Dawn Staley Is A True Trailblazer In Basketball And Coaching

Dawn Staley Is A True Trailblazer In Basketball And Coaching

Dawn Staley Is A True Trailblazer In Basketball And Coaching

Dawn Staley’s journey from the courts of her childhood to the pinnacle of basketball is one defined by perseverance, talent, and an unyielding dedication to the game. She’s been a trailblazer both on and off the court, blazing an incredible path as a WNBA basketball star and as a coach with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Born on May 4, 1970, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Staley’s passion for basketball was evident from an early age. Despite facing numerous obstacles, she rose to become one of the most influential figures in women’s basketball history.

Staley’s basketball career began to take shape during her time at Dobbins Technical High School, where she quickly established herself as a standout player. 

According to the Pennsylvania Center of The Book, Staley led her team to three consecutive public league championships, and by her senior year, she had earned the prestigious title of USA Today’s National High School Player of the Year. Staley’s exceptional passing skills and athletic prowess caught the attention of college recruiters across the nation, with many vying to secure her talents. Ultimately, she made the pivotal decision to join the ranks of the Cavaliers at the University of Virginia (UVA).

During her collegiate career, Staley’s talent and leadership were undeniable. She led the Virginia Cavaliers to three Final Four appearances and was named the ACC Player of the Year three times. Staley’s impact went beyond statistics; her fierce competitiveness and ability to elevate the play of those around her set her apart as a true leader.

After college, Staley continued to excel in the sport, both as a player and a coach. She enjoyed a successful career in the WNBA, where she played for the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets, and earned numerous accolades, including six All-Star selections and an Olympic gold medal. 

In March 2017, Dawn Staley, a revered coach with an illustrious career, was appointed to helm the USA Basketball Women’s National Team for the Tokyo Olympics. Under her leadership, the team soared to new heights, clinching a remarkable seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal, the USAB noted. Staley’s tenure with USA Basketball also saw triumphs in the 2021 and 2019 editions of the AmeriCup, where her teams secured gold with flawless 6-0 records in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Following her stellar achievements in guiding the USA to gold at both the Olympics and the FIBA AmeriCup in 2021, Staley’s remarkable coaching prowess was duly recognized. She was honored as a co-recipient of the prestigious 2021 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year Award, sharing this esteemed accolade with none other than U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball head coach, Gregg Popovich.

Since her hiring in May 2008, Dawn Staley has propelled South Carolina into the national limelight, establishing the Gamecocks as a formidable force in the quest for SEC and national titles. Her tenure has been marked by a series of groundbreaking achievements, including the team’s first-ever National Championships, NCAA Final Four appearances, No. 1 rankings, SEC regular-season and tournament victories, SEC and National Players of the Year, top WNBA Draft selections, an undefeated regular season, and top-tier recruiting classes. Staley’s impact on the program is undeniable, elevating South Carolina to unprecedented heights in collegiate basketball.

The post Dawn Staley Is A True Trailblazer In Basketball And Coaching appeared first on NewsOne.

Black designers who popularized fan gear 20 years ago struggle as white designers leap ahead

Black designers who popularized fan gear 20 years ago struggle as white designers leap ahead

Black designers who popularized fan gear 20 years ago struggle as white designers leap ahead

These new successes show how hard it is for small, independent creators to break into sportswear-as-womenswear — especially Black designers, who popularized and innovated it two decades ago.

It started as a fun project. A white bodysuit, emblazoned with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning’s number and initials.

Taylor Damron had made it for her cousin, Browning’s girlfriend Stephanie Niles, to wear to the Jan. 7 game against the Cleveland Browns. Then, the outfit went viral.

“The next day, I woke up, and the world had kind of fallen in my lap,” Damron, 29, says.

Damron’s design rocketing to internet fame is just one story of how women’s fan apparel has found itself in the spotlight. Just a few days later, Taylor Swift would don a red puffer jacket with boyfriend and Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce’s number for his game against the Miami Dolphins. Within a month, that jacket’s designer, Kristin Juszczyk, would score a NFL licensing deal.

These meteoric success stories have illustrated the potency of a market for women’s sports apparel that merges fashion and fan culture. They have also highlighted how hard it is for smaller, independent creators to break into the business — especially Black designers, who popularized and innovated sportswear-as-womenswear two decades ago.

Before Swift catapulted Juszczyk’s clothes to a new level of attention, the 29-year-old designer built a following online by repurposing jerseys into more high-fashion pieces — corsets, suits, skirts — for herself as she attended San Francisco 49ers games to support her husband, fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Her NFL chic couture has spread to other players’ partners and supporters across the league, including Simone Biles, Taylor Lautner and Brittany Mahomes.

Before Juszczyk sent Swift and Mahomes jackets for the Jan. 13 game, she had about 100,000 followers, according to Social Blade. Within a month, she had more than 1 million.

With her official license in hand, Juszczyk designed puffer vests commemorating Super Bowl LVIII, sported by celebrities. One such vest sold for $75,000, with proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Juszczyk herself wore a jacket stitched from jerseys, an ode to her husband’s football career, for Sunday’s big game.

While players’ wives and girlfriends have long represented their partners with custom designs, adopting team colors, logos and numbers, the interplay of fashion and gameday apparel was energized in the ’90s and early aughts, when Black artists were “pushing the needle of what was cool and trendy,” says Tayler Adigun, a culture and style writer.

“A lot of up-and-coming entertainers in the Black sphere maybe had difficulty getting larger names or fashion houses to want to outfit them or costume them for events and award shows and performances, so they kind of had to be a little bit more innovative in their approach,” Adigun says. “It’s something that was definitely born out of necessity.”

It led to a fusion of sportswear, fan merchandise and cutting-edge design, she says. And, of course, iconic looks: Mya’s blue North Carolina jersey dress was one. Then there was Mariah Carey in a floor-length Washington Wizards dress. Carey’s dress prompted a surge of interest and the NBA increased the designs they had in their NBA4her collection, according to a 2003 Baltimore Sun article.

When Larena Hoeber began doing research on women and sports, she didn’t set out to study apparel. But women kept bringing up how difficult it was to find something they actually wanted to wear to rep their teams. A decade ago, licensed women’s merchandise was often made with three key principles: “pink it, bling it, shrink it,” Hoeber says.

Sports leagues not taking risks on smaller creators is to their own detriment, says Hoeber, a University of Regina professor who has written about women’s sportswear and its perceptions. Smaller designers sometimes understand the market, and women’s varying desires, better.

“What’s really critical for women, I think, as sports fans, is they want the official logo, like they want it to look like, ‘This is it. I’m supporting my team,’” she adds. “So they want that, but they want it in clothing that matches their style.”

Women have wanted variety, and sports leagues have often underestimated the market, leading to innovation. Damron, who designed Niles’ viral bodysuit, launched a new collection of themed clothing that nod toward league teams after an outpouring of interest.

At Frankie Collective, employee Sara Gourlay saw a chance to rework vintage jerseys that weren’t selling — they became women’s streetwear, including corsets and crops, says Zak Miller, head of operations. The mission of the company is sustainability, and even without licensing deals, they’ve partnered with big brands like Adidas and Nike, or even the National Hockey League, to keep clothes from ending up in landfills.

“I thank Kristin just for the fact that, like, hey, she’s brought some visibility to an industry that has been around for a period of time right now,” Miller says.

Her high-fashion pieces stand out among other NFL license holders, which include powerhouse companies like Nike, Under Armour and Fanatics. (Juszczyk isn’t alone, though: Kiya Tomlin, a designer whose husband Mike Tomlin is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has a license for her high-end apparel.)

Juszczyk did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the NFL said that the league has a standard application process for all partners, like Juszcyzk. A number of programs seek to make it easier for smaller companies to partner with the league, he added.

Twenty years ago, when fashion like this was taking shape, there weren’t the same partnerships and opportunities, Adigun says.

On one hand, Alexis Robinson, 32, is glad to see Juszczyk got a license.

“I’m glad more of this stuff can start being made,” Robinson, a Black designer who runs Boujee Basics, says. “And then on the other hand, it’s like it sucks because it’s been getting made for a long time and it’s just the process has been nearly impossible.”

Robinson started by making cropped denim jackets for herself. As they caught on, she started looking into licenses. It kicked off applications to all major leagues — from basketball, to football, to hockey and baseball. While it was a relatively simple process, with fees for all of them, she never heard back about her application to the NFL.

The upfront costs were too steep for another Black designer, De’fron Fobb, 45, who wanted to craft items when the New Orleans Saints made the Super Bowl in 2010. Since then, the Louisiana native has focused his apparel on college sports. He’s followed Juszczyk’s work for a while, he says.

“She does great work. Her designs and custom stuff is amazing,” he says. “But again, she’s fortunate enough to be in that field. So it’s a different lane for her than it is for most small business, like myself.”

Hoeber hopes the attention will open the door for more creators.

“Women are not a homogeneous group or a homogeneous market,” she says. “I think we’re starting to see cracks with recognizing that, it wasn’t just an offering of, ‘We’re going to take the men’s stuff and shrink it down to women.’”

The post Black designers who popularized fan gear 20 years ago struggle as white designers leap ahead appeared first on TheGrio.

 

First The Swag Surf, Now This: X Users Collectively Roll Their Eyes At The Fade Being Called The “Travis Kelce Haircut”

First The Swag Surf, Now This: X Users Collectively Roll Their Eyes At The Fade Being Called The “Travis Kelce Haircut”

First The Swag Surf, Now This: X Users Collectively Roll Their Eyes At The Fade Being Called The “Travis Kelce Haircut”

Source: Patrick Smith / Getty / Travis Kelce

Damn, we can’t have nothing. First, the Swag Surf, and now the fade haircut.

Barbershop enthusiasts are stark raving mad, and understandably so, after witnessing the colonization of the fade haircut. The hairstyle that Queensbridge MC NaS and other rappers have famously donned has become the go-to hair choice for white men trying to be like Kansas City Chiefs tight end and Taylor Swift’s boo, Travis Kelce.

Like with the Taylor Swift Swag Surf incident, Kelce is not directly responsible for what’s going on; instead, a news article from the New York Times is getting folks riled up.

In the article, Jeffrey Dugas, a barber at Obsidian Barbers in New Brunswick, Canada, says his white clientele are rushing to his shop to get the “Travis Kelce cut” because they know he made the hairstyle popping, according to them.

@jeffcutshairsTravis Kelce Haircut! My brother in law walked into the shop today wanting me to perform a miracle. @taylorswift who’s hotter? Mike or Travis?♬ original sound – Jeff Dugas | Saint John Barber

Black folks on X collectively rolled their eyes, pointing out that Kelce’s haircut ain’t nothing but a damn fade.

“Isn’t the Travis Kelce haircut a regular fade?? Isn’t this more Caucasian people throwing sum blonde hair on things POC been doing and saying it’s new and exciting/trendsetting?” another post on X, formally Twitter, read.

There were white folks just as perplexed. “That’s called a buzz cut and it has been an extremely popular hairstyle for men for like… a century,” a post read.

Another noted, “Isn’t the Travis Kelce haircut a regular fade?? Isn’t this more Caucasian people throwing sum blonde hair on things POC been doing and saying it’s new and exciting/trendsetting,” Bossip reports.

We’re sure even Travis Kelce rolled his eyes at any posts suggesting he made the fade popular or invented the haircut.

You can see more reactions in the gallery below.

Ja Morant Suffers Season-Ending Shoulder Injury, Social Media In Shambles

Ja Morant Suffers Season-Ending Shoulder Injury, Social Media In Shambles

Ja Morant Suffers Season-Ending Shoulder Injury, Social Media In Shambles

Nine. That’s how many games Ja Morant‘s 2023-24 season will amount to.

The Memphis Grizzlies star will be out for the rest of the season after suffering a torn labrum, a cartilage in the shoulder joint stemming from Saturday’s practice, but no specifics were given.

The franchise released an official statement about the grim news, saying Morant has shoulder pain because of a dislocation, which led to the medical team taking him in for an MRI showing the tear.

“At Saturday’s training session, Morant suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder. Following ongoing soreness and instability, Morant underwent an MRI that revealed an underlying labral tear,” the release reads. “Morant will undergo season-ending surgery and is expected to make a full recovery ahead of the 2024-25 season.”

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the Grizzlies, who were finally starting to see some momentum since Morant had made his season debut in mid-December after a 25-game suspension because of his penchant for flashing guns on social media. It was the second suspension he faced, with the first coming from flashing a gun at a Colorado nightclub, yielding him an eight-game suspension last season.

Since his return, the team was 6-3, a far better record than the 7-20 record without him, as injuries cursed the team.

Things first started to sour when the injury led to him pissing Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, but it was chalked up to just a sore right shoulder as he could be seen wearing a sling as he cheered on his teammates from the bench.

He was expected to miss Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks before the season-ending news was announced.

The 24-year-old took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to respond to the disheartening facts by tweeting a blue heart.

See how social media’s reacting to the Grizzlies facing a Morant-less rest of the season.

Great 2023 moments of Black athletes captured in photos

Great 2023 moments of Black athletes captured in photos

Great 2023 moments of Black athletes captured in photos

Shooing flies, executing near back-breaking plays and just being magical, the work of some of the finest Black athletes produced entertaining images.

Associated Press photographers memorialized snippets in time during some at some of the most jaw-dropping and visually arresting seconds of athletic competitions in 2023. A number of the year-end photos featured Black athletes at their finest or funniest. In case you missed them, here’s a recap:

Streeetch!

Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss (21) reaches for a one-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Magic and joy

Sha’Carri Richardson, of the United States, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the final of the Women’s 100-meters during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Legend to legend

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left, hands the ball to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James after passing Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

AP Female Athlete of the Year

Read about the honor Simone Biles received.

Simone Biles, a seven-time Olympic medalist and the 2016 Olympic champion, practices on the uneven bars at the U.S. Classic gymnastics competition Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in Hoffman Estates, Ill. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Putting his back into it

Peru’s Jose Sanchez, left, and Colombia’s Jorge Cabezas, battle for the ball during a South America U-20 soccer match in Cali, Colombia, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Fly, Coco, fly!

Coco Gauff of the U.S. plays a forehand return to compatriot Bernarda Pera during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

All wet and winning

Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodríguez laughs as teammate Teoscar Hernández douses him as they celebrate a 9-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Boink!

Cleveland Guardians catcher Bo Naylor is hit on the mask by a ball fouled off by Chicago Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Shoo, fly, shoo

Josh Awotunde blows away a bug as he competes in the men’s shot put during the U.S. track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Sunday, July 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Over the top

Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko is challenged by AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, top, during the Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match between Inter Milan and AC Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Headshot

Terence Crawford, right, hits Errol Spence Jr. during their undisputed welterweight championship boxing match, Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Team U.S.A-lexis

Alexis Holmes, of the United States anchors her team to the gold medal as Femke Bol, of the Netherlands fell near the finish in the final of the 4×400-meters mixed relay during the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

All the way home

Cincinnati Reds’ Elly De La Cruz steals home with Milwaukee Brewers catcher William Contreras covering during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 8, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

An artsy shot

Coco Gauff of the U.S. plays a shot against Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova during their fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Monday, June 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Warming up for the win

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts warms up before an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants on Christmas Day in Philly. (Photo: Matt Slocum/AP)