Memphis barber and beauty salon owner Amy McClellan enjoying the fruits of her labor

AMY3Upon crossing paths with Amy McClellan, amongst the key attributes about which people would discover is that it is relatively easy to tell that she is one who is a go-getter.

A self-motivator.

One who customarily takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships and obstacles.

One who, well, if you take the time to get to know her, she’s destined daily to embrace the abundant life, thus maximize her potential.

By and large, it is a foregone conclusion that McClellan’s reputation is such that according to her, she’s spiritually equipped and empowered daily to “encourage and help shift people to their next level” in life.

Besides, that is what self-motivators do.

That is what go-getters do.

That is how those who are destined daily to savor and possess the abundant life were strategically taught.

That’s McClellan for you, alright.

AMAZING AMY --- Having once gone to college to study social work, McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon. Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

AMAZING AMYHaving once gone to college to study social work, Amy McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon.
Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

All is which is to say that for this native of Cleveland, Mississippi, she and her friends, loved ones, and close acquaintances count her blessed.

Blessed for all the right reasons, mind you.

“My mother and father inspired me to go into business,” McClellan told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview.

To her credit, she did just what her parents had suggested, something about which has benefited her mightily over the  years.

Having once gone to college to study social work, McClellan has steadfastly embraced yet another calling in that she is the longtime owner and chief executive officer of A & R Classic Designs Barber And Beauty Salon.

Housed at 3014 Old Horn Lake Road, located just off Interstate 240 West in South Memphis, A & R specializes largely in spa, beauty and personal care as well as relaxers, haircuts, hair colors, braids, hair extensions, and much more.

SHOW STOPPER --- As if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business. All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

SHOW STOPPERAs if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business.
All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

This business establishment’s prices range from $15 and up for haircuts and a variety of other services and, according to McClellan, it is best that consumers visit her salon for an analysis and consultation so that they might perhaps receive a more accurate price.

While A & R Classic Designs have been in operations at its current location for a little more than three years, McClellan’s career in the cosmetology industry spans more than three decades.

As if her longstanding and well-publicized accomplishments in this ever-so-popular industry aren’t enough, she’s also been the beneficiary of his array of achievements since she delve off into this booming business.

All of which essentially has given her the right and luxury to demonstrate some much-anticipated swag, thus praise and pay home to Almighty God in the process.

That’s McClellan for you, alright.

“I am the classic queen of cuts and colors and styles,” McClellan said in a review on boostasite.com. “I have won several Hair Shows. I am a professional barber and stylist that specialize in the latest cuts and styles, and I am also a healthy hair guru.”

MORE ABOUT AMY MCCLELLAN: http://www.boostasite.com/uploads/AR-Classic-Designs-Ad31568.html

And, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her.

That’s a life coach for you.

Not to mention a go-getter.

BETTER THAN EVER --- And, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her. That’s a life coach for you. Not to mention a go-getter. Not to mention a self-motivator. Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

BETTER THAN EVERAnd, after more than 30 years in this industry, she’s still convinced that her best and brightest days are well ahead of her.
That’s a life coach for you.
Not to mention a go-getter.
Not to mention a self-motivator.
Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

Not to mention a self-motivator.

Not to mention one who takes the high road as it pertains to life’s assortment of challenges and hardships.

“I was making lots of money and owned my own salon at age 19 while my high school classmates were in their first year college,” McClellan said.

Look at her today, still very exemplifying that she’s very much destined daily to embrace the abundant life, thus maximize her potential in the process.

Besides, that is what self-motivators do.

That is what go-getters do.

So take notes.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Can Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies possibly kiss and make up?

AndreDALLAS — So the Memphis Grizzlies are seeking a new head coach after the toxic relationship between former head man Dave Joerger and the front office had become a public embarrassment, a ridiculously public shame in that it has become increasingly evident that Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera and his crew can’t seem to get along with guys whom they employ to coach the team.

As if Joerger’s unceremonious departure last weekend wasn’t enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger’s former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis.

Well, what ta ya know?

WALKING IN MEMPHIS AGAIN? As if former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger's unceremonious departure last weekend wasn't enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger's former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis.

WALKING IN MEMPHIS AGAIN? As if former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger’s unceremonious departure last weekend wasn’t enough to send shock waves throughout the basketball-crazed Bluff City, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace reportedly was seen meeting on Monday with Joerger’s former boss, ex-Grizz coach Lionel Hollins at Humdingers in East Memphis. (Getty Images Photo)

Either Wallace and Hollins were taking advantage of Humdingers’ happy hour or the restaurant’s every Monday after 4 p.m. $4.99 shrimp appetizers, or they were devising ways to appropriately rekindle a once unhealthy relationship that, like the one he had with Joerger, was an ongoing disgrace.

Hollins, to his credit, had a done a masterful job with a once downtrodden Grizz team that was in dire need of a strict, resourceful coach who could get the best out of his players, having led Memphis to a francise-record  56 wins in his final season with the team.

Joerger, to his credit, had done a rather favorable job with an upstart Grizz team that, unfortunately, has underachieved over the past two seasons.

HOLLINS AND GRIZZ GM MEET:  John Martin on Twitter: “Happening right now at Humdingers: Lionel Hollins and Chris Wallace. https://t.co/eLEv8qRUGV”

Still, truth be told, Hollins and Joerger were habitual, arrogant, smart aleck knuckleheads, both of whom also had become a source of frustration and constant turnoffs not just to the Grizzlies front office, but to many of us media members.

Which, in my estimation, makes what took place Monday night at Humdingers a huge head-scratcher, of sorts.

So could it really happen?

Could the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from the excessive verbal sparring and bad mouthing and finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again?

 

MIKE LOVES LIONEL --- Could the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from of the verbal sparring and bad mouthing at finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again? (Getty Images Photo)

MIKE LOVES LIONELCould the Grizzlies and Hollins collectively place their massive egos by the wayside, refrain from of the verbal sparring and bad mouthing at finger pointing at each other and agree to Believe Memphis once again? (Getty Images Photo)

Is the 62-year-old Hollins the right guy at this point to reassume the head coaching duties of a struggling Memphis franchise that looks virtually nothing like the one he guided to the Western Conference Finals three years ago?

Or should the Grizzlies simply go with the proven success that is former Indiana Pacers head man Frank Vogel and dismiss the compelling notion of bringing back Hollins and his customary wishy washy disposition?

Either way, countless Memphians sense the Grizzlies are about to inherit a slam dunk hire amid Joerger’s dismissal.

How ironic that I will soon return to Memphis because of my recent marriage.

Conversely, if the Grizzlies bring back Hollins, here’s hoping their marriage, too, becomes a loving, fruitful one this time around.

Better yet, here’s hoping they can kiss and make up.


Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphis Evangelist Delmelodia Tipton recalls life-changing ‘miracle’ in her book, “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose”

Tip2EDITOR’S NOTE: Evangelist Delmelodia Tipton was inspired to write this epistle in the form of a teaching manual with faith declarations,  prophetic utterances and work study for the empowerment of the household of faith in Christ Jesus.

On Wednesday morning, Delmelodia Tipton went on and on about her passion and fond adoration for ministry.

Without hesitation, she wasted little time getting her vital point across.

“I have a love for people,” Tipton, a longtime licensed and ordained evangelist told news reporter Andre Johnson.

Given her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

Having found her niche and identity in ministry some 12 years ago or, as she tells it, having been rooted in ministry “with my hands to the plow for 12 years,” Tipton also is a rising author, one who recently assembled and released a book that, to her credit, could very well impact hundreds of thousands throughout the modern-day church and the world.

ddHer latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

“Many of us have either been in, entering in, coming out of or in the midst of trials and tribulations in the form of a storm crisis,” Tipton said while explaining the theme and purpose of her book. ‘”In the Midst of the Storm’ was the first message that I preached under the unction of the Spirit of the Living God in March 2006. In 1996, after five years of building a bond and foundation, my husband and I decided it was time to start our family.”

Unfortunately, during the early stages of her pregnancy, Tipton began to encounter an array of physical challenges. Nevertheless, because of her devout faith walk with Almighty God, she sensed that having an abortion was not an option.

hhAs she recalled, in fact, her firstborn was diagnosed with Wolf Hirsh II Syndrome, a rare condition that is characterized by learning difficulties, epilepsy, growth delay and craniofacial digenesis, which customarily happens in one out of every 100,000 individuals.

According to PatientInfo.com, patients also experience a severe general learning disability, severe limitation of comprehension and speech, seizures, ataxic gait, hypotonic, and muscle hypertrophy.

After the death and bury their baby, angry with God, Delmelodia would write letters to God because in her mind she thought God had forsaken her. However, God did not speak or reveal Himself to her in pity, but power and told her to write a book. Eighteen years later it has come to pass; the Holy Spirit spoke the prophetic word through Apostle Larry Pratcher, Jr. and she knew and acted without any hesitations to the voice of the Lord.In writing her first book the Holy Spirit revealed a second book.

“The Mission is to silence the kingdom of darkness in works against believers as believers come into the knowledge, power, obedience, faithful, revelation and wisdom of God in Christ Jesus and to prophetically speak life,” Tipton said.

Evangelist Tipton is the Founder, Host & Producer of AMBASSADORS 4 CHRIST APOSTOLIC BROADCAST MINISTRY, airs every Thursday @1:00PM CST, Comcast Channel 17.

“I had all kind of genetic testing and amniocentesis,” Tipton explained.

All of which ultimately gave way to her harboring mixed emotions, of sorts, pertaining to her faith.

During the time as a salon business owner and cosmetologist,” Tipton said. “I worked half of a year, lost client, income, clients and during the same season husband job was closing its doors to relocate. We had all kinds of neonatal facts and genetic expertise given to us. In spite of all that was told to us we prayed and believed God was going to bring in through and restore his health. After he was born which was a miracle, because the circumstances said the opposite; however, we were hopeful. 

“Things turned for the worst after some days after arrived home,” continued Tipton, alluding to after she had given birth to her firstborn. “I saw with my very own eyes my baby die. Now men and women handle emotions totally different. I took it extremely to heart, yet torn ripped and emotionally devastated. I almost gave up on God. As a believer in Christ, I was severely put on trial and my faith was tested. God blocked what the devil meant for her destruction; the sucidal thoughts from becoming reality, God blocked the giving up on her life her marriage, her business and all the he had bless her to accomplish thus far. Every door every thought that was meant for evil God blocked it, shut it down and worked it all out for her greater good.”

But God…

ARRAY OF TIPS --- Tipton's latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

ARRAY OF TIPSTipton’s latest project, entitled “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose,” is a 220-page soft cover book that includes a bookmark and CD of her enchanting, thought-provoking, life-enhancing message, one that undoubtedly has changed the overall landscape of her life.

Or as Tipton specifically recalled, “The Lord intervened on my behalf, not because I was and still is saved,” she said, “but because He is faithful to those that will call upon His Name out of a sincere heart. Even though the pain was there, the confusion and emotional breakdown looked like it was taking over. But the Lord prevailed against the gates of hell.”

Today, unlike never before, Tipton thought it necessary to recall — and share — arguably her life’s grandest encounter in her debut book.

On Saturday, she is will host an official book signing from 2:30-6 p.m. at the Panera Bread at 4530 Poplar Avenue (April 30). In addition, T-shirts will be available for purchase as well as the CD that depicts her message with regards to “In the Midst Of The Storm There Is Purpose.”

Tipton’s book can also be purchased online at: www.ambassaduer4christ.net.

By and large, Tipton emphasized that she remains hopeful and prayerful that her book will impact lives not just amongst believers but, above all, those who have yet to make peace with God.

ON FIRE FOR GOD --- Given her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

ON FIRE FOR GODGiven her immense track record, coupled with her steadfast ability to live on the larger side of God, it is abundantly obvious why isn’t hard-pressed for many to recognize just how much of a pillar and asset Tipton is to the Body of Christ.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but The Lord delivers us out of them all,” she said. “Crisis that we face are stages set for the opportunity for Yahweh God to show us His Glory.

“When the storms of life rumble, all types of winds blow and beat against us, whether it’s divorce, health, finances, job, family friendly, children or other turbulences,” added Tipton, who also owns Studio of Styles Salon Spa at 5134 Millbranch Road, Suite 100, in the Whitehaven area. “Know that there is no power, no devil, and no crisis bigger or greater than the power of God, Who is still performing miracles.”

TipIn a nutshell, understand, Tipton reiterated, “I am a miracle and so are you.”

“The Lord often use the suffering and pain…I use to bring out the gold, the purification, the greatness and the purpose within the believers soul,” Tipton continued. “The storm came to usher in the Supernatural development that has been or is still asleep in many believers. He desires to exalt you to greater, but it comes through the fire. Many of us say we know Him, say we trust Him, and many of us even say we love Him, which is good. However, beloved, some things He will allow shaping and shifting the paradigm and thoughts. God wants to get us to the place, a place whereby nothing will shake us, the redeem, off of the true Rock of Salvation. Therefore we just don’t go to church as usual, talk or behave as usual, but we Rise in the Spirit to our birthright position in Christ and Live!  Take the leap of Faith at All cost. The gift of faith which is God in us makes us whole; spirit, mind, heart, soul and body. The renovation is necessary for the infusion of the Kingdom of God to Rise within your soul empowering us to overcome every crisis and every devastation! Faith Abounds! Its the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in my eyes.”

For more information about Delmelodia Tipton, send email to: ambassaduer4christ@gmail.com



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a pastor or minister, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, or model who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson is the former chief adjutant to Elder Andrew Jackson, Sr. of Faith Temple Ministries COGIC in Memphis. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Holy Vision Temple COGIC First Lady Brandy Lee impacting lives through Incredible Eats and Treats Cupcake Dessert Shuttle

WOMAN OF VISION --- A devoted wife, mother, and pillar to the Body of Christ, Lady Brandy Lee of Memphis' Holy Vision Temple COGIC is the founder and owner of Incredible Eats and Treats Cupcake Dessert Shuttle, a mobile refreshment and baked goods business geared largely toward helping the Youth Ministry at Holy Vision. A business on wheels that routinely makes stops throughout greater Memphis and the Mid-South, Incredible Eats And Treats is widely known for making and selling cupcakes, sheet cakes, cake pops arrangements, mini cupcakes, cupcakes candies, and an assortment of other goodies to satisfy your one’s sweet tooth.

WOMAN OF VISIONA devoted wife, mother, and pillar to the Body of Christ, Lady Brandy Lee of Memphis’ Holy Vision Temple COGIC is the founder and owner of Incredible Eats and Treats Cupcake Dessert Shuttle, a mobile refreshment and baked goods business geared largely toward helping the Youth Ministry at Holy Vision. A business on wheels that routinely makes stops throughout greater Memphis and the Mid-South, Incredible Eats And Treats is widely known for making and selling cupcakes, sheet cakes, cake pops arrangements, mini cupcakes, cupcakes candies, and an assortment of other goodies to satisfy your one’s sweet tooth. (Photos submitted by B. Lee) 

Lady Brandy N. Lee works earnestly in the ministry alongside her husband, Memphis-based Pastor John H. Lee Jr.

The name of their church: Holy Vision Temple Church of God In Christ.

Located at 875 Crockett Place in the heart of Southeast Memphis, how befitting that the word “vision” accompanies the name of a tradition-rich ministry for which this godly, compassionate couple oversee.

Speaking of vision, to Lady Brandy’s credit, she has steadfastly embraced the one by which God has strategically blessed her, one that, well…let’s just say that it has a taste of sweetness attached to it — literally.

A devoted wife, mother, and pillar to the Body of Christ, Lady Brandy is the founder and owner of Incredible Eats and Treats Cupcake Dessert Shuttle, a mobile refreshment and baked goods business geared largely toward helping the Youth Ministry at Holy Vision.

FOLLOW HOLY VISION COGIC ONLINE: http://www.holyvisiontemple.com/

A business on wheels that routinely makes stops throughout greater Memphis and the Mid-South, Incredible Eats And Treats is widely known for making and selling cupcakes, sheet cakes, cake pops arrangements, mini cupcakes, cupcakes candies, and an assortment of other goodies to satisfy your one’s sweet tooth.

“What’s good about Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Shuttle is we deliver to your location for any occasion and event,” Lady Brandy told longtime journalist Andre Johnson on Wednesday. “What I like more about this business is that you can be very creative and design awesome desserts that customers loves to enjoy.”

treatsMore than anything, though, Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Shuttle is committed largely to its mission, which is helping to enhance and enrich the lives of youths.

“This business helps with the youth in our church, and community through the youth ministry at our church, which is the avenue for helping them grow in God and mentorship.”

asGenerally, Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Shuttle’s products are available to churches and other organizations throughout the greater Tri-State area, and all of Lady Brandy’s treats are freshly baked to satisfy consumers.

Er, sweet tooth consumers, that is.

“All ages loves the sweet tastes of the desserts that is freshly baked and enjoyed,” Lady Brandy said.

er5Interesting enough, Lady Brandy, a true multi-tasker to say the least, has been afforded the golden opportunity to tell God’s goodness and spread the gospel and, well, you know, make mentions of Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Shuttle’s products over the radio waves.

Lady Brandy is a local talk show host of a show called “Daughters of Destiny Christian.” The talk show airs on Memphis Comcast 31 on Mondays at 10:30am.

“It’s also reaches, inspires, and has encouragement for the soul,” Lady Brandy explained. “Helping others is what God has sent us here to do, to be a beacon of light to someone else along the way. My personal mission is to grow the business in helping the youth in mentorship and blessing others with the delicious baked desserts of Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Bar Shuttle.

CALLED BY GOD --- Lady Brandy N. Lee works earnestly in the ministry alongside her husband, Memphis-based Pastor John H. Lee Jr. The name of their church: Holy Vision Temple Church of God In Christ.

CALLED BY GODLady Brandy N. Lee works earnestly in the ministry alongside her husband, Memphis-based Pastor John H. Lee Jr.
The name of their church: Holy Vision Temple Church of God In Christ.

“I have been baking for a couple of years, but now it’s really moving forward and growing and we couldn’t be happier,” Lady Brandy added. “I thank God for my family, church, and friends who have been amongst my biggest supporters in this journey and, most of all, God for the love and a heart to help others in love.”

For more information or to place or book orders through Lady Brandy’s Incredible Eats and Treats Dessert Bar Shuttle, call 901 281-7951.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are a pastor or minister, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, or model who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson is the former chief adjutant to Elder Andrew Jackson, Sr. of Faith Temple Ministries COGIC in Memphis. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, call him at 901-690-6587 or send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphis BTW alum Lawrence Thompson, Jr. impacting lives as avid motivational speaker

KING'S CHILD --- Having established himself as a credible, respectable leader for that past 14-plus years and counting --- let alone as a “business or brand for years,” he acknowledges --- Lawrence Thompson is rising Mid-South-based leadership strategist, thought leader, motivational speaker and, most importantly, a respectable pillar to the Body of Christ --- a leader who, given the immense strides he’s made in his young life, it’s safe to assume that because of who he in is Christ, his latter days will be greater than his former days.

KING’S CHILDHaving established himself as a credible, respectable leader for that past 14-plus years and counting — let alone as a “business or brand for years,” he acknowledges — Lawrence Thompson is rising Mid-South-based leadership strategist, thought leader, motivational speaker and, most importantly, a respectable pillar to the Body of Christ — a leader who, given the immense strides he’s made in his young life, it’s safe to assume that because of who he in is Christ, his latter days will be greater than his former days.

Lawrence E. Thompson, Jr. undoubtedly is a proven leader, one who is determined to exercise his faith daily, one who deems it essential to encourage others daily to see from beyond where they are, one, who, at the end of the real day, continues to connect with and embrace and savor the divine purpose for which he was created.

By and large, it is because Thompson’s relentlessly unshakable faith and unyielding pursuit in demonstrating excellence in all of his endeavors that he thought it necessary some time ago to become an asset to his family, his community, his city, even the Body of Christ.

“My personal mission is to show everyone that with leading your life, business, family, and yourself, you can maximize this life God has given us,” Thompson said during a recent interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson.

12970848_1464574220224043_6489095342579530284_oHaving established himself as a credible, respectable leader for that past 14-plus years and counting — let alone as a “business or brand for years,” he acknowledges — Thompson is rising Mid-South-based author, leadership strategist, thought leader, motivational speaker and, most importantly, a respectable pillar to the Body of Christ — a leader who, given the immense strides he’s made in his young life, it’s safe to assume that because of who he in is Christ, his latter days will be greater than his former days.

Look at him today. Not only is Thompson’s reputation such that he is a walking miracle, but his leadership qualities have become so respectable in Memphis and the Mid-South that others with whom he crosses paths lives are subsequently impacted by his.

“I like how what I do transforms live,” Thompson, 35, explained. “I am in the public speaking business, and people are wanting to hear something that will shift their lives into another level, so my joy is that I get the privilege to speak and inspire.”

An active member of the Air National Guard, Thompson is a Memphis Booker T. Washington graduate who, upon earning his high school diploma, was determined not to become a product of his environment.

If nothing else, he’s managed to go to great lengths to pursue educational excellence, thus esteeming others to follow suit — all with God, his Helper, leading the way.

GOD'S ARMY --- An active member of the Air National Guard, Thompson is a Memphis Booker T. Washington graduate who, upon earning his high school diploma, was determined not to become a product of his environment. If nothing else, he’s managed to go to great lengths to pursue educational excellence, thus esteeming others to follow suit --- all with God, his Helper, leading the way.

GOD’S ARMYAn active member of the Air National Guard, Thompson is a Memphis Booker T. Washington graduate who, upon earning his high school diploma, was determined not to become a product of his environment.
If nothing else, he’s managed to go to great lengths to pursue educational excellence, thus esteeming others to follow suit — all with God, his Helper, leading the way.

“My business is to help the person to understand that with leadership you can get out of any situation,” said Thompson, who earned his degree from Memphis’ Victory University. I tell of different leadership strategies that will allow you to understand the hand you have is the best hand.”

What’s especially intriguing is that Thompson has proven to thoroughly passionate about ensuring that youngsters acquire knowledge as it pertains to setting and meeting goals.

“I show how to set goals, how to achieve them, how to lead yourself, lead others, how to move your thoughts toward a mission, how to pull the best out of you and other people while you are in a leadership role, help individuals on how to build their business and brand from a leaders point of view first,” Thompson said. “And lastly, how being a selfish leader is really a selfless leader.”

A former multi-sport athlete (football, baseball, tennis, Track, rifle team, track and field), Thompson’s well-publicized leadership skills have allowed his to put his talents on display in such cities as Kennesaw, Georgia, Memphis, various parts of Tipton County, and as far as Hampton, Virginia.

Look at him today.

Not only is Thompson’s reputation such that he is a proven leader, but his leadership qualities have become so respectable in Memphis that he’s becoming a positive fixture throughout the Bluff City — and beyond.

NATIONAL IMPACT --- A former multi-sport athlete (football, baseball, tennis, Track, rifle team, track and field), Thompson’s well-publicized leadership skills have allowed his to put his talents on display in such cities as Kennesaw, Georgia, Memphis, various parts of Tipton County, and as far as Hampton, Virginia.

NATIONAL IMPACTA former multi-sport athlete (football, baseball, tennis, Track, rifle team, track and field), Thompson’s well-publicized leadership skills have allowed his to put his talents on display in such cities as Kennesaw, Georgia, Memphis, various parts of Tipton County, and as far as Hampton, Virginia.

“I believe that inspiration is the fuel that we need to push beyond our worst enemy and that is (you),” Thompson said. “I believe that if you become inspired about what it is you want to do or what is it you believe is why you are created, there is nothing you cannot get done. In my book, I wrote this is: ‘Opportunity does not happen once, but every time God opens your eyes.’ This simply mean when your eyes open, opportunity is still there waiting for you. So I choose to inspire daily because my heart is to say, ‘God will see you through, and with your faith, there is nothing you can not do.”

Spoken like a proven leader.

One who is determined to exercise his faith daily.

Look at him now.

For more information about Lawrence Thompson, call 901-468-8706 or send Email to: lawrence_thompson8@yahoo.com.



Andre

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Havenview Middle expecting favorable turnout for Health Fair, educator Tika Wilburn says

Upon enrolling at Austin Peay State University back in the early 1990’s, Memphian Tamara “Tika” Wilburn clung to lofty aspirations of majoring in Health.

Now we know why.

12992200_1473639875984144_1157597058_nA corporate America professional who also assumes a role as a Health And Safety Educator, Wilburn is one of the organizers who will conduct a hair fair this weekend at Havenview Middle School.

“I have been getting people to confirm more and more,” said Wilburn, a 1993 graduate of Memphis Whitehaven High and a product of Havenview Middle.

The event, which is called “Work That Body Work That Mind,” is a community-wide health fair that is geared largely toward promoting healthy living.

A free and open to the public event that will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Havenview, located at 1481 Hester Road in Whitehaven, this health fair will offer a variety of entities, most notably pertinent information on health, establishing healthy eating habits, special dieting, as well as vital information on the first line of defense in preventing illnesses and diseases, among others.

Tamara "Tika" Wilburn

Tamara “Tika” Wilburn

In addition, the health fair is an indoor/outdoor event, Wilburn said, and will headlined by a softball game between two area teams that own 3-0 records.

“We look forward to a good number of people from the community to come out and support the teams and hopefully take part in our Health Fair.”

For  more information on the “Work That Body Work That Mind” Health Fair, contact Tamara Wilburn at Havenview Middle at (901)-416-3092 or via email at Wilburnt@scsk12.org.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

The Tony Harris Basketball Academy becoming a West Coast fixture in Los Angeles

TH6Tony Harris earlier this week was asked if he could put a number on how many major Division I colleges extended to him scholarship offers during his playing days at Memphis East High.

“Man…how can I say this without trying to be cocky?” Harris told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Wednesday during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “Just about every major Division I school in the country.”

So what figure did Harris come up with?

“First, I’d have to see how many schools are in each conference,” Harris jokingly said.

By and large, it is because of Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American — from then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams.

THAnd so on and so forth.

“When I came out (of East), the top two point guards (in the country) were me and Baron Davis,” Harris said.

Davis ultimately took his talents to UCLA in Los Angeles, the exact same establishment to where Harris and his wife, Alena Kelley-Harris, moved recently.

That is also where Harris has taken his vision of ensuring that his business venture, the Tony Harris Basketball Academy, is a constant success.

An up-and-coming institution that is a little more than two years removed since its inception, the THBA offers a variety of entities to better help young athletes excel and compete at the highest level.

Who better to run such a business than Harris?

Given his outstanding track record as a basketball player, it’s a foregone conclusion that this widely-regarded #BALLIN4CHRIST personality exemplifies the smarts patience that will catapult youngsters to what he describes as the “next level.”

“The purpose is to develop the youth…not just the youth athletes, but for college and professional athletes to enhance their skills set,” Harris said in revealing the mission for THBA. “The game is also mental. There are so many athletes who play the game who are not mentally tough. You can go to camps and academies all day, but are you mentally strong?”

MEMPHIS HOOPS LEGEND --- By and large, it is because of Memphian Tony Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American --- names such as then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams. And so on and so forth.

MEMPHIS HOOPS LEGENDBy and large, it is because of Tony Harris’ remarkable resume as a product of the hoops-crazed city that is Memphis that essentially prompted a slew of big name college coaches to hasten to his Binghamton residence in hopes of landing the then-Tennessee Mr. Basketball and McDonald’s All-American — names such as then-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson to then-Kansas coach Roy Williams.
And so on and so forth.

ENROLL NOW IN THE TONY HARRIS BASKETBALL ACADEMY: https://www.coachup.com/coaches/tonyh-15

Generally, because a number of athletes often struggle with the mental aspects of sports, Harris believes that is where his notable attributes as a licensed minister will come into play.

In a nutshell, THBA isn’t designed solely to teach young athletes the mental aspects of the game but, more than anything, Harris’ objective is to often encourage them to become good spiritual stewards long after the sport has passed them by.

Just as he had done when he organized his academy in Memphis, Harris said plans are currently in the works to conduct classes for his athletes that would be geared largely toward learning the pros and cons on how to handle and interact with the media. In addition, he plans to erect a chapel, where they could become spiritually enhanced much like NBA players meeting with chaplains prior to their games.

A little more than seven years removed having a earned his degree, Harris starred at point guard for East High from 1994-97 before ultimately signing a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Tennessee.

To his credit, the Vols re-emerged as a national standout, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of Harris’ four seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000.

Following his collegiate stint, Harris played professionally overseas for seven years before returning to the states to coach high school ball and eventually starting his academy, which opened for operation a little more than two years ago and was held at STAR Academy Charter School in Northeast Memphis.

Now that he’s on the West Coast, Harris conducts his sessions at the Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove, Calif.

HUGE ASSIST --- In moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian. “She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

HUGE ASSISTIn moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian.
“She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

MORE ABOUT TONY HARRIS: https://www.coachup.com/curry

Hours of operations are typically from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and Harris said that will change during the summer months.

As usual, THBA offers a variety of entities, most notably teaching youths various fundamentals and mechanics as they prepare for competitive play.

“How my drills are set up, they’re game-like situation drills,” Harris said. “You’ve got a lot of trainers who use cones for skill work. You know, that’s okay and all. But you’ve got to put the athlete in a game-like setting. That’s what separates me from other trainers. It enhances the player IQ. But if you’ve got them drilling through cones, that’s not going to help them.”

In moving his academy to L.A., Harris acknowledges much of his success wouldn’t have been possible if not for the unyielding support of his wife who, like him, is a native Memphian.

“She’s been very instrumental,” Harris said. “She’s been doing all of the work that you don’t physically see in terms of finding clients. She’s been really innovative in enhancing the process.”

Not to mention grasping a feel for how much the athletes progress days or, perhaps, weeks upon enrolling in THBA.

“He takes phone calls from kids’ parents and reach out to college coaches in an attempt to help the kids build a rapport with them,” Alena said. “He’s putting them in front of the recruiters.”

As a result, the results have undoubtedly been favorable, which is to be expected from a former local basketball star, who admittedly still has his boatloads of scholarship letters tucked away back in Memphis.

Nowadays, his primary ambition, his wife said, is to help others’ dream come true.

TH2Notable past clients include former Memphians Nick King, Cory Bradford, and Alex Anderson, all of whom went on play major college basketball.

“When (parents) bring them to the academy, we’re thinking long terms,” Alena said. “The goal in mind is to enhance their fundamentals and turn them into five-star players.”

Much like her husband was nearly two decades ago.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an athlete, entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Nik Jackson’s JBAKARI Clothing spreading the good news, providing swag

One thing about Nik Jackson, he’s surely one who stays true to who he is.

Take, for instance, how the 41-year-old Jackson had gone to great lengths to pursuing a career as a professional truck driver.

jak2Nine years after earning his diploma from Memphis Trezevant High, Jackson enrolled at Tennessee Technology trade school, where he had taken the required courses necessary to landing employment in his selected field.

To his credit, he passed in flying colors, which ultimately gave way to a compelling truck-driving a career that is comprised of job stability and security.

Still, he didn’t stop there.

A TRUE TALENT --- Just like possessing a job to drive trucks, he’s making his presence felt in his latest ambition, a trend that appears to have drawn rave reviews from his grandest of supporters, far and near. Memphis-based business owner Nik Jackson is owner and chief executive officer of JBAKARI Clothing Company, a rising, trendy-savvy, stylish apparel establishment that, in Jackson’s own word, was built “on the word of God inspires you through cotton.”

A TRUE TALENTJust like possessing a job to drive trucks, he’s making his presence felt in his latest ambition, a trend that appears to have drawn rave reviews from his grandest of supporters, far and near.
Memphis-based business owner Nik Jackson is owner and chief executive officer of JBAKARI Clothing Company, a rising, trendy-savvy, stylish apparel establishment that, in Jackson’s own word, was built “on the word of God inspires you through cotton.”

Aside from traveling throughout the country for his employer, Jackson clung to yet another lofty endeavor for which he wanted to pursue.

Just like possessing a job to drive trucks, he’s making his presence felt in his latest ambition, a trend that appears to have drawn rave reviews from his grandest of supporters, far and near.

Jackson is owner and chief executive officer of JBAKARI Clothing Company, a rising, trendy-savvy, stylish apparel establishment that, in Jackson’s own word, was built “on the word of God inspires you through cotton.”

“It gives each piece a sense of royalty,” Jackson said during a recent interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson.

yuThat proverbial “royalty” spark isn’t all JBAKARI Clothing offers consumers, particularly as it pertains to the life-enhancing, compassionate message and mission for which Jackson’s clothing line was established.

JBAKARI Clothing also offers what Jackson describes as pictorial scripture designs that uplifts motivates, encourages, and keeps customers entertained through humor.

jak8In a nutshell, as far as Jackson is concerned, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with spreading the gospel and lifting up Christ with a catchy, comic message applied to it because, regardless of the message, nothing supersedes or surpasses the word of God.

jak“The competitive drive in sports propelled me in my business venture by being focused on one goal at a time,” Jackson, a former “street and backyard basketball” player, said of his reasoning and mission behind his business. “Working hard and making faith moves toward a desired result is what I like most about my business. It is the creativity of the designs and how they bless people when they see them and wear them (is what’s so appealing).”

ON A MISSION --- Nine years after earning his diploma from Memphis Trezevant High, Jackson enrolled at Tennessee Technology trade school, where he had taken the required courses necessary to landing employment in his selected field. To his credit, he passed in flying colors, which ultimately gave way to a compelling truck-driving a career that is comprised of job stability and security. Still, he didn’t stop there.

ON A MISSIONNine years after earning his diploma from Memphis Trezevant High, Jackson enrolled at Tennessee Technology trade school, where he had taken the required courses necessary to landing employment in his selected field.
To his credit, he passed in flying colors, which ultimately gave way to a compelling truck-driving a career that is comprised of job stability and security.
Still, he didn’t stop there.

A compelling, attracting product that resembles that of Polo Sport and Tommy Hilfiger, JBAKARI clothing caters to all races, nationalities, and various cultures of people.

By and large, Jackson said starting his clothing line was inspired largely through the entrepreneurial success of Sean P. Diddy Combs and Ralph Lauren.

Don’t blink now.

SHOP JBAKARI Clothing ONLINE:  jbakariclothing.deco-apparel.com

JBAKARI Clothing is not only steadily evolving as a fashion statement and progressive trend for all, but this rising clothing is making a strong case that it could very well be around for some time.

weAfter all, that’s exactly how Jackson has envisioned it from the outset.

“My personal mission for doing this work is to win souls into the kingdom of heaven,” Jackson explained. “I have been doing this since 2001. I think that it is imperative that I esteem others daily because people need hope and they need to know that Jesus loves them.”

Which, to Jackson’s credit, is why JBAKARI Clothing makes all of the sense in the world.

As he tells it, there’s nothing bad about lifting up Jesus and dressing cool — and with swag — in the process.

Said Jackson: “JBAKARI stands for going forward: Jesus brings-About Kindness And Right Insight. Going backwards: I Receives All Knowledge About Beautiful Jesus.”

Yep. That’s quite typical of Jackson, a rising clothing designer, let alone one who stays true to who he is.

That is a child of the Most High God.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

The Real Hairstylists of Memphis reality TV series creating a buzz in the Bluff City

Keith Turks is a man with a vision.

mEMPHISA man with a lofty, monumental vision.

A man who understands the notion of what it means to persevere and maximize his potential.

A man, who, well, on second thought, perhaps he can tell you better.

“I know how having strong faith and a vision from God will open many doors,” Turks told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview.

To grasp a thorough concept of just why Turks, a native Memphian, deems it necessary to harbor and put on display a spirited temperament as it pertains to achieving success, look no further than the latest project assembled by this rising business professional.

Turks is the executive producer and mastermind behind the reality television series, The Real Hairstylists of Memphis, a new show one-hour show that is scheduled to debut on Comcast channel 31 in May.

tURKS2While a start time for the 12-episode show has yet to be determined, Turks and his six-member cast have essentially created a continuous buzz throughout the Bluff City and various message boards about their much-anticipated reality show, one that could very well catch the attention of renown producers in Hollywood.

Least we forget, Turks, who has previously produced a biopic that lasted three seasons, is a man with a vision, let alone a favorable track record in this ever-so-competitive entertainment industry.

“I was inspired by God first,” said Turks, explaining his inspiration that ultimately gave way to his desire to birth his local reality television series. “In my journey as a stylist, I have met many amazing and talented people all over. I have noticed that the talent that is in Memphis, Tennessee…most of the time, goes unnoticed.”

So much, in fact, that the Memphis Central High graduate thought it essential to do whatever was necessary to launch a compelling project that would ultimately generate positive headlines within the confines of a major U.S. city that in recent months has been mired by crime and a downtrodden economic landscape.

In a nutshell, given the outpour of anticipation, high praise and support for The Real Hairstylists of Memphis, it’s safe to assume Turks is just what the Bluff City needs at this present time.

And so forth.

MAN WITH A PLAN --- Memphis producer Keith Turks, who has previously produced a biopic that lasted three seasons, is a man with a vision, let alone a favorable track record in this ever-so-competitive entertainment industry.

MAN WITH A PLANMemphis producer Keith Turks, who has previously produced a biopic that lasted three seasons, is a man with a vision, let alone a favorable track record in this ever-so-competitive entertainment industry.

“(Memphis) has so many entrepreneurs, small business owners, singers, fashion designers etc.,” Turks said. “But most of the time, the spot light never hits home for us. I had a vision in regards to my business and brand. I also have great businessmen and women as colleagues. I felt that it was time that I put that spotlight in this city.

Did he ever.

Along with the Debbie McClennon, the show’s producer, Turks was not only committed to assembling a cast that were originally from Memphis but, above all, he steadfastly sought to produce a show that would greatly grasp — and retain — the attention of the African-American community.

“I feel that this show will benefit the black community by displaying unity amongst the community,” Turks explained. “It will show that a group of black entrepreneurs are able to come together and give back. Just overall, (this show) makes a difference in a community that has had so many negatives behind it.”

With the birthing of The Real Hairstylists of Memphis, Turks and his cast hope that Memphis’ best days — particularly as it relates to local television entertainment — are ahead of it.

“This show, I feel, will bring a positive look to the community and also the city,” Turks said. “This show will make you, laugh, cry, scream, and sometimes make you angry. But after all of those emotions, you will be able to relate to the people.”

More than anything, Turks acknowledged, The Real Hairstylists of Memphis will especially inspire the younger generation to adopt a vision, thus maximize its potential.

“Reality shows get a bad rep because you see all the back stabbing and craziness,” Turks said. “This show will show that we are people of like minds, striving for goals. And you will see those goals being met.”

As if we expected anything less from the man with a vision.

 



 

THE CAST OF ‘THE REAL HAIRSTYLISTS OF MEMPHIS’

Monica Miller (Memphis)

Atlantis White (Memphis)

Kori Randolph (Memphis)

Charlie Ponder (Memphis)

Shecowa (Wendy) Thompson (Memphis)

Keith Turks (Memphis)

 

 

AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Cameron Payne as good as advertised in his first season with OKC

INVOKING PAYNE --- Oklahoma City Thunder reserve rookie point guard Cameron Payne has played a key role in team's season-best seven-game winning streak. His eight points on 4 of 10 shooting helped propel the Thunder to a 109-106 come-from-behind win Friday night Dallas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

INVOKING PAYNE — Oklahoma City Thunder reserve rookie point guard Cameron Payne has played a key role in team’s season-best seven-game winning streak. His eight points on 4 of 10 shooting helped propel the Thunder to a 109-106 come-from-behind win Friday night Dallas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


 


 

DALLAS — After Cameron Payne’s midrange jumper with 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter had given the Oklahoma City Thunder a 12-point lead and forced the Dallas Mavericks to burn a timeout, among the first individuals to emerge from the bench to meet the rookie was Thunder star Russell Westbrook.

Much to the delight of Payne, Westbrook met him with an emphatic chest bump as if to suggest the reserve point guard had provided the surging Thunder with the spark they desperately needed in extending their undefeated streak to seven games with a 109-106 win Friday night in Dallas’ American Airlines Center.

That Payne has continued what undoubtedly has been a favorable stretch for the native Memphian and former Lausanne Collegiate School star has exceedingly benefited not just him, but an OKC team that is currently third in the ever-so-tough Western Conference.

Just as he has done in recent weeks since Thunder first-year coach Billy Donavan installed Payne as a backup to the veteran Westbrook, the ex-Murray State star appeared rather dauntless, thus demonstrated resiliency during arguably a pivotal stretch in Friday’s game.

Six of his eight points (on 4 of 10 field goals) came after a lethargic first-half in which the Thunder shot an unsatisfactory 45 percent from the field and trailed, 56-48, at intermission.

While in the locker room, Payne admittedly thought it necessary to reflect on why Donovan felt compelled to increase his role on a veteran team that is a legitimate threat to come out of the West.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Payne told MemphiSport following Friday’s game. “I knew going into halftime, I said I need to be more aggressive. And my teammates made it easier for me to get good looks. I just came out more aggressive and, like I said, the defense got us running, got us in the flow of the game. They picked up the pace. Our second unit picked up the pace and then we got easy baskets.”

Westbrook, as it turned out, wasn’t the only All-Star on the roster who was pleased with Payne’s latest outing.

Eight-year veteran Kevin Durant was also brought to smiles when asked to assess the OKC prized rookie’s performance.

“They were huge,” Durant said of Payne’s contributions that essentially helped OKC ease out to the final margin. “They were huge. He was aggressive all night. They trapped him out there at half court. And I told him to take that as a compliment when teams start to trap you because that means you’re doing something well. He’s playing well. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and we’re going to need that from him going down the line.”

While in the locker room at the half Friday, Payne admittedly thought it necessary to reflect on why Donovan felt compelled to increase his role on a veteran team that is a legitimate threat to come out of the West. “I just took what the defense gave me,” Payne told MemphiSport following Friday’s game. “I knew going into halftime, I said I need to be more aggressive."

SHIFTING GEARS — While in the locker room at the half Friday, Payne admittedly thought it necessary to reflect on why Donovan felt compelled to increase his role on a veteran team that is a legitimate threat to come out of the West.
“I just took what the defense gave me,” Payne told MemphiSport following Friday’s game. “I knew going into halftime, I said I need to be more aggressive.”

During his pregame availability session with reporters, Donovan wasted little time praising the continuous stellar play of Payne, who was taken 14th overall by the Thunder in last year’s draft after two remarkable seasons at Murray State.

“I thought it’ll be a good opportunity to see what he can do and he’s really done a good job,” said Donovan, explaining why he named Payne the backup floor facilitator to Westbrook. A lot has been said about our second unit. We’re trying to get a more cohesive unit that plays better together. Cameron has given us a really nice boost coming off the bench.”

As the season progresses, Payne acknowledged his primary objective will remain the same.

That is, he’s destined to learn all he can while he can as he continues to steadfastly heed the advice of Westbrook, one of the league’s premiere point guards.

“He came out on the court and gave me a chest bump,” said Payne, recalling the sequence that took place after he scored his final basket Friday. “You know, that means a lot to me to see Russ do that. I really appreciate stuff like that.”

Given his dazzling play through 29 appearances, it’s safe to assume the Thunder admire the stuff he’s brought to the team in this, his first professional season.

 

AndreAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.