What am I thinking of? John Wall and his impressive CEO mind.
Five years yesterday and I don’t regret any of it…
Yes, I’m hear [sic] to stay.
I, Michael Tillery will do whatever it takes as a writer to add to the art form but you must know you will be challenged.
Music is just as much an influence as the sports I write. I feel bad for anyone not raised with a Public Enemy beat.
You missed something.
When Chuck D asked me to be on his Air America radio show, my mind shot out far and wide and it’s still going, going…gone.
Thanks for everything Chuck. I appreciate those phone calls just to talk.
The Dave Zirin radio shows, The Two Guys and a Mic radio shows, The Final Word with JayReelz J.D. radio shows, the calls out of the blue radio shows.
You have to be prepared at all times because you never know who is gonna be on the end of the line.
I carry my recorder everywhere.
I’ve learned a helluva lot, met great people, was disappointed in some things and very much encouraged by others. If you have a true mind’s pen, people will read. There must be conviction and a hard line stood upon when your words are scrutinized.
Thanks to Scoop Jackson, Jemele Hill, Bill Rhoden and David Aldridge for just being you.
Ralph Wiley, we miss you.
Thanks to Roland Rogers, David Cole, Ben Osborne, Anthony Carter and Carolyn Hastings. Appreciate you all lookin’ out as editors and giving me a shot which became a confidence boost to write of my of own mind.
Thanks to all the writers of The Starting Five past and present (yeah I’m thanking you twice). You don’t know what it means to have you join in what was a Vegas thought.
Thanks to all the readers. You have made this what it is because the discussions after posts are fruitful and very articulate. Readers have pushed this site to the forefront of alternative journalism. I love you for that. I learn so much from all of you.
I had to pay all dues necessary and appreciated every second.
My family has been great in support…specifically my sister Gina Muscarella.
My kids have played games for their respective schools while I covered professionals for free.
I wasn’t there and it pained me but if I ascend so do they and their future kids.
Speaking to Nas and Talib at length and seeing their faces change when I mentioned their influence on my writing is one of the reasons why I do this.
I’ve lost relationships. I’ve lost friendships. Book deals have come, gone and resurfaced. Promises not kept. I’ve heard hundreds of no’s. There were times my kids were mad with me. I’ve been hard on the writers here just the same as I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve spent money I didn’t have. Get about as little as 10 hours of sleep a week. I’ve pissed off athletes, owners and coaches, “feuded” with writers, befriended writers and interviewed legends deserving of more respect. I’ve written and spoke with people I idolized as a young fan. I’ve been hated, loved, kissed and sexed because of my passion for writing. I’ve had 10,000 dollars dropped in a locker room inadvertently in front of me and thought just as any human would of about giving it back before I did so and the athlete didn’t even care. I’ve listened to and consoled athletes who’ve cried in front of me or on the phone. I’ve seen stuff at parties I would never write about. I wish all these people (writers, publicists, executives, editors, entertainers, trainers, coaches, owners, players, assistants) were real but a lot of them are not on all fronts.
My inner circle is the shit. They give me what I need and not what I want. The phone calls I receive any given day would be difficult for fans of sports and entertainment to imagine but the lawyers, agents, writers I speak to on a daily basis let me know this is where I need to be.
This is not simply a job. It is a major part of my life.
I’m still here.
It’s all about the Blood of Experience.
Cruiserweight Steve Cunningham, Anthony Martin Founder & Executive Director UYRS, Charles Barkley, Me and heavyweight Eddie Chambers.
There are folks who will say my words aren’t athlete objective and also question why I “defend” Black millionaires “who don’t give a damn about us“.
An opportunity exists whenever I interview an athlete to teach someone something whether you live in the ghetto, rural America or suburbia.
It’s not simply about the 24 hour news cycle and if that’s truly so, a lot will get lost along the way.
Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s jealousy and envy, maybe it’s sheer hatred but professional athletes ain’t America’s cup of tea right now. The boos have become ubiquitous. We are complaining about the cultures of others and truly looking like fools to the rest of the world.
Is it really about the money? Don’t we sell ourselves short if the focus is merely the money?
I could care less about the money of others because I don’t see or feel it in my pockets so why focus on something beyond my control?
Regardless of what you may say publicly, Donovan McNabb’s Philly career and subsequent trade to Washington had a lot to do with race. Period. How Philadelphia will look at the next Black quarterback suiting up at the Linc will be affected as a result.
You say the same about racism? That it’s beyond my control?
I beg to differ. I can do something about that. Every piece any of us writes has a chance to influence and turn the tide of any relevant conversation. I truly believe opinions must vary in hopes of turning a head, creating a different facial expression or adding to an important discussion.
Race is a factor in the way media carries itself. The main objective it seems is to speak to the mainstream and forget about everyone else because of money.
It sickens my stomach to see this. Black people, get yourselves together and work on what you can control to get what you need instead of what you want. Turn off Channel Zero…
Read a book or something. Turn off that BET trash.
Yet, the athlete is the only face we see.
Why are we focusing on the athlete as if Jack Johnson created the almighty dollar? Don’t be so stupid. CEO’s across the land are laughing all the way to Swiss banks.
It also appears Black writers are shook to write something middle America will find offensive. Some feel their jobs are at stake. White writers write of their own minds so why can’t everyone else?
Don’t you want to learn something different or are you just as shook about a necessary semblance of change?
Why do you want to read the same damn story over and over and over and over and over? That is monotony and eventually you will get sick of reading the same beat writer story in every American paper or website.
Thus, the athlete becomes the focus of ire. Bad news becomes good news. A simple traffic stop is exploited and somehow becomes a human heart stop with the Black athlete holding the smoking gun.
I want to know more than a small percentage of athletes getting in trouble.
Do your research.
All the hard work to become the upper percentile of their craft and people hate them?
What about the why and how they got there?
All types of contradictions and hypocrisy…
There are MLB managers screaming and hollering at umpires and NHL fights celebrated, yet NFL touchdown dances, altercations on the court and questioning referees are taboo in the mainly Black NBA.
And we wonder why Jesse said slave mentality?
There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to everyone as long as there is truth and honesty. All this petty bull crap we seem to be stuck on helps…
I’m done reacting to these clowns. You, the reader, should done with them too. Be objective in what you take in. Decipher it all and let them react to us. If we fight their fight, we are gonna lose every time.
There needs to be more Black writers covering the NBA just the same as the number of White writers covering golf, tennis and soccer.
Black writers have more to add than any other race when a Black athlete is in front of the mic. They same goes for any other race reporting on the same face.
If you want the watered down version continue to read magazines, newspapers and websites employed by White writers reporting on sports employing a majority of Black athletes.
Make a distinction of what that statement means. If you merely see it as offensive you will miss the point.
Do you see a bunch of Black writers reporting from the US Open or Augusta National?
Our experiences vary. Of course other races have the ability to write about Black athletes but their experience is mine. Blacks know how they’ve grown up. Blacks know their family structure, education, daily walk, hopes and dreams.
I want to make you uncomfortable. You should think more.
That more Black writers aren’t documenting the exploits of Black athletes is racism. This society screams affirmative action is a crime but trust America does not employ the best men/women for the job when it comes to reporting, op-eds or columns.
Ask yourselves why Black quarterbacks are scrutinized so heavily. Ask yourselves why the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t throw everything and Rocky’s statue Carsten Charles Sabathia’s way and lock up the National League pennant for years.
Trust me, Cliff Lee would still be here if they did.
There is another way and if folks don’t understand the words of others, whose fault is that?
As long as there is racism on any level I will write. This has nothing to do with athletes and more to do with the perception of how history influences the next generation. That’s why I write sports but trust I will transition into other genres of journalism.
Here’s an example:
The statement Wilt Chamberlain was simply a stat sheet stuffer cannot be carried on. 50 and 25 says different in a year he did not win MVP but his team was near the top of the league.
Wilt was so good he probably could have been MVP most years of his career but because he was so good his bar was raised higher than his peers. The playing field had to be leveled and because Wilt was expected to perform the unimaginable his legacy suffered at the hands of others.
Wilt rubbed people the wrong way because he was decades ahead of his time and wanted to sleep with women of all colors and creeds. He wanted everything magnificent as the folks around him wanted simple things.
Why should he be required to be just like everyone else if his talent is different than others (enter LeBron)?
Bill Russell’s competitive spirit is comparable or exceeds Wilt’s but not his talent. Wilt did it by himself most years. The Boston Celtics had an abundance of Hall of Fame talent. It wasn’t just Bill Russell carrying Boston to the pinnacle. Stop that.
Do your research.
Why should writers appease simple thought by giving readers everything they want to see? There must be a challenge. Don’t give the reader everything.
Simplify this. It’s not that difficult.
I don’t write simply because others will agree. That’s not my aim.
I write with children not yet born in mind. When I speak to an athlete, there is always a question I ask for them.
That kid in the hood immensely talented but can’t find his way?
Yeah, I write for him/her as well.
The question might be sports related but I’m more interested in advancing why a particular athlete rose to become one of the elite in his sport.
To change minds along the way is my intention instead of this current pop culture focus on the soap opera bullshit.
There is hard work to be done and exploits to be documented in ways the mainstream simply can’t fathom or choose to relate.
Sometimes I think this is all ridiculous but I can’t stop, won’t stop.
Powerful Black people should not be made out to be villains. We should all be smarter and more fearless leading to a new generation of total understanding.
Leading to another point…
This site was created so the minds of fearless writers will have a release. You can write anything here as long as again, you stand on your words.
Stand on your words people. No pink socks and flip flops.
I care about journalism. This is not just about The Starting Five nor I. These chumps trashing the art form need to get called out just like in any other occupation.
I will never understand why sports writers fail to call out their peers.
Do you want the field to improve or dissolve into irrelevance?
I’m not about excluding anyone but more about affecting everyone with words of my mind. I can’t write from the pack and will risk alienation not to do so.
Isn’t writing with the pack like cheating on a test?
How do we learn as writers if it’s all about writing the same?
For example…this LeBron James craziness…it appears writers clamor, snake, scratch and claw to find any and every former star to comment in defense of public opinion as if James is some sort of murderer. What is that?
He’s no criminal. What does his record show? He wants to control his own legacy, media and maximize his earning power while he’s playing.
Yes, he’s a teammate but his skill set is sui generis.
As far as the Roman Coliseumesque outcry…absurd.
He wanted to go play with his boys. Relax it’s just sports right?
Trust there are others benefiting far more financially than LeBron off his own name.
But…as we all saw…the country reacted as if there was something more to it and that’s why I write sports because it isn’t just entertainment. Folks lost their damn minds since Miami put a heated foot on the throat of free agency.
Teaching moment. What will we learn and what will writers write?
I have a long way to go and I’m prepared to learn anything and everything it takes. I love writing. I have goals. I need to write with my glasses more. I want to win a Pulitzer. I want to win an Oscar. I want those accolades not for selfish reasons but because if I can achieve such a lofty status I will affect the art continuum. I will write until I die. I want to make a difference within my community first before the rest of society benefits because I’m needed most where a Black perspective isn’t given proper respect.
David Aldridge and Earl the Pearl Monroe in the same flick? One of my highlights.
History suffers if our differences become the same words.
Writers of other minorities, judge yourselves accordingly. Protect and document your community as well and we’ll all benefit.
History books are written as if Whites are exclusively the soul of journalism.
White folks need to understand writing from a Black experience is not a threat but more an opportunity.
We all need a shake from our comfort zone regardless of the color of our skin.
Go, fight, win?
Come on people. Get it together.
All of us.
Thanks for your support.
That I took this pic from the press box is a win for all of us because the report will not be the same.
Randall Cunningham makes his greatest comeback (Black Athlete)
Pat Haden to replace Mike Garrett as USC AD (LA Times)
USC returns Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy. I thought Vince Young should have won it anyway (Time)
Juwan Howard officially signs with the Miami Heat (Miami Herald)
Ashley Fox’s Eagles series: Lurie’s Biggest Loss (Philly)
Jewish leaders call on Obama to denounce Farrakhan … Again! (Final Call)
Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love by Dave Zirin (Amazon)
Is Carlos Beltran’s Return Enough To Help The Mets?
John Wall already a ratings hit in D.C. (WaPo)
Underwater view of the BP oil disaster (CNN)
Mumia Abu Jamal comments on Johannes Mehserle verdict and also LeBron James. (Davy D)
U-M coaches helping player’s brother to walk again (Detroit News)
Where it should be…
Gotta give some shouts…
Thanks to David Aldridge, Scoop Jackson, Chuck D, Dave Zirin, Anthony Gilbert, D.K. Wilson, Ron Glover, Vinnie Goodwill, Okori Wadsworth, Chris Webber, Delinda Lombardo, Jemele Hill, Sammy Dalembert, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Mike Preston, Scott Henry, Arthur Triche, Bruce Wimbish, Asya Shein, Maurice Cheeks, Devon Givens, James Beale, Eddie Rhodman, Liz Doble, Christina O’Leary, Maria Amici, Chris Broussard, J.A. Adande, Nas, Talib Kweli, NYOIL, Jerold Wells Jr., Skip Bayless, Allen Iverson, Andre Iguodala, Rip Hamilton, Jermaine O’Neal, Ryne Nelson, Donovan McNabb, Calandra Coone, Holly McKenzie, Lorin Chvotkin, Ed Berliner, Bill Rhoden, Sonny Hill, Spencer Haywood, 19, Brandi Dilks, Toni and Mike Napier, Mickey Dilks, Jenee Brunson, Temple3, Paul Muscarella, Ron Artest, Alex Reed, Dee Shaw, Erika Bjork, Heidi Beuch, Gus Johnson, Gavin Maloof, Ashley Fox, Chris Murray, Elton Brand, Grant Hill, Dream Hampton, Donna Byrd, Henry Louis Gates, Michael Eric Dyson, Coach Marco Marcos, Reggie Williams, Coach Tommy Amaker, Coach Pat Knight, Mike Singeltary, John Roberson, Meredith Geisler, Megan Bondi, Frank Ward, Megan Weems, Jeff Pomeroy, Jeff Pearlman, J. E. Skeets, Patrick Hayes, Chevonne Mansfield, Ed Hill, John Smallwood, Dei Lynam, Coach Lynam, Howard Eskin, Barry Bonds, Greg Moore, Chauntika Broggin, Elnora Duncan, Buzz Bissinger, Brian Atkins, Reggie Dillard, Silas Whaley, Fyza that Nile. Sugar, Branson Wright, Dee Shaw, James Brown, Anthony Bonagura, Brandon Jennings, Kevin Durant, Illana Nunn, Jacinta Howard, Jackie and Doug Christie, DJ Irie, Marcellus Wiley, Michael Smith, Jason Gibbons, Two Guys and a Mic…JD and Geno, Jerry Holloway, Julani Ghana, Guy and Joe Torry, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Questlove, Kamal Gray, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Martin Parks, Andre Aldridge, Justice B. Hill, Derek Allen, Martin Hunt, Derek Wilson, Greg Wilson, Cynthia Harding Marshall, Brenda Pace, Debbie Ramirez, Byron Graham, Ryan McNeil, Tanya Marchiol, Kacy Krisman, Charles Modiano, McBias, Michele Piemontese Godwin, Greg Goodwin, Jordi Scrubbings, Justin Walsh, Keith Russell, Ken Shropshire, Larry Alston, Linda Lee, Marc Spears, Mark Dinets, Carla Dorsey, Melanie Green, Camilla Ridgeway, Miranda Rice, Jason Logan, Dexter Harper, Clarence Gaines, Origin, Des, Rachel Lauren, Jesse Jackson, Bonita Parker, Sable Verity, Rhonda Bayless, Rich Burg, Rob King, Ryan Nissan, Susan Price, Sandy Dover, Sidney Duane Hughes, Sean Mitchell, Shannon Owens-Green, Stephen A. Smith, Lisa Burroughs, Will Smith, Larry Fishburne, Nick Cannon, Dick Gregory, Brian McKnight, Joe Biden, Victoria ad Dennis Clark, Brian “Hurricane” Aro, Kerry Washington, Vanessa Williams, Lil’ Mo, Andrew Ware, Sarah Dollings, Stephon Marbury, Kevin Garnett, Jamal Crawford, Stephen Douglas, Aaron Douglas, Steve Ashworth and Hilary Groswith, Tambria Peebles, Tara August, Charles Barkley, Tariq Al Haydar, Tarik Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Neil Scarborough, Duane Cross, Terrance McNeil, Timothy Hopkins, Nate Jones, Diallo Tyson, Tommie Battle, Torrence Rothmiller, Tracey Cooper, Tracy Swain, Michelle McGuire, DJ D Nice, Vincent Thomas, Bomani Jones, Adina Ferguson, Walter Beach, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Webster Riddick, Djuana Jervey, Matt Yeazel, Michael Lee, Christian Avard, Aki Thymes, Mike Pham, Debbie Ramirez, Chris Douglas-Roberts, BJ Armstrong, Derrick Rose, Desmond Mason, Anthony Johnson, Lindsey Hunter, JJ Redick, Dominique Wilkins, Bob McAdoo, Patrick Ewing, Donnie Walsh, Bill Walker, Kate Goss, Ray Jackson, Robert Jordan, Eddie Jordan, Ty Lawson, Jameer Nelson, Karl Morris, Karen Frascona, Norma Manzini-Phillips, John and Billy Gilman, Jason Nazario, John David Valladares, Jackie Taylor, Megan Wilson, Talia Kerch, Chrissy Delicompagni, Matthew Fudge, Robert Todd Kennedy, Joann Mikail, Lynn Pounian, Tom Gesner, Alesha and Charlie Fritz, Barry Bell, Kelly Bell, Suzanne Markman, Julie Downes Brown, MJ Podolak, Charles Johnson, Wendell Harmon, Shea Crews, Claudette Huyler, KevDog. Thanks Doc, Dawn Gray, Bill Warren, LaDanian Tomlinson, Tyra Townsend, Patricia McManus, Cynthia Harding Marshall, Christine Messina McLarnon, Wanyandey Harmon, DJ Wally Sparks, DJ Vince Adams, Sherry Wiggins, Bill Weidman, Mia Simone Dorman, Bernard Hopkins, Bonni McLane, Delight Santos, Chip Fritz, Claudia Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, Dax Devlon-Ross, Myles Brown, Jonathan Weiler, Jacquie Adams, Denika Clark, Payal Doshi, Tara Givens Anderson, Rian Thal (RIP), KJ Kearney, Angela Crockett, Bill Cosby, Nanette Yelder, Shameka Fehr, Earl Monroe, Coach Chris Jent, Coach Mike Brown, Coach Phil Jackson, Coach Randy Ayers, Coach Steve Fisher, Coach Ray Lokar, Coach Finamore, Coach Tubby Smith, Coach Stan Heath, Coach Mike Anderson, Coach Frank Haith, Coach George Carl, Coach Doc Rivers, Coach Jerry Sloan, Jason Kidd, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Brian Dawkins, Michael Vick, Coach Scott Skiles, Coach Mike Woodson, John Black, Coach Doc Rivers, Troy Weaver, Chris Paul, Garrett Rogers, Pam Esterling Patone, Sharon Breske, Todd Cooper, Andre Miller, Coach Jerome Tang, Courtney Fallon, Angela DiNunzio Seguin, Coach Aaron McKie, Kristin Remaily Sanderlin, Shanda Leffelman, Vince Carter, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Khalid Salaam, Tzvi Twersky, Jake Appleman, Christopher Cason, Laura Blunt-Prucyk, Henry Abbott, World Wide Wes, Autumn Hollis, Jeff Curran, Gaylan Maxson, Steph Bassette, Dave and Michelle Holloway, Royal Ivey, Irby and Mandi Lemon, Kim Morrow, Brenda Pace, Blaine Neil Thompson, Kevin Ollie, Juwan Howard, Keisha Woods, Damon Smith, Jacinta Howard, Keisha Green, Jimmy King, my Dad, my step mom and last but never least, my children Mike, Gaston and Taylor.
If I am forgetting anyone obvious or otherwise, I’m terribly sorry. You all have done something big or small that has influenced my walk and for that, I’m appreciative. I take it all in. Thank you!
To the haters…thank you too because through it all, you keep me relevant.