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.

Stephen Curry isn’t focused on MVP, wants champs to eclipse Bulls’ 72-win mark

SIZZLIN' STEPH ---  In a year in which Curry, the league’s leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of surpassing him as the conjectural favorite for MVP. (Brandon Wade/AP Photos)

SIZZLIN’ STEPHIn a year in which Curry, the league’s leading scorer at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone capable of surpassing him as the conjectural favorite for MVP. (Brandon Wade/AP Photos)

DALLAS — Last year, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry seized the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in rather impressive fashion, having garnered 100 of the 130 first-place votes while compiling 1,198 total points from a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

This year, with the three-time All-Star being dubbed the presumptive front-runner to capture the NBA’s most covenant individual award in consecutive seasons, Curry quickly acknowledged that isn’t his primary focus.

“I’m not worried about that,” Curry, a seven-year veteran, told MemphiSport following Friday’s shoot around session in Dallas’ American Airlines Center. “There’ll come a time where that decision will happen. I go out every night playing as if I want to help my team get wins and do my part of being consistent and efficient as I can be. And that’s my focus.”

In a year in which Curry, the league’s scoring leader at 30.3 points per game, has been nothing short of remarkable in having engineered Golden State to the best start in NBA history when the Warriors reeled off 24 consecutive wins to begin the season, it would be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s capable of surpassing him as the conjectural MVP favorite.

Besides being the league’s top scorer, Curry is second in free throw percentage and third in three-point field goal efficiency, having made 45.7 percent of his shots from long range.

Add to the fact that the high-powered Warriors, who improved to an NBA’s best 63-7 with Monday night’s win at Minnesota — the team that’s responsible for ending their 24-game undefeated streak to start the season — and are on pace to eclipse the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record they amassed during their 1995-96 championship season, and it’s no wonder Curry in all likelihood will continue to field questions as to whether he thinks he’s well on his way to walking away with more MVP hardware.

“Obviously, team success leads to accolades and that’s our mission right now,” said Curry who, last year, led Golden State to its first world championship in 30 years when the Warriors upended the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games of their NBA Finals best-of-7 series.

STAYING FOCUSED --- When asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season regular record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

STAYING FOCUSEDWhen asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season regular record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

As far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry, and then there is everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award.

“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the front-runner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

A little more than a week removed from having clinched the Pacific Division and their fourth consecutive postseason berth, Curry reiterated that individual awards are the least of the Warriors’ concerns, considering they undoubtedly are everyone’s biggest game and have yet to clinch home court advantage throughout the postseason for a second consecutive year.

Golden State leads second-place San Antonio (59-11) by four games in the West with 12 regular season games remaining.

When asked if failing to surpass the Bulls’ historic 72-win plateau serve as motivation heading into the postseason, Curry, who turned 28 March 14, paused briefly then said, “I would hope we have that same motivation either way. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal, and a regular season record, whether we have 73 wins, 69 wins, or 68, it doesn’t bear any difference on how we’re going to do in the playoffs.”

Then without hesitation, Curry offered this notable suggestion:

JUST BEING BLUNT --- As far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry and then everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award. “I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the frontrunner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

JUST BEING BLUNTAs far as this year’s league MVP talks go, Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Friday was quick to say that there is Curry and then everyone else, although he doesn’t believe the former Davidson College star will be the unanimous favorite to win the award.
“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win it with the kind of season he’s had and we’ve had,” said Kerr, when asked if Curry is the frontrunner. “But there are always several great candidates. But it’ll be tough imagining Steph not winning it.”

“But I know we don’t want to be the team that gets the record and doesn’t win (a championship),” Curry said. “That’s what the Bulls did. They finished the job, obviously. Whatever our record is, that’s great. But playoff success is a totally different animal. Your record is zero and zero once you get into that first round.”

When asked, “Deep down inside, do you want to get this record?” Curry paused again then said, “There’s a reason you’re still talking about the 95-96 Bulls team, so yes, that would be a huge accomplishment. I’ve always said we want to do it with the big picture in mind. I think we can accomplish both if we stay true to who we are and not get distracted by playing for the record as opposed to playing for the bigger goal.”

Spoken like a player in postseason form.



 

AndreAndre 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.

Ex-Memphis Central basketball star Danielle Ballard aiming for a new start in WNBA

Despite been dubbed arguably one of the best players in LSU women’s basketball history, Danielle Ballard still senses she has so much to prove.

DYNAMIC DANIELLE --- Just as she has done at the high school and collegiate ranks, former Memphis Central and ex-LSU star Danielle Ballard has been nothing short of impressive, leading Espoo in scoring, averaging 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. The 22-year-old Ballard is now aiming for a roster spot in the WNBA.

DYNAMIC DANIELLEJust as she has done at the high school and collegiate ranks, former Memphis Central and ex-LSU star Danielle Ballard has been nothing short of impressive, leading Espoo of Finland in scoring, averaging 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. The 22-year-old Ballard is now aiming for a roster spot in the WNBA.

“Well the best thing is to be myself and to let (people) know who I really am as a player,” Ballard told MemphiSport earlier this week. “You can tell that I am a good person. People already know that I work hard. But the most important thing is growth and that’s what I want to show people…that I have grown as young lady.”

Ballard is alluding primarily to her somewhat troublesome career at Memphis Central High, coupled with her unceremonious ending to her tenure at LSU.

Last June, LSU coach Nikki Caldwell announced that Ballard, who was first-team All-SEC last year as junior, would not return for her senior season, news that had surfaced after the star point guard was suspended the first 14 games of the 2014-15 season for violating team rules.

Prior to witnessing her collegiate career end prematurely, Ballard was the catalyst of an upstart Lady Tiger team that made consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances.

To her credit, though, she wasted little time making her presence felt at LSU, where she enjoyed a record-setting freshman campaign when she amassed a school-record 100 steals while making 28 starts in 34 appearances.

Although her college career was unceremoniously cut short, the 22-year-old Ballard clung to lofty hopes of playing professionally, having taken her talents overseas, where she currently is the featured player for the Espoo Team in Finland.

Just as she has done at the high school and collegiate ranks, she has been nothing short of impressive, leading Espoo in scoring, averaging 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

FIGHTIN' TIGER --- Prior to witnessing her collegiate career end prematurely, Ballard was the catalyst of an upstart Lady Tiger team that made consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances. (Photo by Crystal LoGiudice/Getty Images)

FIGHTIN’ TIGERPrior to witnessing her collegiate career end prematurely, Ballard was the catalyst of an upstart Lady Tiger team that made consecutive NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearances. (Photo by Crystal LoGiudice/Getty Images)

“What I like about playing overseas is experiencing how it is living on the other side of the world and seeing how others players play the game of basketball,” Ballard said. “I must say they have a different kind of toughness about them, and that’s very interesting because it’s totally different from the U.S. because for them, it’s mostly a hobby. For us, it’s a dream.”

According to Ballard, while her tenure at LSU ended prematurely, she hopes WNBA general managers will take into consideration her overall body of work in helping the Lady Tigers re-emerge as a national standout.

Ballard, who led Memphis Central to the TSSAA Class AAA state championship as a junior, helped propelled LSU to the NCAA Tournament in each of her three seasons at the school.

“Coming into college, I wasn’t excepting to break many records as a freshman and so on,” Ballard said.

Now that she’s facing what appears arguably the greatest challenge of her basketball career, Ballard admittedly has taken ownership of her past off-the-court behavior, but believes she’s worthy of a chance to play on women’s basketball’s grandest stage — the WNBA.

According to her agent of 610 Sports Management, Ballard is scheduled to attend the invitation only ProHoops Cobine April 2 in Indianapolis, where she will be evaluated by WNBA coaches and other staff members before the draft, which will be held later that month.

“We have been in contact with a lot of teams about Danielle over the recent weeks,” said Ballard’s agent, who did not want to be identified. “We have heard about the same thing from them. All of them know she is a special talent. The main question is, ‘How has she matured?’ Our answer on this has been, Se has grown up a lot over the seven months. Being in Finland, she is learning how to be a professional as she is learning it is a business now.

RISING STAR --- Ballard, who led Memphis Central to the TSSAA Class AAA state championship as a junior, helped propelled LSU to the NCAA Tournament in each of her three seasons at the school.

RISING STARBallard, who led Memphis Central to the TSSAA Class AAA state championship as a junior, helped propelled LSU to the NCAA Tournament in each of her three seasons at the school. (Photo courtesy of LSU Athletics)

“Danielle knows she is not fighting for a Pell grant, but for a living now, and I believe (playing overseas) has really helped her mature,” Ballard’s agent added. “We as a company have seen her grow over these seven months just in conversations.”

Still, whether WNBA coaches and GMs will recognize how much Ballard has handled her off-the-court maturation process remains a mystery.
Fortunately for the talented point guard, she’ll be afforded the chance to prove herself in the coming weeks.

Once again.

“My coaches instilled in my mind that nothing is easy,” Ballard said. “Everything is earned.”

Most notably the chance to appear on women’s basketball’s grandest stage.



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.

Martesha Haynes’ SGIA, Inc. has become a beacon of light in Houston, surrounding areas

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT --- A Communications Facilitator in the Deaf Education Resources Department for the Houston Independent School District, Austin, Texas native Martesha Haynes also is the chief executive officer of the Houston-based Social Good In Action Incorporated. A non-profit organization that was established in 2009, Social Good In Action (or SGIA) is an up-and-coming community-based establishment in which its boats the primary vision of being dedicated to connecting with issues within the community, world and various causes that are in need to be noticed more than others.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACTA Communications Facilitator in the Deaf Education Resources Department for the Houston Independent School District, Austin, Texas native Martesha Haynes also is the chief executive officer of the Houston-based Social Good In Action Incorporated.
A non-profit organization that was established in 2009, Social Good In Action (or SGIA) is an up-and-coming community-based establishment in which its boats the primary vision of being dedicated to connecting with issues within the community, world and various causes that are in need to be noticed more than others.

DALLAS — You can practically see it in her eyes.

Make no mistake, upon crossing paths with Martesha C. Haynes for the very first time, amongst the lasting impressions one would grasp is that she undoubtedly is a woman with a vision.

A notable vision.

An exceptional vision.

A life-enhancing, extraordinary vision, one that, given her immeasurable track record as an educational professional, figures to change lives.

One person at a time, regardless of their race, creed, or color.

Tsh5An Austin, Texas native, Haynes is a former prep track and field standout who, to her credit, enjoyed an array of success as an athlete.

Today, unlike never before, the 37-year Haynes is running masterfully in the race called life, partaking in a figurative marathon that is so admirable and so meritorious, that this current Houston resident has become a fixture while functioning comfortably in her distinct element in Texas’ largest city.

YOU GO GIRL! --- SGIA has become popular in recent years, in large part because of its annual fashion shows and community concerts, particularly when the organization aspires to generate funding by way of fundraisings and other charitable events.

YOU GO GIRL!SGIA has become popular in recent years, in large part because of its annual fashion shows and community concerts, particularly when the organization aspires to generate funding by way of fundraisings and other charitable events.

A Communications Facilitator in the Deaf Education Resources Department for the Houston Independent School District, Haynes also is the chief executive officer of the Houston-based Social Good In Action Incorporated.

A non-profit organization that was established in 2009 and is also ran by Haynes’ assistant, Rodney Lagard of Sir Savage Entertainment, Social Good In Action (or SGIA) is an up-and-coming community-based establishment in which its boats the primary vision of being dedicated to connecting with issues within the community, world and various causes that are in need to be noticed more than others. According to its website, SGIA also is geared largely toward assisting children with an assortment of disabilities, most notably autism, as well as members of their families who are coping with such incapacities.

esh7SGIA has become popular in recent years, in large part because of its annual fashion shows and community concerts, particularly when the organization aspires to generate funding by way of fundraisings and other charitable events.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 18th congressional district, for instance, is a devoted affiliate with SGIA, as is renowned and longtime Houstonian Freddie Jackson, Barbara Jordan Endeavors Founder Thelma Scott, and Houston Civil Rights activist Sandra Massie Hines.

Haynes has two daughters: A’lazhia Burrage (19) and A’liciah Burrage (13). 

FOLLOW SGIA ONLINE: www.socialgoodinaction.com.

Nearly seven years removed from its inception, Haynes seems confident that her notable organization will continue demonstrating to be the beacon of light it become in such a short time span.
“What I like most about my organization is that I am able to teach and assist students that are deaf or hearing impaired with learning disabilities,” Haynes told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “Also, we go out into the community and provide food, clothes and hygiene items to men, women and children in shelters.”

According to Haynes, SGIA has evolved, in part, as a community-based ministry, of sorts, in that as God enlightens His children, He doesn’t show favoritism to anyone.

In other words, SGIA has become the loving, admirable beacon of light by which many have described it, in large part because, in essence, Haynes’ organization routinely welcomes the community with open arms.

SPREADING LOVE --- According to Haynes, SGIA has evolved, in part, as a community-based ministry, of sorts, in that as God enlightens His children, He doesn’t show favoritism to anyone. In other words, SGIA has become the loving, admirable beacon of light by which many have described it, in large part because, in essence, Haynes’ organization routinely welcomes the community with open arms.

SPREADING LOVEAccording to Haynes, SGIA has evolved, in part, as a community-based ministry, of sorts, in that as God enlightens His children, He doesn’t show favoritism to anyone.
In other words, SGIA has become the loving, admirable beacon of light by which many have described it, in large part because, in essence, Haynes’ organization routinely welcomes the community with open arms.

Just as her mother, Sheila E. Mims, had steadfastly taught her as a child.

“I thank my mother for making me the strong woman I am today,” Haynes explained. “Now that I look back over my life I know that she was hard on me for a reason. Also, my grandmother — ‘R.I.P. Winnie M. Haynes’ — was always a loving and giving person. As a child growing up, I watched how she was with everyone, always giving and feeding everyone in the neighborhood. My aunts, Natalie Haynes, Diane McNeil, Khisha Johnson, cousins, Asheia Haynes, Da’Sha Haynes. My family is a big inspiration.”

All of which is why as big and as loving Haynes’ heart is, SGIA, too, has emerged as the progressive, thriving organization it has become in the Houston metropolitan area.

Generally, because Haynes is committed daily to esteeming others highly than her, it’s safe to assume that SGIA’s best and brightest days are well ahead of it.

CHASING GREATNESS ---Generally, because Haynes is committed daily to esteeming others highly than her, it’s safe to assume that SGIA’s best and brightest days are well ahead of it.

CHASING GREATNESSGenerally, because Haynes is committed daily to esteeming others highly than her, it’s safe to assume that SGIA’s best and brightest days are well ahead of it.

“People and children in this world go through a lot, and sometimes they need a little encouragement or inspiration to keep pushing forward,” Haynes said with such motivation and optimism.

That, after all, is no secret.

You can practically see it in her eyes.

For more information about Social Good In Action Incorporated, call 832-885-3468, or call its office at 1-801-657-3433. Also, send e-mail: socialgoodinaction@live.com, or send a personal e-mail to Martesha C. Haynes at mburrage2@hotmail.com.

 

 

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.

Sherry Hamilton’s Red Heart CPR becoming a national fixture in restoring and saving lives

TRUE LIFE SAVER --- Sherry Penson Hamilton, 44, is owner and chief operating officer of Red Heart CPR in Kyle, Texas, an American Heart Association-sanctioned course that is designed for the lay-person rescuer.

TRUE LIFE SAVERSherry Penson Hamilton, 44, is owner and chief operating officer of Red Heart CPR in Kyle, Texas, an American Heart Association-sanctioned course that is designed for the lay-person rescuer.

DALLAS — Just like that, Sherry Penson Hamilton had seen enough.

Unfortunately for her, she had seen death hit home way too much.

First by way of heart attacks.

Then by way of heart disease.

Then by way of cardiac arrest.

Then by way of heart attacks again.

The latest death, amid a heart attack as a matter of fact, had ultimately proved the most devastating, thus prompted Hamilton to take a much-needed assessment of the overall landscape of her life.

Even from a career standpoint.

REMEMBERING MELVIN --- “When my late uncle, Melvin Penson Sr., whom I loved dearly had a heart attack early one morning around love ones, no one had taken CPR in years,” Hamilton told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “This really convicted my spirit and inspired my saying, ‘The life you save may be your love one.’ Since then, I have lost three friends, all in their 40's due to heart attacks, and they all were with family or co-workers. Therefore, I don't just have a passion, but I'm on a mission.”

REMEMBERING MELVIN“When my late uncle, Melvin Penson Sr., whom I loved dearly had a heart attack early one morning around love ones, no one had taken CPR in years,” Hamilton told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “This really convicted my spirit and inspired my saying, ‘The life you save may be your love one.’ Since then, I have lost three friends, all in their 40’s due to heart attacks, and they all were with family or co-workers. Therefore, I don’t just have a passion, but I’m on a mission.”

“When my late uncle, Melvin Penson Sr., whom I loved dearly had a heart attack early one morning around love ones, no one had taken CPR in years,” Hamilton told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “This really convicted my spirit and inspired my saying, ‘The life you save may be your love one.’ Since then, I have lost three friends, all in their 40’s due to heart attacks, and they all were with family or co-workers. Therefore, I don’t just have a passion, but I’m on a mission.”

In demonstrating arguably the most resiliency she’s exemplified since she effectively had given her life to Christ and accepted her ministerial calling years ago, Hamilton thought it necessary to bolt her Corporate America job as a county employee less than a year ago and shift her focus primarily on a venture she sensed would prevent her and others from enduring even more heartache and disappointment and sadness.

MAKING PROGRESS --- So that Red Heart CPR can better strive to save lives, Hamilton has launched an initiative called "Life Matters,” a movement whereby she dauntlessly poses the question, “Are you CPR Certified?"

MAKING PROGRESSSo that Red Heart CPR can better strive to save lives, Hamilton has launched an initiative called “Life Matters,” a movement whereby she dauntlessly poses the question, “Are you CPR Certified?”

Today, Hamilton, 44, is owner and chief operating officer of Red Heart CPR in Kyle, Texas, an American Heart Association-sanctioned course that is designed for the lay-person rescuer.

Open seven days a week, Red Heart CPR serves a number of areas in North Texas, most notably Austin, Buda, San Marcos, and other surrounding areas.

According to organization’s website, Red Heart CPR covers the CPR instruction for adults, children, and infants, as well as offers a course that is geared toward airway management of a choking victim (via the Heimlich maneuver) and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (or AED).

Red Heart CPR offers a number of informative classes, some lasting as long as 5-to-7 hours at reasonably afforded prices (ranging between $40-60).

A business venture Hamilton established nearly four years ago, RED, as it pertains to her business means, “Rescuing Every Dying (Heart),” a trend the Austin, Texas native is committed to fortifying daily.

LOG ON TO RED HEART CPR: http://www.redheartcpr.com/index.html

“I absolutely love it,” said Hamilton, a former Sidney Lanier High School (Austin) track and field standout, when asked what she loves the most about her business. “Empowering others with the skills to rescue someone from death is what I like best. I understand every life will not be saved, but knowing you tried is a powerful thing.”

Sherry2Amongst the intriguing trends about Red Heart CPR is that its mission and courses are prevalent for individuals of all ages, some as young as five years old, some as old as 70.

After all, Hamilton — given the array of untimely deaths she’s witnessed in recent years — would be the first to tell you that heart attacks, cardiac arrest, and heart disease don’t merely have an age attached to them.

Moreover, so that Red Heart CPR can better strive to save lives, Hamilton has launched an initiative called “Life Matters,” a movement whereby she dauntlessly poses the question, “Are you CPR Certified?”

KID COUNTS, TOO --- Amongst the intriguing trends about Red Heart CPR is that its mission and courses are prevalent for individuals of all ages, some as young as five years old, some as old as 70.

KIDS COUNTS, TOO — Amongst the intriguing trends about Red Heart CPR is that its mission and courses are prevalent for individuals of all ages, some as young as five years old, some as old as 70.

“I hope to make this a household conversation,” Hamilton said of her latest project. “We should ask our day care centers, recreational facilities, and especial every parents, ‘Are you CPR Certified?’”

Aside from teaching courses to ensure that lives are being saved and restored, another integral part of Red Heart CPR’s mission is to reach individuals in a way that suggests that what it has to offer is rather informative.

Not to mention fun, of course.

“Who says CPR has to be boring?” Hamilton said. “You can have a family night out and learn a life-saving skill or include a class during your baby shower. I’m not traditional bound; however my classes are always taught with triple P’s: Triple Passion, Professionalism, and with a Personal touch.”

How commendable and inspiring for a seasoned licensed evangelist who, last May, took a leap of faith by resigning from her job so she could empower others to exercise their faith by — what else? — speaking life over potentially deadly situations.

Speaking life by way of learning CPR rather fluently, that is.

KICK BACK AND RELAX --- Aside from teaching courses to ensure that lives are being saved and restored, another integral part of Red Heart CPR’s mission is to reach individuals in a way that suggests that what it has to offer is rather informative. Not to mention fun, of course.

KICK BACK AND RELAXAside from teaching courses to ensure that lives are being saved and restored, another integral part of Red Heart CPR’s mission is to reach individuals in a way that suggests that what it has to offer is rather informative.
Not to mention fun, of course.

“I totally feel I have begun my journey and I can’t wait to share more at a later date,” Hamilton said. “However I can share this: The opportunity to equip and empower others with a life-saving skill, whether it’s through CPR or an encouraging word, it totally brings me joy, because life does matter and life is priceless.”

How else to explain why Red Heart CPR was organization on a solid foundation, one that is a accompanied by the featured headline that is housed in 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,” said Hamilton, recalling the Apostle Paul’s letter to members of the Thessalonian church.

To her credit, ever since God impressed it upon her heart to establish Red Heart CPR, she’s done just that.

One life at a time.

For more information about Red Heart CPR, call Sherry Penson Hamilton at (512) 749-6071, or email her at: sherry@redheartcpr.com.

 

 

 

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.

Relax H2o, Inc. owners Jerry and Winter Bobo drawing rave reviews in downtown Memphis

Relax2Jerry Bobo and his wife, Winter, had plenty of opportunities in recent years to vacate Memphis and start a business establishment elsewhere.

That they ultimately elected to stay put in their native surroundings is starting to benefit them mightily.

“We chose Memphis to start our business, mainly because so much negativity and misconceptions seem to be in and surround our city,” Jerry Bobo told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “My wife and I are fully aware of the huge exodus from our city, especially by young professionals and we are determined to be a catalyst of positive change and hope in our city.”

TOO COOL --- Owners of the newly-erected Relax H2o Incorporated in the heart of downtown of Memphis --- less than two miles east of the mighty Mississippi River --- the Bobo’s business venture is available largely to residents and work associates who need to take customary breaks from their respective job with a relaxing, rejuvenating experience courtesy of their Relax H2O Aqua Massage And Oxygen Bar.

TOO COOL Owners of the newly-erected Relax H2o Incorporated in the heart of downtown of Memphis — less than two miles east of the mighty Mississippi River — the Bobo’s business venture is available largely to residents and work associates who need to take customary breaks from their respective job with a relaxing, rejuvenating experience courtesy of their Relax H2O Aqua Massage And Oxygen Bar.

So far, so good for this young, vibrant couple who, to their credit, is making a favorable case that they could become household names as Mid-South-area entrepreneurs in the foreseeable future.

Owners of the newly-erected Relax H2o Incorporated in the heart of downtown of Memphis — less than two miles east of the mighty Mississippi River — the Bobo’s business venture is available largely to residents and work associates who need to take customary breaks from their respective job with a relaxing, rejuvenating experience courtesy of their Relax H2O Aqua Massage And Oxygen Bar.

Conveniently located at 287 Madison Avenue, Suite B, in downtown Memphis — between Fourth Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard, or one block east of the YMCA — Relax H2o is an ideal setting for a unique date or, perhaps, an impromptu outing on the town.

WALKING IN MEMPHIS --- Relax H2o is in close proximity of Red Bird Stadium and the traditionally historic Beale Street which, fortunately for the Bobos, will provide their new establishment instant credibility.

WALKING IN MEMPHISRelax H2o is in close proximity of Red Bird Stadium and the traditionally historic Beale Street which, fortunately for the Bobos, will provide their new establishment instant credibility.

Also, Relax H2o is in close proximity of Red Bird Stadium and the traditionally historic Beale Street which, fortunately for the Bobos, will provide their new establishment instant credibility.

Not just in the comfortable confines of Memphis, but rather throughout the ever-so-popular Tri-State area.

CHECK OUT RELAX H2o ONLINE: http://relaxh2o.com/

“Our mission here at Relax H2o Inc. is to improve the quality of life for the residents of Memphis, tourists, and the Tri-State area by providing superior customer service, state of the art machines, technology, products and services that provide wellness and relaxation benefits,” Jerry Bobo explained. “Our aim is to lower and reduce stress while improving moral, energy, and productivity.”

'OOOOOOOO, LA, LA' --- Conveniently located at 287 Madison Avenue, Suite B, in downtown Memphis --- between Fourth Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard, or one block east of the YMCA --- Relax H2o is an ideal setting for a unique date or, perhaps, an impromptu outing on the town.

‘OOOOOOOO, LA, LA’Conveniently located at 287 Madison Avenue, Suite B, in downtown Memphis — between Fourth Street and Danny Thomas Boulevard, or one block east of the YMCA — Relax H2o is an ideal setting for a unique date or, perhaps, an impromptu outing on the town.

Not only that, Relax H2o routinely provides the very latest in an assortment of relaxation techniques, all within the four walls of its intimate, relaxing environment.

In addition, Relax H2o offers affordable packages, as well as cost efficient and time-saving services. Moreover, its slew of products are perfect, the Bobos said, most notably for consumers who aspire to relax as often as they can.

How else to explain why Relax H2o has been dubbed “Home of the $20 Massage?”

“We believe that the business of wellness inherently demands excellence of us, and requires a holistic approach to doing business,” Winter Bobo explained. “We believe that our commitment to our customers does not end with the sale. We believe that the wellness of our company depends on the wellness of our customers.”

There is, nonetheless, more proof to such analogies, the Bobos acknowledge.

“You don’t have to feel bad to feel good,” Winter Bobo said. “We have a large eclectic audience. Whether an individual is 6 or 66 (years of age), we have something here at Relax H2o Inc. that will help reduce fatigue and stress along with boosting energy along with increasing an overall sense of well-being.

Relax“From athletes, to the busy executive, to moms who just need a break,” Jerry Bobo added. “We service them all.”

All of this without having to vacate their native home of Memphis and start a business establishment elsewhere.

Surely, this husband and wife team is on the move…right in the heart of the historic Memphis downtown district.

For more information about Relax H2o, call 901-421-8351. Also, following them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/relaxh2o

 

 

AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, author, musician, singer, songwriter, tax preparer, accountant, financial advisor, hair stylist, model, cosmetologist, barber, 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.

Melony Walker’s Creative Di-Zigns drawing rave reviews from ex-NBA star, Memphis

MelonyIf there’s one thing about which anyone can’t question Melony Walker, that is her fond admiration for Memphis.

Among the reasons is that as a native Memphian, Walker not only graduated high school and college in the Bluff City but, above all, she deemed it necessary to make sure she customarily gives back to her community.

To her credit, her reputation is such that she’s destined daily to go above and beyond to ensure she remains a fixture in her beloved city.

“Everyone has their own gift,” Walker told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “And my gift is different and unique.”

MEMPHIS' FINEST --- Located at 7285 Winchester Road, Suite 111, in the heart of Southeast Memphis, Creative Di-Zigns is widely known throughout the Mid-South for its customary screen printings, vinyl cuts, custom paintings, art gallery, and embroidery, among other things.

MEMPHIS’ FINEST — Located at 7285 Winchester Road, Suite 111, in the heart of Southeast Memphis, Creative Di-Zigns is widely known throughout the Mid-South for its customary screen printings, vinyl cuts, custom paintings, art gallery, and embroidery, among other things.

So unique that in many aspects, Walker has literally caught the Mid-South-area youth sports landscape by storm.

An accomplished entrepreneur for five-plus years and counting, Walker, 51, is owner and chief executive officer of Memphis’ Creative Di-Zigns.

Located at 7285 Winchester Road, Suite 111, in the heart of Southeast Memphis, Creative Di-Zigns is widely known throughout the Mid-South for its customary screen printings, vinyl cuts, custom paintings, art gallery, and embroidery, among other things.

“It’s not what you do, but how you make your business a gift from God,” said Walker in assessing the continuous growth and success of her business. “If God is in it you are already successful.”

Mel4Fortunately for Walker, a 1982 Carver High graduate, it’s safe to assume that her gifts as a flourishing business owner has given way to an array of success. That’s because among her grandest, most popular clients is former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

A former University of Memphis All-American and four-time NBA All-Star, Hardaway, like Walker, is a product of Memphis and a graduate of Treadwell High.

While Walker and Hardaway’s friendship extends back to Hardaway’s high school playing days, the two established a solid working rapport years ago when Walker became the official designer for “Team Penny,” a slew of Hardaway’s Mid-South-area AAU Teams.

In addition, she produces paraphernalia for SCIAA Championship Sports Gear as well as the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Invitational Basketball Event. Also, she enters her second year a vendor for the Shelby Metro and Awareness Sports for Youths as well as for a variety of other local schools.

“Much of my work is based on family, unity, sports, and Memphis culture through fine arts and wearable art,” Walker explained. “My Mission is to encourage and develop unique and colorful art presence in the nation.”

PARTNERING WITH PENNY --- Fortunately for Walker, a 1982 Carver High graduate, it’s safe to assume that her gifts as a flourishing business owner has given way to array of success. That’s because among her grandest, most popular clients is former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

PARTNERING WITH PENNY — Fortunately for Walker, a 1982 Carver High graduate, it’s safe to assume that her gifts as a flourishing business owner has given way to array of success. That’s because among her grandest, most popular clients is former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

Long before emerging as a stellar entrepreneur, it seemed Walker had a vision that suggest she’d ultimately become an all things fashion designer, of sorts.

For starters, she majored in Fine Arts at Memphis’ LeMoyne-Owen College, from which she graduated in 1987 — this after an impressive stint as a well-known multisport prep athlete at Carver (basketball, ran track, and volleyball).

Aside from sports, she was a member of Carver’s Art Club.

THE ROLL CALL --- Creative Di-Zigns owner Melony Walker poses with Memphis renowned Memphis radio personality Stan Bell.

THE ROLL CALL — Creative Di-Zigns owner Melony Walker poses with Memphis renowned Memphis radio personality Stan Bell.

Consequently, her athletic accolades eventually gave way to her landing a basketball scholarship to LeMoyne in the early 1980s, during which she also became a member of the Lady Magicians’ track and field program.

A longtime member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Walker was named LOC’s Basketball Homecoming Queen in 1984 and was runner-up in the Miss LeMoyne-Owen pageant the following year.

Despite her assortment of achievement and accolades, one thing about which anyone can’t question is Walker’s fond admiration for her Memphis.

“I’m beginning a new journey in my life to make a difference in the world of art in Memphis through creativity as a woman artist,” Walker said.
Sounding much like the beloved Memphian for which she is widely known.

For more information about Creative Di-Zigns, call 901-949-6146, or visit them online at: http://www.creativedizigns.com/.

AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, author, musician, model, athlete, cosmetologist, barber, 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.

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki applauds Golden State’s record; relishes his latest milestone

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT

MEMPHIS — In the wake of the Golden State Warriors having carved out more history Tuesday night, among the NBA players who congratulated the world champs was Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki.

DYNAMIC DIRK --- Even in the wake of the Mavs’ 110-96 loss at Memphis Tuesday night in FedExForum that resulted in Dallas’ second straight defeat, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki had no idea he had reached yet another milestone to his Hall of Fame career when he became the 17th player in NBA history to record career 1,600 three-pointers.  (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

DYNAMIC DIRK — Even in the wake of the Mavs’ 110-96 loss at Memphis Tuesday night in FedExForum that resulted in Dallas’ second straight defeat, Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki had no idea he had reached yet another milestone to his Hall of Fame career when he became the 17th player in NBA history to record career 1,600 three-pointers.
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

“They have a heckuva team,” Nowitzki, the 18-year veteran, told MemphiSport.com following the Mavs 110-96 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies. “I mean, they have everything you need. They have length. They have shooters. They have defenders. They’re really, really deep.”

Not to mention a team that erased a record that stood a little more than two decades.

With Tuesday’s 111-77 lopsided win against the Los Angeles Lakers in Oakland, the Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start the regular season by reeling off 16 consecutive wins, a feat that eclipsed 15-0 starts by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.

What’s even more astounding is that the Warriors’ remarkable early-season display was highlighted by a 50-point drubbing of a Grizzlies team that has advanced to the postseason five consecutive seasons.

“You know, they’re a good team,” Nowitzki said. “Steph (Curry) is playing unbelievable basketball. But not only him. Like I said, they have a great, deep team and they defend. They have lineups to switch up everything.”

GOLD RECORD --- In the wake of the Golden State Warriors carving out more history Tuesday night, among the NBA player who congratulated the world champs was Nowitzki.  “They have a heckuva team,” Nowitzki said. “I mean, they have everything you. They have length. They have shooters. They have defenders. They’re really, really deep.” (Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)

GOLD RECORD — In the wake of the Golden State Warriors carving out more history Tuesday night, among the NBA player who congratulated the world champs was Nowitzki.
“They have a heckuva team,” Nowitzki said. “I mean, they have everything you. They have length. They have shooters. They have defenders. They’re really, really deep.” (Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)

As for which team will pose as a threat and deal the Warriors their first regular season setback since a 103-100 loss April 7 at the New Orleans Pelicans capped a two-game winless streak is anybody’s guess.

That’s because four of Golden State’s next five games are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year, meaning the team that could likely end the historic streak is the Toronto Raptors, who host the defending champs Dec. 5.

Still, whichever team manages to disrupt the Warriors’ impressive undefeated streak, it will have to play arguably its best game in some time against a team that plays this Run-N-Gun, high-powered brand of basketball the sports world hasn’t witnessed in some time.

“They can adjust to every stone that’s thrown at them,” Nowitzki said of the Warriors. “And that’s why they are the champs. They’re very deep and very good.”

DIRK REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE

Even in the wake of the Mavs’ loss at Memphis Tuesday night in FedExForum that resulted in Dallas’ second straight defeat since reeling off a season-best five consecutive wins, Nowitzki had no idea he had added yet another milestone to his illustrious Hall of Fame career.

With 7:53 remaining in the fourth, a running 3-point jumper off an assist from Raymond Felton allowed Nowitzki to become the 17th player in NBA history to record 1,600 career three-pointers.

According to the 37-year-old German, he acknowledges such a feat comes during time in which he feels he’s playing efficient basketball.

Nowitzki, who entered Tuesday’s game leading the NBA in 3-point efficiency at 53.3 percent, connected on 2 of 5 from outside the arc against the Grizzlies.

“You know, it’s been a long ride,” Nowitzki, the Mavs all-time leading scorer, said of his latest accolade. “This is season 18 and, fortunately, I’ve been healthy. You know, there were actually years where I wasn’t shooting the ball as well as I wanted to. And this year, I’ve been having a decent rhythm and hopefully I can keep it up. You know, 1,600 threes, that’s a lot of threes, and hopefully there’s a few more to come.”

 

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.

 

 

 

Here’s 41 sporting moments as sports journalist Andre Johnson turns 41

AndreDALLAS — For the past three-plus decades, sports have played a majestic role in my life.

In fact, sports, for me, have become a way of life.

MOM AND MJ --- In November 2002, I passed up the chance to watch Hall of Famer Michael Jordan play in his next-to-last NBA season when the Washington Wizards played at the Memphis Grizzlies. I felt compelled to pass the pair of tickets to my mother, who said to me after that game, “I can always say I had a chance to watch (Jordan) play.” (Getty Images Photo)

MOM AND MJ — In November 2002, I passed up the chance to watch Hall of Famer Michael Jordan play in his next-to-last NBA season when the Washington Wizards played at the Memphis Grizzlies. I felt compelled to pass the pair of tickets to my mother, who said to me after that game, “I can always say I had a chance to watch (Jordan) play.” (Getty Images Photo)

A lifestyle, of sorts.

A trend that, in assessing the overall landscape of my life, practically personifies the person I’ve become.

Sports, this inspiriting, galvanizing movement that customarily inspire athletes to become empowered through dedication, accountability, and leadership, are what immeasurably fueled my desire to engage in a rather competitive industry whereby I would be afforded the opportunity to meet and interact with athletes from various walks of life.

Fortunately for me, my dream, thanks in large part to sports, has come full circle, a fantasy that has given way to an assortment of memories, most notably personal ones during which I’ve savored throughout the course of professional sportswriting career.

That said, as I commemorate my 41st birthday on Saturday, I share with you 41 memorable sports moments, according to yours truly.

 

  1. Passing up the chance to watch Hall of Famer Michael Jordan play in his next-to-last NBA season when the Washington Wizards played at the Memphis Grizzlies. I felt compelled to relinquish the pair of tickets to my mother, who said to me after that game, “I can always say I had a chance to watch (Jordan) play.”
  2. Wrapping each wall in my bedroom with magazine photos of NBA players as a junior high schooler in the late 1980s. I knew at the time that someday I’d interview those same players.
  3. Witnessing the San Francisco 49ers thoroughly dispatch the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl 19, 38-16.
  4. Owning my very first authentic NFL football as my mom handed it off to me like a quarterback to running back on my 10th birthday.
  5. Fielding arguably the worst whipping of my life when, on my 15th birthday, I caught the wrath of my mom for throwing a temper tantrum and ripping apart my nightstand. Surely, this isn’t a sports moment in any shape or form. But in a way, it certainly seemed like it, considering I ran around our three-bedroom apartment like an Olympic gold medal sprinter while trying to elude mom’s extension cord.
  6. Watching Michigan edge Seton Hall in overtime in the 1989 NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game as Glen Rice embraced the ball at game’s end and unleashed tears of joy.
  7. Watching Joe Montana’s game-winning touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining in Super Bowl 23.
  8. Watching the 49ers race to a 27-3 halftime lead and completely dismantle the Denver Broncos, 55-10, in Super Bowl 24.
  9. Witnessing sentimental favorite and the No. 11 seed Loyola Marymount basketball team pulverize Michigan, 149-115, in the second round of the NCAA tournament following the death of Hank Gathers.
  10. The Buffalo Bills losing four consecutive Super Bowls.
  11. The 1984-85 Memphis State men’s basketball team advancing to the school’s second Final Four.
  12. “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison and Louisville upsetting Duke in the 1988 NCAA championship game.
  13. Anfernee “Penny” Hardway and Treadwell High versus Anthony Douglas and cross-town rival East.
  14. The 1986 New York Mets.
  15. Watching the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series with my paw paw, Edward Johnson, Sr.
  16. Watching Dallas’ World Class Championship Wrestling at the break of sunrise every Saturday with grandpa.
  17. Watching Memphis’ Championship Wresting every Saturday morning with my paw paw and uncles.
  18. Witnessing the Memphis State basketball team win the Metro Conference basketball championship in 1987 against Louisville in the always hostile Freedom Hall.
  19. Witnessing pro wrestler Jerry Lawler become world champion for first time in his illustrious career on May 9, 1988 over Kurt Henning.
  20. The Kansas City Royals’ 11-0 shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series.
  21. Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers losing four times to the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 1991-92 season.
  22. Penny Hardaway losing his final college game where his NBA career began (in Orlando).
  23. Steve Young engineering the 49ers to a 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl 29.
  24. The scene of Michael Jordan crying on the locker room floor while blanketing the game ball after winning his first NBA title following the death of his father.
  25. Len Bias’ shocking death two days after the 1986 NBA Draft.
  26. Magic Johnson announcing his retirement from the NBA on November 7, 1991 after learning he had acquired the AIDS virus.
  27. Attending Monday night wrestling virtually every week with my uncle, Darryl Crawford.

    H-TOWN --- How can I forget when I covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in what was my third full season of covering the league?

    How can I forget when I covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in what was my third full season of covering the league?

  28. Covering my very first sporting event as a sports intern for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper in May 1996.
  29. Partaking in my second sports internship for The Commercial Appeal in May 2000.
  30. Assuming a full-time job a sports reporter for The Commercial Appeal in August 2000.
  31. Interviewing Laila Ali during her fight in the Mid-South in June 2002.
  32. At the request of Jerry Lawler, meeting the Hall of Fame wrestler over lunch in March 2010 for an exclusive interview that lasted more than two hours.
  33. Covering Kobe Bryant on the night he became the Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time leading scorer in March 2010.
  34. Covering the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.
  35. The 2007-08 Memphis Tiger basketball team.
  36. John Calipari vacating Memphis for Kentucky or, as he said, “the Notre Dame of college basketball.”
  37. Mario Chalmers breaking the hearts of Tiger fans with a game-tying 3-pointer that forced overtime in the 2008 NCAA final.
  38. The Los Angeles Clipper’s historic comeback from 27 points down to shock the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA playoffs.
  39. The Grizzlies reaching the Western Conference Finals the following year.
  40. Relocating to Dallas in April 2014 to cover Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
  41. Thanking God in advance for allowing me to stick around to witness and savor more sporting moments.

 

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.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle described Flip Saunders’ death as a ‘dark day’ in the NBA

REMEMBERING FLIP SAUNDERS (1955-2015)

DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wasted little time paying homage to Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders following his team’s two-hour practice Monday morning.

“Flip was one of those guys who was a great and intense competitor, always did it the right way,” Carlisle said while addressing reporters. “And as competitive as he was and as great a coach he was, he had no enemies in this league.”

FABULOUS FLIP --- Flip Saunders, who returned to Minnesota for a second stint last summer and compiled more than 1,000 victories during a professional coaching career that spanned more than three decades, died Sunday of cancer at the age of 60. Saunders’ death comes just three days before the Timberwolves’ season-opener at the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP)

FABULOUS FLIPFlip Saunders, who returned to Minnesota for a second stint last summer and compiled more than 1,000 victories during a professional coaching career that spanned more than three decades, died Sunday of cancer at the age of 60. Saunders’ death comes just three days before the Timberwolves’ season-opener at the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Saunders, who returned to Minnesota for a second stint last summer and compiled more than 1,000 victories during a professional coaching career that spanned more than three decades, died Sunday of cancer at the age of 60.

Saunders’ death comes just three days before the Timberwolves’ season-opener at the Los Angeles Lakers and two days after the team announced he would not return this season as he continued to battle his dreaded disease.

Saunders announced in August that he was being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma during which doctors described it as “very treatable and curable.” Saunders, in fact, said at the time he had planned to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations.

However, after enduring a setback last month that led to him being hospitalized, the team turned the coaching duties over to interim Sam Mitchell while Milt Newton assumed the general manager responsibilities.

In assessing Saunders’ coaching career that also included stints with the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, Carlisle ironically liken Saunders’ style of coaching to the late Chuck Daly, the former Pistons coach who led the franchise to back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990.

“He reminded me a lot of Chuck Daly,” Carlisle said. “He was innovative. He was creative. He was a great coach that coached a lot of different kinds of teams, and he was an impact guy as a GM as well.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Saunders was also part-owner of the Timberwolves, although he is widely known for his 35-year coaching tenure.

With the emergence of a young Kevin Garnett, Saunders guided Minnesota to its first-ever playoff berth in 1996-97, his first full season as an NBA head coach. The following year, he led the Timberwolves to their first-ever winning campaign, then helped propelled the team to a franchise-record 50 victories in 1999–2000, a feat they repeated two seasons later. (Getty Images Photos)

With the emergence of a young Kevin Garnett, Saunders guided Minnesota to its first-ever playoff berth in 1996-97, his first full season as an NBA head coach. The following year, he led the Timberwolves to their first-ever winning campaign, then helped propelled the team to a franchise-record 50 victories in 1999–2000, a feat they repeated two seasons later. (Getty Images Photos)

Saunders assumed his first NBA job when he joined the Timberwolves in May 1995 as general manager, working alongside former college teammate Kevin McHale. Seven months later, he was named the team’s head coach, replacing Bill Blair after Minnesota had gotten off to a dismal 6-14 start.

Two seasons later (1996-97), with the emergence of a young Kevin Garnett, Saunders guided Minnesota to its first-ever playoff berth in his first full season as an NBA head coach. The following year, he led the Timberwolves to their first-ever winning campaign, then helped steer the team to a franchise-record 50 victories in 1999–2000, a feat they repeated two seasons later.

LASTING IMPRESSION ---When asked how Saunders’ legacy will be remembered, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle paused briefly then said, “He’s one of the most respected coaches in history. Getty Images Photo)

LASTING IMPRESSIONWhen asked how Saunders’ legacy will be remembered, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle paused briefly then said, “He’s one of the most respected coaches in history. Getty Images Photo)

Consequently, Saunders was fired midway through the 2004-05 season during which the Timberwolves had failed to advance to the playoffs for the first time in nine years.

However, following coaching stints in Detroit (2005-2008) and Washington (2009-2012), Saunders rejoined the T-Wolves organization last summer before his health began to decline.

Saunders, whose professional coaching career began in 1988-89 with the CBA’s Rapid City Thrillers, led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals during the 2003-04 season.

When asked how Saunders’ legacy will be remembered, Carlisle paused briefly then said, “He’s one of the most respected coaches in NBA history. There’s no doubt about that. He experienced great success. And he helped build that Minnesota franchise, really, from the depths of the lottery to a team that was in the Western Conference Finals.”

With the NBA regular season set to begin on Tuesday, Carlisle described Saunders’ passing as a “dark day” for the NBA.

“But we’ll all look back at all of the great things he did and all of the wonderful things he stood for and we’ll learn from his example,” Carlisle said.

The Mavs will wear lapel pins throughout the season in Saunders’ memory, Carlisle said.

Dallas’ season-opener is Wednesday night at 9 CST at Phoenix, the first of a three-game road trip.

 

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.