Ernie Banks remembered

Nobody represented his city or team more joyously, or admirably, than Mr. Cub.

Michael Wilbon on Ernie Banks

Last night, we lost a baseball legend and a Chicago hero, Ernie Banks. He was 83.

Affectionately called “Mr. Cub”, no one could say it better than Wilbon up above. He continued to write that in an era of iconic Chicago athletes in the 60s and 70s, “Banks would have sat at the head of the table.”

For my 20-something generation, we have to take numerous accounts like these of Banks’ impact as a player and in the city of Chicago during his playing career. The breadth of tributes from sportswriters and former teammates alike sound just like this. I even have a first-hand source myself who can back them all up: my dad.

He’s the biggest Cubs fan I know and was devastated at the news of his childhood hero. We reminisced through amazing statistics, dad’s personal stories of getting his autograph, and browsed through a lot of the photos seen up above in the gallery.

One main takeaway after our talks and being immersed in the coverage: Ernie Banks lived with the most positive, happiest spirit that anyone could recall. His famous saying, “It’s a great day for a ballgame. Let’s play two!” was said during a 105-degree summer day at the ‘Friendly Confines’ of Wrigley Field (a phrase Banks also coined and lasts today.)

Let’s play two! It means so much.

As we reflect on Mr. Cub’s hall-of-fame playing career, his impact in Chicago and around the world as the first African-American to play for the Cubs, we can also emulate our own life and mentality in alignment with the way Banks has lived. “Let’s play two!”


One of the most heartbreaking anecdotes from Ernie Banks’ passing is what he planned to do when the Cubs eventually do win a World Series. Via the conclusion of the aforementioned article by Wilbon:

Ernie always said when the Cubs finally won a World Series — it’s 106 years and counting — he wanted to go to Wrigley Field one night and just stand there alone, in the dark, and soak it all in. So you know what we’re thinking, all the little kids who are beyond 50 now and who watched Banks play all those years ago. Maybe this will be the Cubs’ time. They’ll wear his No. 14 on their jerseys this season and feel about the Cubbies the way he did, which is to say inspired and joyous and ready every single day to play two.

Hopefully the Cubs can win it for Ernie… and Ronnie, Harry, Jack, and all of the Cubs legends who passed through Wrigley Field at one time or another. This is the year?! It’d be even more of an amazing Hollywood story than Back to the Future could have ever predicted.

R.I.P. "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks
R.I.P. “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks

Stuart Scott Remembered

Earlier this morning, the sports world was shook about the news of legendary ESPN anchor Stuart Scott passing away at age 49.

Scott was battling a rare form of appendix cancer for 7 years, but used this challenge to inspire many others through similar struggles — whether cancer or not. By all accounts, Scott attacked cancer with a positive attitude and hard work, with the chief motivation of his 2 daughters keeping him going everyday.

At this past summer’s ESPYS, Stuart Scott was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and delivered one of the most moving speeches in the distinguished history of this Award.


You see, in his own words, he didn’t lose to cancer. And as Hannah Storm emotionally delivered the news of Scott’s passing this morning, she said he didn’t lose to cancer… we just lost Stuart.

Throughout the day, I’ve seen countless tributes, stories, and salutes to Stuart Scott from his colleagues and fans of his work alike. Each one is as stirring as the next and I can’t help but echo the sentiment of my generation in the wake of the news.

Stuart Scott was SportsCenter.

His distinct style brought the hip hop culture and authenticity into the program and appealed to adolescents like myself in the mid-90s. Through his own shining example of authenticity, Stuart Scott rose to the top of sports journalism, interviewing the likes of President Obama, Clinton, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and countless others while hosting more ESPN programs in addition to SC.

The mini-documentary by ESPN below is also a testament to Stuart Scott as a person. The genuine emotion and reflections from his colleagues certainly reflect the genuineness that defined Scott as an individual. Watching and seeing all these tributes today makes me feel his passing a little more but also appreciates the breadth of the impact he’s had on sports journalism, that Dan Patrick is correct in saying, may still not be fully realized until 5, 10 years from now.

Lastly, the other must-see tribute to Scott was by his longtime partner Rich Eisen who broke the news this morning on the NFL Network. Holding back tears, an emotional Eisen saluted his partner so wonderfully. This had a great impact on me as that’s how I was first introduced to Scott and Eisen. I remember during my summer breaks from school watching the 9am SportsCenter… followed by the 10am SportsCenter again just so I can re-watch both of their catchphrases on the night’s baseball highlights. They, and Stuart specifically, helped me to love sports more during my formative years. I join the millions of others today in prayers and positive thoughts for Stuart Scott, his family, friends, colleagues, and everyone he has touched throughout his life. Rest in Power, Stuart Scott.

UPDATE: Rich Eisen delivered the highlights of Bengals-Colts by including numerous catchphrases from Stuart Scott. It was as perfect as it sounds.

Common’s father ‘Pops’ passes away

Sad news from earlier this week as Common’s father, Lonnie Lynn Sr., has passed away reports Billboard. Lynn Sr. played in the ABA for a couple of years and that connection to pro basketball led to the well-known story of young Com as a ball boy for Michael Jordan. There has been no cause of death revealed to the public, though Billboard notes Lynn Sr. struggled with drugs later in life and put forth that struggle and the struggles of raising six children into his art.

It’s his art that we best know Lonnie Lynn Sr., a.k.a. “Pops” as he became a recurring addition to his son’s albums. In our first intro to Pops on Resurrection he said, “I see harmony, understanding and they’re working on that love thing, too.” I brought back Pops Raps 2 centered on Common’s upcoming fatherhood at the time.

The Intro to ‘Pops’

Pops was also featured on the 10 minute, collab-heavy song with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and more on Electric Circus, wherein he wrote,

Heaven? Heaven is being Pops
Heaven is spending a day with the grandchildren
Listening to their voices and laugh to them play
And then at the end of the day we hug, we kiss, and slowly they walk away
And then suddenly they turn and rush back to me and hug me around the knees
Yeah … thats heaven to me

Pops’ last poem was for The Dreamer / The Believer and concluded with these, perfect, words:

Live the life you believe. The American dream, the black American dream, the universal dream. For the sake of the unwritten laws of humanity, I believe in God. I believe in my ancestors, I believe in my offsprings … I believe in the truth, truth. See you next lifetime.

The Last Poem

R.I.P. to Lonnie Lynn Sr. His work alone on Common’s albums gave them a unique and fitting finality and it will live on as Common’s legacy of one of the best rappers ever does for generations to come. I suspect we’ll see an emotional Common perform at his AAHH Fest tonight in the Chi, dedicating it to Pops!

Common on his father, Lonnie Lynn Sr:

[A] natural poet and master of words. His personality and soul shined through his work. The way he said things made me look at life and the world in a new way, in a different way. They always sparked a thought in my head. His words would always make me strive to achieve higher, to write better, to be more truthful with my words.


R.I.P. JayAre of Cali Swag District

Above: Cali Swag District’s Smoove Da General, Yung, & JayAre

One of the 4 members of Cali Swag District, JayAre passed away last night, unfortunately succumbing to his battle with sickle cell anemia. According to MTV News, the rapper was admitted to a hospital on Thursday night for unknown reasons, and fell into cardiac arrest and died. JayAre’s untimely passing is the second to happen to Cali Swag District as member “M-Bone” was the victim of a driveby shooting in May of 2011. R.I.P.

R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou

Statement from Dr. Maya Angelou’s Family:
Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.
Guy B. Johnson

As you know from the news this morning, Dr. Maya Angelou has passed away at age 86, but her impact and soul will continue to have a great influence on generations to come.

We had our own amazing experience with Dr. Maya Angelou three years ago in what is probably our all-time favorite interview. We were blessed to see first-hand her beautiful, kind soul speaking powerful truths; her mere presence radiated volumes for us in that room and to many more beyond. R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou.

GWHH sits down with Common & Dr. Maya Angelou (a Camovement by Cam Be)
(later picked up for a BET special on Maya Angelou)

The truth is we make a mistake when we think that generations can be separated. The truth is you need me, so that I have shoulders you can stand on. And you need me so that you have shoulders somebody else can stand on. We are One. And to separate us and decide that we’ll be polarized is ridiculous, it’s stupid, and it’s dangerous. I am responsible to that 5 year old, that 15 year old, that 30 year old, that 55, I am responsible to you. And I try to live my life as a responsible teacher… giver. Yes, I try to live my life that way, so that I will encourage Common to live his that way.

BONUS: 15 things you (probably) didn’t know about Maya Angelous (but should)