Here's a nice dose of rare soul from Earth Wind & Fire. Coming off of the 1973 album "Head to the Sky." this track actually reminds me of some of the background sounds pushing the climactic scenes from Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song; but that was released two years earlier. Dopeness nevertheless. Enjoy!
Yesterday I posted a blog post saluting The Legendary Bill Russell as the First Black man to coach in Professional sports; but after being pointed in the right direction by a journalist that I have a great degree of admiration for, I went back to do my homework a little bit more. Somehow left on the back pages of history stands a monumental talent in the form of Coach John McLendon. Coach John B. McLendon, Jr. was the first Black Man to coach basketball at a Predominately White university, and the first Black head coach of any professional sports team.
A Student of Basketball's founder Dr. James Naismith, at The University of Kansas,
McLendon enrolled as the first black student in the school’s physical education department. he endured hostile/racially motivated treatment while enrolled, and was never allowed to play on the All-White basketball team. McLendon tried out for the team several times, but would be cut on each attempt. Upon graduation McLendon was hired as an assistant coach at North Carolina college (North Carolina Central). In 1941, he would become Head Coach, and in his first year as head coach, his North Carolina College Team would win the Negro National College Championship Tournament. McLendon is widely credited as the Founder & Pioneer of The Fast Break. McLendon's teams quickly became known for their Up-Tempo/Baseline to Baseline offensive & defensive play, superior conditioning, aggressive Defense and High-Scoring showmanship. The John McLendon coached North Carolina College Teams would go on to win Eight Black College Championship between 1941 & 1952. McLendon would be lured off to Tennessee A & I University (Tennessee State University). While there, the combination of McLendon's coaching & the play of The Great Dick Barnett would lead the Tigers to win Three Straight National Intercollegiate Championships (1957 thru 1959). No coach had EVER accomplished such a feat. It has been said that these were some great years for basketball, as the Tigers put on such an amazing show for what would quickly become a packed house of Integrated crowds. Coach McLendon would next move on to become The First Black Head Coach of a Professional Basketball Team in an Integrated League, as leader of the George Steinbrenner owned Cleveland Pipers of The american Basketball League (ABL). Quickly moving on from Steinbrenner's meddling, McLendon would again make history as the first black head coach of a majority white college upon taking the job at Cleveland State University. In 1969, he took the head coaching position with the Denver Rockets of the ABA, before retiring & spending the next two decades as a company rep for Converse.
Coach John McLendon was born April 5th 1915, and finished his coaching career with a record of 496 wins & 179 losses. He is also famous for the racially-groundbreaking 1944 "Secret Game" between Duke & North Carolina College. At that time intermingling of Black & White, of any kind, was illegal. Great care was taken to keep this event a secret, and this day would remain a closely guarded secret for the next 52 years (1996). McLendon's team trounced Duke 88 to 44. After that, they played an additional game (mixing the players from both teams together) and hung out in the dormitories together. Coach McLendon also coached at Kentucky State University & Hampton Institute. Today The John McLendon Award is presented annually to the Nation's Top Collegiate Head Coach (Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and JUCO coaches are eligible for the award). John B. McLendon, Jr. died in 1999 at the age of 84. Sadly few know anything about his contributions to the Game of Basketball. #Salute
Bill Russell was one of the first Black Head Coaches of any major professional sports team. From 1966 to 1969 he wasn't just on the Boston Celtics sidelines either, he was Player/Coach. He had no assistant coaches, it was just Bill Russell doing what he always did best, lead his team to victories. Despite winning Back to Back Championships (in 1968 & 1969), Bill russell is rarely ever mentioned in history as a coach. Furthermore, few recognize the fact that Bill Russell not only operated successfully in spite of the pressures associated with being the first Black Coach in The NBA-but also coaching in the shadow of his legendary coach & mentor Red Auerbach. In his first season, Russell led the Celtics to a 60-21 record but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in The Eastern Conference (Division) Finals. The next season Russell's coaching & on court play would lead The Boston Celtics to the 1967-1968 NBA Championship, beating Wilt Chamberlin & The Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Russell retired at the end of that season, but would later return for brief coaching stints as head coach/general manager of The Seattle SuperSonics & Head Coach of The Sacramento Kings.
As a player, Russell would lead The Boston Celtics to 11 championships in 13 years. He was arguably the first Black Superstar Player in NBA History, and today The NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is named in honor of his dominance. His dominance and high character views on life were also felt in the field of race relations during the turbulent 1960's. We need more of our youth to know about The Great Bill Russell. #Salute
On the heels of news that now-former South Carolina Police Officer Michael Slager would be charged for the MURDER of 50 Year Old Coast Guard Veteran (and Father of Four) Walter Scott, reports came out in regard to a similar MURDER in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The similarities?
But in the MURDER of 44 Year Old Eric Harris there is the key distinction that he was not killed by a Cop. How does such a thing happen is a question that will certainly have implications far beyond this case, but more on that later...
So for those that do not know, Eric Harris was killed while being arrested for allegedly selling a firearm to an undercover Task Force Agent. Upon realizing that he had been caught up in a sting operation, Mr. Harris took off running. Agents chased him, and eventually tackled him to the ground. Moments later he was dead at the hands of a 73 Year Old CEO of an Insurance company, who had enlisted as a VOLUNTEER/RESERVE SHERIFF'S DEPUTY!!! Robert bates used his personal weapon, and fired it into Harris's Back, claiming that he THOUGHT HE WAS USING HIS TASER!!! Pictures & video refutes Bate's police report claims that Harris was struggling with the officers (look closely at his hands & shoulders). CEO Bates would also be quoted as explaining that he thought Eric Harris had a gun, because of the manner in which he was running. Smh.
"I noticed that Harris was running in an unusual way because as he ran he repeatedly touched his right hand to his waistband," he wrote. "Based on my past experience, primarily with the task force, and my past training, I believed that Harris might be carrying a gun."
So the question remains, just how did Robert Bates find himself involved in a Task Force Operation? All signs point to MONEY. Bates is on record as having donated cars, video equipment, and other items to the Tulsa Sheriff's Department over the years. He also donated at least $2,500 toward Sheriff Stanley Glanz's Re-Election Campaign. According to reports, the program that allowed for Bates to serve as a VOLUNTEER/RESERVE SHERIFF'S DEPUTY normally places these recruits in roles more related to assisting with helping those affected by fires, tornadoes, and other more public servant capacities. News reports reveal that there are hundreds of similar programs across the country, and many of those will undoubtedly face scrutiny to make sure that there are no more Rich George Zimmerman's (Lol) paying for the opportunity to play cop. Robert bates has been charged with
Second-Degree Manslaughter "Involving Culpable Negligence" for the April 2nd incident. Be sure to check the video, and listen out for the part where one of the officers yells out "FUCK YOUR BREATH!” Hopefully that officer will be put on blast, and receive a proper punishment for his part in this matter. Stay tuned...