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"We're doing something, and basketball is really important to a lot of people in the U. S. and no one takes it more serious than women. We play year round. We sacrifice a lot of things to make sure that we bring this home. And now you know what? It's okay. We're happy." This is the response that  Diana Taurasi gave for the lack of media attention on the dominance the USA women's national team displayed in securing the 6th straight Olympic Gold Medal. As basketball players we  don't have the makeup, lashes, chokers, colorful hair, assorted hair ribbons, and rarely slay in the basketball uniforms, but we dominate on the basketball court. These beautiful ladies with their locs, plain jane ponytails and their exceptional athleticism overshadowed the competition and executed team play with mastery. They averaged a 37 point win over teams and added to the win streak that now stands at  49 in Olympic play. Thanks USA women for setting the standard in Olympic play showing everyone how to compete and win  in a "Golden Way. Check out what's next for these ladies now that the mission is accomplished.

Seimone Augustus aka "Silent Assasin" a silent killer on the court secures 3rd Olympic Gold.
Seimone Augutus is a silent assasin on the court and you can continue to watch her as the WNBA season resumes play on August 26, 2016 with the Minnesota Lynx as they try to repeat as WNBA champions. Seimone's killer crossover and deadly 15 foot jumper is must see TV.
Sylvia Fowles anchored the paint for USA securing her 3rd Olympic Gold. When Big Syl plays Big there's nothing you can do.
Sylvia Fowles dominated Oympic play the way she dominated last season's WNBA playoffs for the Minnesota Lynx. She's secured her 3rd Gold Medal and will continue to overpower her opponents in the paint. If Fowles continues to step her game up and anchor the paint for the Lynx, it will be hard to knock out the defending WNBA champs.

Lindsay Whalen let's Sue Bird knows she had her back in the Gold Medal game on her way to her 2nd Gold Medal.

Lindsay Whalen plays for the Minnesota Lynx and will be trying to lead them to their 4th straight WNBA title.  Lindsay Whalen's ability to direct her star studded team and score with her deceptive speed and drives to the basket it the reason she a solidified Olympian. Check her out as the WNBA season resumes play as she is clearly focused on winning more for her home state of Minnesota.

Maya Moore secures her 2nd gold medal and has her eyes set on a few more as she will be entering her prime in the 2020 Olympics.

Maya Moore is an 2x Olympic gold medalist that's one of the few players to win a NCAA title, World Championship, and a WNBA Championship. She the only female signed with the Jordan brand and is "Airness" for the  Minnesota Lynx. Can she lead them to their 4th straight title in the WNBA? She didn't shoot as well in the Olympics, but I'm sure she will regain her form as the WNBA season starts back.

Angel McCoughtry is the most aggressive player on this team to me. She always rises to the occasion with her play.

Angel McCoughtry plays for the Atlanta Dream and if they are to win a championship the dream can only become a reality with her play and leadership. Angel is the one player in the league that can get you buckets quick, fast, and in a hurry. She is a dynamic player to watch and she plays on both ends of the court. She was the defensive specialist for this USA team in Rio, but also dropped buckets when needed. Angel has the unique ability to rebound the ball aggressively as a small forward. I'm looking forward to seeing if she can rebound and bounce back in the WNBA playoffs and get the Atlanta Dream back in the WNBA Finals.

Tina Charles with the 15 footer from the top of the key was key to the post play dominance in Olympic Play as she secured her 2nd Gold Medal.

Tina Charles game face is as fierce as the face mask she wears to protect her nose that was broken in WNBA play. The consistency she has with her 15 footer from the top of the key, and the undeniable hook shot in the paint has the New York Liberty excited about it's chances as WNBA play resumes.  Tina Charles will be rejoining forces with her buddy  and elite score Epiphanny Prince, for the second half of the season which can possibly combat the issue of the frequent double and triple teams that she consistently faces. Tina Charles, double double machine, has been a beast all season and with the lack of post player experience in the WNBA, she will continue to dominate.

Brittany Griner stands tallest above the competition and secures her 1st Olympic Gold Medal. There really is no answer for her and Griner is the only person to stop Griner.

Brittany Griner secures her 1st Olympic Gold Medal as she overpowered and intimidated the competition. When she dominated with Diana Taurasi and won the WNBA championship her blocks intimidated the best players in the world on the offensive end. Brittany Griner is a unique talent with an offensive game as equally powerful as her defensive game. Griner is her on nemesis and must learn how to focus and leave her off court issues off the court.Then she and the Phoenix Mercury will reap the benefits  again in a championship way. Brittany Griner has yet to realize how good she really is, so for now other player's and coaches in the league still have a chance.

This was fun Stewie let's do it again in four years. Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart 1st time Olympic Gold Medalist.

These ladies are two of the elite scorers in the WNBA that play the game with ease and a fundamental skill set that's close to perfection. Breanna Stewart 4x NCAA champion hasn't had the success with the Seattle Storm that she did with Connecticut and is learning for the first time what it feels like to lose.  It will be interesting to see her play elevate during the 2nd half of the WNBA season as she brings back what's she's learned from her Olympic experience.  Elena Delle Donne, the Female Don, of the WNBA didn't get much playing time in her first Olympics and should be well rested to continue her phenomenal play. To my readers,if you haven't seen Elena play, then you have missed out on watching a remarkable player. It will be interesting to see if she can regain her form from last season and lead the Chicago Sky back to the WNBA playoffs. If these ladies do miss the mark in the playoffs they won't miss the mark for long. 

Congrats Tamika Catchings on winning your 4th Gold Medal and an outstanding WNBA career with the Indiana Fever.
Thanks Tamika Catchings for all you've done in your stellar WNBA career. The fortitude  you've shown battling back from injuries and willing the only franchise that you've ever played with the Indiana Fever to a WNBA title has cemented you in WNBA history. Congrats on winning your 4th Gold Medal and waving good bye on a storybook finish to your Olympic career. 
Thanks Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi for all you've done for the WNBA and USA Basketball. It's clear you both are in it for the game, not the fame.

It's always a pleasure to watch these two ladies play in the WNBA and they've done it with their own unique styles. Diana Taurasi is the "Da Truth" and Sue Bird "Bird's Eye View" of the game can't be replicated. Congrats to two of the best guards in the world on winning your 4th Gold Medal. Your leadership and play did not go unnoticed and you have continued to play with the standard that the ones before you set with great diligence. If only the media and the world knew how much women's basketball players and coaches put into the sport of basketball the world would appreciate and respect our game more.  One day sports won't be defined by what a woman looks like, who she plays like, how she wears her hair, or who she dates, or whether she's graceful or elegant. One day it will simply be defined by how awesome she  plays the game. Special thanks to all the ladies for the sacrifice,  and discipline it takes in striving for the gold. Now show me what you have left as the 2nd half of the WNBA season begins.

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    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

First and foremost "Black Girls Rock" is a women's empowerment movement started by Beverly Bond that raises the awareness of our youth in terms of what black women are accomplishing in the world today. I couldn't find a title more fitting for how much inspiration and empowerment my beautiful black ladies are showing in Rio. When our black magic was on the clock we stepped up, showed out and show why we rock.

Let me start with gymnastics, clearly at 6'4 I could never do this sport, so during the Olympics I live vicariously through these young ladies. Dominique Dawes stole my heart back in back in 1996 when she was the first African American to win an individual gold medal in gymnastics. She paved the way so graciously during a time when society and the media were caught off guard with her place and her magic in a place many felt she didn't belong.

Dominique Dawes magic paved the way.

Then Gabby Douglas in the London Olympics triumphed  with her magic and showed everyone that black girls belong and we have a place in gymnastics.  Gabby's recent performance in Rio, I feel was indicative of the cyber bullying and the media making a controversial story out of everything she did. From the Twitter bullying to getting criticized, it's a testament to her strength and character and the champion she is. It's imperative that we never forget that she opened the curtain back up on  gymnastics's stage and as the current saying goes, "you better put some respek on her name," as she secured her Gold Medal in Rio.

Gabby Douglas black magic showed we belong and we have a place in gymnastics.

Last but not least Simone Biles said, "I'm not Usain Bolt, or Michael Phelps, I'm the first Simone Biles." Following her introduction she used her black magic and prevailed and succeeded in winning 4 gold medals and 1 bronze. She was so dominant that  there were those who could only describe her performances as lucky, for which she responded back so brilliantly. Biles was quoted as saying "You make your own luck, you make it in training!" Simone Biles and those that came before her exemplify what happens when black girl magic and the correct training, that many minorities can't afford , produce Olympic Gold Medals.  Thank you Simone for showing the world that now the way has been paved, the curtain hasn't closed, and we are here to stay.

Simone Biles used her magic to show everyone that we're here to stay!

Next up  everyone knows the myth that black people can't swim. I didn't learn how to swim until I attended college and in order to pass the swim test I had to dive into 11ft of water. I did pass my test with the help of God and needless to say I haven't ever dived again, nor do I swim outside of a pool 6ft deep, but that could be just me. So Simone Manuel has influenced me to possibly get over my fear of swimming at least in my next life. The brave African Americans swimmers that broke down barriers and paved the way for her are some where in the world way more elated than me. Thank you and congratulations Simone on showing your magic by winning Gold and bringing light to the fact that black people can swim, and quite possibly putting an end to this myth.

Simone Manuel used her magic to secure Gold in Rio and shed light that black women can swim!

Jenny Arthur, congrats on setting new American weightlifting records in Rio. It's only fitting that a black women would set these records in this type of event. We live our lives with the weight of the world on our shoulders; it's gotta be a good feeling to carry weight that you actually enjoy. I do know that she had a 6th place finish in her first Olympics but she set an American record with her Black Girl Magic so she Rocks!  Thanks for getting that weight off of our shoulders in a positive way.

Jenny Arthur you better lift that weight off of your shoulders! Thanks for using your magic to set records!

Someone once said track wasn't a team sport. This is not what Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin and Brianna Rollins showed us in Rio as they made history by captivating us and disarming that statement by sweeping the 110m hurdles and making history.  Brianna Rollins secured Gold in a remarkable fashion.  In team sports everyone has to do their part to achieve a desired goal and they each had to do their part to make history so thank you ladies for showing us that track just isn't an individual sport. You all rock!

These ladies used all their black girl magic in securing 1 2 and 3 in the 100 meter hurdles in Rio Olympics making history.

Michelle Carter used her skill set to secure Gold in the shot put event in Rio! She had to put in a little magic and rock it out in her last throw. This incredible throw is a throw that only a beautiful black queen could throw and mesmerize the media and fans around the world. Thank you Michelle for the champion you are and epitomizing a confidence that so many black women need to see. You Rock! 

Michelle Carter that last throw was incredible, way to add a little magic to it.

Dalilah Muhammad delighted us in her dominant run  in the 400m hurdles. She was aggressive from the start and never let up her pace. She broke out in front and commanded attention from around the world, as she so eloquently used her black magic with ease and cemented her place in history winning the 1st ever gold medal for America in this track and field event! You Rock!

Thanks for making history and using your black girl magic to command attention and cement yourself in track and field history.

Tianna Bartoletta at age 30,, had a long shot at winning Gold in track and field long jump, but she used her black girl magic and sprang herself out of the box in Rio. Congrats Tianna on finally getting over the hump and securing a  Gold Medal. Thanks for showing the world how high you can go. You Rock!

She finally has an Olympic Gold by using her magic to crush the competition!

I've enjoyed watching all the women in the Olympics and learning more about their empowering stories. To write my thoughts on everyone would be a book so I  highlighted a few of the sisters that took Gold that inspired and motivated me with their Black Magic. Everything that I've learned from these ladies and the other ladies competing, winning medals on the biggest stage and even the ones that got an opportunity to be on the biggest sports stage in the world have influenced me these past few weeks in a motivating and awe inspiring way.

Ladies, you all rock.  But it was on my heart to highlight  black girl magic at a time in society when we are still discriminated against, trivialized, downplayed, displayed by not all but most media in less than positive light. I commend you all and thank you for your sacrifices, hard work and determination.  Thanks for showing  the world what can happen when you add those qualities  with self resilience and a self confidence that can't be broken.

Sidenote: I learned two valuable lessons from this year's Olympics. When Allyson Felix failed to win Gold in the 200m because of the dive that Shaunae Miller took across the finish line, it caused me to go into deep thought. My late great mentor Coach Kay Yow taught me that you have to be aggressive to play sports but the great ones learn when to be really aggressive, and when to not be so aggressive. Shaunae Miller went all out and it made all the difference. I tend to be really hard on myself at times, but that night I learned sometimes you don't have to be perfect to win, sometimes in the moment you may have to lose your form to get the job done and be successful.

These ladies showed me that sometimes it may not be perfect but in the moment you may have to lose form to be successful.

Secondly the courageous and inspiring fortitude Ibtihag Muhammed showed in her Olympic fencing debut taught me that you can be great at a sport and stay true to yourself and your religion. Congratulations on  being the first woman ever to compete in an hibaj  and cograts on leading your team to a bronze medal. In speaks volumes oh how she stayed true to her faith and became an Olympian medalist.

The first woman ever to compete in the Olympics in an hijab. Reminding us to stay true to ourselves and our Faith!

Last but not least I know this was a long blog, and  I appreciate you taking the time to  read it.   Make sure you look out for my blog this Sunday as I highlight my USA Women's Basketball Olympic team and hopefully celebrate their 6th straight Gold Medal. Remember life is a journey the first part is about learning, the second part is about earning and the last part is about returning. Something our Olympians are learning all to well and something we all need to remember as we journey along in the game of life. 







'

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First and foremost before I write about the 2016 USA  Women's and Men's national team, I would like to go back to 1976, the year the 1st USA Women's National Team qualified for the Olympics. The 1976 USA team fought their way into the final spot of the Montreal Olympics through the pre-olympic qualifying tournament in which they gained the gold medal. Nancy Lieberman, Pat Head (Summitt), and Ann Meyers (DrysDale) led the way under the coaching  leadership of Billie Moore and Sue Bunter. They went to the Olympics 40 years ago on a $500.00  budget and were able to secure the silver medal in Olympic competition exceeding expectations in an amazing fashion.

The 1976 team that led the way.

They paved the way for the 1996 team led by my favorite center of all time Katrina McClain, and favorite guard,Teresa Edwards, under Head Coach Tara Vandaveer. The way these ladies  overpowered each team ignited the momentum of womens' basketball professionally across the world and in the USA. The dominance that the 1996 USA women displayed on the basketball court in  Atlanta birthed the ground breaking efforts in forming the first two professional leagues in the US, the ABL and the WNBA. I'm forever grateful for these ladies for their fortitude, sacrifices and love for the game. So many players and coaches paved the way for me to  achieve my dream of doing what I was born to do, play basketball on the highest level.

I remember playing against this team at NC State and having this exact poster on my wall. What more can I say they paved the way for me to play in the ABL and the WNBA.

The 2016 USA women's basketball team led by 3X Olympian Gold Medalist Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings and Sue Bird are on their quest for their fourth gold medal and the team's sixth straight. The ladies are favored to win the gold in Rio with the inside power of Sylvia Fowles, Tina Charles, and Brittany Griner  and the star studded back court of Angel McCoughtry, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Elena Delle Donne, and Maya Moore. Here are a few of my favorite pictures with words that show what I plan on observing in Rio.

Diana Taurasi "Da Truth" pictured here giving us a thumbs up on winning the Gold.

The USA Men's National Team is without the best player in the world Lebron James but will be led by 4x Olympian  Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo hasn't been as successful winning the big games in his NBA career but he has no problem with securing the Gold. He's been criticized for his lack of playoff and championship caliber play, but a legacy of  winning gold medals around the world solidifies him as a bonafide player.  I'm very interested in observing how Golden State's star Kevin Durant, the biggest talent on the roster, responds in leading the team to the Gold Medal.  

Both  USA basketball teams have a great opportunity to do something special in Rio. The unique talent, dominance , experience in winning and superb coaching gives each team a great chance of coming back to the US  with the Gold medal.

Secondly my internship with the NBRPA is coming to an end and I can't believe how fast the time has gone. I've learned so much and adapted quickly to my new working environment.  I compare this internship with a WNBA training camp, a lot of hard work in learning a new system, in a short amount of time, the only difference is I leave before the the season starts. I've  formed great professional relationships with the staff,  and many  of the former players.  In the beginning I was apprehensive  about taking this opportunity, and  I'm truly glad that I got past my fears and took a leap of faith. This week I've been creatively coming up with a way that I can still maintain those relationships because I have tunnel vision with some of the goals and ideas that I wanted to see achieved and implemented. I'm positive that I can find a way to do that and leave my imprint on the organization in the way I had envisioned. I have to give a very special shout out to Brittany Ray, NBRPA WNBA Coordinator, my young mentor that showed me the ropes and shared the same vision that I have for former players.

Here I am with my Brittany Ray WNBA Coordinator for the NBRPA and my young mentor. Thanks for showing me the ropes. I"m sure you will miss my tunnel vision, my great multitasking skills ;) still managing to get the job done.

Last but certainly not least I'm excited for the new opportunities awaiting me that I plan to share with you next week, so stay tuned. Also I  want to say that what seems like failures, or setbacks to others may be exactly what you need to find success in your life. To everyone out there stay encouraged, embrace the journey, and always keep believing your best is yet to come.

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