Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Twitter: A mind-altering experience

The Twitter world has opened my eyes to people, places, scenarios and situations I could never have imagined.

It's a tremendous information tool I treasure after initially avoiding in-depth use like I would a viral infection. Now, it's one of the first sites I check daily. And that's after seriously only using it since late April.

Perhaps the most revealing facet of Twitter has been an exposure to an amazingly passionate group of Sacramento Kings fans, whose mpact constantly shocks and surprises.

It may just have been my naivete or focus, rather than sheer blindness or stupidity. Yet, I was so unaware of the depth and involvement the community has with this team. And that's after covering the team 24/7 and virtually 10 months a year for more than 14 years.

In retrospect, I admit I took for granted seeing ticket-holders in their seats when I entered what now is called Sleep Train Arena. It'll always will be Arco Arena in my mind. I knew folks were 'riding and dying' with the team's fortunes, but I had no idea of the true scope.

I was fortunate enough to cover the team exclusively from 1992 thru 2005. I saw the Kings struggle, become competitive enough to make the playoffs, again fall by the wayside and then execute an amazing transformation into an NBA title contender before beginning a slide from which they've not yet recovered.

There were three ownership changes, numerous coaching/player transactions and the legitimate possibility of franchise moves to Anaheim and Seattle. It's apparent the constant surrounding the Kings has been an undying, unyielding dedication and love. Yet, I again admit I truly hadn't felt the pulse of the fans until I committed to Twitter.

It almost has been akin to a religious experience where I now can feel the passion and desire of the fans to see the Kings win a championship. I can feel the never-ending quest for national respect, as a franchise, as well as a city. The satisfaction derived from knowing a world-class entertainment center is being constructed in downtown Sacramento for their team is palpable.

However, the most surprising and intriguing characteristic Twitter has uncovered is the number and intensity supplied by female fans. The knowledge, dedication and fire these ladies bring to the dance inspires smiles as well as a feeling of an unbelievable personal awakening and awareness.

This female fan group takes nary a backseat to any comparable faction of Kings fans. They are passionate and as defensive and protective as any group of males, if not more so. They possess a sensitivity born of a team, franchise and city that has withstood repeated body blows and still stands strong.

They aggressively promote their belief the Kings finally are headed on a path to respectability with the ability to compete with the NBA's best. They refuse to listen to any position suggesting otherwise.

Once again, that stance results in a smile in my belief and confidence of a mind opened and exposed to new horizons. All this was a result of taking advantage of Twitter for more than merely alerting the masses of another blog written.

So I thank Twitter for providing the vessel I have used to learn, touch and internalize emotion, commitment and passion I once missed, overlooked and took for granted. It will not happen again.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kings must start at the beginning - Karl and Boogie

When Kings front office personnel walk into the office today for the 2015 NBA draft - assuming they didn't sleep there Wednesday night - first on the list should be figuring out if they are building a team specifically designed to win as soon as possible?

Or is this group attempting to build a team sustainable for the foreseeable future?

The decision maker also is in question. Owner Vivek Ranadive says he has entrusted former Kings center Vlade Divac to run the show, but that hasn't seemed to be the case.

Ranedive, instead of deferring questions regarding the team's on-court future to Divac, has been in the forefront with comments regarding the questionable future of the team's best player, center DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins.

Ranadive owns the team and can run it anyway he likes. However, he can't have it both ways if he wants the success he claims.

Any question pertaining to Cousins also includes coach George Karl and herein lies the rub. Whether it's Ranadive (and it shouldn't be) or Divac (which it should be, according to Ranadive's words) or a combination of the two, a decision has to be made ascertaining whether Karl and Cousins can successfully co-exist. And it needs to be made now, today, before the draft.

There have been reports all over the lot. Cousins wants to be traded. Cousins never publically has said he wants to be traded. To the contrary, he's always maintained he loves playing and living in Sacramento. His outstanding community commitments have echoed that stance.

Yet, there is his agent Dan Fegan, a known attempted manipulator of a franchise's circumstances. Fegan is believed determined to get the Kings to trade Cousins, perhaps to the Los Angeles Lakers. Fegan also represents Dwight Howard and his Orlando-L.A.Houston circus trip should be remembered.

Then there are reports Karl, who was hired Feb. 17, wants Cousins traded and has gone to the extent of talking to other players about it as well as talking to the front office to try to get it done. And that's despite knowing Ranadive has been totally against the trade concept.

We have no idea if all or any of these reports are true. However, Ranadive and Divac, know. Unquestionably, this stuff didn't materialize out of the sky. Fegan and Karl have history.

And just as the owner has said one thing and acted another, Cousins and his people seem to have done the same. Then throw Karl's espionage into the mix and it's little wonder the team's name should be 'The Confusion.'

It was Karl who noted every player can be traded. And he's right. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earl Monroe, Oscar Robertson, just to name three Hall of Famers who were traded. Better players than Cousins have been traded.

It's also true some of the NBA's best coaches have been fired. Just last season, Karl became the team's third coach in four months. Better coaches than Karl has been fired. It could be argued the Kings can't fire yet another coach.

Oh, yes they can. That is, if they have the heart to admit they believe they've made a mistake. Three or four, what's the big difference? There isn't one.

If there is anyone who has seemed to hold the Kings hostage, it would be Karl. He has been here just four months, only has a three-year contract and allegedly already wants to trade the team's best player? What the hell was discussed before he was hired? Three years also is how long Cousins, 25 in August, is under contract.

Once again, the Kings must put their feelings aside and make a cold-blooded decision about this pairing. The bottom line is getting it right. Nothing else matters. It's not about the spectre of the new arena, it's about getting it right in terms of directing their future.

If they want to hitch their wagon to this combination being successful, then you don't trade Cousins, who might be the NBA's best center now.

Or he could become the NBA's best center as soon as this season. He also has been the best player on a team that hasn't won jack in recent memory. There are observers who believe the Kings nor any other team can win with Cousins as a centerpiece, as its leader. He can be a difficult guy with whom to play.

Yet last season, he averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds, and there aren't many players who have done that. And he's 25 in August. It figures he has not yet reached his prime.

So if in fact, Divac is permitted to run the show, as Ranadive has said on the record, there is an amazing amount of pressure to get this right. Other executives are trying to figure out which player to draft. Divac has to determine what to do with his best player and his coach.

However, pressure is relative. Divac's family and friends have lived through what used to be war-torn Yugoslavia.

That's pressure. And then there is the draft. Good luck Vlade.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Warriors face nut-cutting time

It's difficult to fathom the Cleveland Cavs doing what we've seen them do in the past week.

It's even more difficult to comprehend how the Golden State Warriors have performed. They had the NBA's best regular-season record and believed to have an incredible depth advantage. And that was before the Cavs lost all-star guard Kyrie Irving.

However, that depth only counts and works when players are performing to their capabilities. And right now, I think only Leandro Barbosa, Andre Iquodala and David Lee are doing that.

Golden State is confused and dispirited. Starters Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and MVP Steph Curry are playing tentatively and amazingly at times appear hesitant to take shots they've taken and made all season.

Now they are facing the biggest game of their lives. Game 4 of the NBA Finals, trailing 2 games to 1. Coach Steve Kerr has preached how difficut it is to earn an NBA championship. Now his team should realize he wasn't just blowing smoke up their you-know-whats.

TI repeat. The Warriors are down two games to one. Moreover, they are playing from behind in each game and that's not an advantageous position.

Cleveland has tested the Warriors resolve and won. Now we get to see how much they have.

I was told last night by my boy Sean Cunningham of News 10, anytime you can quote former Sacramento Kings forward Lionel Simmons, it's a good thing.

Simmons' career was cut short by bad knees, but played with as much heart as anyone. He used to love describing tense, game-detrmining or in this case, series-determining situations as 'nut-cutting time.' Former Kings guard Randy Brown, now a Chicago Bulls executive, during their heyday used to bring them out yelling, 'What time is it?'

Well, it's nut-cutting time and we'll see how Golden State responds. Cleveland knows well it has an opportunity to put its feet on the Warriors throats. Golden State is not facing a win or go home game Thursday night, but a loss takes away all wiggle room. The Warriors have to win just to climb out of a hole and give themselves a legitimate chance for victory.

We'll soon see what's up.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Golden State in seven, but keep your money in your pocket

I have no clue who will win the 2015 NBA Finals besides knowing it either will be the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers.

My prediction is Golden State in seven, which indicates how close a matchup I see.

I can guarantee it will be one of those two, but beyond that I see this best-of-seven series as a matchup between teams both equally capable of winning.

They'll do it differently, yet there are similarities with both teams relying on underrated defenses.

Both teams are star-led. Cleveland has LeBron James, who is as close to a superstar as there is in any sport. Golden State has Stephen Curry, this season's Most Valuable Player, and a guy I've touted over the past couple of months who deserves to be mentioned with James among the NBA's best.

In terms of game impact, Curry's mercurial offensive skills can take over a game as quickly as a mosquito's sting. Curry's handle combined with deep, deep and accurate shooting range can make him seem unstoppable at times.

His lone offensive weakness is a sometimes casual approach to making simple passes. And as good as he is, in Kyrie Irving, the Cavs have a guard similarly skilled. However, Irving has been hobbled by knee tendinitis and his availability for a potential seven-game series is questionable.

Being a New York City native and lover of handle, I believe these two are the NBA's best ballhandlers. Not only can they handle, they do it with a flair and cockiness that allow them to go where they are going exclusive of any single defender.

However, then there is LeBron, whom at 6-8 and approximately 250 pounds, is as dazzling a ballhandler and perhaps the league's best passer. I rememberin 1967-68, the late Wilt Chamberlain decided he was going to lead the NBA in assists and then did so. Chamberlain didn't lead the league in assists per game, but finished ahead of Oscar Robertson in total assists.

James, I believe, could pull off the same feat. It's amazing there is an entire generation of folks who never saw Magic Johnson live, but James is the closest thing to him. James is more scoring oriented, but I haven't seen Johnson's Lakers' teammates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or James Worthy lineup with LeBron.

James, in any game, is capable of grabbing 15 rebounds or passing for 15 assists or scoring 35 points. I believe he nearly averaged a triple-double in the four-game sweep of the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

And as much as he physically dominates games, James' leadership qualities never have been more evident than this season. The Cavs, with the additions of Timofey Mosgov, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, are a team thrown together in this calendar year that has coalesced into a diverse and talented squad.

Then there is the increased playing time for power forward-center Tristan Thompson because of the season-ending shoulder injury suffered by Kevin Love. Thompson has been a beast around the basket offensively and defensively. He provides many timely second chances for the Cavs. And we know how difficult those opportunities are to defend.

Not many folks can spell Matthew Dellavedova, but if they've been paying attention, this guy has brought feistiness, competitiveness and competence to the Cavs. Don't sleep James Jones, who comes off the bench and immediately hits three-pointers with accuracy.

I'm not fixated on David Blatt, who is in his first season as an NBA coach. Coaches rarely win or lose series and rightly so. It's a players game and that's who will decide this deal.

And it's Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iquodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli and even former all-star David Lee, who ultimately could determine the series outcome. I believe Golden State has the depth advantage.

Thompson and Barnes have had stretches when they have disappeared, but also are capable
of timely production. There's no reason to believe they'll be any different now.

Green is Golden State's do-everything guy. In terms of getting underneath the skin, he's a bigger, darker more talented Dellavedova. Guys who play so hard they piss off opponents. Green is the heart of this team and his ability to defend, rebound, score and never back down will play a major role.

Before it's all over we'll see Green on James, James on Curry and all types of intriguing individual matchups. Golden State coach Steve Kerr also is in his first season and brings a calming influence similar to Blatt's.

I'm picking Golden State but I'm a little nervous about so many other observers believing Cleveland has no chance. I never trust reporters. If both teams perform at the levels that got them here, it'll be a great series that could include multiple games decided in the last minute.

Oh, yeah, about that money. I did find a sucker in my former roommate Derryl Zimmerman, who believes the Warriors will sweep. I'm putting up three bucks to his one that his anti-James feelings will cost him. A sweep I don't see. Thanks, Mr. Zimmerman, maybe I'll put that easy money towards a lottery ticke. If I win, you'll get your buck back with tremendous interest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Nigger experience

It's 2:30 a.m. and finally, I have been compelled to write about the word Nigger.

And in the spirit of the late, great way-way-way ahead of his time, comedian Richard Pryor, I say, "Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger."

Now what? So what?

I said it. I say it often. I grew up saying it in my St. Albans, Queens, N.Y. neighborhood. I said it at my predominantly black college, Hampton Institute, now Hampton University in Virginia.

My friends said it, my family said it, and that's right, niggers in the parks in which I played basketball, baseball and football, said it,. too.

As a black man, I never, ever, not once, you get it, freaked out or was offended by its use until it the topic of whether or not it should be used became news.

What made me write this was a CNN discussion Monday night moderated by Don Lemon. The panelists were Ben Ferguson, a white man unbeknownst to me until about 15 minutes ago; Marc Hill, a black professor at Atlanta's Morehouse College, a predominantly black institution; and Trinidad Jame, a black rapper, whom I'd never heard before 15 minutes ago.

I didn't see the CNN discussion, although I wanted to, but I was watching basketball, tending to our five dogs and searching the internet for jobs. I watched a clip on the CNN website and that four-minute segment was enough for me. I'm glad brother Hill and James were there to represent and combat the lunacy of Ferguson (the idiot, not the city).

I'm so glad I didn't see the entire piece because less than two minutes of this so-called educated idiotic Ferguson would have so disappointed me.

He had the audacity to say that James' of the word, Nigger (yeah I said it, so what?) was the reason the rapper was on the show. There are so many derogatory words I'd like to use to Ferguson (in these days and times an ironic name and geographic location), but I'll resist.

I am so tired of white people saying the word, Nigger, should be dropped. In fact, there are some African-Americans who believe the word somehow should be removed from society's lexicon, as if it doesn't exist or never existed.

First of all, in my opinion, Mr. Ferguson (boy, it almost hurt to give this sucker that much respect), and those black people who want the word's existence deleted, the word Nigger never will disappear. So forget about that concept.

It's a part of black culture, and if my thinking is correct, African-American people never will let it die. For many of us, it's often a term of endearment. It's a word whose versatility allows it to be used in many contexts.

I grew up, hearing people, including my late father, Chalmers McNeal, say, "That's my nigger." Even more times, he'd say to me, "You're always my horse, if you never win a race."

I've heard brothers say, "Nigger, if you don't quit fouling me, I'm gonna (sp) whip your ass."

I had one prominant white NBA executive say to me, "what's up, Nig?"

He surprised the hell out of me. Quickly, I said to the brother (you know, there are whites to whom we afford the love and respect calling them brothers, "What did you say? Where did you get that shit from?"

He told me and he'd heard one of our friends often say it, and clearly he felt comfortable enough with me to say it. But I told him not to say it again. And he never did in that context, which initially was one of love.

But the same brother, who grew up in a white, often racist neighborhood, but played mega-ball with blacks, recalled a conversation, as a young NBA player, he'd had with his father.

I'm sure this wasn't the entire conversation, but his pops, whom I met before he died, said, "Bleep the Niggers."

Basically his pops was saying, 'Forget all the dumb stuff, play your game and stop playing scared.'

The names in that conversation aren't important, but if I used them, some knucklehead would use them against this brother.

There are a lot of whites who never have spent any true significant time inside black society, so they have no concept of how we think, much less why we think what we think. Some, probably don't think we think. But ultimately I can't be concerned with that level of ignorance.

I know it's there, but who has the time to go there?

The fact is, as black folk, most of us probably know considerably more about whites than they do about us. Shoot, we had to climb mountains to get a damned month (Black History Month), and is it a coincidence that it's the year's shortest? Hell, if I know.

But as Arsenio Hall used to say, it's one of those things that make you say, "Hmmm."

I could write all day about race and the word Nigger (yeah, I said it.) I don't know about other black folk, but one of my first thoughts about white society and the word Nigger was, "Damn, you want to take the word away from us? What, as a race we haven't given up enough? Now you're snatching words? Kiss my ass. There are three words for you. You want those, too? They are all yours."

It's important to realize, I grew up in the '60's and '70's. One of the first albums (for you young folk, DJ's use them to scratch and the discs were precursors to today's CD's)I bought in my life (1970) was by The Last Poets.

It featured cuts such as, "When the revolution comes"; "New York, New York, the big apple"; "Wake up, Niggers"; "Run, Nigger"; "Niggers are scared of revolution"; "Black Thighs"; and On the Subway."

The Last Poets were rappers before the legendary Sugar Hill Gang. I was a music major, a vocal major who sang in Borough-Wide and All-City Chorus back in the day. At the same time I was listening to the spoken word, I was singing, listening and trying to play songs with music by Bach and Beethoven.

At the same time, I was reading newspapers distributed by the Black Panther Party and Muhammad Speaks, which was written by members of a group often called the 'Black Muslims.'

My high school, Andrew Jackson (now Campus Magnet) was undergoing a radical racial population shift. There were race riots and days off because of bomb threats supposedly made by a group called 'the Weathermen.' They were an offshoot of what was described as a radical group called Students for a Democratic America.

My exposures were diverse and unique. I had black friends like Bernard Kellam, Lennie Carlisle, the late Ronald Heyward, one of the best athletes and alto sax players I've ever seen and heard). Then were my friends friends like Seth Figman and David (Bobo) Berlinsky. There were days when I'd sport yarmulkes in solidarity with their Jewish heritage.

I had friends like Cardlin Martin and Michael Kornegay, who got caught up and used heroin, and Leon and Gregory Guthrie, whose pops moved the family from our block on 193rd Street in St. Albans to North Carolina, so they didn't caught up.

Cardlin Martin's father was a black man from St. Louis, who was another father figure for me, even though my pops was right there. Martin's mother was white, born in France, I believe and a sweet, sweet woman. I spent the night over their house on weekends almost as much as I lived at home.

Cardlin was confused as hell, but brighter than bright and was my Dr. Doolittle. The guy had a talent and love of animals and should have become a veterinarian. However, he has spent much of his life in prison. I don't know if he's dead or alive.

All of this to say, there are many experiences and exposures that shape us and make us who we are.

And if I want to call my friends, my Niggers, or my Niggas, that's what I'm gonna do. And nobody, certainly not this Ben Ferguson fraud or Ben Carson or Bennie and the Jets is going to change that. And whether it has 'ers' or 'as' or 'az' at the end doesn't mean a damned thing to me.

It's not the word, it is the feeling and the sentiment behind the word. Just like all the rest of the words.

And if I have one word of advice for white folk, don't ever call an African-American, Nigger.

That's our word, whether some people like it or not. Nigger, Nigger, Nigger, Nigger. Nigger.

Yeah I said it again. RIP Mr. Pryor.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dean Smith: A great amongst greatness

When former University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith passed away Saturday night at the age of 83, the world lost a true legend.

Unquestionably, Smith was an innovative coach. His use of the four-corners offense was a stroke of genius made famous when Phil Ford handled the ball and used his quickness, speed and dribbling ability to terrorize defenses and create shots for teammates.

Smith’s teams were incredibly disciplined and just as classy. I can not remember the North Carolina team under Smith ever getting into a scrap with another team.

However, in the 60’s, blacks were ignored, overlooked, disrespected and refused opportunities to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC was a pillar of racism, but Smith would have none of it. It came honestly.

The New York Times reported Smith’s father, Alfred, put Paul Terry, a black player on the 1933-34 state championship winning high school team, even though Kansas state officials refused to allow Terry to play in the tournament.

Perhaps my first knowledge of Smith was his decision to make Charlie Scott, a kid from Harlem, who attended the prestigious New York City Stuyvesant High School before going to Laurinberg Prep in North Carolina, the first black scholarship player at North Carolina.

As a kid approaching his teenage years, it was impactful for me to see Scott, the lone African-American player dominating amongst a sea of whites. Scott was a star and helped lead the Tar Heels to a couple of Final Four appearances, but never truly received the accolades his play deserved. There was one season when Scott likely should have been the ACC player of the year, but lost out to John Roche, an excellent white player at South Carolina.

It wasn’t so much that Roche got the nod, but five writers refused to vote for Scott, clearly one of the country’s best players. It has been reported Smith, upon learning of the approach taken by the writers, went directly to them and chastised them for the bigotry that led to the decision and said such mentality had to change.

Now, that was approximately 50 years ago, so clearly Smith was ahead of his time. Smith, a couple years later recruited another star from New York, forward Bill Chamberlain, from Long Island Lutheran. There weren’t many black students at his high school, so he was somewhat prepared to be one of the few African-Americans in yet another situation.

Smith was fearless in his quest to lead North Carolina to NCAA prominence, so bringing Chamberlain into the fold helped made it comfortable for other coaches to recruit black players. Smith never proclaimed superiority of humanity. He only lived a level of sensitivity that few of us can approach.

I was fortunate enough to cover a few North Carolina games and Smith always was beyond respectful and accepting. The man was all class. While entering the predominantly white sports journalism field, it always became apparent to me, which coaches seemed to go out of their way to make a then neophyte reporter feel comfortable. The coaching names that came to mind early in my career were Georgetown’s John Thompson (who maybe not so coincidentally enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Smith), then Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson, former St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca, TV commentator and former Seton Hall coach Bill Raftery and Smith.

Perhaps the most impressive testimonials were ones that weren’t intentionally provided. Conversations with former Smith players such as Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Kenny Smith and Adrian Dantley, who played on the Dean Smith-coached 1976 gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team, revealed a warm, honest respectful reverence for a man who seemed to live life as only a champion would.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kings take back seat to Ferguson

Aug. 19, 2014 I’m a firm believer that things happen the way they should when they should and really we have little to no control over how. Monday, I spent much of the day working on a few things but mostly it seems as if at least an equal time was spent listening to folks explain how I needed to blog and why it was important for me to do so. Different folks of different genders and backgrounds and careers and jobs with seemingly no common agendas as it pertained to me other than harassing me about blogging or communicating as the case may be. So it was a day when Pierce Welch explained that he was going to an Oak Park outing under the name “Indivizible,” billed as an African-American assembly”. My man Brian Bedford had opened my eyes to the concept a couple of months ago, but I’d slept on attending until Monday. When I decided to go, I was unaware the speaker would be author and entrepreneur John Hope Bryant, who grabbed the terms powerful, poignant and relevant and made them his when he touched the crowd at The Guild in Oak Park. Nor did I know Mayor Johnson would bring in Dr. Claybon Lea, Jr., a pastor from Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Faifield. And I didn’t know Dr. Lea was Pierce Welch’s cousin. Welch and I were supposed to go to the gathering together but a communication gaffe prevented that from happening. And Welch didn’t know Dr. Lea would be there until Mayor Johnson introduced him. When I approached the theatre, immediately I saw Mayor Johnson walking inside and then brother Larry Lee from the Sacramento Observer. Quickly, there was a feeling this would be a different night. I’d already planned to blog about the Kings and how they’d made more than a few moves this summer I viewed as questionable. Omri Casspi’s name came to mind immediately. Yet, the Kings quickly took a back seat on this night when topics such as Michael Brown and Ferguson, Mo., and the images of impact brought to mind by the words of Bryant and the pictures of CNN. The situation in Ferguson is so overwhelming it is almost beyond belief. We have an unarmed 18-year-old with no previous record walking down the street during the late Saturday morning hours suddenly murdered by a policeman. We come to find out the policeman is white, the 18-year-old is black and the town of Ferguson (which I’d never heard of before last week) is predominantly black, while the police force is predominantly white. What roles any or all of those factors played in the situation’s outcome no one truly knows. We all can speculate. I just know the Ferguson deal became even more real when I was told that one of my son’s better friends currently is working on a house in the same neighborhood of the killing and the subsequent turmoil. The fact that I was an 18-year-old African-American male and that my now 23-year-old African-American male son walks around the neighborhood going from point A to point B adds relevance to the story. The fact my son’s friend who is working in Ferguson is white also clouds the situation because who knows how all of this is affecting him. It makes me wonder if whites ever wonder or imagine what it is like to be black and vice versa. Hands up – Don’t shoot. I'd never heard the phrase before the past couple of weeks. However, I’ll never forget its significance.