Floyd Mayweather and His Place in History

Posted in Blogroll on April 25th, 2015 by Okori Wadsworth


Floyd Mayweather Jr., the presumptive #1 ranked pound-for-pound boxer in the world interviewed with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith wherein he stated he believed he was better than Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali. Fine. That’s confidence and no one has a problem with that. Then Floyd took things a step past reasonable by explaining he wasn’t going to be “brainwashed”. He denigrated Ali’s loss to Leon Spinks at 36 by stating that Leon only had seven professional fights and the Rope-a-Dope strategy Ali employed George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” saying, “So you gonna tell me that it’s cool and take punishment and let a man tire himself out from beating you? And then he’s basically fatigued, you hit him with a few punches and he go down and quit and you want to be glorified for that? Absolutely not”.

Of course as is his wont, Floyd leaves out important facts in the story. Facts like Leon Spinks was a 24-year-old Olympic Gold Medalist when he fought Ali. Facts like George Foreman was regarded in the same way Gennady Golovkin is regarded now, as an eater of worlds who had just come off disassembling Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica.

If this had been just the first time Floyd had said something like this, I would have let it go. Might have raised an eyebrow, but that’s all that it would have been. Then I remembered: He’s done this before. His bragging about supremacy and being “The Best Ever” is as tired as it is simple. If you ask him why, he just tells you it’s because he’s made the most money and because he’s undefeated.

He might get away with this when people who don’t know boxing are around, or talking to web sites who are so besotted over getting an interview with him that they don’t pressure him. He will not get away with this here.

Mayweather fans, have a seat and enjoy a cream soda. It’s time for a history lesson.

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Tim Tebow Is Resurrected, Set To Sign With the Philadelphia Eagles

Posted in Blogroll on April 20th, 2015 by Ron Glover

(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Just when you thought Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was through tugging on the brittle psyche of his team’s fan base, he does the unthinkable and brings Tim Tebow back to the NFL after nearly three seasons on the shelf.

The team is ready to sign Tebow to a one-year deal on Monday according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer who broke the story.

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#1 Warriors vs. #8 Pelicans 1st Round NBA Playoff Preview: Will this be Anthony Davis’ Mike vs. Boston Moment?

Posted in Blogroll on April 17th, 2015 by Michael Tillery



The first of our NBA playoff previews here on The Starting Five.  

This is the most wide open playoffs we’ve seen in years and given there is no true juggernaut, the NBA playoffs of 2014-2015 should be also most exciting. The #1 seeds are the 67-15 Golden State Warriors and the surprising 60-22 Atlanta Hawks. After that, who knows. What goes down? Do you know? I call Anthony Davis the evolution of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Will he shock the world and sit the probable MVP Steph Curry’s golden eye down and crisply fishing? Will LeBron bring Cleveland its first World Championship since Jim Brown trucked cats in 1964? Will Kawhi Leonard take his clandestine excellence to the next level? Is this the year Chris Paul shuts up the hacks? Will James Harden come out the box with a 40 spot and put the league on true notice…which is a helluva lot more than regular season notice? Will the old man games of Zebo and Gasol enable Memphis to be that true contender? DeMar, whatcha gonna do brotha? Go DeRozan and Toronto stakes a true claim. The sentimental favorite is Derrick Rose; James Harden the wildcard. Don’t sleep on the San Antonio Spurs.

Getcha pop cawn ready…

Let’s start out West…

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The Murders of Walter Scott and Eric Courtney Harris: No Peace In Death’s Valley

Posted in Blogroll on April 14th, 2015 by Ron Glover

(Randall Hill/Reuters)

Eddie Bryan gathers his thoughts during funeral services for Walter Scott.

When 50-year old Walter Scott was stopped for a non-functioning brake light on April 4th, I’m sure he didn’t expect to become another symbol of extreme use of force from police among African-Americans. Scott’s primary concern was his child support dilemma turning up when his information was pulled, explaining why he fled his vehicle.

Scott’s 33-year old assassin gave no thought to run down an unarmed man — who was just tasered and slow afoot. He found it easier to fire eight rounds, striking his target five times. The assassin in his call to dispatch states Scott took his taser which led to him to feel threatened and mortally wounding his fleeing assailant.

The Devil is a lie.

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Nigel Broadnax: Is Kawhi Leonard an NBA Superstar?

Posted in Blogroll on April 10th, 2015 by Nigel Broadnax


On the most recent Bill Don’t Lie podcast, Grantland’s Zach Lowe told Bill Simmons that Kawhi Leonard is without a doubt a top-10 player in the NBA. Lowe is an NBA savant so his judgement on this is certainly one to be taken seriously, but that statement sounds strong upon first hitting the ears.

Despite Kawhi being the reigning Finals MVP for his San Antonio Spurs, the image of a soft-spoken youngster invades your mind when you hear his name. The mere thought of Kawhi Leonard doesn’t give off a top-10 player vibe; It doesn’t feel a like a natural match at this point.

Kawhi was drafted 15th overall in 2011, and it was known then that he could be solid on defense in the pros at the least. So far, he’s more than maxed out his potential as a defender as he is probably the best one among perimeter players.

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Jerold Wells Jr., Okori Wadsworth and Michael Tillery recap the Final Four and pick the National Final

Posted in Blogroll on April 6th, 2015 by Michael Tillery


Kinda says it all huh?

When the tournament began, most thought not one team had a shot to knock off the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats. Well, since Wisconsin has done just that, anything can happen tonight in the National Final as the #1 Badgers face another Coach K led #1 seed in the Duke Blue Devils. Jerold, Okori and I speak on it after the jump. Enjoy the game.

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Jerold Wells Jr., Okori Wadsworth and Michael Tillery Pick the Final Four

Posted in Blogroll on April 4th, 2015 by Michael Tillery


The weekend is Kentucky’s to lose… 

What is up everybody? The Final Four is here and with all that’s going on in Indiana socially, that the pinnacle of NCAA College Basketball is going down in Indy gives the games an extra charge. Jerold, Okori and I recap the Elite 8 and pick the Final Four. Audio is below. We recorded immediately after the last Elite 8 game went final. Listen in that context.

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Okori Wadsworth: How to Solve College Basketball’s Offensive Dilemma

Posted in Blogroll on April 1st, 2015 by Okori Wadsworth


As the Final Four approaches, there are several questions people want to ask. Who will win the National Championship is one. Another is who will come out with the highest draft stock between Jahlil Okafor of Duke and the two-headed big man combination of Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein of Kentucky. That’s not the question that keeps me up at night.

The question that keeps me up at night, and causes me to worry about the future of this sport is: Why is college basketball such a defense-first game?

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Life After Death: Aaron Crump, the Son of Hank Gathers Talks to The Starting Five

Posted in Blogroll on March 29th, 2015 by Ron Glover

(Yahoo Sports)

Aaron Crump with his father’s former Loyola Marymount teammates, Jeff Fryer, Chris Knight (left) and Bo Kimble (far right).

Twenty-five years ago, the untimely passing of Eric “Hank” Gathers left an indelible mark on a family, a city, a university and in the hearts of two men.

Those familiar with my writing know the unwavering reverence I have for Hank. I’ve made a personal commitment to his legacy and memory which extends far beyond March 4, 1990. Hank Gathers was a brother, father, son and friend. That person deserves to be celebrated with the same passion with which we’ve mourned his loss for a generation.

The name Aaron Crump may not raise too many eyebrows, but he is the son of Hank Gathers. Crump was only seven years old when his father passed, but has fond and vivid memories to recall. The power of social media made it possible for Aaron and I to meet, speak fondly about his father and even talk about how we can continue to solidify the legacy of Hank Gathers.

I’ve always had a thing for important dates, March 4, 1990 has always been significant to me and I knew this year would be twenty-five years since Hank’s passing. I wrote pieces in 2005 and 2010 and quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do for this year. I felt like I said all I could say about Hank as eloquently as I could, so re-posting the 2010 piece was probably going to be the best thing to do.

Strangely enough, I received an InstaGram friend request from Aaron Crump last fall — his name didn’t resonate with me right away — after looking at some his photos, it hit me that he was the son of Hank Gathers. Even in that moment, it never dawned on me to request an interview with him. One day in mid-January, I finally reached out and sent the piece I wrote in 2010 along with an invitation to be interviewed. After reading the piece, he told me it was the best piece he had ever read on his father and was more than willing to speak with me — just like that. I was floored knowing this would be the ultimate tribute to Hank in my eyes. Over several conversations with Aaron, one thing that stood out was a statement he made as we introduced ourselves, he said, “The entire world knows who my father is, yet so many people don’t even know I exist.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Aaron Crump.

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Chuck D and Julius Erving Appear Together on The Starting Five Live Airing on RAPstation Radio

Posted in Blogroll on March 28th, 2015 by Michael Tillery

Doc and Chuck

Both are two of the best to ever do it in their respective professions. 

Yeah no bios necessary. Though I’ve written an extensive piece on Doc and interviewed Chuck a few times as well. This is different because the two men grew up and went to school in the same town…in Strong Island, New York.

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On TSF Live, Jerold Wells Jr., Okori Wadsworth and Michael Tillery Pick Who Crashes the Final Four in Indy

Posted in Blogroll on March 28th, 2015 by Michael Tillery


The best dancers win in March Madness right?

I think we’re in for a very compelling weekend. Three #1 seeds remain as well as two great coaches doing their usual thing in the NCAA Tournament spring. Tom Izzo has another Michigan State Spartan team in position to win another title; Rick Pitino has Kentucky bluegrass in his tested tourney sights. The Zags and Wildcats of Arizona is also an interesting affair and the surprising Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in the Elite 8 for the first time since Magic Johnson knocked them out in 1979. Okori, Jerold and I do our best to pick the winners. Check the convo out after the jump.

Enjoy the games and Be PEace…

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Michael Tillery, Okori Wadsworth and Jerold Wells Jr. Pick Elite 8 March Madness on TSF Live

Posted in Blogroll on March 26th, 2015 by Michael Tillery

Tekele Cotton and Darius Carter shocked rocked Kansas and now look to enter the Elite 8.

Ahhhh, the time is near. Two games before the Final Four in Indy, the Sweet Sixteen convenes. It’s NCAA pageantry time. A time where the NCAA basks in it’s own entertaining spotlight, as fans across the land bite fingernails and cover school colored faces while their teams do work on the March Madness clutch hardwood. Hard work in attempts to continue their collective basketball legacies for the schools they represent as well as themselves and their families. Jerold, Okori and I continue our discussion of who wins and who goes back with maturing thoughts to class. Thanks for tuning in and enjoy the soul rock soul history to be made this weekend.

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Jerold Wells Jr., Okori Wadsworth and Michael Tillery Pick Who Crashes Sweet Sixteen March Madness on TSF Live

Posted in Blogroll on March 21st, 2015 by Michael Tillery


R. J. Hunter pulled up from everything Georgia to upset Baylor.

The greatness of this time of year is encapsulated in the stories. The stories of how teams got to this point, and by extension, how those teams advance. Georgia State (14th seed, 25-9 overall), with their no smoke and mirrors coach, Ron Hunter, seems to be the team everyone is pulling for in this version of March Madness. We all know the story of Hunter rupturing his Achilles tendon celebrating with his son immediately after winning the Sun Belt Tournament Championship, and the coach of demonstratively comedic soul rock soul cracked his cast on the sideline as his son R. J., pulled up from deep to dispose of favored Baylor and step to the precipice of becoming this year’s Cinderella. The Panthers face an unfazed Xavier Musketeers (6th seed, 22-13 overall) in the round of 32 tonight in Jacksonville (6:10 pm ET on TNT), for the rights to crash the coveted Sweet Sixteen.

Jerold, Okori and I try our hand at who wins and who goes home this weekend. Check the convo below and enjoy the tournament.

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Jerold Wells and Okori Wadsworth Talk March Madness on The Starting Five Live

Posted in Blogroll on March 19th, 2015 by Michael Tillery










Who really has a shot at stopping this? Nobody. 

Ahhh, March Madness is officially here…

History. A term thrown around in sports far too often. Sometimes it fits, and other times it’s nothing more than a segue word. At the onset of the 2014-2015 NCAA Tournament, history will be spoken from the developing lips of babes of bluegrass to heroes of decades long Wizard of Westwood inspired basketball lore. Does Kentucky go 40-0 and cast their one-and-done-genius head coach, John Calipari into the coaching pantheon inhabited only by those of multiple chips? Kentucky has been arguably the best there is in the game since Calipari took over the storied program, and the polarizing coach has compiled a stellar record over the course of his career. In the 16 years his teams have hit the tournament, he’s gone 43-14, sent teams to 5 Final Fours, and won a National Championship in 2012 — the first at Kentucky since Tubby Smith won in 1998. What will go down? We’ll see, and to talk about it today on #TSFLive, Jerold Wells Jr. and Okori Wadsworth join me, Michael Tillery, to pick every game in each bracket and also our Final Four and National Championship picks. We’ll do this weekly until the National Final kicks off on April 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Check the convo below and enjoy the tournament.

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Butkus Award Winner Patrick Willis: Love and Desire (Repost from before he was drafted)

Posted in Blogroll on March 10th, 2015 by Michael Tillery

I’ve done many interviews and not many have touched me emotionally like this one has. I honestly could feel myself welling up as Patrick described what he’s been going through with thepatrick-willis.jpg recent death of his brother Detris. I thought deeply about this interview long after because Patrick and I connected through our similar experiences. I shared with him how the death of my mother has affected me over the years to try to give him some perspective on what life is truly like when you lose someone dear. Detris himself was a great 218 pound linebacker prospect who lost his life when his body cramped up while swimming in a local quarry. Patrick is a great kid. He’s a smart kid.  He’s a humble kid that has been through it all and is much more wise as a result. Don’t get it twisted, he will be one of the best. He’s set his sights early on the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is deeply focused.  Patrick is a  ferocious hitter that will terrorize offensive schemes for years to come. Here’s an interview from earlier in the college football season.

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