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You Can be “Like Mike.” I’d Rather be Like Jason.

Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, announces in a Sports Illustrated that he is gay
Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, announces in a Sports Illustrated that he is gay

Before yesterday, the reality was that there had never been a person in major American professional sports to discuss their being gay.  With the online release of Jason Collins’ forthcoming Sports Illustrated article, that shameful reality met its overdue demise.  At 34, Collins is at the sunset of a largely unremarkable 12-year NBA career during which he’s never averaged more than 7 points per game, never been to an NBA final, and never been an all-star.  He’s considered (and generously so) a defensive specialist who makes the most of being tall and having six times to hack an opponent before he fouls out of a game.

By contrast, at 34 years of age, Michael Jordan was winning his 6th NBA Championship, averaged more than 30 points per game for his career, was a perennial all-star, and was widely considered the greatest basketball player to have ever played.  That’s debatable, but certainly possible.

By the time I turned 34, my athletic “career” consisted of being a three-sport athlete in high school, having lasted in college wrestling just long enough for Coach Cotton to tell me that practices began at 5:00 “am, not pm”.  I was a small but very athletic kid who was never was more than just “pretty good” at any particular sport.    And at 5’ 6”, I would have been lucky to score seven points in an NBA season, much less per game.  (I was, however, voted county Coach of the Year, placing me firmly in the Pantheon of great wrestling coaches, according to my mother.)

According to the numbers, the three of us ain’t on the same page athletically.  Not even in the same book.  In fact, you’d need three separate books, and mine doesn’t even belong in the same library.

That said, I’d rather be more like Jason than like Mike.

I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be an athlete the likes of Jordan or even Collins.  I do, however, have an excellent idea of what “the guys’ locker room” is like; its codes of conduct, the sanctity of what’s said there, the hypermasculine posturing…  I could at least, after a particularly putrid performance on the wrestling mat, come back into the locker room and talk bullshit about what I wanted to do with some girl who of course would have been oh-so-impressed to see me flailing around out there in my singlet.  I could pretend to be better than I was at wrestling, but I didn’t have to pretend to like girls.

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Blogs

The Daily: Haiti’s Unofficial National Amputee Soccer Team

A player belonging to Haiti’s unofficial national amputee soccer team (right) controls the ball as two players from the local Zaryen team attempt to defend in a friendly match at the national stadium in Port-au-Prince.

via The Telegraph

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News

HBCU alumna becomes the only African-American player to earn status on the LPGA Tour

On Sunday 24-year-old Shasta Averyhardt became the only African-American player to earn status on the LPGA Tour. Averyhardt will be just the fourth African-American woman in the 60 year history of the LPGA Tour to play as a member.

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News

High school cheerleaders protest “skimpy” uniforms

Several members of a high school cheerleading team are complaining that their new outfits are too skimpy.

The cheerleading squad at Central High School in Bridgeport says the uniforms show off too much of their midriff and say it hurts their self-esteem.

“I think they were a little too revealing,” said Shericka Jackson, the mother of a cheerleader.

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Entertainment

Nascar Turns to BET to Boost Minorities

A few clicks on the Web site of Black Entertainment Television leads viewers to a short Nascar tutorial filled with information about popular drivers, racetracks and salaries.

It may seem odd to find a sport so closely tied to white Southern men featured on a Web site devoted to African-American entertainment, but it represents Nascar’s latest attempt to build a following for minority drivers it hopes to develop into stars.

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Sports

Politics of Race in the UFC

It’s almost difficult to believe after so many UFC events featuring so many different permutations of guys making mean faces on the fight posters, but UFC 114 marks the first time a modern UFC pay-per-view card is headlined by two African-American fighters.

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Entertainment

1st annual HBCU NFL Combine

Standout players from the 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the U.S. are being invited to attend the first annual HBCU & Small College Pro Combine, May 21 through 23, 2010, at The Ford Stadium Complex at North Carolina A&T State University.

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Sports

HBCU’s could benefit greatly from NCAA Tournament

Colleges get direct payments from the telecast based on a complicated formula that takes into account the school’s athletic conference, how many teams from that conference make it to the tournament and how far each advances. Sometimes, these payments are split evenly throughout the conference, allotted even to those teams that do not make the tournament. For example, Morgan State University, one of the lesser teams in the tournament, got $291,000 for appearing last year. The 12 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference — which includes last year’s winner, the University of North Carolina — evenly split a hefty $15,863,538.