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Crystal Lynn

Crystal Lynn

CaLm Apparel NYC Launch 2013: Recognizing Men’s Fashion

Sunday, August 11, I attended the launch of CaLm Apparel NYC, an up-and-coming men's vintage clothing line.

The intimate affair held at Brooklyn Commons in downtown Brooklyn was hosted by the designers Cindy Alcantara and Laquana McNeil.

The ladies who share more than a clothing line are actual friends off-the-books. They attended Syracuse University together and were even college roommates.

The idea of starting a men's clothing line came to them in August 2012, after noticing that women received so much of the attention in fashion.

"Everyone's focusing on women, men need that love too," Laquana said.

It took Cindy and LaQuana a full year to launch CaLm because they wanted to make sure to present the best quality.

Speaking of quality, the hats and shirts are made of 100% embossed ostrich leather.

CaLm is for every age group, but the ladies wouldn't mind if artists like Chris Brown and Kanye West were rocking their stuff.

"We wanted to focus on a men's audience, only because we as women know what we want our men to wear and when you see one, the first thing that comes to you---is their physical appearance," Cindy said.

The year-long road to their official CaLm Apparel Launch was tough for Laquana and Cindy, admitting that they don't always see eye-to-eye on everything.

"Even if we don't sometimes agree, as long as the respect is there and we come with different ideas, we're fine," Laquana said.

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.

Memphis Grizzlies Maul Brooklyn Nets 103-92

Nets Suffer Seventh Straight Loss To Coach Hollins' Former Team

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins faced a beat down against his former team at the Barclays Center Wednesday night. The Memphis Grizzlies, which holds one of the best records in the Western Conference, was led by Zack Randolph who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the 103-92 victory against the Brooklyn Nets. After the game, Randolph reflected on what it was like playing against Hollins, who in-fact holds the record for all-time leader with 214 wins.

"It was different going against your old coach," Randolph said. "(We've) been through a lot. Made history together, did stuff together in Memphis, turned the franchise around, so it was nice to see him out there."

Hollins is still trying to turn the Brooklyn franchise around like he did in Memphis, but he has a long journey ahead of him. A journey that includes rebuilding a team off the court and on. Mason Plumlee, in his second year with Brooklyn has become a more consistent factor of the team.

Mason-Plumlee MG 5957 resized 600x400Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee.

"It's tough, man," Plumlee said, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. "No one is feeling sorry for us. We just have to get it together and get a win. Whatever that means — less turnovers, getting to the free throw line, being more aggressive. At the end of the day, you can point at everything, but we have to find a way to win."

The Nets can potentially be in contention for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, but they obviously have to win more games. Before the game, Hollins said he hopes his team can get it together before it's too late.

"We got back to 16-16, and then we lost six in a row," Hollins said. "We've got to somehow find a way to break that six-game losing streak and get back to winning, if we can. Maybe we've maxed out. I don't know. But that's what we're striving for."

Brooklyn Nets Players Missing in Action

Brooklyn played Wednesday's game without Kevin Garnet, who faced a one-game suspension after head butting Dwight Howard in the first quarter in the Nets' loss against Houston this past Monday.

Brooklyn-Nets-Forward-Kevin-Garnett-Addressing-the-media 600x629Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett addressing the media. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks

The Nets were also without Deron Williams, who is rehabbing from a cartilage fracture of the 12th rib. There is no word on when the injury-prone player will return.

Deron-Williams Media-Day-PhotoBrooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams on medical leave with a fractured rib. Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411Networks

Coming Down The Pipe for the Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets travel to Washington D.C. on Friday to take on the Washington Wizards.

Brooklyn Nets Fall Short to Washington Wizards at Home

Word Surfaced Prokhorov Shopping For New Ownership for Nets

The Brooklyn Nets contributed to another loss for the eighth time in nine games when they fell short to the Washington Wizards, 99-90 at the Barclays Center Saturday night.

Paul Pierce, who played with the Nets for one year after the Brooklyn franchise failed to sign him for the 2014-2015 season, recieved a mixed welcoming from fans when he was announced in the starting lineup with the Wizards.

The Nets visited Washington last night and cut their seven-game losing streak with their 102-80 win over the Wizards. However, it was a different story when the Nets played host.

Lopez helped his team keep the game close with a half-time score of 51-50. Neither team led the entire game by five and then Brooklyn made it even at 81 early in the fourth quarter, But the Wizards' dominance, including a three point play by Nenê contributed to a loss of momentum.

Jarrett Jack was Brooklyn's leader finishing with 22 points and 8 points. Joe Johnson finished with 15 points.

"Tonight, obviously, they [were] more desperate, knowing that we went into Washington last night and got a win," Johnson said after the game. "So we knew we were going to get their best shot today, but I thought we played great. I just think down the stretch we couldn't get stops and we couldn't make shots to get us over the hump."

It seems as though the loss to Washington is the least of Brooklyn's worries. In a team where consistency, unity and rhythm still haunt them, the team now faces ownership turning its back on them. Word spread earlier this week that owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to sell the team.

Three years ago when the Nets moved from New Jersey to the Big Apple, Prokhorov made a plan to win a NBA title within five years. Since then, the team has struggled with four different coaches—Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo, Jason Kidd and current coach Lionel Hollins. Not to mention, Johnson was fired in the middle of the season and Carlesimo, who took over was not renewed for the 2012-2013 season.

Add to ownership and coaching disruptions, rumors have also spread that Brooklyn is looking to shop its star-injury plagued players Deron Williams and Brook Lopez around.

Only time will tell when it comes to the Nets.

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