Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good News Tuesday: Baron Davis

Before I get to the purpose of this post I have some things I want to say.

While making the rounds I noticed that two of my favorite bloggers Symphony and Ms. Marvalus, being the intelligent women that they are, (I know this because I am forced to read their posts as opposed to staring at their body parts), have decided to light candles instead of casting shadows in these uncertain times of the world and out right dark times predicted by doomsayers in the blogosphere.

They are doing this with their Good News Tuesday posts, some health food for the mind instead of the steady diet of junk food posts we feed ourselves on the net.

See one of the things I am sure we all noticed in the blogosphere is how easily we are attracted to gloom and doom, and sensationalist type posts.

We can sit and debate on the comment sections if Beyonce is a swagger jacker, or if Rhianna and Chris brown's relationship is real.

We can talk all day about how some super jock did something super stupid, but never a word is said about the one who gives time an effort as well as money to those who need it.

We can do the battles of the sexes all day, pointing the finger at one another and screaming.

We can talk smack about other people's lives and pass judgment with out ever looking them in the eye.

Hell their are bloggers whose only purpose is to stir the pot of miscommunication and ignorance, like some twisted side walk preacher clutching the Bible in one hand while the other points to you and swears your soul is destined to burn in the fiery pit if you don't follow them to salvation.

You can tell who they are, long on misery, short on solution, big on debate.

It's easy to do that when your behind the safety of an Internet and you don't have to look your opponent in the eye like a real warrior.

I am guilty of this as well, I get my kicks off the absurd and foolish yet little positive in return other than some snide remarks.

Not that these thing should be ignored or taken lightly, it's serious business the matters of race, sex, politics, religion and the heart.

But too much of anything will poison you slowly and painfully.

So I am not going to wait till the New Year to make some slight changes, in how I want to approach the world, on a Tuesday at least.

It is strictly health food type posts or nothing at all, something that shows that the world and more importantly to me black people are not going to hell on the devil dog express.

Now I am sure it wont be easy, finding good news on the net compared to bad news is like trying to find a Bible in a porn shop.

But it can be done and more importantly the feeling of reading and finding something positive about your people is like getting a sweet kiss from the one you love when you need it the most.

So on to this post from SI.

THE LINE snaked around the block, 75 families, many with kids in tow, waiting for the doors to open. On a chilly Sunday afternoon in South Central Los Angeles, they had massed in front of Urban Legends Stadium, a shoe store that sells Nikes and hoodies but also Booker T. Washington biographies and a full complement of Barack Obama T-shirts. The folks in line talked about church and sports and movies and tried like hell to avoid the topic of the economy. ¶ Sirens wailed in the background, and police kept a wary eye on the crowd, but the people were there only for a giveaway of holiday food—turkeys, cans of vegetables, biscuits, pies, crates of bottled water—paid for and distributed by Baron Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers point guard. Davis had returned from an East Coast road trip earlier that morning yet arrived at Urban Legends in high spirits, flashing a smile, framed by a thick beard, that puffed out his cheeks. This was no pro form a goodwill appearance by an athlete; Davis was greeted not as a celebrity but as a familiar figure in the community. No one wanted his autograph or photo. They just wanted to catch up. The crowd of onlookers included his sisters, aunts, nephews and grandmother. They chided him for everything from his tardiness to his attire. (At an aunt's behest, Davis quickly removed a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words TYSON VS. GIVENS.)

The 6'3" Davis has put a twist on the familiar deliverance-through-hoops narrative. Basketball is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The sport is less who he is than what he does. But is that a good thing?

Davis's interest in activism was piqued during his two years at UCLA, where he met Jim Brown and took a class on actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. As a rookie with the Hornets, then based in Charlotte, Davis befriended Marshall Rauch, an entrepreneur and longtime North Carolina state senator. "On a lot of Sundays he'd come over and bombard me with questions about politics and economics," recalls Rauch, now in his mid-80s. "He absorbed everything, and you knew he was going to use it someday."

In the summer of 2006 Davis, who was then with the Golden State Warriors, addressed the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C., about health issues and the obesity crisis affecting minorities. He also attended the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City that September. During the trip he met with the junior senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. Davis spoke with him about life in the inner city. "There's just this lack—lack of education, lack of safety, lack of opportunity, lack of health care," he says. "Barack really listened and engaged. He told me, 'If you're serious about restructuring the inner city, use your platform.'?"

When Obama announced his candidacy for president, Davis was quick to volunteer, hosting fund-raisers and cutting checks. (He and Obama aide Reggie Love texted each other congratulations on election night.) "Our country is at a tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell would put it," says Davis. "I feel like this [election result] is a new beginning, for the U.S. and even for the world. It feels good to say you were part of something bigger than yourself."

Davis's other significant nonbasketball pursuit is his production company, Verso Entertainment, which he founded with Cash Warren, his friend and Crossroads classmate (who is perhaps best known as Jessica Alba's husband). The company's maiden project, Crips and Bloods: Made in America, is a full-length documentary directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys), tracing the history of the gang culture in South Central. "I think Baron was particularly taken with it because this was his community," says Peralta. "He was like, 'If I had made a few different choices, that could have been me.'"

I think bloggers out their should link up and give this a try, good news is the best news.