RE-VISITED: THE EARL LLOYD STORY “THE FIRST TO PLAY” SCAM IS ON!

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The Black athlete has been shortchanged and a victim of scan artist as early as the 1940s. Heavyweight boxing champion, Joe louis felt victim through no fault of his own, he was not a learned man. He was easy prey. Louis was one the first known pro athlete to be taken to the cleaners by his handlers. He earned close to $5 million dollars during his 12 year boxing career. His take home pay was $800,000 after his handlers had taken more than their fair share. Louis left boxing broke and was hired as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace Casino in Las Vegas. He died broke in 1981. Billions of dollars are lost each year by black athletes who allow sports agents and their attorneys to pay their bills and give them an allowance until their next paycheck!!

This pattern of thievery of the black athlete continues today. Former Washington Redskin running back Clinton Portis lost 43 million dollars to fraud to men he thought had his best interest at heart. He comtemplated murder by gun for revenge. Instead, he can be seen during the NFL season roaming the sidelines as a color analyst interviewing Redskin players during a break in the action. Clinton Portis should be invited to NFL camps to speak with the rookies about safe guarding their money as someone who has been there and not done that! Former University of Maryland running back and former player for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders Lamont Jordan squandered away a multi-million dollar contract. The bright lights and big city of Las Vegas introduced him to gambling, drugs, and the girls sin city. He is back home in Suitland, Maryland coaching kids and making cameo appearances on local sport shows. He later discovered the hard way, what goes on in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas.

I was up close and personal when NBA Hall of Fame player Adrian Dantley’s agent David Falk use several millions of his dollars for his own investments without his knowledge. Falk also represented Michael Jordan,John Lucas, John Thompson, Jr. and his sons and a flock of former GT players (a Who’s Who). It was rumored that Coach John Thompson, Jr. was taking kickbacks under the table. There was boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard, he allowed his agent the late Mike Trainor to see and open his mail with the checks before he could see them. I had to pull him aside and tell him to make a change fast and in a hurry–I think I was too late.

The latest fraud is in the NBA “The First to Play” a story based on the life of NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd. The documentary makes its debut in theaters in February. I uncovered the fraud when the mastermind Arka Sengupta (Indian descendant) sent two black brothers to DC posing as Directors with names like Coodie and Chike. They interviewed Lloyd’s boyhood friends in Alexandria, Virginia where he was born and raised and later interviewed me in DC in May 2016. They disappeared without a trace after promising to return to the scene of the crime to show a preview of the documentary to the participants in Alexandria. They have been no-shows.

I smelled a rat when when I met the two Mikes, former Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise now a contributor for ESPN’s “Unbeaten” his stories I have often disputed and ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” Mike Wilbon. His Washington Post colleague John Feinstein said, “Mike Wilbon is the biggest ass kisser in sports media!” They were in the Wizard’s media pressroom making small talk when Wise said to me, “Harold I saw you in the documentary of the Earl Lloyd story, The First to Play in New York City, you were good.” I was surprised to hear that the documentary was being previewed. I called Ms. Char Bar who had spend untold hours of researching the project for Arka to see if she was aware of the status of the documentary. She had no clue, it was then I discovered that she had not been paid in full for her work on the project. Arka had bounced several checks and she smelled hustle and fraud.

He had a “Middle Man” who happen to be a woman named Jo Lee transacting financial business on his behalf. Every time he bounced a check Jo Lee had a new lie to tell Ms. Bar. She felt betrayed and ask me to intervene for her to see what the problem was. The feeling was mutual among the other participants.

Ms. Bar gave me his contact information (cell number and email address)and the rat Arka ran into his hole. It was then I started to write my findings on my blogs on theoriginalinsidesports.com and blackmeninamerica.com and posted on my findings on my You Tube Channel. I shared that information with the so-called Major Media heavyweights such as, James Brown, Mike Wilbon, Dave Aldridge, Sonny Hill, Courtland Milloy, Colbert King, Norman Chad, Terrence Moore, Bruce Johnson, Maureen Bunyan, Dave McKenna, Norman Chad, Kevin Blackistone, etc. They all took the position of the Three Little Monkies, “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil and read no evil, with the exception of one. He made the call to Arka and the “Check was really in the mail” to Ms. Bar without a bounce.

Upon further investigation, I discovered NBA players had invested thousands of dollars in the project. The players and former players included, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Finley, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and no telling how many more have been suckered into this scam. Arka even talked ex-NBA player Finley into being the Executive Producer (smart move)of the project.
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Known investors so far: Leonard, Parker, Finley and Carmelo

Michelle Roberts the new Executive Director of the NBA Players Association and first woman to head the union even signed off on this scam–she must be Billy Hunter in disguise. Hunter ripped the players off for decades as their Executive Director before they got wise and kicked him to the curb in 2013. I remember Billy as a slick talking WR when he tried out for the Virginia Sailors’ football team a minor league team for the Redskins. He was cut and took a job as a U. S. Attorney in DC. NBA legends like Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier and Sonny Hill also signed off in support of this scam. I will bet you a dollar to a donut not one them invested a dollar.

EARL LLOYD’S BRAIN TRUST
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The Earl Lloyd “Brain Trust” counter clock wise, NBA legends, Sonny Hill (white cap), the late Earl Lloyd, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson

When the scammer Arka was still hustling NBA players I contacted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Michelle Roberts and San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich to alert them. Silver was the only one to acknowledge he had received my Priority Mailed letter. Please don’t allow any of the above names cry “I didn’t know!” In a conversation with my mentor Sonny Hill, he said, “The Family had been paid off” and I found nothing wrong with that. My question, “Was the family paid off or ripped off?” I asked Arka to delete my role in the documentary. I didn’t want to be a part of his hustle and scam.

I received a call from Ms. Bar just before the Christmas holidays saying Arka’s “Girl Friday” Jo Lee called asking for my number. When she called she wanted to apologize for the confusion relating to the bad checks and the Earl Lloyd project. Jo Lee claimed Arka owed her $55,000 and had disappeared without a trace. This charade was now reminding me of the Albert and Costello classic comedy sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’

ARKA
ARKA SENGUPTA THE BRAINS BEHIND THE SCAM ARTIST

HB, RED & EARL

NBA legend Red Auerbach, Washington Times sports columnist Dick Heller and HBell successfully campaigned for Earl Lloyd’s 2003 induction into the NBA Hall of Fame.

EARL LLOYD STORY HUSTLED: THE FIRST TO PLAY & THE LAST TO KNOW!

THIS IS THE LATEST PRESS RELEASE BY ARKA AKA ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN!

Constant Beta Motion Picture Company, Creative Control and Abramorama are collaborating for the North American distribution of The First to Do It, a documentary about Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in the NBA. Abramorama plans a wide theatrical release for the film in February.

Directed by Coodie and Chike, First to Do It was produced by Arka Sengupta and in association with the National Basketball Players Association, and was executive produced by Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, PJ Tucker, Harry I. Martin, Amit Sharma, Jason Cole, David T. Friendly, Jack Lechner, Michele Roberts and Chrysa Chin. Anthony, Leonard and Chris Paul, as well as Hall of Fame players Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing and Bob Lanier, appear in the film. Deon Cole provides the voice of Lloyd.

First to Do It recounts Lloyd’s journey, from growing up in deeply segregated Alexandria, Virginia, to witnessing the first black U.S. president. It also outlines how the modern game was formed, from the fall from dominance of the Harlem Globetrotters to the introduction of the 24-second clock. Through the voices of current NBA stars, it also examines the legacy of desegregation in America and the ongoing role basketball has played in America’s inner cities. Made in full cooperation with Lloyd’s family, First to Do It will make its world premiere this week at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

“The story of Earl Lloyd is an important part of the history of professional basketball in the U.S.,” said Sherrie Deans, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation. “His achievements and the times in which he lived provide important lessons for players and fans today. Our support of this film reflects our commitment to preserving the legacy of our players and our game, and the positive impacts that both have had on our society.”

The next time you see James Brown, Mike Wilbon, Sonny Hill, Courtland Milloy, Colbert King, Norman Chad, Terrence Moore, Bruce Johnson, Maureen Bunyan, Dave McKenna, Norman Chad, Kevin Blackistone, ask them if are they familiar with the Earl Lloyd story “The First to Play” coming to a theater near them in February?
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CBS/NFL Studio Host James Brown & his guys on set (INSIDE SPORTS?)

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Sam Jones–James Brown–HB–Earl Lloyd Bolling AFB Black History Month

Note Worthy: I would have never guessed the sports media personality with the biggest balls didn’t even wear pants–Jemele Hill!

WHAT MLK AND ALI MIGHT SAY TO THE BLACK ATHLETE?

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THE KING
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THE GREATEST

Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday is January 15th and Muhammad Ali’s Birthday is January 17th and the following month of February has been designated as Black History Month. When you finish reading this blog please explain to me what does the black athlete in the NFL, NBA, MLB and the few black players in the NHL have to celebrate relating to these two great men? They gave their lives to allow them to stand for something and not fall for just anything. These athletes should hang their heads and confess they dropped the ball.

Recently a CNN media personality wrote a blog titled “What MLK Might Say To Donald Trump? My question and response would be “What MLK Might Say To Black America, especially, the black athlete?”

In 1955 Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama refuse to go to the back of bus. She sparked the modern day Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King emerged as its leader. My first encounter with racial injustice in America was in 1960 when four black students who were enrolled at North Carolina A & T College in Greensboro, N. C. said, “Enough is enough!” On February 1, 1960 the four freshmen Ezell Blair, Jr. Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond walked downtown and “sat-in” at the whites only lunch counter at Woolworth’s Department store. They refuse to leave and that act of defiance revolutionized and inspired the Civil Rights movement.
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CIVIL RIGHTS WARRIORS: THE 4 FRESHMEN OF NORTH CAROLINA A & T

The movement would move thirty miles south to Winston-Salem, NC and on to the campus of Winston-Salem Teachers’ College. Against the strong wishes of our coach the legendary Clarence Bighouse Gaines to stay away from downtown. There were four athletes who ignored his request, they were Al Mayor (DC), Barney Hood (Chicago), Luther Wiley (Lynchburg, Va.) and Harold Bell (DC). We piggybacked off of the Greensboro Four. I had no clue I would ever see that kind of racism surface again. It has been almost 60 years and in our every day walk of life, especially in entertainment and pro sports, racism has come out of the closet with a vengence. The Oscar BLACKout in Hollywood and the NFL boycott led by Colin Kaeperneck were again wake-up calls to Black America. Entertainment and sports have been the standard bearers for equal opportunity. These two entities are now being use as the vehicles to remind us that we are still considered “Second Class” citizens. “The Call to Arms”(a summons to engage in active hostilities) was led by a President, a NFL owner and a Pizza Mogul.

My first wake-up call to racism was in a sports arena in my hometown came in a sports arena known as the Capital Centre located in Landover, Md. in 1974. The arena was the home of the NBA Washington Bullets. It was shortly after I became a pioneering sports talk show radio host on W-O-O-K AM in Washington, DC.

My white colleague Frank Pastor and I were standing at the top of the arena waiting for a break in the action on the arena floor when he bought to my attention how the press table was divided. The divide, white media sat on the left side of half-court line and black media sat on the right side of half-court line. I then suggested we switch seats at the table and we did, quietly integrating the Washington Bullets press table. Several games later I notice everyone at the table had been issued a media guild but me, I brought the oversight to the attention of the Director of Media Relations (Mark Splaver?). He walked away without a word only to return a few minutes later to toss the guild on the table in front of me and walk away. This time I got up and followed him, but Capital Centre VP Jerry Sachs sitting in a front row seat stepped in front of me. He said, “Harold I got this!” During half-time Mark returned to the table and apologized for his actions. He said, “I was having a bad day and I didn’t mean to take it out on you.”

Jerry Sachs and the late Hymie Perlo (Community Relations) were class-acts in every sense of the word. I remember when Bill Taaffe of the Washington Star wrote a lionizing column titled “Talk Show Host Harold Bell Blazes a Path Inside Sports.” Jerry wrote me a note of congratulations and had someone deliver it to me at the press table. When I was named “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian Magazine. Hymie playfully cussed me out and said, “You are getting a little too big for your britches.” This was the first time the honor had been bestowed on a sports media personality. There were some rough spots, but overall it was a great atmosphere for everyone, players, administrators, media and fans. It was like one big happy family. Bob Ferry (GM) and Bob Zurflu (Director of Sales) played in my celebrity tennis tournaments.
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INSIDE SPORTS TRAIL BLAZER
Even Jerry knew the format and topics of discussion I chose were unheard of. When the likes of Stephen A. Smith, James Brown, Michael Wilbon, Dave Aldridge,Glenn Harris, Bill Rhoden, Ken Beatrice and Kevin Blackistone arrived on the sports media scene, I had already open the door and set the table. They all followed my lead. In New York City Art Rust was a early black pioneer as a radio sports reporter, but he did not have his own talk show until the late 70s and 80s. The Inside Sports format changed the way we talk sports in America and the community involement of the pro athlete.

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WASHINGTONIAN OF THE YEAR
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Redskins’kicker Mark Mosley and “Washingtonian of the Year” QB Joe Theisman

I remember Hymie Perlo called me into his office one day to tell me that the Bullets were looking for a replacement for Chuck Taylor on the Bullets broadcast, he had recommended me as the replacement, but his friend and owner Abe Polin said, “Harold Bell is a little too controversial.” Enter, James Brown who sought and received the support of Mr. Polin’s adopted son, Wes Unseld, but all in all it was a show of respect I have never forgotten.
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owner Abe Polin thanks Wes Unseld for Bullets first World Championship (1974)

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Nike reps John Phillips and I host party for the World Champion Bulletts and Elvin Hayes

Racism in entertainment and sports has come full cycle. People Magazine in 1996 wrote a cover story with racial overtones titled “Hollywood Blackout.” The magazine said, the reality is that when black folks come knocking on Hollywood’s door , the response is too often, is still “whites only.” Quincy Jones a mover and shaker and entertainment icon, said, there is a lot of racism going on and I would be lying if I said it was not.”

Pro sports it is an open and shut book when it comes to the mantle of racism. The NFL has no black owners, the NBA has one, MLB has none and in the NHL its hard to find a black player so it makes no sense to look for a black owner. There are 122 pro sports teams and only one blackowner, 32 NFL-30 NBA-30 MLB-31 NHL teams, and the beat goes on. The plantation mentality continues in pro sports.

The number of blacks working in media pressrooms at deadline are far, few and in between. According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in sports in 2012 a study of minorities and women covering sports at America’s news outlets unfortunately it found very little change since it released its first study in 2006. As we head into 2018 the status quo remains the same.

According to the institute , 90 percent of the sports editors are white and an equal percentage are men, whites make up 86 percent of all assistant editors, and columnist. There are no major television or newspapers own by a black man or woman.

This blog brings me full cycle back to the Washington Bullets and their move from Capital Centre in 1997 to downtown Washington, DC. This era marked the period of gentrification in the Nation’s Capital. I didn’t follow the Bullets from Landover I was already home. Jerry Sacs retired in 1998 and Hymie died shortly there after. There are signs in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL media press tables are still not color blind—stay tune.

ALERT: THE EARL LLOYD STORY “THE FIRST TO PLAY” HUSTLE IS ON AND COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU IN FEBRUARY!

The Black athlete has been shortchanged and a victim of scan artist as early as the 1940s. Heavyweight boxing champion, Joe louis felt victim through no fault of his own, he was not a learned man. He was easy prey. Louis was one the first known pro athlete to be taken to the cleaners by his handlers. He earned close to $5 million dollars during his 12 year boxing career. His take home pay was $800,000 after his handlers had taken more than their fair share. Louis left boxing broke and was hired as a greeter at Caesar’s Palace Casino in Las Vegas. He died broke in 1981. Billions of dollars are lost each year by black athletes who allow sports agents and their attorneys to pay their bills and give them an allowance until their next paycheck!!

This pattern of thievery of the black athlete continues today. Former Washington Redskin running back Clinton Portis lost 43 million dollars to fraud to men he thought had his best interest at heart. He comtemplated murder by gun for revenge. Instead, he can be seen during the NFL season roaming the sidelines as a color analyst interviewing Redskin players during a break in the action. Clinton Portis should be invited to NFL camps to speak with the rookies about safe guarding their money as someone who has been there and not done that! Former University of Maryland running back and former player for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders Lamont Jordan squandered away a multi-million dollar contract. The bright lights and big city of Las Vegas introduced him to gambling, drugs, and the girls sin city. He is back home in Suitland, Maryland coaching kids and making cameo appearances on local sport shows. He later discovered the hard way, what goes on in Las Vegas does not stay in Las Vegas.

I was up close and personal when NBA Hall of Fame player Adrian Dantley’s agent David Falk use millions of his dollars for his own investments without his knowledge. Falk also represented Michael Jordan,John Lucas, John Thompson, Jr. and his sons and a flock of former GT players (a Who’s Who). It was rumored that Coach John Thompson, Jr. was taking kickbacks under the table. There was boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard, he allowed his agent the late Mike Trainor to see and open his mail with checks before he could see them. I had to pull him aside and tell him to make a change fast and in a hurry–I think I was too late.

The latest fraud is in the NBA “The First to Play” a story based on the life of NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd. The documentary makes its debut in theaters in February. I uncovered the fraud when the mastermind Arka Sengupta (Indian descendant) sent two black brothers to DC posing as Directors with names like Coodie and Chike. They interviewed Lloyd’s boyhood friends in Alexandria, Virginia where he was born and raised and later interviewed me in DC in May 2016. They disappeared without a trace after promising to return to the scene of the crime to show a preview of the documentary to the participants in Alexandria.

I smelled a rat when when I met the two Mikes, former Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise now a contributor for ESPN’s “Undisputed” and his stories I have often disputed and ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” Mike Wilbon. His Washington Post colleague John Feinstein said, “Mike Wilbon is the biggest ass kisser in sports media!” They were in the Wizard’s media pressroom making small talk when Wise said to me, “Man I saw you in the preview documentary of the Earl Lloyd story, The First to Play in New York City, you were good.” I was surprised to hear that the documentary was being previewed. I called Ms. Char Bar who had spend untold hours of researching the project for Arka to see if she was aware of the status of the documentary. She had no clue, it was then I discovered that she had not been paid in full for her work on the project. Arka had bounced several checks and she smelled hustle and fraud.

He had a “Middle Man” who happen to be a woman named Jo Lee transacting financial business on his behalf. Every time he bounced a check Jo Lee had a new lie to tell Ms. Bar. She felt betrayed and ask me to intervene for her to see what the problem was. The feeling was mutual among the other participants and me.

Ms. Bar gave me his contact information (cell number and email address)and the rat Arka ran into his hole. It was then I started to write my findings on my blogs on theoriginalinsidesports.com and blackmeninamerica.com and posted on my findings on my You Tube Channel. I shared that information with the so-called Major Media heavyweights such as, James Brown, Mike Wilbon, Dave Aldridge, Sonny Hill, Courtland Milloy, Colbert King, Norman Chad, Terrence Moore, Bruce Johnson, Maureen Bunyan, Dave McKenna, Norman Chad, Kevin Blackistone, etc. They all took the position of the Three Little Monkies, “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil and read no evil, with the exception of one. He made the call to Arka and the “Check was really in the mail” to Ms. Bar without a bounce.

Upon further investigation, I discovered NBA players had invested thousands of dollars in the project. The players and former players included, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and no telling how many more have been suckered into this scam. Arka even talked ex-NBA player Michael Finley into being the Executive Producer (smart move)of the project. Michelle Roberts the new Executive Director of the NBA Players Association and first woman to head the union even signed off on this scam–she must be Billy Hunter in disguise. Hunter ripped the players off for decades as their Executive Director before they got wise and kicked him to the curb in 2013. I remember Billy as a slick talking WR when he tried out for the Virginia Sailors’ football team a minor league team for the Redskins. He was cut and took a job as a U. S. Attorney in DC. NBA legends like Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing, Bob Lanier and Sonny Hill also signed off in support of this scam. I will bet you a dollar to a donut not one them invested a dollar.
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The Earl Lloyd “Brain Trust” counter clock wise, NBA legends, Sonny Hill (white cap), the late Earl Lloyd, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson

When the scammer Arka was still hustling NBA players I contacted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Michelle Roberts and San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich to alert them. Silver was the only one to acknowledge he had received my Priority Mailed letter. Please don’t allow any of the above names cry “I didn’t know!” In a conversation with my mentor Sonny Hill, he said, “The Family had been paid off” and I found nothing wrong with that. My question, “Was the family paid off or ripped off?” I asked Arka to delete my role in the documentary. I didn’t want to be a part of his hustle and scam.

I received a call from Ms. Bar just before the Christmas holidays saying Arka’s “Girl Friday” Jo Lee called asking for my number. When she called she wanted to apologize for the confusion relating to the bad checks and the Earl Lloyd project. Jo Lee claimed Arka owed her $55,000 and had disappeared without a trace. This charade was now reminding me of the Albert and Costello classic comedy sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’

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ARKA
ARKA SENGUPTA THE THIEF & SCAM ARTIST
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HB, RED & EARL
NBA legend Red Auerbach, Washington Times sports columnist Dick Heller and HBell successfully campaigned for Earl Lloyd’s induction into the NBA Hall of Fame.

EARL LLOYD STORY HUSTLED: THE FIRST TO PLAY & THE LAST TO KNOW!

THIS IS THE LATEST PRESS RELEASE BY ARKA AKA ROBIN HOOD & HIS MERRY MEN!

Constant Beta Motion Picture Company, Creative Control and Abramorama are collaborating for the North American distribution of The First to Do It, a documentary about Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in the NBA. Abramorama plans a wide theatrical release for the film in February.

Directed by Coodie and Chike, First to Do It was produced by Arka Sengupta and in association with the National Basketball Players Association, and was executive produced by Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, PJ Tucker, Harry I. Martin, Amit Sharma, Jason Cole, David T. Friendly, Jack Lechner, Michele Roberts and Chrysa Chin. Anthony, Leonard and Chris Paul, as well as Hall of Fame players Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing and Bob Lanier, appear in the film. Deon Cole provides the voice of Lloyd.

First to Do It recounts Lloyd’s journey, from growing up in deeply segregated Alexandria, Virginia, to witnessing the first black U.S. president. It also outlines how the modern game was formed, from the fall from dominance of the Harlem Globetrotters to the introduction of the 24-second clock. Through the voices of current NBA stars, it also examines the legacy of desegregation in America and the ongoing role basketball has played in America’s inner cities. Made in full cooperation with Lloyd’s family, First to Do It will make its world premiere this week at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

“The story of Earl Lloyd is an important part of the history of professional basketball in the U.S.,” said Sherrie Deans, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Foundation. “His achievements and the times in which he lived provide important lessons for players and fans today. Our support of this film reflects our commitment to preserving the legacy of our players and our game, and the positive impacts that both have had on our society.”

The next time you see James Brown, Mike Wilbon, Sonny Hill, Courtland Milloy, Colbert King, Norman Chad, Terrence Moore, Bruce Johnson, Maureen Bunyan, Dave McKenna, Norman Chad, Kevin Blackistone, ask them if are they familiar with the Earl Lloyd story “The First to Play” coming to a theater near them in February?

Note Worthy: I would have never guessed the sports media personality with the biggest balls didn’t even wear pants–Jemele Hill!

SHOWDOWN AND SHOWTIME IN THE NFL: BUSINESS AS USUAL!

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Who loves you baby: Love lost James Harrison & Ben Roethlisberger

When the NE Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers meet in the NFL Play-offs in January bragging rights and a trip to the Super Bowl will be at stake. The road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will definitely go through the NE Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Steeler LB James Harrison is the all-time sack leader for the franchise. He will be starting the New Year with the NE Patriots who in all likelihood will be blocking the path of the Steelers to Super Bowl XXXVIII.
Harrison got his engine started on Christmas eve at outside LB against the New York Jets in Foxboro. It was just one week ago he was kicked to the curb by the Steelers. He played 14 of his 15 NFL seasons there. In social media on Friday December 29th the 39 year old Harrison held his own press conference via Instagram and said, “I asked to be released, but was repeatedly told I would play. If anybody thought I signed a two-year deal with a team in the NFL at the age of 39 to sit on the bench and collect a check and a participation trophy, they were mistaken.” He appeared in just 5 games in the 2017 season with the Steelers.
Harrison is one of my favorite players in the NFL I like his competitive and winning spirit. He reminded me of myself as an athlete, in spirit only. I was nowhere near the athlete he is, but attitude, I always took the field of play thinking I was the best—it is there we are similar.
As the season was coming to a close I watched Harrison pout and squirm on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bench. I knew it was just a matter of time before he and Mike Tomlin would butt heads.
It is often said, “It is best to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Former Steeler teammates should have taken heed. Many of Harrison’s former teammates were not too happy with him signing with their rivals in Foxboro, but he cleared that up quick and in a hurry. He said, “The Steelers made a business decision and so did I!”
One teammate LB Bud Dupree was quoted saying, “Basically you spit on your teammates, because the whole season you’ve shown yoursrlf as someone different than what you were supposed to be, a so-called leader to us. The spit Dupree was referring to was the spit aimed at the team’s head coach, Mike Tomlin and the Rooney family. He also said, “It is no one’s fault on our team why he got cut—he cut himself. He came in, and he didn’t want to do anything to make us better.” The team’s center Maurkrice Pouncey said, ‘He erased his own legacy here.’ Harrison’s legacy will outlive Pouncey’s, unless he switches positions and becomes the sack leader before his career ends in Pittsburgh.
This is where Coach Mike Tomlin missed the boat as a coach and leader. He should have called a meeting of his team and staff and reminded them, “Please no bulletin board material that the NE Patriots or Harrison can use for their next meeting in Foxboro, let your actions speak for themselves.”
The quotes coming out of the Pittsburgh locker room should be the one used by someone who is deaf (sign language). There is an old saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie!” Pro sports are overrun with liars and hypocrites, James Harris didn’t live a lie, he wanted out and his actions spoke for themselves.

The James Harrison situation hits close to home for me. I clearly remember my senior year on the basketball team at Spingarn High School in Washington, DC. The summer of 1958 I chose to spend my time on the playgrounds developing my jump shot for the upcoming campaign. My previous role, I was used as the team’s defensive stopper against our opponent’s top scorer.
The role was not glamorous enough for me I needed and wanted to see my name in the local papers. My new role didn’t sit well with my Coach Dr. William Roundtree. I was benched for selfishness (bad attitude) and then cut to make room for a member of the junior varsity. Coach Roundtree, understood if I was allowed to sit on the bench, I would be nothing short of a cancer to my teammates. Coach Roundtree made a business decision.
I transferred to our rival Eastern High School, they were in first place in our division. The Eastern Coach Bobby Hart welcomed me with open arms. Eastern was loaded with talent and I would probably have to play a secondary role. I was ready for whatever role Mr. Hart wanted me to play, but Coach Roundtree and the Spingarn administrators bust my bubble when they protested directly to Eastern against my joining the team. Mr. Hart called me into his office and reluctantly gave me the bad news, I would not be allowed to suit up against my old school. It was a business decision and I was on the short-end of business.
In 1963 my first year out of college I played minor league football for the Charleston Rockets in Charleston, West Virginia and former NFL Coach Perry Moss. I was the last WR cut and the four that made the final roster were all white. This was my first encounter with “The Race Card.” It was another business decision. My ego was a little bruised, but I made my way back home to DC and caught on with the Virginia Sailors. Here I would also have a similar encounter. The Sailors were a farm team for the NFL Washington Redskins. Again, I thought I was “The straw that stirred the drink.” My attitude, I was always open and never saw a football I could not catch. This “see me” thought pattern kept me in hot water with my coach Billy Cox (former Redskin player).
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The team was very diverse the players were a good mix of both black and white. There were several guys who had played in the pros. You had to stay on your toes, because you never knew when the Redskins were going to send a player down to the club for seasoning to be called back at a later date or never. There was always the possibility that your roster spot was the one he was coming to take. The Redskins paid his salary, but our salaries were paid by the owners of the Sailors, one owner own Kay’s Jewelers.
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This was a group of talented players like I had never seen before. Defensive back Mike Summer played high school football at Wilson in NW DC and he had a tour with the NFL Baltimore Colts, running back Hezikia Brazton (6’3 and 240 lbs) played the entire exhibition season with Baltimore and was the last cut. NFL Hall of Fame and Baltimore Colt player Lenny Moore said, “Hezy should have made the team.” There was big defensive tackle John Cash he played with the Denver Broncos for five years. The late Earl Richards was my hero growing up in our housing project Parkside in NE DC. He was a player/coach, and played center on offense and LB on defense. He was unparalleled at both positions—he was way ahead of his time.
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My second year with the Sailors things got real shaky racially with the team. We had tryouts in SE DC in Anacostia Park and brothers came from all over the city to tryout. I think all those brothers in the park at one time sort of shook up our white coaches. The 68 riots were still fresh on their minds.
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H. Rap Brown was my co-worker (Neighborhood Worker) with the United Planning Organization. One day Petey Greene (co-worker) Rap and I were walking by Harrison Playground located at 13th & V Streets, NW. There were several kids throwing a football around. Rap went inside the gate and started throwing the ball. He had the kids running pass patterns. Petey and I looked on in amazement.

OPEN LETTER DR. HARRY EDWARDS: OUR TRUTH!

H RAP BROWN (SNNC), TOMMY SMITH, DR. HARRY EDWARDS (1968 OLYMPIC PROJECT) and STOKEY CARMICHAEL (PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENT)


I went inside and ran several patterns to see if he was for real and he was. He threw for accuracy and had some zip on the ball. Petey challenged him to go down to Anacostia and tryout for the Sailors. Rap came down the following evening with Petey acting as his agent for practice. He wowed bystanders and scared the hell out of our white owners and coaches with his pinpoint passing while wearing sun glasses and wearing a black tam over his bush. The problem, the team already had a black QB name John Thomas out of Southern University he was a magician with a football (Russell Wilson). Another business decision and Rap was cut the next day.
During those tryouts I was wary because I knew my job was on the line because of the behind the door politics that were taking place. The Sailors were a very unique minor league team, we were the crown jewel of the league. We flew commercial airlines to away games, our lodgings were in the Holiday Inn, the food was great, our checks never bounced and stories were written about us in the Washington Post and Star newspapers.
I lost my starting position later that season for a Redskin recruit and I was made a back-up. I was not a “Happy Camper.” Whenever we needed a crucial first down, Coach Cox would holler “Bell get in there!” I was still the man, but I didn’t understand and I should have. Coach and I had a run-in and I was cut—it was a business decision.
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Virginia Sailors League Championship Trophy Ladd Stadium in Mobile, Alabama

James Harrison owes the Pittsburgh Steelers absolutely nothing and he owes the NE Patriots everything as it relates to his ability to perform at the top of his game. He was all business on the field for the Patriots at his old outside linebacker position wearing his familiar number 92. He recorded two sacks and five tackles in a 26-6 victory in the regular season final home game. The Patriots clinched the top seed and home field advantage in the AFC. At the close of business on Christmas eve on a Sunday afternoon in Foxboro, it was evident that James Harrison had made a business decision that was best for his family, and his pro football career–next stop Super Bowl XXXVIII.

COMMUNITY HISTORY: DAVE BING CARED LONG BEFORE THE NBA!

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Dave Bing of the Washington Bullets goes one on one with former Washington Bullet Earl Monroe. John Wall of the Washington Wizards makes his move.

Dave Bing is a native Washingtonian and an NBA Hall of Fame player. He was named one of the original 50 greatest players of All-Time and he cared long before the NBA and John Wall. Bing was a student/athlete and graduate of Spingarn High School.

Black History is disappearing right before our eyes with the closing of Armstrong and Spingarn high schools. This is a reminder that the DC public school system is the only public school system in the country that can claim they have two NBA Hall of Fame players and two NFL Hall Fame players all from the same city and the same system. Spingarn’s Elgin Baylor (1954) and Dave Bing (1961) and Armstrong’s Len Ford (1946) and Willie Wood (1955) history unmatched.

Sonny Hill a former NBA analyst and Philadelphia playground legend recently said, “DC has produce more great basketball players per capital than any other city in the country.”

You would think with Bing being a native Washingtonian that local media would be aware of his community history. This is what I would call more “Fake News” in local media. They want to bring you the news, but they don’t have a clue so they turn to “Fake News” or no news.

Dave Bing’s success in the NBA and in the community leads back to Kids In Trouble, thousands of kids in the DMV have benefited from the program without loans or grants. Bing said after his NBA rookie year, “Harold you help prepare me for the wars of the NBA!” I also think I help prepare him for the most important game being played in the world today–the Game Called Life. He was just in town several months ago. His mother Mrs. Jaunita Bing died in his adopted hometown of Detroit and he brought her back home for burial.

His childhood friend Roland ‘Fatty’ Taylor died in Denver on December 7, 2017. He was in Denver to lend “A Helping Hand” for the family. Dave orchestrated a second home going celebration for Fatty on Friday December 21, 2017 here in his hometown of DC in a Maryland suburb of Hyattsville. Fatty’s final resting place will be on the grounds of Ft. Lincoln Cemetery on the Maryland—DC line.

Fatty’s home going service brought family and friends together from his old neighborhoods of Foggy Bottom (Georgetown) and his old NE playgrounds of Watts Branch and Kelly Miller. Despite a lack of coverage by local news media, print, radio and television as it relates to notifying family and friends of his death, The first Baptist Church of Highland Park in Hyattsville was still packed and near capacity. Fatty’s home going was “First Class” in every sense of the word. There were several NBA Hall of Fame personalities in attendance, Dave Bing, Sonny Hill, John Thompson and former player Bob Dandridge.
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One major media friend emailed me and said “Thanks for paying tribute to Fatty.” Another writer, Dave McKenna said, “I cannot believe no one wrote anything on Fatty Taylor. His nickname alone deserves a column. I found out too late.”

One friend who covers the NFL and writes for one of the major newspapers said, “Man I have known you for over two decades and I have watched your work in sports media and in the community–you have not changed. Too many of us take things personal, you cannot be in this business and have a thin skin with you around.”

Dave Bing’s generosity giving back is nothing new, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary on his return to Spingarn high school as “The NBA Rookie of the Year” to quell a gun disturbance, a Spingarn student was shot in front of the school after a Friday evening game between Spingarn and rival McKinley Tech.

In 1967 I was working with the Youth Gang Task Force (Roving Leader) for the DC Department of Parks & Recreation. My boss the late Stanley Anderson summoned me to his office and said, “Harold, that is your turf and school check it out”!

Back in the day I was gun-ho and thought I was the straw that stirred the drink.
When I arrived on the scene there were talks of revenge. The school was located on what was once known as “Education Hill” on 24th and Benning Road in NE DC. It was the most unique and a one of a kind school setting in America. ‘The Hill’ is also disappearing right before our eyes—thanks to “Gentrification”.

I tried talking to several of the students, especially the ones with the biggest mouths, but the knuckle heads were not paying me any attention. I decided to take a break and go across the street from the school and get me a hotdog at a small restaurant and student hangout called “Sporty’s”.

When finally got my hotdog I went outside and sat on someone’s steps next to the restaurant. While sitting there some students walked by talking about the NBA All-Star game being played in Baltimore. A light bulb went off in my head and there was Dave Bing’s name in bright lights. Dave was a rookie and having a great year and was voted to the All-Star team.

I decided to drive to Baltimore the next morning (Saturday) to see if I could locate Dave at the arena and God was on my side–he was dressed as a security guard. He directed me to the player’s entrance and about 30 minutes later Dave walks up with teammate Bob Lanier. He was surprised to see me and blurted out “Harold Bell what in the hell are you doing over here?” We shook hands and he introduced me to Bob. He went inside and left me and Dave to talk. I expressed my concerns about the shooting and asked if he could come to Spingarn on Monday morning to talk with the students. He said without hesitation, “No problem lets do it.” I kept my fingers crossed that there would be no retaliation taking place over the weekend.

Monday morning Dave arrives at the school around 10 am and walks into the Spingarn auditorium, there was standing room only, he was given a standing ovation. The reason for the standing ovation, they had just seen him play in the NBA All-Star Game on national television on that Sunday. His words of wisdom brought peace back to the school community.

Dave Bing’s roots have always been firmly planted in the DC community. He was living in Detroit, but his heart was in DC. Our partnership in reaching back together is legendary (as is our disagreements, it was never personal until the cheerleaders who didn’t have a clue added their two-cents to everybody but me).

The community endeavors were many, we use Kids In Trouble, Inc as our platform. There were trips to his basketball camp in the Poconos Mountains, guest visits to the KIT Hillcrest Saturday Program to honor youth basketball, he co-hosted with me a first ever “Thank You” tribute to our Spingarn teachers and administrators who went where there was no path and left a trail for all of us. There were guest appearances on my radio sports talk show “Inside Sports” and a surprise appearance at my 40th wedding anniversary tribute. He is a “Man for All Seasons.”

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When Rev. William Roundtree our Spingarn basketball coach retired from the DC school system he decided to open his own SE Community Center on Good Hope Road in the shadows of Anacostia High School. I volunteered to lend a helping hand, but the struggle to help others and his health gave out. Coach Roundtree died and it was Dave who paid for his home going services.

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Top: Coach Roundtree and Redskin WR Roy Jefferson host toy party for kids
Bottom: Coach and former Spingarn player Byron Kirkley are Santa’s helpers.

When the conversation leads to how much the NBA Cares it should start with Dave Bing. Today’s players lag far behind when it comes to the Man that started it all.

In 1968 the first NFL player who cared was Green Bay Packer defensive back and DC native Willie Wood. Willie and I were working as Roving Leaders for the DC Department of Recreation & Parks. When the riots hit DC on April 4th we were standing on the corner of 9th & U Streets, NW when someone drove by in a car and yelled “Hey Harold they just shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee.” All hell broke loose shortly thereafter. Willie and I would found ourselves on the U street corridor walking arm and arm with the first black modern day U. S. Marshall in-charge, Luke C. Moore. Willie would play his way into the NFL Hall of Fame, Luke C. Moore would later become a sitting judge in the DC Superior Court and I would become a trail blazing pioneer in the community and the first black radio sports talk show host.

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The Washington Redskins would follow Dave and Willie into the community, WR Roy Jefferson, RB Larry Brown, LB Harold McLinton, DB Ted Vactor, LB Dave Robinson and QB Doug Williams would eventually join the Kids In Trouble community reach-back team. Santa’s helpers in the media were led by Petey Greene, actor Robert Hooks, Bill Raspberry and Dave Dupree (Washington Post), Jim Vance, Fred Thomas (WRC-TV 4), Paul Berry and Maureen Bunyan (WJLA TV 7).

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1968 Kids In Trouble first ever toy party. My Virginia Sailor teammate George Kelly is Santa. Willie Wood mailed a box of toys from Green Bay for the party.
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Santa Helpers Judge Luke Moore, Redskins’ LB Harold McLinton, LB Dave Robinson and WR Roy Jefferson
The Washington Redskins would follow Dave and Willie into the community, WR Roy Jefferson, RB Larry Brown, LB Harold McLinton, DB Ted Vactor, LB Dave Robinson and QB Doug Williams would eventually join the Kids In Trouble community reach-back team. Santa’s helpers in the media were led by Petey Greene, actor Robert Hooks, Bill Raspberry and Dave Dupree (Washington Post), Jim Vance, Fred Thomas (WRC-TV 4), Paul Berry and Maureen Bunyan (WJLA TV 7).
Pro athletes like Bing, Muhammad Ali, Roy Jefferson, Red Auerbach, Freddy Scott, Lenny Moore, Johnny Sample, Sonny Hill and the late Harold McLinton were givers long before the NBA and NFL decided that they cared.

San Antonio Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich when asked why charitable endeavors were important to him. His response was classic, “Because we are as rich as hell, and we don’t need it all and other people need it. You are an ass if you don’t give”—according to Pop, John Wall miss the cut!

https://my.xfinity.com/video/basketball-stars-give-back-this-christmas-with-nba-cares-program/1123678275878/Comcast/TopVideos?cid=sf_vidtray_NBA&tab=Must%20Watch
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Dave returns to the ghetto to pass on words of wisdom while honoring Kids In Trouble youth basketball team (April 1968), several weeks after the DC riots.
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Dave honors KIT MVP Hiawatha Irving as GT Coach John Thompson aka “Big Bad John” looks on (front and center of photo)

FATTY TAYLOR A DC PLAYGROUND ODESSEY: AN EPIC JOURNEY!

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Roland “Fatty” Taylor was a native Washingtonian. He grew up in NE DC and was a product of the DC Public School system. Fatty transferred from Spingarn High School and graduated from Fairmont Heights High School in Prince Georges County, Maryland. He died in Denver, Colorado on Thursday December 7, 2017, he was 71.

On Thursday December 21, 2017 Roland Fatty Taylor will return to his roots of Washington, DC for a home going celebration of his life with family and friends.

When I first met Fatty on the Kelly Miller playground in the late 50s he was just a little chubby guy hanging out with two skinny little guys, Dave Bing, and Donald Hicks. They would usually arrive early and shoot around until the bigger and older guys got ready to play. I would walk from my NE Parkside housing project a couple miles away on the weekends to Kelly Miller. This was where the best competition could be found. Fatty and his crew would become regulars among the spectators and often witness playground basketball played at its highest level. Kelly Miller was not a basketball court for the weak of heart or for cry babies.

Even though our athletic foundations were laid on NE playgrounds and at Spingarn, Fatty and I both graduated from Fairmont Heights. After graduation in 1959 I headed south to Winston-Salem State University to chase my dreams of playing in the NFL. During the summer breaks I would return home and find the chubby and skinny little guys had grown up and were now playing on the same courts with me (Kelly Miller, and Brown). During the Christmas break Spingarn would hold a annual varsity verse alumni basketball game and it was there I would encounter Hicks and Bing, but no Fatty Taylor. I later learn he had followed my lead and enrolled at Fairmont Heights. He would later tell me I had recommended the school, but I didn’t remember the conversation. I did remember telling him the basketball coach Kenny Freeman was a great coach who refused to let me play. My Spingarn football coach Dave Brown told Coach Freeman I was there to graduate and I was to play one sport only. I guess he took that conversation as a recommendation.

Fatty, Bing, Donald and I became good friends (I was more like a Big Brother). Sometimes I would arrive late and the games had already started. There was always a back-up for “Next” but if one or the other was on the winning team they would let me take their place in the second game and I would do the same for them. Fatty was a real aggressive player even back then. Donald held his own as a ball handler, but Dave was the best all around player of the three, but he was a “Cry baby.” He didn’t like contact. When we were on opposite teams, I played him one on one all over the court. I liked the challenge and he didn’t. I remember the summer at Kelly Miller like it was yesterday when he said, “Enough was enough” without opening his mouth. As usual I decided I was going to guard him. On that particular day I discovered he was much stronger then I remembered. He was only a sophomore at Syracuse, but he took me to school anyway. He no longer allowed me to push him around. He ran by me so fast and jumped so high I thought he was on a pogo stick. The message was loud and clear, ‘There was a new sheriff in town and his name was Dave Bing.’ The next summer I switched to tennis.

This encounter with Dave takes me back to a similar experience with Earl Monroe. He was making a visit to Winston-Salem to check out the school and he took a break to play in a pick-up game on a local playground one block from campus. I was sitting out in front of the dining hall after dinner shooting the breeze when my homeboy Richard “Jelly” Hansberry excitingly brought the news of this little black skinny guy was shooting the lights out at the playground. Barney Hood my roommate was a great jump shooter from Chicago he was sitting with me and decided we needed to go and check this basketball phenom out.

When we arrived at the court there were several ooh’s and aah’s taking place by the spectators and then we saw the skinny little black guy ‘Jelly’ was talking about. We had to wait our turn, we were second in line for the “Next” three. Luther Wiley was another roommate and basketball guard from Lynchburg, Virginia was our third player. Watching Earl trick and destroy the opposition made me very apprehensive about the task ahead. He did not let us down he tricked and destroyed us also. The best way I described the experience to Bighouse Gaines when he stopped by our dorm room later that night. I said, “It was like I had just come out of a Maytag washing machine that had been on spin dry.
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Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Bighouse Gaines attend a KIT Celebrity Fashion show

In 1966 Dave was selected in the 2nd round of the NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 20 points a game. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year. I remember sitting in Frank’s Restaurant a popular in-crowd eatery on 8th U streets, NW, I was having lunch that summer day when Dave and my childhood friend Arnold George walked into the restaurant. We waved to each other and the two came over to my table. I got up to greet them. I shook hands with Arnold first and then Dave. We exchanged small talk and I told Dave how proud I was of him and jokingly said, “I taught you everything you know!” His response surprised me when he said, ‘Harold you help prepare me for the wars of the NBA’ and we both broke out laughing. He made a lot of player-haters mad because I would use hisown words to describe our relationship over the airwaves and in print media. It was not my fault I was the only one of his mentors that had a sports talk radio show and had a non-profit organization that he supported–unbelievable that kind of envy and jealousy still exist in our community today.
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Dave Bing returns to the ghetto to say “Job well done” Harold Bell

When Fatty graduated from Fairmont Heights I remember him asking me about Winston-Salem State and Bighouse Gaines and what was it like to play for him? I told him “Bighouse would kick your ass (not really)if you stepped out of line, but he saved my life when he gave me a chance to get a college education”. I called Coach Gaines and recommended Fatty sight unseen. Bighouse had former athletes like me all over the east coast as recruiters. He took my word and Fatty was all set to go to Winston-Salem, but he disappeared without a trace. I found out later through the grapevine, he had decided to attend Dodge City Community College in Kansas and the rest is basketball history.
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HBell and Bighouse Gaines during his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Fatty and I had a lot in common, we were similar in size when it came to sports and neither one of us like to lose. I never saw a shot I could not make and a football I could not catch and Fatty never saw a shooter he thought he could not stop. Plus, he had street sense and common sense.

He and Bing hung out with my younger brother Earl (known as The Bull) and they became a group of petty thieves. They could be found hanging out on weekends on the busy NE H Street corridor robbing businesses’ who left their cash registers unguarded. Thanks to his Coach William Roundtree, Bing avoided jail time for one of his petty crimes.
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Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell from crook to Military MP to DC cop

I was a hard nose basketball defender at Spingarn under the tutelage of Coach Roundtree. He use my athleticism, competitiveness and installed something called a box-in-one defense. It was designed for me to guard the opposing team’s top scorer while everyone else played zone. It was great until I discovered my name was never mention in the newspapers after holding the team’s top scorer below his average. My senior year I spend the summer on the playgrounds developing a jump-shot and all held broke loose the following school year. My new role as a scorer didn’t sit too well with my coach or my teammates. I was kicked off the team for selfish behavior. I immediatrly transferred to Eastern High School where I was going to hell in a hurry. Coach Brown stepped in and recommended me to the coaching staff at Fairmont Heights, saving me from the mean streets of DC.

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My Spingarn teammate Spotswood Bolling was the lead petitioner for the DC public school system in the historical 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs Board of Education.

Years later I discovered Fatty had tried out for the Spingarn basketball team, but for some reason he and Coach Roundtree didn’t see eye to eye and he followed my lead and transferred to Fairmont Heights. The rest is basketball history.

Against all odds despite all the naysayers and player haters, he went the distance, all the way from Dodge City Community College, to LaSalle University, to the Sonny Hill Basketball League, and to the Philadelphia 76ers. All of these institutions led him to a stella eight-year pro career in the ABA/NBA.

Fatty joined the American Basketball Association in 1969. After one year playing for the Washington Capitals, he moved on to the Virginia Squires, with whom he spent the prime of his career, scoring 3,495 points, handing out 1,737 assists, and grabbing 1,715 rebounds in five seasons.

He became known as one of the few outstanding defensive players in a league known primarily as a “run-and-gun” operation. On the Squires Fatty played with former NBA stars Adrian Smith, ‘Jumbo’ Jim Eakins and Julius ‘Doctor J’ Erving. For one-and-a-half seasons he was a teammate of George Gervin. He has been credited with coining Gervin’s nickname “The Iceman” (he first called Gervin Iceberg Slim, but Iceberg Slim got lost somewhere in the shuffle and ‘The Iceman’ stuck. George flew in from San Antonio, Texas and was at Fatty’s bedside the night before he passed away. I was not surprised, because that is what friends are for and George Gervin has always been a class act.

Fatty retired in 1977 with combined ABA/NBA totals of 5,098 points, 2,563 assists, and 2,524 rebounds. He was named to the ABA’s All-Defensive first team in 1973 and in 1974. Fatty, never developed a decent jump shot, but the jump shooters respected and feared his “In Your Jockey Strap” mentality defensive skills.. He was known as a defensive stalwart.

In a recent conversation I had with our Philly mentor playground and NBA legend Sonny Hill, he said, “Fatty Taylor is on my all-time list as a great player, but he was a better human being. Philadelphia will be heart broken when they hear the news of his death, because this city loves him like he was one of their very own.”
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Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode tours city playgrounds with Sonny Hill and HBell

He never forgot who he was and where he came from. He loved his hometown of Washington, DC and his homies. During his pro career he often reached out to me and would call and say, “Harold who you got on Inside Sports tonight—you want Dr. J? We are going to be hanging out together at a concert. Give me a time to call and I will make it happen.” He kept his word, as he did with ‘The Ice Man’ George Gervin, David Thompson and George McGinnis all NBA Hall of Fame players and all made guest appearences on Inside Sports—thanks to Fatty Taylor.
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NBA Hall of Famer Big George McGinnis (Philadelphia 76ers)

Fatty was like a little brother to me and sometimes he would make a mistake like most human beings, because we are all flawed. What I liked about him he never made excuses and would always say, “Harold I have to do better.” Sometimes he did and some times he didn’t, but I still loved him.

He sometimes traveled in the “Fast Lane” but I always told him, “If you got a problem you can always call and we can talk.” He and Dave Bing were really close and I knew he had mixed emotions, because I had to remind Dave who he was and where he came from on several ocassions. It was tuff love with me in every sense of word when it came to Dave. He was the first pro athlete to join my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble (1965). He led the way when it came to pro athletes reaching back into the community to enhance the growth and development of inner-city children. He cared long before the NBA. Dave’s problem, he was surrounded by too many homeboy cheerleaders.
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Kids In Trouble visit the Dave Bing Basketball camp in the Poconos Mountains

Fatty, finally called me several years ago while he was home to check on some family members . I picked him up and we rode around DC for about 30 minutes and then stopped at Denny’s Restaurant on Benning Road in our old neighborhood to get something to eat. Benning Road and East Capitol Streets brought back memories of The Hood (the neighborhood), especially, when he saw the landmark Shrimp Boat still standing tall. He said, “Seeing the Shrimp Boat is like seeing the Washington Monument flying into National Airport, I know I am home.”

We talked about life and how far we both had come against all odds. He then broke the news that I had never expected to hear from a man, “I had breast cancer!” I sit there in silence for what seem like two or three minutes and he finally said ‘I am okay.’

He wanted to talk about his work with at-risk kids in the Colorado high school system. It was there he realized the need to form his own program, which resulted in the development of his non-profit organization “Taylor Made Playaz.” I jokingly said, “Sounds like Kids In Trouble to me.” He looked up and said, ‘Man, we have always followed your lead since we were little guys on the playground.’

He was especially proud of having to work with his son Kobe. Fatty had failed as an entrepreneur with several businesses that included restaurants and night clubs in Denver and one here in Washington, DC. He had finally found his calling, “Kids In Trouble.”

And then there was the work he was doing with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer. It started out being an uphill battle because men are only one/percent of the victims. After being cancer-free for several years, Fatty’s fight began all over again in 2009. He said, “I began having breathing problems following a busy summer traveling with my AAU basketball team. Doctors found blood clots in my lungs and I was diagnosed with cancer in my left breast. Man, I was all shook-up and I could not believe this was happening to me all over again. It was a wake-up call as far as a person thinking that they’re healthy and then one day they tell you its cancer again.”

Just as he had passed along his basketball knowledge to young players, he now wanted to help educate fellow breast-cancer patients, particularly men who might have felt confused and isolated. He wanted them to know they were not alone. Fatty was thankful that the cancer in his left breast was not as severe as it was in his right breast in 2000. I left Denny’s Restaurant that day thinking “Fatty is going to beat this cancer,” but his one on one up-close and personal fight with this deadly desease there would be no OT.

The Lord reached down on Thursday December 7, 2017 and said, “Come home my son and run the point guard and play defense for my team of All-Star coaches, Red Auerbach, Bighouse Gaines, Johnny McLendon, Dave Brown, William Roundtree, and players, Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins, Bad News Barnes, Earl Lloyd and Sid Catlett. Here you will never have to worry about fouling out.” As always Fatty Taylor went down fighting.
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TRAIL BLAZERS: HBell–Red Auerbach and Earl Lloyd

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L-R Fatty, HBell, Larry Brown and Petey Greene–Community Reach Back!

Note Worthy: Sonny Hill was recently honored by the NBA Philadelphia 76ers for his life long contributions to the community and the NBA. There will be a Community Service Award presented every year in his name to a worthy individual.
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Sonny Hill participates in Kids In Trouble DC Police Community Relations Forum.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE 365 DAYS OF THE YEAR!

I was in attendance for the annual Inter-High DCIAA Turkey Bowl Championship game on Thanksgiving day at Eastern HS. The participating teams via for the championship were Ballou and Woodson on a beautiful bright sun shiny day.  I don’t remember the last time I attended a HS Championship game, but this was a special day. They DCIAA were honoring inter-high DCIAA FOOTBALL LEGENDS.  I was one of the so-called football legends being honored and this is where it got kind of confusing. One of my favorite sayings “Some of us are legends in our own time and others are legends in their own minds” and on this day the saying was in full evidence. There were about 50+ athletes under the VIP tent disguised as “Football Greats”. There were only a handfull of legends in attendance led by Phelps HS great and all-around athlete Rock Greene. The others in attendance were “The Usual Suspects” of wanna-bees, but a shoutout still goes out to Ms. Lucille Hester for the thought.  My contributions as a student/athlete (1958 First Team All-High), coach, community advocate, innovator and pioneer in the DC public school system made me worthy of an invitation.  In 1967 as a Roving Leader I help prevent further tragedy after a Spingarn student was shot outside the school immediately after a basketball game between Spingarn and McKinley Tech. There was talk of revenge when I arrived on the scene.  My next move was to travel to Baltimore where the NBA All-Star Game was being played.  I went there to ask NBA rookie and Spingarn alumnus Dave Bing to join me at the school to calm things down.  Monday morning Bing walked into a full student-body assembly to a standing ovation.  His words of wisdom brought peace back to the school community.   
BING&amp;BELL

On April 4,1968 I was standing on a street corner at 9th & U NW with my co-worker and NFL Hall of Fame player Willie Wood (DC Public School football great) when  all hell broke loose with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  When the smoke and tear gas had cleared after the riot my wife Hattie and I found our non-profit organization Kids In Trouble.  We established the longest on-going community Christmas toy party for DC elementary school children in DC.  December 2017 will mark the 49th anniversary of the toy party.  1968 I was the WR coach for Cardozo HS football champions and the WR coach for East/West HS All-Star game.  In 1969 I established the first ever city-wide elementary school tag football league.  Harrison Elementary School located at 13th V Street, NW were the first city wide champions (Harrison Hustlers) coached by yours truly.  In 1970 I became the first Black/Afro-American to host and producer his own radio sports talk show “Inside Sports” in DC @ W-O-O-K Radio.  In 1971 I encouraged Washington Redskins players WR Roy Jefferson, RB Larry Brown, LB Harold McLinton and DB Ted Vactor to join the KIT team to help enhance the growth of inner-city children.  Kids In Trouble was the host of a celebrity tribute to former DC Public High School players, QB Cornelius Green, RB Woodrow Roach and RB Lenny Willis of Ohio State in 1973.  Legendary Coach Woody Hayes and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin were in attendance.  In 1975 I was the first Black/Afro-American to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4.  My special guest was Muhammad Ali.  Mayor Marion Barry established a city-wide community softball league with cops and gang members playing side by side hoping to bring peace between the two in 1978.  My cop/gang team from Harrison playground were crowned the champions.  In 1980 I was named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine making me the first sportscaster ever honored.  When all is said and done all the glory goes to God—Merry Christmas!

LOOKING BACK EARL K. BELL: A VETERAN’S DAY PROFILE IN COURAGE!

EARL K BELL RACISM0005

ARMY SERGEANT LED THE EXPLOSIVE RACIAL CONFRONTATIONS IN GERMANY

By Bernard Garnett August 28, 1969 (JET Magazine)

“Next year. when I complete my present hitch, I’m not going to re-enlist.  I’m giving up the Army because there’s too much racism.”

This sentiment–common among young black servicemen–was voiced in Washington, DC, by Earl K. Bell a disgruntled 28 year old Army staff sergeant who led a nearly explosive civil rights protest in Nuremberg, West Germany, last spring.  The tall, robust, 250-pound veteran of eight years was denouncing the military, fully aware that such an action could lead to severe disciplinary action.

That same week, S/Sgt. Bell’s 30-year-old brother, Harold K. Bell, was at the White House exchanging pleasantries with President Richard M. Nixon and Secretary of State William P. Rogers, for whom he caddied as a youngster at suburban Washington’s Burning Tree Golf Course (Jet Magazine July 31).  The re-union led to a Presidential appointment.

With their seemingly contrasting outlooks, Harold and Earl shared the same poverty-ridden backgrounds.  The four Bell brothers (including Alfred, now 31, a tire salesman, and William, 20, a Marine Corps Private/First-class) grew up without a father in a DC low-income housing project.  Still youngters when their mother was on welfare, they grew up on the black ghetto’s proverbial “dead-end street”.

A turn of fate changed Harold’s life in the mid-1950s, after embarking on a 20-mile journey to Burning Tree, seeking part-time employment “to get some food money.”With other inner-city black men, he served as a caddy for Washington VIPs, but his favorite was then Vice-President Nixon, who frequented the links with Attorney General William Rogers.  “Mr. Nixon took a personal interest in me,” the muscular 6-foot-2, 185-pounder recalls.  ‘I would ride back with them to the MD/DC line, this allowed me to catch my bus back to my NE housing project.  During the ride the Vice-President and I to my surprise would talk sports, but he put heavy importance on my education.’      

A high school football, baseball and basketball star, Harold Bell would win an athletic scholarship to Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.  He left college in 1963 to chase his dreams to play in the NFL, but he came up short.  He returned home to take a position with the United Planning Organization (a community self-help orgaization) as a Neighborhood worker.

Meanwhile, Earl Bell–like many blacks sought to escape the lack of opportunities in civilian life through a military career.  He enlisted in 1961, served two tours of duty in Germany.  He was the Army’s heavyweight boxing champion in 1963.  Earl  was also a table tennis champion and first string fullback on the Army Football team.  He served as platoon sergeant in Nurenberg from 1966 until his overseas tour ended last month.

It was not long before he detected racial bias in promotions and in disciplinary actions as it related to black troops.  He told Jet, “Blacks who dared to speak out were labeled Troublemakers, and sympathetic whites were branded nigger lovers, and were disciplined as badly as blacks if they violated any rules”.  Worse still, Bell said, ‘Black officers, apparently protecting their positions, did little to correct inequities’. 

Three years ago, Bell tried unsuccessfully to have segregated off-base housing in Nurenberg declared off-limits, but he was rebuffed.  He complained to Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Mich.)  and the Pentagon.  Finally, he obtained adequate housing for his family, but the struggle for equality never ended.

On May 30, S/Sgt. Bell’s relentless drive reached a climaxat at a segregated discotheque (The Cage) in downtown Nurenberg.  Black servicemen had been refused admission previously, he led 35 militant troops in a march that almost ended in bloodshed, particularly when U. S. Army Military Police (mostly white) were rushed to the scene.  Bell on leave in Washington before beginning a one-year stint as a supply instructor at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia said, “I was the only peaceful man in downtown Nurenberg, everyone else wanted to fight.  I kept saying, ‘Be cool’ on that night the black soilders were not worried about going to jail or about their military records.  They also cared less about getting into the discotheque, all they wanted to do was straighten the white man out.”

S/Sgt. Bell’s perfect service record was marred a month later while umpiring a softball game.  He drew a $30 fine for identifying himself to a white lieutenant as “Mr. Bell.”  Insisting that normal military courtesy regulations are waived during athletic competitions.   Bell claimed the lientenant– a grandstand spectator who joined an argument between the umpire and two players on the field–was out of order and the citation was no more than his white superiors seizing a opportunity to retaliate for the night club incident. ‘If my tour of duty had not been over, he said, I would have stayed and fought the case’. 

Open and vocal allegations of racism no longer are unusual among black servicemen.  Rep. Diggs, who said he had received thousands of complaints from all branches of service during his 14 years on Capitol Hill.  He recently disclosed plans to investigate the July 20th Camp Lejeune, NC racial incident that resulted in the death of one white Marine and injury to 14 others (Jet August 14).  The acting Defense Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, L. Howard Bennett, said his office has probed numerous alligations of racism, though the policy of not identifying troops by race has hampered investigations.

Meanwhile, black militancy increases.  A number of blacks have risked punitive action rather than exert force against blacks in ghetto riots, and others are punished for refusing to fight in Viet Nam. Black troops from Ft. Belvoir–in civilian clothing–were among the anti-war demostrators who marred President Nixon’s inauguration last January.  Last year, the Navy created a special staff to handle race relations, and Marine top brass in Washington have been sent directives to all base commanding officers supporting young black recruits’ rights to wear neatly groomed afro hair styles. Plus, reliable reports from the Pentagon indicate that black re-enlistments have dwindled considerably in the last few years.

S/Sgt. Bell notes from his Army experiences, the young black man of today grew up listening to Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, and he is not going to accept the old white racist attitude.  He is willing to suffer the consequences by telling them to go to hell.  Bell adds, that with doors opening in civilian life , the young black man is finding it less advantageous to join a racist Army.

Summary: 

The late Sgt. Earl K. Bell became a Military Policeman (MP) and returned home to become a DC cop to help make his community a safer place.  He rose to the rank of Sergeant only to face the same racism he thought he had left behind in Germany.  My older brother Alfred joined the U. S. Marshall service and they both encountered “The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence” use to stunt their growth in law-enforcement.  Today “The Establishment” is using that same military and flag as a camouflage to stunt the growth of black athletes in the NFL.  Its rather ironic in 1969 in the above story my brother Earl recognized, “Blacks who dared to speak out were labeled Troublemakers, and sympathetic whites were branded nigger lovers, and were disciplined as badly as blacks if they violated any rules.  Worse still, Black officers, apparently protecting their positions, did little to correct inequities”  In 2017 forty-eight years later the exact same thing can be said of today’s superstar athletes and media personalities across the board.  Today there is a very thin line between ‘COURAGE and a Coward’!

 

“War and racism are not the answers for only love can conquer hate.” Marvin Gaye ‘What’s Going On’