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Jason Kidd Enters The Basketball Hall Of Fame

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Photo credit – Greg Foster/FB

Another one of Oakland’s hometown heroes joins the Hall.  Bill Russell was one of the greatest players in NBA history and he was the first All-Star player out of Oakland to join the Hall of Fame.  Decades later another elite player, Gary Payton joined that class, and tonight they got one more.

Jason Kidd was officially enshrined in the basketball Hall of Fame Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts.  A journey where he traveled to Springfield in high school, thinking one day he too will be a Hall of Famer. Little did he know that dream would eventually come true

Jason Kidd HOF/Twiiter

Payton who presented Kidd won’t hesitate to tell anybody just how good Kidd was in high school.  Sellout crowds at his high school could not accommodate the fans so, Kidd’s games were moved to a bigger venue.  Kidd was a phenom in high school and caught the eye of many due to his eye sight and speed on the court.

But it was his 18-year NBA career that set the tone for the grand finale, a trip to the Hall.  A NBA Champion, 10x NBA All-Star, NBA Co-Rookie of the Year and 2x Olympic Gold Medalist are just a few accomplishments for Kidd.  The accolades and highlight reels showed a dominant, confident and remarkable point guard.  So good that he was often compared to Magic Johnson but a new and improved version. 

Kidd thanked every team he played for, coach, executives, teammates, training staff and those who inspired him over the course of his path to the NBA.  Grant Hill who also entered the 2018 Hall Of Fame Class described Kidd as a unique player that’s rare to see.  A floor general at its finest, Kidd never disappointed when he stepped on the court.

Oakland is now known as a city that produces great athletes.  Joined by his fellow NBA family, Payton, Brian Shaw, Greg Foster, and Eric Hughes joined Kidd in Springfield.  An inspiration to the game of basketball Kidd blazes a trail for many to follow.  Let’s keep our eye on the next rising star from our hometown, Damian Lillard.

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Bay Area

The Tragic Sports Abuse of Oakland

All 3 teams leaving?

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Spalding Basketball on a court; Photo courtesy of Sabri Tuzcu via Unsplash

Oakland is the most victimized sports city on the planet, and there is no close second.

And it’s not Oakland’s fault. Pirates, highwaymen and carpetbaggers have unified their heartless souls to rob Oakland of its championship, and fan-supported, sports existence. Under high crimes and misdemeanors, this is the highest crime in sports pilfering.

The Raiders are the only sports franchise to leave the same American city twice, despite sellout crowds before skipping off to Los Angeles, and sellout crowds again after their inglorious failure in Tinseltown. And now they’re off to Las Vegas, which, in time, might prove a worse investment than playing craps.

But, at least, the Raiders were homegrown, Oakland’s own. The Warriors came to Oakland from San Francisco, where the franchise was going broke, and built themselves up financially, with capacity attendance, as by winning three NBA championships in the short space of five years. After that, it was back across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, where this one-time dynastic bunch has found itself in serious slippage.

And, lastly, Oakland is one fleeing franchise short of a hat trick — all three of its teams taking flight. The last team still with an Oakland zip code, the Athletics, are looking at Las Vegas or — who knows? — the moon for a new home. This is the same franchise that bottomed out in Kansas City, after burning out in Philadelphia, and now is seeking to bury Oakland among its dearly departed.

It isn’t failure on the field of play that’s driving these teams elsewhere. Despite becoming a major-league sports town in 1960, a late start in sports economics, Oakland has produced 10 national championships. The A’s and Warriors have four titles apiece, and the Raiders have won two Super Bowls.

And it isn’t disappointment at the box office that these teams can use as an alibi. The Raiders and Warriors filled their facilities despite having long stretches of losing seasons, built on horrific draft picks. Jamarcus Russell, anyone? Joe Smith? The A’s haven’t drawn nearly as well as the other two tenants at the Oakland Coliseum Complex, but when you’re constantly trying to move to Fremont, Santa Clara, and now Las Vegas, why should local fans display loyalty?

I’ve been observing the Oakland sports scene closely since 1964 after gaining employment at the Oakland Tribune, which has left Oakland, too, with no relocation, no nothing. My arrival coincided with the building of the Coliseum and adjacent Arena in 1966, which was large-scale planning since the Raiders were the only team in town back then. The A’s moved here in 1968, and the Warriors in 1974. The Coliseum and Arena, over time, would be the last of the dual sports complexes in the country, but let it be known that it was the absolute best of its kind.

First, it was built in the middle of six Bay Area counties, with Contra Costa to the North, Santa Clara to the East, San Mateo to the South, San Francisco and Marin to the West, and Alameda County where the first shovel of dirt was dug for the complex itself.

Fortuitous still, the complex would be abutted in time by rapid transit (BART), a freeway, and railroad tracks, with an airport five minutes away. The Father of the Coliseum, the late Robert Nahas, was Einstein-like in his blueprints for the complex, and for Oakland’s future as a big-league, big-time sports town.

Adding to that image were the most loyal, passionate and, well, loony crazy fans. Oakland has the most abused fans in the universe in spite of fanaticism that couldn’t be rivaled anywhere. Who gets stepped on not once, but twice, by the black-attired, blackhearted Raiders and still professes loyalty. If the Raiders fail in Las Vegas, and they might eventually, the Coliseum in Oakland would fill up again. Nobody loves a team like Raider fans, bless their ravaged souls.

You mean the Raiders could come back to Oakland for a third go-around? If the Davis family is in charge, of course. Al, the father, was a user, and Mark, the son, a loser. Neither one of them, in all this time, has stuck their nose out for Oakland. They advertised little if all, they gave to charities nil, and they expected deference regardless throughout their penuriousness. There have been traitors replete throughout the history of organized sports, but nothing like the Davises, father and son: Benedict Arnold and Benedict Arnold Junior.

But as bad as they were, Oakland’s biggest problem, sadly, is Oakland itself. Oakland’s sports owners look at Oakland as a place to run from, rather than to grow with. Being situated across the Bay from San Francisco always has been Oakland’s detriment, dating back to early last century when Oakland native Gertrude Stein said of Oakland: “There’s no there there.” She said that after returning home from Paris and finding her old neighborhood changed, but historians took it as a slight on Oakland.

So the Warriors’ new ownership of Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber began packing up right away for San Francisco, but like other sports ownerships, myopically. Because, at that same juncture, Oakland suddenly came alive as a city commercially, more so than at any other time in history. New businesses, new buildings, new daytime choices, and new nighttime adventures suddenly spurted. Oakland had become, of all things, a boomtown.

Imagine that, while the thinking of the Raiders and Warriors ownerships could go “boom” in their faces. There is no rapid transit or railroad tracks abutting the stadium in Las Vegas, and there is limited parking next to the stadium, which means most fans will tailgate a mile away and take transit to the stadium. The Warriors have no rapid transit close by, no parking to speak of, and game tickets cost high-roller prices.

What was there in Oakland has been lost in franchise-and-fan togetherness in Las Vegas and San Francisco. And if the Raiders and Warriors start losing, which is immediately possible, who will want to mortgage homes and businesses to pay those exorbitant ticket prices? And if the A’s follow the Raiders to Las Vegas, it gets costlier because the A’s will need a domed stadium. You see, you can’t play baseball in 115-degree heat, for there’s nothing cool about that.

It just might turn out, for all three Oakland teams, that “there’s no there there” in their new digs.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Commentary

Oakland Shows Ohtani, But ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Remarks Still Sting

Anything to suggest Ohtani couldn’t be MLB’s marquee player? Of course not. He’s a smiling, charming gigantic Asian presence who is the best thing in baseball.

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Baseballs On The Ground Photo Courtesy Of Mike Bowman Via Unsplash

Shohei Ohtani is the biggest draw in Major League Baseball since coming to America and overshadowing Babe Ruth as the first player since the Babe to both dominate as a hitter (33 home runs) and as a pitcher (4-1 record).

In town this week with the LA Angels, would Ohtani turn the Coliseum into Ohkland?

The myth was on display on July 19. When Ohtani pitched, the A’s were mastered and struck out eight times. When Ohtani hit, he doubled and would have given the Angels a lead were it not for a great defensive relay by the A’s.  It was scoreless in the seventh inning when Ohtani was done pitching and went to play right field. That’s when the A’s beat up on his sub and went on to win the game, 4-1.

Anything to suggest Ohtani couldn’t be MLB’s marquee player? Of course not. He’s a smiling, charming gigantic Asian presence who is the best thing in baseball.

And that’s why ESPN/Disney’s Stephen A. Smith’s remarks about Ohtani last week were so offensive.

ESPN pays Stephen A. $12 million a year to be controversial. But that doesn’t mean racist and xenophobic. On the July 12 “First Take” show, Smith said this about Ohtani:

“But the fact that you have a foreign player who doesn’t speak English that needs an interpreter, believe it or not , I think contributes to harming the game to some degree, when that’s your box office appeal. It needs to be somebody like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, those guys, and unfortunately, at this moment in time, that’s not the case.”

That paragraph is couched in criticism of MLB’s marketing, but that’s no excuse for racism. We’ve got to break down what is just one big rolling snowball of hate.

A Black man calling Ohtani a foreigner is worse than racist. It’s xenophobic, against anyone not of this country. Asian Americans are always confused as being Asian nationals.  Hence, going after Ohtani’s for being “foreign” is an attack on anyone of Asian ancestry, as well as anyone from another country.

Rest assured, the scapegoating hatemongers who have attacked and harassed Asians and Asian Americans more than 7,000 times during the pandemic didn’t ask for green cards.

But Smith then goes after Ohtani’s lack of English skills and the need for an interpreter. That’s similar to political conservatives advocating English-only policies in America. Is Smith saying American sports—and America’s pastime, baseball–should be English-only?

Smith is in Tucker Carlson/Fox News territory.

Smith uses national origin, and language to “other” Ohtani, then concludes that being Asian “contributes to harming the game to some degree when that’s your box office appeal.”

But he’s really saying a yellow face is not a good face for MLB, not even a yellow face with 33 home runs and a 4-1 pitching record.

So, who should be the face of baseball? The African American Smith says it should be “Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, those guys…”

Oh, the white guys. THE WHITE GUYS?

It’s astonishing to hear that coming from a Black man in sports, who should know all about the segregation of the Negro Leagues from baseball.  Now he’s saying MLB IS a white man’s game?

Jackie Robinson is rolling in his grave.

Smith has apologized on Twitter and on the air. But there’s not enough sugar to fill the hole he’s dug.

ESPN must weigh in on their $12 million man. It has already suffered on the race front in recent weeks when Rachel Nichols, a white show host, was caught criticizing ESPN’s diversity record as the excuse for hiring a Black colleague.

Now they have the xenophobic and ignorant Smith.

And that brings us to Al Campanis, who has a special place in the American Racism Hall of Shame. It was Campanis, an executive of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” with Ted Koppel in 1987. Campanis told Koppel that Blacks “may not have some of the necessities to be a field manager or general manager in baseball.”

For that racist comment, Campanis lost his career.

But he also made other stereotypical remarks about Blacks as “gifted” athletes, except for swimming, “because they don’t have buoyancy.”

Smith may have buoyancy if he survives his xenophobic Ohtani comments.

But is there any doubt Smith deserves to be the Al Campanis of 2021?

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator. He vlogs at www.amok.com. Twitter @emilamok. Facebook @emilguillermo.media

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Bay Area

Vice Mayor: Business Group Wants to Buy Coliseum, Attract WNBA Team

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

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Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan.

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan said a local business group has made serious inroads to buy the city’s 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum complex and to bring a WNBA team to the city.
Kaplan’s office shared a news release Monday about the effort by the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

Kaplan said the group is in negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda Joint Powers Authority, has submitted a formal proposal to WNBA officials, and has submitted a term sheet to the city, which the City Council’s rules committee recently voted to advance to the full council for a vote.

The group will provide additional details of its effort at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Friday at a site to be determined.

“I am pleased that there is such great interest in doing an important development at the Oakland Coliseum that will provide jobs, revenue and community positivity,” Kaplan said. “My goal is to help this process move forward before the summer recess.”

Kaplan said the group has the backing of more than 30 community groups of faith-based institutions, labor organizations, civic leaders, and job development organizations. She did not name the groups

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