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Winston Brings Spotlight to Alabama Hometown for Draft

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James Winston reacts with his grandmother Myrtle Winston to learning he is the first pick in the NFL draft Thursday, April 30, 2015 in Bessemer, Ala. Winston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

Jameis Winston reacts with his grandmother Myrtle Winston to learning he is the first pick in the NFL draft Thursday, April 30, 2015 in Bessemer, Ala. Winston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer

BESSEMER, Ala. (AP) — Jameis Winston celebrated the NFL draft his way, creating his own memorable moment with family and friends in his hometown. It was his mother who handed him his No. 3 Buccaneers jersey after he became the top pick, not the NFL commissioner.

For Winston, it was perfect.

“They actually felt the moment with me,” Winston told The Associated Press after the draft, clad in a dark suit with a gold tie and gold and black shoes. “I wasn’t just walking up by myself and getting taken away. They’re actually here with me right now, and it’s a blessing.”

The Heisman Trophy-winning Florida State quarterback was driven up to the spacious home of a family friend at 8:01 p.m. ET Thursday night, just a couple of minutes before the call came. A grinning Winston hung up the phone, turned to his family and announced he was heading to Tampa Bay.

“If you watched any Florida State games last year, we always cut it close,” Winston quipped about his arrival time. “But what happened? We always came through.”

He delivered again on Thursday — flashing smiles and poise in the face of the bright spotlight he’s already accustomed to. This time, he brought the national spotlight with him to Bessemer.

Earlier Thursday, camera crews filed in and out of Hueytown High School, where Winston’s No. 8 jersey is retired.

Everyone was in town on to see Winston, who skipped the televised festivities in Chicago to celebrate in his hometown, next door to Hueytown.

And he did it in grand style.

The home had a fountain in the front, a huge Winston banner on one side and tables in the back for guests, including Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher. Traffic on the normally serene tree-lined road moved at a crawl beforehand. The scene had the feel of what was happening hundreds of miles away in Chi-Town.

This, however, was all just for Winston.

Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the podium in Chicago and ended the suspense, saying, “With the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the Tampa Buccaneers select Jameis Winston, quarterback, from Florida State.”

Fisher beamed like a proud father before the pick was announced.

“It’s just a great night,” Fisher said. “It’s a night to be joyful and happy for him.”

Plenty of people in these suburban Birmingham communities with a combined population of about 43,000 had planned to watch the draft and see if the Buccaneers would pick Winston.

“Just like we watched Bo Jackson,” said Bessemer’s Harry W. Carey.

Jackson is another Heisman-winning superstar who hails from Bessemer — and incidentally went No. 1 in the 1986 draft, to the Bucs.

Holly Adams, who taught Winston AP physics in 2011 at Hueytown High, said she hadn’t heard much buzz about the draft.

“Not really just because it’s become such a common thing in Hueytown to hear about Jameis,” Adams said. “But any time you get introduced to someone and they say, ‘Oh, this person teaches at Hueytown’ or ‘she’s from Hueytown,’ that’s the first thing they ask you. Do you know Jameis? Did you teach Jameis.”

Winston, though, remains a polarizing figure even in his hometown.

He was involved in several highly publicized off the field incidents while at Florida State, including the infamous crab legs caper. posted an Instagram photo of him celebrating on draft night with a tray of crab legs. Winston, showing he’s willing to make fun of himself, posted an Instagram photo of him celebrating with a tray of crab legs.

In a more serious allegation, a former FSU student has filed a lawsuit against Winston, accusing him of rape, assault, false imprisonment and emotional distress. Winston has said the sex was consensual and was never arrested or charged.

“We know more about him than we do any player in this draft,” Fisher said. “Every part of his life has been picked apart.

“People will be shocked with how he represents” the Bucs, the coach said.

Even those who expressed concern seem to be pulling for him.

Michael Raymond, a big Alabama fan from nearby Oak Grove, has mixed feelings about Winston, citing other incidents during the quarterback’s college career. He worries that “it’s almost a Johnny Manziel thing going on.”

He added, “being a quarterback, since they’re the key to everything, they’re willing to risk that kind of investment on somebody that could be a bust. I hope he’s not.”

Carey went to many of Winston’s games at neighboring Hueytown and his nephew was a childhood friend of the quarterback. He believes Winston deserves another chance at the “new life” Winston would later proclaim he’s embarking on.

“We’re all capable of making mistakes in life, but we should not hold that against him,” said Carey, while having lunch at a Hueytown barbecue restaurant. “We’re all human. We’re capable of doing things and learning from the mistakes we make in life.

“He’s going to make a difference in the game.”

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Arts and Culture

Gov. Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom Host 2024 Hall of Fame Ceremony

Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and three other African Americans were among 10 luminaries inducted into the 2024 Class of the California Hall of Fame on Feb. 8. The 17th Annual California Hall of Fame ceremony was held at the California Museum.

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Willie Brown, Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor, was proud to be among the Hall of Fame inductees. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Willie Brown, Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor, was proud to be among the Hall of Fame inductees. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By California Black Media

Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and three other African Americans were among 10 luminaries inducted into the 2024 Class of the California Hall of Fame on Feb. 8.

The 17th Annual California Hall of Fame ceremony was held at the California Museum.

“The California Hall of Fame is one of our families’ favorite traditions as it is a time to come together to celebrate remarkable Californians as well as their loved ones because we know that it is about partnerships,” Siebel Newsom said. “The governor likes to say that California is a dream factory because it doesn’t matter what zip code or background you come from, the California dream is alive and well to everyone who calls this state home.”

The other Black honorees were filmmaker Ava DuVernay; Federal Judge and civil rights leader, the Hon. Thelton Henderson; and basketball Hall of Fame player and broadcaster Cheryl Miller.

“It’s what I’ve been waiting for and to be among a great group of individuals that also deserve the honor,” Brown told California Black Media on the event’s red carpet before the ceremony began. “No, I never thought someone from Texas would be recognized this way. But here I am, and it all happened in the great state of California. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Other 2024 inductees are: master chef and “mother of fusion cuisine” Helene An; computer scientist and “father of the internet” Vincent A. Cerf; all-female pop punk band The Go-Gos; Chicano Rock band Los Lobos; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Congressman Leon E. Panetta; and artistic director and choreographer Brenda Way.

This year’s honorees join a history-making club with over 150 inspirational Californians previously inducted for their groundbreaking achievements and personifying the state’s innovative spirit.

“It’s just a humbling experience. I want to thank the Governor and First Partner. Who would have thought 100 years ago (that I would be inducted?) It’s incredible,” Miller said after her induction. “I want to thank the governor and First Partner for an incredible event.”

During his acceptance speech, Henderson said he was deeply honored.

“You know, it really would have been a really big deal to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the area where I grew up, for example, South Central Hall of Fame, or the Watts Hall of Fame, or the Straight Out of Compton Hall of Fame,” he said. “But being inducted into the California Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame of the greatest state in the country in this great nation is something else.”

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Community

El Cerrito High Senior Jayvon Bolds Named to Blue-Grey All-American Bowl

El Cerrito High School senior Jayvon Bolds is set to play in the Blue-Grey All American Bowl game at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 8. Bolds, an 18-year-old scholar athlete whose favorite subject is history, was nominated for the honor by Rodney Alamo Brown, founder of Soulful Softball Sunday who also serves as an announcer for the Texas bowl game.

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Jayvon Bolds (No. 4) is headed to Cowboys Stadium to play in the Blue-Grey All American Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Alamo Brown).
Jayvon Bolds (No. 4) is headed to Cowboys Stadium to play in the Blue-Grey All American Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Rodney Alamo Brown).

By the Richmond Standard

El Cerrito High School senior Jayvon Bolds is set to play in the Blue-Grey All American Bowl game at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 8.

Bolds, an 18-year-old scholar athlete whose favorite subject is history, was nominated for the honor by Rodney Alamo Brown, founder of Soulful Softball Sunday who also serves as an announcer for the Texas bowl game.

“It’s a real honor,” Alamo Brown stated about Brown’s selection for the bowl game. “This makes him an All-American.”

Bolds will play three positions for the Eastern team: kr, slot back and special teams—i.e., kickoff and punt return.

“The plan is to line up Bolds all over the field and let him do his thing. He’ll be a weapon for our staff,” said NFL veteran Tampa Bay Buccaneers standout and All-American Bowl Coach Dick Bell. “In a game like this, with the platform being an NFL facility with former professionals as assistants and mentors, he’ll have a chance to shine on one of the biggest stages around.”

Recently, Bolds received a scholarship offer to continue his higher education at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.

Bolds maintains a 3.3 GPA and is heavily involved in leadership as he is the vice president of the Black Student Union.

Blue-Grey Football launched in 1989 by founders Gus and Erik Bell with the aim of helping prospects gain national exposure so that they can improve their chances to secure college scholarships.

Some of the nation’s most talented young football players compete in the annual game, with Fox Sports, CBS Sports and USA Today regularly providing coverage, as well as ESPN.comScout.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com.

Bolds’ family is planning on traveling to Dallas on Friday and is seeking donations from the community to offset the enormous cost. Those who are willing to donate may do so by sending their donations to this cash app, $Juanita Towns.

Rodney Alamo Brown contributed to this report.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: “Who Got Game? Basketball”

A little less than two feet. That’s how far you can get your two feet off the floor if you’re an average kid doing an average vertical jump. Not quite twenty-four inches, but don’t worry: the taller you grow, the higher you could be able to jump. Practice some, dribble a little, shoot more three-pointers, and you might jump right into a book like “Who Got Game? Basketball” by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Jez Tuya.

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“Who Got Game? Basketball” Author Derrick Barnes Courtesy of EyeSun Photography (Charlotte NC). Book Cover Courtesy of Workman Publishing c.2024.
“Who Got Game? Basketball” Author Derrick Barnes Courtesy of EyeSun Photography (Charlotte NC). Book Cover Courtesy of Workman Publishing c.2024.

A little less than two feet.

That’s how far you can get your two feet off the floor if you’re an average kid doing an average vertical jump. Not quite twenty-four inches, but don’t worry: the taller you grow, the higher you could be able to jump. Practice some, dribble a little, shoot more three-pointers, and you might jump right into a book like “Who Got Game? Basketball” by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Jez Tuya.

Here we are, football season’s almost over, and your mind has turned to other things – namely, hoops set high over your head, and a round bouncy basketball. Kids like you who “got game” have had it for more than a century. Yes, the game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 in Massachusetts.

In the years since, basketball has changed a lot, thanks to what Derrick Barnes calls “pioneers.” Julius “Dr. J” Erving improved the dunk. Before that, in 1950, the NBA first allowed Black basketball players on the teams. There have been super-tall players (Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muregan were both seven feet, seven tall) and smaller b-ballers – five-three Muggsy Bogues had a vertical jump of nearly four feet! – and just two years after the game was invented, America had its first women’s team.

A lot of off-court people poured themselves into the game, too. Barnes writes, for example, about Pat Summitt, hoopster, leader, and “one of the greatest coaches in all of sports history.” Her record of 1,098 wins ranks her at first-place in coaching women’s basketball, and as the coach with the second-most wins overall.

You can probably guess that in a book about buckets, there are bucketfuls of stats. Barnes includes a list of NBA players who jumped to a team right out of high school. He writes about the greatest basketball park ever, he explains why winners cut down the net, how Title IX changed the game, why backboards rarely break into a zillion pieces anymore, high scores, bad injuries, “hoops movies,” and where in the world you can pick up a game today.

So, your 9-to-13-year-old loves basketball so much that they dribble a ball in their sleep? They think their favorite jersey is church wear? Then you’ll be the hero of the day when you bring home “Who Got Game? Basketball.”

But first, there’s one big thing you need to know: this is not a how-to book. There aren’t any instructions inside here, no rules or plays to follow. Instead, author Derrick Barnes makes young b-ballers happy by sharing little-known info about the game they love so much, short lists, great stories about great players, wins and losses, and phrases they should know to talk the talk. All this knowledge is supported by colorful illustrations by Jez Tuya that kids will enjoy alongside the facts.

This book is for die-hard young b-ballers, but don’t be surprised if an adult finds a thing or two to learn here. “Who Got Game? Basketball” is a book any fan will want to jump on.

“Who Got Game? Basketball” by Derrick Barnes, Illustrated by Jez Tuya, c.2023, Workman Publishing, $16.99, 172 pages.

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