Tag Archives: america

Marion Motley: Breaking The Color Barrier In Football

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.  It was a historic happening that changed professional sports forever.  However Robinson was not the first African-American athlete to break the color barrier in American professional sports.

In 1946 a year before Jackie Robinson made history, four African-Americans became the first to play professional football since the NFL became segregated in 1933.  Those four players were Marion Motley, Bill Willis, Woody Strode and Kenny Washington.  Both Motley and Willis signed with the Cleveland Browns who played in the All-American Football Conference.  While Strode and Washington were signed by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League.  Those four Men all made history that year but one man’s carrier would stand out more than all of the others, that man was Marion Motley.

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley was born in 1920 in Leesburg, GA.  He grew up in Canton, Oh and was an excellent High School football player.  He would play his college career as a Full Back at the South Carolina State and the University of Nevada, Reno.  He entered the US Navy in 1944 during World War II before beginning his professional carrier with the Cleveland Browns.

Marion Motley stood at 6’1” and weighed 240 pounds in his prime.   Regarded as the first real power back in the NFL Motley punished opposing defenses, pummeling any defender that got in his way.  Many who played during his time have regarded Motley as being the best football player they have ever seen.  It has also been said that he was an even better player than the Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown.  Like brown he was an excellent back that could push for extra yards but he could block better than Brown, these skills made him a complete player.

Marion Motley played a total of 9 seasons from 1946-1955.  During this time he amassed 4,720 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.  As a receiver he had 1,107 yards and caught 7 touchdown passes.  Motley was a 1950 Pro Bowler as well as a champion with the legendary Cleveland Brown’s teams of 1946-1950.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1968, forever immortalized in his home of Canton,OH.

Marion Motley was one of the greatest football players of his era and quite possibly of all time.  He endured the same hate and discrimination as Jackie Robinson and was able to prove that he belong with the best.  He is a true American Hero and should be known and remembered by all sports fans.

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Team USA Wins Their Opener Against Team France

The basketball competition at the 2012 London Olympics began today.  The US team came into this Olympics with high expectations.  This years Team USA has been compared to the great 1992 “Dream Team”.   Team USA took to the court against Tony Parker and the French team.   The game tipped off at 2:30pm local time in London, England.

Team USA
(David Becker/Getty Images)

1st Quarter

The 1st quarter began with the US getting the first points on the board.  Both teams were missing nearly all of their 3 point attempts.  There were reports that the Olympic basketballs were sometimes slick and even over inflated, it would make sense given all of the missed 3 pointers.  Neither team had very flashy play other than when Lebron James threw a long pass to Kevin Durant for a dunk on the French side of the court.  The 1st quarter came to an end with France’s Yannick Bokolo hitting the games first 3 point shot.  The score when the quarter ended was 22-21 in favor of team USA.  Tony Parker led the French team in the 1st quarter with 6 points, while the USA’s leading scorer was Kevin Durant with 7 points.

2nd Quarter

Lebron James started off the 2nd quarter with a 3 pointer.  The US team played the French team well on defense in the early part of the quarter.  Kevin Durant had an inedible blocked shot on a Nicolas Batum shot in the paint.  The US team committed a lot of fouls in the 1st half of the game, the french team did well at the free throw line when the fouls were made.  Durant continued his excellent play in the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 3 point shot with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the half.  Team USA moved the ball around very well and started racking up points.  The half ended with the Team USA leading the French team by a score of 52-36.  The leading scorer for the US in the 1st half was Kevin Durant with 14 points. The leading scorer for the French was Florent Pietrus with 8 points, he also was 4 for 4 at the free throw line.

3rd Quarter

The US continued the excellent defending against the French in the 3rd quarter.  Lebron received a great pass from Deron Williams for the layup at the rim with 5 minutes left to go in the quarter.  The passing of the US team was perfect and counted for a lot of the scoring by the team.  Kevin Love played really well in the game with his signature shooting and aggressiveness.  The US ended the quarter leading 78-51.  The US really played more fluid and started clicking better in this quarter.

4th Quarter

Tony Parker began the final quarter on the bench.  Parker had been out of playing shape heading into the Olympics due to the eye injury he sustained a couple of months ago.  The game was all but over, all that was left to do for Team USA was pull away even more in the score.  The NBA’s #1 draft pick Anthony Davis got into the game in the final quarter and put his 1st ever Olympic points on the board.  James Hardin made a nice break away dunk with 4 minutes left to go in the game.  The bench was on the court for Team USA most of the 4th quarter,  they are all top level players and showed it by holding the lead.   The game ended like most thought it would with Team USA taking the game by a score of 98-71.  Kevin Durant was the lead scorer in the game with 22 points, Ali Traore was France’s leading scorer with 12 points.

Team USA looked really good today.  They proved that they can play well together as a team and are likely to win the gold medals this year.  Kevin Durant came out of this game as the teams best player and lead the team very well today.  Many will say it’s Lebron’s team but after today I would say it’s Durant’s.  Tunisia will be their next opponent on Tuesday night.  That game like this one should not be a difficult one for a squad with this many great players.

Los Angeles King Advance to The Stanley Cup Finals

The L.A. Kings are on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Its their first time since 1993 when NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky played for the Kings.  The Kings have never won the Stanley Cup and are more than ready to capture it this year.

The Kings had an average regular season finishing with a record of 40 wins, 27 loses and 15overtime loses.  When April started and the final games before the post season were about to be played many thought the Kings would not even qualify for the playoffs.  Well they did but barely and got the placed in the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The Kings faced off against the 1st seeded Vancouver Canucks and shocked the hockey world by taking the series in 5 games.  It was their first time making it out of the first round since 2001.  The Kings then swept the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues and the hockey world started to think, maybe these guys are for real.  Last night it was confirmed when the Kings took game 5 against the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 4-3 in overtime to advance into the Finals.  The Kings made history during this incredible playoff run by being the first 8th seeded team to beat both the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the playoffs.

The Kings star through this playoff season has been their American born Right Wing Dustin Brown.  Brown scored 7 goal, 9 assists and had 3 game winning goals in the playoffs.  He has been their leader and the rest of the team has followed with incredible play.  If he keeps it up he will definitely take the MVP trophy in the Stanley Cup.

The Kings must wait now to find out their opponent.  The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are still battling it out in the Eastern Conference Finals.  The Ranger and the Devils are set to play Game 7 tonight in New York.  I have a feeling that the Rangers will take the game and advance to their first Finals since 1994.  We will find out really soon.

L.A. Kings fan holding a sign that says it all.
(Getty Images)

The Kings have really sparked interest in Los Angeles for Hockey.  The city has had their loyal fans but the casual fans left when Gretzky went to play for the Rangers in the late 1990s.  The L.A. Sports Scene is really different this summer with the Lakers and the Clippers already out of the NBA Playoffs.  The city of Los Angeles needs the Kings right now.  This is the perfect opportunity for the Kings to brighten up the city with Hockey excitement.

I feel this is a Kings team that is destined to win the Cup this year.  I did not think so going into the playoffs but I have seen the playoff greatness.  This would be one of the most surprising NHL Playoff runs we have ever seen if they can capture the cup.  We could be calling it the “King’s Cup”  in just a matter of a couple of weeks.

Baseball’s Real Opening Day

Baseball season has finally started but not really.  On Wednesday and Thursday the first two games of the season took place in Tokyo, Japan, between the Oakland Athletics and the Seattle Mariners.  Seattle took the first game in extra innings with a final score of 3-1, Ichiro was the star of that game in his home country going 4 for 5 with an RBI.  The A’s won the second game 4-1 with their high paid Cuban acquisition Yoenis Cespedes who homered after having just a one hit game with two strike outs in the first game.  Now the two teams head back to the US to play…exhibition games!

I find it pretty ridicuous that MLB takes the first  official games of the season to Japan, which they have done for the last few years.  Its even more ridiculous that the two teams that started the season still have to play games that don’t count.  I agree its a nice thing to bring Ichiro back to his home country where they broadcast every game he plays in during the season, but its hardly a reason to make such a decision to bring regular season games there.  One could argue that its to expand the game’s reach around the world,  but they already have baseball and very competitive leagues.  There is also the situation of the smaller ballpark which inflates stats for only two games. Then reality will set back in, here in the U.S., when they play in roomier parks.  I know it won’t stop anytime soon but I wish it would.

The real opening day takes place on Thursday when  all of the teams start a new and aim for the World Series.  The first set of games will start at 1pm eastern time and go through the night.  I like the fact that the opening day in the U.S. is starting on a Thursday and carrying on into the weekend.  In years past the season started in the middle of the week and it took some of the special feel away.  The ballparks will be packed and ready to rock.

This season holds a lot of questions. With a new incredible ballpark in Miami where they have stocked up the team with high paid free agents Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and new manager Ozzie Guillen.  Over in L.A. you have the power house Albert Pujols who will look to capture another World Series title and cement his legacy as one of the best players baseball has ever seen.  Detroit picked up Prince Fielder and brought him back to the city where his father Cecil played for years. He will undoubtedly make them strong contenders for the World Series title.  There are many other story lines, but those are by far the main one to follow as the season begins.

Baseball is still America’s sport. No matter how popular the game of football becomes in the U.S., baseball will always hold a place in the history of this great country.  With such a rich history it is hard to not get excited and interested in the beginning of every season.  For some fans, depending on how your team does, by July it can be hard to stay interested.  It’s going to be a great season and I can’t wait for it to start on Thursday. Anything can happen when the season starts and that’s what I love about baseball.