No Breaks: Losing Chadwick, Cliff and John While Feeling For Jacob Blake

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Black folks swarmed into Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

That pivotal 1963 march, which left us with the now iconic “I Have A Dream” speech delivered by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, is just as relevant as the country is still reeling from the seven shots heard around the world into Jacob Blake’s back.

Police brutality is still what it was in 1963 except now it goes viral. Black people are more concerned with mental health too due to the trauma experienced daily.

The rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter” is the polarizing touchpoint today and as the country makes a pivotal decision on how to solve systemic racism, we lost some Black heroes too.

Wakanda Forever

Chadwick Boseman, the actor who revolutionized the image of Black people with his portrayal of King T’Challa aka the Black Panther, passed at 43 on Friday. After battling colon cancer for four years, Boseman succumbed to the disease shocking the entire world.

His death was also on the day of the biggest unifying event for Black people in Washington, D.C. ending the day on a sour note for the culture. For an actor who over the last few years has really hit his stride by playing Black legends like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, and Jackie Robinson, Boseman is a national treasure that we lost too soon.

The Cliff

However, we were hit with more bad news on Saturday when we learned that former NBA star. Clifford Robinson passed away at age 53.

Robinson was an early star in UConn’s rise to power, setting the Huskies up to become a Division I powerhouse. He helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals.

Robinson spent 18 seasons in the NBA, winning the 1993 Sixth Man of the Year award and earning an All-Star nod. He stood 6-foot-11, the size of a center, but he was an outside shooting progenitor of the modern NBA big man.

“Uncle Cliffy” also played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets. Robinson made the 1994 NBA All-Star Game and was named to two NBA All-Defensive second teams while averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 1,380 career games.

That’s the 13th-most in NBA history according to reports.

No cause of death was given, but former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun said Robinson had a stroke 2½ years ago and went into a coma last week.

Thompson’s Towel

Last, Georgetown University’s iconic towel weilding coach John Thompson, Jr. passed away at the age of 78 at his Arlington, Virginia home Sunday night. Thompson was the first Black basketball head coach to win the NCAA National Championship leading the Hoyas to their lone title in 1984.

Point blank, Thompson molded legends. Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, and Alonzo Mourning all came through the house that John built.

Thompson coached at Georgetown University for 27 years leaving a legacy for his son John Thompson III who also coached there and current head coach and alumni, Patrick Ewing.

“I was very proud of winning the national championship and I was very proud of the fact that I was a Black American, but I didn’t like it if the statement implied that I was the first Black person who had intelligence enough to win the national championship,” he told ESPN.

“I might have been the first black person who was provided with an opportunity to compete for this prize, that you have discriminated against thousands of my ancestors to deny them this opportunity.”

2020 has presented many challenges from the divisive rhetoric of Donald Trump to the uptick of racially motivated unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through it all we must continue to persevere and not look our collective minds with the constant flow of bad news. The world must heal from it all and like Tupac Shakur said, Still I Rise.

Indeed we will.

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