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Larry Demeritte is the first black coach at the Kentucky Derby in 35 years

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Larry Demeritte , Black Trainer , Kentucky Derby


Larry Demeritte has trained horses most of his life, but on May 4 he’ll go down in history as… the first Caribbean American to compete in the Kentucky Derby and third black coach in the modern era. The Kentucky Derby was filled with black riders, rescuers and trainers. Black jockeys won 15 of the first 28 rounds of the Kentucky Derby, but since 1951 there have been only three black horse trainers.

Demeritte is reported to be hopeful that regardless that the Derby was effectively closed to blacks resulting from Jim Crow segregation, the sport could be more inclusive. He said he believes a part of the problem is financial. “We need to market our sport better than we are doing… We need to create more syndicates because owning a racehorse is becoming quite expensive these days. It’s like any other sport… motor racing and they all have syndicates… i.e. (many) sponsors. I feel this is what we need to do to let the middle class in America know that this is not the sport of kings. Anyone can play it and the reward if you succeed is huge.”

74-year-old Demeritte, who he was diagnosed with cancer and a rare heart disease, is not a person who gives up easily and, as his profile by Dana O’Neil shows, is a person of boundless hope and optimism, even when his cancer treatment is painful. He is also aware that being a black coach in Derby brings with it an enormous opportunity, as he said: “I all the time say that if I could be related to the negative side of my race, why would not I need to associate someone with the positive side of my race? side? This is not about me. The idea is to take all members of my race with me in order that they’ll feel proud.”

Demeritte also hired a black assistant coach, Donte Lowery, whom he met at Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington and hired in 2015. Demeritte identified to the outlet that Lowery is the predominant reason he wants horse racing’s doors to open to anyone who wants to return. “That’s why I do what I do,” Demeritte said. “I don’t want Donte or any of my other (assistant assistants) in the barn to have to wait that long to go to the Derby as a trainer.” Demeritte was also blessed with a present for estimating horses and a penchant for turning horses purchased for inexpensive amounts right into a 100-fold return on investment.

“I always say, ‘I have champagne flavors on a beer budget,’ so I buy good horses cheap, but that doesn’t mean I buy cheap horses,” Demeritte said. “I can’t afford horses that have newspapers, so I’m trying to buy a horse that can print a newspaper.”

Lowery said it positive attitude of your boss makes it easier to work with, even when Demeritte is battling his body. “For me, watching him go through all this stuff, it’s a little difficult, but at the same time it makes him feel better,” Demeritte assistant coach Donte Lowery said. “He’s always in a happy mood or tries to be like that all the time, which makes everyone in the barn smile and that keeps his spirits up.”

Demeritte, for his part, stays grateful for the trip, telling the website: “Sometimes my boys have to give me a ride home, I’m very sick,” he said. “But I come because what’s the point of sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself if the horse will put a smile on your face?” Demeritte continued: “I consider in my faith and I consider in destiny. I all the time tell my friends – I lose many to cancer – and I say, “If God isn’t done with you yet, you’ll still be here.”


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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‘Skip’s not doing well anymore’: Shannon Sharpe bounces back from Fallout with Skip Bayless, Inks’ multi-year deal with ESPN after viral interview with Katt Williams

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Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe

A yr after FS1’s “Undisputed” emotional split with polarizing media personality Skip Bayless, who he said had “no respect for him,” things are looking up for Shannon Sharpe and his recent home at ESPN.

Sharpe made his debut on ESPN’s “First Take” on September 4, 2023, after leaving “Undisputed” in June of this yr. Sharpe and Bayless have had some controversial moments during their seven-year tenure, however the three-time Super Bowl champion’s first nine months at ESPN seem like a hit because the network is now rewarding him with an expanded multi-year contract. They say even Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, ESPN’s parent company, has gotten involved in retaining Sharpe and expanding his role. Hollywood reporter.

The recent deal is predicted to offer Sharpe a broader presence on ESPN’s long-running morning show “First Take” and may even appear on the network’s other programs across various platforms, including Athlete reported. Details regarding his performance schedule are expected to be announced at a later date.

“It has been a blessing to be a part of this family,” Sharpe said in an announcement. “Everything about ESPN, Stephen A. and First Take has been amazing. I’m looking forward to expanding my role and showing more of the world what I have to offer. The show goes on!”

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe
‘Skip’s not doing well anymore’: Shannon Sharpe returns from Fallout with Skip Bayless, Inks’ multi-year deal with ESPN after Viral Katt Williams interview (Photo: @shannonsharpe84 @skipbayless/Instagram)

The full terms of Sharpe’s deal were not disclosed, but some fans reacted on social media shortly after news broke of the previous NFL star’s increased role on the network.

“Uncle earns money” – one other said the fan.

“Perfect, he’s one of the few great analysts they have,” one other social media user decided.

“This is the reason Skip and his podcast are no longer doing well,” an wrote on Twitter User X. “The numbers say that the first shot is better without Skip, and it is indisputable that the first shot is the worst without Shay.”

However, some fans miss Skip and Shannon as a duo.

“Shannon Sharpe was better in ‘Undisputed’ than in ‘First Take,'” one fan wrote on Twitter.

“Shannon and Skip are the best combination. It was like a comedy show, very similar to the NBA on TNT crew.” “Shannon and SAS simply feel forced,” it said on Twitter other.

Sharpe currently appears on First Take twice every week alongside outspoken sportscaster and podcast host Stephen A. Smith and a rotating panel of co-hosts.

Sharpe also hosts his own podcast, “Club Shay Shay,” where he interviews celebrities weekly, as well because the late-night show “Nightcap” with Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Gilbert Arenas.

In January 2024, Sharpe sat down with comedian Katt Williams for an episode of his podcast “Club Shay Shay.” The interview went viral, reaching over 70 million views in June. The interview sparked countless memes and conversations about Hollywood culture.

On an episode of Sharpe’s “Nightcap,” he made it clear how he benefited from the interview.

“I just got my check. So whatever you think that I did, three X’s are. So for those who think I made 500,000, three X’s are it. If you think that I made 1,000,000, thrice that. If you think that I made two million, that is three Xs,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe said the Williams interview prompted Iger to achieve out to him personally to discuss his future with the corporate, the Pro Football Hall of Famer said Hollywood reporter in May.

ESPN management described Sharpe as an “incredible addition” to the team.

“Shannon Sharpe is an incredible addition to the First Take team, elevating the show’s momentum with her engaging presence and insightful commentary,” David Roberts, ESPN’s head of event production and studios, said in an announcement. “Shannon’s chemistry with Stephen A. Smith elevated our debates and was another key reason why First Take is the premier destination for morning sports discussions.”


This article was originally published on : atlantablackstar.com
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Dallas Mavericks guard Dante Exum celebrates a bittersweet Father’s Day during the NBA Finals

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BOSTON – Father’s Day Sunday was bittersweet for Dallas Mavericks reserve guard Dante Exum.

The Australian celebrated his first Father’s Day – his daughter Daria Lior was born in December 2023. Exum’s girlfriend, Jessica Corey, and their daughter remained in Dallas as the Mavericks prepared for Game 5 of the do-or-die NBA Finals on Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC). It was also the first Father’s Day for Exum without his father, Cecil, who died on July 2 at the age of 60.

“Obviously the biggest thing that sucks is being away from your family,” Exum, 28, told Andscape after Sunday’s practice at TD Garden. “But playing in the final is something I desired to do and I’m doing it for her. I just had a daughter, so it’s my first Father’s Day as a father and without my dad…

“He can be here every step of the way. And I feel that is what hurts the most. But I do know he’s proud.”

Before Exum played in the NBA and reached the Finals, his father, Cecil, was the first talented basketball player in the family.

Cecil Exum retired his highschool jersey from Southern Wayne High School in Dudley, North Carolina. He was named MVP after leading the school to the 1980 North Carolina 4A state title. He played with Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and James Worthy on the University of North Carolina’s 1982 NCAA championship team.

Cecil Exum was a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 1.5 points in 103 games for the Tar Heels from 1980 to 1984. The Denver Nuggets chosen Exum with the 194th pick in the 1984 NBA draft, but he suffered a serious knee injury before the end of camp.

“I haven’t been to Jordan very often,” Exum said. “But I saw him once after I was in Charlotte, and he loved my dad. My dad loved him and his competitiveness. My dad was a competitor too. That was a facet I at all times took away from him.

University of North Carolina forward Cecil Exum (fourth from right) celebrates together with his teammates after defeating Maryland in the ACC championship game at the Capitol Center in Landover, Maryland, on March 9, 1981.

AP photo

Cecil Exum played professionally for one season in Sweden in 1985, then played in the Australian National Basketball League from 1986-96. The 1989 NBL champion averaged 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in 197 profession games.

“There are similarities between me and him,” Exum said. “Coming out of school, he got injured. He was drafted to Denver in the later rounds and suffered a knee injury just before camp. He was someone who was in a position to help me throughout (my injury problems) because he had been through it himself. He managed to make a profession in Australia, fight and get to the top league there.

Exum’s parents, Cecil and Desiree, are from North Carolina and met in college. Exum said that after his birth on July 13, 1995, in Melbourne, Australia, his parents raised their three children in Australia “because they loved it there.” They loved Australia, an English-speaking country that “offered a lot of love,” Exum said.

Exum has American and Australian passports. He grew up playing basketball, Australian Rules Rules and competing in the 200m dash, 400m dash and long jump in Melbourne Athletics. With his father’s support, he decided to deal with basketball around the age of seven.

“It wasn’t something he was encouraging and trying to get through me,” Exum said. “There have been several times in my life after I desired to do various things. For him, it was either this or basketball. If I desired to quit basketball, he was completely satisfied to do it. Ultimately, I selected basketball.

“I did a bit of athletics and Australian rules football. There were a few early mornings and he said, “You can do it if you want, but you have to stop playing basketball.” So I chose basketball.”

It hurts Exum that his father couldn’t see him play in the NBA Finals. He missed his father’s support and advice during his tumultuous journey to, back to, and back from the NBA.

Exum was the fifth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, beating out the likes of two-time All-Stars Julius Randle and Zach LaVine and 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart. As a rookie in the 2014-15 season, he averaged 4.8 points and a pair of.4 assists. Exum began fighting serious injuries after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during an Olympic qualifying match between Australia and Slovenia in August 2015.

Exum said the hardest a part of his profession was missing the entire 2015-16 season. After returning in the 2017-18 season, he played 66 games for the Jazz, but after suffering one other shoulder injury, he played in just 14 games. While playing for Utah and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2019-2021), he never played greater than 42 regular season games attributable to injuries.

“There is nothing that I regret or wish I had done differently,” Exum told Andscape on May 30. “Most of it was bad luck with injuries. I appreciate the work I even have to place in now and even the work I put in when I’m healthy.

“I put pressure on myself to perform (then). But in the situation I found myself in in Utah, I had a good understanding of where I was. There were too many ups and downs.”

The Dallas Mavericks guard Dante Exum’s dunk against the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the 2024 NBA Finals on June 12 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Exum signed a non-guaranteed, three-year contract with the Houston Rockets for the 2021-22 season. However, the Rockets released him before the start of the regular season. Without a guaranteed NBA option, Exum was searching for another opportunity to “play and have fun.” Therefore, in 2021, he signed with European powerhouse FC Barcelona in Spain and won the Spanish Cup in 2022.

Exum rejuvenated his basketball profession, averaging 13.1 points in the 2022-2023 season with Partizan Belgrade, winning the Adriatic League title and earning all-league honors. Because he played in the NBA, Partizan viewed him as a leader and teacher along together with his teammates. Exum also performed well at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Australia, which boosted his hopes of returning to the NBA.

“At first I was worried about coming back to the NBA,” Exum said. “But once I got over it, I used to be ready to simply play and rejoice. I would not say it was humiliating because I used to be quite humble at that time. But I used it as motivation to prove that I slot in.

Although Exum flourished in Europe, he at all times believed he would return to the NBA, and his father also encouraged him.

“His advice was to just have fun,” Exum said. “Every father desires to see his son in the NBA. He knew I belonged in the NBA. He was with me after I first signed for Barcelona. He was excited and prepared for me to tackle the challenge.

“And he was there first with me. We shared a hotel room with him, and he snored, just before my first match at Real Madrid. It was just a little experience where he rode with me the whole way. “

Cecil Exum recurrently attended European matches, watching his son play for Real Madrid and Partizan. Looking back, Exum appreciates this special time together with his father.

“He was in Madrid with me and Serbia,” Exum said. He was going to follow as much of my basketball as possible. That’s why it sucks and hurts to observe him now because he can be traveling to each game.”

Cecil Exum was hospitalized in an intensive care unit in Los Angeles in 2023 attributable to pulmonary complications. Exum was at his father’s side in the hospital as he considered a two-year, $6.15 million contract with the Mavericks, which he quickly agreed to. Cecil Exum died on July 2, 2023 at the age of 60, before his son signed with Dallas. Cecil Harris’s memorial service and funeral took place on July 20 in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Exum says he still hasn’t fully recovered from his father’s death.

“He just lived by example. He just showed love and support every day,” Exum said. “People talk over with me about him. There are some things he did for me that I didn’t even learn about. It was at all times about how much he loved his children. Me, my brother and my sister, he would do anything for us. I felt that when he was here…

“I do not think I’ll ever come to terms with it. I can sit here and say yes. But I still feel that when I am going back to Australia (his presence) might be there after I get back into a routine. Australia was home. So I am going back to different places and I expect to see him, and that might be the hardest thing.

Dallas Mavericks guard Dante Exum arrives at the arena before Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on June 9 at TD Garden in Boston.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Exum delivered his best playoff performance when Dallas needed it most. With Dallas facing elimination in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, he scored 10 points and made two three-pointers off the bench in the Mavericks’ 122-84 victory over the Celtics. In the best-of-seven series, the Mavericks lose to the Celtics 3-1. No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals.

Exum said the “only way” the Mavs can take a look at their predicament now’s to take a look at themselves one game at a time.

“If we lose, we go home,” he said. We need to make certain we win every quarter and each possession. I feel that is the way of pondering. Make every possession count. If we will try this, we will win.”

Because of his ties to America and Australia, Exum looks forward to celebrating Father’s Day twice a 12 months. Father’s Day is widely known in the United States every third Sunday in June. Father’s Day in Australia is widely known yearly on the first Sunday in September.

“I always joked with my dad that wherever he was, it was his Father’s Day,” Exum said. “It’s the little things that make you laugh. But I kind of regret making such jokes. I just want to go out there and make him proud and I feel like I did that. Let’s hope we can win.”

Marc J. Spears is Andscape’s senior NBA author. He used to have the option to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been in a position to do it for years and his knees still hurt.

This article was originally published on : andscape.com
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Historically, Miami’s Black Coconut Grove has nurtured young athletes. Now that legacy is at risk

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MIAMI (AP) – Amari Cooper’s football jersey hangs within the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame. The same goes for Frank Gore, in addition to tributes to Negro League baseball player Jim Colzi and football coach Traz Powell, whose name graces arguably essentially the most respected highschool football stadium in talent-rich South Florida.

They represent West Coconut Grove when it was a majority-Black neighborhood hidden amongst Miami’s wealthiest areas that thrived on family-owned businesses, local gatherings and sporting events. Some call it West Grove, Black Grove or Little Bahamas, referring to its roots. Most simply call it The Grove, a spot steeped in cultural history transformed over the a long time.

“When you talk about what The Grove is, you’re talking about the real history of South Florida,” said Charles Gibson, grandson of certainly one of the primary black members of the Miami City Commission, Theodore Gibson.

Sport was his heart. It has supported the early careers of Olympic gold medalists and football stars like Cooper, national champions and future Football Hall of Famers like Gore, who make their first sporting memories on this close-knit community.

Today, there are few remnants of this proud Black heritage. Years of economic neglect followed by recent gentrification have destroyed much of the realm’s cultural backbone. Vigorous youth leagues and sports programs have dwindled. Now the community that once created an environment during which young athletes could succeed – a trusted neighbor caring for a young soccer player heading to training, a respected coach instilling discipline and perseverance in a future track and field star – is at risk of extinction.

“I think in two or three years, if something isn’t done, Black Grove will be completely destroyed,” said Anthony Witherspoon, a West Grove resident and founding father of the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame.

Anthony Witherspoon at the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame booth in Miami’s west Coconut Grove neighborhood, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Witherspoon, known by everyone on the town as “Spoon,” is a former college basketball player and coach who returned to West Grove in 2015 after nearly 30 years in Atlanta and located a neighborhood much different than the one during which he grew up .

Witherspoon recalls the late Nineteen Seventies, when he walked down the aptly named Grand Avenue — once the economic epicenter of West Grove — after a Friday night highschool football game, dined at a neighborhood mom-and-pop joint and frolicked at the favored Tikki Club.

Earlier generations in the realm died, lots of their families moved elsewhere, and disinvestment led to poverty and neglect. Redevelopment then kicked in, replacing longtime residents with non-black newcomers. Mommies and daddies have largely disappeared. The same goes for Club Tikki, currently an empty constructing with the last vestiges of vibrant Bahamas-inspired colours on the partitions.

“I was here. I lived in the community. I felt the influence of sports,” Witherspoon said. “I got here back from Atlanta, Georgia, and I used to be exposed to gentrification. In the back of my mind, I had this thought: We still must protect this history.

Witherspoon founded the Hall of Fame to maintain that legacy alive. A time capsule of roughly 90 area athletes and coaches, it begins with characters like Colzie, a World War II veteran who played baseball for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, and ends with former pro running back Gore and Cooper, a receiver from Cleveland Browns.

“Coconut Grove is a nesting place for all of us athletes in this area,” said Gerald Tinker, a West Grove resident who won a gold medal within the 1972 Olympics as a member of the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team. “They would always expect us to be just as good (as previous generations) and just as humble. And it’s always been like that.”

The community’s status for athletics was born at George Washington Carver High School, a segregated black school. Carver was a football powerhouse within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, winning five state championships under Powell, who helped shape the landscape of Miami’s highschool sports scene.

Harold Cole, a former coach and athletic director at nearby Coral Gables High School who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019, said Powell’s influence lasts for generations.

“He was a coach; he was a mentor,” Cole said. “He was responsible for many of the athletes who came out of Coconut Grove.”

Cole said West Grove still has youth sports programs, but since many families have moved away and kids have gone to other school districts, “it’s not the same anymore.”

Integration within the Nineteen Seventies forced Carver to shut. It is now a junior highschool positioned within the affluent nearby town of Coral Gables.

“This division to some extent broke the fabric of the community in the 1980s.” Witherspoon said.

Nichelle Haymore’s family hopes to preserve a part of the old neighborhood by reopening the Ace Theater, a preferred venue for black residents through the Jim Crow era. Haymore’s great-grandfather, businessman Harvey Wallace Sr., bought the Grand Avenue theater within the Nineteen Seventies. Born in West Grove, Haymore spent years in Texas before returning in 2007 to assist maintain the theater.

“The atmosphere of the area is different,” Haymore said. “Neighbours, who may have taken care of your home at the beginning, don’t greet each other or talk. People are walking their dogs in your yard. This neighborly respect is different because the neighborhood is different.”

Resident Charles Gibson stands next to a plaque honoring the Bahamian roots of Miami’s west Coconut Grove neighborhood, Friday, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Shotgun-style homes owned by black residents were torn down in favor of sleek, boxy developments – some called ice cubes – and apartment buildings far too expensive for the middle-class individuals who built the community. Abandoned, boarded-up buildings stand in places where they once attracted crowds. Giant real estate advertisements hang on the fences of empty plots.

“They’re tearing down homes that have been in families for years and building row houses,” said Denzel Perryman, a Coconut Grove resident and former University of Miami star who played as a linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers. “So it has an impact on the community because some kids from there are going to different places and parks because they don’t live in the Coconut Grove area.”

Perryman, who lived in Miami’s historic Black neighborhood of Overtown as a baby, spent most of his time in West Grove, playing football at Armbrister Park or participating in the numerous extracurricular activities the community offered.

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Some still exist today. Perryman watched his childhood football team, the Coconut Grove Cowboys, win the Pop Warner championship in December. Youth teams still train at Armbrister Park, although a few of them look different to groups from years ago.

“It’s unfortunate because you lose so much, character,” said Gibson, a football and lacrosse coach. “There are certain things locally that are related to family. When you lose that, I feel it’s sadness.

Gibson, like many other residents, is determined to support the identical family environment that raised him.

“You can’t put a dollar sign on a sign that says, ‘Go to grandma’s house. She (lives) next door,” Gibson said. “You don’t even have to look outside because you know it’s only 10 steps away and they’re home. How can you put a price on it?”

In The Grove – individuals are trying to search out the reply to this query – before it is too late.

 

This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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