2020 MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE TO SGT. EARL K. BELL

THIS 2020 MEMORIAL DAY IS IN MEMORY OF MY VIET NAM VET BROTHER SGT. EARL ‘BULL’ BELL. A MAN’S MAN 24/7.             

He was a Military Cop (MP) in Mannheim, Germany, starting fullback on the base football team, Heavyweight Boxing Champion, table Tennis Champion and a softball umpire. He led black military soldiers on downtown nightclubs that had policies of “No Blacks allowed”! He confronted U. S. Army MPs who tried to intervene. His actions did not sit well with U. S. Army brass. He was all set to sign for another tour, but decided to separate from a racist Army and return home to DC.

Bull Bell the Champion

Some how Jet Magazine got hold of our stories, Earl confronting racism in Germany and his big brother making out with a racist President at the White House. The beat went on. Earl applied for the DC Police Department and discovered racism was just not confined to Germany. He passed the physical and scored high on the written exam, but he received a letter from black Assistant Chief Maurice Turner a home town boy, the letter said, he was ineligible because of his previous juvenile record.

 

The Bells, Bull, Mommy B, HB and older brother Bobby (not seen my younger brother William aka, Billy, Puddin, and Tyrik)

I knew there was a law on the books saying, “An adult’s juvenile record cannot be held against him in applying for a job in the DC Government. I turned the letter over to my friend Washington Post columnist, Bill Raspbery.  Bill contacted Chief Jerry Wilson and Wilson directed Turner to write Earl a letter of apology saying it was all a mistake.

DC first black Police Chief Burtell Jefferson welcomes Earl to the rank and file.  Burtell was all in on Community and Police Relations.  He was a frequent supporter of my community endeavors.

During a tour of duty as Sgt. in-charge of the cell block a weekend home for prisoners being held until they could see a judge for a trial date or bond hearing. It was here Sgt. Bell encountered two police officers, one black and one white physically abusing black prisoners only on the weekends. He confronted the two officers and made it clear they would cease the abuse on his watch. The two officers ignored his warning and continued their cowardly acts. He asked me for my advice and I advised him to turn them into the black officials we knew from ‘The Hood’, Marty Tapscott, Maurice Turner, and Issac Fullwood. They all ran for cover and became the ‘Three Little Monkeys, they saw no evil, heard no evil and therefore spoke no evil.

TOP COPS: Tillman O’Byrant and Burtell had retired when Bull was confronted with the THIN BLUE LINE and CODE OF SILENCE!

 

Bull Bell took his case to the U. S. Attorney’s office and the two cops were indicted. Enter, The Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence and the end of a career of a “Good Cop”!  Chief Maurice Turner warned Bull “Watch Your Back”??? Assistant Chief the late Isacc Fullwood, lied to me and said, ‘I got his back’! Three months later Fullwood took Bull off the streets and assigned him to the Police and Fire Clinic without explanation. Sgt. Earl K. Bell driving to the clinic for his new assignment crossing the road on Southern Ave and Suitland Parkway the road had iced over and Sgt. Bell’s car skidded into a 16 wheeler coming from the opposite side of the street. Sgt. Bell survived but he would be paralized for life. The S. E. Community Hospital was overrun with cops, many were there hoping for his recovery and others were hoping he would die. He would die a decade later in a nursing home. On this Memorial Day 2020 I salute my brother for being counted among the living when it counted.

WHEN HALL OF FAMES ARE HALLS OF SHAME!

 

BUCK O’NEIL WITH MR. CUB ERNIE BANKS

BUCK: BATTER UP IN OLD TIMER’S GAME IN CHICAGO

The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is supposed take place on Sunday July 26 2020 in Cooperstown, New York depending on Pandemic coronavirus.  If all goes well once again, Buck O’Neil, Curt Flood, and Maury Wills will be nowhere to be found during the induction ceremonies.  Their being overlooked won’t be because of steroids.

Major League Baseball should be ashame of itself for omitting Buck O’Neil from the hall of fame in 2006 when it was obvious he belonged.  Buck was an outstanding player in the Negroe League with the Kansas City Monarchs.  After his playing days he becames a scout for MLB and later became the first black coach.  I met and interviewed Buck in Northern Virginia in the 80s while he was playing the role he loved, acting as an Ambassador for a barnstorming black team.  He was an officer and gentleman. He made you feel like you had been his long lost friend.  I am stll looking for that interview in 2020????

I met Curt when the Washington Senators defied the baseball Gods/owners and signed him.  I encountered him having lunch in Frank’s Restaurant on Florida Avenue NW  on a rainy day in 1971.  I introduced myself and he treated me to lunch.  The next week he was gone.  We would not meet again until San Francisco somewhere in the 80s.   Former DC weekend sports anchor Martin Wyatt was working as a sports anchor at KGO TV in the Golden City.  He was hosting a tribute to Legends of the Game.  He invited me and Hattie to the tribute.  Curt Flood, Jim Brown, Al Attles were among the legends being honored.

 THE GREAT CURT FLOOD AND THE EQUALLY GREAT TED WILLIAMS

CURT, HATTIE T AND AL ATTLES HANGING OUT TOGETHER IN SAN FRANCISCO

Curt is the author of the most heroic individual acts of resistance in modern Major League Baseball history, will be excluded.  This year’s inductees — Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith — are incredibly worthy. But none of them has Flood’s revolutionary résumé, although each benefited from Flood’s act of defiance. After the 2000 season, for example, Mussina used free agency to leave the Baltimore Orioles and sign a six-year, $88.5 million contract with the New York Yankees. None of July’s inductees sacrificed as much so that future generations of major leaguers could reap the rewards.  Curt has been a thorn on a rose that still sticks in the side of Major League Baseball.  While most players were too cowardly to support Flood, Jackie Robinson showed up in court and openly embraced him.  Thanks to Robinson, baseball has become a global game. Flood, to this day, is seen by some as antithetical to the big business interests of baseball — of all sports.  He was a star player who pushed back against the restrictive status quo.  His absence from the MLB Hall of Fame is further proof an “Even Playing and Forty-Acres & Mule” proves we are the only ones who are playing fair.

 Maury ‘Sonny’ Wills is a native Washingtonian and one DC’s great all-around athletes while attending Cardozo High School.  He also excelled as a running back and kick-off returner and guard on the basketball team.  He was signed after a baseball tryout at Griffin Stadium in the early 50s and his road to Major Leaugue was not the Yellow Brick Road.  I was up close and personal and watched his struggles and never give up attitude.  During the off season he would come back to our old neighborhood a housing project called Parkside.  He would stay in shape by playing football with the Stonewalls a legendary DC amateur football team.  His brother Donald aka Duck and I were high school teammates at Spingarn High School.  Our football coach Dave Brown would bring the Stonewalls into scrimmage us–it was a controled scrimmage, but it was really Boys vs Men.    Sonny would line-up at QB, RB and DB just to remind us he still had it and he did.  I ran what I thought was my best pass pattern-Down and Out against him.  He picked the ball off and ran it back all the way.  He never let Duck and me forget it.  He later told me I would have to become a better actor if I was going to be any good as a pass catcher.  I had no clue what he was trying to tell me until I got to college.
DC’S MAURY WILLS REVOLUCTIONIZE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WITH THE STOLEN BASE
MAURY WILLS FOUL OUT AS MANAGER OF THE SEATTLE MARINERS
He was finally called up to Major League Baseball by the LA Dodgers IN 1959.  Sonny got off to a slow start in the 1959 World Series, in six games he went 5-20 and stole one base.  1960 was his first full season, he hit .295 and led the league in stolen bases with 50 making him the first National League player to steal 50 bases since Max Carey’s 51 in 1923.  The best was yet to come, in 1962 he stole 104 bases to set a new MLB stolen base record, breaking the old modersn era mark of 96 set by Ty Cobb in 1915.  He revolutionize MLB with the stolen base it was a bigger threat than the homerun.   He stole more bases than all the other teams that year, the highest total being his hometown Washington Senators who had 99.
His success as a base stealer that year led to another remarkable stat, he was caught stealing just 13 times all season.  He hit .299 for the season , led the NL with 10 triples and 179 singles, and was named the NL MVP over Willie Mays.  Willie had a year that was nothing to sneeze at, he hit .304 with 49 hr and 141 rbi.  Sonny and the stolen base had become such a threat in that 1962 season, San Francisco Giants manager Alvin Dark ordered ground crews to water down the the base paths hoping the muddy field would slow him down.  He played a full162 game schedule, plus all of the best of three regular season play-off series with the Giants, giving him a total of 165 games played, a MLB record that still stands today for most games played in a single season.
Maury Wills’ 104 steals remained a Major League record for switch-hitters until 1985 when Vince Coleman eclipsed the mark with 110.   Vince is the major league player who once told a group of reporters, he was not aware of Jackie Robinson knocking down any doors for him!   Maury Wills was a true super star and a sure fire first ballot hall of famer, but his singing in the shower with vocalist Doris Day has cost him induction into the hall of fame.
It is nothing new for the Hall of Fame to hold these last rites of passage and omitt black athletes who speak out about the racism and politics that govern these institutions.  There are Black Hall of Fames that follow their lead.
The NBA shunned the great basketball Coach Johnny McLendon before they finally inducted him in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a “CONTRIBUTOR” which he and many others including Dean Smith felt was a slap in the face.  For example; Adolph Rupp of Kentucky was voted in as a “COACH”.  Dean Smith who followed Johnny Mack was voted in as a “COACH” what made their contributions any significant than his?  The “4 Corners Offense” was the brainchild of Coach McLendon, not Dean Smith. 
Earl Lloyd was the first black to play in the NBA. He helped the Syracuse Nationals win a NBA championship and was the first black assistant coach and could have been the first black head coach, but the Detroit Pistons were not ready to lead the way.  Red Auerbach stepped to the front of the line and named Bill Russell.  The NBA ignored Earl’s contributions until I convinced Red Auerbach to join me in a campaign to get him elected in 2003.  He went in the backdoor as a “CONTRIBUTOR”?  Al Attles played in the NBA for 11 years and won an NBA Championship when he swept the Baltimore Bullets in 4 games in 1975.  He was recently inducted as a “CONTRIBUTOR”???  Black coaches and players are made to feel like second class citizens when they are finally recognized!  The Hall made super-star and pioneer Spencer Haywood who literally knocked down the doors alone forcing the merger of the NBA and ABA completely changing the salary structure.  He had to wait close to 35 years for his induction because of his drug use.  NBA Commissioner David Stern  made him do “Community Service” that satisfied him before he could be inducted.  Spencer was Community Service long before dozens of NBA players.  The reason he was kept waiting was because of his drug use–hypocrites!  The NBA Hall of Fame is overrun with drug abusers. The hall would be almost empty if that was the cretia for induction.
NFL greats, Roy Jefferson NFL Hall of Fame worthy, NFL Hall of Fame inductee Willie Wood (1989) and pioneer Johnny Sample is in the same waiting line as Buck, Curt and Maury. 
Johnny Sample was an All-American RB at Maryland State Eastern Shore.  He was the first player ever selected from a HBCU to play in the college All-Star Game against the NFL Champions.  In his rookie season, he won an NFL championship ring with the Colts in their victory over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game.  A game now known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played”.  In between, Sample won another championship in the 1959 NFL Championship Game, scoring a touchdown on a 42-yard interception return in the Colts 31-16 victory over the Giants.
He was the co-captain of the AFL New York Jets with QB Joe Namath when they pulled off the biggest upset in pro football history.  The Jets were 18 point underdogs when they beat the Baltimore Colts 17-6 in Super Bowl III in 1969.   Johnny is the only player in pro football history to win World Championships in two different leagues.  After his playing career ended in 1970 he released a very outspoken autobiography, Confessions of a Dirty Ballplayer.  In 1977, he was inducted into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawk Hall of Fame.
Noteworthy: The problem that Buck, Curt, and Johnny all face, there is no one in sports media with the balls to stand up and call these plantation type organizations out for the racist cowards that they are.  They hide behind anonymity.  Have we forgotten that is how the KKK hide behind their mask for decades riding in the dark of night burning homes and lynching Black Americans?  If there are any Blacks associated with this group of cowards, they need to be tarred and feathered.  How can a brother whose only vehicle was AM Radio, the weakness signal on the radio dial, campaign successfully for two pro athletes to be inducted into their hall of fames (Willie Wood & Earl Lloyd)?  I will never forget when Willie Wood died I called several media personalities to see if they were going to write anything on the death of my friend.  I was able to get only two of the five I called on the phone–the Atlantic’s Dave Aldridge (Dave wrote a story and attended the funeral) and USA Today’s Jarrett Bell.  I have been knowing Jarrett since he first took the job as a writer for the paper.  First, I asked if he was aware that Willie had died and his response was “Yes I am aware”.  Remember this is a brother that I watched go from a writer to the title ‘NFL Editor for USA Today’.  My next question, “Are you writing anything on his passing”?  He said, ‘Man I am getting ready to go on vacation, I don’t have the time’!  I could not believe my ears to what I was hearing what this brother was saying to me.  People of color get very little credit for living in America and too many times there is no mention that they passed this way.  If you know where Willie came from and how he got to where he arrived, you know this was not music to my ears.  Jarrett Bell is not a rare bird in sports media he has become the NEW normal.  Check me out FACE BOOK LIVE on Friday at 9 pm to continue this discussion.

 

 

 

DON SHULA AND THE PERFECT NFL SEASON: I WAS AN EYEWITNESS!

IN JANUARY 1973 DON SHULA WAS ON TOP OF THE NFL WORLD.  HE RECORDED THE FIRST EVER PERFECT SEASON IN NFL HISTORY DEFEATING THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS IN SUPER BOWL VII 14-7. 

Don Shula, who won more games than any head coach in National Football League history, led the Miami Dolphins to the league’s only perfect season and helped usher pro football into its modern era, died on Monday in Florida. He was 90.

In his 33 years as a head coach, seven with the Baltimore Colts (1963-69) and 26 with the Dolphins (1970-95), his teams won 328 regular-season games — still an N.F.L. record — lost 156 and tied 6. He still holds the N.F.L. records for games coached (526) and total victories (347 — 23 more than the legendary George Halas of the Chicago Bears). His teams won 10 or more games in a season 21 times and reached the playoffs 19 times. He was coach of the year three times with the Colts.

He built fearsome defenses and explosive offenses in taking his teams, the Baltimore Colts and the Dolphins, to six Super Bowls. He won two with the Dolphins, crowning the 1972 and 1973 seasons.  Ironically, he lost back to back Super Bowla before winning back to back Super Bowls in 72 and 73.

Many folks have forgotten it was Shula who lost to Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl III — one of the biggest upsets in professional sports — just three years earlier, when Shula coached the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. The game, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, gave the A.F.L. the legitimacy it craved while saddling Shula with the label of a coach unable to win on the biggest stage. It also signaled the victory of a flashier kind of football, led by an irrepressible Broadway Joe, over Shula’s blue-collar brand.  Shula definitely needed a win badly.

The 1972 Super Bowl was especially painful for me. The Dolphins won all 14 regular-season games despite losing their star quarterback, Bob Griese, to an injury in the fifth game.   They had the top-ranked offense and defense, they went on to win the three playoff games and capture Super Bowl VII, an unmatched string of victories, but Shula’s win 1n 1972 he had an assist from a woman who is never mention in that 14-7 defeat of the Washington Redskins, her name was “Lady Luck”!

After the riots in 1968 I found my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble, Inc.  In 1969 Redskin famed lawyer and owner Edward Bennett Williams  would lure a man whom many called the NFL’s greatest coach out of retirement, Vince Lombardi.  It is said that when Lombardi left Green Bay for Washington, “One town wept and the other cheered.”  Lombardi had won the first two Super Bowls and then retired.  While watching the third Super Bowl from the sidelines he got the itch for one more season.   After 9 seasons in Green Bay (called the Siberia of the NFL by players) Coach Lombardi wanted more, but this time he wanted to coach in the most powerful city in America–Washington, DC.  Edward Bennett Williams made him an offered he could not refuse.  The contract contained everything but a seat in the oval office of the White House.  Lombardi would be the head coach, GM and Vice-President of the team answering only to Edward Bennett Williams.

Following Lombardi would an unknown running back out of Kansas, Larry Brown.  Larry got off to a bad start and almost got cut.   During training camp Coach Lombardi notice Larry was always a count behind the QB getting off the ball.  He asked the team doctor to examine his hearing and there was the problem, his hearing was bad in one of his ears.  Lombardi next move was to lure legendary LB Sam Huff out of retirement.  He did and the Redskins went 7-5-2, their best won and lost record since 1955.

It looked like all NFL roads were leading to the Super Bowl, but the 1969 season would be Coach Lombardi’s last NFL season.  He was diagnosed with intestinal cancer, he died in Georgetown Hospital on September 4, 1970.  There were tears in Green Bay, Washington, DC and NFL cities around the country.  Former Green Bay Packer and DC native the late Willie Wood said, “I was looking forward to being a coach on Vince’s staff one day”.

NFL Hall of Fame player Willie Wood was Vince Lombardie’s coach on the field during his nine year career in Green Bay.

In 1969 my childhood friend and my Spingarn high school teammate introduced me to Larry Brown.  We became friends and he introduced me to a brother who was a friend to everyone he met, the late great LB Harold McLinton, DB Ted Vactor was a teammate of mine with the Virginia Sailors a minor league team for the Redskins.  All three would join me in my community endeavors with Kids In Trouble.

Enter, Coach George Allen from the L. A. Rams.  He brought with him “The Over the Hill Gang”, they consisted of linebackers, Jack Pardee, Myron Pottios, Maxie Baughan, defensive tackle Diron Talbert, guard John Wilbur and special teams player Jeff Jordan.  The 1970 team went 9-4-1, the most wins by a Redskin team since 1942.  Allen’s next move was to trade for multi-talented WR-the Baltimore Colts’, Roy Jefferson.

Dave Bing, Willie Wood, Larry Brown, Harold McLinton, Ted Vactor and Roy Jefferson would be the “ORIGINAL” Kids In Trouble Santa’s Helpers.  When I found Bolling Boys Base on Bolling Air Force Base in 1971 they would join DC Superior Court Judges, Luke Moore, Eugene Hamilton, Harry T. Alexander and Chief Judge Harold Greene to cut the ribbon for the first ever half-way house on a military installation to house juvenile deliquents.

 

The NFL’s hardest runner and over worked player in 1972 MVP Larry Brown 

Fatty Taylor, Larry Brown, and Petey Greene hanging out during Kids In Trouble Hillcrest Saturday Program Community Day. 

The 1972 NFL season was sweet for Kids In Trouble because the Redskins players became regular visitors to the half-way house and the KIT Saturday Program located at 13th & W Streets NW in the heart of the inner-city.  Larry, Harold, Roy and Ted provided on field tickets for the youth for the regular season and play-off games leading to the Super Bowl.   We were seated in the end zone when the Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 26-3 to earn the rights to play the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl.  It was those great times with the players a lot of inner-city boys became men.

Redskin Linebackers Harold McLinton and Dave Robinson hold court keeping it real during annual Kids In Trouble Christmas toy party

NFL films video tape Larry and Harold teaching water safety to inner-city kids at Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program.

The trip to LA for Super Bowl VII against Miami was bitter-sweet because the best QB Sonny Jurgensen was injuried.  George Allen’s favorite QB Billy Kilmer was slated to start, but the Redskins to a man thought they could still win with Billy.   Miami had the No. 1  offense and defense in the league on paper, but the game was still played on the field and not on paper.  The Redskins were no slouchs on offense or defense, Larry Brown was the NFL MVP, Charlie Taylor, Roy Jeffereson and Jerry Smith were the best pass catching trio in the NFL, but the question was could Billy get the ball to them?

The defense held their own holding the high powered Dolphin offense of running backs, Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, Mercury Morris and wide receiver the great Paul Warfield to 14 points.  The Dolphins keyed their defense on Larry Brown hopping the scattered arm of Billy Kilmer would be out of service.  They were right, the Dolphin defensive backs were like traffic cops directing the way to the end zone, but Billy could not get the ball to Charlie, Roy or Jerry who could be seen waving their hands and arms frantically for the ball.

Congratulations to Coach Don Shula a football life well lived RIP, but 14 points would have never have beaten Sonny Jurgensen. Luck can be a Lady!

 


On the road again Washington, DC’s Finest: Sylvia Williams-Gene Stevens-HB-Petey Greene-Judy Greene-Hattie T and a man of mystery as we prepare to go into L. A. Memorial Stadium for the history making showdown between the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins.  When we arrived back home I discovered our homeboy Marvin Gaye was sitting several rows behind us–loyal to his Redskins. 

I Remember the Athletes Who Cared and the Judges for Justice for All!

Judges Luke C. Moore and Harry T. Alexander were real life Super Stars in the Game Called Life and in the criminal justice system.  They were risk takers and applied their trade in the DC Superior Court in the District of Columbia.  Luke died November 1995 in Atlanta, Georgia he was 70 years old.  He died like he lived–helping others.  He was raking leaves for a next door neighbor when he had a heart attack.  On July 8, 2010 Judge Alexander died in his adopted hometown of Washington, DC.  He was 85 years old.  They both left vacancies that have yet to be filled. “Here comes the judges” was a familiar cry in my community programs in the Nation’s Capitol.

My work with at-risk children made me a frequent visitor to the DC Superior Court and they were frequents visitors to my community programs.  They were led by pioneering Judge Luke Moore, his side-kicks were Chief Judge Harold Greene, Harry T. Alexander and Ted Newman (DC Federal Court).  DC Court Judges like, Eugene Hamilton, Henry Kennedy, Jr., Paul Webber and Alex Williams (Md. Federal Court) and William Missouri (Upper Marlboro Court) would join the KIT team after Luke had blazed the trail.

In the 70s and 80s they presided over courtrooms where integrity, and honesty were in high demand.  It was there Black residents and minorities were made to feel that there was such a thing as a fair shake and justice for all.  Racist and bully cops and attorneys were not welcome in their courtrooms. Judge Alexander had a short fuse for disrespect in his courtroom, he dismissed cops and attorneys from his courtroom who refuse to address defendants as Mr and Mrs.

My programs Kids In Trouble, Inc. and Inside Sports were closely associated with professional athletes (NFL, NBA & MLB) and rightfully so, but the DC Superior Court was the backbone of KIT.
NBA Hall of Fame player, native Washingtonian and former Mayor of Detroit Dave Bing and NFL Hall of Fame player Willie Wood were the anchors of the Kids In Trouble team when I found it after the 1968 riots.Washington Times sports columnist Dick Heller receives KIT Life Time Achievement Award from Willie Wood.
1967 was when all hell broke loose on a Friday evening at my alma mater Spingarn High School in NE DC.  A Spingarn student had been shot after a basketball game between Spingarn and rival McKinley Tech.  My boss Stan Anderson immediately assigned me to find a way to bring peace to what could become a volatile situation.
Dave’s first KIT assignment came during his NBA Rookie Year.  He had been selected to play in the 1967 NBA All-Star Game in Baltimore at the Civic Center.  It was also my first year as a Roving Leader for the DC Recreation Department (Youth Gang Task Force).
I arrived on the scene to find cops and students in a world of confusion–neither seem to have a clue except, Spingarn won the game and they think a McKinley Tech student shot the Spingarn student for celebrating. There were a couple of knuckle heads standing around on the fringes talking about revenge.
None of it made any sense to me so I decided to leave it up to the cops to solve.  I retired to Sporty’s Carry Out across the street from the school for a hot dog and soda.  I was waiting for my hot dog when I hear someone say “You know the NBA All-Star Game is in Baltimore this Weekend”! 
Suddenly, lights, bells and whistles started to go off in my head and I said to myself I thought, “Oh hell no, Dave Bing”.  And the guy said, “Oh yes, he is playing”.
The next morning I was on my way to Baltimore to catch up with Dave.  On arrival I found the Civil Center players’ entance.  One hour later I spotted Dave arriving with teammate Bob Lanier.  He saw me and this big smile came across his face and his first words were, “Harold Bell what the hell are you doing over here?”  He introduced me to Bob and we huddled outside. I explained what had happen at Spingarn and I needed him to meet me at the school on Monday morning to address the students–done deal.
I kept my fingers crossed hoping there would be no drive-by shooting over the weekend between the two schools,  I got my wish.  Dave and I met at Spingarn on Monday morning to a full assembly waiting for his arrival.  When he walked into the assembly hall, the students gave him a standing ovation. They had just seen him on national television representing them and the school. His words of wisdom brought peace to the school on The Hill.  I was proud of Dave, it was a moment never to be forgotten.
Pro athletes and sitting judges working together to empower the community was unheard in the 70s and 80s.  The NBA, NFL and MLB would all follow my lead.
The “KIT Dream Team” was made up of pro atletes and  DC Superior Court Judges who help give hundreds of at-risk children an opportunity to grow up to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Make no mistake Luke and Harry T set the bar when it came to making sure attorneys and police officers respected everyone in his courtroom.  All defendants were to be addressed as Mr, Mrs , Ms, or Miss. It did not matter your station in life!

H. R. Crawford was a friend and former Assistant Secretary of Housing at HUD and long time DC City Councilman.  He recalls a case being thrown out of Harry T’s court.

He says, “The arresting police officer kept referring to the black defendants as boys and girls.  He refused to address the defendants as Mr, Mrs, Ms or Miss as instructed.  Judge Alexander dismissed the case because of mistaken identity.  He told the police officer, I don’t see any girls or boys in my courtroom.”
Judges Moore and Newman followed Judge Alexander’s lead but without the flamboyance or fanfare.  Judge Alexander had an air about him that the insecure found difficult to deal with.  He dressed and walked with a swagger, his head up and back un-bended.
One of the most impressive things to me about the judges was that when they gave you their word you could carry it to the bank.
Judges Moore, Alexander and Newman’s community involvement attracted other judges and media personalities to the KIT team.
For example; U. S. Federal Court Judge Alex Williams is another benefactor of Inside Sports and Kids In Trouble, Inc. I attended school and grew up with Judge William Missouri the Chief Administrate Judge of the Upper Marlboro Courthouse.
The two have served as panelist for several of my conferences on youth Violence.  Judge Williams was a recipient of Kids In Trouble Life Time Achievement Award.  Williams’ mentor was Judge Moore and Missouri worked at the U. S. Post office with him but the similarities end there.
Today a Black man or woman who has to face a judge in Prince George’s County or in the DC Superior Court has the deck stacked against them.  Every deck has a joker in a Black Robe–it was Missouri in Prince Georges County, he was known as “The Hanging Judge”.
Black faces may be out front in the Upper Marlboro Court but there is a smell of the KKK aka “Tea Party” is still running things.
How can we forget that the person or persons who murdered 19 year old Ronnie White in his Upper Marlboro jail cell may still be working as a law enforcement officers.
The lynching happen on County Executive Jack Johnson, State Attorney’s Glen Ivey, and Chief of Police Melvin High’s watch.  The conspirator a jailer was sentence in Judge Alex Williams Federal courtroom. The Federal Court Guildlines stated, the jailer could be sentenced to 20 years in jail and a $250.000 fine.  Judge Williams said, “That there was something that didn’t smell right about the case”. Evidently, the smell was not strong enough, the jailer was free after a year served.  All the players in-charge were black–it was not a time to be black and proud!
The Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin High retired during the murder investigation and re-surfaced in the Prince Georges’ County Sheriff’s Office.  Glenn Ivey was the worst State’s Atorney in the history of the office and County Executive Jack Johnson was convicted of taking brides and spent 5 years in jail.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks claims Johnson and Ivey are her mentors!
One of the reasons Justice has become Just-Us in America’s courtrooms is because the Black jurist sitting on the bench have all forgotten who they are and where they came from.  They are so busy trying to play fair but fail to realize they are the only ones playing fair. In the meantime, they help America fill prisons and the U. S. leads the WORLD with the highest rate of incarceration!  Prisons are now on Wall Street and the hot commodity is a person of color.
Today’s judges have forgotten the sacrifices and great works of Judges Thurgood Marshall, Carl Moutrie, Turk Thompson, Luke C. Moore, Harry T. Alexander, each man stood for something and didn’t fall for just anything.
This is a sad commentary, but Black Judges like Alex Williams, and the late Bill Missouri,  and every black judge who sit on the bench whether at the DC Superior and Prince Georges County Courts, all stand on the shoulders of Judges Luke C. Moore Harry T. Alexander–they were for Justice for all and not Just-Us.

DR. WILLIE JOLLEY: THE CHALLENGE OF A LIFE TIME “WE’LL GET THROUGH THIS!”

Dr. Willie Jolley has always been a doer. He has not just talked the talk he has walked the walk in his hometown of Washington, DC. He is a product of the DC Public school system graduating from Roosevelt HS. His mother taught for 42 years in the same system. Willie followed in her footsteps and became a substance abuse counselor for the school system.  He had a higher calling and became a public speaker. Willie is a rare breed of men from the inner-city, he is armed with common sense-street sense and book sense  These three tools are difficult to find in brothers and sisters who have lived on the fringes of all three boundaries. He knows how to play the game with the best of them.  His comfort zone has no limitations when it comes to people, walking into a boardroom in Silicon Valley would be no different from him taking a walk on Hanover Street in “The Hood” in NW DC.

You would think he grew up in a Boy Scout troop whose motto was “Be Prepared”.  He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Faith-Driven Achievement from the California Graduate School of Theology, a master’s degree in Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from American University. Willie understood the DNA of being Black in America, so he decided to be prepared and make it difficult for the system to say ‘NO’ and when they did say no he kept saying, ‘Yes I can.’ His best selling book “It Only Takes a Minute to Change Your Life” he talks about turning failure into success–failure is only a mindset.  My favorite nugget, “A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback” been there and done that!

Make no mistake about it, Dr. Willie Jolley is comfortable in his skin.  For example, in April 2012 I found him holding court on a bright sunshiny day in front of the landmark Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.  The theatre was having “Open House” after decades of lights out.  It was a Who’s Who (old-timers and hustlers) hanging out to see who they could see and maybe get to take a tour of the theatre before the Grand Opening for DC’s movers and shakers (politicians and wannabes) arrived.  As I approached the group Willie spotted me and yelled: “Here comes my hero.”  He disarmed me completely, all I could say was, “How in the hell are you, Dr. Jolley”?  His greeting was just saying, ‘Be nice Harold Bell.’ 

I didn’t understand the greeting until I saw my old friend TV 4 anchorman Jim Vance standing across the street with a cameraman covering the opening.   Jim and I had not spoken in two-decades.  To my surprise he would leave his cameraman to say hello.  For two guys who had been inseparable in the community since his arrival from Philadelphia in 1968–this was a reunion of two.  The conversation was short and to the point, “Hey man lets do lunch call me”!  My wife Hattie was elated when I came home and said, “Guess who I saw today?”  She was fond of Jim. The late Pete Wysocki (Redskins), Hattie T and Jim at my annual Kids In Trouble Celebrity Fashion Show.

I remember Hattie having an appointment at Sibly Hospital in Georgetown and I suggested after her appointment we should stop and holler at Jim since we were in the neighborhood.  I was thinking we could “Kill two birds with one stone” confirm a date for lunch and I would get a face to face with Jim for the first time in 20 years.  The receptionist asked if Jim was expecting us and I said, “Just tell him its Hattie and Harold Bell”, several minutes later he came through the glass door with that award-winning smile hugged Hattie and we shook hands. We spent about 15 minutes talking about nothing and we finally got around to making a date for lunch at a seafood restaurant on K Street NW.  I called the day before to remind him and he said, “Everything was still Go”. The next morning his assistant called and said Jim had to cancel and he would re-schedule.  I think Jim wanted to say, “Harold Bell thanks for saving my life” but he didn’t know how–five years later he was dead (Gone too soon).

Jim and I are seen here being mentors to inner-city youth at the Roy Jefferson (NFL) reading center on K Street in NW DC  Jim and I were tennis partners and he could often be found participating in my annual Inside Sports Celetbrity Tennis Tournament.

I remember hanging out with my Spingarn HS teammates on the weekends in front of the Howard Theatre before Willie Jolly was born. I was just a nobody trying to be somebody, but those were definitely “The Good Old Days”, thanks to gentrification and the Pandemic Coronavirus I will never see those days again in my lifetime.

There are many motivational speakers, and then there is one, the one and only, the incomparable Dr. Willie Jolley. He has been described as a world-class, award-winning speaker and singer, businessman best-selling author and media personality, he is armed and dangerous to negativity in our community. He keeps hope alive!

Dr. Jolley uses his public platform to pursue his mission of empowering and encouraging people to rise above their circumstances and maximize their God-given potential! Many know him as the speaker Ford Motor Company called on when they were on the brink of bankruptcy. His work helped Ford reject a government bailout and go on to earn a billion dollars in profits!

Dr. Willie Jolley has achieved remarkable heights in the speaking industry, having come from humble beginnings as a fired singer, who was replaced by a karaoke machine! He has gone on to be named “One of the Outstanding Five Speakers in the World” by the 175,000 members of Toastmasters International, inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame and achieved the distinction of Certified Speaker Professional by the Nation Speaker Association. He’s the recipient of the Ron Brown Distinguished Leadership Award, named “One of the Top 5 Leadership Speakers” by Speaking.com and Business Leader of The Year by The African American Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Jolley has inspired me in all my walks of life. He has been there to support me in my community endeavors, radio sports talk shows and my recent documentary “I Remember Muhammad Ali.” In 1974 Ali beat the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world, George Forman–he stunned the world. Ali had promised me in Chicago that after he beat Foreman I would be the first to interview him on his arrival back in the U. S.–he kept his word.

It took me 45 years to get the exclusive one on one interview to the big screen. The Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill 45 years after the fact would be the host (November 1974-November 2019). Dr. Jolly and his wife Dee were front and center.

Dr. Jolley has built a reputation of being captivating, compelling and life-changing! No matter the venue, from his Dr. Willie Jolley’s Wealthy Ways podcast on iHeart Radio to his SiriusXM Radio show, to his audiences like Walmart, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott or The Million Dollar Round Table, Dr. Jolley keeps it moving with high energy, high content and great enthusiasm. He delivers memorable nuggets and usable strategies on how every person can live a better life, one day at a time!

His latest challenge could be his most difficult and inspiring.  His new recording “We’ll Get Through This” could surely uplift the entire country. The song hits home along with a great video that shows the heroes and sheroes, the first responders, and family keeping hope alive for their loved ones with as much tender loving care as possible. I start my day with this inspiring song. The first thing I open up on my computer each morning “We’ll Get Through This”.

 

Willie Jolley has also written a popular new marriage book, co-authored with his wife of over 33 years, Dee Taylor-Jolley. The book’s title, Make Love, Make Money, Make It Last!

HB, Hattie, Dee, and Willie at our home in Suitland, Maryland keeping hope and love alive during these difficult times hoping and praying, “We’ll Get Through This.”  

Noteworthy: see Black Men in America.com / Face Book LIVE on Friday-Saturday and Sundays from 9 pm until 11 pm for the Legends of Inside Sports Uncut / You Tube Channel Harold Bell’s Inside Sports-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAZVZjGeYpY

 

 

 

OPEN LETTER TO TIM BAYLOR: REMEMBER FAMILY-FRIENDS AND GHOST TO THE POST!

Tim Baylor standing proudly in front of one of his McDonald’s franchised restaurants in Minnesota and Tim with wife Doris.  He is like so many black athletes as soon as they get two-dollars more than family and friends and gain a little fame, they forget who they are and where they came from.  Tim is like many that came through Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports–lost of memory.

Tim Baylor, a Morgan State bear who slept and hibernated his whole adult life away living the good life forgetting family and friends!

He grew up on 12th Street, NW in the heart of the inner-city.  He was caught between Cardozo High School and Ben’s Chili Bowl and a five-minute walk from his house to Harris playground and the Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program.  I found the program in 1968 after the riots had almost destroyed DC.  His mom and dad were two jewels. They loved me, Mrs. Baylor always had a kind word, Mr. Baylor was a man of few words or no words.

Tim talks with neighborhood youth two blocks from where he grew up on the U Street NW corridor (Washington Star newspaper)Santa’s helper Tim Baylor helps me distribute toys during Kids In Trouble annual toy party at the J. W. Marriott in Arlington, VirginiaTim Baylor, Godmother holding my Goddaughter Amber, Mrs. Baylor, me and his wife Doris.

I encouraged Tim to come back home and enhance the growth of kids in his old neighborhood in the U Street NW corridor, during and after the NFL.  He moved to Minnesota and never looked back or came back when it really made a difference. Tim Baylor modeling in one of my Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Shows at the Chapter II night club in SW DC

Tim receiving the Kids In Trouble Community Service Award during the Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show at the Grand Hyatt in downtown DC. Calvalier’s Mens CLothing store owner Norman Orleans makes presentation.  I kept Tim in the community spotlight to inspire other youth, but he dropped the ball.

I was the wide receiver coach for Cardozo High School in the 1967-68-69 football seasons.  Head coach Bob Headen recruited me and several other minor league football players to help him coach the Clerks. The Virginia Sailors was a super talented minor league team for the Washington Redskins. We won several minor league championships. We were the talk of the town and not the Washington Redskins they could not win a game.

Virginia Sailor teammates, John Cash, Bob Headen and me celebrate our first minor league football championship in Reston, Virginia.

Virginia Sailors celebrate again in Ladd Stadium, in Mobile Alabama.  I am No. 82

I am telling Sailor QB John Thomas (No. 12), “I am open man just throw me the dam ball.”  John reminded me of Russell Wilson (NFL).
My best catch at Cardozo was the swimming coach Hattie Thomas my future wife.

Tim was a decent wide-receiver for the Cardozo football team. He had a decent pair of hands but was slow of foot.  He ran great passing routes which made up for his lack of speed (much like me). I made him understand that the wide-receiver always had the advantage over the defensive back. The reason, the defensive back had to guess where the wide-receiver was going, being able to run great pass routes would be a nightmare for any defensive back.  I learned to run pass patterns from watching the great Baltimore Colt wide receiver Ray Berry.  He had one leg shorter than the other.

Tim’s NFL career was limited after “The Ghost to the Post” mistake in 1977.  The Colts let him go and he was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings.  He played two-years for them and retired at the ripe old age of 26!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPIGg6iu80E

A lot of credit for Tim making the Colt’s roster goes to the assistant coach who saw he stood 6’6 and had a decent pair of hands and his long frame would an asset.  He moved him to nickel-back and defensive safety. Today he is still the tallest defensive back to ever play in the NFL, but “The Ghost to the Post” will be his NFL claim to fame.  All-Pro TE Dave Casper caught three TDs in that conference championship game. The biggest catch was made against Tim Baylor with 2:17 seconds left in the game. The Colts were leading 31-24 when All-Pro QB Ken “The Snake” Stabler threw a third-down pass to Casper behind Tim for a gain of 42 yards and a first down.  Casper would later catch a 10 yard TD in the left corner of the end zone to send the game into double overtime. The defending World Champions would win 37-31. It was one of the best playoff games I have ever witness.  Tim has nothing to be ashamed of Stabler and Casper are both in the NFL Hall of Fame (he is to-on tape).

The key is how he played The Game Called Life before and after the NFL–Life is the most important game being played in the world today!

First, you must remember Tim Baylor’s story is similar to the Sugar Ray Leonard story.  He was also the benefactor of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports (Harrison Rec, Hillcrest Sat. Program and Cardozo HS football team).  Much like Ray, I remember when he didn’t have two-pennies to rub together.

When Tim moved his family to Minnesota my Goddaughter Amber was two or three years old.  He told Thurston McLain one of his childhood friends and another benefactor of KIT, “Harold never comes to see his Goddaughter!”  The reason I never came to see my Goddaughter was because of the logistics (1100 miles from DC to Minnesota).  He was talking as if they were still living in Baltimore (30 miles away).  I asked Thurston, ‘Why didn’t he call me with his concerns?’  Thurston just shook his head!

Tim would bring his family to DC to visit his parents.  I would be the last to know.  When I was in the neighborhood I would stop by his parents’ house.  His mom would often say, “You just missed Tim he was here last week.”  

I would hear through “The Grapevine” how successful he had become as a businessman/entrepreneur (he owns several McDonald’s Restaurants, real estate holdings, etc).  Politics was his other game to include, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and he made an unsuccessful run for Lt. Governor.

Man, that is a success story in anyone’s lifetime, especially, a brother from ‘The Hood’.  Somewhere along the way, he fell short of becoming a MAN!

The family should always be first, Tim never made his brother Sonny or Sonny’s three sons, Andre, Greg and Lorenzo, first. All three young men were outstanding student/athletes. They all played for one of my mentees, Coach Robert Richards at Cardozo High School.  Coach Richards started his coaching career at Harrison Playground and the Hillcrest Saturday Program (my domain).  His uncle Earl Richards is one of the greatest all-around athletes in DC sports history.  Earl was one of my early heroes (Parkside Housing projects). We later became teammates on the Virginia Sailors.

Earl Richards No. 50 was a player/coach for the Sailors and he was definitely ahead of his time (NFL Center/LB). No 28 Mike Summer played for Wilson High School, and George Washington University. He was drafted as an RB in the second round by the Washington Redskins.

The Baylor family foundation was laid by Mr. and Mrs. Baylor, Sonny and Tim’s father and mother.  It was nothing unusual to see Grand Dad and Grand Mother sitting in the Cardozo stands watching their grandchildren play. Uncle Tim was nowhere to be found during their entire high school football life at his alma mater. All three were outstanding and intelligent athletes (QBs) and all three graduated from high school. Andre graduated from Cheney State University and came back home to teach and coach. Greg attended Virginia Union University for a couple of years and was the starting QB before coming back home to take a job with the Alexandria Fire Department.  KIT alumnus Captain Thurston McLain led him to this job opportunity, its called reaching back.  Lorenzo got caught up in the bright lights of street life (drugs) and served time in jail, but has since got his life together and the last I heard he was working two jobs.

I remember Lorenzo’s trials and tribulations with drugs, Leo Hill was Sonny’s brother-in-law. Leo brought to my attention that family members were trying to get in touch with Tim to help get Lorenzo out of jail, but I was no help. There was no response from Tim, except a rumor, he said, “If he did the crime, he must do the time!”

Andre’s success as a student/athlete was the crown jewel of the neighborhood.  Growing up he spent much of his time between Harrison Playground and the Hillcrest Saturday Program.  He decided to attend McKinley Tech but transferred to Cardozo when Robert Richards became the head football coach.  In 1997 Andre was an assistant football coach at John Carroll HS while playing pick-up basketball he had a heart attack and died. He was 29-years old. Tim came home for the funeral.

Lacey O’Neal was a sprinter on the 1964 Summer Olympic team. She competed in the 80-meter hurdles and spoke out against the proposed boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.  Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos made the games forever memorable when they went to the podium barefooted to accept their medals, they raised their black-gloved fist in the air to protest racism in America. They were banished from the Olympic Village but became and still are heroes in Black America.  A statue of their likeness holding black fisted gloves in the air can now be found on the campus of their alma mater, San Jose University in California.

In 1998 Lacey O’Neal brought to my attention while she was attending a tribute for pro athletes in New Jersey Tim Baylor gave her some “Fake News” out of the blue. He told her and I quote, “You know Harold Bell has been stealing money from the kids.”  For the past 22 years he has since been traveling from Minnesota to DC under a cover of darkness making sure he is not in my space.  He travels with a group of chicken kiss-ass cheerleaders running the point for him with pom-poms under their coats ready to cheer at any given moment he comes into their space in DC.

What really pissed me off with Tim making a statement like that was he has never made a donation or brought a toy, send a kid to camp or college, the entire time he was associated with Kids In Trouble.  I never received a grant or loan from anyone in the 45 year lifetime of my non-profit organization.

I worked as a Roving Leader (DC Department of Recreation) and use my salary I received playing for the Virginia Sailors to help pay for the trips out of town to the John Chaney & Sonny Hill’s basketball camp in Philly, to Bighouse Gaines & Earl Monroe’s basketball camp on the campus of my college alma mater, Winston-Salem State University (HBCU).  Cathy Hughes and her son Alfred (TV One) was also a benefactors of those camps and Nike apparel.  My Christmas toy parties had Santa’s Helpers with names like Zack, Philadephia Jake, Dog Turner, Slippery Jackson, Black Danny, Cornell, and Nook.  The one donation Kids In Trouble did receive was when Redskin running back Larry Brown was named the MVP in the NFL in 1972.   He appeared on the NBC Bob Hope Comedy Hour and Hope presented him with a $5,000 check earmarked for a charity of his choice.  His choice was the Kids In Trouble Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program.  Hillcrest was controlled by Children’s Hospital and they put the check in their general fund and I or the kids never saw a penny.  Could that be the money I stole?

KIT ANNUAL TOY PARTY: Johnny Sample (NFL), Inside Sports producer Rodney Brown and Santa’s Helper Philadelphia Jake.

I have been trying to catch up with Tim Baylor for 22 years to get him to verify whose money I was stealing!  I would like to be a fly on the wall when he tries to explain this blog to his children, my Goddaughter Amber and his son Justin and their children.  I am told Amber is an attorney and Justin is expected to take over the family business.  When it comes to the community and reaching back to help family and the down-trodden, I hope they don’t follow in their father’s footsteps.  I am known and read around the globe so they will eventually see this blog somewhere in their travels.

I guess once he grows up and becomes the MAN his parents raised him to be–he will give me a call, but I am not holding my breath.  There is too much Sugar Ray Leonard in him and too many of his ass-kissing blocking cheerleaders running interference. Hillcrest legends starting 5 Johnny Robinson, Michael G, Tyrone Shorter and DC Playground Legend, Tracy Robinson the leader of the pack.Tim’s little sister Cathy is the cheerleader in the center at Community Day at the Hillcrest Saturday Program.  The program was a Family Affair.

In the meantime, the success stories that have come off of Harrison Playground and out of the Saturday Program read like a Who’s Who, Thurston McLain, (Captain Alexandria Fire Department), Coach Robert Richards (winner of DC Public HS football championship 1996), Tracy Robinson (playground basketball legend), Lonnie Taylor (the first black chief of staff for a white Congressman on The Hill), and the dozens of Harrison Elementary School, Harrison Playground and Hillcrest Saturday Program participants who went to become decent human beings.  Neighborhood boy who made good, Ricky Williams is now a Minister and has been active in the community reaching back to help those who lost their way (homeless, incarceration, drugs, etc.  Evelyn Cureton was a Saturday Program participant and she now has her Masters Degree in Psychology.  They both were instrumental in assisting me in completing my Muhammad Ali documentary.  The documentary made its debut on the big screen on November 24, 2019 at the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill, 45 years after the Ali Rumble in the Jungle interview in 1974.  Billy ‘Buck’ Johnson a member of the Hillcrest football and basketball teams ran afoul of the court system, but turned his life around and is working for the DC Central Food Kitchen feeding the hungry and homeless for the past six-years.  I thank all of them for reaching back on this day (April 4th) marking the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of our Prince of Peace–Dr. Martin Luther King.

LONNIE TAYLOR LETTER

 

 

 

THEY MADE ME FAMOUS: GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!

Harlem Globe Trotters Leaping Jackie Jackson, Curly Neal and I smile for the cameras in Landover, Maryland after show at the Capitol Centre.

I remember my favorite Harlem Globetrotter and my favorite country western singer, Curly Neal and Kenny Rogers were performing in almost the same zip code on the same day in April 1988. The Globetrotters were performing in Baltimore that afternoon and Kenny Rogers would perform 35 miles south later that night at the Capitol Centre in Landover, Maryland.  Curly and I had talked several days before his arrival in the area and he wanted to know if I was coming to Baltimore for the game and how many tickets would I need?  I explained to him Kenny Rogers was in town performing that night at the Capitol Centre.  Hattie and I had made plans to attend his concert.  We were big country music fans and Kenny was one of our favorites.  Curly asked if I had I purchased my tickets yet, and I said, “No”.  His response was, ‘Kenny is my man, don’t do anything until you hear from me’! 

Curly got back to me the next morning saying, “I got us tickets to the Kenny Rogers showour game in Baltimore starts at 1:00 pm and the concert in Landover is at 8:00 pm.  I will meet you and Hattie at the box office around 7:30 pm.”  

Hattie and I wore cowboy hats and boots to the concert that night.  Curly could not stop laughing when he saw us. He was signing autographs when we arrived.  His bald head made it easy for him to be recognized as Curly Neal of the Harlem Globetrotters.  He was surrounded by some Good Old Boys and their cowgirls.  Curly is second only to Muhammad Ali as the most recognized personality in the world.

The concert was a sellout and I don’t remember seeing anyone else who was black like me.  We had a great time and when the show was over one of Kenny’s reps came to our seats and escorted us backstage to meet the star of the show.  Kenny and Curly hugged like old friends. The two met in Kenny’s hometown of Houston, Texas in the 70s at a Harlem Globetrotter game.  Curly introduce me and Hattie to Kenny.  We shook hands and the next thing out of Kenny’s mouth was, “Curly where is your dam cowboy hat” before Curly could respond the rep had disappeared and came back with a brand new brown cowboy hat in a box.  The smile on Curly’s face was priceless.

Curly wanted to hang out after the show and get something to eat.  Hattie begged off and I took her home.  Curly and I went into DC to Face’s Restaurant an in-crowd hangout on Georgia Avenue NW. They served great chicken and fish.

I dropped Curly off at the Grand Hyatt in DC around midnight.  The next day I would get this frantic telephone call from Curly in Hampton, he wanted to know where was his hat that Kenny had given him at the concert.  I had no clue, and he was not sure whether he had left it in my car and neither was I.  I told him I would get back to him after I checked the car.

The hat was found in the back seat of the car.  I called Curly with the good news, but his response left me dumbfounded.  He wanted me to drive to Hampton and bring him his hat.  I said, “No way Jose”!  I told him I would put the hat in the mail for him at his next stop on tour, but he insisted. I refused to drive the three hours down to Hampton and back to DC to deliver a hat.  We almost fell out about that hat.  My brother-in-law Charles Thomas lll saved the day.  Hattie reminded me he was home on spring break and was headed back to Hampton later that day.

I called Charles and asked him to deliver the hat to Curly–he said no problem.  When he arrived back on campus he called Curly and identified himself as my brother-in-law and he had a package for him.  For some reason only known to Curly, he cussed Charles out and demanded he bring his hat to the coliseum immediately.  Charles was without transportation he asked his friend Rodney to drive him to the coliseum to meet this Curly Neal someone he had once looked up to.  He arrived at the coliseum and was made to wait for 30 minutes.  Finally, a Harlem Globetrotter rep was sent out to retrieved the hat–denying Charles an opportunity to ask him what was his problem?  In a conversation with Curly the next day, he had a lost of memory and asked me to apologize to Charles if it really happen!

Kenny Rogers died on March 20, 2020 in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  He was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  Curly Neal died in Houston, Texas six days later on March 26, 2020.  Curly was born and raised in Greensboro, NC.  He was an All-CIAA Conference player at Johnson C. Smith College in Charlotte, NC.  Curly and Kenny will meet somewhere in the sky, it will be a cowboy with a guitar and a magician with a basketball.

It has been almost 10 years since Washington DC City Paper columnist Dave McKenna wrote, “Black History MouthHarold Bell, this sports legend still won’t kiss your ass.” Dave thought if I would be a little more diplomatic and suck up to super-stars who came through me before their 15 minutes of fame, the sky would be the limit. There were local personalities like John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, James Brown, Dave Bing, Adrian Dantley, Cathy Hughes, and Doug Williams to name just a few. There were also super-stars, Jim Brown, and Don King, they had to turn to me for support when they ran afoul of the law, media, etc.  There were many on the outside looking in claiming I didn’t know my price!

Before McKenna, Muhammad Ali’s Business Manager Gene Kilroy said, “Harold if you had been white you would have been a millionaire and they would have been calling Howard Cosell the black Harold Bell”.

Native Washingtonian the late legendary sports columnis Dick Heller and I congratulate the late great Willie Wood on his induction into the 1989 NFL Hall of Fame.  Dick and I successfuly campaigned for Willie’s induction.  He was the glue and leader of those great Green Bay Packer Super Bowl teams that dominated the NFL in the 60s.  Legendary coach Vince Lombardi called Willie his coach on the field.

Before McKenna, Muhammad Ali’s Business Manager Gene Kilroy said, “Harold if you had been white you would have been a millionaire and they would have been calling Howard Cosell the black Harold Bell”.

“Harold Bell is a unique sportscaster, former athlete, youth leader and social critic all rolled into one.”                                                                William aaffe, (Sports lllustrated Magazine)

J. D. Bethea sports columnist for the Washington Star-News said, “Harold Bell may be the only black guy who grew up in a ghetto, in real poverty, but never learned to “play the game,” that great American pastime.  Everybody plays the game to some degree. That’s what success is all about.  Playing the game.  Being alternately malleable and assertive with the right people at the right time.  Bell never learned. If he had, given his drive and singlemindedness of purpose, Bell would probably be dangerous.”  I always knew, but I refused to play.

God deserves all the credit and my savior Spingarn High School coach, Dave Brown.  I was trying to go to hell in a hurry.  When everyone else gave up on me he didn’t.  

Coach Brown passed me on down to Tobacco Road to the legendary coach, Clarence Bighouse Gaines at Winston-Salem State UniversityHe was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and in 2004 in Chicago I was honored with the first ever Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines Community Service Award.  Two Bulls born May 21st. 

NBA legend Red Auerbach and Boxing legend (Big Dogs), Muhammad Ali are two of the Greatest of all-time, they are legends of Inside Sports!

Thanks to, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Red Auerbach, Angelo Dundee, and Bert Sugar, there was no need for me to learn to play the game.  My game was to help to enhance the lives of inner-city kids.  These real super-stars made this former resident of a one-room shack with an outhouse more than just a local yokel (homeboy).  Running with “The Big Dogs” was a Rite of Passage for me.  They became my friends and allowed me to ride on their shirttails with no strings attached.

There is little doubt I am the most influential sports talk show host of the 21st Century.  The Inside Sports talk show format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the globe.  Inside Sports was the first sports talk show to blend sports/politics, convened the first media roundtable, played message music, and the first to write commentaries. Further proof, ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali made me “The Chosen One”.

Dr. Harry Edwards said in reference to my pioneering Inside Sports talk radio format, “Harold, congratulations, your archives are valuable and should be given the broadest possible exposure.  Your discs and videos of your programs belong in the new Smithsonian Institution of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  A wing of the new museum will be dedicated to the struggle in sports and will be titled “Leveling the Playing Field”.  Your work was a major force over the years in leveling the playing field, especially in terms of the struggle to define and project ‘Our Truth!’

I thank Muhammad Ali, Red Auerbach, Bert Sugar, Angelo Dundee, Dave Brown, Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines, Willie Wood, Curly Neal, Jackie Jackson, sports comlunist, J. D. Bethea, and Dick Heller for making it possible for me to run with “The Big Dogs-RIP!”