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The decision: Lebron chooses to go ‘home’

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In a letter dictated to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins and made public Friday morning, NBA Super Star LeBron James let the world know what so many have been waiting for – where he is going to play next season. It’s Cleveland – not Miami – and his hometown is going wild.
 
Here is the context he set for understanding his decision:
 
“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.
 
“Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.
 
“I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. …”
 

Keyon Dooling’s life lessons

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One tall young man had the courage to admit that he never learned or, more accurately, was never taught. So Keyon Dooling, formerly with the Memphis Grizzlies and a 13-year NBA veteran, began to teach him step by step. The line grew longer, as more and more young men acknowledged they didn’t know how to tie a necktie either and wanted to learn. This was not a scene at a community center or a middle school mentoring session.  These were millionaires, NBA players who had never been taught the proper way to knot a tie.
 
That is extraordinarily surprising to most anybody else, but not Keyon. He is well familiar with the reality of young African-American men abundantly gifted with skills for the game of basketball with too few skills instilled in them for the game of life.  Plus, there is baggage, much of it secret baggage, that comes along from the complex, challenging, dysfunctional environments and backgrounds they escaped. Money and fame can exacerbate their issues. Global media exposure can point out the  problems and baggage like those optic yellow highlighters we use to illuminate parts of document or a book.

The SugaShack – ‘make-shift funky’ & ‘soulfoul good’

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The nightlife in Memphis is diverse, even though some think it is not on par with other metropolitan cities. Amid that backdrop one local group of club owners is laboring to place Memphis back on the map for juke joints.
 
Located in the basement of Bon Ton Restaurant on Monroe, the SugaShack is every bit of a flashback in time to when music was “real” – and so were the singers.  During my visit I was treated to an amazing tribute to Stevie Wonder. 
 
The conductor for our journey to the SugaShack is Larry Springfield.

What the book ‘Place, Not Race’ doesn’t get

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I vividly remember the affirmative action debates that raged on my campus when I was a college student in the early ’90s. Many of our debates centered on Stephen L. Carter’s “Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby.” To me, Carter was a person who had benefited from his inclusion in formerly all-white spaces who had suddenly turned on my generation as we were attempting to set down our own roots in a wider, post-civil-rights America. Others felt that we were taking advantage of something we had not earned.
 
I read Carter’s book as a betrayal. Not only had I earned my scores and achievements, but I also felt as though I more than deserved a place at the University of Virginia, precisely because of its history: My “home” in the “academical village” was literally built by my ancestors. This centurieslong history enriched my quest to learn everything I could at a university that had once barred black Americans and women.

How does God want us to deal with racism?

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In his new book “The Truth about Racism, Its Origins, Legacy and How God Wants Us To Deal With It,” Dr. Philip Asante sets out to uncover the truth about racism by providing a scientifically-supported perspective into the origins of racist ideology.
 
Asante, the son of a black African father and white English mother, explores contributions from both Christianity and the theory of Evolution.
 
“Whether you believe in creation or evolution, all humanity is related,” Asante said. “The subject of racism is, of course, controversial and continuous in society and in the church.”