Tarlin and Mike run it back to November 7th, 1991 when Magic Johnson held an emergency press conference to announce that he had the HIV virus and that he’d be retiring from the NBA immediately. The news shocked the world and we reflect back on where we were when this flashbulb moment in sports history occurred.
Magic went on to have a storied career after the announcement – playing in the NBA All Star Game and on The Dream Team in 1992. The league responds by establishing the “Blood Rule” and working through the fears and objections of other players like Byron Scott and Karl Malone to demonstrate that even in the early 1990s, the NBA was up to the challenge of managing the medical risks of virus spread. Perhaps more importantly, it was our first experience with the confusion and misinformation of dealing with an epidemic and there are many parallels we draw between this story and much of what we’re seeing in the NBA in 2020.
Tarlin and Mike bring us back to the story of Allen Iverson which in many ways culminated in the notorious press conference in which he said the word “practice” 22 times. We explore what brought AI to that point and how in many ways it has marginalized his impact on the game and the lessons we can learn from his career.
We run it all the way back to his incredible high school career at Bethel and the incident at the bowling alley which nearly ended his basketball life before it even began. From there, we try to learn from his impact with John Thompson at Georgetown right through his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and Larry Brown.
Thanks as always for listening.
This week we run it back to the story of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf to glean lessons about the protests we’re seeing in 2020. Mahmoud began his life as Chris Jackson, a poor kid from Louisiana who battled Tourette’s Syndrome to become a tremendous college basketball player at LSU in the early 1990s. We chronicle the challenges he faced finding his way as he eventually found solace and spiritual direction through Islam. That in turn led him to change his name and begin with a silent protest of the National Anthem that eventually went public. As he remained true to his convictions, he was blackballed by the NBA and was quickly out of the league, in some ways presaging the story of Colin Kaepernik in 2016.
What lessons can we learn from Mahmoud’s story? How is he similar and different from Kaepernik? We dive into all of this as we look for lessons to be learned based on the transformative story of the life of Abdul-Rauf. And we also harken back to the early 1990s along the way.
Thanks as always for listening.
We begin by reflecting on the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, aka Black Panther, before diving into the history of the other legend who passed recently, Georgetown Coach John Thompson. Coach Thompson was a towering figure who established a program whose legacy we’re still experiencing to this day. We explore his impact on college basketball by focusing on getting young black men access to education while giving them support as men. We extol the timeless ways in which he connected with his players for good times and bad as we tell the stories of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, and Michael Graham. And we explore the lessons in his decision to walk out in 1989 to protest Proposition 48 and its impact on traditionally underserved student-athletes.
And, of course, we dive into Ewing and Thompson’s storied run from an appearance in the NCAA Finals against Dean Smith, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and Michael Jordan in 1982 to a Championship in 1984 to a legendary run in 1985 which culminated in the shocking upset by Villanova in the Finals in 1985.
While we mourn the loss of Coach Thompson, we take some solace in running it back to another time and learning from the life of a man who had the courage to stand by his conviction and the vision to establish a legacy that changed the world.
Stay tuned for more details as we gear up for our launch this Fall!