on the basketball courts, football fields, cities and streets, at our workplaces and in our homes.
I want to honor my co-workers who spoke so honestly and heartbreakingly about their loss and fear and, yes, miraculously, hope. In the face of their truth, I encourage and dare to accept it as just that: truth. And take a moment to consider this statement by President Bush at the opening of the National Museum of African American History:
“A great nation does not hide its history,” George W. Bush said at the opening ceremony. “It faces its flaws, and corrects them.”
To do so requires courage and honesty. Here’s to us actually being the land of the brave.
Catch: Tamika Catchings continues her father’s civil rights march, but on a knee
Tamika Catchings recalls sitting on her father’s lap as a child when she first noticed a scar on his leg.
She asked if he got it playing basketball.
Long before Catchings became known as one of the best players in the short history of the WNBA, her father, Harvey, played in the NBA.
But the scar wasn’t an old sports injury.
“I put my hand on it,” Catchings says.
Then her father told her about Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s.
Doyel: Entire Indiana Fever roster kneels for national anthem
This earthquake started last month in San Francisco, but the aftershocks reached Indianapolis on Wednesday night when the Indiana Fever knelt in unison for the national anthem.
It was the first time an entire team has knelt for the anthem, a protest that began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s solitary sit-down Aug. 26. After changing his protest from sitting to kneeling, Kaepernick has been joined by a handful of NFL players and professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
On Wednesday, the Fever upped the ante.
USA Today: Mercury players meet with Phoenix police; will keep kneeling
Mistie Bass, Kelsey Bone and their Mercury teammates met with Phoenix police a few weeks ago after practice.
It was an eye-opening experience and an encouraging one for the disheartened Bass.
Taking a deep breath….
Mechelle: WNBA players should be applauded for taking a stand on issues
When I was younger, like a lot of folks, I spoke out on anything I had a strong opinion about — even when it would have been best to just keep my mouth shut.
As I got older, I became more diplomatic. More thoughtful. More calculating. There are times when the best thing to say really is nothing. Not everything is worth arguing over.
Also because you realize no matter what you say, the vast majority of your fellow humans aren’t listening and don’t care anyway. I don’t mean to sound defeatist. It’s just that I think with age comes a kind of resignation that, to a degree, we’re all shouting into the wind.
But you know what? Even if that’s all I’m doing — shouting into the endless, howling hurricane that is the Internet — I support the WNBA players who kneeled during the national anthem at Wednesday’s Indiana-Phoenix game.
.com: Marissa Coleman Pens Statement to Fans
Prior to tipoff of Wednesday’s playoff game, Fever players took part in a silent protest to bring light to pressing social issues in America today. In an effort to clearly define her position, Fever forward Marissa Coleman has penned the following statement to fans:
I have close family friends that have served this country. My brother in law fought for this country. My boyfriend was in the navy. My dad is a retired police officer. I would never disrespect them or devalue their service. My question is, why is it when you stand for something it is automatically assumed you’re against the opposite?? It makes no sense to me. I promise it is humanly possible and okay to be for Black Lives Matters, still support the hard working and dedicated officers and know that all lives matters. I promise it’s humanly possible to take a knee to spark conversations/bring awareness and still support our troops. I promise. You should try it.
Programing note! Women’s basketball history on display. The Liberty welcome author Joanne Lannin to the Garden tonight. Look for her table and strike up a conversation (and, perhaps, pick up her book, Finding a Way to Play.)
More library additions: ‘The Final Season’: New book confirms Pat Summitt ‘lived every life lesson she taught’
Jack More, GQ Magazine: If You’re Not Watching the WNBA, You’re Missing Out on Amazing Basketball
The crowd at the Staples Center had been electric all night, pulsing like a college crowd facing down a rival school. The home team had trailed since late in the first quarter, and with a minute and 23 left in the game, all looked lost as the visitors had run out to a 12-point lead. Then everything changed. The good guys mounted a furious comeback, and with 2.1 seconds left in regulation they hit an incredible falling-out-of-bounds three-pointer that pulled them to within two. But that’s when the magic ran out. One made free-throw and an intentional miss to kill the clock later, and the home team had fallen in one of the best basketball games I’d attended in a long time. (Oh, you have to see that falling-out-of-bounds three.)
Forbes: As Tamika Catchings Retires, The WNBA Loses The Ultimate Superstar
The WNBA was instituted in 1997, and later that fall, Catchings would step foot on the University of Tennessee campus, combining with Chamique Holdsclaw for a 39-0 Lady Vols run, giving Pat Summitt her sixth and third-consecutive national championship. After tearing her ACL as a senior in 2001, she became WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Fever and embarked on a 15-year journey that was highlighted with the 2012 title win over Minnesota, as well as two other Finals appearances and the 2011 MVP. She was a five-time Defensive Player of the Year, four-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIBA world champion.
All of that pales, however, to the type of woman she was off the court, beginning with her Catch the Stars Foundation for underprivileged youth.
PatriciaBabcock McGraw: Women’s Watch: The end of the Catchings era
There were tears in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Lots of them.
And not just because the hometown Indiana Fever lost its first-round WNBA playoff game to the Phoenix Mercury.
Tears about the loss seemed to pale in comparison to the tears shed by fans and teammates about what the loss really meant.
It meant the end for beloved star Tamika Catchings.
USA Today Nina: The WNBA’s new single-elimination playoff format cut short a legendary player’s final season (umm… so did losing the game)
LaChina Around the Rim: The new playoff era has begun
This week on “Around The Rim,” women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson talks WNBA playoffs, awards and retirement with Mystics coach Mike Thibault and former WNBA All-Star Chasity Melvin.
Excelle: WNBA Playoffs: Second round preview and predictions
BTW: Drake, Steph Curry, Kevin Hart & WNBA Players Demand You to ‘Pass the Ball’
Mechelle: Mercury, Dream move on in WNBA playoffs
Phoenix spent most of the summer trying to play like everyone — including the Mercury themselves — expected this team to play. It didn’t really happen with any consistency during the regular season — but it’s not too late. The Mercury are a victory away from advancing to the best-of-five semifinals but will have to win in New York on Saturday to do so.
Meanwhile, Atlanta got one of the best individual performances in playoff history from Angel McCoughtry in the first round. On Sunday, the Dream head to Chicago, where they hope to avenge a painful playoff series loss to the Sky two years ago.
Awaiting the winners are No. 1 seed Minnesota and No. 2 Los Angeles.
.com: Is Another Diana Taurasi Elimination Game Takeover in Store on Saturday? (this Lib fan sure hopes not!)
When the season is on the line, Diana Taurasi comes to play. We’ve seen it time and again, ever since she first burst onto the scene as a freshman at the University of Connecticut, and we saw it again Wednesday night.
I remember attending their final high school matchup at the Garden. What a game! NYTimes: Liberty Players’ Childhood Bond Outlasts the Story of Their Rivalry
Charles, a Queens native, and Prince, from Brooklyn, are familiar with playing for high stakes at the Garden. Ten years ago, before they were teammates, Charles and Prince were routinely portrayed as rivals battling for girls’ high school basketball superiority.
“For us, we didn’t even think about it like that,” Prince said. “We hung out most of the time after games.”
Charles added: “I think for our schools, that was a big rivalry. We both just wanted each other to be better.”
Excelle: Bill Laimbeer breaks down New York Liberty’s playoff task
Job one for the Liberty will be slowing Brittney Griner, whose form since returning from the Olympics has been comparable to the elite level she played at in 2015. She’s scored at least 15 points in eight of the last nine Phoenix games, while averaging three blocker per game over that period.
“I think she’s been more aggressive down the stretch, which was necessary for them to make the playoffs,” Laimbeer said of Griner. “She’s done a good job of focusing these last ten games. She’s a force out there, and everybody knows she’s a force, when she’s focusing, which she has been.
Merc .com: Mercury Battles Liberty in Meeting of Flagship WNBA Franchises
When the Mercury and Liberty take the floor on Saturday to decide a spot in the 2016 WNBA Semifinals, it will be a matchup of inaugural franchises, and teams whose early-year legacies could’ve been a lot different were it not for the dominance of the Houston Comets.
New shoe, but no show: Sky Rule out Delle Donne
Sarah Spain and EDD: Despite distance, Elena Delle Donne feels her sister’s presence in Chicago
.com: Round 2 Playoff Preview: (4) Chicago Sky vs. (6) Atlanta Dream
Swish Appeal: Like Mike: McCoughtry is ‘Jordan-ish,’ ‘she’s like Michael Jordan’
Philly.com: Cheryl Reeve: From South Jersey to La Salle to WNBA royalty
When Geno Auriemma put together his USA women’s basketball staff for the Rio Olympics, the University of Connecticut coach wanted a pro coach as one of his assistants since he would be coaching pros.
Auriemma went for the top, choosing the coach who has won three of the last five WNBA titles. He also chose a coach who, like Auriemma, is from the Philadelphia suburbs, with deep area roots (a mom who went to West Catholic, a dad who grew up in Gloucester City) and a local college alma mater.
Auriemma said he wanted Cheryl Reeve’s insight into the mindset of pro teams, “what goes into the ebb and flow of dealing with a pro team.”
CNN Video: WNBA Player Reshanda Gray a Slam Dunk for mentoring
Saying “bye”: So Long To Dan Hughes, One Of The Best Coaches The WNBA Has Ever Seen
Looking forward: Stars executive Riley excited to explore S.A.
Thank you: DeLisha Milton-Jones: My Retirement Letter
Thank you: Violet Palmer, who broke the gender barrier for NBA referees, retires from on court duties
It was a rough road for Violet Palmer, who along with Dee Kanter became the first female referees in NBA history back in 1997. It’s a hard enough adjustment for any official to jump to the NBA — no amount of refereeing NCAA games or any other level can prepare someone for the speed and challenges of the professional game.
But Palmer was an African-American woman entering the machismo-fueled world of male professional sports. Multiple players — including big names like Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott — questioned if a woman could and should referee a man’s game. Fans were worse spewing sexist and racist crap at her online and in person for years — all referees put up with some level of abuse from myopic fans, but Palmer got it far worse than others.
It turns out, she was good enough and officiated in the NBA for two decades, including getting to referee the 2014 All-Star Game. Players came around, including Barkley who publicly apologized to her.
You stay put: Texas women’s coach Karen Aston gets 3-year extension, raise
Ciao: Sue Darling out as Northern Arizona’s women’s basketball
Read: ‘The Final Season’ gives insider’s look at Summitt, Lady Vols
Ouch: Georgia freshman Kortney Eisenman medically disqualified
You can play: NCAA Waiver Granted for FSU’s Chatrice White
Interesting: Several women’s coaches opt for a de-facto boycott to combat increasing workload
First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone.
FWIW, a while back (’06) I wrote this for the WBCA’s Coaching Women’s Basketball: PAY-PER-VIEW RECRUITING: A look a the cost of college recruiting packs
So What’s a Good Price?
Well, that’s sort of like asking how much does a pair of pants cost — it depends.
When contacting all the NCAA Certified Tournaments organizers, I found prices ranging from $5 to $685, with the average resting somewhere between $125 and $300. At first glance, the cost variances seems nonsensical, especially considering the basic uniformity of the packet’s contents: a schedule of the games along with a player’s information (height, school, position, address, phone number), and AAU coaches information.
Mix in a coach’s concerns about missing or inaccurate information that can lead to wasted time or NCAA violations; events requiring accompanying assistants to purchase an additional packet at full price; the Groundhog Day question of why they have to buy the same information over and over again; and finally, add in the disconcerting feeling that someone is getting rich off of all this, and one can understand why the end of July can become a college coach’s “season of discontent.”
They still call him ‘Coach’
There have been plenty of leading ladies in Norman Carter’s life.
There is his wife, Jane, and daughter, Cathy.
There are the players he coached on Taylor County High School’s girls basketball teams. They once won 132 straight games over five seasons, a state record that may never be broken.
There are the thousands of young ladies who attended the basketball camps he ran every summer for 25 years at Middle Georgia College in Cochran.
And there are those whose lives he has saved through The Golden Rule, a shelter and rehabilitation center he founded 19 years ago for women with alcohol and substance abuse problems.
But the matriarch in his life was his grandmother, Ruth Carter.
She raised him, loved him and inspired him to become an educator.
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