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LAKER NATION IS BACK

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On the heels of early voting, Sunday Night Football, political debates, playing through a pandemic, and everything else going on in the world, the LA Lakers won the 2020 NBA Finals Championship inside the first ever “NBA Bubble.” Lakers clinched the game 6 win over the Miami Heat with their 106-93 victory. The Lakers are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the most NBA championship wins in NBA league history; they each have 17 apiece.

This championship was unique and historic in more ways than one. With the burning reminder of former Laker Kobe Bryant’s death, Laker championship drought frustrations, players vocally expressing their thoughts on race and inequality (the Black Lives Movement), and spending months quarantined at Walt Disney Resort playing in the midst of COVID-19, these were all factors and fighting motivation for the 2020 Lakers team. It had been 10 years since the Lakers last Championship win when Kobe lead the team.

This win was Lebron James’ 4th NBA championship title and 4th NBA Finals MVP title (with 3 different teams; Cleveland 2012 & 2016, Miami 2013, and LA 2020).

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And Another One….

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Simone Biles, aka “the GOAT,” set another record Saturday, May 22, 2021 becoming the first women ever to land the extremely difficult Yurchenko double pike vault move during competition at the GK US Classic in Indianapolis. The move is a roundoff onto a springboard, followed by a back handspring onto the vaulting table, and ending with a piked double backflip into the air to landing. Historically this move has only been completed by just a few male gymnasts.

Biles, 24, successfully defended her GK US Classic all-around title. This was her first competition since October 2019.

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DRAFTED!

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Still elated from winning the 2021 Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship in front of her hometown crowd, San Antonio native, Wagner High School alumna, and Stanford University standout Kiana Williams is moving on up. Just recently Williams received a key to the city and now she is headed to the defending champion WNBA Seattle Storm. Williams was a drafted 18th overall in the second round of the 2021 WNBA Draft. Congratulations Kiana Williams!

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NFL’s First Black Woman Referee

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Maia Chaka made history in early March becoming only the second woman and the very first Black woman to be hired as an NFL referee since the league was founded in 1920. Chaka was added to the NFL roster of game officials for the 2021 season.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in a statement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

“It didn’t really hit me until just now,” Chaka said on The Today Show. “When I saw the introduction, I’m like, ‘This is really real,’ because this is just something that we’re just always taught to work hard for. Sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses.”

Chaka, a 2006 HBCU graduate of Norfolk State University earned her Bachelor’s degree in education. Currently she is a health and physical education teacher at Renaissance Academy where she teaches at-risk youth. She once received a Teacher of the Year award a few years back.

In 2014, Chaka made history as one of the first women officials to work a FBS bowl game. She has worked NFL preseason games as part of the developmental program, but now she will be part of the crew for regular-season action. She began her career in 2006 officiating high school games and then moved up in the college ranks to Conference USA and then the Pac-12 Conference, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Chaka most recently has been working Pac-12 games and also worked the sidelines for the short-lived XFL last year.

Chaka hopes to encourage young people, especially her students to reach for their dreams.

“I just want them to know if you have a passion for something and if you have a drive for something, don’t let it hold you back just because you think that something may give you some type of limitation,” she said. “Just continue to work hard and always, always, always just follow your dreams.”

What a proud and distinguished honor to earn during Women’s History Month! Congratulations Maia Chaka!

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