Texas-born entertainer Kbella on major comeback: “God said, ‘Now it’s your turn to shine.’”

DALLAS — In case you don’t know her, allow Karla P. Bell to introduce herself.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, listening to Bell, widely known in the world of entertainment as “Kbella, it would become virtually easy to tell that there are no filters when it comes to this vibrant, progressive woman of color . Need more proof? During a recent, in-depth interview with longtime journalist Andre Johnson, Kbella didn’t hold back, proving time and again to be blunt and forthright unlike never before. So what else does this ever-evolving, ever-so-competitive entertainment universe want to know about the rising entertainment icon known as Kbella. We bring to you a thorough introduction from the woman herself.

 

Bella“Well…I went to a Catholic school as a child for many years. My parents always made sure I had the best schools and education. After I transferred to a more different environment, which meant going to a public school, it only furthered my skills in music. In fact, I went to St. Phillips College as well as DBU (Dallas Baptist University), getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management And Finance. My mother is Wanda Darden and father is Karl Bell. My siblings are Tabatha Allen, Stacie Marshall, Jeanette Winston, Edwin Bell, and myself; the youngest is Karla Bell.

“My childhood growing up was great for the most part. I was a spoiled little girl who had everything and never could recall going without as some people who have endured some of the less-fortunate things life. The environment I grew up in was Baptist and Catholic, but learning both religions were actually a great thing to me. The close people in my life who inspired me was my father, Karl Bell, who also was a member of the Ohio Players for a short while before their great success. My father was originally from Ohio, and worked and lived across from the group Roger and the Zapp Band, which led up to him pushing me further in my career because of wisdom from Roger Troutman.

Bella2Bella8“Also my cousin, (rapper) ‘YoYo’ kept believing that I could do this dream of being a recording artist as I persevered in making my dreams come true, not to mention Jalon Woods, who said, ‘I’m gona make sure the best comes out of you. You are really a star. Ericka Bella3Sodie, Panzie Johnson, Christie Glenn, and my favorite cousin, Madella Mosley, have been with me on this journey of success. As an entertainer, I love music and acting. This has been my love because; of course, God is my First, and my parents and children are after that. But next to the ones I care about in my life, I have to say my music is right there, next to my heart, and has always been ever since I was performing as a child in Catholic school.

Bella4“Ms. Doris Callis, my first music teacher had me perform Diane Ross, ‘Muscles.’ I’ll never forget it. I was a total knockout. I have met a number of famous people: YoYo, my cousin, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boyz, not to mention a short lived relationship with Scarface at a young age. It was very intriguing and fun, but when you’re young with a lot of money and power, you don’t tend to pay attention to the valuable things in life. Marvin Sapp, J. Prince Ceo of Rapalot Records, UGK, 5th Ward Boyz, George Clinton, and the Parliament and etc….the list can goes on and on. Being with the group PKO at 15, I was signed and performed rap battles all in middle school and high school, and nobody could hang with me…and I meant nobody (lol).

“And hearing a man say, ‘You never know, you might get discovered one day soon,’ I’ll never forget that. I was graduating high school at 16 and I got signed and discovered by a man name Authur Smith, who then was an AR rep for Rap-A-Lot Records. Performing on the stage with the Geto Boys and Bushwick Bill has really been a great success for my life…exposing me to the spotlight with a number of artists has kept me going and growing. My cousin YoYo would always say you have to stay focused and that people like us have a blessing on our life through God and that no one can take it away.

Bella7“Thanks for that Cousin. YoYo and I are very close. Even if were distant, I can call her for anything and she will pick up the phone for me and say what’s up ‘Poo’….her nickname for me. Her sister, Dawn, and their family would always come for the summer here to visit our whole family and everybody would stay at my mom’s house. It was just plain fun-loving… cousin love, you know, getting fused at playing and fighting and back together again. The Geto boys are like brothers to me. I get tired of talking to Bushwick, but I love him a lot. He knows this business inside and out. After all I been through, I feel God has kept me covered under His blood because he has a purpose for me in life which is to mentor to people of a deeper situation. Meaning I’ve been through fame, sex, celibacy, and relationships that I can speak strongly on now, because of what I’m going through and have been through…and not to mention parenting.Bella6

“Life can throw curve balls, which is why you have to be patient and here the word of God to bring you through. I may not be where I need to be, but I can say I’m not where I started. My start is definitely not my finish. My motto is, ‘Live what you represent, which is success.’ I was taught to pay tithes, sow seeds, and God would keep the enemy off of you. And with all I been through, I can say God has definitely did that for me. The comeback is for me just to know I can still do it after a hard fall in my life. From everything I’ve been through, God is still keeping me while He’s on the thrown; my children all love me. They see everything I’ve been through and they embrace me and my personal relationship is coming forth. God is definitely working it out the way He sees fit, and whatever He chooses to do from now on, I can say I can finally rest at night, knowing God is giving me my breakthrough with everthing!

Bella5“After all I’ve been through, God said, ‘Now it’s your turn to shine.’ I have a performance on stage with Geto Bosy and Bushwick Bill at the South By Sothwest in Austin, Texas March 11-20, with a great number of artists such as Snoop Dog, Nelly, and all the BET performers…Gospel and Radio and Executive record companies will be there. I also have radio interviews all over Texas in various cities and states, and I have a current video shoot that is coming out in the Dallas area, so look out for that my first single, which will be called, ‘Real Square Biz,’ a remake of Teena Marie.

Thank you all for your support, and look out for all the upcoming events.”

Kbella

 

 

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.

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

MID-SOUTH RECRUITING: Could American Athletic Conference schools soon come calling for Dallas’ Otis Blanton?

DALLAS — Richardson (Texas) Pearce High’s football team recently wrapped up a season mired by unfavorable results, considering the Mustangs dropped seven of their last eight outings and limped to a 3-7 finish.

OtisStill, all wasn’t lost for Pearce running back Otis Blanton, who was as good as advertised for a player who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate level.

A speedy 5-foot-7, 160-pound athlete, Blanton enjoyed a pivotal junior season in which he finished the campaign as Pearce’s leading rusher.

In making a career-best nine starts, Blanton demonstrated time and again that he possesses the mechanics to put his football smarts on display at the next level, having compiled 655 yards on a team-high 144 carries while producing six touchdowns.

Add to the fact that his 4.5 yards per carry were second only to teammate Hank Hughes, and it’s no wonder he had drawn rave reviews from Mustang coach Randy Robertson and his staff.

By and large, it was because of his assertiveness and keen desire to progress since spring and summer drills that Blanton had gone to great lengths to ensure this would be the season he generates the attention of college scouts and recruiters.

WORK HORSE --- In making a career-best nine starts, Richardson (Texas) Pearce running back Otis Blanton demonstrated time and again that he possesses the mechanics to put his football smarts on display at the next level, having compiled 655 yards on a team-high 144 carries while producing six touchdowns. (Photos submitted by V. Abron)

WORK HORSE — In making a career-best nine starts, Richardson (Texas) Pearce running back Otis Blanton demonstrated time and again that he possesses the mechanics to put his football smarts on display at the next level, having compiled 655 yards on a team-high 144 carries while producing six touchdowns. (Photos submitted by V. Abron)

Mission accomplished.

According to Blanton, who also spent time at the cornerback position, he garnered interest from Baylor, North Texas, and Texas Tech, a list he hopes will expand in the foreseeable future.

“The reason I love football is because I love to compete with other people,” Blanton told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “And I love the game and it keeps me out of trouble.”

A crafty, efficient student athlete who has assumed the businesslike approach both on and off the field, Blanton acknowledges amongst his chief ambitions as he prepares for offseason workouts and summer 7-on-7 camps is to do whatever is necessary to ensure Pearce atones for its lethargic 2015 showing.

A team that will return the nucleus of its starters, the future for Blanton and Co. certainly appears bright.

“I am very happy that he decided to stick with football, because there were other sports in mind, but we talked about (football) and he has stayed with it,” said Vincent Abron, Blanton’s father. “His coaches have been very helpful, especially his position. I will say that he has helped Otis come a long way along with the (Robertson).”

Besides his coaches entrusting him to assume the bulk of the reps in what appeared to be a progressing rushing attack this season, Blanton relishes the fact that his family exemplified solid support during what was a pivotal junior season.

STOCK RISING? According to Blanton, who also spent time at the cornerback position, he garnered interest from Baylor, North Texas, and Texas Tech, a list he hopes will expand in the foreseeable future.

STOCK RISING? According to Blanton, who also spent time at the cornerback position, he garnered interest from Baylor, North Texas, and Texas Tech, a list he hopes will expand in the foreseeable future.

“My dad and my big sister and my niece are my biggest fans,” Blanton said. “They have been to all of my games.”

As for the life lessons his coaches and family routinely offer, Blanton said such inspiration undoubtedly has made a world of difference in a year in which he was as good as advertised.

So much for a losing record.

“They always tell me to work hard and stay focused and stay out of trouble,” Blanton said. “(With football), I’ve got to keep my family close.”

A trend at least three colleges have already taken into account.

 

AndreEDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”

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.

 

Your Next Plan CEO Aretha Young impacting lives through her thriving organization

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — Without question, Aretha Renee Young believes that God has a divine purpose for her life.

LIFE CHANGER --- A native of New Jersey, Aretha Renee Young, who currently resides in Lewisville, Texas, is the operations manager and chief executive officer --- or Global Expansion Leader -- for Your Next Plan, a life-enhancing organization that has gained a keen reputation for meeting the needs of people through it four entities. Among them: Estate Planning – Which aids individuals with wills and hospital/bank directives and other needs.  Essential Services – Which offers free analysts of everyday products and services geared toward savings.  In addition, this entity offers wellness plans and insurance savings, most notably residential and commercial.  Entrepreneurial Services –This entity is available for those who aspire to engage in personal and/or business ownership, which will inspire individuals to earn additional income along with their current salary and/or savings. Job Preparation – This entity is geared largely toward aiding individuals to seek for jobs, compile and create resumes, as well as assisting them with interviewing techniques.

LIFE CHANGER — A native of New Jersey, Aretha Renee Young, who currently resides in Lewisville, Texas, is the operations manager and chief executive officer — or Global Expansion Leader — for Your Next Plan, a life-enhancing organization that has gained a keen reputation for meeting the needs of people through it four entities. Among them:
Estate Planning – Which aids individuals with wills and hospital/bank directives and other needs.
Essential Services – Which offers free analysts of everyday products and services geared toward savings. In addition, this entity offers wellness plans and insurance savings, most notably residential and commercial.
Entrepreneurial Services –This entity is available for those who aspire to engage in personal and/or business ownership, which will inspire individuals to earn additional income along with their current salary and/or savings.
Job Preparation – This entity is geared largely toward aiding individuals to seek for jobs, compile and create resumes, as well as assisting them with interviewing techniques.

Part of that purpose, she says, is to enable people from various walks of life to maximize their fullest potential, to see from beyond where they are, to grasp a thorough understanding that there is more to life than what they witness in the confines of their respective community.

In a nutshell, Young strongly believes she undoubtedly was created to routinely esteem others higher than herself.

After all, that is among the reasons that Young, 51, established “Your Next Plan,” a thriving nonprofit organization that is designed to enhance and serve people, regardless of their race, creed, or color.

A native of New Jersey, Young, who currently resides in Irving, Texas, is the operations manager and chief executive officer — or Global Expansion Leader — for Your Next Plan, a life-enhancing organization that has gained a keen reputation for meeting the needs of people through its four distinct entities.

Among them:

Estate Planning – Which aids individuals with wills and hospital/bank directives and other needs.
Essential Services – Which offers free analysts of everyday products and services geared toward savings. In addition, this entity offers wellness plans and insurance savings, most notably residential and commercial.
Entrepreneurial Services –This entity is available for those who aspire to engage in personal and/or business ownership, which will inspire individuals to earn additional income along with their current salary and/or savings.
Job Preparation – This entity is geared largely toward aiding individuals to seek for jobs, compile and create resumes, as well as assisting them with interviewing techniques.

Long before organizing her business venture, Young was a fixture in a variety of sports, particularly as an avid basketball coach.

To her credit, she has coached two senior women’s basketball teams, having led them to multiple championships, including titles in the 65 and 75-year-old bracket divisions.

In guiding her clubs to championships, Young was responsible for coaching players ranging between the ages of 50 and 80. The teams routinely played in a three-on-three format in games that were comprised of two 10-minute quarters.

By and large, Young’s teams had emerged as a national standout, considering they made appearances in a variety of cities across the country.

“I had been a basketball coach for over 20 years,” Young said. “I taught strong fundamentals and when the players understood why and how we did a certain moves, they were able to play with more confident.”

According to Young, it was her competitive drive as a successful hoops coach that essentially fueled her desire to start Your Next Plan.

“That’s the same with life passions,” Young said. “When someone can discover their passion in life and how they can be successful, when someone can understand business and processes then create wealth themselves, that’s when life is strengthen and families flourish.”

An organization that strives to inspire individuals from various ethnic groups and backgrounds, among the things Young said she deems mostly intriguing about Your Next Plan is that she routinely is afforded the opportunity to meet, interact with, and help anyone, regardless of their present circumstances.

“In this business, I’ve gotten to meet all types of peoples from difference walks of life,” she said. “No one is untouchable to everyday life situations. I get to assists and help change lives. I have travel to various cities within some 48 states in America. I am able to associate myself with persons from all walks of life. I am able to attend conferences large and small in all types of business platforms.”

Besides enhancing and impacting lives, Young acknowledges that among the reasons her organization has been successful is that it steadfastly has executed its longstanding mission.

“When your “why” makes you cry, you become serious about what you are doing,” Young explained. “My personal mission is to free up my time and take money as an issue out of my life’s equation so I will have more time for with my seniors — dad, mom, and auntie. One aspect is to teach the importance of having major life issue’s paperwork in order before the issue comes up. And the other aspect is to help people to realize their own passions and potential and show them alternate ways they can make money and save money on everyday products and services.”

“I have always had an independent spirit,” Young continued. “My parents always told us to, ‘At least try it,’ so now that I believe I can. I do this because I can. I can do all things through Christ that strengthen me.”

Thanks, in large part to the divine purpose God has for her life.

Without question.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Your Next Plan conducts several types of meeting to accommodate anyone one-on-one, including private in-home business receptions, conferences, and other platforms.  Aretha Young can be reached via her website at: www.yournextplan.net.  Also, follow her on social media under LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or send email to: [email protected]


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

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki reflects on playing days with close friend Steve Nash

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT

DALLAS — When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said after the 2003-04 season that he wanted to build his franchise around a younger Dirk Nowitzki then passed up signing Steve Nash to a long-term deal, among those who expressed their displeasure with the move was Nowitzki.

BEST OF FRIENDS --- Dirk Nowitzki (right) and Steve Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together for the Dallas Mavericks. However, after Mavs owner Mark Cuban had declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix after the 2003-04 season, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him. (Photo by D. Clarke/Getty Images)

BEST OF FRIENDS — Dirk Nowitzki (right) and Steve Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together for the Dallas Mavericks. However, after Mavs owner Mark Cuban had declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix after the 2003-04 season, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him. (Photo by D. Clarke/Getty Images)

Nowitzki and Nash had become close friends during the six seasons in which they played together here.

However, after Cuban declined to match the Phoenix Suns’ offer to Nash, which was a reported $63 million over six years, Nash reluctantly bolted Dallas for Phoenix, news Nowitzki admittedly didn’t sit well with him.

“I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.”

After an NBA career that spanned 17-plus seasons and was highlighted by eight All-Star appearances and two league MVP awards, Nash officially announced his retirement Tuesday afternoon.

HE SAID IT --- Said Nowitzki in Nash leaving Dallas for Phoenix: “I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.”

HE SAID IT — Said Nowitzki on Nash leaving Dallas for Phoenix: “I was disappointed,” Nowitzki told MemphiSport following the Mavericks’ 101-94 win against the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night in American Airlines Center. “That was pretty obvious. We thought originally that Fin (Michael Finley), myself, and Steve would have a long run together. But Phoenix swooped in and gave him a heckuva deal.” (Photo by Glenn James/Getty Images)

Nash, 41, had been under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for the past two-plus seasons before injuries ultimately reduced his effectiveness and forced him to call it a career. Prior to joining the Lakers, Nash spent eight seasons with Phoenix, where he enjoyed arguably his best moments as a pro.

Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point guard (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

Ironically, Nash barely missed out on seizing a third consecutive MVP trophy, placing second with 44 first place votes, 39 shy of Nowitzki’s 83.

“Well, he was one of the greatest guards to ever play,” Nowitzki said of Nash. “He was an unbelievable competitor, as mentally tough as they get, as mentally tough as anyone I’ve seen in this league. He wanted the big shot. He wanted to be a part of the big games, played through injuries. He was just as tough as it gets and he was my friend.”

Unfortunately for Nash, a rash of injuries in recent years significantly limited his ability to perform efficiently, thus leading to him officially calling it a career.

RISING SUN --- Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian born player to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

RISING SUN — Having joined a Suns team that inherited emerging young players Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire, Nash showed that even as a then-seven-year veteran, he was still very much in his prime. Nash had become only the third point (Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy) to capture consecutive league MVP awards (2005-2006) and the first Canadian born player to win the NBA’s most covenant individual award.

After sustaining a broken leg during his first season with the Lakers, Nash was never the same player again. Consequently, he endured neck, back, and muscle issues from which he never recovered.

Last summer, Nash announced that this season would be his last. However, after experiencing continuous back pains that have been hampering him since the preseason, Nash on March 21 formerly announced his retirement.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nash played at the University of Santa Clara before he was selected with the 15th overall pick by Phoenix in 1996.

A little more than a decade removed from having played with Nash, Nowitzki finally was able to put his and Nash’s careers into perspective.

“I was disappointed at the time,” Nowitzki said of Nash’s unceremonious departure from Dallas. “But you know, looking back at our careers, maybe it was better that way. We both flourished away from each other. But looking back, I’ll always have a smile on my face of the times we had together.”

To his credit, Nash’s unorthodox style of play inspired a number of other NBA point guard, most notably fellow international player Tony Parker of the Spurs.

“He was one of the best point guards in the history of the league,” Parker said. “He had a great mind for basketball. He was a great passer obviously and we’re definitely going to miss him. I’ve had some great battles against him when he was with the Phoenix Suns. I wish him luck in his next challenge in life. We’ve always been good friends and learned a lot just watching him play.”

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.

Tyson Chandler thrilled to be back in Dallas after title run three years ago

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT 

DALLAS — As far as Tyson Chandler is concerned, it’s the “little things” that matter.

Such was the case when Chandler in June was traded back to the Dallas Mavericks after a three-year absence from the team.

Within hours after news spread of his return to the organization, Chandler fielded text messages and emails from close acquaintances with whom he established close-knit bonds during his lone season with the team in 2010-11.

HAPPY RETURN --- During the Dallas Mavericks' Media Day session Monday at American Airlines Center, veteran center Tyson Chandler said he's happy to have reunited with the team he helped capture its first NBA championship three years ago. A 13-year pro, Chandler was traded back to the Mavs in June. (Photo by Andrew Jackson, Jr.)

HAPPY RETURN — During the Dallas Mavericks’ Media Day session Monday at American Airlines Center, veteran center Tyson Chandler said he’s happy to have reunited with the team he helped capture its first NBA championship three years ago. A 13-year pro, Chandler was traded back to the Mavs in June. (Photo by Andrew Jackson, Jr.)

It was, in fact, a memorable campaign for Chandler, considering the 13-year-veteran helped propel Dallas to its first world championship in franchise history when the Mavericks upset the heavy-favorite Miami Heat in six games in the NBA Finals.

So it was no surprise that within days upon his return to the Mavericks, the city of Dallas showed their appreciation to the All-Star center by posting a picture of Chandler wearing a Mavs jersey on an electronic billboard near American Airlines Center that reads: WELCOME BACK, TYSON!

A career that includes stints with Chicago, New Orleans, Charlottle, and New York, Chandler said returning to Dallas has brought about a feeling he describes as “surreal.”

“It feels great to be back,” Chandler said during Monday’s Media Day session at American Airlines Center. “At first, it was surreal. I was a visitor for the last three years. But it’s great to be back and see familiar guys.”

While addressing reporters, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said virtually everywhere he’s gone of late, Chandler emerged as the center of conversation.

“He’s the most popular one-year player of any franchise in the history of professional sports,” Carlisle jokingly said of Chandler. “In fact, at a couple of speaking engagements I’ve had over the past couple of weeks, I said, ‘Tyson Chandler’s back.’ And folks go crazy. He’s the kind of guy that you can’t help but love to watch because of his approach and enthusiasm. You know, he’s winner.”

Not to mention a fan favorite, given the courtesies he’s acquired since his unexpected return to Big D.

POSTSEASON FORM --- Having started in each of the Mavs’ 21 postseason games in 2011, Chandler averaged 32.4 minutes, his best game coming in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when he registered 13 points and 16 rebounds to help Dallas even the series. (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

POSTSEASON FORM — Having started in each of the Mavs’ 21 postseason games in 2011, Chandler averaged 32.4 minutes, his best game coming in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when he registered 13 points and 16 rebounds to help Dallas even the series. (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

Because of the favorable impression Chandler left with the team three years ago, it’s safe to assume both sides were grateful to rekindle after Chandler announced six months after the Mavs’ title run that he had agreed to a four-year deal with the New York Knicks worth a reported $58 million.

Acquired by Dallas on July 13, 2010 in exchange for Matt Carroll, Erick Dampier, and Eduardo Najera, Chandler started 74 regular season games for the Mavs, averaging 10.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 27.8 minutes per game.

He was especially efficient during the team’s title run, particularly as the centerpiece on the defensive end, where he was forced to occupy more minutes because of the injury to backup center Brendan Haywood.

Having started in each of the Mavs’ 21 postseason games, Chandler averaged 32.4 minutes, his best outing coming in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when he registered 13 points and 16 rebounds to help Dallas even the series.

While Chandler admittedly didn’t know what to expect during his first run with the Mavs, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that much is expected of him this time around.

Chandler was especially efficient during the Mavs’ title run, particularly as the centerpiece on the defensive end, considering he was forced to occupy more minutes because of the injury to backup center Brendan Haywood. (Photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Chandler was especially efficient during the Mavs’ title run, particularly as the centerpiece on the defensive end, considering he was forced to occupy more minutes because of the injury to backup center Brendan Haywood. (Photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP)

“Obviously, having been here and winning a championship, the expectations are a little different,” Chandler said. “There are a bunch of new faces. But the motivation is still the same. And the expectations within me are still the same if not more.”

Among those who appears mostly intrigued by Chandler’s return is Mavs franchise player Dirk Nowitzki. In July, Nowitzki restructured his contract, thus allowing the team to acquire a number of key players, most notably Chandler, Chandler Parsons (from Houston), and Jameer Nelson (from Orlando).

“I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Nowitzki said of Chandler. “Obviously, the chemistry was there a few years ago, so I’m not worried about.”

As the Mavs open training camp Tuesday morning, among the key challenges for Carlisle is to devise ways to distribute minutes for a roster that boasts immense depth. Conversely, Carlisle acknowledges because of the key offseason acquisitions, much of the pressure won’t fall solely on Nowitzki to generate the bulk of the offense and on Chandler to steer the Mavs defensively.

Dallas opens preseason play October 7 when it hosts Houston. The Mavs’ season-opener is October 28 at defending NBA champion San Antonio.

“We’ll make sure (Chandler’s) minutes are reasonable, because we don’t want to overtax anybody too soon,” Carlisle said.

Regardless of how the Mavs choose to utilize Chandler this season, one thing is seemingly for certain: The smile he exhibited Monday while addressing the assembled media was indicative of just how delightful he is to have landed back at his old stomping ground.

“It’s so funny because I only spent one year here and everybody thinks I’ve spent my entire career here,” Chandler said. “You know, everybody thinks I was here four or five or six years. But it was just one, long, really incredible year.”

A year Mavs fans will never forget.

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.

Memphis-based Parker’s Water Ice thriving, now looking to have a national presence

ICE, ICE BABY --- Parker's Water Ice has become a fixture throughout the Mid-South in recent years, most notably at AutoZone Park during Redbird games and the Memphis Zoo. (Photo submitted by Veronica Parker)

ICE, ICE BABY — Parker’s Water Ice has become a fixture throughout the Mid-South in recent years, most notably at AutoZone Park during Redbird games and the Memphis Zoo. (Photo submitted by Veronica Parker)

Veronica Parker-Robinson was raised in Williamstown, New Jersey, an unincorporated community in Gloucester County that is comprised of about 15,567 residents.

Though the rural town is relatively small, Parker-Robinson had a huge impact as a multi-sport athlete.

Growing up, Parker-Robinson was a fixture in array of sports, most notably basketball, baseball, field hockey, and track and field, among others.

COOL TREATS --- Parker's Water Ice serves gelati and boasts well over 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream.

COOL TREATS — Parker’s Water Ice serves gelati and boasts well over 24 flavors of soft serve ice cream.

Field hockey?

“I excelled in field hockey and track,” Parker-Robinson, who relocated to the Mid-South seven years ago, told MemphiSport. “I experienced being Tri-County champ in both of these sports as well as receiving newspaper and college scholarships to play both.”

While Parker-Robinson, a self-proclaimed “lazy athlete,” chose not to partake in collegiate sports, it was her competitive drive as a thriving athlete that ultimately fueled her desire to excel in entrepreneurship.

Parker2Today, Parker-Robinson, along with her younger brother, Therman, are owners of Parker’s Water Ice. Located at 7050 Malco Crossing in Southeast Memphis, Parker’s Water Ice is the only Italian ice store in the Mid-South that specializes in serving gelati and features well over 24 different flavors of soft serve ice cream.

In addition, Parker’s Water Ice boasts a mobile food truck which, according to Parker-Robinson, is its “mini store on wheels.”  Her company has especially evolved as a popular establishment for the Memphis Redbirds organization, considering customers can purchase her products at AutoZone Park. Not only that, Parker’s Water Ice treats are available at the Memphis Zoo.

“We are also known for our gelati which is the layering of Italian ice with serve soft serve ice cream,” Parker-Robinson said.

CHECK OUT PARKER’S WATER ICE ONLINE: www.parkerswaterice.com/

A family-run business whose mission is to provide its customers with high quality products at reasonably low prices, Parker’s Water Ice offers a kosher, fat free, cholesterol free and dairy free Italian ice. Parker’s business also host parties, company appreciations, church picnics, family reunions, offices parties, community sporting events, not to mention fairs and carnivals. Also, this company allows consumers and Mid-South-area businesses to hold fundraisers.

As Parker-Robinson tells it, it took her to actually fail in order to grasp a thorough appreciation for savoring success.

COOL FANS --- Parker's Water Ice has become one of the favorite treats for local baseball fans who attend Redbird games.

COOL FANS — Parker’s Water Ice has become one of the favorite treats for local baseball fans who attend Redbird games.

“During my senior year I placed second (in a race), getting nipped at the line in the qualifying meet for state,” Parker-Robinson explained. “I did not lose that race because the other girl was faster than me. I lost because I was out of shape and ran with the proverbial monkey on my back for the last 100 meters. All season long I was able to win my races doing just enough, but just enough was not enough when I faced better competition.

“What really bothered me was the fact that I should have won that race,” Parker-Robinson continued. “If I could come in second doing the minimum, what could I have achieved doing the maximum?  I decided from that day, I would no longer live with what if. Even in failing, at least I would know the end result and have given my all. That is why I did not run in college. I knew I had to choose between being a full time student or a part-time student or a part-time athlete. I knew myself. I was honest with myself and, at that point of time in my life, I was not the type to balance both.”

With sports all but a distant memory, Parker-Robinson consequently managed to fulfill her academic obligations, earning degrees in Journalism (with an emphasis in broadcasting) and Sociology from Rutgers University. Fortunately for Parker-Robinson, her academic success proved just as beneficial to her entrepreneurial success than her plethora of accolades as a multi-sport athlete back in the rural setting of Williamstown.

Athletics and academics, nonetheless, helped instill in her the essential attributes to thrive as a flourishing business owners, something about which Memphians have embraced wholeheartedly in recent years.

Parker-Robinson said plans are in the works to add a second location likely in the Bartlett or Cordova area sometime in March 2015.

“I think I was born with the gene, like my father,” Parker-Robinson said of her entrepreneurial success.  “My dad would purchase boxes of candy and my youngest brother and I would take the candy to school and sell it.  Years later it took shape into our family business.”

A business that figures to have a viable presence in Mid-South for quite some time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information about Parker’s Water Ice, call 901-624-7676.

 

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

Texas S.W.A.G. Track And Field thriving in Dallas, surrounding areas

PROVEN LEADERS --- Among the reasons Texas SWAG Track And Field has been a success is because its coaches boast a wealth of experiences. (From left to right): Ricky Madison, Texas SWAG founder William Henderson, and Isaac Bell.  (Not pictured): Trey Bates, Bob Bell, Tommy Cauley, Tommy Hamilton, Renwick Ridgeway, John Stewart

PROVEN LEADERS — Among the reasons the Texas SWAG Track And Field club has been a success is because its coaches boast a wealth of experiences. (From left to right): Isaac Bell, Texas SWAG founder William Henderson, and Ricky Madison.
(Not pictured): Trey Bates, Bob Bell, Tommy Cauley, Tommy Hamilton, Renwick Ridgeway, John Stewart (Photo by Andre Johnson)

ARLINGTON, Texas — In William Henderson’s estimation, it isn’t necessary to always attach a negative panorama to the term, “swag.”

“People tend to want to put a negative connotation to it,” Henderson told MemphiSport during a recent interview from Arlington’s Seguin High School. “In order to wear this, you’ve got to have swag.”

Henderson is referring to the newly-designed uniforms his Texas S.W.A.G. Track and Field Club will wear when it arrives to Texas State University in San Marcos next week for the USATF Region 12 Junior Olympic Track And Field Championships.

The regional competition will take place July 9-12 and will consist of athletes in various age divisions between eight and 18.

Two years ago, Henderson founded Texas S.W.A.G. Track And Field, a non-profit organization that serves specifically as a charitable, religious, and educational entity in Dallas’ Metroplex.

MOTHERLY IMPACT --- Texas SWAG Track And Field founder William Henderson chose pink as his club's primary color in honor of his mother Joyce, who has been a breast cancer survivor for the past 12 years. (Photo submitted by William Henderson)

MOTHERLY IMPACT — Texas SWAG Track And Field founder William Henderson chose pink as his club’s primary color in honor of his mother Joyce, who has been a breast cancer survivor for the past 12 years. (Photo submitted by William Henderson)

S.W.A.G., which stands for Success, Wisdom, Athleticism, and Grace, is currently comprised of about 90 athletes, many of whom compete for their respective middle and high school.

Come Wednesday, the first day of regional competition, Henderson’s troop will sport their customary pink and charcoal gray threads as they aim to advance to the national Junior Olympics trials later this month.

Since starting his track and field club, Henderson said he’s often been criticized for choosing pink as one of his club’s colors. Unfortunately, he points out, many aren’t aware of his logic by the colors.

A Tyler, Texas native, Henderson selected pink as Texas SWAG’s signature color in honor of his mother, Joyce, who has been a breast cancer survivor for the past 12 years.

Texas SWAG Track And Field has more than doubled since its inception two years ago. The non-profit organization currently features as many as 90 athletes.

TEXAS SIZE EXPANSION — Texas SWAG Track And Field has more than doubled since its inception two years ago. The non-profit organization currently features as many as 90 athletes. (Photo by Andre Johnson)

“I think the NFL and (Major League) Baseball have really done a lot with pink, especially for the male gender,” Henderson explains. “Last year, in my first year, there were some negative comments from people. I remember one a lady saying, ‘I’d never let my son wear pink.’ It made me feel the mentality of some people. It also brought to light that we all have our own prejudices. It kind of made me feel sad, especially when you’re dealing with kids because they are at that age where they’re being developed mentally.”

Long before establishing Texas S.W.A.G., Henderson enjoyed a track and field career that afforded him to run at the collegiate level. A 1987 John Tyler High graduate, Henderson was a standout distance runner during his three-year varsity stint, having advanced to the Texas state regionals in the 800-meter event as a senior.

In addition, he also participated in the 4×400 meter relay at Tyler. Consequently, he joined the track and field program at nearby Jarvis Christian College, where he was a member of the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relay teams.

After nearly a 10-year hiatus from track and field, Henderson ultimately regained his passion for the sport in 2007 during which he was asked as a substitute teacher to work as a volunteer assistant at Kennemer Middle School in Duncanville, Texas.

“The head football coach who didn’t know much about track allowed me to come out and work with the kids,” Henderson explained. “One of the things I realized when I was subbing and coaching is that a lot of our kids aren’t bad. They just need someone to talk to. They way things are nowadays, there’s something in the word, ‘coach,’ that the kids love, respect, and lean on.”

Because of a coaching staff that includes individuals who have competed at the collegiate level, Texas S.W.A.G. currently is comprised of about 90 athletes, a figure that has more than doubled since Henderson officially launched the club in January 2013.

“I surround myself with good people, with coaches who are U. S. Track And Field certified,” said Henderson, who also coaches the Mansfield Texans youth football team. “Most of my coaches are coaching at the high school level now, which adds legitimacy to our program because you’ve got people out here who know what they’re doing.”

YOUNG ENERGY --- Texas SWAG has athletes as young as seven years old.

YOUNG ENERGY — Texas SWAG has athletes as young as seven years old. (Photo by Andre Johnson)

Besides helping youths compete at a high level, among the skills Texas S.W.A.G. coaches emphasize to athletes is how to identify various forms and breathing or, as Henderson acknowledges, “how to run properly.”

“We have certain types of equipment for their arms like bird bands,” Henderson said. “We also train them for the quarter mile (or 400 meters). I was taught at John Tyler that if you can run the 400, you can run anything. That’s what I build my program on.”

An organization that ranges between the ages of seven and 18, among Texas S.W.A.G.’s key objectives is to promote good academic standing, particularly with regards to enlightening youth athletes on what it takes to earn scholarships upon graduating high school.

“We stay in contact with kids year round,” said Henderson, whose organization boasts indoor and outdoor seasons. “That in itself is how we help high schoolers. We also stay with them on their grades. We give them NCAA Clearing House packages that tell them what colleges expect.”

DOUBLE DUTY --- Texas SWAG Track And Field founder William Henderson also coaches the Mansfield Texans youth football team. (Photo submitted by William Henderson)

DOUBLE DUTY — Texas SWAG Track And Field founder William Henderson also coaches the Mansfield Texans youth football team. (Photo submitted by William Henderson)

Given its rapid growth in such a brief time as a non-profit organization, Henderson is appreciative of the fact that parents have bought into his staff’s unorthodox style of coaching, let alone his club’s unique colors.

“There’s a fine line between being swag and being cocky,” Henderson said. “I like running. All of my buddies in high school knew that track was going to be my deal.”

So far, so good for a flourishing program that is starting to have a viable presence in Dallas’ Metroplex.

Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Former Duncanville sprinter to college coaches: ‘I’m going to give it my all and do my thing on the track’

DUNCANVILLE, Texas — D’Andre Jackson-Reeves loves track and field.

So much, in fact, that he deemed it necessary recently to consult an Olympic gold medalist for advice as he prepares to lobby for a spot on his college track and field team.

ON YOUR MARK --- D'Andre Jackson-Reeves emerged into a standout sprinter for Duncanville High in the Dallas area. After getting advice from two-time Olympian Rochelle Stevens recently, he hopes to earn a spot for Prairie View A & M track and field team this fall. (Photos submitted by Nathanial Reeves)

ON YOUR MARK — D’Andre Jackson-Reeves emerged into a standout sprinter for Duncanville High in the Dallas area. After getting advice from two-time Olympian Rochelle Stevens recently, he hopes to earn a spot for Prairie View A & M track and field team this fall. (Photos submitted by Nathanial Reeves)

Jackson-Reeves contacted Rochelle Stevens, a two-time Olympian who won a gold medal as part of the 4×400-meter relay team in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

A conversation he said lasted for about 15 minutes, Jackson-Reeves admittedly came away inspired as he clings to hopes of earning a spot on Prairie View A & M University’s track and field this fall.

“She talked to me about what coaches will be looking for in a college athlete and the times they would want,” Jackson-Reeves told MemphiSport during a recent interview. She asked what events I ran and what were my best times were. “She suggested that I run cross country to help me get in shape. The conversation was some what informative because she told me a lot of things I already knew about track and what it would take.”

While Jackson-Reeves, the former Duncanville High sprinter, did not compete for a spot on Prairie View’s track and field program his freshman year so he could focus primarily on his grades, he believes now the time has come to prove he’s worthy of putting his skills on display for PVAMU coach Chris Clay’s squad.

ALL WORLD --- Before winning an elusive gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics, Memphian Rochelle Stevens was a four-time national champion at Morgan State University in Baltimore. (Getty Images Photo)

ALL WORLD — Before winning an elusive gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics, Memphian Rochelle Stevens was a four-time national champion at Morgan State University in Baltimore. (Getty Images Photo)

Ever since Jackson-Reeves set foot on the Houston, Texas campus last fall, he has taken part in mostly individual workouts as a way of staying in favorable shape. Add to the fact that he has compiled a 3.5 grade point average, and it’s no wonder why he believes he could contribute immediately for PVAMU.

“I believe (the PVAMU coaching staff) saw me working out,” Jackson-Reeves said. “I’m fast and I’m a go-getter on the track. I have the attributes to help that team.”

Said Jackson-Reeves’ father, Nathaniel Reeves: “That’s one thing I’ve really pushed and that’s work ethic. Being in the military for years, you’re working as a team to get a job done. We go out as a team, we shoot as a team, move and communicate as a team. Not only does (Jackson-Reeves) does it on the (track), but he can do it in the classroom.”

Prior to enrolling at PVAMU, Jackson-Reeves enjoyed an efficient stint for Duncanville’s tradition-rich track and field program.

He ran the 100- and 200-meter dash and took part in the 4×100- and 4×200-meter relays his freshman and sophomore seasons before omitting the 100-meter dash from his events his final two seasons.

Looking back, he said he felt his second full year was his breakout season, in large part because Duncanville came away with assortment of hardware.

“It was just that year, my teammates and I were doing really good,” Jackson-Reeves said. We would go to every meet and come back with medals. The team chemistry was really good. And plus it was good because we were winning. It really boosted my confidence.”

Now, Jackson-Reeves is destined to exhibit that same winning attitude for Prairie View. Surely, he realizes it will take a monumental effort on his part. But as he tells it, he welcomes the lofty challenge of making his presence felt.

Once again.

“I have the grades,” Jackson-Reeves said. “So you never have to worry if I’ll be eligible to run. And I have the will power to compete. I just want to be another student who wants to compete on the track.”

Said Jackson-Reeves former high school track coach William Henderson: “I was Dre’s summer track for two-to-three years but our relationship with him and his family goes beyond the track.  I’ve always had a good relationship with him even to this day as he moves toward and pursue his passion in and out of the classroom.  I was always partial toward Dre’ because he has the same passion towards track as I do. He has always been a hard-worker and focused young man.  Dre is a self motivator and a leader which are essential elements in being a track athlete.  He’s very aware of his abilities but isn’t afraid to tackle those things that will make him better.  I think each team, no matter if it’s Pop Warner, high school, college, or professional needs people like Dre’ on their team.”

If given the chance to compete for Prairie View A & m, Jackson-Reeves said he would have fulfilled his dream of competing at the collegiate level.

“I’m going to give it my all and do my thing on the track,” Jackson-Reeves said.

For Jackson-Reeves, it was similar advice he absorbed from Stevens who, before striking Olympic gold, made her presence felt on the track for a historically black college (Morgan State University).

“She helped me to realize that I’m really going to have to bust my butt and start making a name for myself and let my speed do the talking for me,” he said. “And with (good grades) and good times, then I can get a scholarship. She sounded like a nice person and a person that keeps it real, because she didn’t want to lead me on to false information.”

Now it’s time to put on display what he was told by one of world’s finest sprinters to ever grace a track.

DreColumnAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also is the NBA Southwest Division reporter. To reach Johnson, email him at [email protected]. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.