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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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Tracy McGrady Backs His Startup With $10M

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After Always Investing In Others’ Ideas But Says Not Once Did He ‘Ever Trust’ His

Tracy McGrady’s new business venture aims to bring a refreshing new addition to basketball.

CNBC reports that the NBA legend is investing $10 million into Ones Basketball League (OBL) — his one-on-one basketball startup.

The Vision

The self-funded company is a new league in town that tours seven cities from April to July, where players are paired in one-on-one games, according to the outlet. During the Memorial Day weekend, OBL made its New York debut.

“I’ve always invested in other people’s ideas and other people’s vision,” McGrady shared, according to CNBC. “Not once did I ever trust mine. I didn’t have the confidence to think mine was good enough. I didn’t trust my ideas or decision-making when it came to my vision.”

He added: “This is the first time I actually trusted and believed that I can pull this off.”

Where The Funding Is Going

A portion of McGrady’s $10 million investment is for OBL’s championship prize of $250,000. For the league’s regional games, the winning players receive $10,000. Per the outlet, the top three players from the games will have the opportunity to hoop for the prize fund. 

As of now, McGrady and his business partner Jeff Pollack aren’t seeking outside investors just yet. In Pollack’s words, “we want to make sure that we understand clearly what this should be, and then we’ll plan how to grow it.”

The Future Of OBL

With OBL having a focus on Gen Z, it may become a new competitor for Overtime.

As previously reported, the company launched Overtime Elite (OTE) — a three-team Atlanta-based league turning teen hoopers into six-figure earners and future NBA stars. OBL is still new in the game, but it has already been able to secure a digital distribution deal with the Paramount-owned Showtime network. Within the partnership, the network will air OBL content and cross-promotion on its YouTube channel for split advertisement revenue.

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XFL to host player showcase

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The XFL today announced it will host a series of player showcases across the United States in June and July. In partnership with American National Combines (“ANC”), these showcases will give prospective football players a chance to exhibit their skills in front of XFL coaches and personnel directors. Players will be evaluated based on performance for inclusion in the XFL Draft player pool for the upcoming 2023 season.

“We are excited to kick off this showcase series and begin opening more doors for aspiring football players across the entire country,” said Dany Garcia, Chairwoman and Owner. “Our intentional showcase locations, such as Jackson State, one of the largest HBCUs in the country, and our Hawai’i Showcase in Honolulu, are direct reflections of our XFL core values of diversity, inclusivity and accessibility. As an organization and league we will continue to push the boundaries and unlock new opportunities to advance the game of football.”

“These showcases are an incredible opportunity for passionate players to show up and ball out for a chance to join the XFL,” said Dwayne Johnson, Owner. “The XFL is all about being at the intersection of dreams and opportunity. It is our goal to make football more accessible to more players, and our highly experienced team of coaches and personnel directors are ready to help make these professional football dreams come true. The door is open for elite talent across the country to join the XFL – including my home state of Hawai’i. I’m looking forward to seeing these players bringing their best and leaving it all out on the field.”

Russ Brandon, President, added, “We are ready to discover and evaluate seasoned athletes looking to compete in a dynamic, fast-paced game and grow professionally with the XFL. Our football operations team continues to gain momentum and our head coaches are eager to seek fresh talent for our 2023 season. This will be an exciting summer ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing the turnout at all of our events.”

REGISTRATION
Registration is now open for the XFL showcases. If you are interested in attending, please register here: www.showcases.xfl.com/register
If you have any questions about the events and player eligibility, please visit our FAQ page: www.showcases.xfl.com/faq

SHOWCASE LOCATIONS

XFL WASHINGTON, DC SHOWCASEFriday, June 17, 2022University of Maryland, College Park, MDXFL HBCU SHOWCASE*Saturday, July 16, 2022Jackson State, Jackson, MS
  
XFL FLORIDA SHOWCASESunday, June 19, 2022IMG Academy, Bradenton, FLXFL ARIZONA SHOWCASEFriday, July 22, 2022Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  
XFL HAWAI’I SHOWCASE*Saturday, June 25, 2022McKinley High School, Honolulu, HIXFL TEXAS SHOWCASESunday, July 24, 2022Choctaw Stadium, Arlington, TX
  
*Invitation only

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Wendell Scott, NASCAR’s First Black Driver NFT

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NFT Collection Honoring the Man Who Broke the NASCAR Color Barrier

A series of historic NFTs created by Wendell Scott Ventures will be introduced and sold to commemorate the iconic and groundbreaking life and legacy of Wendell Scott. On December 1, 1963, Wendell Scott broke NASCAR’s color barrier by becoming the first African American NASCAR driver to win a Grand National race, NASCAR’s highest level. Until Bubba Wallace’s win on October 4, 2021 there had never been another black driver to win a NASCAR race. To this day, Wendell Scott is the only black NASCAR team owner. Despite Wendell Scott’s triumphant victory, he was never awarded a trophy for this win. It wasn’t until August 28, 2021, nearly 60 years after his Jacksonville win that his trophy was posthumously awarded to his family.

Coming off of a successful in-person NFT auction hosted by Authentik Studios at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in which the first-ever NFTs of an African American NASCAR driver were sold, the collaboration with Worldwide XR, CMG Worldwide and VueXR continues with a broader release on March 6th with the premiere NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway.  

100 years after his birth and 58 years after his NASCAR victory, Wendell Scott continues to break barriers as his legacy is now irrevocably entwined with technology that is shaping the future of how users engage with the world around them. NFTs are a fitting mode to share the story of Wendell Scott as NFTs, like Wendell Scott, disrupted society while simultaneously paving the path for change in a broken system. Akin to NFTs impact on technology, cryptocurrency, and the future of Web 3.0, Scott’s impact shook NASCAR’s status quo and made the sport more inclusive and accessible. Owners of these NFTs have a chance to be a part of history in the making. 

A monumental series of firsts, these historic NFTs were created in partnership by leading digital agency Worldwide XR (WXR), Extended Reality content developers Vue XR, and Wendell Scott Ventures (the joint venture between David Steward II’s Lion Forge Films (Academy Award®-winning Hair Love), parent company Polarity, a leading black-owned entertainment holding company and Scott 34 Racing) and are the first ever NFTs to be released of an African American NASCAR driver. This will be Nifty’s first time releasing a 3D Augmented Reality (AR) digital car on their platform. The first of it’s kind and an exact 1:1 replica of Wendell Scott’s first-ever NASCAR winning 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air. Much like the blockchain allows users to operate on a decentralized system, the Extended Reality (XR) version of Scott’s car breaks it away from its physical confines of its display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and brings it to the masses. This AR asset can also be utilized in Metaverse applications.

Depending on which NFT is purchased, owners will also receive Authentik Studios’ SILO™ Digital Frame that brings your NFTs to life by allowing users to display your collections on a 43″ HD high-fidelity audio display from the comfort of their home. Users can access their entire NFT gallery via the SILO™ App & enjoy their NFTs in unparalleled 4K resolution.

About Wendell Scott
Born in rural Virginia in 1921 during the Jim Crow Era, a time when racial segregation was enforced by law, Wendell Scott’s life and career was filled with adversity. After serving as a mechanic in a segregated division in WWII , he was denied access to NASCAR due to the color of his skin. From his first job as a taxi driver, Scott sharpened his driving skills bootlegging moonshine during the Prohibition era.

Scott used trials and tribulations to propel him forward. Scott became the first African American team owner and spent nine years in the “Dixie Circuit”, a smaller regional competitor to NASCAR, until he was finally able to persuade NASCAR to grant him a license to race in 1953 – officially breaking the sport’s color barrier.

Scott won the Jacksonville 200 race in 1963, only to see the win given to a white driver on a “clerical error” (later reversed). After competing in 496 NASCAR races, with 147 Top 10 finishes, a horrific near-death crash in 1973 ended his career. Scott died of cancer in 1990 and was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, becoming the first African American in NASCAR history to do so.

Wendell Scott’s career was repeatedly challenged by racial prejudice and threats on his life. However, his determined struggle as an underdog would prove to win the hearts of thousands of fans and fellow racers. Scott was, and still is, a pop culture icon who was the subject of the film “Greased Lightning” starring Richard Pryor and was the inspiration for the character of River Scott in Disney’s animated film “Cars 3.”

The Wendell Scott Foundation is run by CEO Warrick Scott and provides educational programs designed for students aged 8 through 18 using STEM-related resources and programs, as well as learning and mentoring opportunities to communities across the country. For more information about the Foundation go to www.wendellscott.org.

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