02-27-2020  3:40 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

PHOTOS: Elizabeth Warren Rallies in Seattle

Washington state’s primary is Tuesday, March 10; voters should have received their ballots by Thursday, Feb. 27

Support for Black Reparations Grows in Congress

The Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act now has 125 cosponsors

Shifting Demographics Drive GOP Nosedive on US West Coast

Political districts have flipped in population centers, from San Diego in the south to Seattle in the north

'A World of Hurt': 39 States to Investigate JUUL's Marketing

Oregon is one of five states leading a bipartisan coalition looking into JUUL’s targeting of youth vaping

NEWS BRIEFS

Washington’s March 10 Presidential Primary Ballots Mailed to Voters

Voters required to make party declaration for this election only ...

State and Federal Agencies Aid Sunken Tugboat in Columbia River

Divers plugged fuel vents this afternoon and the vessel is not actively leaking ...

Multnomah County Promotes Voter Education Project

Multnomah County is partnering with National Association of Secretary of States (NASS) to promote #TRUSTEDINFO2020 ...

New Travel Ban Takes Effect, National Groups Respond

The expansion of the Muslim ban targets more Black immigrants ...

Harris, Booker Applaud House For Announcing Vote on Anti-Lynching Legislation

After passing the House, the bill will head to the president’s desk to be signed into law ...

2 burned, 30 displaced in Beaverton apartment fire

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Two people were burned and dozens were displaced in a fire at a Beaverton apartment building. People started calling 911 before 10 a.m. Thursday to report heavy fire in a building in the Lombard Plaza apartment complex, according to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue...

Man accused in stabbings sent to hospital for evaluation

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A 20-year-old man accused of stabbing a mother and daughter in a Wells Fargo bank branch in December has been transferred to the Oregon State Hospital for treatment and an evaluation of his ability to help in his defense.At a Feb. 10 hearing, Washington County Circuit...

Former AD, All-American center Dick Tamburo dies at 90

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Dick Tamburo, an athletic director at three major schools and an All-American center at Michigan State, has died. He was 90.Michigan State announced that Tamburo died Monday.A native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Tamburo served as the athletic director at Texas...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Top nominee Polanski to skip French Oscars after rape claim

PARIS (AP) — Filmmaker Roman Polanski is skipping the awards ceremony for France's equivalent of the Oscars — where his latest movie leads this year's nominations — because of protests prompted by a new rape accusation against him.Women's rights activists have called for a...

Nazi cautionary dramas wade into political, factual disputes

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood mustered its creative forces in the 1940s when Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany sought to conquer the world, with Humphrey Bogart standing up to the fascist regime in “Casablanca” and director Ernst Lubitsch mocking it and its dictator in “To Be...

Judge resigns amid use of racial slur in text messages

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana judge resigned Thursday after several people, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, called for her to step down for using racial slurs in angry text messages.State District Judge Jessie LeBlanc tendered her resignation effectively immediately in signed letters...

ENTERTAINMENT

Higdon opera for Philadelphia to have 3 different endings

Jennifer Higdon has been commissioned by Opera Philadelphia to compose "Woman with Eyes Closed," which will open the company's O20 Festival on Sept. 17 and in a novel twist will feature three different endings.Higdon, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a three-time Grammy Award winner,...

A rebel yell: Billy Idol stars in New York anti-idling ads

NEW YORK (AP) — Rocker Billy Idol is the face of an anti-idling campaign launched Thursday in New York City.“Billy never idles, so why should you?” the '80s MTV star growls in a public service announcement intended to shame New Yorkers into shutting the engine off. The...

Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber, Maren Morris nab top ACM noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grammy-winning duo Dan + Shay lead the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards with six nominations for Dan Smyers and five for Shay Mooney and helped pop star Justin Bieber earn his first-ever ACM noms. In the nominations announced Thursday, the powerhouse duo share...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ben Affleck on the pain and catharsis of 'The Way Back'

NEW YORK (AP) — Of the many stories that have stuck with Ben Affleck from his Alcoholics Anonymous...

Biggest explosion seen in universe came from black hole

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the universe,...

Plácido Domingo revises apology, as Spain drops more shows

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Opera star Placido Domingo amended his apology to the multiple women who have accused...

3,000-strong African force planned against Sahel extremism

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — African leaders have decided to work on deploying 3,000 troops to West...

Scars of violence haunt India's capital after deadly riots

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's hard-line Hindu nationalists watched anti-government protests centered in Muslim...

Virus response in Mideast tainted by political views of Iran

BEIRUT (AP) — In the Middle East, even virus outbreaks are political. The coronavirus has killed 26 people...

McMenamins
Texas Western celebrates their victory over all White Kentucky Wildcats in a historic win in 1966
The Black Athlete by Omar Tyree

PHOTO: Texas Western (now UTEP) was the underdog against No. 1 Kentucky, but the Miners won with the first all-black starting lineup in title game history, beating the Wildcats 72-65.-- AP Photo

 

Nearly a decade ago, my wife and I took our two basketball fanatic sons to the local movie theaters to watch a film called Glory Road, about a Texas Western (El Paso) University basketball coach, Don Haskins, who decided not only to recruit African-American student athletes to the school -- during a tough era of American segregation in the 1960s -- but to start them all in the 1966 NCAA Finals against the one and only University of Kentucky Wildcats, who had not yet broken the color barrier with their team.

My oldest son, Ameer, who was already familiar with the popular college basketball programs said, “Wow, dad, so this all Black team is gonna beat an all White Kentucky team.” The concept of an all-Black basketball team as a college underdog to an all-White team was totally alien to my young son. In the year that he was born in 1996, Kentucky won its sixth title under then coach Rick Pitino, with a team full of Black players, including Derek Anderson, Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, Jamaal Magloire, Nazr Mohammed and a very athletic Ron Mercer. That 1996 Kentucky Wildcats team used a full-court press to dismantle the opposition, while sprinting up and down the floor, like a track and field relay team, executing acrobatic dunks and faced-paced lay-ups and jump shots.

However, in 1966 an all Black team in an NCAA Championship Finals was brand new to millions of American spectators. The game created a huge national audience and became another pivotal moment of history, where thousands of African-American teenagers and Civil Rights activists would gain new confidence and hope in opportunities not only in basketball, but in advancement in education, while participating in more competitive college and university sports and academic programs.

The pre-segregation Kentucky Wildcats teams, coached by the legendary Adolf Rupp from 1930-1972, had won four NCAA titles and multiple Southeast Conference Championships by 1966, all without any African-American players on the team until Tom Payne accepted a scholarship offer to attend Kentucky in 1969. Although it has been reported that coach Rupp had actively recruited Kentucky natives, Wes Unseld and Butch Beard as early as 1964, he also made no secrets about how difficult it would be for them to integrate Kentucky’s basketball team and with a populace of racially intolerant students, parents and alumni. So Unseld and Beard took their talents to the in-state Kentucky rival at the University of Louisville Cardinals.

NBA Champion coach Pat Riley, with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat, was a member of that losing Kentucky Wildcats team of 1966, and he said the experience made an impact on his life and reminded him years later how fiercely proud and inspired African-Americans ball players were to have that Texas Western victory. He now seeks opportunities for the best players to be a part of his teams regardless of their race, class, color or creed.

Ironically, after Pat Riley was dunked on in the game by David Lattin, NCAA officials went on to band the intimidating and crowd-stirring art of the slam dunk from 1967-1976, right in time to deny one of the most dominant African-American big men in NCAA history -- Lew Alcindor at UCLA--who would later take on the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and develop the most beautiful and unstoppable shot in basketball, the ‘sky hook.’

Fast forward fifty years later to 2015, and the Kentucky Wildcats basketball program is now led by top recruiter and inclusive coach, John Calipari, who is barely able to secure a minute of quality playing time for the White American players that are left at the end of his team bench. In fact, Kyle Wiltjer, one of the few White players to receive significant playing time over the past six years of Calipari’s Kentucky regime, transferred to Gonzaga, where he’s become a star of the team and a college stand-out.

Under Calipari, the present-day Kentucky Wildcats chase NCAA basketball history as one of the few undefeated teams to enter the NCAA tournament at 34-0, with a chance to win it all at 40-0, with all African-American starters, most of whom will turn pro a month later. Maybe it’s now the time, during our annual month of “March Madness” basketball talk, to remind millions of younger basketball fans how far not only Kentucky has come, but hundreds of other American colleges and universities, who now offer scholarships to African-American student athletes, where they didn’t before.

Coach John Calipari practically brags now about providing young African-American men and their families excellent opportunities to attend college, compete for championships, receive quality educations and ultimately a chance to increase their economic livelihood as professional players through his yearly program of intense competitive, team basketball.

Talk about turning around a program, Kentucky is now night and day from where it was in Glory Road days under Adolf Rupp and the America 1960s. Nevertheless, our next story needs to focus on how many of these new student athletes actually return to school and graduate, while learning something more than what it means to play college basketball as a celebrated phenom. That’s the next history lesson that needs to be told, and the next scholar-athlete movie that needs to written.


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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