01-30-2023  1:00 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

Democrats Voice Priorities for Coming Year in the Capitol

Highlights from the Democrats 2023 legislative agenda. 

Colorado Lawmakers Look to AI to Detect Wildfires Earlier

A historic drought and recent heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West and scientists say warming weather will continue to make fires more frequent and destructive.

Justices Weigh Effort to Balance Washington State's Tax Code

Washington is one of nine states without an income tax, and its heavy reliance on sales and fuel taxes to pay for schools, roads and other public expenses falls disproportionately on low-income residents.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Graduation Rate Rises With Gains Made In Every Student Group

Class of 2022 graduation rate is second highest In Oregon’s history ...

City Council Approves 13 to Independent District Commission

The commission will lead the effort to establish four new geographic districts for Portland’s next city council. ...

Incorporating Mindfulness Into Social Justice Classes Topic of Feb. 8 Oregon State Science Pub

The free event, which can be attended in person or viewed online, will feature a presentation by Kathryn McIntosh. She will discuss...

Exhibit "Flowers for Elders" Celebrates Living Portland Artists

Free, public, multimedia exhibit runs through Feb. 25 in SE Portland ...

The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual MLK Breakfast to Air on TV

The sold-out event will air on 5 upcoming dates and times on Comcast Xfinity channels at the start of Black History Month. ...

Fully clothed bathing burglar found in Seattle bathroom

SEATTLE (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a Seattle home has refused to come clean about his intentions, even though police found him fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A woman returned to her home Friday night to find a window smashed and an unknown man inside the...

Man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help. A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood,...

Knight, Illinois State take down Southern Illinois 72-66

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Seneca Knight scored 24 points and Kendall Lewis secured the victory with a jump shot with 37 seconds remaining as Illinois State took down Southern Illinois 72-66 on Sunday. Knight shot 6 for 8, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range, and 9 of 10 from the free...

Deen scores 21 to lead Bradley to 83-76 victory over UIC

CHICAGO (AP) — Duke Deen had 21 points to lead Bradley to an 83-76 win over Illinois-Chicago on Sunday. Deen shot 5 for 10 from the floor (4 for 6 from 3-point range) and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line for the Braves (15-8, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Malevy Leons added 19...

OPINION

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

A Letter to Residents of N. and N.E. Portland from Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner for District 2, North and Northeast Portland, reviews her first four-year term and looks forward to her second term ...

Are Black Individuals Like Kanye West, Van Jones, and Stephen A. Smith ‘Perpetrating a Fraud,’ or is Self-Hate a Primary Motivator for Anti-Blackness

“So, you have two types of Negro. The old type and the new type. Most of you know the old type. When you read about him in history during slavery he was called ‘Uncle Tom.’ He was the House Negro.”-Malcolm X ...

We Need Not Forgive

We need not forgive racial injustices in America’s past, and we must never forget them. But as a nation, we can reconcile. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trustees picked by DeSantis may change progressive college

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — “Your education. Your way. Be original. Be you.” That's how New College of Florida describes its approach to higher education in an admission brochure. The state school of fewer than 1,000 students nestled along Sarasota Bay has long been known for its...

State of emergency declared over Atlanta 'Cop City' protest

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Thursday, giving him the option of calling in the Georgia National Guard in response to a violent protest in downtown Atlanta over the killing by authorities of an environmental activist said to have shot a state trooper. ...

Jury rejects lawsuit filed by family of teen killed by cop

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A federal jury has found that a white Ohio police officer did not violate a Black teenager's civil rights when he shot and killed the boy while responding to a reported armed robbery. Jurors reached their verdict Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by Tyre King’s...

ENTERTAINMENT

Smokey Robinson, 'King of Motown,' to release new solo album

NEW YORK (AP) — It's been nearly a decade since Smokey Robinson's last album, but new music from the King of Motown is on the horizon. Robinson will release the nine-track album “Gasms” on April 28, the music legend behind hits like “My Girl” and “The Way You Do the Things...

Jesmyn Ward novel 'Let Us Descend' to be published Oct. 3

NEW YORK (AP) — The next novel by Jesmyn Ward, the two-time National Book Award winner, is the story of an enslaved teenage girl that the publisher is calling a blend of magical realism, historical narrative and Dante's “Inferno.” Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster,...

Jay Leno breaks bones in motorcycle wreck months after fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two months after undergoing surgery for serious burns, Jay Leno is now contending with a number of broken bones after being knocked off a motorcycle. The comedian and former “Tonight Show” host told a Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Thursday that he broke...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'Avatar 2' tops box office for 7th weekend

“Avatar: The Way of Water” claimed the No. 1 spot on the domestic box office charts for the seventh weekend in...

Barrett Strong, Motown artist known for ‘Money,’ dies at 81

NEW YORK (AP) — Barrett Strong, one of Motown’s founding artists and most gifted songwriters who sang lead on...

Automakers Renault, Nissan make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have changed their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15%, ironing out a source...

Puerto Rico's southern region fights for cleaner air, water

SALINAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — Shuttered windows are a permanent fixture in Salinas, an industrial town on Puerto...

France must raise pension age to 64, prime minister says

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister insisted Sunday that the government’s plan to raise the retirement age...

Peru's protest 'deactivators' run toward tear gas to stop it

LIMA, Peru (AP) — When police fire tear gas at protesters demanding the resignation of Peruvian President Dina...

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

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.