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Zion Williamson’s injury proves that superstars have setbacks too

Superstars are treated differently than everyone else. For the superstar, this can be both a good and bad thing.

Superstars are given more leeway by their teams, especially early on in their careers.

Organizations cater to their needs and desires, hiring their personal trainers, listening to their demands and ailments with open ears, and even sometimes asking for their opinion regarding roster building.

But with the perks, come the drawbacks, most of which consist of additional scrutiny and heightened expectations. Enter Zion Williamson.

The consensus No. 1 NBA pick Zion Williamson was a superstar at Duke University last summer and was promptly drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans, raising the floor and the ceiling for the franchise.

Zion entered summer league basketball with all eyes on him. A big, powerful force with expectations we haven’t seen from a player since Lebron James, the NBA saw a new marketable star for the league, one needed, once the King eventually declines.

The NBA scheduled a franchise-record 30 national television games for the Pelicans this year, no doubt banking on Zion playing and attracting fans from all over the country and world. Then came the meniscus tear.

On Oct. 13, in a preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs, Zion injured his meniscus, a serious injury for any player, but most prominently for someone as young as Zion. The big powerful force that Zion is only possible because of his massive size and jumping ability, but this size also serves as a bit of a deterrent.

Zion’s weight and the constant stress on his lower body from jumping do not point to sustainability, even in a relatively touch-free league like the NBA.

Even last year at Duke, on the first possession of the game against heated rivals UNC, Zion suffered an injury that turned out to not be serious.

Today, Kristen Ledlow reported that the Pelicans are going to hold Zion out further, prompting questions about whether Zion will even play at all this season.

The Pelicans are obviously preaching patience with their new franchise cornerstone. They have a young squad, and throwing Zion into the fold for a 6-15 team, if he is not ready, would not be a wise decision. Still, that can be a hard sell to fans, especially with the dip in TV ratings for the NBA so far this season.

Superstars like Zion are taken care of like no one else, but they are also under a magnifying glass of scrutiny.

Zion wouldn’t be the first superstar to sit out his first season. Hell, he wouldn’t even be the first number one pick to do so. Ben Simmons did it a few years ago, and Blake Griffin did it before him. Both players wound up winning Rookie of the Year the following year.

Zion’s number one priority right now should be to get healthy. If he can, he should try to stay in shape and even shed a few pounds, so when he does touch the court there will be less pressure on his knees.

Lowkey though, that might be tough when he’s surrounded by New Orleans cooking.

Everyone is rooting for Zion, even the ones struggling with patience. He is the so-rarely-found superstar that is just as humble as he is talented.

But with superstars comes a spotlight and scrutiny that hardly ever wavers. For some superstars, the big stage is too much. We are hoping Zion can prevail.

Ultimately, good health, both physically and mentally, is more important than sports. And this good health is paramount to succeeding for athletes anyways.

Zion is just starting a career that most believe will be worthy of the all-time-great status.

This is just a minor hiccup.


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It’s a dub for the White House: Why star athletes aren’t pulling up

“I’m not going to the fucking White House…,” said Megan Rapinoe last Tuesday.

Rapinoe, a player for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, has scored four goals in her team’s last two games and will need to come up big for the United States team to win their next two games and win the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

This is where the White House visit would come in, as for over 50 years American athletes that won their respective leagues/tournaments would be invited to the White House by the president.

Visiting the White House after achieving the pinnacle of your profession used to be an honor. Now, it doesn’t seem that way. For athletes, the visit was the next step in a continued victory lap. It was often a grand honor, a time of further reflection, and a day to be remembered and proud of.

Athletes have skipped out on visiting the White House for years, and for many reasons. Tom Brady didn’t visit the White House when Barack Obama was in office, citing a family commitment. Michael Jordan didn’t visit in 1991, because he decided he wanted to play golf instead.

But for every missed visit, there seemed to be double the amount of happy and appreciative athletes visiting.

You can see Rapinoe, the United States soccer star, happily visiting the White House in 2015 when the United States Women’s National Soccer Team won the previous World Cup.

We know what’s changed. There is an egomaniacal, repugnant, callous man in office who operates with no regard for the well-being of American citizens. The man is selfishly and completely drowned in his own interests.

The Golden State Warriors, fresh off winning the NBA Championship in 2017, decided not to visit the White House, along with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018, after enough players voiced that they would not visit (though the president tried to claim that there was no invitation for them to decline).

This growing trend to not visit the White House if certain policies and practices by the regime in place are inhumane or opposed to one’s principles is a powerful one. Athletes have a bigger voice now than ever, and by declining what has always been seen as a great honor, they can send out an even stronger message.

Rapinoe, who has stated before that she will not visit the White House, further stated:

“I am not going to fake it. I have no interest in extending our platform to him.”

The president, a man adept at making everything about him, does not deserve to hop on the backs of a prestigious and successful team.

LeBron James, perhaps the biggest advocate for athletes controlling their futures and money, helped create a docuseries More Than an Athlete and is also a strong critic of the president.

Speaking up for the disenfranchised or simply declining a visit to the White House makes athletes more than just what they do with a jersey on.

Their platform gives them the ability to spread awareness and spark change. Athletes can be social warriors, activists, and beacons of hope and reason for the multitudes that follow and respect them.

Danny Green, 2019 NBA Champion of the Toronto Raptors, recently said “It’s a hard no,” when asked if his team will be visiting the White House. The trend seems to be continuing, and with every player and team that declines, it just makes it easier for the next to do the same.

The president’s supporters continue to back him no matter what he does, but understand many people and athletes do not like him and his policies.

That much is clear and fine.

Whether her comments were just because of her own moral principles, or if she wanted to have her words resonate through the papers and internet, Rapinoe’s comments can have a lasting effect on other athletes or fans of her and her team.

An election is approaching, and words and actions by famous athletes hold massive weight. No matter who is in charge, not everyone will be happy. Athletes will pass on White House visits as they have always done.

But with the current regime in place, it is no accident that more players and teams are declining to visit. Additionally, it would not be a surprise that once the president is out of office, the invitation is widely considered a great honor once again.

Why Jimmy Butler’s work ethic makes him one of the greatest in the game

Jay-Z said it best ‘Dark Knight feeling­­­­ die and be a hero; or, live long enough to see yourself become a villain.’ For professional athletes, this story rings true year in and year out. The fans will love you one minute and boo you the next.

For Jimmy Butler, there is no difference.

Going into the 2017-2018 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded for all-star guard Jimmy Butler. Butler made an immediate impact with the Timberwolves. With the addition of Butler, Minnesota found themselves playing playoff basketball.

After successfully ending a twelve-year playoff drought in his first season with Minnesota, Butler proved to be the hero Timberwolves’ fans were asking for. On the other hand, multiple reports surfaced of Butler wanting out of Minnesota.

Being the Timberwolves saving grace last season, Jimmy Butler was being painted as the villain coming into the 2018-2019 season. Butler was feeling like an outsider inside of the Timberwolves organization.

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After not playing basketball all summer, in the Timberwolves’ first practice of the season, Butler let his teammates and front office know the deal. Expressing his discontent with his teammates, head coach Tom Thibodeau, and general manager Steve Layden, Butler made it known that the organization needs him to thrive.

In a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Butler discussed the brutally honest practice which ultimately led to him being traded. He said,

“I love the game. I love to win. That’s all I was doing out there doing, was competing…playing hard doing what I’m supposed to do on the basketball court.”

According to Jimmy Butler, KAT yelled out “Anybody can get this work,” which caused Butler to swiftly reply, “Do it to me.” In Jimmy Butler fashion, he squadded up with the T’Wolves third-string and beat KAT and the first string in a scrimmage just to prove a point.

Butler’s love for the game is almost like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We hear of the sacrifices Kobe Bryant has made during his playing days. However, we have never heard Bryant going a whole summer without television or internet to strictly focus on basketball. That’s a Jimmy Butler move.

The summer prior to Jimmy Butler winning Most Improved Player in the 2014-2015 season, Butler went off the grid. No T.V. No internet. It was just Butler and his friends with a house in Houston, hooping.

Butler explained his thought process behind the move to Sports Illustrator’s Ben Golliver.

“I wanted to be so good at the game that we didn’t have cable, we didn’t have the Internet. Whenever we got bored, all we would do is go to the gym. We’d eat, sleep and go to the gym. We’d go three times a day because we didn’t have anything else to do. We were sitting on the couch, looking at each other, saying, ‘What the hell are we going to do all day?’

Butler’s summertime grind is real. One could even say that the offseason is truly his season. In the summer of 2016, Jimmy Butler walked us through his daily routine in preparation for the season.

During that same summer, Butler worked with NBA skills trainer Chris Johnson described his workout sessions with the All-Star guard during an interview with Sports Illustrated writer Andrew Sharp. 

“I’ll get up at 5 in the morning. Typically my first workout is with Jimmy Butler. Jimmy gets up at 5:30. He’s gonna have his shake, he’s gonna have his breakfast, and then we’re on the floor by 7 a.m. We already have his entire day planned out. Two basketball workouts on the floor, and [in between] he’s going to get strength and conditioning, treatment, and we have his schedule for the week.”

Through all the ups and downs in Jimmy Butler’s young life, he has yet to fold. Last November, Butler landed into the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Since becoming a Sixer, not only has Butler been a walking bucket, the All-Star guard is giving all of himself to the world. Through his YouTube channel. Butler takes viewers through his life experience.

If someone were to Google the definition of hard work, he or she might find a picture of Jimmy Butler as the definition. Butler not only is dedicated to hard work, but he also embraces it. Even in Greece on while on vacation, he found time to get in two grueling workouts. One of which his butler battled through and won.

Butler knows he is an OG to the youth. Young basketball players look up to Jimmy Butler and he knows that. He still makes time to kick with the youth and give back wisdom.

Jimmy is making moves off the court too and has been recently been uploading some dope content on his YouTube channel. With six vlogs already uploaded, you can really see how dedicated and warm-hearted of a character Jimmy Buckets is.

In the media, we get the side of Butler that is seen as arrogant. We’ve heard the rumors of how he’s a bad teammate. For some reason, we find that hard to believe.

You’d never believe those rumors after seeing his personality effortlessly shine through. With everything Butler has had to endure in Minnesota, you know it feels more than good for him to blow out his former team by 42 points.

At 29-years-old, Jimmy has a lot of basketball in front of him, but judging by his work ethic, whatever he decides to put his hand in next, he will crush!

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have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish.

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Flemlo Raps youtube

How ex-athlete Flemlo Raps made the most fire football channel on YouTube

Life is a journey. You never know which road your passion is going to take you. But if you continuously put the work in, you will realize that all the roads you have traveled are really just lanes on one big highway.

For content creator Flemlo Raps, his competitive drive and passion has him now cruising down the road toward success. However, it did not come easy.

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When its checkout time…u haven’t finished editing your video and decide to finish in the lobby

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During his senior year of high school, Flemlo put in the work on and off the football field and the basketball court. Flemlo Raps’ hard work garnered him a scholarship to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he would go on to play football.

While at Southern, he quickly became popular amongst his teammates for his skill set as a rapper. On the football field, he possessed all the talent in the world, but after being redshirted his freshman year, his work ethic on the field took a drop off.

After having a dispute with his coach, he decided to walk away from Southern University and never looked back. Once he left school, Flemlo took on a commission sales job at Conn’s. While working there for close to six years, Flemlo Raps saw something on YouTube that piqued his interest.

In an interview with Kulture Hub, Flemo explains his life-changing epiphany that would inspire his next move.

 “I was doing real good [at commission sales], but I didn’t have any freetime and you know it wasn’t fulfilling for me. So I just started to want to transition into something else. I used to watch YouTube. I used to watch a lot of Call of Duty videos… and one day one of the cats I was watching did like a house tour. ‘I was like house tour? What is this?’ Then I realized cats was like actually making a living doing this.”

Motivated, Flemlo Raps started doing his research. He knew he was on to something once he started to educate himself more explaining,

“I started watching ‘How to grow on YouTube’ videos and boom made me a plan, like a three year plan and I started building while I was working.”

2015 marked the beginning of Flemlo Raps’ journey as a YouTube content creator. He would start each day out by making videos before clocking into work. With his real-life experience, being a former athlete himself, he’s able to shed light on stories not a lot of people know about.

Flemo explained the process of building his YouTube channel while working.

“I would get up at like 5[am] everyday. I would get my video done. Then I would have to go to work at 10[am]. Work from 10 to uh, we close about 7[pm] at that store and just do that everyday. I was dropping one video per day.”

NCAA Football 2014 was Flemlo Raps’ main source of content. He explained he started his humble beginnings on YouTube covering the popular game.

“Basically what would happen is, I’m doing NCAA so I just played you know what I mean? I’d play like four games. So I got my content. So now all I’d have to do is just wake up and edit. I’ll send the upload up and then once I’d get to work, I would do my title, my thumbnails and all that stuff on my phone. And then I’d just schedule it to drop at midnight.”

With his job no longer fulfilling his purpose in life, Flemlo Raps knew it was time to leave his job and follow his new passion. Flemlo said,

“After doing that for while [commission sales], it was just hard man. The calling for me was so strong. I didn’t know when I was gonna go full time. I went full time with 5,000 subscribers.”

Loyal to the grind, Flemlo Raps turned himself into a content-creating machine. He quit his sales job and put all his energy toward this craft.

“The variable I knew was gonna be my hard work. So that’s when I started doing three videos a day because it was like I wanted to fill up every second I had because I couldn’t fail. I had a kid at that point and girlfriend you know what I mean?”

After amassing over 70,000 subscribers from his gaming content alone, Flemlo Raps decided to to leave the gaming content alone because of its short shelf-life.

Instead, Flemlo Raps shifted his focus to human interest stories, sparking his most famous series: What Happened To football series.

“I felt like I had a unique perspective I mean, I look at things a little bit different. I just wanted to humanize a lot these guys. Especially the guys who have alcohol issues or drug issues and stuff like that, the way they get talked about in the media, they never look at it from the human side of it. And addiction. that’s a disease. It’s not like they can just decide. So I kinda just wanted to tell their story from a different perspective. You don’t really get to hear the whole story.”

Flemlo Raps has chronicled the real struggles of NFL players like Titus Young, Malcolm Kelly, Josh Gordon, Trent Richardson and players from the NETFLIX Original series Last Chance U.

He even got a shout out in the credits for the third season of Last Chance U giving him even more motivation to continue on creating the content he’s been making.

Now with 254K subscribers on YouTube, Flemolo Raps is becoming a staple in the YouTube world. With how strategic Flemlo Raps is with his approach and how competitive his drive is, Flemlo is not surprised one bit by his success.

“I’m not trying to say this in an arrogant way, but I 100% believe in myself. I would have never quit my job at 5,000 subs if I didn’t think I was going to get to this point. So I expected to get hear, I didn’t know how long it was gon’ take, but I just knew I was gonna do everything in my power to make it happen. You don’t know how good you are objectively until the people decide.”

Flemlo even gives advice for future content creators who seeking to go full-time with their grind. Peep the facts Flemlo spits below:

“Social media and the internet is your best friend. I’m a guy who before I had a YouTube channel, I didn’t even have a Twitter page. I didn’t have an Instagram, none of that. But, today you can reach so many people, especially if you had any notoriety from where you’re coming from, you can make it happen. If you want to do something creative that is, do your research. Think about what you’re good, like what are your strengths, and then find which platform best fits your style. Focus on a niche when you start and then you can branch out.”

How ‘Dangerous’ Donnie Marshall defied odds to pave his own lane as a pro boxer

Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. It is technical yet sometimes brutal and there is a sweet science to the game that makes it so hard to look away.

We are in awe of the footwork, the hand-speed and hand-eye coordination, the haymakers and the knockouts. Couple that with your brawlers and your tacticians and you have one of the most balanced glamour sports of all time. Not just anyone can step into the ring and trade blows either. You have to bet cut from a certain cloth.

It takes a fighter’s mentality to make it out of Buffalo, New York. No one knows this better than the 29-year-old boxing phenom “Dangerous” Donnie Marshall. Born and raised in Buffalo, he grew up in an athletic household. Football and basketball held prominence in the Marshall family but even though Donnie played football in school, boxing was always his first love.

Ever since Dangerous Donnie got his hands on some of his grandfather’s old boxing tapes, he’s been enamored by the sport ever since. Never actually boxing in the ring as a child, he found himself fighting.

No Cap 9-0 6Kos

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In an interview with Kulture Hub, Donnie broke down his career, his mindset going into fights, and the tough upbringing that made him into the man he is today. The craziest part is that he almost never made it out of Buffalo. Donnie explained,

“Growing up in Buffalo was rough. I got shot when I was 16. I was fighting in the streets and in school. I had got into some trouble you know so I had the time to sit down and figure things out. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to. My mom used to always say ‘You better leave him alone he’s dangerous. You don’t want it with Donnie, he dangerous.’”

As his journey as a football player came to an end, he decided to follow his heart for his next career move. And that was following his grandfather’s footsteps and pursing boxing. He continued,

“I grew up playing football. By the time I was ready to box that was over. I started boxing when I was 20. I was just trying to figure things out you know? I didn’t know anything about it [boxing] but it made sense so I started. I was in out the gym before I got serious.”

It wasn’t until Dangerous Donnie found himself at the Paul Murphy Regional National Tournament in Atlanta, that he’d go on to eventually win, that made him want to take it to the next level.

Paired with Ross Thompson as his coach, a fellow Buffalo native who has fought for the world title, it was clear that the stars were aligning. This was a very pivotal moment in his career as Thompson’s mentorship and support built his confidence to a whole new level as Donnie explained to me,

“When I got with him, as someone who’s been at the top level as a professional and amateur you know, he had a lot of faith in me. He kinda made me feel like I can do it. I think it was more so that I got with my coach that I am with now that I came to be like ‘wow I can really do this if I put the effort into it.”

And Dangerous Donnie has been turning up ever since. He’s been relentless in the ring being too quick for opponents while possessing such poise and grace in the ring. Not even fighting with one arm could not stop the Dangerous one. He told me,

“My fight before my last fight [April 26], I went into the ring knowing I’m injured. My right arm was literally hanging but I knew I could beat the kid with my left hand so I wasn’t trippin. They suspended me afterwards and sent me to physical therapy for six weeks. It was cool. A real athlete is gonna strap up and is gonna figure it out.”

A healthy Donnie is certainly a Dangerous one. In his last bout, August 16th at the Durham Armory in North Carolina, he stopped his opponent in 2:35 seconds knocking his opponent’s shoulder out of place with a hook to the shoulder. It was a display of impeccable defense that is propelling him to the next level.

I’m Over Qualified For The Next Shootout!! 👊🏾👊🏾

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From my time speaking to Donnie Marshall, I learned that he is a family man and a true fighter. His humble, quiet demeanor is not to be slept on.

When he’s with his fam, they may be acting a fool and clowning around. But when he’s in the ring, he’s a whole different animal. He punches for his family, his children, and most importantly his legacy. He lastly told me,

“Now we are at the point in my life now where me and my son are walking into boxing rings together and people are screaming my name and his name. That’s 75%-80% of what I wanted to set out to do. I’ve already left a legacy and footprints to follow and footprints to follow. To me if I die today, what I’ve left for my kids to look up to means a lot.”

Dangerous Donnie will be making his television debut September 28th on ShoBox: The Next Generation. He’s made it point to carry the city of Buffalo on his back.

UFC fighters will soon be able to use CBD to treat their pain

In news that may come as a shock to some followers of mixed martial arts, the USADA has removed CBD from its list of banned substances.

CBD is a non-psychoactive component in cannabis and it can have therapeutic effects on your body. Some UFC fighters have spoken out about how CBD oil helps them recover after a fight or game.

Many athlete advocates for CBD use maintain that it isn’t psychoactive or addictive and is a much healthier and safer option than prescription painkillers.

UFC fighter Nate Diaz became the symbol of the cannabis movement in mixed martial arts when he openly vaped CBD oil during a press conference after a fight at UFC 202 against Conor McGregor. Diaz told reporters at the time,

“It’s CBD. It helps with the healing process and inflammation and stuff like that,” he further explained. “So you wanna get these for before, after the fight, training. It’ll make your life a better place. CBD. CBD oil.”

And while the USADA issued him a warning and Diaz became somewhat of a pariah in the octagon for his blatant CBD use, he also was bringing awareness to a useful form of treatment for fighters.

Nate Diaz’s brother Nick is also a UFC star and cannabis advocate. Nick told High Times last year about his cannabis use,

“If I’m at home and I’m training—doing my same things every day—then I’m definitely going to want to use cannabis. It’s gonna help. I’m trying to stay focused on what I’m doing… If I’m going to train all day, when I get done, I’m gonna want to smoke. If I have to go and train all day, before I go, I’m gonna want to smoke. If I wake up in the morning and feel beat to shit, and it’s going to take me forever to wake up, I smoke some weed and I wake right up. Then I have breakfast and I go do a workout.”

It appears that USADA has listened to the Diaz brothers to some extent as CBD usage is no longer a banned substance. But THC remains banned, so fighters can’t actually just smoke normal weed, they would have to use CBD extract strictly.

This is a big step for the acceptance of cannabis in high profile sports, especially combat sports, where cannabis can help with the recovery process. It will be interesting to watch this space and see what other sports leagues do in the future with regards to cannabis.

Check out the full USADA list of prohibited substances here.