Jay Z and the Nascent Neo-Accomodationist Movement

From the moment the first captive Africans arrived in the American colonies in 1619 to, at least, the mid-1960s, Black people in America have been forced to grapple with the fact that they lived their lives within a society characterized by an authoritarian social order and political culture based on white supremacy. Some would argue that the rule of white supremacy continues to this very day.  What is beyond dispute is the fact that for the overwhelming majority of the past four centuries, racism/white supremacy has been the American scourge. The American social order persistently encouraged state repression and exploitation of Black Americans for the benefit of the nation’s white population. It is also evident that the economic legacy and social effects of America’s chattel slavery-based and Apartheid/Jim Crow-based social structures continue to the present day.

‘The question,’ long debated among Blacks vying for leadership, continues to be as follows: “What the FUCK should we do about it?

For nearly 200 years, Black thinkers and activists have offered varying strategies for addressing their plight. History has documented these disparate responses. Here, we quickly provide a cursory review of some of the earliest efforts to address ‘the question.’ We briefly highlight the precursors to the ‘accomodationist’ approach propagated by Booker T. Washington. We review ‘accomodationism’ as practiced by Washington and finally, highlight the nascent ‘neo-accomodationist’ movement taking form among Black male millennials.

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David Walker: We Need Self-Help
In September 1829, David Walker, a free Black man living in Boston issued a call for black unity and self-help in the struggle against the horrifically explorative white supremacist social order prevailing at the time. Conservative in his approach, Walker believed that the “key to the uplift of the race was a zealous commitment to the tenets of individual moral improvement: education, temperance, protestant religious practice, regular work habits, and self-regulation.” At the core of Walker’s strategy was a belief that members of racist/white supremacist ruling class would eventually acknowledge “improved” Blacks and grant the human and civil rights espoused by Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution. While he was fundamentally conservative in his self-help approach, Walker’s ideas were considered somewhat radical because he called for Blacks to take action and do more than just pray for a better life in the hereafter.

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Nat Turner

Nat Turner: Let Kill Our White Oppressors!  

Two years later, in August 1831, a far different approach to dealing with the abysmal plight of Blacks emerged in Southampton County, Virginia. Nat Turner, a Black man enslaved and held captive by Benjamin Turner decided to rebel and kill the white people directly responsible for condition. Turner started his rebellion with a few trusted compatriots. All of the initial rebels were other enslaved Black men from his neighborhood. Beginning on the night of August 21, the rebels traveled from house to house, freeing slaves and killing all of the white people they encountered. The rebels ultimately included more than 70 enslaved and free Black men.

Trying to maintain an element of surprise as they slaughtered white families, they initially used knives, hatchets, axes, and blunt instruments instead of firearms. Nat and his boys did not discriminate by age or sex, and members killed white men, women, and children. Turner did not focus his efforts and energy on his fellow Blacks. Turner wanted to shake the conscience of the white people who lived comfortably in a rigidly racist/white supremacist slave-based social order. He thought that revolutionary violence would wake up whites and force them to confront the reality of the inherently brutal chattel slavery-based order. Turner later acknowledged that he intended to spread “terror and alarm” among whites. He accomplished that goal in dramatic fashion.

Before whites could gather and organize a militia to respond, the Turner and the rebels killed 60 white men, women, and children. The rebellion lasted only 48 hours, but Turner remained on the run for more than 2 months in the woods. Finally on October 30, Turner was discovered hiding in a hole covered with fence rails. Two weeks later, on November 5, 1831, Turner was tried for “conspiring to rebel and making insurrection”, convicted, and sentenced to death. A week after that, Turner was hanged on November 11 in Jerusalem, Virginia. The whites stripped the skin off his body and beheaded him as an example for other potential rebels.

So… What the FUCK we gonna do about it?

In a 24 month period spanning 1829 to 1831, we see the emergence of 2 distinct responses to this core question. Walker calling for conservative self-improvement, wanted Blacks to improve themselves and prove themselves worthy of improved social standing. Turner, committed to rebellion, decided to kill the racist/white supremacists that enslaved him, his family and the Blacks in his immediate surroundings. These are very distinct political strategies indeed. Others would emerge over time.

Martin-Delany

Martin Delany

Martin Delany: Let’s Roll Outta Here
Twenty-three years after Nat Turner’s rebellion another distinct strategy emerged. In August 1854, Martin Delany, a Black abolitionist, journalist, physician, soldier and writer led the National Emigration Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Delany, devising an emigrationist position, argued that Black people need to leave the United States, immediately.

Delany advanced his emigrationist argument in his second manifesto, “Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent”. The 1854 convention approved a resolution stating, “[A]s men and equals, we demand every political right, privilege and position to which the whites are eligible in the United States, and we will either attain to these, or accept nothing.” In May 1859, Delany sailed from New York for Liberia Liberia, to investigate the possibility of a new black nation in the region. The journey consumed nine months and Delany signed an agreement with eight indigenous chiefs in the Abeokuta region that would permit settlers to live on “unused land” in return for applying their skills for the community’s good.

As 1860 ended, Delany returned to the United States. The next year, he began planning settlement of Abeokuta, and gathered a group of potential settlers and funding. However, when Delany decided to remain in the United States to work for emancipation of slaves, the pioneer plans fell apart.

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Henry McNeal Turner

Henry McNeal Turner: Let’s Work Within the System

After slaveholding Confederacy lost the Civil War, many Black leaders sought to improve the plight of Black Americans through participation in electoral politics. Henry McNeal Turner was one of the more prominent Black politicians of the era. Turner helped found the Republican Party of Georgia. Turner ran for political office from the city of Macon and was elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1868. His strategy based on electoral politics was immediately challenged. Racism/white supremacy remained a core American value despite the outcome of the war. The Democrats remained in control of state legislature and refused to seat Turner and 26 other newly elected black legislators.
The United States Congress eventually removed civilian governments in the South, and placed the former Confederacy under the rule of the U.S. Army. The army conducted new elections in which the freed slaves could vote, while whites who had held leading positions under the Confederacy were temporarily denied the vote and were not permitted to run for office.

Turner was dismayed after the Democrats regained power in the state and throughout the South by the late 1870s. Racism and white supremacy was ascendant once again in America. Jim Crow was running wild. There was a rapid rise in violence at the polls, which repressed black voting. In 1883, the Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1875, forbidding racial discrimination in hotels, trains, and other public places, was unconstitutional.

Jim Crow was on its’ way toward establishment of full control of American life.

Turner, an active participant in electoral politics in the late 1860s, by the late nineteenth century had witnessed state legislatures in Georgia and across the South passing Jim Crow laws to disfranchise blacks. It was too much for McNeal to bear. He gave up on America and like Delany 40 years earlier became an emigrationist. Turner founded the International Migration Society and organized two ships with a total of 500 or more emigrants, that traveled to Liberia in 1895 and 1896.

In 1895, Turner looked around and said fuck it… I’m out!

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Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington: Let’s Accommodate Our Oppressors

Also, in 1895 Booker T Washington’s delivered his 1895 Atlanta Exposition address. Viewing the exact same social phenomena that Turner encountered Washington devised a very different strategy. In the face of Jim Crows expansion and an explosion of lynchings, Washington put for the a strategy of “accomodationism.” He stressed that Blacks should drop all demands for inclusion, civil rights and educational opportunities to avoid a harsh white backlash. In his formulation, Blacks somehow caused the maltreatment they received at the hands of American racist/white supremacists.

Washington explicitly encouraged Black in the South to accept sacrifices of potential political power, civil rights, and higher education. Washington believed that African Americans should “concentrate all their energies on industrial education, and accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South.” He pushed Blacks to work in the fields. He thought these skills would lay the foundation for the creation of stability that the African-American community required in order to move forward. He believed that in the long term, “blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by showing themselves to be responsible, reliable American citizens”. His approach advocated for an initial step toward equal rights, rather than full equality under the law, gaining economic power to back up black demands for political equality in the future. He believed that such achievements would prove to the deeply prejudiced white America that African Americans were not “‘naturally’ stupid and incompetent”.

The Responses to American Apartheid in the 20th Century

Washington severely underestimated the intensity and depravity of racist/white supremacists controlling the reigns of power in America. The seven decades following his Atlanta speech witnessed the ascendance and dominance of American Apartheid. His accomodationist perspective fell out of favor as the political activism of W.E.B DuBois, the Black Nationalism of Garvey were the dominant ideologies of early 20th century. Toward the middle of the century, the non-violent protest of Dr. Martin L. King, the acerbic race-based critique of Malcolm X and the ‘self-defense’ posture of the Black Panther Party attracted Blacks still intent on addressing ‘the question.”

Shirley Chisholm, Maynard Jackson, Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama were among the more prominent proponents of a resurgent push to affect change through participation in electoral politics. The range of Black Political Thought has been wide ranging and varied to say the least. But, it seemed that “accomodationism” was dead. It faded into the dustbin of history with the death of it’s major proponent in 1915.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Shawn Carter

Jay Z and the Rise of Neo-Accomodationism

That is until it was resurrected by an unlikely spokesman. Shawn Carter known professionally as Jay-Z is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. He recently teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to provide entertainment during games and implement ‘social change initiatives.’ The NFL has been in the midst of controversies stemming from the refusal of several prominent athletes, most notably former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

Kaepernick’s activism was in direct response to what he perceived as racial injustice. ”I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick was calling out African-American deaths caused by law enforcement that led to the Black Lives Matters movement.

Knowingly or unknowingly Carter has established a nascent ‘neo-accomodationist’ movement among many of his ardent fans and supporters. Whereas, Kaep focused his protest activities on oppression of Blacks and people of color and police “murder,” Carter has deftly created the intellectual space within the Black community for arguments that identify the “family structure” of unarmed Black young men that end up in caskets as the “CAUSE” of them losing their precious lives. Over century later, Blacks are somehow once again causing the maltreatment they receive at the hands of American racist/white supremacists.

Neo-accommodationism is a thing… SMH!

According to Carter, the cause is NOT police misconduct. The cause in NOT poor police training. The cause is NOT scared cops fearing for their lives. Instead, Black boys end up dead after encountering police because they grow up in a single parent (fatherless) homes. This causes these Black boys to have an “adverse feeling toward authority” which causes them to tell police “fuck you” resulting in interactions that “causes people to lose lives.”

In this neo-accomodationist framing of causality, agency is NOT present in the trained, paid, experienced adult government representative. Because fatherless Black boys commit what are usually considered misdemeanor or summary ‘disorderly conduct’ or ‘disturbing the peace’ violations, the police are instantly placed in the positions of prosecutors, judge, jury and executioner in a split second.

After saying people are killed during police interactions, Carter continues to express his concern for the safety of the police, “we don’t want those in charge of the police areas to be in danger either. We want to be very clear. If someone commits a crime they should go to jail.”

Very similiar to Washington 125 years ago, Carter argues that Blacks need to cease protesting, agitating and calling attention of what Kaepernick identifies as police “murder.” Blacks need to work on themselves. By improving themselves, Blacks will somehow demonstrate to the racist/white supremacist police shooting unarmed Black boys that they deserve to live.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Booker T. Washington associated with the richest and most powerful white businessmen and politicians of the era. His contacts included such diverse and well-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists as Andrew Carnegie, William Howard Taft, John D. Rockefeller, George Eastman and Julius Rosenwald. Carter has likewise entered into a formal arrangement with 32 white billionaire owners of NFL teams. He counts Robert Kraft, Daniel Snyder, Jerry Jones and the rest of the NFL Billionaire Boys Club among his colleagues. Washington was seen as a spokesperson for Blacks and became a conduit for funding educational programs. Carter has emerged as a counter for Kaepernick and the Black Live Matters movement and a conduit for funding for neo-accommodationist programs.

When directly asked if he would kneel or stand, Jay-Z said: “I think we’ve moved past kneeling and I think it’s time to go into actionable items.”

Among the very first ‘actionable items’ on the agenda was the donation of hundreds of thousands of dollars to The Crushers Club which has cut the hair of black children “for a better life” and tweeted “All Lives Matter.”

More than a century ago, Booker T. Washington expressed a deeply held belief that “blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by showing themselves to be responsible, reliable American citizens.” Washington, the ‘accomodationist,’ believed that such achievements would prove to the deeply prejudiced white America that African Americans were not “‘naturally’ stupid and incompetent”.

The ‘neo-accomodationist’ position staked out by Carter and his acolytes holds that cleanly shaved Black boys, with closely cropped coifs and fathers in the home will prove to deeply racist white police officers that Black men are not worthy of apprehension, arrest, trial, guilty verdict and execution in the blinking of an eye.

It’s not clear that the throngs of Black male millennials co-signing Carter’s recent pronouncements and actionable items understand just how much his behavior eerily harkens back to the days of Washington’s discredited ‘accomodationism.’

Someone needs to sneak DuBois’ critiques of Washington into rap lyrics or an updated version of the fortnite video game. As long as it remains solely in books I fear it’s inaccessible to many Black male millennials.

“It’s Da Roc!”

 

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NCAA Basketball Academy Camps – Instructors and Rosters

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Regional Sites

EAST REGIONAL
University of Connecticut
Storrs, Connecticut
Instructors:
Pete Gillen, former head coach at Virginia, Providence and Xavier
Mitch Buonaguro, former head coach at Siena and Fairfield
SOUTH REGIONAL
University of Houston
Houston, Texas
Instructors:
Ben Braun, former head coach at Rice, Cal, and Eastern Michigan
Matt Howard, player development instructor
MIDWEST REGIONAL
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Illinois
Instructors:
Melvin Watkins, former head coach at Missouri, Texas A&M and UNC-Charlotte
Jerry Dunn, former head coach at Tuskegee and Penn State; former assistant coach at Michigan and West Virginia
WEST REGIONAL
Grand Canyon University
Phoenix, Arizona
Instructors:
John Moore, current head coach at Westmont College
Steve Spencer, current head coach at Orange Coast College; former assistant coach at UCLA

PYB Awards Zane Major Scholarships

By Eric Dixon
July 12, 2019
Zane C. Major, Sr., a former St. Joe’s great and pillar of the
community, showed many what could be done when passion meets purpose.
His love of basketball and photography along with a profound
understanding of the importance of  “paying it forward” and leading
the youth came together to help Major have a positive impact on the
youth in two needy communities, in Philadelphia and Reading.
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Zane Major, Saint Joseph’s University

His legacy of nurturing and guiding young people will be honored for
years to come through the Zane C. Major, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund
presented by the Philadelphia Youth Basketball organization. The
scholarships, four college scholarships and 2 paid high school
internships, were introduced to an audience of about 3 dozen
youngsters and staff attending the PYB basketball camp at St. Joseph’s
University’s Hagan Arena.
Cindy Major, sister of the honoree and his “first model”, shared her
perspective on Major’s early years behind a camera and on the court.
“He always had his camera ready to take a photo of family and
flowers.” His basketball games at Roman Catholic High School and St.
Joe’s were family events that were rarely missed.
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Cindy Major

She said his involvement with mentoring youngsters began with his days
running the Sonny Hill basketball clinic. This involvement would span
decades and impact many children and young adults. He wanted to help
them find their passion whether it was on the court or behind the
lens. Those in attendance appreciated the effect of his contribution
on Monday.
One such attendee was Laila, a bright 11 year old from Reading, and
her grandmother, Christine Tenney of Delaware. “I love the sport,”
gushed Tenney, a “dominant player” during her time at Reading High
School in the late 1970’s, as she explained why she was excited about
transporting her grand-daughter the hour or so drive from her former
hometown to the Hagan this week. “(Players) learn how to collaborate,
and the value of teamwork and respect” while playing basketball, added
the former coach.
These are ideals Major sought to instill in his teammates as a player
at St. Joes from 1975-79. Although he as a double figure scorer and
would end his illustrious career as a Hawk as a member of the
program’s 1000 point club, it was a his leadership, character and
passion that are the cornerstones of his legacy.
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Mo Howard

Mo Howard, a long time friend of Major also spoke encouraging the kids
to appreciate the memories they make as they play and grow in the
game. “Those memories will come together and become experiences and it
is those experiences that will help shape who you become,” he told the
young players seated on the Hagan Arena main floor.
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Crystal Golmore-Harris and PYB’s Zane Major Scholars

Crystal Gilmore-Harris, Major’s long time girlfriend and “soul mate”
also addressed the campers. She explained that he was “passionate
about everything he did.” According to Gilmore-Harris, he was only
able to help the youth in Reading for 3 years before his untimely
passing this past January, but in that short time he was able to help
many of the young people in the community.

Beyond Basketball: The Social Context of Lewis Lloyd’s Career

Sports are much more than just games and matches… This especially true of the relationship between basketball and the city of Philadelphia. Youth, high school, collegiate and professional basketball are social phenomena in the City of Brotherly Love. For thousands of people, they are an important part of the individual, external, social constructions that influence our lives and development. Moreover, this relationship is constantly evolving as we age. In short, basketball in Philly has a meaning that goes far beyond box scores, standings and championships.

Basketball is intricately related to the social and political contexts in which many Philadelphians, especially Black males, live. Basketball provides stories and images that many use to explain and evaluate these contexts, the events in our lives, and our connections to the world around us.

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Mr. and Mrs. Tee Parham

For example, the playing careers of John Chaney, Tee Parham and the late Claude Gross inform those willing to probe rigidly enforced Aparteheid-like racism/white supremacy and segregation in Philadelphia throughout the late 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s. One reads/hears about their magnificent exploits in cramped gyms across the city and wonders how they would have actually fared if given an opportunity to compete in what we now refer to as the Big 5. Alas, it was not to be… For one reason and one reason alone they were denied access to the Palestra playing floor. They had melanin in their skin and, thus, it was of a darker hue. That fact forbade their participation. In this way, basketball can help explain and evaluate the proliferation of racism/white supremacy in Philadelphia and across the entire United States of America during that period.

By the mid-late 1970s and the 1980’s two issues were vying for center stage in most policy debates surrounding urban centers in America. One, adequately educating Black American public school students and two, the decimation of millions of Black families through the scourge of drug addiction.

Just as an analysis of the playing careers of Chaney, Parham and Gross informs and explains the racism/white supremacy of their era… An analysis of the illustrious playing career of the recently deceased Lewis Lloyd forces us to confront the monumental shortcomings of urban public education and address the ongoing problem of chemical dependence within the Black community.

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Claude Gross, Philadelphia!

Lloyd came to the fore during one of the most competitive eras in the history of scholastic basketball in Philadelphia. His career overlapped that of one of the greatest schoolboy basketball players of the past half century, West Philadelphia’s Gene Banks. Banks was the Golden Boy… He was the great player that also did everything the right way. Banks crosses all of his t’s and dotted all of his i’s. He named HS All-American three times. He was named to the very first McDonald’s All-American game and was the MVP of the contest. Banks also played in the prestigious Dapper Dan Classic and won MVP honors in that game. He was the consensus number one High School player in America and, fittingly, accepted a scholarship to Duke University where he was named ACC Rookie of the Year and ultimately became an All-ACC and All-American collegiate player.

Everybody knew exactly who Gene Banks was in 1977… Even a skinny 7th grade student at Thomas Studevan Middle School in Darby Township. Basketball was a religion in Darby Township and Banks was a prodigy. In 1977, Darby Township put together an undefeated regular season only to lose to eventual state champion Elk Lake in the Final Four of the PIAA playoffs. Alton McCollough (6’8 Center) was a junior and he teamed with Billy Johnson (6’7” PF) and Mike Gale (6’5” SF) to provide DTHS with a frontline that trounced every opponent Delaware County had to offer. These were my basketball heroes. I saw them everyday, I lived down the street or around the corner from them. They were accessible to me. Banks was on a totally different level. Even at 12, I was voracious consumer of sports journalism. I read the Delaware County Daily Times and the Philadelphia Daily News sports sections every single day.

As a result, I was intimately aware of the exploits of Gene Banks and the legendary Speedboys…

Lewis Lloyd’s exploits, however, escaped me as child. I pretty sure I heard the name, but it most certainly wasn’t revered like that of Gene Banks.

Unlike Banks, who easily acclimated himself to the rigorous academic environment at highly selective Duke University in the Fall of 1977, Lloyd traveled a far more treacherous academic path. His career almost ended before it even began because of academics.

Late in the public league playoffs of 1977, following yet another majestic performance where Lloyd dropped 37 points (14-19 fgs) and grabbed 17 rebounds in a win over Southern, Daily News sportswriter Ted Silary wrote:

“Despite all his talent, Lloyd’s climb up the basketball ladder of success will be tough at best. Though a senior eligibility-wise he still carries a 10th grade course load.”

Wait… What?

The great “Black Magic” was playing basketball in the Public League as a senior, he was in his 4th year of high school and he was a sophomore academically. Yup… This is problem that has persisted for far too long and impacted the life chances of far too many talented young Black men. Fast forward 31 years, Jared Denard was the Associated Press, Class A Pennsylvania Player of the year in 2008. He was first team All-State, All-City and All-Public. Like Lloyd, three decades earlier he also a sophomore academically at the conclusion of his scholastic playing career.

The ability of guys like Lewis Lloyd and Jared Denard persevere and flourish despite the odds stacked against them serves as a guidepost for younger player experiencing academic struggles. Their struggle and subsequent academic success must be celebrated. Too often we seek to hide the academic pain and suffering while only celebrating the athletic accomplishment.

Fuck that! Lewis Lloyd had to do it from the muscle… He had to dig himself out of the dirt and I truly admire him for that.

While Gene Banks played in the Final Four as a freshman, Lloyd toiled away at New Mexico Military Academy. While Gene Banks captured bright lights in the finest basketball conference in America, Lloyd was playing in little, cramped and suffocating JUCO gyms for 2 years.

But, to his credit, he never lost focus and worked diligently on both his game and his academics. By 1979, Lloyd was in a position to accept a scholarship to play for Drake University in the Missouri Valley Conference.

They had no idea what was about to come…

Clearly, Lloyd had some unresolved issues on the court. He had a BOULDER on his shoulder! As a result, he punished opponents. He was relentless on both ends of the court as he led the nation in scoring and rebounding. He quickly assumed the throne vacated by Larry Bird as unquestioned best player in the MVC. Lloyd was the man… He was a two-time All-American and two-time MVC Player of the Year. His number 30 will never be worn by another Drake University player.

Back in Darby Township… As a high school sophomore in 1981, I read about Lloyd. But this was before ESPN, before social media, before youtube. I knew he was from Philly. I knew he was from Overbrook. I knew he was “Black Magic” but I had never really watched him play. I just knew he was in “the league.”

Lloyd would spend two nondescript seasons in Golden State. During his rookie year, he appeared in just 16 games and averaged a mere 5.9 mins in those appearances. He managed to squeeze out 3.6 ppg in these limited minutes. His second season saw Lloyd emerge as key member of the rotation. He played in a total of 73 games, with 24 starts, and his minutes tripled to 18.5. His production also jumped as he averaged 9.4 ppg.

Then came the breakthrough… At the age of 24, Black Magic was traded to the Houston Rockets…

Awwwww Shit!

For the first time he was entrenched as an NBA starter. Lloyd appeared in all 82 games for the Rockets that year with 82 starts. He logged 31.4 mpg and put up 17.8 ppg while shooting 52% from the field.

LLOYD

L-R Kevin McHale, Larry Bird and Lewis Lloyd

Ohhhhh… So that’s Lew Lloyd… It all began to make sense to the kid from Darby Township. By 1986, Lloyd was one of the leaders of a strong Rockets squad that knocked off the mighty Lakers to reach the NBA finals where the faced the Boston Celtics.

The playoffs that year were a total immersion into the game of Black Magic. He would dunk on Kareem, guard Magic, post up Byron Scott all while looking like he was going about 3/4 speed! How did he do it? It looked so effortless…

Once they knocked off the Lakers, you had to root HARD for Lloyd and the Rockets. But Kevin McHale and Larry Bird were some Bad Muthafuckin white boys… McHale averaged 25.8 ppg and 8.5 rpg while Bird (Finals MVP) damn near averaged a triple double 24 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 9.5 apg. They were just too much for the Rockets.

Fuck the Celtics!

But at 21, I was able to fully appreciate the subtle, smooth greatness of Lewis Lloyd on the court. I found myself trying to will in his floaters over the outstretched arms of Robert Parish. I wanted him to BUST Danny Ainge’s ass! I tried to mentally close the rim when Bird and Ainge launched those picture perfect jumpers… To no avail… Swiiiiiish! Damn near every time… FUCK!

Pass the blunt… Lew will be back! So I thought…

Later that year, Lloyd and teammate Mitchell Wiggins tested positive for cocaine and were suspended from the NBA for 2 1/2 seasons. Like with his academic difficulties, many Lloyd fans feel a need to try to obscure this aspect of Lloyd’s career. It’s an understandable urge. But doing so prevents us from placing his career in it’s proper historical context. Lloyd, Wiggins and others like Michael Ray Richardson were caught up a wave of cocaine that flooded the Black community.

By 1986, crack cocaine and all the mayhem that came with it were ravaging Black communities all across America. Cities like Philadelphia and Houston were hit especially hard. In Philly, the Junior Black Mafia (JBM) was aggressively seizing control of cocaine distribution throughout the city utilizing a classic American strategy of brute force. “Get down or lay down” was the last thing any ”independent” drug dealer wanted to hear in the mid 1980s. You either had new business partners or you made reservations for a dirt nap.

As a college sophomore, trying to explore city nightlife for the first time, I saw grown men just hand over the keys to their EXPENSIVE cars out of fear. It was not unusual to see a guy one evening and hear about his death the next day. Guns, crack, violence, prostitution and dysfunction came together to form stew of misery that flooded Black communities, destroyed families and ended the playing careers of some fantastic NBA players.

Cocaine abuse, like opioid abuse today, represented a health crisis.

But Lloyd, Wiggins and tens of thousands of other Blacks with cocaine addictions were not treated like opioid “patients” are today. The focus was not on treatment as it is the predominantly white opioid addict population of today. They were not considered ill men in need of medical attention, they were “addicts,” if not “criminals” that needed to be isolated and ostracized.

While suspended, Black Magic played for the Cedar Rapid Silver Bullets in the CBA where he averaged 18.9 ppg and 6.6 rpg during the 1988-89 season.

Lloyd was finally reinstated in September 1989. He would never regain the form he had shown as a starter for the Rockets. Houston released him and he played two games with his hometown 76ers before retiring from professional basketball.

Every once in a while I would venture into the city to catch a summer league game and there he was… Still going strong… Giving the youngins hell… Same floaters… Same eurosteps… A little slower but still extremely effective…

Over the last couple of years, I actually got to know Lloyd a little bit… About five years ago, while watching an AAU tournament at Philly U, I was seated right next to Lloyd. We chatted and he told me his son was playing. He was always extremely gracious. If you didn’t know he was a college All-American and high profile NBA player, there was nothing about the way he carried himself that would tip you off. He was just Lew Lloyd from Philly.

Indeed, that day a good friend of mine who happened to be an NBA agent at the time asked, “who is that”? I became irate, “you don’t know who that is and you’re an NBA agent from Philly… Shame on you!” But he didn’t know…

Indeed, far too many didn’t know.

In attempt to pay proper homage to his illustrious playing career, the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Lloyd in his first year of eligibility. The committee was excited and eager to embrace Lloyd… But he was away seeking treatment when the induction ceremony was held. I got to speak to him over the phone and he was proud and anxious to receive his award recognizing his enshrinement.

Since he returned to Philly, every once in a while we would cross paths and he would remind me that I still had HIS award in my possession.

On June 8, 2019, I took a picture of Lloyd’s Hall of Fame Award and posted it on his facebook page. I wrote “I have something that belongs to you in the caption.”

On July 5, 2019, Lloyd passed away.

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L-R Lloyd, Makhai Hartley, Mo Howard and Gene Banks

I look forward to presenting the award to his family. Like Lew, his brother Daryl (Drake University) and his nephew Sean Lloyd (Southern Illinois) had much success competing in the Missouri Valley Conference. Like Lew, they are both gentlemen of the highest order.

To those that want to hide the obstacles Lloyd had to overcome and ignore the demons he battled to the end, I say you just can’t skim through the music. You have to listen to the whole album.

Despite the challenges he faced… Black Magic played some sweet, sweet music. One of the GREATEST to ever lace ’em up in the history of Philadelphia… Rest in Peace.

 

Bert Cooper and the Golden Age of Darby Township Sports

I’m a few months older than Bert Cooper… We grew up in what is, in effect, “South Southwest” Philadelphia… Darby Township begins where Southwest Philadelphia ends. When 84th Street turns into Hook Road, you have entered Darby Township.

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A small two stop light town of about 3,000 nestled against the SW corner of a city with 1.5 million residents.

Sports was a way of life…  Bert Cooper grew up in the Golden Age of Darby Township sports. All he knew was winning… The town was blessed… He was destined to become one of the greatest boxers in the world. Like so many of my childhood friends, Bert was blessed with God-given athletic talent and gifts. His rise was preordained.

When we were about 10 years old in 1975, Darby Township won a state Championship in basketball. These were different times. There was no travel ball… There was no recruiting… I could stand in front of my house and hit damn near every player’s home with a rock. We knew everyone on the team… We knew their Moms, Dads and all their siblings.

I had just begun to think seriously about sports… Like most boys in Darby Township I was getting into basketball. But for the most part, I was into bikes. Poppin’ wheelies with David “Top Job” Crawford and Donald Barton was my primary preccupation. So was Bert Cooper. We had minibikes. We didn’t follow any of the established safety protocols… We rode on the streets… We rode on the sidewalks… We used to ride through the park at full throttle… No helmet… Shit… My minibike didn’t have working brakes…

Carroll Buter had a dirtbike… Clarence “Poochie” Wilson had a Binelli minibike… I had a “Cat” 3.5HP minibike… Bert and his brothers had dirtbikes, minibikes and motorcycles…

Life was good… Who knew what Bert would become?

Muhammad Ali was the Heavyweight Champion of the world… He had just knocked out the big, bad, invincible George Foreman to regain the belt. His challengers were Ken Norton, Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle, Ernie Shavers and Leon Spinks. These guys were bigger than life itself.

The notion that Bert would challenge for same title held by Ali was incomprehensible…

Little did we know that God had a plan for Lil’ Bert Cooper to enter the pantheon of great heavyweights… And… Bert did it from the muscle… Boxing wasn’t the sport of choice in the Darby Township.

When we were 12, the Darby Township HS basketball team was undefeated until losing in a Final Four game to Bob Stephenson and Elk Lake.

By the time we were 13, Darby Township High had an undefeated football team featuring Cardell Baskerville, Vincent Clark and Gary Gadsen. They were so good, that we believed we were HIGH MAJOR! These guys were so talented and performed so well, we didn’t realize we were the poor, little Black school… Seriously…

All we knew was that there was absolutely nothing you could do once Gadsen handed the rock to Baskerville or Clark. They were going to run through you, over you or around you. Unbelievable how much talent God packed into this tiny tight-knit community. Baskerville and Clark both rushed for over a thousand yard. They both imposed their will on opposing teams with a combination of quickness, speed and power at the point of contact.

Booooom! That first hit is not bringing either of them down… Now what?

As fall faded into winter, the balls started bouncing in the gym. After a season that saw Darby Township’s undefeated campaign thwarted by Elk Lake, Alton McCoullough was ready to lead the Eagles back to Hershey. Mission accomplished…

Just too much… Alton was just too much… With super sophomores Kevin Gale and Derick Loury on the wings, the Eagles trounced the competition and once again played for the state title.

This is what Lil’ Bert Cooper saw when he was 13… Winning… Domination… Little Darby Township held it’s own every time out…Why not him?

Track season came around… What else? State Championship…

The Eagle’s finest sprinter Ward Crump and running back Vincent Clark would be featured in Sports Illustrated a couple months apart from one another.

Darby Township… A Lil’ Louder Now…

By 1980, Kevin Gale is the best basketball player in Delaware County and the Eagles are once again in the State Championship game.

Bert fucked around on the court… But he wasn’t a basketball player… His little brother Jimmy was a magnificent player and his older brothers Monte and Jonah were both good players. But, Burt played basketball like he boxed. Nonetheless, he was usually not far from one of the courts…

When we were around 15 or 16… Bert started bringing boxing gloves to the basketball court. Lex Jones and Robert Bell would “spar” with Bert in the park. Lacking any real boxing skills and possessing an overabundance of heart, these guys used to beat the shit out of one another for hours.

Life was good…

They were just fucking around… Or, so we thought…

Little did we know, a spark was lit in Bert… He found his calling…

Knockin’ dudes out!

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He sought out the great Joe Frazier and embarked upon a pugilistic career would earn him respect across the globe.

It’s the fall 1984, Bert’s been under the tutelage of Frazier for a couple years, we get the call… Bert’s pro debut is in Atlantic City.

What?

Newt waxes the Grand Prix, shines the rims and we’re out…

Spurg, Geoff and about 3 car loads make our way to the AC expressway… Couldn’t be late…

Seriously, you couldn’t be late…

Bert knocked out his opponent in the 1st round in 7 of his first 10 fights… Another one ended with a 2nd knockout and yet another ended in the 3rd.

Of course… we had a ball!

We drank too much… We smoked too much… We ate too much… We’re from Darby Township!

It got to a point where Newt, a lil’ tipsy, challenged Joe Frazier in the hotel room. “I can knock you out,” he said to the former heavyweight champion of the world.

You can’t make this up…

Surrounded by his friends, fresh off a knockout… Bert was smiling ear to ear… He had “FAT” roll with a couple hundred dollar bills surrounding about a thousand ones bulging in pocket.

These were the first steps on a legendary journey… Henry Tillman? Got ‘em… Willie de Wit? Got ‘em…

Eventually in 1989, they put my man from round da’ corner in with Big George Foreman… That one didn’t end too well… Sensing Bert’s out of the ring issues probably impacted his training, Foreman punished the body… He landed several heavy hooks in round 1 that hurt Bert. In round 2, he continued to attack the body and landed a solid right hook that stung Bert. Bert was done for the night, he remained on his stool and did not answer the bell to begin the 3rd round.

A year later, Bert knowked out Orlin Norris… He was back in the mix…

His next fight was a historic 12 round slugfest with Ray Mercer… Both men stood there and traded blow after blow with neither retreating an inch… Mercer won on points… They spend the night with each other in the emergency room…

Bert, just two months later, jumps in the ring with Riddick Bowe… Bad move… Bert was not fully recovered from his war with Mercer. He was knocked out by Bowe in the 2nd round.

Imagine what a healthy Bert Cooper could have accomplished? Imagine if Bert had been able to conquer his demons?

Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World! From Burton Avenue…

After reeling off 4 straight wins, in November 1991 Bert finds himself fighting for the title. He’s agreed to face one of the greatest boxers ever to grace the planet. Evander Holyfield was at his peak.

Bert, from Burton Avenue, was fuckin’ around… You’d see him here… You’d run into him over there… You heard about this… You heard about that…

The demons… Those fuckin’ demons…

But on that night you were there… Glued to the television…

Yeah… Yeah… Yeah… Holyfield is the shit… Yeah I saw the Olympics… Yeah I saw the Qawi fight…

Matter of fact I watched it with Bob Welsh and Brian Bacon… We got fucked up that night… So what?

I liked Bert to knock Holyfield the fuck out!

Seriously… I liked Bert to whoop his ass…

Seriously… I liked Cardell to run over Mean Joe Green…

Seriously… I liked Alton to post up Bob Lanier…

Seriously… I liked Crump to outrun Carl Lewis…

I’m from Township!

Ding!

The bell sounds and “Boom” Holyfield catches him… Bert goes down in round 1…

That’s NOT the plan… Uh Ooooh… Bert won’t stay down though, he gets up and takes the battle to Howlyfield.

Then… It happened… In round 3 Bert caught him and Holyfield is down for the first time in his career.

At that moment… Everyone from Darby Township trying mightily to lift our champion to victory… We were all screaming at the screen… Send telepathic signals through the airwaves… We thought we had it…

Holyfield endured Bert’s onslaught of power shots that very few men could withstand. A true champion he finally recovered and vanquished Bert in round 7.

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Cooper vs Holyfield

As only Darby Township would… We had a fuckin’ parade anyway!

For our champion… Bert Cooper represented lil’ Darby Township on the world stage.

A warrior, a fighter an MAN!

He would continue to fight another 2 decades with varying degrees of success. His fight with Michael Moore has also been elevated to legendary status.

Rest well Champion… You put in a lifetime of work…

I Love Bert Cooper… God Bless the Cooper family.

 

 

A Lil’ Louder Now…

Bill Zeits: Donofrio Preview, Triple Threat vs Hunting Park Markieff

By Bill Zeits

April 15, 2019

Philadelphia, PA: Triple Threat is led by Donta Scott, Hakim Hart, Jamil Riggins and Jameer Nelson Jr. Scott is the do it on both ends of the floor franchise player from Imhotep. Hart is one of the most prolific scorers in the area and is due for a huge game. Riggins has been Triple Threats best offense player in the tournament… He hit 8 treys and grabbed 14 boards in the quarters win..

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Jamil Riggins attacks the basket

Nelson Jr is a super athletic and the point guard… He dunked with different hands on 2 straight possessions in the quarters. The 5th starter is Shipley freshman, Khalil Farmer who had 10 points and a couple huge buckets in the quarters. The only sub I remember is Gettysburg commit, Shane Scott who put up 8 in the quarters

Hunting Park is the team I’ve called “The Pub” throughout the tournament… The Pub is led by 2 Mastery North seniors, Jamir Reed and Lakeem Mcailey and 2 MCS kids Nisine Poplar and Jihad Squid Watson. Reed is a big, physical and tough Philly guard who can score and defend on the other end of the court. McAiley is a lefty who put on a show in the first half in the quarters. He was dominant offensively.

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Lakeem McAliley

 

Poplar is the sophomore who is getting better every game and sky is the limit the next 2 years. Watson is the veteran guard who scored big buckets in the 2nd half as Raw sports tried to rally .Watson either scored the bucket or got the assist to put the game away. The 5th starter is Dahmir Fowlkes. I dont know a lot about Fowlkes other than he showed great energy and the ability to finish on the break. He’s only a sophomore like Poplar. The bench of Hunting Park has been among the best in the tournament. The headliner has been Tyrone Williams. Williams had 13 7 5 in the quarters and was all over the court. The 2 remaining players I remember were Taj Campbell and Aaron Harrison. Both players had 6 points in quarters and showed great energy on both ends of floor.

This should be a good one…

Let’s Talk About Ball in Philly: Black Cager Middle School Classic

This past Saturday and Sunday, Cardinal O’Hara hosted the third leg of the Black Cager Middle School Classic. The 4 month grassroots circuit features teams from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Locally, we had Gratz legend Jarett Kearse’s Philly Blue Magic in action. After three stops, Philly Blue Magic is undefeated at 10-0. Blue Magic will be the number #1 seed when the playoffs get underway two weeks. The reigning Baltimore Catholic League Champion, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD) will host the the playoff and Championship Games.

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Jarett Kearse and Philly Blue Magic

There were three other Philadelphia area entrants for this session. Team Claude Gross featured sixth grader Olin Chamberlain, Jr. Chamberlain is the nephew of both Wilt Chamberlain and the legendary Claude Gross. A long athletic point guard, Chamberlain has a tight handle, excellent vision and range out to the 3 point line. He will contribute immediately at the varsity level in three years.

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Team Claude Gross

The Philly Mavericks played 4 competitive games. Haneef Hall is a big man with soft hands and a nice shooting stroke. Charles Cook is an athlete wing with very good change of pace moves. Dame Collins (below) does an excellent job with this program.

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Dame Collins, Philly Mavericks

James Nelson Stewart put together the Suburban All-Stars. They had a very good little guard. That team also has a lot of length. High School coaches at private and Catholic schools should contact James.

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James Nelson Stewart and Bonner Assistant Joe McGinn

Each team played four games against teams like Maryland Sting, Team Melo, Crusader Nation, Thrill Black, Team Dedication and Virginia Lightning.

The Philly teams paid between $0 and $300 to participate.

The games were held at Cardinal O’Hara High School, in Springfield, PA. The Cardinal O’Hara gymnasium features two full regulation length courts and two electronic scoreboards.

United Brothers Basketball Organization provided the referees. Six referees worked 4 games each. Referees were paid between $20.00 – $30.00 per game.

Donta Scott (Imhotep CHS) managed the games. He worked 1 pm – 7pm on Saturday and 12pm – 6pm Sunday. Donta managed the games, worked the clock, kept the scorebook and supervised a 13 year old boy that manned the other table. That boy was paid $10.00 per game. Donta made between $200-$250. Jalen Hudson (Ridley HS) and an assistant worked the entrance table. They were paid between $200-$250.

We need additional workers for upcoming events. Must be willing to learn and love youth basketball.

AAU/Grassroots teams can play in gyms similar to O’Hara in Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware for $200-$300, with a 4 game guarantee. We want additional teams from the Philadelphia region.

Black Cager Sports provides media coverage to participating teams.

Refereeing is locked up. Philadelphia-based United Brothers Basketball Organization (U.B.B.O.) provides referees for Black Cager Sport youth basketball events.

 

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U.B.B.O. Referee T. Younger

Coaches from O’Hara, Friends Central, Bonner, Roman Catholic, McDevitt, Springside-Chestnut Hill and a few other Delaware and Maryland power house programs were scouting players and meeting parents.

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Springside-Chestnut Hill Coach Hartwell McFadden

Black Cager Sports is seeking 12U, 13U and 14U teams for additional competitive events. Those interested in working AAU/Grassroots events are encouraged to submit their resume to blackcager@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from interested parties.