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LeBron James Says NBA Won’t Miss Trump’s Viewership

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The Los Angelas Lakers star laughed off the president’s criticisms about NBA players taking a knee during the national anthem, CNN reports.

What We Know:

  • As calls for racial and social justice remain at the forefront of conversation around the country, NBA players and coaches across the league have taken a knee during the national anthem while wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts.
  • President Donald Trump told Fox News Wednesday that their decision was “not acceptable,” and cited his support for the leagues restart during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also added that other than Abraham Lincoln, he had done the most for the Black community.
  • “Are you trying to make me laugh right now?” LeBron said to reporters after hearing the president’s comments. “I really don’t think the basketball community [is] sad about losing his viewership,” he added. “The game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball. We [couldn’t] care less.”
  • James also noted the importance of the November election in instituting change. “I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter their sides, see what leadership that we have at the top of our country and understand that November is right around the corner, and it’s a big moment for us as Americans.”
  • LeBron has been a consistent advocate of the fight for racial equality, even starting the “More Than A Vote” initiative to help protect Black voting rights.

Though he is happy with the efforts the NBA is taking to recognize the problem, James has pushed for further change, saying we can’t “let our foot off the gas.”

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

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ESPN Cancels Rachel Nichols Show After Racist Comments About Maria Taylor

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In addition to cancelling The Jump, ESPN also removed Rachel Nichols from NBA coverage.

What We Know:

  • The network confirmed Nichols’ departure on Thursday. ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Production David Roberts declared in a statement that Nichols and ESPN mutually agreed that ending her time with the channel was the best approach for NBA coverage. Roberts went on to call Nichols “an excellent reporter, host, and journalist;” he also thanked her for her contributions to NBA content.
  • Nichols confirmed her time with the sports network ended on Twitter. On social media, she thanked The Jump’s production crew for assisting her for the past five years and declared there was “more to come.”

  • Nichols’ deadline with ESPN comes after The New York Times released a recording of her bashing coworker Maria Taylor. In a conversation with Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn and agent Rich Paul, Nichols implied ESPN only selected Taylor to host  NBA Countdown during the NBA finals because of her skin color. Nichols stated the channel would not take her “thing” away because officials felt pressure about their “crappy longtime record on diversity.”
  • After her comments became public, ESPN removed Nichols from her NBA Finals assignment. She also apologized for her statements on The Jump. Nichols affirmed she respected her colleagues and apologized for disappointing anyone she hurt, especially Taylor.
  • Despite the apologies, Taylor quickly left the channel. After she and ESPN could not reach an agreement on her salary, Taylor proceeded to host the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with NBC Sports. Taylor will also cover Football Night in America, the Super Bowl, and Prime Plus with Mike Trico.

ESPN will continue producing episodes of The Jump without Nichols for the next few weeks. After its run, ESPN will replace it with a new afternoon NBA show.

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Michael B. Jordan Launches Basketball Showcase for HBCU Athletes

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The “Hoop Dreams Classic,” a one-night event in Newark, New Jersey, will feature the nation’s top Division 1 HBCU men’s and women’s basketball teams.

What We Know:

  • HBCU Gameday reported that Hoop Dreams Classic would include two games featuring the teams with the biggest HBCU basketball rivalries. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will play against Howard University, and North Carolina Central University will go against Hampton University.
  • The showcase will also celebrate HBCU culture and tradition through live musical performances, a Battle of the Bands competition, and film festivals. It will also provide educational resources for students to learn more about opportunities for college and career advancement.
  • Actor Michael B. Jordan first announced the basketball showcase in December 2020. The Black Panther actor stated he felt inspired to put on the event following the increased global awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, especially after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, among others. In a statement, Jordan wrote 2020 was a “tipping point” for many, including himself, who is “revving up support” for the Black community. He further said as a Newark native, he feels committed to bring change to the community and will do so with the Hoop Dreams Classic.

“Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today,” said Jordan.

  • In addition to the event, Jordan amplifies Black voices and stories through his #ChangeHollywood initiative. This movement aims to hold Hollywood accountable for showcasing Black stories and hiring Black creators.

The Hoop Dreams Classic will take place at Newark’s Prudential Center on December 18, 2021. In addition, a percentage of the proceeds will go to organizations working to advance HBCUs in the area.

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Olympics: Simone Biles out of team gymnastics final ‘due to medical issue,’ officials say

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((BREAKING NEWS))

Biles withdrew due to a medical issue, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” officials said in the statement.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault Tuesday, bailing out of her Amanar and only completing a 1.5 twist on a 2.5-twisting Yurchenko, then taking a big stumble backward on the landing.

She scored a 13.766 and was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer.

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