Back in November, we shared the story of the Black Fives, the all-African-American pro basketball teams that played across the United States before the NBA was integrated in the 1950s. As we wrote in the original story, it's one of sports' great eras — and least remembered.
But that's changing, thanks in part to a deal the Black Fives Foundation struck with '47 Brand. The non-profit and apparel maker are working together to raise awareness of the Black Fives teams and players through hats, shirts, and other gear. The Black Fives line launched in June, and it's pretty cool.
The numbers for the 2015 Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles are out of this world:
And 500,000+ spectators.
From Albania and Myanmar to Zambia and Zimbabwe, competitors from around the globe have come together to compete in sports like aquatics, kayaking, and volleyball.
The games kicked off on Saturday with a four-hour extravaganza that included speeches, poems, videos, and performances from people including President Barack Obama (via video), First Lady Michelle Obama (in person!), NBA star Damian Lillard, and Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. The heart of the program was the Parade of Athletes. Delegations from all the countries entered the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the cheering crowd of 62,338.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the ceremony was when Charles — who competed in Special Olympics as a child — led the athletes’ oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been less than two months since the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning to win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. And while fans wait for the 2015-16 season to begin in October, they can relive all the action of the Blackhawks’ Cup run with the commemorative DVD/Blu-Ray Stanley Cup Champions 2015: Chicago Blackhawks, which hit stores yesterday.
The film begins with a retrospective montage and interviews with team members talking about how the 2014 season ended: with a loss to the LA Kings on home ice in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Players talk about how disappointing the loss was and how it pushed them to want to be better. The Blackhawks added talented new players, coaches, and staff in the offseason to bolster its lineup and create a team that could compete for the Cup in 2015.
The 2014-2015 Blackhawks season was a memorable one for both bad and good reasons. Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford had injuries that kept them out for weeks. The team lost beloved equipment manager Clint Reif. It acquired new players. And there were several suspenseful and stressful overtimes. And yet the Blackhawks went on to finish with a 48-28-6 record and claim their sixth Stanley Cup.
On Saturday, more than 2,400 walkers and runners crossed "Home Plate" at Fenway Park. They were part of the sixth annual Run to Home Base charity event.
The 9K run/2 mile walk raised $1.1 million dollars for the Home Base Program, which is supported by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Home Base helps veterans and their families heal from post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries. It’s a growing public health problem as more and more servicemen and women return from battlefields like Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Sunday, four baseball legends took their rightful place at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This year’s four inductees are Pedro Martinez, the Expos’ and Red Sox’ ace who won the pitching Triple Crown in 1999; John Smoltz, the Braves’ starter and reliever who teamed with fellow Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux to form historically great rotations in the ‘90s; Craig Biggio, the Astros’ legendary second baseman; and Randy Johnson, the “Big Unit,” who was the most dominant pitcher in baseball for a decade with the Mariners and Diamondbacks, among other teams.
With another spectacular Hall of Fame class in the books, it’s time to see who will be inducted in the next five years, starting with players who are currently eligible but have not yet made the cut.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup wrapped up yesterday, with Mexico defeating Jamaica, 3-1, to claim the championship trophy. It is Mexico’s seventh title in the 23-year history of the tournament.
After some uneventful play for most of the first half, Andre Guardados scored on a beautiful crossover in the 32nd minute, giving Mexico a 1-0 lead, which they held through the first half.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Jesús Corona scored again for Mexico with an on-the-ground shot from the 18-yard line, putting Jamaica down by two. Another Mexican goal by Oribe Peralta put Jamaica in a hole they could dig out of.
You probably know Jamaal Charles as a great running back. Last season, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards with the Kansas City Chiefs. But what you might not know is that, as a kid, he competed in the Special Olympics. Charles became a track and field star because of his amazing speed.
Over the years, Charles' relationship with Special Olympics has evolved. And this weekend, he stood on the stage at the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles to inspire thousands of athletes to follow their dreams.
I had the chance to see down with Charles before the opening ceremony. We chatted about the Special Olympics, his NFL career, and playing as himself in Madden. Watch my interview below!