Former Stevie Wonder background singer Panzie Johnson set to release her debut single, she tells Andre Johnson

starPanzie Johnson, to her credit, has had the luxury of meeting quite a few heavy hitters during her tenure as a recording artist.

From Fred Hammand, to Kirk Franklin, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Rick James, Kerry Gordy, Nancy Wilson, Randy Jackson, to Jeffrey Osbourne.

Oh, and Stevie Wonder.

Ahhhhhh…Stevie Wonder.

What was her relationship like with Mr. Wonder, a 25-time Grammy Award-winner and arguably one of the greatest and most renowned entertainers of all time?

“My relationship with Mr. Wonder is great,” Johnson told News Reporter Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “He and I are still friends today. I’ve met so many precious friends in 14 years.”

In assessing the overall landscape of her singing career, it is because of Johnson’s close-knit relationships with Mr. Wonder, coupled with her early training by her mother whereby she routinely sang “from her heart,” all of which ultimately gave way to her being catapulted her into a more favorable musical orbit.

panzieA former Star Search contestant and Bryan, Texas native, Johnson, although she is continuously making strides — a much-anticipated comeback, if you will — in this ever-so-evolving music industry, doesn’t refer to herself as an “entertainer,” she doesn’t shy away from the notion that she is, above anything else, a child of the Most High God.

“Well, I’m no longer an entertainer,” Johnson said with a straight face. “I’m a minister and I love what I do. I wouldn’t trade my job as a minister for no other. I love seeing people restored and blessed.”

PANZIE APPEARS ON STAR SEARCH: https://youtu.be/RHgrxfyf7Xg

And, in the coming days, those from afar and near, those who have witnessed her rise as a singer, coupled with her revamped mind to sell out solely to God, will be afforded the golden opportunity to see just how far her Creator has brought her.

Aside from routinely ministering to the hearts and telling of God’s goodness, Johnson will be releasing her debut single on May 9 entitled, “We Come To Glorify.”

PASTOR MARY MITCHELL --- “My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

PASTOR MARY MITCHELL“My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

The founder and CEO of her own independent record label, Johmax Music Group, Johnson’s debut album will be released sometime in the near future (or at time that has yet to be determined), although the debut single is currently available online at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/panziejohnson3.

According to Johnson, her album will be available on compact disc, at CDBaby.com, as well as other digital outlets.

“I toured with Stevie Wonder for 14 years, doing what I love…singing,” said Johnson, explaing her extensive singing background. “I’ve worked with many others, but it was Mr. Wonder that truly taught me so much about the industry.”

By and large, it was the spiritual nurturing and guidance of her mother and grandmother that greatly kept this preacher’s kid (or PK) afloat and grounded for fulfilling her divine purpose and destiny.

Look at her today, steadfastly savoring the best of both worlds, all while walking in her calling, walking under the unction of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, what a mighty God she serves.

“My mother and grandmother, they raised me to be a fearless woman of God,” Johnson said. “(They taught me) to be accountable and to walk worthy of the call placed on my life. They were both preachers and singers.”

Given her upbringing, one shouldn’t be all that surprised that Johnson, even after a notable stint in the secular industry, ultimately found her way back to singing for Jesus.

Johnson is the associate minister at The House Of Prayer And Life Worship Center in Bryan under the leadership of my mother.

“I grew up in a Christian environment,” Johnson explained. “My mom was of the Pentecostal faith and we went to church at least four times weekly. So my childhood was centered on church. I had my siblings (Audreece, Cory, Johnathan, and Tonya) and a few friends.”

And, as she waits with great expectancy the release of her debut single and the subsequent launching of her album, there is one more addition to the family who undoubtedly will have the chance to savor this compelling music project.

“I am the proud mother of 10-month-old Matthias Drew Johnson, known as ‘Baby Drew,’” Johnson said.

Yes, what a mighty God she serves.



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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Memphian Christie Henry having a Texas-size impact as a flourishing singer and model

DALLAS — Say what you want about Christie Henry.

But when to comes to chasing dreams and ensuring that they become a reality, no one has to give her some long, exhausting motivational speech.

4Ever since her youth, particularly when she had become of age to grasp a thorough understanding of what it means to maximize her potential, Henry steadfastly adopted a persona that suggests, among other things, that falling short of fulfilling her goals and ambitions weren’t option.

If nothing else, because of her devout faith, coupled with the resiliency for which she was taught, Henry’s reputation is such that she customarily aspires to see from beyond where she is.

In a nutshell, she’s one who doesn’t settle.

Rather, she’s one who goes to great lengths to make things happen.

“I thought I was one step closer to pursuing my dream,” Henry said during an interview Friday afternoon with longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “But God has a great way of revealing your true purpose.”

MEMPHIS MADE --- Ever since her youth in growing up in Memphis, particularly when she had become of age to grasp a thorough understanding of what it means to maximize her potential, Dallas-based model and singer Christie Henry steadfastly adopted a persona that suggests, among other things, that falling short of fulfilling her goals and ambitions weren’t option.

MEMPHIS MADEEver since her youth in growing up in Memphis, particularly when she had become of age to grasp a thorough understanding of what it means to maximize her potential, Dallas-based model and singer Christie Henry steadfastly adopted a persona that suggests, among other things, that falling short of fulfilling her goals and ambitions weren’t option.

A Memphis native and graduate of Fairley High, the 25-year-old Henry is alluding largely to the events and circumstances surrounding her recent relocation to the Dallas Fort-Worth area.

Upon graduating high school in the top 10 percent of her class, Henry enrolled at nearby University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she studied Mass Communications and was a member of the school’s internationally-acclaimed marching band known as The Marching Musical Machines Of The Mid-South. In addition, she joined the college’s modeling club, gospel choir, and student council.

That’s when change ultimately took place. An assortment of changes, that is.

“After a heart-to-heart convo with my mentor, I decided to transfer to The University of Memphis to pursue a degree in Music and film,” Henry explained.
Still, her tenure at the U of M was short-lived, considering it had become increasingly evident that if Henry aspired to become more effective in her element, a move away from her native hometown was essential.

CHASING GREATNESS --- Upon graduating high school in the top 10 percent of her class, Henry enrolled at nearby University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she studied Mass Communications and was a member of the school’s internationally-acclaimed marching band known as The Marching Musical Machines Of The Mid-South. In addition, she joined the college’s modeling club, gospel choir, and student council.

CHASING GREATNESSUpon graduating high school in the top 10 percent of her class, Henry enrolled at nearby University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she studied Mass Communications and was a member of the school’s internationally-acclaimed marching band known as The Marching Musical Machines Of The Mid-South. In addition, she joined the college’s modeling club, gospel choir, and student council.

On to Dallas, Texas she went.

Given the immense strides she’s made in such a brief time in the Lone Star state, it’s safe to assume that her unlikely relocation was a risk worth taking.

“After some serious prayer, I decided to pack my bags and leave for Texas to pursue my music career full time and attend a music or fine arts institution to better my craft,” Henry said.

CHECK OUT CHRISTIE HENRY IN ACTION: https://youtu.be/j379iIs5MxE

Fortunately for this rising model and avid singer, Texas undoubtedly appears to be the ideal establishment. Since her arrival here, Henry has been afforded an assortment of opportunities to broaden her horizon, considering she has become a fixture and featured singing guest at the Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge during its Live Jazz Sunday Brunch.

Located in Carrollton, Texas, Henry customarily performs during Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge’s brunch times, which usually is between 1 and 3:30 pm.

TEXAS-SIZE IMPACT --- Given the immense strides she’s made in such a brief time in the Lone Star state, it’s safe to assume that her unlikely relocation was a risk worth taking. “After some serious prayer, I decided to pack my bags and leave for Texas to pursue my music career full time and attend a music or fine arts institution to better my craft,” Henry said.

TEXAS-SIZE IMPACTGiven the immense strides she’s made in such a brief time in the Lone Star state, it’s safe to assume that her unlikely relocation was a risk worth taking.
“After some serious prayer, I decided to pack my bags and leave for Texas to pursue my music career full time and attend a music or fine arts institution to better my craft,” Henry said.

A singer for the past two decades, Henry had gained a fond admiration for music, given she had become a fixture for entering talent shows and talent expos as a way to generate exposure and demonstrate to her listening audience that she could soar to immense heights in this ever-so-popular industry.

“Now I’m here in Dallas, making my dreams come true with my Father in Heaven by my side,” Henry said with a smile.

To her credit, she has every reason to display her signature, attractive smile that, along with her mesmerizing vocals, has enabled her to become one with lofty modeling aspirations.

“I love the fact that I can be myself throughout this journey that God has destined me to be on,” Henry explained. “I also love the fact that I am able to give back by helping others with their music programs at their church and learning centers here in Dallas, and encouraging others to go after their dreams as well.”

Looking back, it is because of the past struggles through which her mother, Andrea Henry-Houston, and other loved ones had weathered that greatly helped shaped Henry into the progressive, flourishing woman of color for which she is widely known.

RISING STAR --- Henry has been afforded an assortment of opportunities to broaden her horizon, considering she has become a fixture and featured singing guest at the Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge during its Live Jazz Sunday Brunch. Located in Carrolton, Texas, Henry customarily performs during Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge’s brunch times, which usually is between 1 and 3:30 pm.

RISING STARHenry has been afforded an assortment of opportunities to broaden her horizon, considering she has become a fixture and featured singing guest at the Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge during its Live Jazz Sunday Brunch.
Located in Carrolton, Texas, Henry customarily performs during Hoops Restaurant Bar & Lounge’s brunch times, which usually is between 1 and 3:30 pm.

In both Tennessee and Texas.

“My mother Andrea Henry-Houston, my grandmother Catherine Henry, and cousin Dedra Thomas…these women showed me what hard work and perseverance can do,” Christie Henry said. They were all single mothers in the struggle who were trying to make a better life for me. Every band competition, talent show, etc., they were there along with other family members. With all that is going on in our family, from struggles, deaths, financial issues, and more, they continued to press through and make it happen for our family.”

10As for the critics and naysayers, Christie Henry said, “I would have to hear people say, ‘You’re not going to be serious about being an artist’ or they get upset when I share my life dreams. But I could always count on my mom to intervene and just say, ‘You can do or be whatever as long as God is first in your life and you put the work behind it.’”

The rest, as they say, it history.

Roughly a few months removed from having bolted Memphis for a city that’s nearly three times the size of her native hometown, Christie Henry hasn’t shown any signs of a letdown, much less shown any signs that she’s planning to slow it down anytime soon.

No. No time soon.

Not with so much success at stake.

Say what you want about her.

But Christie Henry is doing it big in the state where doing things big is a part of the norm.

How ‘bout that.

“In all that you do, you’ve got to put God first, in the middle, and at the end of it,” Christie Henry said. “You can never go wrong when He’s involved.”

She would know.

Because when to comes to chasing dreams and ensuring that they become a reality, no one has to give her some long, exhausting motivational speech.



AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an honor student, 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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

LaVonia Horne-Williams aiming to have Texas size impact as a business owner

DALLAS — LaVonia Horne-Williams isn’t one who makes excuses.

Given her commendable track record as a rising business owner, it’s safe to say she isn’t one who waits for things to happen.

VonShe’s empowered to make things happen.

And not just make things happen, but she makes certain others around her are positively impacted as well.

In fact, just recently, there was Horne-Williams, explaining in great detail why as a progressive, thriving entrepreneur, it’s imperative that she steadfastly esteems and inspires others daily.

Texas4“As an African American woman, stepping out on faith and advocating for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses, I believe it’s important to inspire others to follow their dreams,” Horne-Williams told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “If a small town girl from Monticello, Florida can do this…so can you.”

Raised in Monticello, a small, rural Florida town with a population of approximately 2,500, Horne-Williams, to her credit — and relentless faith — continues to demonstrate why her best days as a business owner are well ahead of her.

Horne-Williams, 45, is owner and chief executive officer of Horne-Williams Management Consulting, LLC.

Texas2An up-and-coming establishment that is located at 348 Tobin Drive in Buda, Texas, and officially opened for operations in September 2015, Horne-Williams Management Consulting’s mission is that it strives to enrich and educate industry partners by providing excellent training in the development and implementation of DBE/SBE/HUB/MWBE minority programs.

According to Horne-Williams, who had spent seven years working for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights as a Civil Rights Program Specialist and as a Business Opportunity Program Specialist, she felt compelled sometime last year to launch her very own consulting business, one that would offer federal program compliance for heavy highway construction projects.

In a nutshell, her primary emphasis would be to assume the role as an expert source, of sorts, particularly for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (or DBE) and Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) compliance and best practices.

So far, so good for an emerging, effective business owner who, given her immense track record, is destined to connect with the right people — early and often.

No excuses.

None whatsoever.

“With the changing regulatory environment of heavy highway construction projects, it is important for government agencies and companies doing business with them to be knowledgeable about diversity compliance management,” Horne-Williams explained. “As an excellent, results-oriented firm that can take their programs to the next level, Horne-Williams Management Consulting, LLC strives to enrich and educate industry partners by providing excellent training in the development and implementation of DBE/SBE/HUB/MWBE minority programs.”

That’s not all, as this opportunistic, vibrant business owner quickly points out.

That she has established a business venture of this magnitude will ultimately serve as a significant asset to a number of Texas’ thriving, progressive markets, thus provide her with the independence to function and excel in an industry that could very well become a competitive one in the foreseeable future.

Fortunately for Horne-Williams, her track record is such that she’s already ahead of the game.

No excuses.

None whatsoever.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT --- According to Horne-Williams, who has spent seven years working for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights as a Civil Right Program Specialist and as a Business Opportunity Program Specialist, she felt compelled sometime last year to launch her very own consulting business, one that would offer federal program compliance for heavy highway construction projects. In a nutshell, her primary emphasis would be to assume the role as an expert source, of sorts, particularly for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (or DBE) and Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) compliance and best practices.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACTAccording to Horne-Williams, who has spent seven years working for the Texas Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights as a Civil Right Program Specialist and as a Business Opportunity Program Specialist, she felt compelled sometime last year to launch her very own consulting business, one that would offer federal program compliance for heavy highway construction projects.
In a nutshell, her primary emphasis would be to assume the role as an expert source, of sorts, particularly for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (or DBE) and Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) compliance and best practices.

“First, gaining independence with my career and recognizing that I am the captain of my fate,” said Horne-Williams, assessing what she likes the most about her business. “Next, I’m providing a service that fosters a partnership for small minority businesses in a field not readily accessible to them….heavy highway construction.”

Other appealing factors that figure to add to Horne-Williams’ entrepreneurial success is that she possesses the credentials and education to exceed even her own lofty expectations, thus eclipse her own customer service goals and objectives.

For starters, she graduated in 1988 from Jefferson County High School. Years later, she enrolled at California State University-Hayward (currently known as Cal State East Bay), where she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Philosophy in 1998 (and minored in Religion).

Consequently, she graduated from Virginia College at Austin with an Associate’s Degree in paralegal studies in 2005 before earning a Master’s in Legal Studies from Texas State University in 2013.

Other notable accolades include having received certification as a Certified Compliance Administrator in 2009 through the American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA) and Morgan State University.

All of which essentially sums up why this former dual sport prep athlete (basketball and track and field) and high school senior class president’s reputation is such that she isn’t one who waits for things to happen.

She’s empowered to make things happen.

“The whole can-do attitude, never-quit attitude, and always-believing and quitting were never an option,” Horne-Williams, who graduated sixth overall in her high school class, said. “It taught me discipline and commitment to self.”

Not to mention no excuses.

None whatsoever.

 

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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Home of “Mothertrucking Burger,” Dallas’ Trucker’s Café garnering national presence

OH WOW!!!!! Dallas' Trucker’s Café has emerged as a fixture, in large part because of its featured menu item, the famous “Mothertrucking” Burger, a massive, bicycle-tire-size cheeseburger that will make a customary size burger seem like those sold at the White Castle franchises.

OH WOW!!!!! Dallas’ Trucker’s Café has emerged as a fixture, in large part because of its featured menu item, the famous “Mothertrucking” Burger, a massive, bicycle-tire-size cheeseburger that will make a customary size burger seem like those sold at the White Castle franchises.

DALLAS — Like many of her peers, Paulette Woods was raised in the projects, was brought up in a single-parent home.

Still, regardless of how insurmountable, tumultuous or chaotic things had become — and they surely did — Woods was taught to never disregard the notion of what it means to see from beyond where she was, to steadfastly devise ways to maximize her potential.

“Being raised in the projects was a very hard difficult time for us,” Woods told longtime journalist Andre Johnson. “So I started cooking, because my mom always had to work to support us.”

To her credit, not only was Woods a fixture in her household in that she made sure she and the rest of her siblings had home-cooked meals when their mother was away to work, but her tireless contributions in the home ultimately served as the fuel that drove her to her destiny.

AJToday, more than ever before, the Dallas Thomas Jefferson High graduated has fully connected with her divine purpose, her supreme calling, of sorts, considering her gift is routinely embraced and savored by countless individuals around the country.

AJ2Along with her husband, Jalon Woods, the Woods are owners and chief executive officers of Trucker’s Café in Dallas. Located at 8445 South Lancaster Road, roughly a fourth of a mile west of the Lancaster, Texas city limits, Trucker’s Café has undoubtedly become a fixture, particularly amongst the thousands of truck drivers who travel to and throughout the Dallas Fort-Worth area daily.

AJ8Now that this longstanding establishment — which is open six days a week from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. with the exception of Monday — has made its presence felt, thus ignited hunger amongst various social media account holders, Trucker’s Café is now starting to emerge as a popular venue for tourists to Dallas, let alone for residents through the massive Metroplex.

Housed inside of the Citgo convenient store that is adjacent to the historic Whataburger restaurant, once customers enter this ever-so-popular setting, they can’t help but notice the assortment of piping hot soul food entrees and the array of delectable fixings that come with them.

By and large, Trucker’s Café has emerged as a fixture, in large part because of its featured menu item, the famous “Mothertrucking Burger,” a massive, bicycle-tire-size cheeseburger that will make a customary size burger seem like those sold at the White Castle franchises.

AJ7Aside from its featured item, consumers can partake in the restaurant’s variety of eye-catching, mouth-watering salads and desserts. And, for those who are preparing for the upcoming Super Bowl or, perhaps planning weddings, family reunions, baby showers, board meetings, etc., the Woods and their team of well-established cooks also offer meat, vegetable and fruit party trays as well as a catering service.

A business that was established in 1995, Trucker’s Café’s foundation was erected when the Woods began exclusively serving truck drivers. This place has since become arguably of one of Texas’ finest truck stops, in large part because it has evolved as a dazzling eating destination for residents of the DFW.

All because Paulette Woods had a vision, one that was essentially birthed when she was only 14 years old, one that essentially came to fruition during those times her mother was away to work.

AJ4“We were at a women’s battle shelter and that’s how I started cooking,” Paulette Woods explained. “I was cooking for the mothers who had to work. I was babysitting and cooking dinner for everybody at the shelter at the time. I was only 14 and cooking like that…in and out of shelters…in and out of school. Thank God I made it.”

AJ3With the tireless support from her husband, family, and staff, the Woods are collectively walking in their divine purpose, a trend that is starting to become noticeably evident — all throughout Texas, where virtually everything is done big here.

“I been all over the United States and have never tasted food like we have at Trucker’s Café,” Jalon Woods, an Arlington Sam Houston High graduate, said. “We really appreciate that we are giving the opportunity to feed people in our community and, the people who are not in our community, we thank everyone for joining us in making Trucker’s Cafe possible (in Dallas). And we also thank God for blessing us with the opportunity to stay in business.”

Given its continuous success, Trucker’s Café is only expanding. So much, in fact, that that a new facility is currently in the works and is expected to open for operations in the coming months.

All because at the tender age of 14, a girl from the projects devised ways to maximize her potential.

The rest, as they say, is history.



DALLAS’ TRUCKER CAFE STAFF

Lawrence Davis (Head Chef)

Carla Johnson (Manager)

Arnold Robinson (Head Dishwasher)

Courvoisier Campbell (Pastry Chef)

Ashley Wafford (Head Cashier)

 

For more information about Trucker’s Café, for catering needs, to place party tray orders for the Super Bowl or for other events, call 972-224-0008.

 

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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

 

 

Dez Bryant’s new deal gives much-needed makeover to Dallas sports landscape

COMMENTARY

AndreDALLAS — Following the Pinkprint Tour concert featuring renowned recording artist Nicki Minaj here Friday night, Dez Bryant is scheduled to host what many have dubbed, “The Official After Party.”

Given the latest developments that have transpired in this city over the past 24 hours, it’s safe to assume that hundreds of local sports fans will undoubtedly have every reason to crash Bryant’s late night gala.

Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys’ prized All-Pro receiver who seemingly had been in a tug-of-war, show-me-the-money slugfest with his employers for some time, on Wednesday reached an agreement with the team on a five-year, $70-million deal.

The deal includes $45 million of guaranteed money accompanied by a $20 million signing bonus.

DEDICATED DEZ --- Dez Bryant’s contract signing, which occurred less than an hour before Wednesday’s franchise tag deadline, served as a colossal makeover for a city whose sports landscape was in dire need of some favorable news, especially considering Dallas emerged as the laughing stock of indignity and discourtesy and stigma just eight days prior. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

DEDICATED DEZ — Dez Bryant’s contract signing, which occurred less than an hour before Wednesday’s franchise tag deadline, served as a colossal makeover for a city whose sports landscape was in dire need of some favorable news, especially considering Dallas emerged as the laughing stock of indignity and discourtesy and stigma just eight days prior. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Such news not only will ensure that Bryant won’t be forced to miss any regular season games amid a threatened holdout via Twitter, but his new deal all but guarantees he will join the rest of his Cowboy teammates when the team heads west to Oxnard, California in late July for their month-long training camp.

Most importantly, Bryant’s contract signing, which occurred less than an hour before Wednesday’s franchise tag deadline, served as a colossal makeover for a city whose sports landscape was in dire need of some favorable news, especially considering Dallas emerged as the laughing stock of indignity and discourtesy and stigma just eight days prior.

After a tumultuous NBA offseason that saw Dallas Mavericks leading scorer Monta Ellis bolt the organization and ink a four-year, $44 million deal with Indiana, and starting center Tyson Chandler accept the Phoenix Suns’ lucrative four-year, $52 million offer, the team unfortunately wound up on the wrong end of arguably the strangest free agency transaction in league history.

That’s when DeAndre Jordan, just five days after verbally agreeing to vacate the Los Angeles Clippers and return home to Texas to sign with Dallas, stood the Mavs up like an unattractive blind date by having second thoughts and electing to re-sign with the Clippers.

What was even more embarrassing for the Mavericks — and the city of Dallas — is that a number of Clippers personnel flew to Houston for a meeting with Jordan to convince him to back out of his deal with the team, all while Mavs owner Mark Cuban was left landloping around town attempting to track down Jordan, all while a plethora of his calls and text messages to the star center were screened in the process.

By the time the clock had struck 12:01 a.m. EST on July 9, the Mavs pursuit of winning the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes was all but a distant memory.

Jordan, as childish and deplorable and preposterous his actions were with regards to how he had gone about handling business with the Mavs, had made up his mind to return to the Clippers, a team that, upon his re-signing, emerged as a legitimate contender to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Mavericks, well, as a consolation prize amid the Jordan fiasco was their ability to lure a struggling, inefficient Deron Williams back to his native hometown to join a team that, given the massive potholes in its starting rotation and bench, could very well wind up on the outside of the playoff picture looking in next season.

Still, despite what has become a rocky offseason for the Mavs, credit Bryant for bringing some renewed enthusiasm, not to mention some much-needed sanguineness and exuberance back to Dallas and its countless die-hard sports fanatics.

YES...NO --- DeAndre Jordan, just five days after verbally agreeing to vacate the Los Angeles Clippers and return home to Texas to sign with Dallas, stood the Mavs up like an unattractive blind date by having second thoughts and electing to re-sign with the Clippers. (Photo by Cliff Murphy/Getty Images)

YES…NO — DeAndre Jordan, just five days after verbally agreeing to vacate the Los Angeles Clippers and return home to Texas to sign with Dallas, stood the Mavs up like an unattractive blind date by having second thoughts and electing to re-sign with the Clippers. (Photo by Cliff Murphy/Getty Images)

The Cowboys, coming off of a memorable campaign that ended with a 12-4 regular season finish, coupled with an exceptional postseason display that ended with Bryant’s controversial catch-no catch play in the waning moments at Green Bay in the divisional round, have locked up their best offensive playmaker for the next five years.

News that came to fruition after Big D was left holding its collective breath days leading to the NFL’s franchise tag deadline.

News that provided this city’s sports landscape with a much-needed makeover after what was a drama-filled offseason for Mavs.

News that’s almost certain to prompt Dallas sports fans to crash Bryant’s official after party Friday night.

The best party in Dallas hosted by the guy who’s responsible for invoking life back into this tradition-rich sports town.

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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Memphian Makenzie Flake defying odds, pursuing her dream as a thriving dancer

JrGrizzliesMinisDALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is a reality television series that premiered in 2006 on Country Music Television.

Surprisingly, Makenzie Alexis Flake began tuning in to the show in its second season.

Nevermind that she was only seven years of age at the time.

Yes, as strangely as it seemed in this, the modern technology era, CMT managed to grasp the attention little Makenzie, something about which her mother, Sherita Flake, welcomed wholeheartedly.

STAR WATCH --- The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is a reality television series that premiered in 2006 on Country Music Television.  Surprisingly, Makenzie Alexis Flake began tuning in to the show in its second season. She was only seven years. (Photos submitted by S. Flake)

STAR WATCH — The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is a reality television series that premiered in 2006 on Country Music Television.
Surprisingly, Makenzie Alexis Flake began tuning in to the show in its second season.
She was only seven years. (Photos submitted by S. Flake)

“When Makenzie was seven, she would watch the “Making of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” for hours and she was obsessed with becoming a dancer,” Sherita Flake told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “She would always tell us she was going to become a professional dancer.”

Now at 14 years of age, Makenzie Flake has gone to great lengths to ensure she navigates resiliently after her dreams, much like the professional dancers for America’s Team.

DREAM CHASER --- Now at 14 years of age, Makenzie Flake has gone to great lengths to ensure she navigates resiliently after her dreams, much like the professional dancers for America’s Team.  Having trained what her mother described as “heavily” a few months removed from having first witnessed the behind-the-scenes events surrounding the famous Cowboy cheerleaders, Makenzie’s parents signed her up for regular dance lessons at the House of Talent, all while her older sister, Caela, took part in ballot lessons.

DREAM CHASER — Now at 14 years of age, Makenzie Flake has gone to great lengths to ensure she navigates resiliently after her dreams, much like the professional dancers for America’s Team.
Having trained what her mother described as “heavily” a few months removed from having first witnessed the behind-the-scenes events surrounding the famous Cowboy cheerleaders, Makenzie’s parents signed her up for regular dance lessons at the House of Talent, all while her older sister, Caela, took part in ballot lessons.

Having trained what her mother described as “heavily” a few months removed from having first witnessed the behind-the-scenes events surrounding the famous Cowboy cheerleaders, Makenzie’s parents signed her up for regular dance lessons at the now-defunct House of Talent, all while her older sister, Taylor, took part in ballet lessons. Prior to her family’s move to Virginia, she trained intensely at Teran Gary’s SubRoy Studios in Memphis.

Consequently, her passion and enthusiasm for dancing gave way to her earning a spot on the NBA’s Junior Grizzlies Dance Team.

Fortunately for Makenzie, whose family recently relocated from Tennessee to Virginia, the more acclimated she had become with dancing, the more her parents devised ways to enhance her newfound craft as a way to enable her to find her niche.

SHOW STOPPER --- Among Makenzie’s accolades are: The PULSE Atlanta - Solo Awarded “Most Swagged Out Routine,” Hollywood Dance Jamz - Highest Score Overall Solo; Solo - 1st Place in Teens; Convention Scholarship; Debbie Reynolds Studio Scholarship, Recipient of Future Star Award Monsters of Hip Hop - Intermediate Convention Scholarship; Advanced Convention Scholarship; Alvin Ailey Performing Arts Scholarship, and the USA Gymnastics Tumbling and Trampoline - Tennessee State Champion.

SHOW STOPPER — Among Makenzie’s accolades are: The PULSE Atlanta – Solo Awarded “Most Swagged Out Routine,” Hollywood Dance Jamz – Highest Score Overall Solo; Solo – 1st Place in Teens; Convention Scholarship; Debbie Reynolds Studio Scholarship, Recipient of Future Star Award
Monsters of Hip Hop – Intermediate Convention Scholarship; Advanced Convention Scholarship; Alvin Ailey Performing Arts Scholarship, and the USA Gymnastics Tumbling and Trampoline – Tennessee State Champion.

Boy did she ever.

“We are very supportive and see how she enjoys dance,” Sherita Flake said. “We were surprised at the many facets that dance offers. Dance is just as demanding as an athletic sport. It takes training, dedication, and hard work. We are just amazed at the gift that she has because neither of her parents can dance or move the ways she does.

“Well…her father thinks he could (dance), so now he thinks she has her moves from him,” Sherita joking continued. “We also look at her with satisfaction.”

Today, Makenzie has flourished into an awarding-winning dancer with a resume that will undoubtedly continue to expand in years to come. Among Makenzie’s accolades are: The PULSE Atlanta – Solo Awarded “Most Swagged Out Routine,” Hollywood Dance Jamz – Highest Score Overall Solo; Solo – 1st Place in Teens; Convention Scholarship; Debbie Reynolds Studio Scholarship, Recipient of Future Star Award Monsters of Hip Hop – Intermediate Convention Scholarship; Advanced Convention Scholarship; Alvin Ailey Performing Arts Scholarship, and the USA Gymnastics Tumbling and Trampoline – Tennessee State Champion.

And, just last week, she made the dance audition at the Washington, D.C.-area Capitol Movement (or CMI), which provides programs and opportunities for all, despite socioeconomic barriers, by offering traveling classrooms for schools and community partners in need of arts education programming.

In addition, this longstanding organization assist young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds via dance scholarship programs as well as training at our summer camp intensives, annual conventions, and outreach classes. Capitol Movement strives to make it possible for all residents of the DC Metropolitan area to participate in and patronize the arts.

What’s so astounding about Makenzie’s rise as a thriving dancer — one who boasts lofty aspirations of performing on a stage similar to that the Cowboys cheerleaders — is that she’s persevering toward her lifelong ambition while simultaneously battling arguably the grandest obstacle of her young life.

For years, Makenzie has battled Von Willebrand’s Disease, which is the most common hereditary coagulation abnormality described in humans, although it can also be acquired as a result of other medical conditions. According the www.mayoclinic.org, it arises from a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of von Willebrand factor (or vWF), a multimeric protein that is required for platelet adhesion.

SHE SAID IT --- Yes, as strangely as it seemed in this, the modern technology era, CMT managed to grasp the attention little Makenzie, something about which her mother, Sherita Flake, welcomed wholeheartedly at the time.  “When Makenzie was seven, she would watch the "Making of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" for hours and she was obsessed with becoming a dancer,” Sherita Flake told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “She would always tell us she was going to become a professional dancer.”

SHE SAID IT — Yes, as strangely as it seemed in this, the modern technology era, CMT managed to grasp the attention little Makenzie, something about which her mother, Sherita Flake, welcomed wholeheartedly at the time.
“When Makenzie was seven, she would watch the “Making of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” for hours and she was obsessed with becoming a dancer,” Sherita Flake told MemphiSport during a recent interview. “She would always tell us she was going to become a professional dancer.”

Also, there are three forms of vWD: hereditary, acquired, and pseudo or platelet type, as well as three types of hereditary vWD: vWD Type I, vWD Type II, and vWD Type III.

Named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish physician who first described the disease in 1926, Type I is the most common type of the disorder and those that have it are typically asymptomatic or may experience mild symptoms such as nosebleeds although there may be severe symptoms in some cases.

As it relates to the causes and affects surrounding the disease, Sherita Flake said, “She wanted to be a cheerleader, but it was hard finding a team that would take her and only let her tumble. She was only allowed to tumble due to the bleeding disorder. Then we tried her in other sports, but as she got older, the types of injuries she was subjected to prevented her from continuing the sport.”

Fortunately for the young, vibrant Makenzie, she ultimately found her first love: Dancing.

“My talents as a dancer are definitely unique and special,” Makenzie said. “I would like casting companies and choreographers to know that I am willing to do whatever it takes to be a professional dancer, singer, an actress, and a triple threat. I have a very strong desire for this career and work hard for what I believe to be my destiny.”

In assessing how her youngest daughter has defied an assortment of odds in recent years, Sherita Flake and her husband, Derek, are grateful that Makenzie never used her physical challenges as a deterrent to fulfilling her dream, one that was birth, thanks in large part to Country Music Television.

“When she found dance and was good at it, we were over joyed,” Sherita said. “So we look at her with amazement because she never gave up despite her minor disability until she found something she could do without any restrictions.”

What a difference sitting for countless hours in front of Country Music Television has made.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an author, musician, model, entrepreneur, 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.

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 [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Texas pastor with Memphis ties remembers two-time Super Bowl champion Jethro Pugh

FALLEN STAR --- A former All-Pro selection and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965-78, Jethro Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70. (NFL Films photo)

FALLEN STAR — A former All-Pro selection and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965-78, Jethro Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70. (NFL Films photo)

DALLAS — When the Dallas Cowboys returned to Green Bay for a playoff game Sunday for the first time since the classic 1967 Ice Bowl, Andrew Jackson, Jr. couldn’t help but think of his longtime friend, Jethro Pugh.

“Every month, we had a dinner together at the airport,” said Jackson, referring to his tenure as a Delta Airlines employee at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport in the late 1980s. “I would always see Jethro and we would interact. He was a big guy, a tall guy already. Jethro was one of the most humble men you’d want to meet.”

A former All-Pro defensive tackle and two-time Super Bowl champion who played 14 seasons for the Cowboys from 1965-78, Pugh died January 7 in Dallas. He was 70.

According to team officials, Pugh died of natural causes. A public viewing will be held from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Restland Funeral Home located at 9220 Restland Road in Dallas. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship located at 1808 West Camp Wisdom Road.

While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh's tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95.5. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972. (NFL Films photo)

While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh’s tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95.5. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972. (NFL Films photo)

A native of Windsor, North Carolina, although Pugh was offered a contract to play for the AFL’s Oakland Raiders, he spent his entire professional career with Dallas, where he was the catalyst of a stifling defensive unit that was dubbed the “Doomsday Defense.”

A former Elizabeth City State All-American, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Pugh enjoyed a stellar NFL career with the Cowboys. While quarterback sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic during Pugh’s tenure, he is unofficially credited with a career total of 95 1/2. To his credit, he led the team with 12 ½ sacks for five consecutive seasons from 1968-1972.

Pugh’s 14 seasons in Dallas is the fourth-longest in franchise history.

“He was a tough player for the Cowboys,” Jackson said. “A lot of the older players remember him. If there was a (defensive) play to be made for the Cowboys, he was the player who would make it.”

A second-team All-Pro selection in his third professional season, Pugh appeared in five NFC Championship games, two Super Bowls, and appeared in 23 playoffs games in 12 of his 14 seasons. He was mostly remembered for having played in the original Ice Bowl, or the 1967 NFL Championship.

DALLAS DUO --- Andrew Jackson, Jr. (left) and former Dallas Cowboys great Jethro Pugh pose for a photo at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in September 2013. An avid Cowboys fan, Jackson met Pugh in the late 1980s. (Photo submitted by Andrew Jackson)

DALLAS DUO — Andrew Jackson, Jr. (left) and former Dallas Cowboys great Jethro Pugh pose for a photo at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in September 2013. An avid Cowboys fan, Jackson met Pugh in the late 1980s. (Photo submitted by Andrew Jackson)

Pugh was blocked by Green Bay’s Jerry Kramer on the Packers’ final play of that game, one that cleared the way for Bart Starr to score on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 16 seconds remaining that lifted the Packers to a 21-17 victory in minus-15 degree weather at the historic Lambeau Field.

Besides leading the Cowboys in sacks, Pugh appeared in 183 games, having amassed 14 fumbles, two safeties, and one interception before retiring in January 1979.

Since calling it a career, Pugh was a fixture in the Dallas community. He owned a number of western-themed gift shops at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas and hosted the annual Jethro Pugh Celebrity Golf Tournament in Dallas to raise funds for the United Negro College Fund. Also, he served as an advisory board member of the DFW Airport Interfaith Chaplaincy for which Jackson is a current member and assumes the role as an associate chaplain.

Jackson, who moved from Memphis to Dallas in 1986 to assume the pastoral duties at West Irving Church of God in Christ, said Pugh left behind an awe-inspiring legacy.

“I thought about Jethro, especially Sunday with him passing right before the game,” said Jackson who, on Sunday, shared memories of Pugh and held a moment of silence in his honor with his congregation. “And that was kind of eerie with him playing (in the Ice Bowl) so it was kind of emotional because I had known him personally and know his family.”

DrePicAndre Johnson covers the NFL for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

 

Former Packer Cletidus Hunt says Cowboys to endure ‘chilly experience’ in Green Bay

DALLAS — Cletidus Hunt on Wednesday took a moment to reminisce on his first visit to Green Bay.

As the former Memphis Whitehaven High star and Packers defensive tackle tells it, such a recollection still brings him to chills.

Literally.

According to Hunt, he and former University of Memphis cornerback Mike McKenzie were a few weeks removed from having been drafted by the Packers in April 1999. What they discovered within minutes after emerging from the plane at Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport was the frigid weather Hunt described as “downright painful.”

'ICE BOWL 2015' --- According to former Memphis Whitehaven High and Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Cletius Hunt, the Dallas Cowboys are almost certain to have a "chilly experience" when they arrive to Green Bay, Wisconsin for this weekend for Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game against the Packers at historic Lambeau Field. (Getty Images photos)

‘ICE BOWL 2015’ — According to former Memphis Whitehaven High and Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt, the Dallas Cowboys are almost certain to have a “chilly experience” when they arrive to Green Bay, Wisconsin for this weekend for Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game against the Packers at historic Lambeau Field. (Getty Images photos)

“Both of us flew up there together,” Hunt explained. “And when we got off that plane, it was so cold to the point where it gives you a culture shock. And when you play your first game, you’re sitting there trying to figure out how to get it done because it’s so cold.”

As far as Hunt is concerned, the streaking Dallas Cowboys (13-4) are almost certain to witness a similar brutally cold feeling when they fly into Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend for Sunday’s 12:05 p.m. CST NFC Divisional playoff game against the Packers (12-4) at Lambeau Field.

The overachieving Cowboys, winners of five consecutive games, have become the NFL’s hottest road team this season, having manufactured an unlikely 8-0 mark. Green Bay, on the other hand, won each of its eight home games during the regular season — trends that figure to make for one intriguing matchup when these teams square off on the frozen tundra.

One thing’s for certain: Something’s got to give in this win-or-go-home slugfest between two of the NFL’s most storied franchises, who are facing each other in a postseason game in Green Bay for the first time since the famous -15 degrees NFL Championship Game dubbed “The Ice Bowl” in 1967.

“I had some Dallas Cowboys (fans) tell me (Dallas quarterback) Tony Romo is from Wisconsin,” Hunt said. “But I told them he hasn’t been up there. He’s been in Dallas. When they first get there, they’re not stepping on the terminal because the airport is small. They’re stepping on the runway when they step off the plane. When you come to Green Bay and wake up for a 12 o’clock game and feel how cold it is in the hallway of your hotel, that’ll give you an indication of how cold it is on game day. That’s the thing I love about Green Bay. They’re going to make sure the guests have a chilly experience.”

COWBOY UP --- Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the NFL's leading rusher, will need another impressive outing in Sunday's frigid temperatures against the Green Bay if Dallas is to have a chance to advance to the NFC Championship Game.

COWBOY UP — Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, will need another impressive outing in Sunday’s frigid temperatures against the Green Bay if Dallas is to have a chance to advance to the NFC Championship Game.

A 30 percent chance of snow is expected in Green Bay Saturday afternoon with the high reaching 30 degrees. The forecast at the time of Sunday’s kickoff is expected to be partly sunny with a high of around 19 degrees.

Advantage, Packers?

“If you factor in the weather, there will be a disadvantage for Dallas,” said Hunt, adding he’s surprised the Cowboys didn’t travel to Green Bay earlier this week. “A lot of guys haven’t been in bad weather like that. When I played, there were young guys who had never seen snow, and when it snowed in Green Bay, they were fascinated by it. And when it got really cold, they were to tap out. They were ready to (get traded).”

Having played 85 games in seven seasons for the Packers, Hunt, 39, said that while he enjoyed his tenure in Green Bay — he admittedly left his Wisconsin home unlocked in the offseason while in Memphis — there were times he often found it difficult becoming acclimated to the frequent subzero temperatures for which the city is customarily known.

“The football is going to be hard. The ground is going to be extra hard,” Hunt said. “But we’ve got some extra (gear) up there. Green Bay is always prepared because that’s the backyard. That’s the home team. If you don’t know how to prepare for it, it won’t work for you. Guys don’t even want to go out there during warm-ups. But the thing about it, they’ll try to play through it. But that 12th man is on that field…that snowman on the field.”

Although Dallas is accustomed to playing in much warmer climates than the one it will witness against the Packers, Hunt believes the Cowboys can stage an upset if DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, proves to be his usual reliable self. Dallas averages 147.1 rushing yards per game, second only to Seattle (172.6).

In addition, the Cowboys are seventh the league in total offense, averaging 29.2 points per game. Green Bay, meanwhile, is sixth in the league in total offense, having registered 30.4 points per game.

COLD MEMORIES --- Having played 85 games in seven seasons for the Packers, Hunt said there were times he often found it difficult becoming acclimated to the frequent subzero temperatures Green Bay is customarily known for.

COLD MEMORIES — Having played 85 games in seven seasons for the Packers, Hunt said there were times he often found it difficult becoming acclimated to the frequent subzero temperatures Green Bay is customarily known for.

Among the keys for the Packers, who enter Sunday’s game off a first-round bye and have proven to be difficult to contain at hostile Lambeau Field, is putting pressure on Romo early and often, taking away Dallas’ potent rushing attack, and witnessing quarterback Aaron Rodgers continue to dissect the opposing secondary.

“He’s done some impressive things all season,” Hunt said of Rodgers. “And then to go 8-0 and throw not one interception, those are some really impressive stats. And he’s still battling injuries. That leg is still bothering him, but he’s had some time off.”

Still, while there has been much hoopla surrounding the Cowboys’ undefeated streak on the road and the Packers’ unblemished mark at home, the winner of Sunday’s game likely will be the team that proves it’s capable of conquering what undoubtedly will be a brutally freezing encounter on the frozen tundra.

“Get on your knees, pray, and buckle your (expletive),” said Hunt, “because it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”

A ride that, in Hunt’s estimation, could very well bring back memories of what transpired when the Cowboys and Packers last met for a postseason game in Green Bay.

“It’s going to be a repeat of the Ice Bowl,” Hunt said. “Ice Bowl 2015 is about to take place.”

Only this time, there will be a light heat wave, one that is expected to rise 13 degrees below the freezing mark.

Literally.

DrePicAndre Johnson covers the NFL for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send an email to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Dallas Fort-Worth’s Unique Corvette Club has ties to Memphis, other Mid-South cities

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — In May 2007, Keith King established a rather unique vision, one that was birthed in the confines of his stunning sports car.

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT --- The founder of the Unique Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth, Keith King heads a non-profit organization that has become a fixture throughout Dallas’ Metroplex in recent years. (Photos submitted by Larry Pena)

TEXAS SIZE IMPACT — The founder of the Unique Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth, Keith King heads a non-profit organization that has become a fixture throughout Dallas’ Metroplex in recent years. (Photos submitted by Larry Pena)

The founder of the Unique Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth, King heads a non-profit organization that has become a fixture throughout Dallas’ Metroplex in recent years.

“We’re just Corvette enthusiasts who want to ride together,” King told MemphiSport during a recent interview at Legends Sports Bar & Grill in Duncanville. “It didn’t take long for us to realize we are a unique group of people.”

As Unique Corvette Club entered its eighth year, King said among the things his members aspire to do this year is establish rapports with other Corvette clubs across the region. So far, Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth already has partnered with similar clubs in Houston, Shreveport, Louisiana, Tyler, Texas, and Memphis.

MAKING STRIDES — As Unique Corvette Club entered its eighth year, King said among the things his members aspire to do this year is establish rapports with other Corvette clubs across the region. So far, Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth already has partnered with similar clubs in Houston, Shreveport, Louisiana, Tyler, Texas, and Memphis.

An organization that is currently comprised of 62 members, Unique Corvette Club’s mission is geared largely toward partaking in various community service activities. Generally, this group, in which each member owns a Chevy Corvette, has developed a reputation for steadfastly being a viable presence in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, particularly downtrodden communities.

Unique Corvette Club routinely strives to make life fulfilling for others, from feeding the homeless, to making regular hospital and nursing home visits, to awarding scholarships to college-bound students. Just recently, the group gave away school supplies and sponsored its annual toy drive weeks leading Christmas. And, in mid-January, the club once again will participate in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in South Dallas. In addition, the club customarily participates in a food pantry activity through the North Texas Food Bank.

According to Larry Pena, a member of the club, that Unique Corvette Club has earned the trust and respect of Dallas Fort-Worth residents, such a trend essentially has overshadowed the various preconceived notions many initially had about the organization.

“The biggest misconception is when people see these cars, they think we drive up in these cars to pick up women,” Pena explained. “I can pick up women walking. Our actions speak for themselves. As people observe us, they see we are about giving back to the community.”

SOLID RESUME --- An organization that is currently comprised of 62 members, Unique Corvette Club’s mission is largely geared toward partaking in various community service activities.

SOLID RESUME — An organization that is currently comprised of 62 members, Unique Corvette Club’s mission is largely geared toward partaking in various community service activities.

Giving back to the less fortunate isn’t all this Corvette-inclined, male organization does regularly. These men also make it a point to establish a camaraderie, of sorts, amongst other.

“It was like I came in from Kuwait,” said longtime club member Nik Gilbert of Athens, Louisiana. “And one of our members recruited me. Once we got everybody together, we started pulling things together. It wasn’t about us. It was about doing things for the community.”

An organization that includes business owners, military veterans, and law enforcement officials, among others, Unique Corvette Club thrives largely off the brotherhood it has erected as a group.

According to Larry Pena, a member of the club, that Unique Corvette Club has earned the trust and respect of Dallas Fort-Worth residents, such a trend essentially has overshadowed the various preconceived notions many initially had about the organization.

According to Larry Pena, a member of the club, that Unique Corvette Club has earned the trust and respect of Dallas Fort-Worth residents, such a trend essentially has overshadowed the various preconceived notions many initially had about the organization.

“We pray together, go to church together, and break bread together,” said club member Bengy Warren of Oak Cliff, Texas. “We call it ‘Family Time.’”

As Unique Corvette Club enters its eighth year, King said among the things his members aspire to do is establish rapports with other Corvette clubs across the region. So far, Corvette Club of Dallas Fort-Worth already has partnered with similar clubs in Houston, Shreveport, Louisiana, Tyler, Texas, and Memphis.

The more other organizations become involved in community service, King said, the more people would come to embrace his Corvette-savvy club, one that, given its solid track record, figures to be around for some time.

“Ideally, I’d like to see us continue to grow and touch as many people who are less fortunate,” Warren said. “I think traditionally, we’ve had some opportunities to do some things. But I think personally, some things we haven’t been able to do because we are of the minority. When you look at that car, that’s a dream.”

A dream that was birthed, courtesy of King’s unique vision nearly eight years ago.

For more for information about Unique Corvette Dallas Forth-Worth, call president Keith King at 972-765-6049.

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

 

Dallas Mavericks express appreciation for Cowboys’ unlikely resurgence this year

DALLAS — When the Dallas Cowboys punched their ticket to the playoffs by dismantling the Indianapolis Colts, 42-7, in Weeks 16, among those who seemed in high spirits was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

Ever since the Cowboys’ shocking win at defending Super Bowl champion Seattle in Week 6, Cuban has been among those often making bold predictions about a Dallas franchise that hadn’t advanced to the postseason since 2009.

LOYAL FAN --- Dirk Nowitzki is among the Dallas Mavericks players who has been complementary of the Dallas Cowboys' resurgence this season. The 12-time All-Star says the Cowboys are peaking at the right time and could very well win it all in February. (Photo by Brad Mills/Getty Images/NBAE)

LOYAL FAN — Dirk Nowitzki is among the Dallas Mavericks players who has been complementary of the Dallas Cowboys’ resurgence this season. The 12-time All-Star says the Cowboys are peaking at the right time and could very well win it all in February. (Photo by Brad Mills/Getty Images/NBAE)

Cuban, in fact, doesn’t shy away from the notion that he believes this year for the high-powered Cowboys could very well end the way last season ended for the Seahawks.

Dallas’ quest for a sixth NFL championship begins Sunday when the Cowboys (12-4) welcome the Detroit Lions (11-5) to AT&T Stadium at 3:40 p.m. CST in an NFC Wild Card game.

“Wasn’t that exciting?” said Cuban, when asked his reaction after the Cowboys had clinched their elusive playoffs berth, coupled with the Philadelphia’s loss a day earlier against Washington that eliminated the Eagles from postseason contention. “It’s awesome, man. I love it.”

So much, in fact, that Cuban, a Cowboys season-ticket holder, has gone as far as to predict that Dallas will represent the NFC in Super Bowl 49 February 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.

As Cuban tells it, the Cowboys (12-4), winners of four consecutive games after routing each of their opponents in December, appear destined to claim their sixth Lombardi trophy in the franchise’s tradition-rich history.

“Hey, I predicted them to go to the Super Bowl and beat Denver, 52-51,” Cuban said. So I’m sticking to that…for them to win against the Broncos.”

Although Cuban wasn’t in attendance to witness Dallas’ lopsided win against the Colts that earned the Cowboys the NFC crown, he said he’s mostly happy for Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

“It was good for Jerry,” said Cuban, adding he has yet to reach out to and congratulate the Cowboys’ longtime owner. “I’m happy for him.”

Like Cuban, it seems a majority of the Mavericks locker room has gained a thorough appreciation for the Cowboys’ resurgence in this, a season in which many national media prognosticators didn’t expect them to savor a winning campaign.

“Now everybody certainly is jumping on the (Cowboys’) bandwagon,” Mavericks 16-year veteran and 12-time NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said. “Hopefully, they can keep it going and win it all.”

Like Mavs owner Mark Cuban, it seems a majority of the Mavericks locker room has gained a thorough appreciation for the Cowboys’ resurgence in this, a season in which many national media prognosticators didn’t expect them to savor a winning campaign. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

‘WE DEM BOYS’ — Like Mavs owner Mark Cuban, it seems a majority of the Mavericks locker room has gained a thorough appreciation for the Cowboys’ resurgence in this, a season in which many national media prognosticators didn’t expect them to savor a winning campaign. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)

On Friday, the NFL’s All-Pro team was released, with the Cowboys having garnered a league-best four players on the roster. Among the notable players making the team was running back DeMarco Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, and wide receiver Dez Bryant. Dallas’ Zack Martin was the lone rookie to make the All-Pro squad.

Still, in a year that essentially has given way to pandemonium throughout Dallas’ Metroplex, as well as a slew of accolades off the field, the Cowboys’ success this year undoubtedly has prompted their global fan base to anticipate a lengthy postseason run, one America’s Team hopes will culminate with a downtown Dallas parade, blanketed by confetti and the hoisting of a sixth Lombardi trophy sometime in mid-February.

So much for what many expected to be yet another disastrous season.

“Those guys look good, man,” Mavericks guard Raymond Felton said. “They’ve been doing great all year. I’m glad to see them keeping it going. I hope they make a long, a far push and win it all.”

Surely, a win on football’s grandest stage would silence more critics in what has already has been deemed a remarkable season in Big D.

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