08-13-2020  11:01 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland State Disarms Campus Police Two Years After Black Man's Death

In June 2018, two campus officers fatally shot Jason Washington, a Navy veteran, while he was trying to break up a fight outside a bar off-campus.

City Awards $548,000 in Cannabis Revenue to BIPOC-Focused Organizations

Six groups receive grants to focus on restorative justice, closing income gap. 

PHOTOS: Snapshots From Downtown Portland

View a slideshow of recent photos taken by The Skanner downtown Portland.

Prosecutor Won't Act on Low-level Portland Protest Arrests

At least several hundred people who have been arrested in the past few months will not face criminal prosecution.

NEWS BRIEFS

Girl Scouts of the USA Announces First Black CEO In Its 108-Year History

Judith Batty follows in the footsteps of Gloria Dean Randle Scott, Ph.D., who was elected as the first Black national president of...

Wyden, Colleagues Announce College Athletes Bill of Rights

Landmark proposal would guarantee fair and equitable compensation, enforceable safety standards and improved educational opportunities...

Oregon Continues Sending Families Pandemic School Meal Benefits

More than 230,000 students have received benefits in six weeks. ...

Ryan Narrowly Wins Over Smith for Portland Commissioner, Position 2

Dan Ryan will fill the seat on the Portland City Council previously held by Nick Fish. ...

MISSING: Michael Bryson Was Last Seen August 5

The Eugene man was last seen at campground SE of Cottage Grove ...

Human-caused Columbia River Gorge fire prompts evacuations

MOSIER, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire burning in the scenic Columbia River Gorge has grown to more than 800 acres and is threatening hundreds of homes.The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the community of Mosier, Oregon, which is between Hood River and The Dalles along Interstate 84. It had...

State police exit Portland after 2 weeks of protest duty

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police are leaving Portland after a two-week assignment to help protect a federal courthouse that’s been a target of protesters during months of conflict in Oregon’s largest city. The state police are “continually reassessing our...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Fear and empathy at LA funeral home serving Black families

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When people began dying from the coronavirus in the United States, for a few weeks funeral home owner Candy Boyd declined to receive the remains of such patients. There were too many unknowns, and Boyd didn’t feel like her employees had the training or equipment to...

Australian survey: younger Olympians more willing to protest

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — An Australian survey shows a higher proportion of younger Olympians would be prepared to use games venues or medal podiums as a platform for demonstrations.The International Olympic Committee’s Rule 50.2, which forbids demonstrations or political, religious...

For Harris, memories of mother guide bid for vice president

NEW YORK (AP) — Speaking from the Senate floor for the first time, Kamala Harris expressed gratitude for a woman on whose shoulders she said she stood. In her autobiography, Harris interspersed the well-worn details of her resume with an extended ode to the one she calls “the reason...

ENTERTAINMENT

Chrissy Teigen, John Legend expecting baby No. 3

NEW YORK (AP) — It's baby No. 3 for John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.The couple revealed they are expecting in Legend's new video for the song “Wild," which premiered Thursday and features Teigen and Legend holding her baby bump at the end of the clip. The video also features their...

Review: Netflix's 'Project Power' flexes its muscles nicely

Imagine taking a little pill that could make you strong and vibrant, one that basically unlocks your yearning potential. No, not that pill. Get your mind out of the gutter. The pill in Netflix's “Project Power” gives you a superpower — invisibility, bulletproof, elastic body,...

Chris Evans hopes to shield democracy with politics website

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Evans became the most politically prickly “Avenger” a few years back with withering tweets about President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters. But the “Captain America” actor is staying relatively quiet during this presidential...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Cohen's book foreword: Trump 'wouldn’t mind if I was dead'

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Cohen's memoir about President Donald Trump will be released Sept. 8 by Skyhorse...

75 years later, Japan war orphans tell of pain, recovery

TOKYO (AP) — For years, orphans in Japan were punished just for surviving the war. They were bullied. They...

Chicago convenience store ransacked twice since May

Security cameras captured the pillaging of a West Side Chicago convenience store hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot...

New Zealand probing for outbreak source, may extend lockdown

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Health authorities said Friday they were investigating whether shipping...

Virus exposes economic, racial divide in French health care

BONDY, France (AP) — Festering beneath France’s promise of guaranteed health care for all lie deep...

The Latest: Man in 20s is Australia's youngest virus death

SYDNEY — A man in his 20s has become the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Australia. He was...

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Russel Westbrook throws it down at All-Star weekend
The Black Athlete by Omar Tyree

Each year in mid-February, the NBA All-Star Game plants itself in a different American city and takes over for a weekend’s worth of basketball games, events, after parties and entertaining shows, with plenty of American celebrities in attendance from every walk of life.

 

In 2002, I attended the NBA All-Star game festivities in my hometown of Philadelphia, and enjoyed a Roots concert, while bumping into a dozen of old friends from my high school days. That next year in 2003, I attended All-Star Game events in Atlanta, where I finally had a chance to witness the legend of Allen Iverson and his dozen-man entourage at a hotel restaurant. Both occasions remain eye-popping and memorable, as if they had just happened yesterday.

 

I never even thought about attending the actual games. I was fine with watching it all on TV; the sophomore and rookie challenge, the celebrity charity game, the 3-point contest, guard skills performances, the slam dunk contest, an army of fun interviews, and the All-Star game itself.

 

With the NBA All-Stars, their peers and families all sitting at courtside, we get a chance to witness them return to being oversized kids, who once dreamed about being professional athletes and making an All-Star game appearance in a number of capacities themselves. These happy ballers then receive an overflow of validation from the excited movie stars, musicians, politicians, popular businessmen, supermodels and comedians, who all sit at courtside with them and whoop it up for the big show, while thousands of fans sit and enjoy it right behind them.

 

Each year I sat at home and watched as a kid myself, and as an adult with my two sons, while only imagining what it felt like to be: Dr. J; George Gervin; Michael Jordan; Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille Oneal, Kobe Bryant and now Lebron James: Dirk Nowitzki: Stephen Curry: James Harden: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. What does it feel like to be celebrated by so many American citizens and superstars in their own light, who all come out and sit still to be amazed by you?

 

For those few hours in time, the world seems to stop and stand still for superstar basketball players; or at least it felt that way to me. The validation of skills was the reason why we all wanted to become professional athletes in the first place, not just to play the game and to live comfortably with million-dollar contracts; but to be celebrated for adding something special to the world--whether it be in football, boxing, baseball, hockey, track and field, World Cup soccer, or the Olympic Games.

 

With as much glitter, star-power and fashion statements that are made each year during the Academy Awards, The Grammys, The ESPYs, American Music, MTV, Soul Train, BET and NAACP Image Awards, nothing seems as fun or as natural as the NBA All-Star Game. There’s no fake adoration or bitten tongues, while dressed in thousand-dollar designer gowns and penguin suits from athletes who celebrate their game, themselves and each other. It’s all real excitement and jubilation, while dressed in warm-up, sneakers, blue jeans, jackets, shades, baseball caps and jewelry.

 

I watched it all again this weekend from New York City, where a Muggsy Bogues-sized comedian Kevin Hart—who has become a staple at NBA events—won another celebrity game becoming MVP, while playing against 13-year-old phenom, Mo’ne Davis, who is now transitioning from Little League Baseball, to her first love of basketball.

 

I watched Steph Curry and his gray-headed dad, Dell, lose in a team shoot-out against a current NBA player, a retired NBA veteran and a current WNBA player, before Steph went on to later swish 21 of 25 shots for a record 27 points to win the 3-point shooting contest. Zach LaVine, a 19-year-old leaper, who was a UCLA freshman last year this time, scored a perfect 100 points after two incredible back-to-back dunks, with legendary leaper, Dr. J, taking his sweet old time as the fifth and final decision-making judge.

 

Then we watched the marquee game, where Oklahoma Thunder’s fireball of energy, Russell Westbrook, scored 41 points for the MVP Award--one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 in 1962. The teams also scored a combined record of 321 total points in a 163-158 win for the Western Conference over the East.

 

That’s 321 points with no overtime minutes, and a new record of 48 3-pointers. You talk about going all out to excite the fans; that’s what the NBA All-Star Game is all about—FANtastic!

 

No wonder my two sons dreamed so hard of outgrowing their dad for dunking height. They dreamed of joining Victor Olapido, the Maryland-born son of Nigerian and Sierra Leone immigrant parents, who came in second to LaVine in the Slam Dunk Contest, while the world stood still to watch, along with young professional basketball hopeful from more than twenty-five different countries around the world, now from Brazil to Russia.

 

Sometimes I wish the NBA All-Star Game and events could last for a whole week instead of a mere weekend. If only the rest of us could have a weekend of celebration like they do for what we do, we could all feel reenergized each year to continue loving the jobs and careers that we engage in and celebrate each other. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would make us all feel like All-Stars.

 

Omar Tyree is a New York Times bestselling author, an NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Fiction, and a professional journalist, who has published 27 books, including co-authoring Mayor For Life; The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr. View more of his career and work @ www.OmarTyree.com

 

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