Tag Archives: Sports Illustrated For Kids

Long before his personal encounter with Shaq, young Mekhi Welch has become a gifted sports buff

MEKHI’S MAD SKILLZ

HE’S THE TRUTH — For the child who’s widely known as “Mekhi,” a rather distinctly unique thing occurred some three years or so ago, according to his mother, Tawanna Chamberlain. “Mekhi has been a sports buff since the age of three,” Chamberlain told Making Headline News this week. “But when he started to read around five years old, he asked me to read books to him about the history of basketball and great players.”

DALLAS — Mekhi Welch is just eight years old, meaning for a kid his age, one would think he’s essentially in the beginner’s stage with regards to his knowledge about sports.

For the child who’s widely known as “Mekhi,” a rather distinctly unique thing occurred some three years or so ago, according to his mother, Tawanna Chamberlain.
“Mekhi has been a sports buff since the age of three,” Chamberlain, a Clearwater, Florida resident, told Making Headline News this week. “But when he started to read around five years old, he asked me to read books to him about the history of basketball and great players.”
And just like that, a rising young sports historian, of sorts, was born, considering Mekhi’s sports knowledge is such that he could perhaps teach these old vets a thing of two about arguably some of the celebrated athletes of our generation.
Thanks in large part to his mother routinely reading his autobiographies of Lewis Alcindor, Jr, (famously known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabar), Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality,” “When The Game Was Ours,” featuring Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Phil Jackson’s “Eleven Rings” Sam Smith’s “The Jordan Rules,” Mitch Albom’s “Fab Five,” Dick Devenzo’s “Stuff Good Players Should Know,” LeBron James’ “The Boy Who Became King,” Stephen Curry’s “The Boy Who Never Gave Up,” “Michael Jordan: The Life,” and “Little Shaq” by Shaquille O’neal,” among others, and it’s no wonder little Mekhi boasts lofty aspirations of someday emerging as household name in what has become a multi-million dollar sport industry, particularly for some the world’s most prominent sports journalists.

LOOK! IT’S DA BIG DIESEL!

GOTTA LOOK AT THIS THIS — “Then it happened,” Chamberlain said. “Three days later, I received a personal video message from Shaq to Mekhi and I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a surreal moment in time. I couldn’t wait to show Mekhi that his hero, Shaq, had sent him a personal message. When Mekhi saw the message from Shaq, he was overjoyed. He was smiling from ear-to-ear and he talked about the video message all the way to school that morning.”

“We absolutely love to read in our home,” Chamberlain said son’s newfound gift as a sports enthusiast. “In fact, it’s our favorite pastime. We literally own more books than we can count, and when Mekhi would become disinterested with me reading countless of books to him, he would pick up his iPad and Google interesting basketball stats and facts.”

To his credit, the more he deems it essential to become knowledge about sports opposite those up-to-date scores that customarily scroll across SportCenter’s Bottom Line, the more it seems that Mekhi essentially broadens his journalistic mechanics that figure to set him apart mightily from his peers much more sooner than later.

Never mind that he’s only eight years of age.

“Over the last five years, he has become a real life NBA basketball Wikipedia,” said Chamberlain, trying the best she could to assess her young and gifted son’s amazing gift that centered on big time sports. “You can ask him any question you want to about players from Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Tracy McGrady, Charles Barkley, Step Curry, Kevin Durant, Kwahi Leonard, Clay Thompson, Ben Simmons to Zion Williamson.”

Once someone picks Mekhi’s brain about any major professional athlete — past or present — they might as well brace themselves for what essentially will be said next.

“Amazingly, he can recall their height, what cities they were born in, all the teams that each player played on, what year they were recruited and drafted to the NBA, who their rivals were, their current stats, their highest scoring games in a season, the years they were injured, and how the injury impacted their careers,” Chamberlain said. “You should hear him tell the story about Yao Ming.”

And then there is Mekhi’s personal encounter with O’Neal, five-time NBA champion and former LSU All-American.

According to Chamberlain, her son and Shaq established friendship during which an awe-inspiring encounter took place, a development that resulted in her son being the beneficiary.


“Mekhi has always loved Shaq,” Chamberlain said. Since he was five years old, he would tell me that his dream was to play a game of one-on-one with Shaq. To Mekhi, Shaquille O’Neal is larger-than-life. The other day I was in the living room watching something on TV and a commercial for a national pizza chain came on. Just as the commercial came on, Mekhi walked out of his room and was mesmerized by the fact that Shaq was going all around the town delivering pizzas to people.”


Much to his delight, the young sports buff had become even more attentive to the commercial ad featuring his hero.

“Over the last five years, he has become a real life NBA basketball Wikipedia,” said Chamberlain, trying the best she could to assess her young and gifted son’s amazing gift that centered on big time sports. “You can ask him any question you want to about players from Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Tracy McGrady, Charles Barkley, Step Curry, Kevin Durant, Kwahi Leonard, Clay Thompson, Ben Simmons to Zion Williamson.”

“Mekhi could not believe his eyes…he thought that was the coolest thing ever,” Chamberlain recalled. “Right after the commercial went off, Mekhi asked me to call or text Shaq and ask him to bring him a (Papa John’s) pepperoni pizza. I just looked at him with a blank stare—I honestly didn’t know what to say to him regarding his request, because I was thinking to myself, “Yeah right. I don’t know Shaq’s telephone number—so I can’t call or text him and ask him to bring a pizza over here.

“Mekhi wholeheartedly believed that I would know how to contact Shaq and he was very persistent, so he went as far as to go pick up my cell phone and he handed it to me and said, ‘Here mom, please go ahead and call or text Shaq.’”

Interestingly, things would eventually become even more interesting for Mehki.

“Mekhi wholeheartedly believed that I would know how to contact Shaq and he was very persistent, so he went as far as to go pick up my cell phone and he handed it to me and said, ‘Here mom, please go ahead and call or text Shaq.’”

“Not wanting to let my child down, I grabbed my phone and sent a ‘Hail Mary’ DM to Shaq on Instagram, because my son was standing right there watching me type the message,” Chamberlain said. “No pressure…and I hit, ‘send,’ never thinking that Shaq would actually see the message or read it.”

Boy, was she wrong — wrong for all the right reasons to put it more precisely.

“A few days passed, but everyday Mekhi would ask me, ‘Did Shaq text you back yet?’” Chamberlain said. “While looking for his pizza, he truly believed his favorite player wouldn’t let him down. So I would just remind Mekhi that Shaq is a very busy man, but told him that perhaps when he isn’t so busy, he would make time to respond to my message.”

Once someone picks Mekhi’s brain about any major professional athlete — past or present — they might as well brace themselves for what essentially will be said next.

Suddenly, the long-awaited and figurative slam dunk for which Mekhi had waited was finally executed.

“Then it happened,” Chamberlain said. “Three days later, I received a personal video message from Shaq to Mekhi and I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a surreal moment in time. I couldn’t wait to show Mekhi that his hero, Shaq, had sent him a personal message. When Mekhi saw the message from Shaq, he was overjoyed. He was smiling from ear-to-ear and he talked about the video message all the way to school that morning.

“That same day, I was contacted by the National Pizza Chain via Twitter and they made it possible for Mekhi’s entire class to enjoy a pizza party, which made everyone’s day,” Chamberlain continued. “This is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Much like the wealth of knowledge Chamberlain’s son has garnered as such a young age.

Stay tuned. This kid seems well on his way to making major moves in the sports world, something that, well, perhaps even Shaq has sensed.


REMEMBER THE NAME 

STAR WATCH — To his credit, the more he deems it essential to become knowledge about sports opposite up-to-date scores that customarily scroll across SportCenter’s Bottom Line, the more it seems that Mekhi essentially broadens his journalistic mechanics that figure to set him apart mightily from his peers much more sooner than later.

“It was so very thoughtful of Shaquille O’Neal to take a few moments out of his busy schedule to send Mekhi a message,” Chamberlain said. “It meant the world to him and it is something that he will never forget.”

With all of the sports knowledge he’s acquired in recent years, how could he?


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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to makingheadlinenews@gmail.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Baltimore area entrepreneur/investor Manny Gathers aiming to have a global impact through his professional track and field league

Just after 11 p.m. EST on Sunday, Manny Gathers staged to his Facebook timeline some pretty compelling information regarding professional sports entertainment rankings.

Surprisingly, track and field was amongst the 19 sports listed on the chart.

With a No. 3 ranking being rated “Excellent” and No. 1 ranking being rated “Poor,” track and field, as it turned out, ranked near the bottom of the pack with three No. 1’s. Nevertheless, there is a silver lining and it is called American League Track & Field.

According to Gathers, ALTF has corrected all of the issues that traditional track and field faces today. “ALTF is supreme and is the solution to elevating this Globally Recognized Sport to its rightful position,” Gathers said. 

All things considered, credit Gathers and his staff for playing some of favorable role to what undoubtedly is an ongoing upward trend, considering track and field figures to remain one of the world’s most popular sports.

An accomplished Baltimore-area entrepreneur and investor, Gathers is the mastermind by behind organizing what he describes as a “uniquely designed” Professional Track And Field League.

Widely regarded as the first of its kind, Gathers said this is the first and only professional sports league that is comprised of men and women teammates, an up-and-coming league in which many of these athletes have a share in ownership and revenue.

“(We’re) the first to have passive, fractional ownership of each team which allows middle-class investors to participate,” Gathers told Making Headline News during a weekend interview.

Interesting enough, this track and field organization is the first to consolidate sponsors’ contracts into a single, short-term agreement model, Gathers said.

“I enjoy being able to meet, work with and served people of various backgrounds the most,” said Gathers, explaining what he admires the most about a uniquely distinct business he hopes will attract more of a global presence in the foreseeable future. “Being able to be a part of a diverse team is a rewarding experience.”

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST — “My personal mission is to successfully bring track and field to life as a professional sport,” said Gathers, who acknowledged that he was inspired to organize the league by Ernest Lindo, whom he deems the Author and Founder of this business model. “By doing that, we will be creating thousands of job opportunities, a new shared ownership model, and more financial good for the communities in which we will operate.”

What’s even more intriguing is that this league strives diligently to attract talented athletes from various levels, most notably former high school and college athletes, or those who have a solid past resume in this internationally-acclaimed sport.

“As far as athletes goes, we will attract and hire graduates from the high school and collegiate levels to participate in the sport,” Gathers said.

A league that is steadily devising ways to generate more exposure, it seems that this organization is starting to become a fixture for those who have a fond interest in track and field.

Spectators included.

“Because of our unique capital raising model and debt mitigation strategies, we will draw families to our events,” said Gathers, adding that ticket prices will typically range in the neighborhood of less than $35 for regular seating — VIP seats are also available, he said — which will make his organization’s events affordable for fans and other groups. “Imagine being able to bring your babies and entire family to a professional sporting event because of affordable ticket prices.”

A native of Eutawville, South Carolina, Gathers served more than 20 years of active duty in the Marine Corps and also boasts experience in mid-level management by way of the ever-so-competitive Corporate America industry.

It is due in large part, he said, to his solid experience as an accomplished businessman that has contributed mightily in his latest venture.

“I have been conditioned to manage complex operations, high-valued budgets, and people management,” said Gathers, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Operations and an MBA Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland University College. “My life experiences and world travels have allowed me to interact with people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. Strong interpersonal skills have prepared me for this next chapter of my life.”

Extensive traveling both in the military and his selected profession have greatly aided him as well.

“I have traveled around the world a couple of times and have lived in multiple countries and states within the USA,” Gathers said.

As for his mission for electing to organize an athletic venture of this magnitude, well, his primary objective is simple.

MAKING MAJOR MOVES — An accomplished Baltimore area entrepreneur and investor, Manny Gathers is the mastermind by behind organizing what he describes as a “uniquely designed” Professional Track And Field League. Widely regarded as the first of its kind, Gathers said this is the first and only professional sports league that is comprised of men women teammates, a league in which many of whom of the athletes have a share in ownership and revenue.

“My personal mission is to successfully bring track and field to life as a professional sport,” said Gathers, who acknowledged that he was inspired to organize the league by Ernest Lindo, whom he deems the Author and Founder of this business model. “By doing that, we will be creating thousands of job opportunities, a new shared ownership model, and more financial good for the communities in which we will operate.

As for the notable forthcoming additions and changes with this organization, Gathers said a number of projects are presently in the works as he and his staff continues to upgrade and enhance their brand.

“We have recently begun collaborating with the Black Men United Organization and plan on conducting strategic think-tank events to attract the brightest and ideal Leaders to run the business,” Gathers said. “Our primary goal is to target credible celebrities and business owners that share our belief that we can build a successful business model that will provide family entertainment once again, financial and business education, and wealth creation for generations to come.”

“Track and field is the oldest known sport in the world,” Gathers added. “It is popular in America and internationally. How bad do you want it is the question. When asked, ‘Manny, what is it that you need to make this thing work?’ I simply say, ‘connections’…introduce me to Colin Kaepernick, Usain Bolt, T.I., Olympic Medalists or any respectable Star that can help give birth to this Game-Changing idea.’”

For more information about Manny Gathers and his professional track and field organization, email Manny Gathers at manny@bestmoneystrategies.com. Also, contact Manny via his website www.bestmoneystrategies.com

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@makingheadlinenews.com or to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

South Carolina Pastor James Perry, Jr. winning souls both on and off the court as a thriving AAU basketball coach

 

LOVE AND BASKETBALL…AND THE BIBLEA former Abbeville (Alabama) High School and Lander University basketball standout, James Perry, Jr. is widely known as the Founder and Senior Pastor at Empowerment Worship Center in Greenville, South Carolina.
Interesting enough, when the 44-year-old minister isn’t decked out in his spiffy, flowing robe and giving sermons within the four walls of his church that is housed at 31 Calhoun Avenue in Greenville, chances are he’s somewhere nearby on EWC’s campus, teaching all things basketball fundamentals and mechanics as the head coach of the South Carolina Raptors seventh grade AAU squad.

Because of his deep admiration for spreading the Gospel and coaching basketball, it’s safe to assume that James Perry, Jr. is savoring the best of both worlds.

“Well, I love basketball for one,” said Perry, Jr. told Making Headline News during a recent interview. “I love mentoring the youth and I love pastoring. Having a gym at my church makes it so much. I mean, it’s hard work, but it’s community service.”

To his distinct credit, Perry, Jr. is strategically impacting lives both from the pulpit and on the hardwood.

HOOPS ON HOLY GROUNDMore than anything else, it seems, coaching the sport he loves essentially serves as a spiritual GPS system, of sorts, particularly as it relates to helping youngster find their way to Christ, all while simultaneously learning good sportsmanship and upgrading their skills and fundamentals.

A former Abbeville (Alabama) High School and Lander University basketball standout, Perry, Jr. is widely known as the Founder and Senior Pastor at Empowerment Worship Center in Greenville, South Carolina.

Interesting enough, when the 44-year-old minister isn’t decked out in his spiffy, flowing robe and giving sermons within the four walls of his church that is housed at 31 Calhoun Avenue in Greenville, chances are he’s somewhere nearby on EWC’s campus, teaching all things basketball fundamentals and mechanics as an assistant coach of the South Carolina Raptors seventh grade AAU squad.

Even upon finally accepting his calling to preach the Gospel come 18-plus year ago, the 6-foot-4 preacher was still very much active in competitive hoops.
How else to explain why today, approximately two years removed from his congregation having moved to its present location, Perry, Jr. still acknowledges how blessed and grateful he is to have a gymnasium adjacent to his sanctuary?

For Perry, Jr., while preaching isn’t something about which he was passionate even as a young preacher’s kid — or PK — he admittedly has always held a basketball close to his heart, considering the sport served as an outlet, of sorts, particularly with regards to him bolting home for college.

Even upon finally accepting his calling to preach the Gospel some 18-plus year ago, this 6-foot-4 giant of a preacher was still very much active in competitive hoops.

How else to explain why today, approximately two years removed from his congregation having moved to its present location, Perry, Jr. still acknowledges how blessed and grateful he is to have a gymnasium a few dribbles away from his sanctuary?

MORE THAN CONQUERORSIn many cases, Perry, Jr. said, coaching basketball is synonymous to preaching to the masses in that he’s often faced with the sometimes brutal tasks of taking the good with the bad encounters and vice versa.
“Basketball can be challenging and there are good and bad days,” Perry, Jr. explained. “You apply this to life, because no matter how hard it gets, you never quit and you keep pushing.

Talk about savoring the best of both worlds.

“I am passionate about basketball because I love it and it gives me the opportunity to teach and build relationships with young men,” Perry, Jr., who’s coached five years at the high school ranks, said. “It gives me the chance to be a counselor, a motivator and mentor while being a coach.”

More than anything else, it seems, coaching the sport he loves essentially serves as a spiritual GPS system, of sorts, particularly as it relates to helping youngsters find their way to Christ, all while simultaneously learning good sportsmanship and upgrading their skills and fundamentals.

BECOME EMPOWERED: http://empowermentworshipcenter.org/

In many cases, Perry, Jr. said, coaching basketball is synonymous to preaching to the masses in that he’s often faced with the sometimes brutal tasks of taking the good with the bad encounters and vice versa.

“Basketball can be challenging and there are good and bad days,” Perry, Jr. explained. “You apply this to life, because no matter how hard it gets, you never quit and you keep pushing. Many times, the kids get down on themselves, and this gives me the opportunity to lift them up. Life is the same way, but it will present roadblocks and challenges and they must know they have to keep pushing through.”

SLAM DUNKING FOR JESUS — For Perry, Jr., while preaching isn’t something about which he was passionate even as a young preacher’s kid — or PK — he admittedly has always held a basketball close to his heart, considering the sport served as an outlet, of sorts, particularly with regards to him bolting home for college.

Much like Perry, Jr., a Charlotte, North Carolina native, had found himself doing while growing up in a rather strict, Christian-oriented environment in which attending church had seemingly become as customary as, say, going to school.

Regardless, it is because of his father’s tough love and unyielding Godly wisdom, coupled with his strict parental commands that have greatly empowered Perry, Jr. to help empower youth athletes on the importance of staying empowered through Biblical principles and basketball — all on the campus of the Empowerment Worship Center.

How empowering.

“The sky is the limit because we teach our kids the game and life,” said Perry, Jr. whose Raptors have competed in such places as Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Florida. “We push the student athlete and enforce accountability.”

All while savoring the best of both worlds.

Which, in Perry, Jr.’s case, is just the way God intended it to be all along.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.

Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to memphisgraduate@yahoo.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.