August 01, 2013

By Donald Hunt

Special to the NNPA from The Philadelphia Tribune

 

Donovan McNabb made it official on Monday, retiring as a Philadelphia Eagle during a press conference at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.

Jeffery Lurie, Eagles chairman and CEO, made the announcement and talked about McNabb’s brilliant career with the Eagles.

“We’re really honoring one of the greatest players in the history of the Eagles,” Lurie said. “He’s certainly the greatest quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Simply put, when all is said and done, this man, No. 5, Donovan McNabb, was a franchise changing quarterback. Those words are not spoken very often.

“On the field, the numbers speak for themselves. He’s the franchise leader in every major category: yards, completions, touchdowns, quarterback ratings and most important — wins. He led the team to five NFC East titles, seven playoff appearances in his 11 years here, including five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. Donovan ranks among the all-time greats in the NFL.”

McNabb will be inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame and have his No. 5 jersey officially retired by the team on Sept. 19 in front of the fans at Lincoln Financial Field in a nationally televised game against the Kansas City Chiefs. That should be a special moment for McNabb. Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid is now the head coach of the Chiefs. Reid drafted McNabb in 1999 out of Syracuse with the second pick overall in the NFL Draft.

McNabb played 11 years with the Eagles. He is one of the top passers in NFL history. He became one just four players in NFL history to throw for 30,000 passing yards, 200 touchdown passes, 3,000 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in his career, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway, Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young. The six-time Pro Bowler has a special place in Eagles history.

The Eagles had a video presentation of McNabb’s career prior to the press conference. The showed some of his greatest highlights as an Eagle. McNabb was really touched by the recognition.

“I want to thank Jeffery Lurie and the Eagles organization for this unbelievable honor,” McNabb said. “To be mentioned with the likes of Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Chuck Bednariak, Tommy McDonald, Brian Dawkins and others players who have paved the way for me and for former teammates and the current players. It’s truly an honor to not only be the first pick in the draft in 1999, but to be your starter for 11 years. But most importantly, to be inducted into the ring of honor and have my number retired.”

Serveral of McNabb’s ex-teammates were there to support him such as running back Brian Westbrook who reflected on their playing days with McNabb.

“I enjoy being your friend,” Westbrook said. “A big part of my career was playing with you. So many times there was a duo in sports. [Michael] Jordan had [Scottie] Pippin. I had Donovan McNabb and to be able to say that is a special thing to me.”

McNabb finished as the Eagles’ all-time leader in pass attempts (4,746), completions (2,801), yards (32,873) and touchdowns (216).

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

 August 01, 2013

 

By STACY A. ANDERSON

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presi­dent Barack Obama honored the University of Connecticut women's basketball team Wednesday, calling its players incredible athletes, outstanding women, and role models on and off the court.

Obama welcomed the Huskies at a White House ceremony commemorating their eighth NCAA championship. In April the Huskies defeated Louisville 93-60 in the tournament final.

Obama joked that Coach Geno Auriemma “spends more time than some presidents” at the executive mansion. Auriemma quipped that “it doesn’t get old” as he and the team presented Obama with an autographed basketball and jacket.

Obama said the Huskies won for being at their best when the stakes were high. He singled out Breanna Stewart, who was named most outstanding player of the Final Four.

The president also highlighted the team’s community service, such as visiting seriously ill children at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and joining in the Walk for Autism.

The president said he was especially proud of the players for being role models to his daughters Sasha, 12, and Malia. 15.

“As the father of two young, beautiful, athletic and tall daughters, it just always puts a smile on my face whenever I see such class acts represent their school and their country so well,” he said.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 01, 2013

By Perry Green

Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

 

British Formula One racing driver Lewis Carl Hamilton is easily considered the most accomplished Black race car driver in the history of motor sports. Now 28 years old, he became the first Black driver to ever win the British Formula One championship at age 22, and is also the first Black driver to win a major race at the Indianapolis Motors Speedway in any discipline.

Unfortunately for Hamilton, this season has been a far cry from that early success, as he currently trails points leader and three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel by 60 points after placing fifth in the German Grand Prix race on July 7.

Hamilton has yet to win a race this year; his last win came during the 2012 United States Formula One Grand Prix. He blames his struggles on his car after switching from McLaren to Mercedes at the start of the year.

“The car is a disaster on heavy fuel loads,” he said to the media following the German GP. “It’s always a shock when a race goes bad. You never expect it to go as bad as it does. You find you are digging yourself out of a hole right towards the end of a race when all of a sudden the car [stops] working. It’s very frustrating.”

Hamilton told reporters he still wants to win the 2013 Formula One championship, but it seems unrealistic given Vettel’s lead.

“I’m not really thinking about the championship now. There’s really no point—especially as he is nearly 60 points ahead,” he said. “We are going to need a little bit of elbow grease and we might be able to do it.”

Despite his struggles, Hamilton remains in a relaxed state of mind. According to The Daily Mail, he spent July 13 doing doughnuts for display at the Goodwin Festival of Speed as a crowd of thousands of race fans cheered him on. He then linked up with friends Jay-Z, Nas and Justin Timberlake as they performed at the Wireless Festival in London the following day.

He even posted a picture on Twitter on July 19 from his personal recording studio.

“My hideaway—pouring my heart into this track!!” Hamilton tweeted, while also sharing a message about love for his fans, hinting that he misses his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Scherzinger, the former Pussycat Dolls lead singer, whom he recently broke up with.

“If you’ve found that special someone, don’t EVER let them go no matter what,” Hamilton tweeted. “Nothing in this world is more important!”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

August 01, 2013

By LARRY LAGE (AP Sports Writer)

 

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons officially announced the next step in their win-now plan Wednesday, acquiring point guard Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks for guard Brandon Knight and two other players.

''We believe Brandon's talent and skill-set will complement the core group of players we have assembled on our roster in a positive way,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement released by the team.

The Pistons also gave up two seldom-used players, forward Khris Middleton and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.

Detroit has signed free-agents Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups and Luigi Datome this offseason after drafting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the No. 8 overall pick, but it didn't have a standout point guard until agreeing to a deal with Milwaukee. The Pistons seem to have improved their chances of ending their four-year postseason drought with a series of moves this summer.

The 23-year-old Jennings averaged 17.5 points and a career-high 6.5 assists last season, ranking among the league's top 20 in both categories, and 2.5 turnovers. The restricted free agent has agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract with the Pistons.

Milwaukee drafted Jennings 10th overall in 2009 out of Oak Hill Academy and he averaged 17 points, 5.7 assists and 2.4 turnovers over four seasons with the Bucks, who could've matched any offer made to the restricted free agent this offseason.

''We evaluated all of our options and we determined this was the best one for us at this time,'' Bucks general manager John Hammond said in a telephone interview.

Detroit drafted Knight eighth overall in 2011 out of Kentucky. He averaged 13.1 points, 3.9 assists and 2.7 turnovers over the last two seasons.

''We're excited about being able to add a young point guard, who we expect to have a long and successful career with us,'' Hammond said.

Middleton, a second-round pick last year, averaged 6.1 points in 27 games with the Pistons.

''This is going to be a great opportunity for Khris because he's going to have a chance to earn viable minutes and we hope he takes advantage of it,'' Hammond said.

The 6-foot-11 Kravtsov averaged 3.1 points in 25 games last season as a rookie, and might not end up being on the opening-day roster with the Bucks.

Milwaukee, coming off its first postseason in three years, signed free agent combo guard Gary Neal to a two-year deal worth just under $6 million on Tuesday. Neal will help add some scoring to a backcourt that will be without Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick next season.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

July 25, 2013

By Taki S. Raton

Special to the NNPA from the Milwaukee Courier

 

“Could we be seeing the second coming of Tiger Woods?” asked Hannington Dia in her April 23, 2013 NEWSONE for Black America posting.

She is young, gifted, and Black.  Ginger Howard of Bradenton, Florida has become the youngest Black female golfer to turn professional at the age of 18.  Prior, at the blooming age of 16, she was the first ever African American golfer to compete in the Junior Ryder Cup held at Gleneagles Scotland September 27-28, 2011.  Ginger has to date won 78 trophies and has ranked first in 41 out of 66 tournament events.  The Junior Ryder Cup is a bi-yearly contest between Europe and America.

The teams consist of boys and girls under the age of 18.  Designed as an international showcase of golf’s next generation, the event is designed to cultivate international friendships between top junior golfers in the United States and Europe according to a Ryder Cup web page.

Noting an “Outstanding Leaders in Golf Awards” site posted by the African American Golfer’s Digest, Ginger in 2011 scored a stellar record of two wins and one loss over the two day Ryder Cup challenge.  Teaming with Doris Chen, also from Bradenton, the duo managed to defeat the European French twosome of Manon Gidali and Maon Molle.

In addition to her selection to compete in the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup, her junior golf circuit during this time also included the 2010 Leadbetter All-American First-Team, the 2010 FCWT First-Team All-American, the 2010 AJGA All-American Second-Team and the 2010 Cannon Cup East Team.

The Symetra Tour golfer became the youngest African American in the world to turn professional, and in her rookie 2012 year, noting a Ginger Howard web site, she would amass a start-up career earnings of $21,170.00.

Promoted as the world’s largest international women’s development tour, the Symetra Tour, per a web descriptor, is committed to developing the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) “stars of tomorrow while creating viable role models for the youth today.”  The top 10 money winners in each tour season earn automatic membership on the LPGA tour.

Presently, writes Dia, the 5 foot, nearly 6 inch tall Ginger can drive the ball an average of 240 to 260 yards and has tallied notable competitive years on the National Junior Golf Circuit.

The oldest of four children to Robert and Gianna Howard, Ginger often shares the spotlight with her younger sister, Robbie, who is a year and a half younger.  Both girls are home schooled and perform exceptionally well in their studies says Dia.

“My sister and I started about the same time.  She was four and I was six,” reveals Ginger in a “Family Affair” titled writing on the Symetra Tour website.  “My dad would take us to the range all the time when he was watching us.  My mom worked night shifts as a nurse and had to sleep during the day.  We got bored of watching him play and that’s pretty much how we started,” she adds.

Golf has always been a family affair for Ginger from the time she picked up her first club under her father’s watchful eye to her first career Symetra Tour event.

The “Family Affair” feature writing says that “she names her sister as her biggest competitor, her mom as one of their most supportive fans” and her little brothers who could be the best athletes of them all.

“Growing up, from my first tournament up until now, he (my dad), would caddy for me.  But he always plays the role of a father, always giving me good feedback about my game, and he was my first coach.  He’s my manager as well because he is connected to everything I do,” she is quoted in the article.

She adds that they do a lot of traveling since she has turned professional with “just me and him going in the car.  My career has sort of been a father-daughter type of thing and really a family sport for us.”

As quoted in an April 19, 2013 Symetra Tour posting, the young golfer says that, “I learned a great deal about how to make ends meet while traveling with my dad during my rookie season.

I realized the importance of a budget and not living above my means, but most importantly, I learned to be patient and forgiving of myself while trying to accomplish my goals.”

Sister Robbi is very supportive and has been her cheerleader through every step of her career from competing on the course, having her as a caddie or on the sidelines cheering her onward to victory.  There are times, though, when homegrown dueling comes into play.

“Sometimes, we might trash talk, but that’s only if we’re in serious competition,” admits Ginger. “We don’t do bets or anything but we’re always competing against each other.  She’s the closest to who I am in my family and she knows my game sometimes better than I do.

I would say she’s my best competitor.”

Robbi, an accomplished amateur player, may be closest behind her sister’s footsteps with a view of also turning professional.

The two, according to the “Family Affair” writing, are “always swapping advice and encouraging each other on the course.”

The April posting further echoes her close connection to her tight knit family when living life on the Road to the LPGA.” She says, “The support of my family is crucially important to me because I know without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

My family is very encouraging to me and they give me the extra boost of confidence I need at times.  Also my parents have instilled in me that they are always proud of me and love me. When you have a strong support system, it is easier to persevere.”

The April writing further reveals that yet another guiding force in Ginger’s young career is her “unrelenting devotion to God” which allows her to keep everything in perspective either on or off the golf course.

“My faith has always been a huge part of my game,” says the now 18- year-old.  “It helps me to stay relaxed and mentally strong whether I’m on the course or at home.”

Being a role model to others has also been a goal.  She says that, “I try to live my life according to God’s word and also with the advice and guidance from my parents who raised me with strong morals.”

She adds that she sees herself as a mentor to her younger sister noting, “At times, I’ve suggested things about her game which is helpful for her.”

The 2013 citing reveals that with one full season already to her credit, to include a career-best tied for second, Ginger’s goal for her sophomore season on the Symetra Tour is focused on one goal – to earn her LPGA Tour card for 2014.

“I have set many goals for this season as it relates to my faith,” says Ginger.

“I believe that if I put in the work that is needed, along with keeping God my number one, I will obtain my LPGA card for 2014 by the end of this year.”

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

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