DUAL PERSPECTIVES | #MarchMadness Predictions: Sweet 16

DUAL PERSPECTIVES | #MarchMadness Predictions: Sweet 16

No one wants to be the guy who gets caught up in the moment, but this has already been the craziest NCAA Tournament ever.  The first two rounds provided a slew of exciting games and unbelievable upsets including the unthinkable.   After 135 losses, a 16-seed (UMBC) took down a 1-seed (UVA).  

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Coach Dawn Staley Defines Thriving to Reach Peaks of Mountains that Were Once Impossible to Climb

Photo cred: Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images
As a young athlete, a swimmer who played basketball, I grow up didn't seeing many women in professional sports, especially women of color. For a while, there was no such thing as WNBA and black women in swimming, at least on the Olympics scale, was unheard of. When doors finally opened up for women to play basketball in the states beyond college, along with participation in professional sports across the board, the opportunities for female ballers were still limited, so to grow up watching lady pioneers, such as Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, and Dawn Staley, pave the way for other female athletes was witnessing history unfold. Although I wouldn't necessarily consider myself to be a "baller", I've always pulled most of my inspiration from women who were/are.

Photo by: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
One of the women in sports I grew up admiring is Coach Dawn Staley. Responsible for building the University of South Carolina women's basketball program up to championship status over the 9 years she's been with the team, Staley possesses outstanding leadership qualities that has most definitely reformatted the entire blueprint of women's collegiate basketball in this country. Coming from the projects of North Philadelphia to being as wildly successful as she today, she defines what it means to overcome adversity by reaching peaks of mountains that were once impossible to climb. Her passion, hard work, and unwavering dedication are all tactics she uses in her tough love coaching, morals she's stood firmly behind to attain success, and are all principles we can learn from, no matter what career field we go into.

"...I learned that you have to have a believe in self far greater than anyone else's disbelief. You have to remove all doubt that you aren't worthy or qualified, but to do this you have to work hard. There are no shortcuts in life. 9 times out of 10, when you put the work in, it will work out, but that one time that it doesn't, you can't stand on principle and pride; you have to shake off the disappointment and make the adjustment..."  

-Dawn Staley, USC Spring 2015 commencement

Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. source




Years prior to her coaching career at USC, Dawn Staley has created a standard for not just women in sports, but also for the game of basketball in general. Her epic list of accolades and performance résumé as both an athlete and a coach (such as inductee in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, 3-time Olympic Gold medalist, and now, NCAA Women's basketball champion, to name a few) is nothing less than extraordinary and solid proof that she's a play-maker, a winner, and a competitor on every level. Through her accomplishments, she is someone who has worked extremely hard to earn certain bragging rights of being one of the best to ever do it with such a long road ahead of her to achieve even more.

There have been several times over the past few weeks since the NCAA tournament that I've wanted to write more in depth about Coach Staley, besides the brief mention on Tidal Wave Wednesdays no.1, but didn't. Even as someone I am personally inspired by and whose career I've followed very closely over the years, I just couldn't find the words, but what better time than her birthday to honor all that she's done and continues to do and for being a beacon of hope in the lives of many. I can't say that my words have done her justice here, but I'm inclined to wish her the best of birthdays and many more to come. 

Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA

Tidal Wave Wednesdays no. 3 | Road to the Final Four, NFL Draft, & Battle of MVP

#MarchMadness

NCAAM Basketball

image source
  • March Madness is coming to an end, as 03.25 commenced the face-off of the Elite 8, which consisted of Gonzaga. Xavier. Kansas. Oregon. Florida. South Carolina. UNC. Kentucky.  
  • That Sunday night match up between Oregon and Kansas...wow; just wow. Ultimately, Oregon advances to their first Final 4 match-up in 78 years, so although I was rooting for Kansas, I have to give them props. 
  • Congratulations to the NCAAM Final 4: South Carolina, Gonzaga, UNC, and Oregon, UNC heading to this round of the tournament for the 20th time. This has been an incredible tournament and makes me really look forward to the 2017 NBA draft. 
  • News, but not really: South Carolina officially has more wins in Madison Square Garden than New York Knicks. 

NCAAW Basketball Tournament

  • As for NCAA Women's basketball, Monday [03.27] was the last of the Elite 8 series: UConn vs. Oregon and South Carolina vs. Florida State. 
  • Standford was able to come back from a 16 point deficit and advance to the final 4 against Notre Dame, so now we have Standford, South Carolina, UConn, and Mississippi State for the female ballers. 
  • Both South Carolina teams are headed to the Final 4, which is pretty amazing. 

NFL/NFL Draft

Photo cred.: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas, Nevada has officially been approved and will be their new home next season. 
  • NFL bans leaping over field goal and extra point attempts. Some say it takes the fun out the game; others understand that it's too protect players from potential injury. 
  • Football fans, we're one month away from the 2017 NFL Draft. There are a few I'm personally looking forward to, such as the super confident teenage prodigy, a new generation athlete of his immediate family, Myles Garrett, and the other being someone who is slightly more overlooked, Tarik Cohen, who is senior at the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. 

NBA

Photo cred.: Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
  • The battle of who will win MVP this year is a close one between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Personally, I see it more for Westbrook, but I don't know if that's a little bias, considering he is in my top 5 afterall. 
  • The Golden State Warriors organization treats Isaiah Simpson, a 6 year old Steph Curry fan, and his mom to airfare coverage to fly out to California and tickets to watch the game Sunday night after hearing about issues they experienced getting into a game earlier this month. Best fly-out story EVER!!! *link below*
  • It's going to be a trip watching what team decides to draft Lonzo Ball next season. There has been speculation revolving around him going to the Lakers, which I'm sure will make dad so proud, but we shall see what's next for this young, ambitious player. 

Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA





Tidal Wave Wednesdays no. 2 | More #MarchMadness, Sports + Politics, & More!

#MarchMadness

Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

  • Tomorrow begins the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA basketball tournament. Only 12/16 of my teams were accurate, so that's not too bad, but my bracket was pretty much destroyed, thanks to Villanova and Duke. I officially don't care anymore (lol), but I'm learning very quickly that anything can happen.
  • For the first time ever in basketball fandom, I'm enjoying the NCAA tournament more than NBA playoffs, especially when it boils down to anticipating which one of these young men will potentially be drafted this year.
  • Speaking of potential, a few of my faves to watch this season (Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball, and Justin Jackson to name a few) are listed amongst the top to go on to play professionally, according to sources like Sport Illustrated and Fox Sports, however, I don't see Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes on the list, although he is-in my opinion-the most deserving of NBA looks. 

NCAA Swimming

Photo credit: Peter Bick

  • Olympic gold medalist, Simone Manuel made history once again by setting a new All American/NCAA record for the 100 yd. freestyle (45.56). For those of you who are unfamiliar with how fast that is, it's basically swimming 4 lengths of a 25 yd. pool in UNDER 50 SECONDS. Amazing.

World Baseball Classic


Marcus Stroman in celebration mode. Photo credit: Kelvin Kuo, USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, Team USA will play Puerto Rico in their final championship game of the WBC at Los Angeles' Dodgers Stadium. {Update: Team USA was victorious and for the first time ever, won the 2017 World Baseball Classic championship 8-0 against Puerto Rico!!}

    Sports + Politics

    Photo credit: Gerry Melendez for ESPN

    Photo credit: Gerry Melendez for ESPN

    The topic of should we mix sports and politics have come up lately and I could probably write an entire dissertation on why I think combining the two is inevitable. To keep it brief, sports are essentially the root of American culture, however the only time it is deemed acceptable to mix sports and politics-it seems like-is to push certain agendas. I digress.

    • Speaking of politics, Colin Kaepernick seems to be the face of Anti-America and we can take a look into what he's done in football and the community to argue that. It's unfortunate that when it comes to the teams that will take a chance on him, especially after statements made from #45 deflecting his field ability and despite his ability as a Quarterback, his brand is pretty much destroyed. 

    Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA

    Tidal Wave Wednesdays no. 1 | #MarchMadness, Women in Sports, & More!

    Back in the day when I originally launched a sports blog, I had a segment called Mon-Wave Mondays, which was essentially a briefing of  the recent news stories that stood out to me. For someone who has notifications on from Bleacher Report and ESPN, there is constantly a headline in the wonderful world of sports, always a story. Sometimes I'm moved, other times not so much. Committing to this blog was so intimidating for a while, simply because I felt an obligation to chase every story and always have something ready to post as soon as something big happened, but I know that that's not realistic for my schedule/everyday life. 

    Tidal Wave Wednesdays is basically a spin-off of the same concept, where I share the headlines of the week and cite the sources, but don't necessarily have a journalistic angle to do a full article on. It'll be something like a general press release for sports news and every week the categories will vary. Again, these will be the stories that stand out to me, not necessarily every thing that happens in relation to sports. It's also a good way to incorporate those sports I enjoy watching sometimes, but don't know tons about, such as soccer and hockey.

    College Basketball / #MarchMadness

    NCAA Printable 2017 bracket via CBS Sports
    • It's game time for #MarchMadness and the brackets are officially in! I haven't filled out my own yet, which I'm planning to do per round, but selection Sunday just passed, the first 64 teams are set, and I'm excited to watch the NCAA tournament play out. 
    • Speaking of college basketball, has anyone ever heard of or watch the show Bringing Up Ballers (...or something like that) on Lifetime TV network? I saw 10, maybe 15 minutes, of it and I think it's wildly ridiculous. Then again, that's what I think about most reality TV shows. Anyway, that's not why I'm here. Moving on...

    NBA

    • Russell Westbrook achieved a career-high of 58 points in OKC in a loss to the Portland Trailblazers, first since 1974 in franchise history and the second player to score that many points in a loss since Kobe Bryant in 2006. And this is just one of many of his accomplishments this season. MVP? We'll see, but I definitely think he deserves it.
    • Speaking of Russell Westbrook, he and his wife, Nina, are supposedly expecting their first child this year, so congrats is due to Brodie and his budding family!
    • Quick question: What are the Lakers doing? I really hope this front office revamp plans to execute new strategies sooner than later, because it's been painful to watch my team struggle so much this season.

    NFL / MLB

    image source.

    Women in Sports

    Rob Tringali
    • She's Got GAME: There are very few things that make my soul smile more than seeing women dominate in male saturated industries; sports is obviously no exception. Ms. Mo Davis, who has been America's sweetheart for a few years now, is starting to gain D1 attention from her position as point guard and only girl on an all boys basketball team at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in Philadelphia. The 15 year old super star a graceful young lady, yet extremely fluid in the way she moves from one sport to the next year round. Last month, Mirin Fader interviewed and covered Mo'ne Davis in a compelling article for Bleacher Report that I definitely think is worth the read. 
    • Michele Roberts, NBPA Executive Director becomes the first woman to lead a major sports union.
    • Coach Dawn Staley, head coach at the University of South Carolina, who has lead the woman's basketball team to the NCAA Division I basketball tournament 5 years in a row, was recently named head coach for the USA National Team.
    • Last, but not least, Nike will be launching athletic hijabs for Muslim women athletes, which I think is pretty epic. Although this may have more to do with marketing than actual concern, I still think it's brilliant and necessary.
    Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA


    • SLAM Staff. "Russell Westbrook Goes Off For Career-High 58 Points." SLAM Magazine 8 March 2017.source. accessed 14 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Orr, Conner. "Brandon Marshall signs with Giants on two-year deal." NFL 8 March 2017: source. Web. 14 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Conway, Tyler. "DeMarcus Ware Announces Retirement From NFL After 12 Seasons." Bleacher Report 13 March 2017: source. Web. 14 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Speros, Bill. "Laugh all you want, but there's a lot to celebrate in Tim Tebow's MLB Adventure." Bleacher Report 9 March 2017: source. Web. 11 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Fader, Mirin. "How Mo'Nae Davis Made Her Hoop Dreams Come True." Bleacher Report 21 February 2017: source. Web. 13 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Iacobelli , Pete. The Associated Press. "South Carolina's Dawn Staley named coach of U.S. national team." NCAA 10 March 2017: source. Web. 13 March 2017 [accessed].
    • Khan, Aysha. Religion News Service. "Nike to launch ‘Pro Hijab’ for Muslim women athletes." USA Today 7 March 2017: source. Web. 8 March 2017 [accessed].