Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver/punt returner DeSean Jackson’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown against the New York Giants on Dec. 19, 2010 has been voted the greatest play in NFL history via the second annual NFL “Bracketology.” Jackon’s game winning return for a touchdown was the final play in the Eagles 38-31 victory that capped off a 28-point fourth quarter to erase a 21-point deficit.
“Bracketology” began with a 64-play field which was determined by an NFL.com/NFL Network editorial panel. Starting on March 18 and continuing through April 9, fans voted in the six-round, bracket-style tournament to determine which play was the greatest in NFL history. Jackson’s punt return topped San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young’s 1988 winding touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings in the finals of NFL “Bracketology” by receiving 57.8 percent of the votes in their matchup.
Uninsured children to receive free eye exams, glasses
Eagles Youth Partnership, along with Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), Wills Eye Institute, Thomas Jefferson University and Visionworks announce the fourth annual Give Kids Sight Day on Saturday, April 13. Free eye exams and free glasses will be provided for Philadelphia children ages 18 and under who are underinsured and do not have access to vision care.
Registration opens at 8 a.m. and extends through 2 p.m. at Jefferson University Hospital Alumni Hall at 10th and Locust streets. After registration, medical exams will be provided at Wills Eye Institute and Thomas Jefferson University. No appointments are necessary. For more information, call (215) 563-5848, ext. 21 or go to www.pccy.org/sightday.
Rap Curry to be inducted into Delaware County Hall of Fame
Rap Curry, former Penn Wood High and Saint Joseph’s University basketball star, will be inducted into the Delaware County Athletes Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at the Concordville Inn on April 18 at 7 p.m. Curry scored 1,372 points in his career at Penn Wood and as a junior was instrumental in helping the Patriots put together a 27-5 record while landing a spot in the PIAA state semifinal. At Saint Joseph’s, he was a three-time All-Big 5 selection . Curry finished second all-time in assists and seventh in steals. He is also a 1999 inductee to the Saint Joseph’s Hall of Fame and a 2008 selection to the Big 5 Hall of Fame. For more information on the event, go to www.delcohalloffame.org.
La Salle finishes season ranked No. 24 in final USA Today/Coaches Poll
La Salle has finished the 2012-13 season ranked No. 24 in the final USA Today/Coaches Poll. The Explorers received 97 points and are one of three Atlantic 10 teams in the polls joining Saint Louis and VCU.
La Salle won three NCAA tournament games in five days over Boise State, Kansas State and Ole Miss to advance to the Sweet 16. The Explorers concluded the season with a 24-10 record. Only six La Salle teams have won more than 24 games (1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1989, 1990).
Dawn Staley, former Dobbins Tech basketball star, is one of 12 members of the Class of 2013 who will be enshrined on Sept. 8 in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Staley will join nine-time NBA all-star Gary Payton, seven-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino from Louisville, four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, four-time NBA all-star Bernard King and three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell.
They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February. These direct-elects include Roger Brown, voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Dr. E.B. Henderson from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Richard Guerin from the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik from the Contributor Direct Election Committee. The class announcement was made at the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.
Staley is one of the most decorated players in women’s basketball history. She was a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004), five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time National College Player of the year (1991-92). She was named the USA Basketball Female Player of the Year in 1994 and went on to begin her professional career as a two-time ABL All-Star (1997 and 1998) with Richmond and later the Philadelphia Rage.
As a college player, Staley was a three-time Kodak All-America selection (1990-92) at the University of Virginia and she still holds the NCAA career record for steals (454). She led the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Four appearances and was named NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player in 1991. She is the only player in women’s college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 400 steals.
As a high school player, Staley led Dobbins to three consecutive Public league championships (1986, 1987,1988). The 5-foot-5 guard was named the 1988 USA Today Women’s National Player of the Year.
“Ever since I found out that I was on the ballot, I have been in shock,” said Staley, who is the head women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina, in a statement. “I still can’t quite embrace how big it is. It’s something that I thought, if it were to happen, would happen when I was much older. It’s a special occasion to be announced, and I’m just trying to enjoy it. It’s overwhelming, but I’m trying to enjoy it.
“I am in disbelief about it. I’ve always wanted to be in the Hall of Fame. Nothing quite preps you for the occasion. You can prep for games and having your players zoned in for the opposition. But, something like this catches you off guard, even when you know it’s a possibility. It’s incredible.”
Staley had an incredible playing career. She’s also done a fine job as a head coach. In 2000, she became the head women’s basketball coach at Temple University. Staley put the Temple women’s basketball program on the map. She spent eight seasons coaching the Owls. She compiled a 172-80 overall record. Staley led Temple to six NCAA tournament appearances.
In 2008, she moved to South Carolina to coach the Gamecocks. She just completed her 13th season overall as a head coach, her fifth at South Carolina. In leading the Gamecocks to a 92-66 record over that time, she guided the team to back-to-back 25 win seasons, including this season’s 25-8 record for the fourth-highest winning percentage in program history. In 2012, Staley guided South Carolina to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16.
Alison Eachus, former William Penn High basketball coach, remembers Staley from her playing days at Dobbins Tech. Eachus has great memories of her carrying the flag at the 2004 Olympics for the United States.
“I told her one day, ‘I said Dawn you’ve done a lot of great things in your life, but when you carried the flag in for the Olympics that was just awesome,” Eachus said. “The reason that was awesome is because it’s one thing to be voted by coaches who coached you or who you played against. But to carry the Olympic flag, your name goes in the hopper with everybody in the Olympics and everybody on the team. Not basketball, but on the Olympic team. So, all the rowers, all the weightlifters, all the volleyball players, they voted her in to carry that flag. It was everybody on the Olympic committee that voted her in. She spans more than basketball. She has really made an impression on a lot of people.”
Staley grew up in North Philadelphia and has represented her community extremely well.
“(During the ceremony), I will probably think most about my foundation, where I grew up in North Philly,” Staley said. “People who grow up in North Philly have a mark against them because of the environment they grew up in. I’ll think about being one who got out and who can go back and share a ray of hope to the little boys and girls who sit where I sat, imprisoned by their circumstances. That’s the main thing I’ll think about.”
The movie “42,” the life story of baseball great Jackie Robinson, will be in theaters around the country on Friday, April 12.
It’s a movie that everybody should see.
It’s a film that every kid should see who isn’t familiar with Robinson’s story or what he accomplished in his career. It’s a movie for all of today’s major league players for whom Robinson blazed the trail as one of this country’s great pioneers. It’s also a look back in history for all of us to remember this great player and what he stood for.
Robinson broke the color line in Major League Baseball on April 15, 1947 when the Brooklyn Dodgers signed him to a contract. It was certainly a historic moment when Robinson integrated the game of baseball.
The movie highlights this significant part of American history. Branch Rickey, Dodgers president, made Robinson the first Black player in Major League Baseball. Rickey inked him to a minor league deal in 1945. Robinson, like many outstanding African Americans, was playing in the Negro League. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs.
Rickey had his eye on Robinson. He had his scout watch him play for the Monarchs. He played for the Montreal Royals in the minors. He played in a lot of small towns in the South. That’s where Robinson got his first taste of discrimination. He played in Sanford, Fla., where he had to stay in the home of a Black family in that community. He could not stay in a hotel.
Rickey knew Robinson would be subjected to all kinds of racism and bigotry, but he didn’t want him to fight back. He knew that’s exactly what people wanted to see. Rickey had planned to end racial segregation in Major League Baseball. He could have signed any number of great players from the Negro League, but he thought Robinson would be more suited to take on the challenge of shattering the color barrier in baseball.
Robinson was well educated. He went to UCLA, where he starred in football, basketball, track and field and baseball. Rickey figured he had the temperament to play baseball at a high level and deal with all the racial fallout.
Although Robinson experienced racism in the minors, it was nothing like what he faced in the majors. First of all, his teammates didn’t even want to play with him. They had put together a petition indicating their disapproval of his playing for the Dodgers.
Teams did everything to show their resentment of Robinson’s being in the majors. Pitchers deliberately threw at his head in the batter’s box. In addition, fans, teams and players shouted all kinds of racial comments when he was on the field. You have to see the movie to hear all the things that were said to him.
The film highlighted an individual who played a big part in Robinson’s success. His name was Wendell Smith. He was a longtime baseball writer for The Pittsburgh Courier, one of the most prominent Black newspapers in the country. Smith chronicled Robinson’s career going back to the Negro League. It was his articles in the Courier that grabbed Rickey’s attention as well as the nation’s.
Like Robinson, he also experienced racism. He wasn’t allowed to sit in the press box with the other sportswriters. He would sit in the stands to cover the games, holding his typewriter in his lap. Smith was the first African American to join the Baseball Writers Association of America. He’s also in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
There’s a lot everybody can learn from this film. Robinson had to endure a lot of racism. He needed a thick skin to survive during that time. He was a great baseball player, but a far better human being for what he had to go through.
Jackie Robinson had a big impact in the world of sports. Robinson broke the color line barrier in major league baseball, becoming the first African American player in the big leagues when he signed a contract and joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
However, Robinson was more than just a great baseball player. His legacy includes his work as a writer too. The book “Beyond Home Plate” (Syracuse University Press, $29.95), written by Michael G. Long, highlights Robinson’s journalistic skills following his playing days with the Dodgers. The book has compiled some of Robinson’s columns in the New York Post and the New York Amsterdam News.
The Hall of Famer wrote syndicated newspaper columns on a number of topics such as sports, politics, civil rights and many community issues. Long has compiled some of his great columns into one read.
“This was definitely one of my favorite projects so far, primarily because you hear Jackie Robinson in his own voice,” said Long, who is the editor of several books on politics, religion and civil rights. “The columns showed that Robinson was an American prophet. He consistently stood for those on the margin who could not speak for themselves in public. Robinson was their voice.”
Robinson had a chance to express his views in two of New York City’s biggest newspapers. The New York Post is one of the city’s largest daily newspapers. The New York Amsterdam News is one of the oldest Black newspapers in the country.
In the book, Robinson wrote about Charles Sifford, the first Black golfer to play for the PGA. In 1961, Sifford became the first African-American to earn a PGA card. He wrote about him in the Post. In the piece, he talked about the singer Billy Eckstine, who was also a terrific golfer and a good friend of Sifford.
Sifford and Robinson are both pioneers in their sports. This book is a great read with a number of interesting columns.
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame’s brilliant senior guard, has been named the recipient of the inaugural Dawn Staley award from the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia.
“The Dawn Staley award is given to the most outstanding collegiate guard in the country; a player who exemplifies the skills that Dawn possessed during her career (ballhandling, scoring, her ability to distribute the basketball and her will to win),” said Michael G. Horsey, founder of the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia, in a statement.
“Skylar is a true representation of what it takes to be an elite guard. She is a tremendous leader who makes her teammates better. Her decision making and work ethic on both ends of the floor is what separates her from other guards. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of the first Dawn Staley award,” said Staley, South Carolina head women’s basketball coach.
Diggins was a unanimous first team AP All-American selection this year. She led the Fighting Irish to their third consecutive NCAA Final Four appearance. She averaged 17.3 points and 6.0 assists a game.
Staley will present the award to Diggins during the Phoenix Club of Philadelphia luncheon on Thursday, April 18 at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Pendarvis Williams named All-American
Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk State basketball star, has been named to the Boxtorow All-American team. Williams, a former Bodine High star, was voted the Boxtorow Division I National Player of the Year. Williams was AP All-American honorable mention selection.
He was named the MEAC Player of the year last month after guiding the Spartans to the MEAC regular season championship and an NIT appearance.
Rysheed Jordan wins Phoenix Award
Rysheed Jordan, Roberts Vaux High basketball standout, has been named the winner of the 2013 Phoenix Award as the most outstanding senior basketball player in the Public League.
Jordan, a 6-foot-4 senior, averaged 24.8 points a game. He led Vaux to the PIAA Class A state championship.