HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY MUHAMMAD ALI–YOU ARE THE GREATEST!

On November 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali shook up the boxing world when he knocked out the undisputed heavyweight champion, George Foreman in the 8th round. The fight took place in Zaire, Africa. The fight is now known as the Rumble in the Jungle.

Ali shook up the sports media world when he arrived back home in the United States. The first sports media person he called for an exclusive one on one interview was a little known sports talk show host in Washington, DC, Harold Bell. The rest is sports media history. Ali made him “THE CHOSEN ONE.”

Every radio and television sports talk show you hear and see is similar to the Original Inside Sports. The NFL-NBA-MLB-NHL have copied his community reach-back programs. They are now promoting in every community in America where there is a pro franchise.

When I read that Sports IIIustrated Magazine had named Lebron James “SPORTSPERSON of the Year” ‘The Activist Athlete’ an editor asked NBA Hall of Fame player Kareen Abdul-Jabbar to write the column on James receiving the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Jabbar said, “The editor suggested I mention something about LeBron’s picking up the social justice torch that Ali and I had carried. I would like to believe I’m still carrying it”. Kareem is thinking real high of himself if he is comparing himself to Muhammad Ali. He is better off comparing himself with LeBron James whom he outshines in the civil and human rights–not Ali.

Happy Havenly Birthday to “The Greatest”
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LeBron James thinks he is the Greatest.

James was quoted in Sports IIIustrated saying, “Some might claim it’s easy to preach from a pulpit built on stacks of cash. They are wrong. White America doesn’t fully understand the screwy irony that black people can be successful by typical American dream standards but still experience the hollowness of that dream when they drive in their cars and are consistently pulled over by the police for no reason. Remember when Chris Rock posted selfies of being pulled over by police three times in seven weeks for no reason? We can feel fortunate and grateful for our own success but still lament the plight of our friends, family and members of our community who face a shorter life expectancy because of inferior health care, who cope with servere health problems because there are no grocery stores in their neighborhood, who have to use a white name on their resume to be considered for a job.”

Lebron, is the frying pan calling the kettle black. He must have forgotten that when he left high school, he left with stacks of cash. Yes, he grew up black and poor, but he has no track record of participating in marches on city hall to protest black on black murder. He has no track record of organizing students against racism in education for blacks in his school system! So yes, it is easy to preach from the pulpit built on stacks of cash. He is the best example, but it is nothing he has to apologize for. There are many black intertainers and athletes who don’t preach from their pulpit with stacks of cash.

What his history does show and many still remember is when 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a Cleveland cop. He was nowhere to be found while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tamir was holding a toy water pistol in November 2014 when two white cops shot him dead. A month after the incident James was caught talking out of both side of his mouth. He finally addressed the issue in December, he said, “for me I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I have ever spoke on, and to be honest I have not really been on top of this issue. So it is hard for me to comment”.

Come on man, the shots that killed Tamir were heard around the country, but he had not been on top of the issue? He claimed he had briefly heard about activist calling for his help (they wanted him to sit out games). He also said, “I was not completely aware of the social media movement that had sparked on line”. Tamir’s parents had also reached out for his support, he still turned a deaf ear.

Now six years after the Cleveland cop shot 12 year old Tamir Rice dead for playing with a water gun, the Justice Department announced no Federal criminal charges will be brought against the cop who shot him. Lebron James was in Cleveland and he stood by, and said and did absolutely nothing. Two more unarmed black men were shot dead by white cops again in his hometown of Cleveland days before Christmas 2020. He has gone deaf, dumb and blind again. He is being awarded The Muhammad Ali Legacy Award? A thirty-five year old Muhammad Ali would not have stood on the sidelines after Breonna Taylor was shot dead in her bed.

Branson Wright is another example of a spook that sits by the door; he is a Cleveland sports writer (Cleveland Tribune and Undefeated) and a sports talk show host. He was in Washington, DC several years ago seeking support for a documentary about a playground basketball legend. He was referred to me by U. S. A. Today NFL columnist Jarrett Bell (another spook that sits by the door). When I asked him why did he travel from Cleveland to DC seeking financial support when he had ‘King James” in Cleveland?

He said, “I did but, Lebron and his posse ain’t trying to help anyone black. They are there to stunt the growth of other black folks who are trying to get a piece of the pie. They want control, I put my project in his hands. I would see him in the lockeroom after practice and games and he would never mention a word about my project. He would look at me like I was not even there”.

I remember, James was caught on instagram using a rapper’s lyrics saying, “We have been getting that Jewish money, everything is Kosher.” The Jewish community didn’t think it was so kosher. He hurried up an apologize saying, ‘I thought it was a compliment’. A lie will change a thousand times, but the truth never changes. He still wants us to believe, “for me I’ve always been a guy who’s took pride in knowledge of every situation that I have ever spoke on”–what happen to “We have been getting that Jewish money, everything is kosher?”

Lebron James make no mistake, you are no Muhammad Ali in no shape or form. I have never heard Muhammad Ali apologize for any spoken words that he felt were right when it came to defending black people against racism in America. It did not make any difference if it was from the white or Jewish community or spooks who sat by their door.

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Branson Wright-the Spook that sat by the door in Cleveland during the Tamir Rice murder in 2014.

Branson never reached back to me after I tried to make connections for him here in DC. I discovered he was playing both sides of the fence and has since worked his way up to a writer on ESPN’s Undefeated and a spot on HBO. Blacks like him are some of the most insecure and non-trustworthy professionals in sports media, especially black men (liars). These brothers make Jemele Hill look like a world beater (much respect). The truth be told she has more balls than most black men. The insecure black men like Branson Wright have become the norm. There are so many I would have to put them in alphabetical order to list them all.

Shaun King was a writer for the New York Daily News when Tarmin Rice was shot and killed. He wrote in December 2015, “Once in a blue moon the earth gives us a Harry Belaforte or a Muhammad Ali. Lebron James is one of my favorite athletes, the dude has a work effort on and off the court that is unmatched. His character as a husband and father is unquestioned and he appears to be incrediably altruistic and genererous man. Sadly, with his recent comments on the death of 12 year old Tarmin Rice and the lack charges for the officers who killed him , Lebron James has proven that he is no exception to the rule.” In other words, he goes along to get along.

In conversations I had with Muhammad Ali, he only regretted not sticking by Malcomb X. High on that same list was his treatment of Floyd Patterson and Joe Frazier. He said, “If I had to do it all over again it would be different, it is too late for do-overs and I have to keep it moving.”

A MEDIA PRESS TABLE IN BLACK AND WHITE!

I was familiar with the selfish ways of LeBron James. Brian McIntyre before retiring in 2016 was the Vice-President of Media Relations for the NBA after 40+ years. Brian and I met in Houston, Texas during my first NBA All-Star Game. My traveling partner was the legendary Philadelphia basketball icon, Sonny Hill. When we arrived in Houston we checked into our hotel room and went downstairs to pick up our press credentials.

The pressroom was like a ‘Ghost Town” Sonny walked right in and Harold followed him to Mr. McIntyre the man in charge of media credentials. Sonny picked up his credentials with no problem, but he had a problem. Mr. McIntyre said “I didn’t receive your application for credentials and therefore I cannot grant you credentials”. He could not believe my ears. I had just flown in from Washington, DC to Houston, Texas for my first NBA All-Star Game and I was being denied credentials because of missing paper work? I didn’t think to bring a copy. Thanks to a call to Red Auerbach back in DC things were cleared up.

Mr. Mac and I would be like passing ships in the night for the next 40 years, but we would always honk (wave) at each other during our infrequent encounters. My body of work in NBA history is now folklore.

In 1974 a white sports writer Frank Pastor and I decided to integrate the Bullets press table. Frank was a participant of my monthly Inside Sports Media Roundtable. He was all in. I remember clearly like it was yesterday. It was during a New York Knick game. Frank and I were standing at the top of the arena waiting for the usher to grant us permission to return to our seats at the press table. We noticed there was a dividing line separating white media from black media. The dividing line was half-court. White media sat on the left of half-court and black media was relegated to the right side of half-court. Frank and I switched seats and I have been on the Wizard’s ‘Shit list’ since. The benefactors of that switch have no clue as it relates to their seats at a Wizard’s press table or Mr. Mac’s role in requesting credentials for their first NBA All-Star Game in L. A.

Speaking of NBA All-Star games my last one was in Philadephia in the 80s, it was there Mr. Mac and I made a commitment to meet for lunch. We never got around to it until he retired in 2016. That game stands out to me because I was sitting at a table in the press media area with Alicia Keyes. I had no clue who she was or about to become, all I could see was a beautiful woman. It was her first NBA All-Game. I remember Muhammad Ali was in the house and he was being led around the arena by his photographer friend, the late Howard Bingham. It was the first time I notice that Parkinson Desease was apparent.

NBA PIONEER EARL LLOYD’S JOURNEY TO THE NBA HALL OF FAME!

Earl Lloyd was drafted out of West Virginia State in 1950 and played in his first NBA game with the Washington Capitols 195–1951-Syracuse Nationals 1952-1958 Washington. He ended his NBA career with Detroit Pistols in 1960. Earl Lloyd’s coaching career got off to a shaky start, he should hve been the first black head coach in the NBA. Piston General Manager Don Warttrick wanted to hire Lloyd in 1965 as the first black NBA Head coach. The owner threw cold water on that idea. Earl was named the head coach in 1971 but thanks to a munity led by Dave Bing and Bob Lanier he barely lasted a year. His road to Springfield, Mass was another bumy and steep road. Politics kept him out of the CIAA Hall of Fame until Harold told Bighouse Gaines during breakfast at the coach’s home about the slight in 1997. The CIAA righted the wrong in 1998 and inducted him into the hall of fame. Times’ sports’ columnist Dick Heller, Red Auerbach, Congressman John Lewis and Harold teamed up to campaign to get Earl inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. The committee much like the CIAA had overlooked his contributions for decades for reasons known only to them. See Congressman Lewis’ letter below.

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-WASHINGTON, DC 205-1005

October 25, 2000

Mr. Earl Lloyd

200 Riverfront

P.O.B. 1976-Fairfield, Tenn.

Dear Mr. Lloyd:

As a colleague in the civil rights struggle, I am proud to say congratulations to you in celebrating 50 years of integration in the NBA. There is is little doubt that is in 1950 your NBA debut was greeted with cheerleaders and pom-poms by NBA owners and fans. . I really appreciate the sacrifices made by you on behalf of today’s players . I hope that one day soon they will understand who prepared the table for their present day success.

It is great that the NBA and the New York Knicks are finally reconizing your pioneering efforts in New York City on October 31, 2000. Thanks to the efforts of my friends Harold Bell, Sam Jones, and Richard Evans of “Kids In Trouble Inc” we are together in planning a reception on Capitol Hill in your honor.

In closing, I hope you enjoy your special night in New York City. I am looking forward to meeting you on Friday February 9, 2001 during the NBA All-Star weekend next year.

Sincerely,

John Lewis / Member of Congress

Red, Dick and Harold started the campaign in February 1998 (Black History Month) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown DC. The next stop was Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC, on to the Smithsonian Museum in NW DC, and then on to his hometown Alexandria, Virginia for “Earl Lloyd Day.” The tribute was held at the Charles Houston Recreation Center. Final stop, the historic Caverns Jazz Club at 11th and U Streets, NW DC. Red Auerbach was our special guest, it would be the only NBA event he would attend during that weekend.

Black History Month Bolling Air Force Base: Sam Jones (NBA)-James Brown (CBS/NFL)-HBell and Earl Lloyd (NBA)
Earl and I honor Red Auerbach during Black History Month for his contributions as an equal opportuniy employer and the NBA leader in civil rights. The Celtics were the first to draft a black player (Sweetwater Clifton), the first to play five black players at the same time. They were also the first to hire a black coach and General Manager. The city may have been racist-not the Celtics.

In 2016 Alexandria, Virginia native, the late legendary James Henson and I met at the Department Club. The club is a favorite hang-out of the in-crowd in the city. There were at least a half-dozen friends of the late Earl Lloyd in the house to meet with a film crew embarking on a documentary on the life and times of Earl. Mr. Henson and I found a corner to hangout to discuss Earl and my favorite athlete from Alexandria, the great Bubba Ellis.

During the video taping the conversation between Mr. Henson and I came back to the video crew, Mr. Henson thought I was producing the documentary. I explained to him that I had received a call from one of the crew to meet him here at the club for the interview for the documentary. We are now both looking each other saying, “What’s going on on?”

We decided we needed to look into this documentary a little deeper. I begged off on doing the interview because I had to pick up my wife in DC in 30 minutes. I told them if they wanted to interview me they would have to come to DC. This would give me a little more time to check them out. Mr. Henson called me later that evening to tell me he had begged off doing the interview because they were running too late.

When they finally got back to me to re-schedule it would be another week before they could get back to DC. They had a scheduling conflict in North Carolina and they have to work their way back to me.

In the meantime Alexandria, Virginia natives, the late Mr. James Henson and Ms. Char Bar a genealogist, she had been hired by the producer to do research for the project. Thanks to Ms. Bar we were able to put our heads together and discovered a scam was being perpetrated on the NBA and the residents of Alexandria. There were several players who had also fell victims, including Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. I took the scam to the office of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The documentary never made it back to Alexandria, Virginia and it has since disappeared. I later received the following correspondence from the Commissioner.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ADAM SILVER COMMISSIONER May 26, 2017

Mr. Harold Bell ,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me regarding The First To Do It, the documentary on Earl Lloyd. Preserving and honoring our history is very important to the NBA, and during NBA All-Star weekend in February, the National Basketball Players Union hosted Earl Lloyd’s family and other guest for a screening of the film.

Thank you again for taking the time to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Adam Silver

The NBA All-Star Game was played in Washington, DC in February 2000-01 (Black History Month). Earl Lloyd was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003.

In Alexandria, Virginia in 2021 a stature of Earl Lloyd will be placed in the Charles Houston Recreation Center honoring the NBA pioneer. Thanks to Red Auerbach, Dick Heller, Congressman John Lewis and Harold Bell.

This stature of NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd will be displayed at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria , Virginia his hometown in 2021.

MUHAMMAD ALI AND ME “THE CHOSEN ONE”

This was the beginning of the end for the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world George Foreman. Muhammad Ali knocked him out in the 8th round in Zaire, Africa on October 30, 1974. The fight is now known as The Rumble in the Jungle.
He will never forget the time he was at Ali’s training camp in the Poconos Moutains and Ali made him “The Chosen One” when he sent for Harold to come and sit next to him during a press conference. He had Harold conduct the press conference. Security, Pat Patterson stands behind them.

It was five days later after The Rumble in the Jungle on a rainy night Sunday night in Washington, DC, Harold was home sleeping peacefully. It was around 10:30 pm the telephone rang waking him up. He picked up the phone and asked who was calling and a voice said, “Let me speak to Harold Bell” and Harold again said, who is calling and the voice repeated, “Let me speak to Harold Bell” and Harold responded again, who is calling and the voice on the other end yelled back, “Fool this is the heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali”

This time Harold sat straight up in the bed and said, “What’s happening champ?” His wife Hattie had turned over and asked “Who is it?” He whispers, “Its Muhammad Ali”. She looks at him like he was having a bad dream and turns over and goes back to sleep. He re-grouped and congratulates the champion on his fantastic win against all odds.

Ali tells Harold he had just arrived back in the United States. He says, “I am calling to see if you still want to do the interview. The interview I promised you in Chicago after I knocked out Big George”. Harold remembers saying, “Yea man, when, where and how?” Ali, said, “I want you to bring your camera crew here to New York City in the morning. This is the number where I can be reached, see you Monday morning”. He hung up the phone. Even today, forty-six years later, he is still amazed that Ali chose him to give his first interview. This was a historic moment in sports history, in the history of boxing no undisputed heavyweight champion had ever granted an exclusive one on one interview with a black sports media personality. There was Ed Bradley (CBS 60 Minutes), Bryant Gumble (NBC Good Morning America) and Howard Cosell (ABC Sports). Instead, “The Chosen One” was Harold Bell an unknown sports talk show host in Washington, DC.

He was without a camera crew, dead broke and his car was in bad shape. He would not make it to New York Avenue, in NW DC in this car. He took a cold shower and then called Rodney Brown who had accomphanied him to Chicago in August to meet with Ali. He had a difficult time convincing Rodney that Ali had just called. Finally he said, “What’s the problem”? Harold remembers blurting out, “No money, no car and no camera crew”.

Rodney’s response, “chill Harold Bell, Wil Williams and I are here at PBS editing a Black History segment for Black History Month in February. I have the car, Wil has a credit card and PBS has the cameras. We will pick you up around midnight.” They rolled into New York City on Monday morning around 6:30 am. He called the champ in his hotel room and the rest is American sports history.

In November 23, 1975 sports media history was made again when he became the first black to host and produce his own sports special in prime time on NBC afiliate WRC-TV 4 in Washington, DC. His special guest was the Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3I8zZFubB0 / HB & ALI

In 1975 at a dinner given by the DC Chamber of Commerce honoring Ali as the Athlete of the Century, he did something similar. In the middle of the presentation to him by DC Mayor Walter Washington, he asked Harold to stand up at his table in a crowd of 5,000+ people . His wife Hattie looked at him and asked what was going on–he didn’t have clue. The Greatest said “stand up” and he did. Ali asked the Mayor did he know Harold and the Mayor seem as puzzled as Hattie was. Ali pointed to where he was standing and the Mayor said, “Yes I know Harold Bell, who does not know Harold Bell”? Ali didn’t let it go at that, he followed up with, “Harold Bell is my friend and I don’t want anything to happen to him–do you understand? The Mayor looked at Ali and said, “Yes champ I understand”. Ali’s response, “You are not as dumb as you look”. He brought the house down. People were hollering, screaming and laughing. The Mayor even laughed.

DC Mayor Walter Washington presents the DC Chamber of Commerce Athlete of the Century Award to Ali (1975).

Mr. McIntyre and I would finally meet in New York City after his retirement in 2016. Hattie and I would take a train to the Big Apple to have lunch with him. I had finally edited my 1974 one on one interview with Muhammad Ali. I was trying to take it to the next level–documentary. I was hoping he could give me some direction. New York City is known as the media capitol of the world.

One of the angles and avenues I wanted to explore was LeBron James, HBO had given him the rights to produce a special on Muhammad Ali. This was questionable to me, my question, “What did LeBron know about Ali and when did he know it?” He only knew what he had read or what someone had told him! Floyd Mayweather maybe, but not Muhammad Ali.

I explained to Mr. Mac, Hattie and I had met the CEO of Moxie Motion Pictures Dan Levinson recently in New York City. He had viewed the footage and had high praise for what he saw. He later emailed me back in DC that Lebron James had been given the rights to produce a Ali documentary. His next question, “Do you want me to introduce to my friends at HBO” and I said, ‘do it!’ The folks at HBO decided to hold off on talks until after the new year 2017 since the holidays were on top of us (Thanksgiving and Christmas).

In the meantime, January came and went and no follow-up from HBO. Mr. Mac suggested that I give my Ali DVD to LeBron when the Cavaliers made their east coast swing in February coming to New York and then to DC. He said, I am going to be out of town when they come to New York, but I suggest you catch up with him when they come to DC. I know LeBron and Maverick pretty good I looked out for them when they first came into the NBA. Just tell LeBron I told you for him to take a look at the DVD.”

When LeBron and the Cavaliers came into the Verizon Center in February, a sold out arena and I were waiting for them. The Cavaliers were hot and the Wizards were given little or no chance of beating them. I still cannot believe what happen. The Wizards were up by 3 points with 3 seconds left in the game and looking like the winners. The Cavaliers took the ball out under the Wizard’s basket. I don’t remember the player who took the ball out, but he threw a perfect pass the lenght of the court to LeBron standing deep in the corner in front of the Wizard’s bench. He caught the ball and shot it falling into the bench–shot good. The Wizard’s lose in OT!

I worked my way pass a still stun arena to the Cavalier’s lockerroom to wait for the press conference with LeBron. The press is standing toe to toe waiting for the lockerroom door to open, but to our surprise LeBron comes out into the hallway to meet the press. I am leaning against the wall and he is led to where I am standing. I am now standing almost nose to nose with him with my DVD. He is laughing and smiling as he address the media about his shot with 3 seconds left in the game to send the game into OT.

The press conference concludes after about 10 minutes and he has to come through me to get back to the lockerrom. I use the 5 seconds to introduce myself and tell him Mr. McIntyre ask me to give him the DVD. He smiles and says, “okay” and hands the DVD to his media relations guy-never to be heard from again.

This hand-off was highly unusual, you very seldom get an opportunity to pass this type of package off to a star like LeBron without a ‘Middle Man’ intercepting the package. I clearly understood Branson Wright’s dilemma, but I didn’t like the game he was playing.

I would learn through social media that LeBron had teamed up with Antoine Fuqua, Director of Training Day starring Denzel Washington. The Executive Producers were Maverick Carter, and LeBron James–it was the blind leading the blind. “What’s My Name” was the title of the movie-starring Muhammad Ali, but he was no good to them–he was dead. The footage I gave to LeBron was original and rare, but it was only 16 minutes. I held back the rest of the footage because in Hollywood it is always ‘Who Can You Trust?’ The LA is overrun with Spooks who sit by the door (too many names to mention). In Black America you have to suck it up and keep moving and that was exactly what I did.

The CNN review read, ‘The rich trove of material of Ali– from his days as a fresh face amateur named Cassius Clay through his twi-light years, when he was tragically silenced by Parkinson disease–makes him a better candidate for this sort of treatment (airing back to back, the two parts run nearly three hours) than almost anyone . What’s missing , though, are the third party voices that could help contextualize his remarkable life, a stylistic shortcoming that explains why, “Whats My name” scores fewer points than it otherwise might.”

The bottom line, the documentary missed adding authenic living voices like his only living sibling, his brother, Rahman, his daughter, Laila who followed in his footsteps as a boxing champion, his business manager Gene Kilroy, NFL legend Jim Brown and radio sports talk show pioneer, Harold Bell. All were up close and personal with The Greatest. The documentary came up short.

THE COVER BOYS OF INSIDE SPORTS & KIDS IN TROUBLE

NBA scoring champion Dave Bing. “Harold Bell you help prepare me for the NBA”.
Kids In Trouble Saturday Program basketball champions honored by Dave Bing.
Sugar Ray Leonard went from dead broke to become the first professional boxer to earn 100 million dollars in prize money. When he won the welterweight title from Wilfred Benitze, he called Harold live on his sports talk show and said, “Harold I am the welterweight champion because you were there when no one else was”.
CBS and NFL films video tape first ever community promo for national television. NFL MVP RB Larry Brown and teammate LB Harold McLinton teach water safety to inner-city kids. Kids In Trouble founder Harold Bell looks on.
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Washington Pro football team and NFL leading rusher Larry Brown runs for daylight.
NFL Washington Pro football team QB Doug Williams was the first black QB to win a Super Bowl and be named the MVP (1988).
On Doug’s arrival in the Nation’s Capitol I was his guild/advisor to all things community via Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports. New Washington Football coach Ron Rivera gave Doug the late Bobby Mitchell’s old office.

I Came as a Shadow” the audiobiography of John Thompson. I remember “Big Man On Campus” written by the Washington Post columnist Leonard Sharpiro–it was mis-leading. Where does the truth make its home? For example; there is nothing similar to the truth in former Washington Post sports editor George Solomon’s review of the book. His review lets us know “Fake News” is alive and well in the autobiography of John Thompson. “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool them all of the time.”

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Son like father: John Jr follows his father to Georgetown and is fired.

Big John made college basketball history when he became the first black coach to win a NCAA Division One basketball championship. When he took over the reigns at GT in 1972 he could not win a game and could not buy his way on to local radio and television shows to promo GT basketball. The Washington Post pretended he didn’t exist. I gave him 5 minutes on Inside Sports every Monday to promo his team.

GT coach John Thompson participating in a Kids In Trouble community outing in NW DC.
GT coach John Thompson with John Jr standing directly under his elbow during Kids In Trouble annual Christmas toy party at the Marriot Hotel.
Harold was the first sports media personality honored as “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian Magazine.
NFL Washington Football team QB Joe Theisman was a “Washingtonian of the Year”, teammate Mark Mosley looks on.
Former NFL RB Washington Pro football team MVP Larry Brown runs for daylight.
CBS/NFL Films video tape Larry and teammate the late Harold McLinton teach water safety at the Kids In Trouble Saturday Program while program founder Harold Bell looks on. This was the first ever community promo for the NFL (1971).

Harold Bell’s problem, why do we keep allowing others to appoint our heroes in the black community? It is nationally known that Harold Bell contributions in sports media is one of a kind. His Inside Sports talk radio format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the globe. He was officially anointed “THE CHOSEN ONE” by Muhammad Ali in November 1974. The Greatest had just upset the boxing world when he knocked out the undefeated and undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, George Foreman. He then chose Harold to give his first interview on his arrival back in the U. S. Former legedary Washington Star columnist and sports writer, the late Dick Heller who teamed up with Harold and Red Auerbach to campaign to get NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame said, “Harold Bell is the Godfather of sports talk”.

He reminds everyone the media is The Last Plantation. A media pressroom at ‘Deadline’ is second only to a church on Sunday morning when come to segregation in America. He says, “There is the possibility you will find more black faces during a KKK rally than in a newsroom at Deadline”!

The media controls our images of who we are and who they want us to be. Former NBA star Junior Bridgeman understands the landscape and that is why he recently brought a bankrupt Ebony Magazine for 14 million dollars. Bridgeman played 12 years in the NBA, after retirement he became an astute businessman in the fast food industy. He eventually owned over 100 Wendy and Chili restaurants befor selling them in 2016.

He tried to buy Sports lllustrated Magazine recently, but he was outbided. When it looked like he was the frontrunner a group from New York City Authenic Brands Group was recruited to buy the magazine. This group had Warren Buffet and Bill Gates money-Bridgeman had to back off. This scenario reminded me of Bill Cosby when he tried to buy NBC and they were not having it–it was major media. It is all about control–“Until the lions hire their own PR team, the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter”. The same holds true with major media when it comes to Black America.

William Taaffe a former radio and television critic for the Washington Star Newspaper in Washington, DC wrote a lionizing column on Harold in 1978. The column was titled, Talk Show Host Harold Bell Blazes a Path ‘Inside Sports’! Taaffe would later become a media critic for Sports IIIustrated.

Washington Star newspaper media critic William Taaffe leaves no doubt Harold Bell is a Trail Blazer.

In September 2020 the National Association of Black Journalist a group of journalist he had been critical of for five decades honored him with their 2020 pioneer award. He said, “that was the best award that he could ever have received as a sports media personality. These are my people, all black reconizing me. Their recongnition proves that a LIE will change a thousand times but the TRUTH never changes.” Evidently, he made them believe truth does matter.

He said, this award is only second to the exclusive one on one interview with Muhammal Ali after his historic win over George Foreman in November 1974. He was honored by Muhammad Ali ‘The Greatest’ as “The Chosen One” in October 1974. The Greatest made him the first sports media personality he contacted on his arrival back in the United States. The National Association of Black Journalist honored him as their 2020 pioneer.

In the past 50 years there is no sports media personality who has had the impact in changing the way we talk and report sports in America via print media, radio or television than Harold Bell. The NBA-NFL-MLB and NHL have all copied his community reach-back programs in pro sports franchise cities all over America.

Harold Bell, you are the Godfather of sports talk and The Chosen One! HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY CHAMP.

Char McCargo Bah, is the CEO/Founder of

FindingThingsforU, LLC

Living Legends of Alexandria, Virginia

Freelance Writer, Author and Professional Genealogist

Blogs: http://www.theotheralexandria.com

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