Last month Russell Athletic started up with their fifth annual “Fight Like Dylan Award” campaign that honors high school teams that have demonstrated inspiring determination and perseverance through sports. And who better to lead the panel of judges than former NFL Head Coach Tony Dungy.
Along with Dungy a group of judges will select one recipient to receive a $50,000 grant in athletic apparel and sports equipment for their school. If you know someone who deserves recognition go to FightLikeDylan.org.
Last year’s “Fight Like Dylan Award” recipient was Shoreham-Wading River High School in Shoreham, New York, which honored fallen teammate Tom Cutinella who embodied the spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship. Tom rallied the team around the idea of being the Long Island Champions. Through his inspiration, the Wildcats finished 10-0 and won the Long Island title.
“This is truly a program that is near and dear to my heart,” said program spokesperson Tony Dungy. “I am so proud to partner with Russell Athletic, Dylan’s family, and the previous recipients to celebrate these great stories of teams coming together to overcome tragedy and hardship.”
For those who don’t know of Dylan Rebeor’s story here is some background on the courageous young man. In 2010, he was diagnosed with cancer, but after becoming ill, his commitment to his team never wavered. His final wish was for his team to receive new uniforms for the upcoming season through the “Make A Wish Foundation”.
The “Fight Like Dylan Award” was established by Russell Athletic in conjunction with Dylan’s family and coaches to not only grant that wish, but to celebrate other teams facing adversity and turning it into a powerful story of success through teamwork.
“Dylan had an extraordinary life and always inspired others while dealing with difficult circumstances,” said Heather Rebeor, Dylan’s mother. “We’re so proud that Dylan’s memory and spirit will live on through the Russell Athletic ‘Fight Like Dylan Award.’”
The 2015 NBA Season starts in 28 days. Chris Paul is getting ready for the new season as his new signature shoe, the CP3 IX comes out. After ten pro seasons and eight consecutive All-Star appearances, Chris Paul has demonstrated that speed plus control leads to on-court domination. With this performance equation in mind, Jordan Brand introduces “Striking Control” via the Jordan CP3.IX. The shoe, built for Paul’s agile playing style, helps stabilize the foot during quick cuts and direction changes.
The Jordan CP3.IX employs several performance-driven technologies to meet the demands of aggressive play. An innovative web-lacing system offers lateral support and 360-degree lockdown. A composite mesh material and strategically placed foam form a durable and supportive upper that is also lightweight and breathable. A full-length, breathable internal bootie provides a close, one-to-one fit.
A nine-chamber Zoom Air unit in the forefoot acts like a piston for mechanical cushioning and greater responsiveness. Outrigger enhancements to the sole provide lateral stability during sharp cuts and jumps while rubber wraps the medial side, enhancing traction and control.
The Chinese character for “family” is inscribed on the outsole’s toe to symbolize the player’s close relationship with his family. Additionally, the chevron symbol on the sole – an icon of CP3’s signature shoes – honors his late grandfather.
The lead colorway of the CP3.IX – Yellow Dragon – draws parallels between Paul’s on-court movement and the dragon dance that celebrates the Chinese New Year. Additionally, the scholarly yellow dragon is known for its intelligence, a descriptor often attributed to Paul’s play.
The Jordan CP3.IX will release in the Emerald and Yellow Dragon colorways October 1 in China for a suggested retail price of $130. The Emerald colorway will also launch in North America on October 1, followed by a general global release on November 1. Stay tuned to @Jumpman23 and Jordan.com for more information on the Jordan CP3.IX and future colorway launches.
To celebrate the kick-off of the professional football season and the 23rd Anniversary of the Air Jordan VII silhouette, the Jordan Brand outfits its football athletes with player-exclusive cleats.
Originally released in 1992 and worn by His Airness in his first back-to-back championship season, the Air Jordan VII features a neoprene inner bootie and colorful geometric detailing inspired by West African tribal culture. Each Air Jordan VII cleat incorporates team-specific colors. The Lunarlon cushioning system delivers a responsive feel, while the multi-colored 12-cleat configuration offers premium traction and durability.
Each season, Jordan Brand adds to its family of football athletes with players who embody the championship mindset and represent the iconic Jumpman on and off the field. Today, the brand welcomes Joe Haden, two-time Pro-Bowler and elite cornerback, to its family roster.
“I am honored to represent the Jordan Brand this season alongside some of the best players in the game,” says Haden. “The brand’s legacy of pinnacle performance product is unlike anything in the world and I am excited to continue showcasing that heritage on the field.”
We are two days away from the start of the 2015 NFL season. We are all excited. We can’t wait to make sure our fantasy lineups are all set, the snacks are ready, and team will make us proud. I am thinking that the players are bit more excited than we are. For Panthers QB Cam Newton, he prepared himself for the upcoming season in a unique way.
In July, Newton took a trip to Australia to train with the Richmond Tigers of the Australian Football League as part of the Gatorade Football Exchange Program. While he was there, Newton found some new ways to improve his game as he practiced with the team, sat in on team meetings and also took part in team meals to see how the AFL players train and fuel their bodies in preparation for their season.
The Gatorade Football Exchange is a once-in-a-lifetime training experience that allows athletes to immerse themselves in the training and culture of another footballer’s sport to demonstrate how different forms of football are played throughout the world and that athletes from these various sports all share the same formula for success: talent + hard work + the right sports fuel.
JJ Watt and Ronda Rousey are both dominate in their respective sports. Some of their success is due to their physical gifts and tenacity on the field and in the ring. Another reason for their dominance and all the accolades that they have attained is because of their training.
Today JJ Watt unveiled his first ad campaign with Reebok, after announcing a partnership with the brand in April. In the video below that launches on August 1, Watt stars with Rousey looking to empower others to take a “Deep Breath” and ignite the fire within to get through the toughest of your workout.
To help JJ and Ronda take fitness and training to the next level they use the new ZPump Fusion running sneakers, available for purchase at Reebok.com and Finish Line locations.
A day before the ESPYs, Gatorade held its High School Athlete of the Year Awards in Downtown Los Angeles. The awards show was packed with the top athletes of today celebrating the achievements of young athletes primed to be the future stars of tomorrow. Gatorade has been honoring high school athletes for the past 30 years, and there are some pretty big names among the past honorees. Names like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Candace Parker, Allyson Felix and Kobe Bryant. And that’s just the Gatorade Male and Female High School Athlete of the Year honorees. Previous Gatorade National Player of the Year winners include names like Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Emmitt Smith, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Weber and Alonzo Mourning. It’s distinguished company to be in, for sure.
State Player of the Year awards are given to student athletes in 12 sports: boys’ baseball, boys’ football, girls’ softball, girls’ volleyball, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, boys’ cross country, girls’ cross country, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, boys’ track & field, and girls’ track & field. The students in each category are recognized for individual and team achievement, academic achievement and character and community service. From the pool of state players, Gatorade awards 12 students with National Player of the Year honors. From this pool of 12 athletes, one male and one female are selected to receive Athlete of the Year awards.
Candace Hill was named Female High School Athlete of the Year. She was the first sophomore to take home the honor and the youngest athlete to ever win the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. She’s the first high school female athlete to run a sub-11 second 100-meter dash. She’s basically the fastest woman under 20 years old. Oh, and she has a GPA of 4.61. I can’t even imagine. Candace was competing at an event and was unable to attend the awards, but by all accounts she definitely deserves all the accolades.
Kyler Murray won Male High School Athlete of the Year honors. The starting QB for Allen High School, Murray led his team to three straight state championships. The guy has never lost a game as a high school quarterback, going 42-0 in his career. In Texas no less. That’s crazy talk. He threw for more than 4,700 yards, 56 touchdowns and ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 25 scores. Murray is on his way to Texas A&M where he says he’s going to get some time on the field no matter what. Murray had a very quiet confidence about him. His acceptance speech was mellow and humble. But the dude knows he’s got what it takes to ball at the next level. Keep your eye on him.
Hannah Storm hosted the awards and gave a heartfelt tribute to Stuart Scott, who had previously handled hosting duties for the event before he passed away this year. His daughters were on hand and gave their dad a great tribute as well, something they would do again at the ESPYs.
After the awards ceremony, we got a chance to talk to a few of the presenters that were on hand. We asked JJ Watt about his role as a tight end. DeMarco Murray talked about the recruiting efforts of Sam Bradford to get him to Philly. Karl-Anthony Thomas chimed in on Kevin Garnett, and Abby Wambach talked about her experience as a Gatorade Athlete and her upcoming downtime following her World Cup Victory. Here’s the video:
In sports there are certain moments or plays that become iconic. There can be that one picture that as soon as your eyes see it you travel back in time to that moment. Whether it is Michael Jordan soaring from the free throw line or Carlton Fisk using body language to will a home run, we as sports fans live for moments like those.
One of these images that captures that essence is when Brandi Chastain kicked a game winning penalty kick in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. After scoring the fifth kick in the penalty shootout to give the United States the win over China in the final game, she took over her jersey and fell to the ground in jubilation. That moment will forever remain in the hearts of USA soccer fans.
I had the great pleasure of chatting with Brandi about the U.S. Women’s National Team playing their first game against Australia on June 8. We also talk about her work with Capital One to promote the Capital One Cup. This campaign celebrates both men and women student athletes. For the past few years the Capital One Cup has rewarded the best Division I programs for their cumulative athletic performances across 39 men’s and women’s sports.
Brandi Chastain led the Santa Clara University Broncos to two NCAA Division I soccer quarterfinal appearances before becoming one of the brightest stars of the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Brandi is currently the volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater.
Click here to listen to my interview with Brandi. For more information on the Capital One Cup go to www.capitalonecup.com. Follow Brandi on Twitter @brandichastain.
In the past I have had the privilege to meet some real life heroes. When Crown Royal asked me to cover the “Your Hero’s Name Here” a few years back I didn’t know what to expect. Besides meeting a ton of cool bloggers I was able to interact with some extraordinary people.
These people were men and women just like me, but went above and beyond to help their community. Whether it was here in the United States or around the world these heroes needed to have their story shared. That is where Crown Royal steps in with NASCAR and the Brickyard 400.
As the grand prize winner of Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero’s Name Here” program, a deserving hero’s name will be etched in history with naming rights to the NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26th, 2015. This race will mark the ninth time Crown Royal has awarded race naming rights to an adult fan. The program focuses on all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in their communities, from firefighters and police officers to first responders and local volunteers. Every year five heroic finalists are nominated and through consumer voting, one winner is chosen to have their name cemented in sports history.
Those 21 years of age or older can go to CrownRoyalHeroes.com to vote for the hero they think is most deserving of naming rights to the race. With voting closing on June 7th help out the finalists receive as many votes as possible through CrownRoyalHeroes.com
To help you decide who to vote for watch below for their stories!
Exactly 256 players heard their names called during the seven rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft. One of those guys was University of Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quinten Rollins, an intriguing prospect that the Packers selected with the 62nd pick overall. Rollins played four years of basketball in college and finished second in school history with 214 career steals. After securing a fifth year of eligibility, Rollins turned his attention to football, a sport he hadn’t played since high school.
The results were pretty impressive. Playing in just one season, Rollins racked up 72 tackles and seven interceptions in 12 games. That single season performance earned him MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was invited to the Senior Bowl and kept things rolling, securing an interception in that game as well.
By all accounts, Rollins just knows how to get after it. He’s the only basketball player in Miami history to register two 7-steal games. His ball-hawking skills are unquestioned. He was a turnover machine on the football field and the guy likes to tackle, too. He may not have years of experience under his belt, but the dude’s a proven athlete who has shown that he can get results. I got a chance to chat with Rollins a couple weeks before the draft.
So what made Rollins go back to football?
“It was the right move,” he said. “I thought about playing football out of high school. I was playing both basketball and football, but basketball is the path that I chose for education purposes. It was my first opportunity to get to college. My first scholarship offer my junior year. I always knew that I would get back into football. It was just a matter of when and where. I thought about it after my sophomore year, but it didn’t happen. Then my senior year came around and I got an opportunity for a fifth year, and I just took a chance. I decided to sit down and meet with Coach Martin. I was in on a trial basis for spring ball. He gave me the opportunity to come out and earn a scholarship, and that’s what I did.”
I had read that Rollins considered playing basketball overseas, but ultimately, that idea didn’t appeal to him.
“Well, I’m a father. I had already been away from my daughter, being away at college with a 24-7 demanding schedule as far as academics and athletics go. I just didn’t want to go that far away from her. I felt like it would be better for me to stay over here in the US and get back into football. It was just a matter of when and where, and it just happened to work out perfect.”
Rollins is working with Speed Stick on their #DefyTheDoubt campaign. The experience of going from a student athlete to a professional with corporate sponsors supporting you as you make the leap to the next level has got to be a trip, right?
“It’s great,” Rollins said. “I’m blessed that Speed Stick gave me the opportunity to share my journey up until this point. Hopefully it continues to get even better as I continue to grow as a person and as an athlete. It’s definitely surreal to get opportunity to work with these guys like Speed Stick to get these types of endorsements. But at the end of the day, it still matters what you do and how you represent yourself as a person and as an athlete. I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s definitely been a blessing that they’ve allowed me to share my story and my journey. Hopefully, like I said, it continues to keep getting better.”
When tight ends like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates make plays in the NFL, there seems to be some sort of rule that an announcer must always reference the fact that they played basketball. Seriously, has Jimmy Graham ever caught a touchdown without an announcer mentioning the phrase “former basketball player?” It doesn’t happen. It gets mentioned every single time the guy scores. And he’s scored 51 touchdowns in five NFL seasons. This only seems to apply to offensive players though. I asked Rollins what skills he honed on the court that could make him a defensive difference-maker on the football field.
“Man-to-man defense in basketball,” Rollins said. “That helps me tremendously in man-to-man coverage on the football field as far as my feet go. In basketball, it’s all about your feet. Sliding and moving your feet. It’s the same in football, but in the NFL you can’t put your hands on a guy past five yards. So that’s definitely been one of the most vital things. And then as far as end zone coverage and being point guard, you got to see the whole floor. That’s allowed me, in end zone coverage, to open up and get back to my natural instincts of being a point guard and seeing everything that’s going on and see the big picture. And anticipation. As a point guard, you got to always be a play ahead. It helps in football, too. I can anticipate things and just see it happen before it does happen. Also, having that next play mentality. As a point guard, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have turnovers. You’re going to have bad plays. But just like in football, you might get beat on a catch, but you got to have that next play mentality. You can’t have your head down, because it’s most likely going to come right back at you so you got to be prepared for it.”
Some scouts have projected Rollins as a safety in the NFL. Does he have a position preference for the next level?
“I really don’t care where I play at” he said, “whether it be nickel, outside, inside, back end safety. I’m just ready to get somewhere, learn the system and get going.”
So why defense? Rollins played running back at Wilmington High School in Ohio. He had a chance to play running back in college as well, but Rollins chose defense because of the upside potential at the professional level.
“When I gave coach Martin my film,” Rollins said, “he obviously saw me at running back in high school. He gave me the option, when we sat down and met, he said you can play offense or you can chose defense. After going over the pros and cons for each, I felt defense was going to be better, especially for longevity purposes. Running backs really don’t play that long in the NFL, as opposed to corners. With my size and my athletic ability, I chose the more elite position. It’s valued more. So I figured that was the best route for me to go.”
Smart move, especially with his existing skill set. Big ballin’ tight ends who have size, can get separation and handle the ball in the paint/endzone have certainly become a thing in the NFL. But this could be another trend worth watching. The Packers took Rollins in the second round this year, but last season they selected Baylor CB Demetri Goodson in the sixth. Goodson was also a point guard who didn’t have a ton of football experience in college (he played basketball at Gonzaga). The emergence of highly athletic, ball-hawkish point guards in the secondary is worth monitoring. Especially when these top-flight athletes are making the conscience business decision to apply their skills at a premium position that tends to attract big money.
Basketball and football are obviously different. Sure, the similarities help a guy like Rollins, but he appreciates the differences as well.
“I love the way teams bond together, but that’s what was different. With basketball, we were a very close team, but you look at the work that a football team puts in, it’s totally different. Like how you can get a hundred guys all on the same page, working hard and everything. There’s just something about that that’s special,” he said.
At the end of the day, Rollins just loves to make plays. And big plays can be a lot bigger on the football field than on the basketball court.
“In basketball, there’s a lot of possessions. In football, the possessions are limited. So any time you get the opportunity to make a game-changing play to impact the game in a vital way,” he said, “it’s something special.”
Talking with Rollins, it’s clear that he loves football.
“Everything that comes with the game, I enjoy,” Rollins said. “I actually didn’t realize I missed it that much until I got back out there on the field again. I mean, there’s nothing like Friday night lights, obviously, but Saturdays are special, too. And I’m looking forward to see what Sundays are like.”
Kendrick Lamar was pumped to throw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles this week, wearing the new Reebok ZPump Fusion sneakers to deliver the ceremonial first pitch before the Dodgers vs Giants game.
Proudly wearing his Dodgers blue and flashing a huge smile, he made a perfect pitch right over home plate as “King Kunta” (from his latest album To Pimp A Butterfly) blared over the loudspeakers.
The Reebok ZPump sneakers (black/graphite/white) are available now for $110 at Reebok.com, Finish Line and additional retailers.