the season. Prior to the freak injury, she hadn’t spent a significant amount of time on the bench in six years.

“The day I found out the news I was in my school trainer and (the team’s trainer) told me I had a phone call,” Overstreet explained. “I went into the office alone with the door shut. My doctor told me that the results came back and I tore my ACL. Hearing that was unreal and I broke down in tears. I decided that my love to play sports was over. I had and continued to have a lot of support.”

MOTHERLY LOVE --- Although she lives approximately 12 hours away in Horn Lake near Memphis, Barbara Rush (left) and her daughter, Marla Overstreet converse virtually daily.

MOTHERLY LOVE — Although she lives approximately 12 hours away in Horn Lake near Memphis, Barbara Rush (left) and her daughter, Marla Overstreet converse virtually daily.

While the rehabilitation progress was somewhat lengthy and brought about a sense of discomfort, Overstreet was appreciate of the strong support from her mother. Rush teaches at Shadow Oaks Elementary in Horn Lake Miss., which is roughly three miles from Memphis.

“My mom has been supportive all of my life,” Overstreet said. “From being at games to running me all over town as I kept myself busy, she also was as she was my transportation to most of the activities. I know regardless I have her support in whatever activity I wanted to get involved in. The hardest thing for me right now is being in Nebraska and my mom 12 hours away.”

Mom and daughter converse every day, whether by phone, text message, or Skype.

“It is great to get phone calls and I look forward to hearing her voice,” Overstreet said. “I feel as if I have gotten super emotional whenever I do see her when she comes to visit. Having parents that truly do care and support you no matter what is one of the biggest blessing in my life.”

Barbara Rush, who relocated back to the Mid-South three years ago, is the cousin of former NFL wide receiver Landon Cox.

Barbara Rush, who relocated back to the Mid-South three years ago, is the cousin of former NFL wide receiver Landon Cox.

Though she attends college in the nation’s heartland and her mom is back in the South, Overstreet said her mother’s continuous support is what inspired to her resume conditioning for athletics. It wasn’t along after doctors cleared her full recovery that she shifted her focus to cheerleading, thanks to a close friend who convinced her to try out for Doane’s squad.

“She asked me the day before and I said, ‘Why not, yes, I will go with you,’” Overstreet explains. “In life, I honestly believe it is important to take those random opportunities because you never know what the end result will be. One thing that worried me was the fact that I had not cheered in three years and here I was trying out for college. I had not jumped but because of my coach at Lincoln High and I had a great foundation. I truly did miss being involved on a team.

“Mentally I prepared myself as to not being afraid to mess up and I knew I would not be perfect,” Overstreet added. “Many of my friends that I spoke to were confident that I would make it. In my mind I believed and didn’t at the same time because I thought college cheerleading was out of the question with my one experience in high school. Being that I was going to try out, the night before I practiced a jump and knew that I was nowhere near the flexibility.”

She didn’t allow her lack of experience deter her from her newfound ambition.

On April 6, Overstreet fielded an email from Doane’s cheerleading coach that featured the official roster. Fortunately for her, her name appeared on it, effectively sealing the comeback of an athletic who, three years prior, sensed she would never perform on a team of any kind again.

Nowadays, Overstreet said she uses her devastating injury as a platform, of sorts, to inspire athletes who have endured a similar injury.

“Don’t take for granted the one body you have,” Overstreet said. “Take care of it because you’re not guaranteed anything. But use your talents that are given to you and take the opportunities that may come along.”

Worthy advice about which brings her mother to smiles, 12 hours away.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.