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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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Black Pro Athletes We Lost in 2022

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Last year (2022) proved to be a challenging year for Black athletes. In addition to the greatest soccer player (Pelé) of all time passing away Dec. 29, many other professional athletes died in 2022.

NBA

NBA players are donning No. 6 to honor NBA great Bill Russell, who was known for his career with the Boston Celtics. He died on July 31 at the age of 88.

Lusia Harris passed away on Jan. 18 at the age of 66. The New Orleans Jazz drafted Harris as the 137th pick of the 1977 NBA Draft, but she never played a game. She was chosen to play for the U.S. Olympic team in 1976. Harris was the first Black woman and female college player to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tiffany Jackson, 37, was a professional basketball player and coach known for her iconic college career at the University of Texas. She passed away Oct. 3 after battling breast cancer.

John Drew, 67, played in the NBA for 11 seasons. He died April 10 from bone cancer. Caleb Swanigan, 25, died on June 20. Swanigan died of natural causes and was a first-round draft pick in 2017 by the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Adreian Payne, 31, was shot and killed in Orlando, Florida May 9 while trying to help a woman engaged in a domestic dispute. He played four seasons in the NBA. Wayne “Coop” Cooper played 14 seasons in the NBA. Cooper, 65, passed away April 11 following a battle with kidney disease.

NFL

Marion Barber III, 38, was found dead inside his apartment June 1 from heat stroke. He played in the NFL from 2005 to 2011 and was a fourth-round draft pick by the Cowboys. Jaylon Ferguson, of the NFL Ravens, died June 21 of the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine. Ferguson, 26, was a third-round draft pick by the Ravens in 2019.

Jeff Gladney, 25, died May 30 in a horrific car crash in Dallas, along with his girlfriend. He was a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals and a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Less than one month before his 25th birthday, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins was tragically struck by a vehicle and subsequently died April 9. Former cornerback for the Carolina Panthers, Rashard Anderson, 45, died of pancreatic cancer July 13.

Charley Taylor, 80, was a wide receiver who spent 13 seasons with the Washington Redskins and passed away Feb. 19. Rayfield Wright, 76, was an offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. He passed away April 7 after suffering a seizure. Gary Brown, 52, was an NFL running back and an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He died April 10 from liver and kidney failure.

Tragically in November, three University of Virginia football players were shot and killed by an ex-teammate. They were junior receiver Lavel Davis Jr. of South Carolina, junior receiver Devin Chandler of North Carolina, and junior defensive end/linebacker D’Sean Perry of Miami.

MLB

Gerald Williams, 55, played for 14 seasons among different MLB teams. He passed away Feb. 8 following a battle with cancer. Tommy Davis, 83, was famously known for his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was a two-time National League batting champion. He passed away April 3. Dwight Smith, 58, was an MLB outfielder known for his time with the Cubs organization. He passed away July 22 after suffering congestive heart and lung failure. Maury Wills, 89, was a former MLB player turned manager who was known for his career with the Dodgers. He passed away Sept 19.

Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts

Earnie Shavers, 78, was a two-time world heavyweight championship boxer. He passed away Sept. 1. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, 38, was a mixed martial artist who competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He passed away Nov. 13 from organ failure due to non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

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Honoring the Life of Pelé

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As the world watched Argentina recently win the FIFA World Cup, it’s about to mourn a soccer legend that spanned continents. Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is considered one of the greatest soccer players in history.

His family is currently by his bedside as his health is failing at the age of 83 from colon cancer and other ailments. 

The Roots of Fight clothing website, which features his iconic No. 10 on shirts and pants, said it best of Pelé’s impact, “It has been said that what God is to religion Pelé is to soccer. No singular athlete has ever meant so much to a sport. No presence hovers over a playing field so completely, and no one player sings in the hearts of his countryman so passionately. For Brazil, Pelé means hero. The man who gave the country three World Cups, in 1958 when he was just 17 years old, then again 1962, and then again 1970. 

People joke about important athletes being national treasures — Pelé literally was declared a national treasure in Brazil in 1961. For America, Pelé means legend — the man who gave the country soccer and filled it with imagination. For Nigeria, Pelé meant peace. His presence was enough to halt a war when he came to play there in 1969. For South Africa, Pelé meant awe. Nelson Mandela once said, ‘To watch him play was to watch the delight of a child combined with the extraordinary grace of a man in full.’”

Pelé achieved 1,283 goals throughout 1,363 games. In 1977, Pelé competed in an exhibition match between the New York Cosmos and Santos F.C. in front of thousands of spectators – including boxing great Muhammad Ali – at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium. He played the first half of the game for Santos, switched jerseys, and played for the Cosmos in the second half. 

Growing up in poverty, Pelé, an Afro-Brazilian, eventually became involved in humanitarian efforts. However, others wanted him to be more vocal about the anti-Black violence that’s prevalent in Brazil. In 1994, Pelé served as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Champion for Sport and a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, creating such campaigns as Children in Need fundraising in 1996 and the Match of the Hearth in 2000. In 1997, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed Pelé the honorary title of Knight Commander of the British Empire for his humanitarian work and activism.

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HBCU Basketball Coming Into More Homes

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Seeing your favorite HBCU basketball team rival it out with a fellow HBCU team on regular television will soon be a reality thanks to the Black College Sports Broadcasting Network or BCSBN, which is bringing HBCU sports into the homes of more fans through a newly-created network of local television stations in the nation’s largest television markets.  

For the first time in history, Black college basketball games will be shown on local television stations instead of cable. The games will be broadcast in 50 of the nation’s largest television markets, from New York to California.   

The new network has already started broadcasting HBCU football and, beginning January 7, 2023, will promote HBCU basketball. It will broadcast HBCU basketball doubleheader games on eight consecutive Saturdays beginning on Jan. 7 and ending on February 25, 2023. All 16 basketball game broadcasts will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show titled “HBCU GameTime.” BCSBN programs are televised through the nation’s largest Black television markets with local television stations. The network’s audience is in markets concentrated East of Dallas, but viewers can also be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, and Minneapolis. 

Basketball games will feature teams from the CIAA, or the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association at the Division II level. CIAA institutions mainly consist of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

In addition to showing the high-intensity pep bands, the broadcasts will also showcase America’s treasured HBCU institutions and include a look at their campuses, unique history, and academic accomplishments.

BCSBN is a division of Texas-based PRC Communications. To see markets and TV stations where the games will be shown, visit (BCSBN.com).

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