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Doug Pensinger

NBA Players Go On Strike Over Jacob Blake Shooting, Playoff Games Postponed

The move comes after the Milwaukee Bucks chose to sit out their scheduled playoff game.

The NBA has postponed all three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday (Aug. 26) after several players went on strike over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Milwaukee Bucks were first to refuse to play their scheduled game against the Orlando Magic.

“The past four months we’ve witnessed multiple injustices regarding the African American community,” the Bucks said in a team statement. “Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings.”

The statement goes on to speak about Blake being “shot in the back seven times” by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and demonstrators being shot during a protest against police brutality on Tuesday (Aug. 24).

“There has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball. When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”

In closing, the team demands that the officers involved in shooting Blake be held accountable, and that the Wisconsin State Legislature reconvene “after months of inaction” and take measure to accurately address police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform. The statement also encouraged everyone to vote on Nov. 3

 

LeBron James also took to Twitter with a message demanding change.

It’s unclear if Thursday’s games — between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, and the L.A. Clippers vs. the Dallas Mavericks — will be postponed. Wednesday's games between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets had to be rescheduled, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors discussing a potential boycott, ESPN reports.

TNT’s Kenny Smith walked off set in a show of solidarity. “I think the biggest thing now as a Black man, as a former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just— not be here tonight.”

Fellow TNT commentator Chris Webber got emotional while speaking about the players decision to strike. “I’m here to speak for those that are always marginalized. Those who live in these neighborhoods where we preach and tell them to vote and walk away,” said the retired NBA player.

The NBA players’ refusal to take the court comes a month into the restart of the NBA season, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players have been living in the NBA-created “bubble” in Florida as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Blake, a 29-year-old father of three, was left paralyzed after being shot in the back at close range by a Kanoga, Wisconsin police officer last Sunday. He was breaking up an altercation at the time.

Multiple protests have been held in Kanoga since the shooting.

Three people were shot, two fatally, during a protest on Tuesday. Video footage from the incident shows a white man shooting at a crowd before casually walking by throngs of police patrol cars with a semi-automatic hanging at his side. The shooting suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, was arrested in Illinois on Wednesday. He is being held without bond.

 

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Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

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— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

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“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

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