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What's The 411Sports is a weekly sports news and commentary television show produced by the Brooklyn-based independent television production company, What's The 411TV, which also produces What's The 411, an award-winning weekly entertainment and lifestyle television show.

The What's The 411Sports' promotional video consists of interviews with athletes from professional sports and college teams, sports executives, and fans.

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NBA First Black Player Earl Lloyd Dies at 86

In an Era of Tremendous Social Change, Earl Lloyd Blazed a Trail

The 1950s; it was a decade of war, racial upheaval; and tumultuous change. The 1950s are the years following Jackie Robinson's entry into Major League Baseball, becoming the first black player to do so. It was the time when the U.S. was at war with Korea; when the U.S. decided the case of Brown vs. the Topeka, Kansas Board of Education; and when President Eisenhower had to dispatch the National Guard to escort black children to all-white schools in Arkansas and Louisiana.

It was also when Earl Lloyd became the first black player to appear in a professional basketball game organized by the National Basketball Association; it was October 1950 to be exact and the team was the Washington Capitols. Lloyd and three other black players who appeared in N.B.A. lineups soon afterward were nonetheless pioneers. Lloyd played nine seasons in the NBA with a reputation as a gritty and tireless defender. He also coached the Detroit Pistons in 1971-72.

Lloyd and his black teammates endured the indignities of segregated hotel and restaurant accommodations and racist jeers from spectators in some cities.

"...they'd yell stuff like, 'Go back to Africa,'" states Lloyd in his obituary in the New York Times. "My philosophy was: If they weren't calling you names, you weren't doing nothing. If they're calling you names, you were hurting them."

A rugged 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward, Lloyd played in the N.B.A. for nine seasons. He was a strong rebounder and so tenacious on defense that he sometimes guarded the Minneapolis Lakers' 6-foot-10 center George Mikan, the league's first superstar, states the New York Times. In 1955, Lloyd joined with Jim Tucker, also a forward, as the first two black players on an N.B.A. championship team, playing for the Syracuse Nationals.

Earl Lloyd died on Thursday in Crossville, Tenn. He was 86.

NBA All-Star 2015 Meant More To New York City Than Basketball

When it was announced last year that the NBA All-Star 2015 would be held in New York City, fans from across the world were excited that one of the largest basketball events would be coming to the Big Apple. With the new Barclays Center in full effect located downtown Brooklyn, minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and a new and improved Madison Square Garden, it was no question that the best city in the world could handle three days of NBA festivities. The remaining question that lingered going into NBA All-Star is whether or not Madison Square Garden is still the Mecca of Basketball and, perhaps, by extension, is New York City still the Mecca of Basketball. With the Knicks struggling to win games and the Brooklyn Nets remaining a team of overpriced players with a seemingly disconnected owner, there was only one New York born and partially raised player that made it on the All-Star roster—Carmelo Anthony. Yet despite the politics of basketball, it became evident that the events were more than just basketball.

The city had been recovering and healing after news spread on November 14 that Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a NYPD officer in the stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority's Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. The rookie officer, Peter Liang who was patrolling the dark, unlit stairwell, fired his gun, resulting in a bullet ricocheting off a wall, striking Gurley in the chest. If that wasn't enough for the city to handle, a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after fatally killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Then two weeks later, here in New York, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner after the attack was caught on video. Garner was arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. To top an already bad ending to 2014, two uniformed NYPD officers were shot to death in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn execution style in the line of duty after a gunman's mission revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown.

The NBA has always been an organization in which players were allowed to express their voices, and due to the protests over the grand jury's decisions in the Brown and Garner cases, players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams wore T-shirts that read, "I can't breathe," the final words of Garner before he died in the chokehold. The players were responding to the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that had been a worldwide slogan due to the deaths of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. During media day for NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Dwayne Wade spoke about the importance of the NBA coming together during the course of these tragic events.

Dwayne-Wade-at-2015-NBA-All-Star-Media-Day 650x650Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade at the 2015 NBA All-Star Media Day

"I think the individual guys have done a great job of [taking] a stand or getting behind on whatever they believe in. Nowadays it's obviously a lot easier because of social media...for your voices to be heard," he said. "The NBA supports us doing that....When we leave here (New York), we are obviously going to do something in the community."

Additionally, Wade revealed that he constantly talks to his sons about being "aware."

"My kids...are shielded from the real world. This doesn't happen to every kid in America or across the world," he said. "You try to show them as much as possible. I am an open book with my kids. I don't try to hide them from what's going on in the world; I try to educate them and hopefully one day if they get into a situation they know how to or what not to do." Wade's comments made it clear that NBA All-Star came at the perfect time.

New York City is labeled as one of the greatest cities in the world because the people have proven that they can and will always overcome adversity. The city has undoubtedly produced a lot of basketball talent, and the argument is still up in the air on whether or not it's still the Mecca of Basketball. However, what the NBA All-Star 2015 did do was help to unify a broken city, if only for a short while.

NBA All-Star Saturday: Degree Shooting Stars Challenge

Team Bosh Earns Bragging Rights with its Third Straight Title

The NBA All-Star Weekend is similar to meals at your favorite restaurant.

All-Star Friday is the bread you consume while you mull over the choices on the menu.

All-Star Saturday is the appetizer, nourishing your body, moderately.

And then All-Star Sunday is not only the main course, but it is your favorite entrée.

In a restaurant, you can choose to go straight for the main course, but with the NBA All-Star Weekend, you don't want to skip the appetizer.

First and foremost, the Barclays Center and the NBA presented a visual show. The basketball court became a viewing screen of moving images with intros to each event creating an atmosphere that just screamed entertainment.

In two words, sheer beauty.

Beautiful as it might have been, the fans did not come to Barclays on a brisk Saturday night to watch fireworks.

It was all about the individuals participating in the best ticket in town, four events in one.

Saturday night, billed as the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, featured: the Degree Shooting Stars Challenge; Taco Bell Skills Challenge; Footlocker Three-Point Contest; and the event of the night, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

The Degree Shooting Stars was not the most highly anticipated event, but it registered high on the excitement meter. It involved four teams connecting on shots with varying degrees of difficulty at different parts on the floor. The team taking the least amount of time to advance to the championship round wins.

Team Curry (Sue Bird, Stephen Curry, Dell Curry), Team Westbrook (Russell Westbrook, Penny Hardaway, Tamika Catchings), Team Millsap (Paul Millsap, Scottie Pippen, Elena Delle Donne) and the two-time reigning champs in Team Bosh (Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash) all competed for the bragging rights.

It's a good thing I am not a betting man. I would have lost by betting on Team Curry.

In the first round, Catchings, a nine-time WNBA All-Star, almost cost her team a trip to the championship round missing her first seven field goals (19.0 seconds). But, Westbrook and Hardaway, bailed out Catchings by sinking their first attempts from the top of the key and the elbow three (5.0 seconds).

And on the 4th shot, Hardaway reminded everyone why he was selected to be on Team Westbrook sinking his attempt from half-court. Team Westbrook completed their shot-circuit in 35.2 seconds.

But Team Bosh would have their say.

They've been here before, they knew what to do.

And so they did it.

Team Bosh bested Team Westbrook by connecting on all of their shots in eight attempts to Team Westbrook's 10 in only 30.8 seconds.

Next up, the championship round, and the favorite prevailed once more.

Team Westbrook was on a roll in the championship round during its first three shots.

Catchings learned her lesson and used the backboard, knocking down the first required shot; smart.

Hardaway executed his first attempt successfully and Westbrook missed his first and made his second. Team Westbrook completed its first three shots of the championship round in 13 seconds.

All was well until Team Westbrook ran into the half-court shot, the toughest of all four shots. The team missed 26 consecutive attempts as time expired, which put them in position for an upset.

As for Team Bosh, there was no rush.

Team Bosh took its time and at the 57.6 seconds mark, the legend, Wilkins clinched Team Bosh's third straight title on their seventh attempt from half-court.

"Chemistry," said Wilikins when asked how Team Bosh has been able to defend its title. "We just wanted to repeat what we did last year. We did the same thing last year. We didn't want to change it, for luck."

"I think we don't take it so serious," said Cash answering the same question following the event. "Over the last three years we've seen a lot of just everybody; we're so competitive as athletes. When we come out here, it's really simple. We have a good time. We joke around. We miss the shot; all right, we'll get the half-court shot. We just keep it loose. It's fun. And we strategize."

All records are meant to be broken, even championship streaks. But, Team Bosh has a system that works and next year, at the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend hosted by our neighbors up North in Toronto, Team Bosh may be tough to de-throne.

NBA House: NBA All-Star Weekend’s Best Kept Secret

NBA House treats fans to an experience of interactive activities, video highlights, prizes, and half-court basketball

As much as the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend, this year in New York City, revolves around a collection of the elite basketball talents the NBA has to offer, NBA House, which began on Tuesday February 10th and runs through Saturday, February 15, takes a different approach.

NBA House is pretty much the NBA's answer to what a Dave & Buster's would look like if the NBA remixed its format for a day.

And that's what it was: a basketball party.

Held at the Skylight at Moynihan Station across from Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and LIU Brooklyn's Paramount Theatre, there was NBA basketball everywhere.

In the two available rooms of fun, the second and largest room featured half-court basketball courts where fans could shoot-around and receive basketball tips from instructors.

Flat-screen televisions were positioned on the walls and pillars around the room, displaying NBA content from this season and past highlights of NBA All-Star Weekend.

PlayStation offered several video game demo kiosks, where fans could compete against one-another in the latest installment of the bestselling NBA basketball simulation in NBA 2K15, on the next gen system, PlayStation 4.

Panini America Inc., specializes in exclusive memorabilia of all the major sports leagues including the NBA, featured its best signed NBA products, such as Jerseys and shoes autographed by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

State Farm, another NBA partner, took fan photos and offered a basketball skills station. PlayStation, provided fans with the NBA 2K15 demos, in which they judged all participants in their total assists.

Samsung displayed its technological prowess with some of its latest gadgets. The technology and electronics giant gave visitors an opportunity to test drive its Samsung's Gear VR virtual reality headset.

And if that wasn't enough, NBA legends Horace Grant and Muggsy Bogues interacted with the game's youngest fans, by helping kids find the answers to many of the games they played in front of an audience.

NBA-legend-Horace-Grant-interacting-with-fans-at-NBA-HouseNBA legend Horace Grant interacting with fans at NBA House. Photo Credit: Gregory Alcala/ What's The 411 Networks

Muggsy-Bogues NBA House-Moynihan-Station 265x514Former NBA player Muggsy Bogues. Photo Credit: Gregory Alcala/What's The 411 Networks

The entry space featured Kia, the NBA's official car. KIA Motors exhibited some of its finest automobiles alongside, another NBA partner Sprite, which gave fans the opportunity to enter a music recording booth and freestyle over pre-selected instrumentals. I must admit it was very tempting once I heard the beat.

Although the NBA House is not the primary reason why fans love the annual NBA All-Star weekend, it prevailed in treating basketball fans to a great hands-on and sensory NBA experience.

"This event showcases a little of everything of the NBA" said Sheri Simonson, a marketing Manager at Panini America inc. to WhatsThe411TV.

"It gives everyone a hands-on experience, and it also educates everyone on the NBA, the league and its players, and its All-Stars," Simonson added.

But wait, there's more.

"This event is awesome," said David Porter also a representative of Panini America Inc. "It brings people out to showcase the NBA's best talent once a year, there's lots of events and energetic participation but it also shows all of the people behind the scenes and what they do."

So basically, what she said.

Brooklyn Nets Seeking Kid Emcee for Nets Weekend Home Games

Does Your Child Have What it Takes?

The Brooklyn Nets are seeking a kid emcee between the ages of 6-12 years old to co-host with Brooklyn Nets emcee, Ally Love, at weekend Brooklyn Nets home games at the Barclays Center.

Please send head shots, resumes, and reels to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday, October 29, 2014, to be considered for this position.

Racial Comments Pushes Bruce Levenson to Sell Stake in Atlanta Hawks

Racially insensitive comments made by Atlanta Hawks majority owner, Bruce Levenson, pushed him to sell his stake in the Atlanta-based, NBA team.

Levenson self-reported to the NBA that he sent a racist e-mail in August 2012 and will sell his interest in the team.

The e-mail, to Hawks President Danny Ferry, details Levenson's belief that the Hawks' fan base was too heavily African-American.

"I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive," Levenson said in a Hawks news release Sunday morning. "I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e., hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e., that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans."

WATCH What's The 411Sports Team Talk About Bruce Levenson

 

Clippers' Chris Paul Threatening to Boycott if Donald Sterling is Still Owner

WATCH VIDEO: What's The 411Sports Discuss Chris Paul Boycott Strategy

The What's The 411Sports team discuss Chris Paul's position that he is prepared to boycott if Donald Sterling is still the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers when the 2014-15 NBA season starts.

What's The 411Sports host, Bianca Peart, thinks Chris Paul is full of hot air. Paul had his chance to boycott when it made better sense, but he didn't. Now, the Donald Sterling reign over the Los Angeles Clippers will be over using the Chris Paul time-frame. Consequently, there will be no need to boycott.

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