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
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.
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 show, our 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 Mouth–Harold 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!”
The Washington Post reveal the obstacles facing blacks in radio and television sports departments in the Nation’s Capitol in the 70s and 80s.The Washington Star’s radio and television critic columnist William Taaffe tells the story how the Inside Sports talk format changed the way we talk sports in America and around the globe.
Hattie and I were invited by Professor Jackie Jones and DeWayne Wickham, the Dean of the School of Communications and Journalism at Morgan State University as their guest for Black History Month. The historical HBCU is located in Baltimore, Maryland. We are surrounded by future journalist students and members of the Morgan faculty. Black students in 2020 will still face an uphill battle to land jobs in journalism. We must remember major media at their deadline is second only to a church on Sunday morning when it comes to racism in America and those who make it are not reaching back to pull other young blacks along with them. We are allowing folks who have never walked in our shoes to tell our history!
“Until the lions hire their own PR firm–the glory of the hunt will always go to the hunter.”
I don’t normally participate in telephone conference calls with folks I don’t know, especially when I don’t have a clue to the format, but there is so much “Fake News” circulating I made an exception when I saw a familiar name in my text message. The call was scheduled for between 8:30 pm and 9:00 pm on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. I was watching the ESPN special “OJ Simpson Made in America!” Those of you not familiar with the story, it’s about an NFL superstar who crossed over and could not or would not find his way back to the other side of town, he was not the first and he will not be the last. OJ and his NFL running partner Jim Brown have a lot in common when it comes to domestic abuse.
I asked my wife to excuse me, I needed to watch “OJ Simpson Made in America” like I needed to watch a re-run of Rodney King that was also made in America.
I made the conference called at 8:45 pm late for the 8:30 starting time and early for the 9:00 pm starting time. I successfully joined the conversation and I listened for several minutes while someone I assumed was talking about the state of America’s newest crisis, the corona-virus and where do we go from here!
I didn’t know whether the person who was doing the talking was the moderator or a participant who had been asked to join the call as I was. When the person doing the talking paused I waited a moment for someone else to jump in and add their two cents, but no-one did, so I did what I do best and added my two-cents.
I am always amazed at how it takes a tragedy for Americans to understand that we are all in this together. The September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City is now known as 9-11. It took a hurricane in 2005 the costliest national disaster in American history. They named it Katrina in the state of Louisiana. The latest disaster the Corona-Virus America welcomes Black Americans to be a part of the landscape. We are now all ONE and in this together—I have seen, read, heard and lived through these acts of disasters!
For example, I have read the accounts of Black Wall Street, Tulsa race riots in 1921, I was in my first year of high school when Emmit Till was lynched in 1955, I was in my my senior year at Winston-Salem State University when four little black girls were blown up in church in Alabama, and Civil Rights leader, Medgar Evers was murdered in his driveway in 1963. I was caught physically in the middle of the race riots before and after the Martin Luther King assassination 1968. I was working in the streets with youth gangs for the DC Department of Recreation & Parks on that April 5th day when our Prince of Peace was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. The Rodney King beat down in 1991 (videotape), teenager Trayvon Martin murder in 2012, Eric Gardiner choked to death on a New York street in broad daylight by New York’s finest. He was murdered by cops for selling loose cigarettes (videotape). I remember all of these events and how it was back to business as usual when the major newspapers ran out of ink to print and NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News lost their signals and appetite to broadcast the truth. We have cable television to thank for keeping hope alive!
What about the children?
This was “White Privilege”, thanks to Justice & Just-Us. America houses more prisoners than anyone else in the world, 80% are Black Americans and we make up only 13% of the population? It would be 90% when you add Hispanics to the mix.
The 1% owns 40% of the nation’s wealth. This is the highest wealth ownership in 50 years. In 10 years it will be 50% and 20 years it will be 60% greed knows no limit.
There will never be any Reparations or an Even Playing Field when it comes to black people who help build this country. They will never give us our “40 acres and a Mule” as promised.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTWMUhYG0Y8/ Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen and White Privilege.
Racism is embedded in the American DNA. We were forewarned in 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson in an Executive Order 11635 asked Michigan Governor Otto Kerner to convene a commission to look into why there was so much unrest in America’s inner-cities (1967 riots). The Kerner Report was completed in February 1968 and it said, “Our nation is moving toward two different societies, one black, and one white.”
The report was a bestseller and over two-million copies were sold. It looks like whites were the only ones who read the report. It is often said, “If you want to hide something from a black man or woman put it in a book”. Fifty-two years later in 2020 the Kerner Report was right, there are two different societies, “One black and One white, separate and unequal! Welcome to the real America! Fifty-two years later it looks like Black folks sat on their hands and did absolutely nothing!
In 1968 Washington, DC was once known as Chocolate City. The last 52 years black mayors have ruled, we have had black school superintendents, a black majority city council, black police chiefs, black DC Delegates, and the Congressional Black Caucus. Still health care (hospitals closed), our public schools are among the worst in the nation, DC leads the nation in HIV AIDS cases, this deterioration of the black community took place during the watch of black leaders who all claimed they were in charge.
There is an annual contest at Duke University for the most
appropriate definition of a contemporary term.
This year’s term was: “Political Correctness”
The winner wrote:
“Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of do-do by the clean end.” Sounds like the winner knew DC politicians!
My first home was a one room shack with an outhouse on Douglas street in NE DC, but still I had enough Common Sense, Street Sense and Book Sense to crossover the politic isle (Republican and Democrat) and find a way to help to enhance young people’s lives that once resembled my very own.
We cannot keep pointing the finger at white folks for our lack of leadership. We keep “Talking the talk, but we are not walking the walk!”
Speaking of an “Even Playing Field”, Dr. Harry Edwards is the architect of the Mexico City Olympic Games in 1968, it was there track and field stars, sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos after receiving their medals raised their black gloved fist on the podium to protest racism in America. The sacrfice by Tommie and John is still etched in my memory. They were ostracized by the Olympic Committee and banished from the village and only recently in 2005 they were honored by their college San Hose State with a 22 foot statue of their protest titled “Victory Salute”!VICTORY SALUTE!
Dr. 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 want to quote my late friend, Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings, he said,
“When you are dancing with the angels the question will be asked in 2019, what did you do to make sure we kept our Democracy intact. Did you stand on the sidelines and do (and say) nothing?”
Hopefully, when I am dancing with Angels and not with the devil, when the question is asked, “What did Harold Bell do?” When they look me up on GOOGLE or on You tube they will see and read “When I saw something I said something!” Now ask yourself, ‘What will be in my wallet when I am dancing with the Angels?’ Congressonal Black Caucus & Kids In Trouble Remember and Honor Congressman Elijah Cummings
Noteworthy: Jesse Jackson became a prophet when he said, “When White America catches a cold, Black America catches pneumonia” Amen!
WHEN A HERO AIN’T NOTHING BUT A SANDWICH IN BLACK AMERICA!
While I was making children first, people around me were making money first and going to the bank by any means necessary–My Bad!
I know exactly where I was when our Prince of Peace Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. I was standing on the corner of 9th and U streets NW with my co-worker the late Green Bay Packer great Willie Wood on that fateful April 4th day in 1968. In the 60s and 70s I worked with youth gangs and with at-risk children in the NW Cardozo/Shaw corridor of Washington, DC. Willie would work as a teacher in the NFL off season before he joined the DC recreation Department’s Roving Leader Program. The riots almost destroyed our town.
Children were coming up missing and being murdered in Atlanta, Georgia. I celebrated my birthday at the Foxtrappe to raise money to help search for the killer or killers. TV news anchors Maureen Bunyan, Lark McCathy and DJ Donnie Simpson were in attendance.
During the 1968 riots little children were seen in the streets taking home the booty–cops had taken the day off.
I met Muhammad Ali in 1967 on the campus of Howard University and we became life-time friends. After his speech to the students I took him on a tour of the Georgia Avenue NW corridor which led us to 7th T Street, NW. The common denominator–we both loved children.
The No. 1 theme song in Black America in 2020 is still “WE SHALL OVERCOME.” This is 60+ years after our Prince of Peace Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis,Tennessee on April 4, 1968. President Lyndon Johnson would convene a panel to study urban unrest led by the Governor of Illinois, Otto Kerner. The final analysis, the “Kerner Report” said, “We are headed for two Americas, One Black and One White!” Here we are in 2020 just as the report predicted–no one was listening.
In 1969 I encountered my old friend President Richard Nixon on that same NW 7th street corridor while he was inspecting the riot area. His Secret Service detail would not let me anywhere near him and one suggested that I write the President a letter and I did.
Coincident, I will never know, but the Nixon encounter would lead me to a Presidential appointment. In the late 50s I caddied for him on the weekends at the all-white exclusive Burning Golf Course in Bethesda, Maryland a suburb of Washington, DC. The appointment would lead to a position on the Presiident’s Council on Physica Fitness & Sports and finally I switched jobs to the Department of Defense under the leadership Melvin Laird in November 1969.
In 1970 I found the first ever half-Way House for juvenile deliquents on a Military Installation on Bolling Air Force Base in SE DC. The in-house residents were from the overcrowded facilities in DC.
In 1972 with the blessings of my mentor radio and television legend Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene I became the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show in Washington, DC. “Inside Sports” would change the way we talked and reported sports in America. The show was the first ever to blend sports and politics in a talk radio format. The show was heard on W-O-O-K Radio on the 1340 AM dial the worst signal in broadcast media. The station was own by Richard Eaton and was called the United Broadcasting Company. It had a black format but was white own (little has changed).
W-O-O-K would help lay the foundation for my success in broadcast media. Bud Myers (GM), Cliff Holland (Community Relations), on air personalities, John “Turk” Edwards, Ernie Fields, Carl Furgerson, and Ralph Colbert all help make my transition smooth and without a hitch–we were family. The first legend to be a guest host on my show was NBA Coach Red Auerbach and his lovely wife Dotie.
Dotie and Red are both taken by surprise by my guest, tennis legend Jimmy Connors via telephone.
My broadcast odyssey would take me from W-O-O-K radio to NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 in 1975. It was here I would become the first Black to host and produce my own television sports special in prime time. My special guest was Muhammad Ali.
I had no clue this broadcast odyssey would lead to over 20 potenial millionaires appearing on my sports talk show or being assisted by my non-profit organization Kids In Trouble before their 15 minutes of fame.
I remember in the late 70s as I became an influential radio personality in the Nation’s Capitol, the familiar cry was “Brother Harold can you help me please!” Some familiar names of some of those seeking support or vying for time on my popular talk show reads like a Who’s Who.
Former kids in trouble benefactors were little Alfred and his mother Cathy Hughes. When Cathy was working as receptionist for W-H-U-R Radio and struggling as a single parent she asked me to be a Big Brother to her father-less child little Afred. Former boy friend and kid in trouble benefactor, Jeff Majors and his Harp were also kicked to the curb. Networth $460 million.
Adrian Dantley played 15 years in the NBA, I contacted his mother Virginia in 1981 that I had inside information that Adrian’s agent David Fark was using money out his account to invest in his own endeavors and not his. She was a non-believer. His new wife Dinitri decided to do an audit, she discovered that millions of dollars went unaccounted. Dantley sued in court, but for some reason decided to settle out of court with a non-disclosure clause (he also represented Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Morning, John Lucas, etc)! It is little wonder that Dantley can now be seen working as a school crossing guard. In 2020 his networth is $1.5 million dollars and Falks networth is $50 million!! Several years ago I was walking down Georgia Avenue in NW DC in the rain. A Rolls Royce pulled over to the curb, It was Adrian Dantley offering me a ride. I said, “No thanks”, I remembered, he had forgotten how to say, ‘thank you’. I would rather get soaking wet!
DC Superior Court Judges Luke Moore, Eugene Hamilton and Harry Alexander give NBA players Larry Wright, Adrian Dantley and Kermit Washington “Kids In Trouble Citizenship Awards” during a charity basketball game at Georgetown University.
Then along comes John, better known as John Thompson, Jr., basketball coach at Georgetown Unversity. He was the first black to win a NCAA Division One Basketball Championship. I knew him when he was attending my alma mater Brown Middle School in NE DC. There was a popular basketball court directly across the street from the school. Players would come from all over the city to play. One evening I chose Big John to play on my team, I needed a rebounder.
For some reason Big John became little John and started to take jumpshots. I found myself rebouding the ball–that was a no-no. I was the shooter and he was suppose to be the rebounder. I banished him from the court. He had to sit on ‘The Hill’ until Sandy Freeman or Bob ‘Batman’ Grier his mentor shown up.
When he was named the first black coach at Georgetown University and had trouble winning a game his first couple of years, I gave him five-minutes on Inside Sports every Monday evening to promo and support his team. He repaid me by selling me out to Nike Shoes. In 1978 I was the first ever Nike rep in the DMV. I approached John about becoming my first college client, he said, “Lets talk tomorrow”, tomorrow became today. He went behind my back and called Nike and made his own shoe deal. He later named someone outside of-our community to be his play-by- play voice (W-O-O-K Radio) for Georgetown basketball. He named someone other than Ron Sutton, or Greg Mosso of W-H-U-R Radio. He claimed he confronted DC drug czar Rayfield Edmonds, telling him to back off of hanging out with his players.
The Police Chief was Maurice Turner a native Washingtonian during those trying times with drugs in this town. DC was then known as “Chocolate City.” I met with Maurice after the so called confrontation and he said, “Big John was calling me every 15 minutes to check to see if I had his back, he was scared to death, I convinced him he was never out of our sight.” His wife Gwen is one of the nicest people that I know and he cheated on her and his best friend an assistant coach Bob Grier. Bob was engaged to Mary Finley the acedemic advisor for the team when he took her to Las Vegas and everything they did in Las Vegas didn’t stay in Las Vegas. During the divorce proceedings he was threatening his wife hiding behind trees outside of her residence.
She was frighten and didn’t know what to do and finally her lawyer called me for some advice. Mrs. Thompson took Big John to the hoop and slammed dunked on him and they settled out of court. After the settlement she didn’t forget Kids In Trouble and made a substantial donation to the program. Georgetown rewarded John with a building bearing his name on campus proving crime does pay.
Merlin Wilson and his Georgetown teammates help serve the children at my Kids In Trouble annual Christmas toy party at the Twin-Bridges Marriot Hotel in Alington, Virginia. This was before Big John became a race-baiting intimidator among white college coaches. How soon we forget! Networth: $5 million dollars.
Nike store manager Laura Somerset and I present Nike shoes and apparel to Congressman Walter Fauntroy in his DC office.
FAMILIAR NAMES OF BENEFACTORS OF KIT & INSIDE SPORTS: MILLIONAIRES WHO FORGOT (THEIR NETWORTH)
CATHY & ALFRED (URBAN ONE RADIO & TV) $460 MILLION
GEORGE FOREMAN (BOXER) $300 MILLION
DON KING (DON KING PRODUCTIONS) $150 MILLION
GRANT HILL (NBA) $250 MILLION
SUGAR RAY LEONARD (BOXER) $120 MILLION
JIM BROWN (NFL) $50 MILLION DOLLARS
JAIR LYNCH (OLYMPIC GYMNAST) $13 MILLION
TONY PAIGE (NFL) $15 MILLION DOLLARS
TIM BAYLOR (MORGAN/NFL) $25 MILLION
BILL RHODEN $8 MILLION (MORGAN STATE/NY TIMES)
MAUREEN BUNYAN (TV ANCHOR) $10 MILLION
JAMES BROWN (CBS/NFL) $10 MILLION
OLDEN POLYNIECE (NBA) $10 MILLION
MICHAEL WILBON (ESPN) $16 MILLION
PAUL BERRY (TV ANCHOR) $16 MILLION
DAVE BING (NBA) $5 MILLION
DONNIE SIMPSON (BET) $5 MILLION
JOHN THOMPSON (GT BASKETBALL) $3 MILLION
VIRGINIA ALI (BEN’S CHILI BOWL) $2 MILLION
DAVE ALDRIDGE (ESPN, TNT) $1.5- MILLION
ADRIAN DANTLEY (NBA) $1.5 MILLION
LARRY FITZGERALD, SR (ESPN) $10 MILLION
TRACY JACKSON (NBA) 1.5 MILLION
KEVIN BLACKISTONE (ESPN) $100,000-ONE MILLION DOLLARS
DOUG WILLIAMS NFL / $100,000-ONE MILLION
CALVIN HILL NFL / $100,000-ONE MILLION DOLLARS
WILLIE WOOD NFL HALL OF FAME PLAYER AND PIONEER DIED IN FEBRUARY HIS NETWORTH AT THE TIME OF HIS PASSING–DEAD BROKE!
IF THERE IS A MIS-CALCULATION MY TELEPHONE NUMBER IS 240-334-7174
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTWMUhYG0Y8/ Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen speaks for Stephan A. Smith, Michael Wilbon, James Brown, Kevin Blackistone, and on and on! Some liars-liars with their pants on fire meet Michael Wilbon and James Brown
THE WILLIAM JAMES FAMILY TREE
MUHAMMAD ALI and me sitting on a mountain top somewhere in the Pocono Mountains in 1973
DONOVAN MITCHELL, SR (HOUSTON ASTROS MINOR LEAGUES) somewhere in the minor leagues in the1990s
DONOVAN MITCHELL, JR (NBA UTAH JAZZ) somewhere in the NBA in 2020
When my wife Hattie came up with the tag “INSIDE SPORTS” in 1972 for my new sports talk show, we had no idea that the tag would travel globally. Every media vehicle in the world now uses INSIDE in some shape or form to introduce news stories for their network, unheard of before “INSIDE SPORTS” and Hattie Bell in Washington, DC.
I remember we were having dinner one evening when I told her I needed a title for my new show. I don’t think she looked up from her plate and said, “INSIDE SPORTS.” From the very beginning I knew it sounded like a great fit, but I had to ask her how did she come up with the tag. Her explanation was logical and made sense to me. She said, “You come up with behind the scenes news before anyone else in news media.” I had gotten my start in radio sports talk with my mentor the legendary radio and television talk show host Petey Greene on WOL Radio in the late 70s. He had the No. 1 radio talk show ‘Petey Greene’s Washington’ heard every Sunday evening on WOL Radio. He gave me 5 minutes every Sunday to talk sports. The rest is sports talk show history.
For the first time in American history a virus has shutdown pro sports in America. The NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, WNBA, pro tennis, golf, soccer all have cacelled, delayed or postponed their seasons. Sports on college campuses have cancelled or postponed games in every sport.
Once again, 48 years later I am a part of the INSIDE story. NBA Utah Jazz All-Stars, center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the conronavirus. Gobert tested positive minutes before the Jazz were to face the Houston Rockets in Houston. The game was postponed just before tip-off and the confusion could be seen on the faces of the players standing on the court.
The postponements has turned into an unwanted family affair for me. The 2018 Rookie of the Year and Slam Dunk Champion Donovan Mitchell, Jr. is my cousin. His father Donovan Mitchell, Sr. is the Player Relations Director for the New York Mets Major League Baseball team. He has been a member of the Mets for two-decades. He played in the minor leagues for 7 years before moving to the front office of the Mets. Donovan Sr. was just honored by the team for his two-decades of service with the organization. The Mets cancelled spring training and will delay the start of the regular season for at least two-weeks.
Donovan, Jr. tested positive for the virus shortly after his teammate and friend Rudy Gobert was tested. Out of 58 others tested in the Utah Jazz family only Gobert and Mitchell tested positive. The two have been a one-two punch for the Jazz for the past two seasons. Donovan averaged 24 points a game during his rookie year, adding 4 assist and 4 rebounds to make him a rising star in the NBA. He won the NBA Slam Dunk contest his rookie year, but decided not to defend his championship at this year’s All-Star Game, but he was on pace to match last year’s stats, averaging 22 points a game, adding 4 assist and 4 rebounds before the virus interuppted the 2020 season.
Donovan, Jr. hails from Elmsford, New York, during his younger years he could be found hanging out in Major League baseball lockerrooms, but a injury playing baseball as a teenager would change his career path that would take him to the NBA. He played AAU Basketball for the city and the Riverside Hawks both programs out of New York City. In 2010 he was present at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich Village when his idol LeBron James announced to the world he was signing with the Miami Heat.
His next stop after graduating from high school in New Hampshire would lead him to the University of Louisville, instead of one and done he would spend two-years in college before opting out for the 2018 NBA draft. He was selected as the first pick in the 13th round by the Utah Jazz.
To me he was just another rising star among the dozens that enter the NBA every year via the draft or as a free agent, but my Aunt Elaine Stone would change all of that.
The Bell/Mitchell Family Tree: My mother was born in Sumpter, SC and came to Washington, DC at an early age after the sudden deaths of her parents who were educators. My great-uncle Attorney William James was the first black lawyer to pass the bar in Sumpter. Donovan Sr. is the son of Tina Mitchell whose parents were Frankie and Louis, my mother’s first cousins. Donovan would spend his early years being raised by his grand parents Frankie and Louis. When he was around the age of 4 or 5 his grandfather Louis had a health problem and Donovan, Sr and his grandmother Frankie went to live with Aunt Elaine. My Aunt Elaine is a member of the James Family Tree and my Uncle Billy’s favorite niece. I was Uncle Billy’s least favorite nephew. I heard him telling my mother one day, “Mattie you have got to stop spoiling that kid.” I thank God she never did!
I am holding the plaque honoring my uncle William B. James induction into the South Carolina Black Hall o Fame. It reads 2000 Honoree William B. James–Attorney and Civil Rights Activist. Presented by The United Black Fund of The Midlands, Inc. June 30, 2000 Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, Columbia, South Carolina. Other than my mother my uncle Billy was the only one I wanted to please in the James Family Tree. I would think he is looking down and saying, “Job well done my son.” My wife’s father Dr. Charles H. Thomas a Civil Rights icon in Orangeburg, SC was inducted into the same hall of fame in 2007. The connection proves “An apple does not fall too far from the tree” especially, when one takes a stand to help others.
When Uncle Billy came to visit at my Cousin/Aunt Evelyn’s or Aunt Mary’s homes, my mother would say, “Your Uncle Billy is looking for you.” I would disappear without a trace until it was time to eat. He would sit across the dinner table and say, “Where have you been boy, are you staying out of trouble?” My response, ‘Yes sir, Uncle Billy.’ He was inducted into the Black South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2000 as a Civil Rights Activist and Attorney. I was to attend his induction ceromonies in Columbia, South Carolina, but for some reason I missed that great honor.
My work as a outspoken Youth Advocate and sports talk show radio pioneer can be found in my DNA Family Tree with Attorney William James.
I found my cousins Donovan Sr. and Donovan Jr. by accident while attending a dinner at my Cousin Charlita’s house during the Christmas holidays in 20017. Unbeknownst to me my Aunt Elaine had been living less than an hour away in Columbia, Maryland for close to a decade. We exchanged numbers and before I knew it she was celebrating her 100th birthday in June 2019. I marked my calendar for this blessing. Aunt Elaine was the first member of my family that I knew lived long enough to celebrate a 100th birthday. As faith would have it my car went south on me (no brakes) and we missed her 100th birthday celebration. How many times does one get to celebrate the 100th birthday of a family member–they only turn 100 once. I kept promising Aunt Elaine that Hattie and I would drive to Columbia one day and carry her to lunch.
Meeting my Aunt Elaine for the first time with Hattie T during the Thanksgiving holidays at my cousin Charlita’s home in NE DC in 2017 was a blessing in disguise.
In the meantime, I was trying to put the finishing touches on my book and Ali documentary. As it is often said. “TIME waits for no one!” I looked up and it was November 2019 and I still had not gotten to Columbia, but Aunt Elaine and I had been talking on the phone. I decided to mail her a copy of my new book “Harold Bell’s Walk Through American Sports History With Champs & Chumps!” Several days later I received a call from Aunt Elaine saying how much she enjoyed the book, and I was not the only Super-Star in the family! I laughed and said, ‘Aunt Elaine you are definitey a Super-Star,’ Her response, ‘No not me, you have a cousin that plays in the NBA, Donovan Mitchell.’ I really didn’t have a clue to whom Donovan Mitchell was, I seldom watch the NBA All-Star Game anymore and therefore I missed the All-Rookie game and slam dunk contest. All these showcases belonged to Donovan his rookie year. I did a little research and discovered this young brother was truly a rising star in the NBA.
My Aunt Elaine had another bomb to drop on me. She revealed that Donovan Mitchell, Sr. was the Player Relations Director for the MLB New York Mets’ team. More research, I discovered he had been a player in the Minor League system for almost a decade, he was hired in the Mets front office after his career move to the major leagues was stalled. I made a call to the Mets administrated office and asked for Donovan Mitchell and IDed myself as his long lost cousin via his Aunt Elaine.
In November my Muhammad Ali documentary was ready to make its debut on the Big Screen 45 years after the fact. The vehicle would be the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill, Sunday November 24, 2019. Hattie and I decided to invite Aunt Elaine and celebrate her 100th belated birthday. I called Donovan, Sr. and invited him to be a part of the celebration live or by memorex, he chose memorex.
The documentary debute of “I Remember Ali” celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle was a smashing success. Aunt Elaine stole the show when I introduced her to the audience and gospel vocalist Robin Sugar Williams led us into singing “Happy Birthday” to her. MC Sylvia Traymore (comedian), Black Men in Americ.com (CEO and Publisher) Gary Johnson and Marc Clarke (W-H-U-R Radio) presented her with a bouquet of flowers. She enjoyed every moment and so did we. The video tribute from Donovan Sr. arrived late and I could add to the program.
VIDEO TRIBUTE FROM DONOVAN SR. IN HIS OWN WORDS!
“Hey Aunt Elaine,
Its Donovan, I just wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday—I know I am late please don’t hold that against me, but I love you and I miss you. I am wishing you the best. Wish I could have been there with you for your birthday, but I just been running around doing a lot of things. I know it has been awhile since I seen you and the family, but a lot of things have changed. I got my two-kids. I am still working with the NY Mets. I have been in professional baseball for 27 years. But all the love and support you guys gave me when I was growing up I am still chasing these dreams! I want to wish you the best, thank you for everything—and I hope you are well–take care of yourself.”
On February 28, 2020 I would meet my young cousin Donovan Mitchell, Jr. for the first time. The Utah Jazz would be visiting the Washington Wizards at the Capital One arena in downtown, DC. I almost blew the opportunity to meet the rising NBA star. I had mis-read the Wizard’s schedule. The game was played on a Sunday evening. Things got worse I could not find Donovan on the floor or on the bench during the first half of the game. I was beginning to think he didn’t make the trip or had taken ill. During half-time I checked with one of the security people for the Wizards and discovered Donovan was being held out this game and was relaxing in the lockerroom. The Jazz coaching staff was right, they didn’t need him to beat the Wizards.
My editor Larry Law and I waited outside the lockerroom waiting for the all clear signal to enter. The first player in the door way to the lockerroom was Donovan. He was standing and talking with a friend/fan with a big smile on his face. I waited my turn to introduce my self. Finally, I was able to say hello and tell him I was his long lost cousin via the James Family Tree. Like most of today’s young people he was not aware of his family history.
Aunt Elaine smelling the flowers on her belated 100th birthday on November 24, 2019 at the Miracle Theatre in Washington, DC and me and Donovan in the Jazz lockerroom at Capitol One Arena.
His broad smile never left his face during the conversation. I told him I had talked with his father in New York several days ago giving him an update. I asked him if he was aware that he had a great-aunt living here in the area who had recently turned 100 years-old? His eyes got bigger with the response, “I had no idea!” You could tell he was a people person. There are times when young pro athletes experience his kind of early success early in their careers, they are withdrawn and sometimes hard to find. Donovan was a class act and as I like to say, ‘He was an officer and gentleman.’ He took the time-out to take a couple of photos and we exchanged numbers. You could tell he was very polished when it came to the media. All the credit I am sure goes to Donovan Sr. who exposed him to star athletes and media personalities in MLB lockerrooms during his minor league playing days and front office duties with the New York Mets.
This was one time in my media career I could have done without being INSIDE SPORTS. Since Donovan and his teammate Rudy Gobert were tested positive for the virus a total of 58 front office personel and players of the Utah Jazz have been tested and only the two players have tested positive. Donovan Sr. was tested on Thursday. Father and son were together when the Jazz played in New York against the Knickerbockers recently.
Let us keep the entire family in prayer along with the entire NBA family and friends. Donovan Jr. was recently on the televison news saying, “Whats up everybody Donovan Mitchell here just want to thank you guys so much for your continued support man it means a lot to me I feel fine things are going well just taking the proper precautions I have been told by the health authorities I have to stay in isolation, so lonely in here playing video games all day. I cannot wait to get back out there on the floor and play in front of some of the best fans in the world, really missed playing in front of you guys—I see you guys soon.” Last report Donovan Sr. was tested and given the “All Clear” and Donovan, Jr. has been seen on the television news saying, “I am feeling great!” Lets keep praying!
Up Date: Local boy Kevin Durant and three Brooklyn Nets have tested positive for virus joining Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
KOBE BRYANT AND DAUGHTER GIGI KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH ON SUNDAY JANUARY 26, 2020
His wife Vanessa paid tribute to him and her daughter Gi Gi and the seven other victims at the Staples Center home of the LA Lakers on February 24, 2020. Kobe was known in the NBA as the Black Mamba. The Black Mamba is one of the world’s deadliest snakes and the fastest land snake in the world. Kobe adopted the name from a character in a Quentin Tarantino movie, “Kill Bill” an assassin. He thought the description would fit his play on the basketball court. He did a little research and took the name. He was anything but a snake after his NBA basketball career. He became a teacher and hero to his daughters and other young children when he opens the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oakes, California to train young athletes. RIP Black Mamba.
NFL & HALL OF FAME PLAYER WILLIE WOOD DIES OF DEMENTIA
Willie’s homegoing service was held at the Bible Way Baptist Church in his hometown of Washington, DC on February 19, 2020. He was truly a pioneer, the first black starting QB for the University of Southern California. He was overlooked in the NFL draft and wrote a letter to Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers and the rest is NFL history. Willie was selected to the Pro Bowl 8 times and was an All-Pro 9 times during his 12-year career. The Packers won 5 NFL Championships and two Super Bowls on his watch. Coach Vince Lombardi called him “My Coach on the field.” Willie led the league in punt returns and interceptions. He was the first black head coach in modern-day pro football when he was named to coach the Philadelphia Bell in the WFL. The league folded and he became the first black head coach in the Canadian Football league for the Toronto Argonauts. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989. RIP my friend.
SOMEONE HELP BLACK WBC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION DEONTAY WILDER HE HAS FALLEN AND CANNOT GET UP!
Tyson Fury predicted he would knockout Wilder in the second round of their rematch. On February 22, 2020, he was five-rounds late and took him out in the 7th round. A third and rubber match would be more of the same. Deontay Wilder’s days in pro boxing have come and gone at the age of 35. The late boxing historian Bert Sugar and I often talked about finding our own “White Hope” in pro boxing to carry us to the bank. We missed the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir from the UK and now Tyson Fury.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nygALb50FV4 / Geraldo-Bert Sugar-Jack Newfield and I talk boxing and “The White Hope!”.
We always want to blame others for our station in life, for example, from 1969-2020 Black Mayors have been in charge (50+ years). We can start with our first black mayor, Walter Washington and present mayor, Muriel Bowser. When I read in a community newspaper that Ward 5 City Councilman Ken McDuffie had to write a bill into law to have a course in Black History added to the DC Public School’s curriculum, I could not believe my eyes. Black History Month February 2020 marked 50+years of blacks in-charge of the city and no classes were being taught in BlackHistory? Every Superintendent/Chancellor of education has been a person of color! Something is wrong with this picture. DC Mayor the late Walter Washington and I tour the 1968 riot corridor of Georgia Ave. NW with a stop at Banneker playground.
DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND BLACK HISTORY / Mayor Muriel Bowser is often seen hugging and kissing black babies while selling out black children. We often question why high profile government officials like President Obama and others bypass the DC Public School system–look no further than a lack of leadership!
The Mayor’s co-conspirators are the DC Police Department, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, School Chancellor Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Council Persons, Vincent Gray, Arnita Barnes, and Trayon White, and any other city official who claimed to be a person of color. Mayor Bowser just signed on to support “The King of Stop & Frisk”, former New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg. He is campaigning to become President of the United States. She is campaigning for a job if he becomes President, her time runs out in the Mayor’s Office in 2020.
On Thursday, February 27, 2020, I was the guest speaker at the School of Communications on the campus of HBCU Morgan State University for Black History Month. I was sad that I had to bring breaking news from my hometown Washington, DC that Black History was being suppressed had taken a turn for the worse, but there was some light at the end of the tunnel. DC City Councilman Ken McDuffie (Ward 5) had just written a bill into law that Black History will be added to the curricullum of the DC Public Schools. I had no clue that a course in Black History was not being taught in our schools when I served on the Community School Board in the late 80s under Superintendent Andrew Jenkins. I took for granted that Black American History was being taught in our classrooms. The students pointed out to me that their city was also in crisis. The former Black Mayor Catherine Pugh had just been sentence to three-years in prison for corruption.
STOP & FRISK IN WASHINGTON, DC WITH TICKETS GIVEN TO 70% BLACKS and 86% WERE STOPPED FOR NON-TICKET OFFENSES? These “Stop & Frisk” tactics were used by the DC Police Department. They are against the law, but evidently, DC cops think they are above the law. This tactic has been declared unconstitutional in cities around the country. The buck should have stopped at the Mayor’s office.
Montgomery County, Md. motorcycle cops take a lunch break at Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington, DC with historian Harold Bell.
In the meantime, Black on Black murder spikes in DC. In the first two months of the year it is the worst it has been since 2010. All on the watch of DC Police Chief Peter Newsome.
STOP & FRISK IN WASHINGTON, DC WITH TICKETS GIVEN TO 70% BLACKS and 86% WERE STOPPED FOR NON-TICKET OFFENSES? These “Stop & Frisk” tactics were used by the DC Police Department. They are against the law, but evidently DC cops think they are above the law. This tactic has been declared unconstitutional in cities around the country. The buck should have stopped at the Mayor’s office.
WHEN BLACK WAS NOT BEAUTIFUL!
In 2017 Mayor Bowser hands the keys to the city to DC Police Chief Peter Newsome. Newsome is a known alcoholic and has a history of domestic violence. TV channels 4, 5 and 9 have all done exposes on his law-enforcement career. Crime has spiked every year he has been in office! Ward 8 the home of City Councilman Trayvon White is considered the most dangerous place to visit after dark.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH FEBRUARY 2020
FIRST EVER: BLACK PG COUNTY COP ARRESTED FOR KILLING HANDCUFFED BLACK MAN!
BLACK COPS FIRED FOR ARRESTING SIX-YEAR-OLD BLACK FLORIDA SCHOOL CHILD!
BLACK BALTIMORE MAYOR SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN JAIL FOR CORRUPTION!
NO PERSONS OF COLOR PARTICIPATING IN SUPER TUESDAY!
The front-runners for the Democratic Party are former Vice-President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Hopefully, March will blow ill-winds and blow ill people out of office and out of our community in November 2020.
This is a Black American History Moment
We are given little credit for living and get little or no credit in death for our life here on earth.
The Washington Post broke the mold during Black History Month on Thursday, February 6, 2020. In a story written in the obituary section titled, “Packer’s star defensive back key to Super Bowl l Victory!” In an unusual turn of events, the Washington Post gave native Washingtonian Willie Wood credit for living and dying in America, but it backfired on them.
The last DC Public School black coach/athlete whose obituary appeared in the Washington Post and whose name was not Joe Gallagher or Morgan Wooten, was my Spingarn High School coach, Dave Brown (Elgin Baylor), thanks to sports editor George Solomon I wrote his obituary. Legendary athletes and coaches like Fairmont Heights HS basketball coach, Kenny Freeman, Spingarn HS coach, William Roundtree (Dave Bing), Gary ‘One-Arm-Bandit) Mays (Coach Charlie Baltimore) are given no credit for their accomplishments in this Game Called Life. Mays for example, is the only one-armed baseball player to hit a homerun out of old Griffin Stadium in Washington, DC. He also did what was thought impossible, he helped to hold Elgin Baylor the greatest basketball player to ever come out of DC to 18 points. This was well below his 40 point average. The feat helped Armstrong to win the segregated Division II Public High School Championship. Roland ‘Fatty’ Taylor is a ABA/NBA trailblazer (Fairmont Heights HS). He is the only player out of DC to excel in both the ABA and NBA, and last but not least, James Ratif, Eastern HS was a first-team All-Met and All-American basketball player when he died in January 2020. The story of their demise never appeared in the Washington Post.
Gary Mays “The One Armed Bandit” Armstrong High School’s Boy Wonder
The Washington Post carried a story on the death of my Spingarn high school coach Dave Brown. He saved me and Elgin Baylor from the mean streets of DC. “Breaking the Faith” was a commentary I wrote in the Washington Post. This was a story exposing Pimps in our Church Pulpits and do-nothing politicians in leadership positions in the DMV.
My Inside Sports documentary was first reported in the Washington Afro by writer James Wright. I was a freelance writer for the Afro for over a decade.
The obituary story written on Willie Wood in the Washington Post was planted by a thief, his legal adviser and former college teammate (back-up QB), Attorney Bob Schmidt. He came out of hiding after 13 years to try to reclaim the spotlight that Willie stole from him in the 50s. He never forgot that it was Willie who sent him to the bench at the Universty of Southern California where he was the starting QB until Willie arrived. He tried to get revenge in 2007. He and his family scammed Willie out of $60,000 at a charity tribute held in Willie’s honor in Georgetown.
In the spring of 2006 a group of Willie’s boyhood friends, Frank Smith, Lester Lewis, Andrew Johnson, his sister Gladys, her husband Charles ‘Chink’ Hawkins and I were visiting Willie at The Manor Care Rehab and nursing facility. The facility was located in Hyattsville, Md. He had just vacated the best rehab center in the DMV at the Washington Hospital Center. The everyday regiment of rehab Willie found a little difficult–enter Manor Care.
During his stay at Manor Care, we became concerned about his mounting nursing home bills and his deteriorating health (the first signs of dementia). Bob Schmidt was also in the building along with Willie’s friend sports columnist the late Dick Heller of the Washington Times. The topic of discussion centered around a way to raise money to help meet some of the financial needs of a new nursing home for him.
We put our heads together and decided first, we needed to find another rehab facility in DC and organize a fundraising tribute. One month later a decision was made that Bob Schmidt and I would be the co-organizers for the fundraiser. In the meantime, Willie moved to The Residences an assisted living facility located on Massachusetts Avenue and Thomas Circle in NW Washington DC. It was a great facility.
Schmidt found a restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront to host the fundraiser and suddenly left town for almost a month leaving me with the day to day operations for the tribute.
Thanks to Dick Heller (PR) and committee members, Andrew Johnson, Frank Smith, Maggie Linton, and Lester Lewis we managed to make the necessary contacts to pull the tribute off. I must give an assist to the Gun Show that was being held in Chantilly, Virginia on that same weekend. Heller discovered that the gun show had invited several players from around the NFL to participate.
Their role was to sign autographs for the thousands of gun enthusiasts from around the east coast who would be in attendance. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found out my friend NFL legendary running back Jim Brown was one of the guests for the gun show.
Bob Schmidt was not a happy camper when I told him that Jim would be our contact for NFL players participating in the tribute. He said, “I don’t think that is a good idea, Jim Brown is a troublemaker and he will try to take over the event!”
Players invited by Jim to participate in the tribute on March 16, 2007 read like a Who’s Who in the NFL. There was TE John Mackey (Baltimore Colts), QB Bart Starr, DE Willie Davis, RB Paul Hornung, and WR Max McGee, (Green Bay Packers), Lenny Moore (Baltimore Colts) Lance ‘Bambi’ Alworth (San Diego Chargers), LB Sam Huff, and WR Charlie Taylor (Washington Redskins). The event was flooded with NFL hall of Famers and All-Pro players.
Hazel Hawkins and Delores Pruden with NFL legends Charlie Taylor (Redskins) and Willie Davis (Packers) enjoy the evening.
Former Green Bay Packer great Paul Hornung pose for photo with Delores Pruden, Delores Sams, Salim Edwards and his son Ahmad.
The late comedian Dick Gregory shares a laugh with comedian Ernie Fields and his partner Cockroach the dummy. I turned to them to assist me with the entertainment part of the program and they came through with flying colors.
I turned to my Kids In Trouble Board of Directors, the late Michael Simpson and James Young my PR guys to contact DC Mayor Adrian Fenty for a proclamation declaring it ‘Willie Wood Day” in Washington, DC, they delivered.
Michael and I share the proclamation with Willie declaring it “Willie Wood Day” in the Nation’s Capitol
NFL legendary LB and NY Giants/Washington Redskin player Sam Huff bring a smile to Willie’s face. Sam has since become a victim of dementia.
Willie’s sister Gladys talks with friend Delores Sams while Willie greets a fan.
The evening of the event I was still trying to figure out a way to get Willie from the nursing home to the restaurant in Georgetown. Frank Smith and Andrew Johnson answered the call for help. When I arrived at the restaurant I notice that Bob Schmidt had his family on the front door taking donations for admission to the tribute. I still had a lot on my plate (the program for the evening, music, speakers, etc) so I was relieved to see that part of the program was taken care of and I moved on (I would regret).
To catch a thief–meet attorney, fraudulent legal adviser and former college teammate to Willie Wood–Bob Schmidt. He and his family made off with the proceeds ($60.000) from the Willie Wood fund raiser tribute. He was never to be seen or heard from again until Willie’s obituary appeared in the Washington Post on Thursday, February 6, 2020.
The following Monday after the tribute, Frank Smith, Andrew Johnson, Dick Heller, Lester Lewis and me visited Willie at his nursing home, The Residences. Bob Schmidt and Joe Johnson were invited but they were nowhere to be found. The first thing Willie ask was “Where is my money?” My response, “Willie your lawyer and friend Bob Schmidt has your money!” The look on his face was one of horror.
I placed a half-dozen phone calls to Bob Schmidt and his partner and friend Joe Johnson trying to get to the bottom of this charade. They never responded.
The next steps I took was to contact the NFL Players’ Union, NFL Hall of Fame, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Research Foundation on the campus of Georgetown University. Every contact was a Dead-End street none had heard of Schmidt. He had disappeared without a trace. Finally, Dick Heller called and said, “Your friend Bob Schmidt returned my call and said he will be holding a press conference to explain exactly how much money was raised and where the money is!” It never happened.
I then turned to my friend and partner in the community NF L legend Jim Brown. I explained to him what had happened as it related to the tribute for Willie Wood. He asked, “What do you want me to do?”
My solution was for him to call Schmidt with Willie’s sister Gladys on a conference call. I had heard all the rumors about Jim’s shady undertakings from family and friends, I had my doubts, but I could not see “The forest for the trees.” First, he thought he was always the smartest man in any room according to former Cowboy/Redskin RB Calvin HillI. I despise people who smile in your face and stab you in your back–meet Calvin Hill. He dropped his plate and made a quick exit from the restaurant when I told him I was going to tell Jim he had been talking behind his back. I was not surprised by his exit that is the M. O. of most cowards who talk behind people’s backs.
Calvin Hill and Jim Brown are not on the same page they are running from behind a different offensive line–both are off-side in the Game Called Life!
I met Jim in 1960 while I was a freshman student/athlete at Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, NC. He was the guest speaker for our awards banquet. Bighouse Gaines made the banquet off-limits to freshmen, but I went anyway. I met Willie in the early 50s when he and my older brother Bobby were teammates on the Armstrong baseball team.
Brown Middle School was located on the Benning Road NE “Education Hill.” Spingarn High School was on one end of 24th street and Brown was on the other end of the block sandwiched in the middle was Phelps Vocation HS and Charles Young Elementary. When Armstong visited to play Spingarn baseball or football I had a front-row seat at the top of The Hill to watch my brother and Willie play. They were my first heroes. I was a freshman on the Spingarn football team in 1955 when we upset Armstrong and its legendary QB Willie Wood. The game was played in Cardozo Stadium. The final score was 13-7 for the DC Public High School East Division Championship. I didn’t play a down, but that game is still the crown jewel in my high school student/athlete career (two teams of great athletes). I was a knucklehead, but I went on to become an All-Star athlete in my own time and in my own mind (I never saw a football I could not catch).
Willie thanks Dick and me for our role in getting him inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
My ‘Street Sense and Common Sense’ kicked-in when it came to the conference call to Schmidt. Gladys would be my designated Checks and Balances during the call. It is always best to be safe than sorry. Jim Brown was my Kerner Report. The Kerner Report was a warning to Black America in the aftermath of the 1968 riots. The report said, “We are headed for two different Americas, one black and one white.” In 2020 here we are!
Calvin Hill had already told me about the time one of Jim’s friends caught him cheating on the golf course. He became so pissed off with the friend he beat him to a bloody pulp. The friend charged him with assault and carried him to court. He won a civil lawsuit against Jim. There was his friend Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaking at a forum at the Congressional Black Caucus. She advised the audience not to be like Jim Brown and pimp the community for his own financial gain. In a Black History Month forum with President Clinton, GT coach John Thompson and others on national television, former Olympic track and field star and three-time Gold Medal winner Jackie Joyner Kersey asked Jim, “Who are you to tell the black athlete where and how to spent his money?” For the first time in my memory, Jim was lost for words—-it was a priceless moment.
Last but not least former Green Bay Packer coach, Mike Holmgren was hired as President of the Cleveland Browns in 2009. Holmgren had the legendary Jim Brown run out of Cleveland. There are a lot of rumors of what happened to Jim Brown in Cleveland. First, Jim had a run-in with one of the Lerner brothers who were the new owners of the franchise. Holmgren didn’t like Jim hustling the players for his own financial gain via his Amer-I-Can Program. The sour relationship between Jim and ownership, left the door open for Holmgren to oust Jim. The big slap in the face for Jim came when he was left out of the Ring of Honor ceremony at the stadium in 2010. He was not a ‘Happy Camper.’ In a television interview, he claimed Mike Holmgren didn’t respect him. Respect has always been a BIG word in the vocabulary of the great Jim Brown. For example; when he got locked up in 2007 for domestic violence he asked his wife Monique to call me to start a media campaign to help him get his sentence reduced. He didn’t ask her to call Byrant Gumble, James Brown, Stephen A. Smith, Sonny Hill, or Howard Cosell, he asked her to call Harold Bell–how soon we forget!
Jim Brown calls a trick play for me and Dick Gregory. I discovered he is a man of many trick plays and secrets.
Three days later after the conference call, I would be ‘Sorry.’ I remember sitting by the telephone waiting to hear from Gladys or Jim, the telephone never rang. I took a deep breath and called Gladys, I asked her how did things go with Schmidt and Jim? Her response blew me away, she said, “Jim Brown demanded that I hang up the telephone and he would handle things with Schmidt and he would call me later.” He never called!
When I called Jim to ask him about the call between him and Schmidt, you would have thought I had just caught him cheating on the golf course. He called me everything but a child of God.
First, he wanted to know who in the f–k was I to be questioning him about Bob Schmidt and Willie’s money? I thought I had dialed the wrong number in Ward 8 in a phone booth on Martin Luther King Avenue in SE Anacostia. The next thing I thought of was the beating he gave his golf partner. I felt lucky I was on the other end of the telephone line. I would not be able to stand the ass-whipping he would be trying to give me. I would have refused to run. After a few choice words of my own, I told him what to do with his BS and hung up the phone.
By chance I would see him and his wife Monique in a hallway attending the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend here in DC a couple of years later, Monique smiled and waved, but he pretended he didn’t see me, but this is the same brother who is always talking about being a man and wanting RESPECT! He thinks that being a man and getting respect is a one-way street–for him only!
The bottom-line Jim Brown made a deal with Bob Schmidt and took a cut of Willie’s $60,000 from the tribute. According to Wikipedia, his net worth is $50 million he claimed he earned from real estate investments and the NFL? He is lying about the real estate investments and his base salary in the NFL never went beyond $60,000 a year. He must have been dead broke when President Donald Trump gave him 50 million dollars for prison reform. I wonder how does one add a cut of $60,000 from Bob Schmidt to 50 million dollars?
I also discovered Willie’s sister Gladys and friend Delores Sams and brother-in-law Chink discovered that Schmidt was still perpetrating a fraud that he was representing Willie. In 2012 Gladys and Delores took Schmidt to DC Superior Court and had a judge strip him of being Willie’s Power of Attorney and legal adviser. Willie Wood, Jr. was given that responsibility.
Schmidt evidently was surving on “White Privilege” he carried on this charade for five years after he stole the $60,000, but larceny caught up with him.
The Washington Post once again didn’t do their homework, they allowed a common thief to write Willie Wood’s obituary, they owe the family an apology. With their stamp of approval they allowed Schmidt to mis-represent the family. He claimed Gladys lived in Glen Arden, Maryland (wrong address), but he saved the worst for last. He claimed Willie’s first born and only daughter with his first wife, Lillian was from a previous relationship (wrong again). Willie we had your back despite the backstabbers RIP my man.
Inside Sports NFL Roundtable with Roy Jeffereson, Willie Wood, Sonny Hill, Johnny Sample and Jim Brown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzY5Mki8OVE
WILT CHAMBERLAIN THE G.O.A,T
THE TEAM: JULIUS ‘DR J’ IRVING-WILT ‘THE STILT’ CHAMBERLAIN-ELGIN BAYLOR-JERRY WEST-MICHAEL’MJ’ JORDAN-GUS ‘HONEYCONE’ JOHNSON-KAREEM ADUL JABBAR-EARL ‘THE PEARL’ MONROE AND KOBE BRYANT
COACHES: RED AUERBACH & GREG POPOVICH
“NO HE SAY SHE SAY” ALLOWED–EYE WITNESS ACCOUNTS ONLY!
Michael White (FB) said, “If you are in DC find Harold Bell, he’s a walking history book.”
Michael, thanks, too many of these so-called know it all experts claiming to be historians don’t have a clue. Why did I choose Wilt as the G. O. A. T.? He led the league in every statistical category at sometime in his great career (scoring, rebounds, assist, FGP, etc). Name one other player to accomplish that feat! Russell and Magic were great but they could only make my team as subs. We have to be very careful about who is telling OUR history not only in February but through out the year. My motto “If you saw something say something.”
Maurice Stewart, started an interesting and enlightening conversation recently on Face Book and then my friend Aaron Snowell (Boxing Hall of Fame) and other associates were asking the question, “Harold when are you going to write something on Kobe?” My emotions were all over the place with his untimely demise. I didn’t know where to start—to be honest!
My Kobe Bryant experience all started when I met Kobe’s father Joe Bryant. Joe was playing for the 76ers. I was introduced to him by my mentor, Philly legendary player/broadcaster Sonny Hill. Joe’s nicknamed was ‘Jellybean’. He was playing in the Sonny Hill/John Chaney, Summer Basketball League when I drove up to Philly with several of my young men from the Hillcrest Saturday Program. Kobe had just been born because ‘Jellybean’ was handing out cigars just before a game. When he offered me one I said, “Joe I don’t smoke”! He said, “OK I ain’t mad.” I didn’t realize at the time it was just a symbolic gesture.
I met Kobe either his rookie year or the following year at the Capitol Centre in Landover, Md. I introduced myself saying I was a friend of Sonny Hill. His response, “That is my mentor, you cool.” For the rest of his NBA career we were like passing ships in the night, but he would see me and say “Whats up my brother?” I am sure he didn’t remember my name, but he always had a smile.
During my sports talk show career starting in 1972 I have only interviewed a handful of players in a NBA locker room. I can name them, Dr. J (Fatty Taylor), Iceman (Fatty Taylor), Wilt (Carl Greene) and George McGinnis (Sonny Hill). I have never interviewed Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, or Phil Chenier, etc. The reason; I was a eyewitness to too many dumb questions being asked by dumb-ass writers and sportscasters. I have alway refused to be a part of that charade.
I am a happy camper that I had a front-row seat to Kobe’s amazing NBA career. In a recent appearance of The Round Ball Report, a TV Cable television show devoted to basketball in Landover, Md, I was asked by the host and Executive Producer Andrew Dyer, where did I place Kobe among the All-Time NBA greats?
Kobe is in my top 10 of NBA greats of All-Time. He would be my Sixth Man off the bench.
My Head Coach, Red Auerbach / Assistant Coach Gregg Popovich
Kobe’s friend and former NBA player Caron Butler gave the best testimony I heard on Kobe being a true friend. He said, Kobe was someone who was always looking to give and never expecting anything in return (aka Muhammad Ali). He was not perfect by any means, but he dedicated his life after the NBA to his community and family, PRICELESS.
Noteworthy: Great players dictate changes in the game to compensate for them being better than all the rest—meet Wilt Chamberlain. Another Example; The Simone Biles’ Rule. This young lady is being penalized for being better than all the rest. Wake up everybody!
RIP Willie Wood
The Trailblazers: Athlete/Actor Paul Roberson and college basketball coach, Clarence Bighouse Gaines
Memories: My first home was a one-room shack with an outhouse on Douglas Street in NE DC. One cold morning my mother Mattie a single parent thinking I was asleep quietly slipped out of the shack to go to the corner store for bread and milk, I was 3 years old. My German Sheperd dog Billy was sleeping nearby with a kerosene lamp burning to keep us warm. My mother returned to find the shack on fire and me sitting in the yard crying with my dog Billy standing over me. Fire trucks were all over the street.
The shack burned to the ground and the only thing left standing was the outhouse. My mother tried to thank the firemen for rescuing me from the burning shack but they explained to her they found me sitting in the yard with my dog. To this day I have no clue how I escaped from that shack on fire-Billy never said a word–the rest is American history,
*In 1967 I encouraged Willie Wood (NFL) and Dave Bing (NBA) to join me in the DC community to enhance the growth of inner-city youth, Judges, politicians, law-enforcement, print, radio and television personalities, NBA-NFL-MLB & NHL franchises all followed my lead. They all now CARE!
Dave returns to ‘The Hood’ to pay homage to members of the Hillcrest Saturday Program basketball team
Dave one on one with NBA Hall of Fame player Earl ‘The Pearl’ MonroeThe Pearl and Kids In Trouble, Inc. pay tribute to Bighouse Gaines at the Foxtrappe Club in Washington, DC
In November 1968 I discovered a child lying on the bottom of the swimming pool at my Hillcrest Saturday Program. I dove into the pool and pulled him out. I then ran soaking wet with him in my arms to Children’s Hospital one block away.Redskins’ RB Larry Brown and LB Harold McLinton are videotaped by NFL Films teaching water safety at the Hillcrest Saturday Program
My wife Hattie teaching swimming in one of her classes at Cardozo High School in NW DC.
*In 1969 I was honored at the White House by President Richard M. Nixon for my work with youth gangs and at-risk children. Hattie joins me in the Oval Office to meet Attorney General William Rogers and President Richard M. Nixon
*In 1972 my Inside Sports talk show format changed the way we talk sports in America. The tag is now used around the World.
*Inside Sports was the first sports talk show to successfully blend sports and politics.
*Inside Sports was the first sports talk show to convene a media roundtable. Guest, boxing greats, Sugar Ray Leonard, Don King and Larry Holmes.
NBA legend Red Auerbach and his wife Dotie are the guest host on Inside Sports *In 1973 I sat on The Mountain Top with Muhammad Ali
*I was the first Black sportscaster to produce and host a prime time sports special on NBC affiliate WRC TV 4 in November 1975. My special guest, Muhammad Ali.
*In 1978 I was the first Sports & Marketing rep for Nike shoes in the DMV.Congressman Walter Fauntroy receives Nike gear from Nike rep Laura Cash and me on Capitol Hill
*In 1979 I was the first Sports & Marketing rep in the DMV for Anheuser-Busch Beer.*I was the first sports media personality honored as Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine (1980).
Washingtonian of the Year, Washington Redskin QB Joe Theisman and me share a photo opt with teammate Mark Mosley and our wives*I have been cited in the Congressional Record on three different occasions by Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan) and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). I was honored for my work with inner-city youth.
*In Chicago in 1998 I became the first Winston-Salem State athlete to receive the first annual Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines Community Service Award.
*In 2007 I found a 15-year-old autistic girl lying across the tracks at Potomac Avenue subway station SE DC. I pulled her off just as a train was entering the station. NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4 creates re-enactment of the rescue of the child at the Potomac Avenue subway station
I successfully campaigned with Washington Times legendary sports columnist the late Dick Heller and NBA legend Red Auerbach for NFL great Willie Wood and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd to be inducted into their hall of fame after they had been overlooked.
Dick Heller congratulates Willie on his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame
Red Auerbach, me and Earl Lloyd during a Black History Month celebration at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown DC
NFL legend LB Sam Huff stops to say hello to Willie during a tribute in his honor in 2007. The 83-year-old Huff is now suffering from dementia.
Members of the Hoffman clan, Ted Wells, Jalen and Jared Morgan bring a rare smile to Willie’s face during tribute in 2007
Willie was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1989 and Earl was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2003. Willie’s legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “Willie is my coach on the field.” Ronnie Lott is one of the greatest safeties to ever play in the NFL, but he has to take a backseat to the trailblazers, Dick ‘Night Train Lane’, Willie Wood and Johnny Sample. Willie never forgot who he was and where he came from. One week after his induction he was a guest on Inside Sports saying, “Thank You.” This month in Black History, February 3, 2020 my friend Willie Wood died.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzY5Mki8OVE/ Jim Brown, Johnny Sample, Roy Jefferson, and Willie Wood / NFL Roundtable
*On Sunday, November 24, 2019, I became the first native Washingtonian to produce a sports documentary on the Big Screen titled “The Harold Bell Story, I Remember Muhammad Ali.”
I am flawed and less than perfect, but I have never sold or done drugs, never been to jail, never snitched, never stole money from little children. I have broken bread with champs & chumps. The benefactors of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports read like a Who’s Who.
In February 2020 they still call me NIGGER!
Noteworthy: Harvard Law School grad and sitting judge “Still A Nigger” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYsl6AQBZn4