Juwan Howard a.k.a “Mr. Shocked the World” by Klassy K

TY321H Miami Heat’s Juwan Howard appears backstage with the Best Team award during the ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on July 11, 2012. UPI/Jim Ruymen

Juwan Howard a.k.a “Mr. Shocked the World” by Klassy K

The Michigan Wolverines are in the sweet sixteen! Home Skillets, this will be the University of Michigan’s fourth consecutive time being in the sweet sixteen. I don’t know about y’all, but I am super excited! I am even more excited because one of the infamous Fab Five Juwan Howard, the head coach, is “shocking the world” well, maybe Michiganders in his second year coaching the Wolverines and taking them to the promised land. Well, I may be jumping the gun home skillets. I can remember back in 91-92 after Juwan Howard, beaten a top-contending college team in the semi-finals while coming towards the locker room, shouted, “Told ya’ll we were going to shock the world” on national T.V!

I mean, he was super hyped! I was hyped for him only because I was a senior in high school, and wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake to have my hometown team, the University of Michigan, become NCAA champions and beat the hell out of Duck, I mean Duke. Of course, we all know what happened during that era, and trust me, I don’t plan on talking about that. The Fab Five consisted of some of the best college basketball players during that time, and I just knew they were all going to go pro. Well, only Juwan, Jalen Rose, and of course Chris Webber, the others did not. I was shocked to learn that, especially since there is no “I” in “team” because they ALL played exceptionally well.

Even though Juwan Howard never got the opportunity to become an NCAA champion, he did become an NBA champion while playing for the Miami Heat. If I were Jalen and Chris, I’d be hating on Juwan, for real, for real. Both were exceptional players and played for outstanding NBA teams; even Chris Webber played for the Detroit Pistons. Ahh, let’s not get into that because that was a disaster. Any who, I mean, Jalen and Chris even have exceptional careers as professional basketball sports announcers! Hey, got to love it; it pays the bills, right?

I mean, Juwan Howard is coaching college basketball at his alma mater with a record of 22-4; an NBA champion, and was also just named USBWA National Coach of the year! And guess what? He is only 48 years old! Did I mention that he took his team to the Sweet Sixteen in just two years as a coach? Y’all don’t hear me. I SAID Juwan Howard, a young black and still fine NBA champion, coached his team to the Sweet Sixteen in just under two years and USBWA National Coach of the Year! Mann, that man is a Savage, “sexy, rich, happily married with six kids, what’s happening! Let’s get ready to pop open the Faygo, tear open the Better Made potato chips, and get ready for some college B-A-S-K-E-T-BALL.

The Michigan Wolverines will be playing Florida State this Sunday, March 28th. Check your local listings for time and channel. Home Skillets, I must take this time to apologize to Mr. Shocked the World because, in my last blog, I mentioned that Izzo should teach younger Juwan how “it’s done,” but Michigan State got eliminated before I could get my second stimmy. So, Mr. Shocked the World or Coach of the Year, I am sorry that I doubted your coaching ability. I must have gotten you twisted up with someone else. What’s the name of that coach that coaches the Detroit Pistons? Never mind. Home Skillets get ready for the Detroit Tigers opening day on April 1st. The weather should be nice; hopefully, it can be 70 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next because you know Michigan. Stay safe!

– Klassy K’s Sports Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

A Historic Moment by Klassy K

HOME SKILLETS!! I’m so pumped as I write this. The NBA All-Star game was this past Sunday, March 7th. I was NOT expecting the NBA league to dedicate this game format in honor of HBCUs! The Team Lebron vs. Team Durant competed to raise money for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund. Team Lebron beat Team Durant 170-150, which I was trying to understand why they named the team “Durant” because he did not even play. Well, it was rumored that he caught the “Rona,” and due to “health restrictions,” he was not going to play, but in my Ms. Benita Butrell voice, “I ain’t the one to gossip, so you ain’t heard it from me. But I hope it is not valid. I wouldn’t want my worse enemy to have the Coronavirus; it’s still causing people to die. 

The All-Star game took place in Atlanta, GA, “HOTLANTA,” and you would think with the Coronavirus lurking, people would not be outside partying, going to the clubs, or turning it up. However, people could not contain their excitement, especially when something was exciting happening in their hometown. The All-Star game, but I renamed it the NBA, finally acknowledged the Historical Black Colleges and Universities game, a historical event. I could not contain my excitement!

I give a shout-out to everyone that participated in coordinating this historical event because the NBA has NEVER, I mean never showcased a historical event such as this. I mean from the Battle of the Bands via a screen when introducing the NBA players in the background from Florida A&M University (FAMU) and my alumni rivalry Grambling State University (GSU). Top athletes and referees that graduated from HBCUs were showcased, and black artwork was displayed on the basketball court. HBCU students watched history unfold in the comforts of their homes. I mean, it was great, from the beginning to the end. I could not help but reminisce about my days on campus at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA, a skinny kid from the D enrolling as a Freshman in the Fall of 1992. 

I am a proud HBCU graduate, and when you hear that a person attended or graduated from an HBCU, just know that it is black excellence. Educated black people founded black colleges and universities. Some of the greatest sororities and fraternities were founded at HBCU’s by educated black people; some of the most outstanding athletes attended an HBCU, as well as inventors, teachers, and doctors. Even the first Madame, excuse me, let me get it right, 1st African American and Asian Woman Madame Vice President.

And for you PWI’s (private white institutions) graduates, do not hate, just know that our marching bands are way better than yours will ever be. And speaking of PWI’s, Michigan State University beat the University of Michigan, and March Madness is just around the corner! Home skillets, do you think Juwan Howard can take U of M all the way, or do you think Mr. IZZO to the IZZY show Youngin Howard how it’s done? Well, speaking of done, Blake Griffin is no longer a Detroit Piston, signed to the Brooklyn Nets, and his “double-cross” show is set to air next week. That is so fitting, isn’t it?

– Klassy K’s Sports Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

A Change Gonna Come by Klassy K

Faith

A Change Gonna Come by Klassy K

Home Skilllets! I hope all of you are well and staying home, staying safe. Prayers go out to all who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus, natural causes, or illness; rather, it was a friend, family member, or stranger. Just know that we will get through this together at some point. For those that have the virus or know someone that has the virus, stay prayed up, take supplements (vitamins) and seek hospital care. The pandemic has affected everyone’s lifestyle, including work, clubbing, going to the park or movies, vacation plans, concerts, sporting events, going out with friends/family, and or just going over a family member’s house to have Sunday dinner. Basically, the simple things in life we once looked forward to, and now it’s all put on hold until further notice.

We are trying to do all we can to stay active, sane, and healthy. Some of us have resulted in streaming, going to the store to buy essential items, zooming, or face timing with our friends/family members. Maybe even some of us are doing social media challenges or trying to do some exercise in our home, helping kids with assignments and coming up with other things to try to normalize our lives as we once knew it. This virus just “creeped” upon us like TLC and straight jacking up our lives like Ice Cube. It’s been boring. Hey, dull sounds good right about now, especially with everything that’s been going on with people dying, sick, or out of work. Please remember Home Skillets, this to shall pass.  We all must do our part in stopping the spread of the virus. I’m with Governor Whitmer.

It’s only so much social media, challenges, streaming, and going to the refrigerator that we can take. I need some stimulating entertainment! Not “the over” 18 activity, but I actually miss seeing the Detroit Pistons lose.  I missed the Detroit Tigers game day opener and even watching the Detroit Red Wings run up and down on a cold ice skating rink wishing someone could bring them a cold pop like Sweet Brown. All jokes aside, though, I miss watching sports, and I am a female, so you know I’m bored. If it’s not the Superbowl, the draft, All-star games, championship games, and maybe a competitive game that I might want to see, not interested. The men are more so sport fanatics then females, in my opinion. I guess that’s why men athletics get more attention than women athletics. It’s all about money, and which one generates the most money.  Like C&C Factory, things that make you go hmmmmm.

Well, I don’t know if you heard the NBA and MLB are thinking of having empty seat games. Basically, it’s going to be a bunch of rich men playing like its practice, but it’ll be against an opponent. Due to social distancing, the games will be televised. Ironically, some countries are already doing this.  It won’t be any time soon here though; many speculate in June. The WNBA draft was last week, which you probably did not know about, but I bet you know about the NFL draft? You know why? Right! Well, read the last two sentences in the third paragraph. The NFL draft starts tomorrow, April 23rd through the 25th. It’ll be a virtual draft. The Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will be announcing the draft picks from his house. This year the Detroit Lions have nine picks which one of them is the 3rd overall draft pick. Sport media outlets are thinking that the Detroit Lions will either pick an offensive tackle, defensive end, or quarterback. Yes, you read correctly, a quarterback!

Yes, we already have a quarterback, Matthew Stafford, but I’m speculating that he is going to want to be traded or retire. He had two back surgeries, been in the league for over 10 years, his wife had brain surgery, has two small children and he is over 30. Time for some new blood. I am hoping that the Detroit Lions franchise makes the right choice and pick Tua Tagovailoa, a junior quarterback from the University of Alabama. He is young, talented, and fine! Oh yeah, he can play too! Google for footage/stats. If they pick him, I will gladly spend $200 for nosebleed seats, ha! Who am I kidding? I’m frugal, and I’m social distancing. LOL.

On the last note, I would like to dedicate this blog to my friend and co-worker Latonja Degraffenreid-Smith and her husband Ricardo Smith. She recently lost her father in law and his father Rev. Richard Smith due to the coronavirus.  I would also like to dedicate this to the front line workers that risk their lives every day to save others. All we can do is pray Home Skillets, for continuous strength, because the pain never ends. God bless.

Klassy K’s Sportz Korner, an “opinionated” sports blog

-A contributing writer for aheartfullofconversations.com

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Mamba…Out! by Butch Ford

Kobe Bryant
Mamba…Out! by Butch Ford

Sunday January 26, 2020…A day we’ll all remember; where we were, what we were doing and how we felt upon hearing the devastating news of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of Los Angeles Lakers’ Great Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter, Gianna, her friend Alyssa, her parents John & Keri Altobelli and the pilot, in Calabasas, California.

I’d reserved my thoughts, feelings and comments until after I was able to process everything.  But as my timeline began to flood, my phone began to ring and my messages began to mount. I took time to reflect on my numerous memories and the unbelievable career accomplishments of the man nicknamed, The Black Mamba.  Kobe was an 18 time All-Star, a 5 time NBA Champion and the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. He entered the NBA as a teenager from Lower Merion High School (Pennsylvania) in 1996 and dazzled us for 20 incredible seasons.

Widely regarded as an All-Time NBA Great, Bryant leaves his wife Vanessa, three daughters, his parents, The NBA Fraternity and an entire world of fans to mourn his untimely demise.  The Altobelli’s were survived by a son and a daughter.  This was truly a sad day.  Let’s pray for healing, strength and courage for the families.  And let’s take better care of each other.  For none of us know the day, the hour or the time we’re gonna be called home.  God Bless Us All.

 

Butch

Better Days by Butch Ford

Comerica Park

Better Days by Butch Ford

As a life-long Detroit sports fan, it’s been extremely tough to root for our hometown teams lately.  But what seems to be the problem?  Why are they all so bad at the same time, you ask?  Let’s get into this.

The Red Wings are the easiest to explain.  After 25 consecutive years of consistent winning and four Stanley Cup Championships between 1986-2011, they’re entitled to a down period.  They’re in a rebuilding process and deserve a pass.  You can’t stay on top forever.

The Pistons; after two very successful title runs, resulting in three NBA Championships (2 in back-to-back years by The Bad Boys in ’89 and ’90 plus another one by The Going to Work Squad in ’04) are in a bit of turmoil.  They suffered the loss of longtime owner William Davidson, the subsequent sale of the franchise, growing pains by new ownership and management and relocation to a new downtown arena.  This will take time.

The Tigers also suffered the loss of their long-time owner Mike Ilitch, who tried feverishly to put together a World Series title team before his untimely demise in 2017.  The aftermath is the Ilitch off springs searching for a vision and direction.  It isn’t working very well.  This could be a while.

And then there’s the lowly, cellar dwelling, career doormats known as The Lions.  There have been several dozen coaching changes, countless shuffling of management personnel, and a revolving door for players over the past 6 decades.  The one constant is the ownership…The Ford family (no relation).  And still NO Superbowl appearance to speak of.  What’s it going to take?

One thing’s for sure, Detroit is a passionate sports town that loves its teams and deserves much better.  Hopefully we’ll see better days in the near future!

 

Butch Ford