Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rashan Ali Smith Interview

If you aren't in Atlanta you probably can't totally grasp who and what Rashan Ali Smith is to the community. She's the perfect role model for any woman, young or old in Atlanta who aspires do to wonderful things. Rashan is more than just a radio personality on Hot 107.9's A-Team Morning Show and sideline reporter for the Atlanta Hawks. She has her hands in lots of things! She's also a philanthropist, a mother, a writer and an actress. Recently she played a character by the name of Monica in the movie Three Can Play That Game starring Vivica Fox and I can assure you Rashan is unforgettable in that movie! She really made the most out of all of her scenes! Atlanta better enjoy Mrs. Ali Smith while they can because although she'll always be Queen Of The East Side, she's on the verge of becoming too big to let just one city own her.

I recently exchanged emails with Rashan about her love for sports and her non-profit organization Sporty Girls Inc. Part of this interview appeared in Score Atlanta. Here is the interview in it's entirety.

How did you first become interested in sports?

I was born into a sports family. My father is Buck Godfrey who is the head football coach at Southwest Dekalb High School and the winningest high school football coach in Dekalb County history. My mother coached Pop Warner football at Glenwood Hills Park. She led her team to an undefeated season. Yes, my mother!

Not only did my father coach football, he also coached our summer league swimming team and the high school swim team at Towers High School and SWD. He taught me how to swim at the age of three. I began swimming competitively at the age of five. There were very few girls swimming at the time so I would have to swim the boys in my age group. It definitely helped me build character at an early age!

What is your favorite sport to play?

I am definitely good for a nice swimming workout from time to time! It used to be hard to swim recreationally because after so many years of training you kind of look at the pool like, "man, I sure did put in a lot of hours throughout my life." Training for swimming is arduous! It can be grueling at times. Nonetheless, it is the best exercise for your body, hands down.

What inspired you to create Sporty Girls?

Sporty Girls, Inc. is a non-profit organization which encourages young African-American girls to swim, play golf, tennis and soccer while developing lifestyle skills. We are in the midst of our first summer camp right now!! It has been extremely exciting!!! I am so thankful.

SGI was a dream that I had about two years ago. Growing up, my relay team and I were the only Black girls in the water for a number of years. We were very good and very successful. (We still have two records that stand in the Dekalb County Summer League Record books. One record is 23 years old.) All of us received full scholarships to swim in college. Two of us went to Florida A&M University. One attended Georgia Southern and the other went to Howard University. All of our degrees were free because we chose a sport that most African-American girls just don't do. So I thought to myself, why not create a way for girls from all economic backgrounds to be exposed to the sports "we" don't generally participate in on a professional level. There are scholarships being given in these sports, but they are not going to our youth because we simply have never participated in it.
Swimming also helped me to foster great relationships. The girls on my relay team were also in my wedding. That's what swimming did for me.

Do you think non-traditional sports offer something more than the popular sports?

I think all sports offer the same things. Since we traditionally aren't seen in a swim suit, with golf clubs, with a racket, with shin splints; it gives them that much more confidence to believe that they can accomplish anything by succeeding in those non-traditional sports.

Do you think we need to do more to highlight the successful African American women who are involved in sports whether it be through competition or reporting?

I think the media does a great job in highlighting women of color. Because we have to be that much better than our colleagues, I think we always stand out. I'm always looking for the woman that looks like me and when I see her exhibiting her knowledge and athletic prowess, it makes me proud!

Do you ever feel awkward being one of, if not the only woman in the locker room?

I never feel awkward! I've been around male athletes all my life! I've always considered myself the 'feminine tomboy" so I can relate to males very well! I know how to form good relationships with athletes. They gain respect by your approach and your knowledge of the game. I think I've done a great job with both of those.

You've been the sideline reporter for the Atlanta Hawks for the past few years, but since the birth of your daughter you started working fewer games. Do you plan on continuing with the Atlanta Hawks this upcoming season?

Being a part of the Atlanta Hawks Game Operations staff has been very rewarding. Not only do I have the opportunity to engage the audience with meaningful sideline interviews, but I really get a chance to know the players. I've formed lifelong relationships with many of the staff members and certainly the good people at Philips Arena! I am still sorting things out for next season. I really think I always want to be a part of the family in some capacity because they have been so good to me. Peter Sorckoff and Matt Payne are really incredible people! They've given me an incredible opportunity and they always encourage me to cultivate my talent. What more can you ask for?

I've also been given the opportunity to do some new things with "Better Mornings" on CBS 46, so television is definitely up next!

What about Radio One and sports....

My co-host and friend Griffy 2K and myself do the sports twice a day on the show. I also write a sports commentary every Thursday that is posted on our website. This gives me the chance to talk about any and everything I'd like to talk about. I've talked about everything from Evander Holyfield to Vivian Stringer. I'm proud to say that I'm a woman and I love sports. What man doesn't love that? My husband certainly does!

If you want to learn more about Sporty Girls Inc. or you want to make a donation, log onto the website or write to:

Sporty Girls Inc.
P.O. box 4390
Atlanta, GA 30303
Voice/Fax 404.806.7352

Please visit www.rashanali.net to learn more about Rashan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

20 Minute freewrite on Josh Smith

Sigh. I really thought I'd be able to sit on this for a few days, but now is as good a time as any to get this off my chest. I should note that my chest is pretty big so I've been holding a lot....
I hope Josh Smith leaves. Don't get me wrong I adore almost everything about Josh Smith, but this organization is inept and I do not want him to be locked in an untenable situation somewhere down the line. If I typed faster this would go a hell of a lot smoother. Anyway, a lot of the personalities in the town have decided that there's no market for Josh since he didn't get an offer. They love to point to Philly and L.A. and say see they wined and dined him and even they passed on him. What they fail to acknowledge are two very important things. 1 Elton Brand opted out. While I wouldn't have given him $90 million bucks coming off an achilles injury, he is a career 20 pt 10 rebound guy so I can see why Philly rolled the dice on that one. 2. The opportunity for L.A. to get Marcus Camby for literally nothing arose so of course they couldn't pass on that. It's not that Josh isn't worthy, it's that he's restricted. So, if they made him an offer they knew they'd risk having their money be tied up for a week while the inept Atlanta Spirit decided whether or not they were going to match it. I can see why they went in another direction, but others feel like its because Josh isn't worth it. Believe me they wouldn't have wined and dined him if they weren't genuinely interested. Elton Brand opting out couldn't have come at a worse time for Josh Smith.
Everyone in this town seem to think Josh has no right to not want to play for Coach Woodson. This irks me the most. Damn near his whole coaching staff left this offseason. Why do you think that is? Did they leave to become head coaches? Nope, they made lateral moves. Even they had the sense to try to get the hell away from Woody. A couple of them tried to leave last season, but since they were contractually obligated Billy made them stay. Larry Drew is still here, but Brett Lagree (Hoopinion) and I are in agreement about the fact that he must long to have the words Interim Head Coach attached to his name. I'll link to Brett's post later. If I forget remind me or just go to my worth a look section. I'm even more annoyed that EVERYONE is so quick to forget the last four years just because the Hawks took the stinkin Celtics to 7 games! Four years does not 2 weeks undo. Mike Woodson didn't all of a sudden become a good coach just because the Hawks managed to win 3 games against them for no other reason than the fans at Philips arena. If the Hawks were winning in spite of Woody (which I firmly believe they did) for the 82 games prior to the playoffs why the hell would they all of a sudden start winning because of him just because its the playoffs? He's not a good coach, I don't care what anyone says. And while we're talking about the celtics series that has everyone jaded, let's talk about the fact that not one time did they bother to show up against the Celtics in Boston. Not once. Alot of that was Woody's fault. Anytime one of the key starters picked up 2 fouls I knew we wouldn't see him again until the game was way out of reach and I assure you that's how the games in Boston played out. Everyone wants the players to trust the coach, but he didn't even trust his players enough to let them play with 2 fouls in the first half. Give me a break. My 2o minutes is almost up, but I'm far from done, at least I think I'm far from done so I'm going to go for 15 more minutes.
Joe Johnson is a very good player, but in real life he only averaged about 4 more points than Josh. So if you're going to tell me Joe is worth $14 million then surely Josh is worth 10 or 11 million. I mean, numbers do matter in this instance don't they? I don't understand how Josh Smith can bear the brunt of the responsibility for everything that ails this team when he's still on his rookie contract, while Joe gets to mosey on through season after season never taking any responsibility for the team's shortcomings. He's the max player on this team so if they aren't winning shouldn't he take a little heat for that. When the Lakers are losing Kobe gets the blame, when the LeBron's are losing people ask LeBron to do more, when the Rockets fail to get out of the first round time and time again, people blame T-Mac. They don't blame the role players. Somehow Joe has been able to escape all criticism. It's really mind blowing. I can't explain it. I swear I don't think the air conditioning is working right now. My glass of wine is getting extremely warm and as we all know you need to have a Moscato chilled. Anyway, back to the Atlanta Spirit. everyone wants us to believe that they are just playing their hand by literally doing nothing where either of the Josh's are concerned. Puhleeze. This group has been inept for many years now all of a sudden I'm supposed to believe they're 2 steps ahead of everyone else. Are you kidding me? They assured us that re-signing the Josh's was priority number one, so why do neither of them have a contract? Are they trying to lowball them? Particularly Josh Smith. Just because bad timing prevented him from getting the $55-65 million he deserves that doesn't mean he should sign with the Hawks for well under what he's worth. josh is undervalued in Atlanta from so many angles its ridiculous. I honestly don't think people understand how important he is/was to this team. Joe didn't do it by himself. One of the radio personalities said he doesn't think Josh plays hard every night. That's fine, but if him dogging it was only 4 points different than Joe playing his ass off then that leads me to one of two conclusions. Either he's way better than we give him credit for or Joe isn't nearly as good as we make him out to be. I mean if he has to play all out just to average 4 more points than a guy who only shows up half the time...... I love this Leona Lewis song playing in the background. I really should buy her album, or just download it. Back to Josh, I hope he doesn't let them lowball him. You are worth double digits don't let anyone tell you differently. Sign that one year qualifying offer, insure you legs and arms and anything else that is important to you being a successful basketball player (if J-Lo can insure her rump surely Josh can insure his legs.) Play out of your mind next season and about halfway through when you're averaging 20 and 10 and headed to the All star game come out publicly and let the Hawks know there is no way on God's green earth you are going to re-sign with them. Let it be known you won't be fielding emails or phone calls from anyone associated with the Atlanta Spirit llc. They had their chance to sign you for like 2 years straight and they decided to play wait and see so now they get to wait until the end of the season to see you go sign with someone else. Time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leave Josh Smith!

Pleeeeeease, sign the one year qualifying offer, insure your legs, play out of your mind, then sign with someone, anyone other than the Atlanta Hawks.

You're clearly not appreciated here so go somewhere else. I'll expound on this later.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Favre not finished throwing interceptions just yet...

I knew it was too good to be true! Brett Favre wants to throw a few more interceptions! After a few days of sending text messages to the Packers GM (What is this junior high? He's damn near 40. He should not be handling this type of business via text message) he wants the Packers to release him unconditionally. After Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy stopped laughing they politely told him there is no way in hell that's going to happen.
Brett and his agent cannot really believe the Packers are going to be stupid enough to let him play somewhere else without getting any type of compensation for him. He still has 3 years left on his contract and they own his rights. Brett is about to learn that the NFL really is a business and even though he's a legend he is not bigger than the team. At least he isn't anymore.
Poor Aaron Rodgers is probably supremely annoyed with that lil diva, but he'll never say it. The fans in Green Bay would never forgive him if he started talking reckless about Brett.
Either way I'm tired of this. ESPN isn't even bothering to cover other stories. I really want him to make a decision and stick with it. He's always been able to live with his decision to throw into triple coverage leading to an interception so he needs to just decide with that same "If this is the wrong decision I'll live with it" mindset. Seriously, this song and dance is getting old!

Matt Jones, wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jags is a cokehead......

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wimbledon, Yankees, Agent Zero

Just a few quick thoughts:

The Wimbledon Final between Federer and Nadal was AMAZING! It looked like Federer was going to get beat in straight sets, but then there was a little rain delay during the 3rd set and it kind of re energized him. (At least that's what the announcer eluded too) The truth is that the only reason Federer won sets 3 and 4 is because they were decided by a tiebreak. He could NOT break Nadal's serve today when he really needed to. He only broke him one time which is hard to believe because he's Roger freakin Federer. He just couldn't get that big shot against Nadal's serve. It was unbelievable! I knew as soon as Nadal broke him in the 5th set it was over. I think he knew it too deep down inside. This Sunday was the first Sunday in months that I didn't miss football season.

Yesterday in the women's Final Venus beat Serena. Venus is a beast on grass so I knew she'd win no matter how well Serena was playing.

The Yankees disgust me right now! In less than 25 days I'm going to Yankee Stadium to watch them play the Los Angeles Angels of Beverly Hills Anaheim California or whatever it is they call themselves these days and I fear by that time the Yankees might not be in the playoff race. How can the last season in Yankees Stadium as I know it end with anything less than a World Series ring?? I'll tell you how, because they can't hit and pitch on the same day. If they get a good outing by the starting pitcher they give him little to no run support. It's awful, just awful. And on top of all that, everyone is banged up. I'd be disappointed if they didn't make the playoffs no matter what season it is, but this season in particular it would be severely disappointing.

Gilbert Arenas is not worth $100 million. He just isn't. He's cute and funny and honest and quirky and a whole lot of other adjectives except franchise player. The Wizards finished with the same record without Arenas as they would have finished with if he were playing. That's just the truth, look it up. I just don't understand when a guy became worth $100 million just because he is the best player on YOUR team. There might be 5 players in the NBA who are legitimately worth $100 million and Gil is not among them. If you get that kind of money you HAVE to be able to take your team to the Finals. He can't even get his team out of the first round! And, he has a bum knee! Signing that contract means there are no more excuses. When you take franchise player money then you need to do franchise player things. I'm talking to you too J.O. and Rashard Lewis.

And Hawks fans have the nerve to say Josh isn't worth $65 million. Puhleeze! If Gil is worth $111 million then Josh is worth $65 million. Easily.