unnamed

Schea Cotton and Lenny Cooke Discuss HS Hoops, Disappointments At NYC’s #CottonCookeUnedited

In the last twenty years, the names Schea Cotton and Lenny Cooke carried much weight in AAU hoops.

In the last twenty years, the names Schea Cotton and Lenny Cooke carried much weight in AAU hoops.

The two shined in an era where the preps to pros culture was the norm. Manhattan was bumping and jumping on Friday (April 22) when the high school basketball legends came together for the first time in an exclusive and 'UNEDITED' panel at the Microsoft Flagship Store. There they discussed their journeys, after the stardom, starting over and telling the world, "what happened," in a discussion moderated by Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, host of CBS Sports Radio’s Brown and Scoop and a writer who has covered the two extensively.

Cotton, now 37, was the cream of the crop in the late 90s. Mentioned nationally among top players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Baron Davis, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson, the former high school All-American was a star at Saint John Bosco and Mater Dei. Cotton averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds, leading Mater Dei to a 36–1 record. After a myriad of red tape issues with the NCAA over questions of SAT testing, he was unable to play for Long Beach State where he’d have joined his brother, nor would he be able to play at UCLA where he’d have been teammates with Baron Davis.

Following that controversy, he had a prep school stint at St. Thomas Moore High School in Connecticut. Cotton, an explosive combo shooting guard/small forward would end up going to Alabama where he played out of position at power forward. Cotton declared for the 2000 NBA Draft where he went undrafted. After playing professionally overseas for 10 years, Cotton now trains the next generation of kids and also travels around the country speaking to the next generation about the importance of making good choices. “Basketball is something that I did, it's not who I am,” Cotton told the crowd at the panel.

“For these kids today, I tell them to go to class. Take care of your books.”

In 2001, Lenny Cooke, a Brooklyn, NY native, was a man among boys. A 6’6 slasher who in high school scouts ranked ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat's Amar’e Stoudemire was a stats stuffer at Northern Valley High School in Old Tappan, NJ. Cooke averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks and looked primed to make a splash in the NBA. But just two years later, Cooke found himself playing ball not for an NBA team, but for the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks.

During an ABCD camp high school basketball tournament run by Sonny Vaccaro in Teaneck, NJ, Cooke’s AAU team went head to head with LeBron James’ team. Cooke’s team had the lead and possession of the basketball. James stole the ball, scored on a fast break and won the game, in a play that introduced the world to the Akron, Ohio born baller who was later featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the cover titled, “The Chosen One.” Many believed that that play was a turning point for Cooke’s career. "LeBron deserves all that he got because he worked at it,” said Cooke. “I didn't. I went off of talent."

Cooke, now 33 lives in Virginia and is involved with hoops in some capacity, coaching at high school camps. "My name is Leonard Cooke, not Lenny,” Cooke said at the panel. “I am more than basketball. I'm a dad and I want to travel the world and inspire kids." Ironically enough, he enjoys cooking, a craft he picked up while playing overseas. He plans to go back to school, get a degree and coach basketball.

Currently, Cotton’s documentary, Manchild, The Schea Cotton Story: A Dream Deferred, has been making its rounds in screeners across the country. Cooke was the subject of a documentary directed by brothers Josh and Benjamin Safdie who travel back in time and takes you through the life of a guy who had it all at an early age. SLAM Magazine, Parade Magazine and ESPN specialty shows like “The Life” were where Cotton and Cooke would get their shine in an age that existed before platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Both think that things would be different had those things existed back then. "If there was social media when I played I'd be in a mansion overlooking the ocean,” said Cotton.

"If there was social media when I played I would have a million followers,” said Cooke.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Clive Brunskil

Serena Williams Won't Stop Fighting For Equality Anytime Soon

In the event you thought Serena Williams was going to do the tennis equivalent of "shut up and dribble" the 37-year-old athlete told her naysayers not to hold their breath.

Thirty-nine time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King recently commented on Williams' conduct off the tennis court and said: "Quite frankly if I were Serena, I would give up being a celebrity for a year and a half if she wants to win titles."

"I don't know what she wants. No more Met Galas. Just stop all this insanity because she is trying to be everything,” King said.

"She’s got business, a baby, she’s trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of color. It makes it much harder. I would like her to put everything else aside because she's got people working on those things.”

Following Williams 6-2, 6-2 defeat against Simona Halep, a reporter asked Williams how she felt about King's comments, and Williams boldly said she won't stop advocating for the disenfranchised anytime soon.

“The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I'm in my grave.”

Sounds like Ms. Williams will be fighting both on and off the court for a little while longer.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Lamar Odom Kicked Out Of BIG3 Basketball League

Lamar Odom was ready to start his professional basketball career back up, however, he will have to postpone that dream.

According to reports, the former Lakers star will no longer be playing in the BIG3 League. Per TMZ, Odom is one of four players who the league believes aren't ready to play just yet. The other players who have been deactivated from the Ice Cube-founded league are Baron Davis, Jermaine O'Neal and Bonzi Wells.

"Odom was nervous about being embarrassed on the court because he wasn't prepared to compete with his fellow ex-NBA hoopers ... and there was little hope it would work out," reports the site. "As the league stated in the news release ... the org wanted to "maximize competition," so it was an easy decision to part ways with the Lakers champ."

"You know, as a league we want players that are actually playing," Ice Cube said to TMZ about the dismissal of the players from the league. The site writes, "[Cube] added that players who aren't playing or who 'can't play' or have 'health issues' that prevent them from playing really don't have any business being on a BIG3 roster."

The two-time NBA champ hadn't played basketball in several years due to health and wellness concerns, brought on after a near-death experience at a Nevada brothel in 2015. He's reportedly hoping to be back and better than ever to play next year, but there is still no word on whether he will be invited to play again.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi References Nicki Minaj, Cardi B In ESPYs Acceptance Speech

UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi won the hearts of millions after her show-stopping floor routine, which earned her (yet another) Perfect 10. Her entertaining display of athleticism and showmanship earned her an ESPY Award for "Best Play," and during her acceptance speech on Wednesday night (Jul. 11), she called for the end of women being pit against each other in sports and the media.

"The objectification of our bodies is making me sick, pinning women sports against each other, acting as if they can't co-exist," she stated. Her entire acceptance speech flowed effortlessly, as she rhymed throughout the entire thing. "It's like saying Chedda Da Connect can't go with flick of da wrist, or what about Nicki Minaj or Cardi B? Two thriving females rappers everyone should see."

As it's been drawn out, the two New York-bred rappers have had a longstanding beef that is hopefully, officially squashed. While many brands and other entertainers seem to keep bringing up the rappers' past, Ohashi seems to use the past to call for unity among women.

Check out her speech below.

Speak on it, @katelyn_ohashi 👏 pic.twitter.com/uydZMV4tSq

— ESPN (@espn) July 11, 2019

Continue Reading

Top Stories