Wendell Scott: the first black driver in NASCAR He also was the first to win a Grand National race

Wendell Scott was the first black driver in NASCAR and the first to win a race at its highest level.

Born: Aug. 29, 1921

Died: Dec. 23, 1990

His story: Scott was born in Danville, Virginia. He learned to be an auto mechanic from his father and opened a shop after serving in the Army during World War II. He started racing on the Dixie Circuit because blacks were not allowed to race in NASCAR. He won his first race in Lynchburg, Virginia, and would compete up to five times a week. He persuaded Mike Poston, a NASCAR steward, to grant him a NASCAR license during an event at Richmond Speedway in 1953. He spent almost nine years at the regional level before moving up to the Grand National division in 1961. He debuted in the Spartanburg 200 and two years later won the Jacksonville 200 to become the first black driver to win a race in NASCAR’s top division. But Scott, who faced racism throughout his career, was not initially declared the winner, as second-place finisher Bud Baker received the checkered flag. Scott was later given the victory after officials sorted through an alleged clerical error. Scott competed in 495 Grand National races, with 147 top-10 finishes, before he retired after an accident in 1973. Smith did not live to see his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015. He died of cancer in 1990.

Fast fact: Richard Pryor starred in Greased Lightning, a 1977 movie about Scott’s life.

Quotable: Scott’s son, Frank, told NPR that one of his father’s favorite sayings was: “When it’s too tough for everybody else, it’s just right for me.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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LeBron James: ‘We will definitely not shut up and dribble’ He thanks talk show host for helping him create more awareness

LOS ANGELES – As LeBron James settled into his chair for Saturday’s media session after Team LeBron’s practice, the first questions thrown at him could have been about his new-look Cleveland Cavaliers, his 14th All-Star appearance or the new All-Star team format.

Instead, James was immediately asked about conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, who blasted him this week about being “barely intelligible,” and suggested he stick to dribbling a basketball rather than speak out on politics and social issues.

“First of all, I had no idea who she is or what she does,” James said, getting warmed up as he tossed shade grenades in her direction. “I would have had a little more respect for her if she actually wrote those words. She probably said it right off the teleprompter.”

If Ingraham thought James would cower from her commentary, she was mistaken.

“We will definitely not shut up and dribble because I mean too much to society,” James said. “I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids who feel like they won’t have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation that they’re in.”

As James spoke, his two sons and their best friend sat on some steps at his side soaking in his words.

“I mean too much to my two boys here, their best friend here, my daughter at home, my wife, my family and all these other kids that look up to me for inspiration and try to find a way out,” James said, adding he wanted to help those people find out “how great they can be and find out how they can make those dreams become a reality.”

He even went as far as to thank the talk show host.

“The best thing she did was help me create more awareness,” James said. “To sit here at NBA All-Star Weekend, the best weekend of the NBA, and talk about social injustice, equality.

“I want to help change kids not only in America but Brazil, England, Mexico and all over. So, thank you.”

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Day one of All-Star Weekend: 2 Chainz vs. Snoop, Draymond Green loves the kids, and Quavo is the real MVP

Missing out on All-Star Weekend? Don’t worry. We got you. Check out The1point8’s photo dispatches from the 2 Chainz vs. Snoop Dogg celebrity one-on-one game, Draymond Green at the Makerspace Youth Basketball clinic, and the action-packed NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, where stars such as Jamie Foxx, Common, Migos, and Erik Killmonger — sorry, Michael B. Jordan — ruled the court.

View of the Adidas 747 Warehouse St location.

Snoop Dogg arrives and wastes no time in warming up, taking shots and practicing his layup technique.

Although 2 Chainz was named as one of the team captains, he wasn’t able to play due to a leg injury received a few months ago.

Draymond Green meets with the younger athletes involved in the basketball scrimmage and gives them some a few words of encouragement.

Influencer Jah Swish poses for a photo at the Nike Makers Headquarters.

Coverage of day one at the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

View of Staples Center during the Rising Stars Challenge, which had players outside of the U.S. competing against American players.

Actor Michael B. Jordan (second from right) enters the game during a free-throw game stop.

NBA legend Kevin Garnett appears to have a working camera with him.

Coverage of day one at the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
Actor Jamie Foxx (center) looks on from the bench as his team plays in the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Quavo wins MVP during the NBA All-Star Celebrity game, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

John Collins, representing Team USA, goes for the reverse layup.

Brandon Ingram (center), a Los Angeles Laker and Team USA player, has a couple of key plays during the second half of the game.

Caleb McLaughlin (left), an actor in Stranger Things, dances on the court.

Jaden Smith performs during the Rising Stars halftime show.

Miles Brown, who stars on the ABC show black-ish, poses for a quick photo with a fan.

Common (left) and a fan pose for a photo after the All-Star Celebrity game.

Quavo (center) is joined by fellow Migos members Offset (left) and Takeoff (right) during his MVP trophy presentation.

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Leonard W. Miller: founder of the Black American Racers Association He also formed Miller Racing Group with his son

Leonard W. Miller is the founder of the Black American Racers Association.

Born: 1934

His story: Miller grew up in suburban Philadelphia, where his mother worked as a housekeeper. His love for cars developed through conversations he heard on those estates. He secretly worked on his parents car when he was a youth.

He formed the Black American Racers Association in 1972 with Wendell Scott, Ron Hines and Malcolm Durham. Scott, the first black driver to compete in NASCAR, was an honorary chairman. The group promoted black driver development and also honored black drivers, mechanics and others in auto racing. BARA grew to 5,000 members.

Miller also was part of Vanguard Racing Inc. and became the first black owner to enter a car in the Indianapolis 500 in 1972. Miller wanted Benny Scott drive the car, but blacks were denied entry into the Indy 500, so John Mahler, a white driver who Miller tapped to work with Scott, ended up driving the car. A year later, Vanguard morphed into Black American Racers Inc., with Benny Scott as the primary driver. BAR qualified for the inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix in 1975 as one of the top 60 race teams in the world. Benny Scott finished 11th in the race.

Miller later founded Miller Racing Group with his son, Leonard T. Miller. They became the first African-American team owners to win a track championship in NASCAR history when they won the stock car title at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia in 2005.

Fast fact: Miller wrote the book Silent Thunder: Breaking Through Cultural, Racial, and Class Barriers in Motorsports, which details his life in auto racing, in 2004.

Quotable: “Living on those estates when I was real young, they talked about race cars and race horses,” Miller told Smithsonian Magazine. “All of these rich, white families had all these rare cars that were beautiful and sounded good. So, I said that was for me. And that’s what started me off to a lifetime of races.”

The Undefeated will profile an athlete each day during Black History Month.

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The ultimate Slam Dunk Contest preview: Best dunker of all time, who’s winning Saturday night It’s the highlight of All-Star Weekend, and we’ve got predictions

You can talk about the parties, the celebrities and the NBA All-Star Game all you want, but nothing generates more excitement during All-Star Weekend than the Slam Dunk Contest. Marc J. Spears and Justin Tinsley predict who’s going to win Saturday night, details from the iconic 2000 dunk contest with Vince Carter and debate the best dunker of all time.

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Inside Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins first All-Star Weekend We shadowed the rookie as he took in all the La La land has to offer

John Collins, the No. 19 overall 2017 NBA draft pick and Atlanta Hawks rookie, let The Undefeated get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the first day of his first NBA All-Star Weekend, which is taking place in Los Angeles this year.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks speaks with the media at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (center) participates in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge practice at the Verizon Up Arena in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the game.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (center) instructs participants in the Jr. NBA Clinic at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks interviews at the Jr. NBA Clinic at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (center) instructs participants in the Jr. NBA Clinic at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (center) enjoys a laugh with Rising Stars teammates Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers (left) and Taurean Prince of the Atlanta Hawks (right) at the Verizon Up Arena in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks speaks with the media at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (right) walks to a media availability session with Hawks teammate Taurean Prince (left) at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (right) signs an autograph for a camper in the Jr. NBA Clinic at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge.

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks (left) participates in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge practice at the Verizon Up Arena in Los Angeles Feb. 16. Collins competed for Team USA in the game.

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Tristan Thompson: ‘Vince Carter was our Michael Jordan’ ‘The Carter Effect’ proves that without ‘Vinsanity’ there’s no Toronto basketball and no Drake

Many of us remember the high-flying, six-foot-six phenom who took the NBA by a storm that could only be known as “Vinsanity.” From his jaw-dropping dunks to his captivating energy, Vince Carter’s journey is one of epic proportions. And so much of it is captured in The Carter Effect.

The documentary style film, directed by Sean Menard and executive produced by LeBron James, catapults viewers back in time to explore how the eight-time NBA All-Star played a major role in solidifying the Toronto Raptors’ notoriety in the NBA and creating a basketball culture that put the city on the map.

Friday night, Uninterrupted teamed up with Beats by Dre for a screening of the film followed by a panel discussion featuring Menard and executive producers Maverick Carter, Future The Prince and Tristan Thompson. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward and Toronto native explained just how influential Vince Carter was for both him and his city growing up.

“Vince was our Michael Jordan,” he said.

The film, which features Tracy McGrady, Thompson, Vince Carter and Toronto native and rapper Drake (who is also one of the film’s executive producers), captures the intoxicating thrill Carter’s arrival brought to a hockey town whose basketball team was seen as a joke amid a league of popular team’s from American cities.

Throughout the film, Carter discusses his arrival in Toronto, his legendary win in the 2000 Dunk Contest, his role in making the city a destination for athletes and celebrities, and his heartbreaking departure. All of it is placed in the context of Toronto’s contributions to music, art and culture. The lesson: Vince Carter is a large part of the reason why we take the city seriously today. Future The Prince truly drove that point home, telling the audience there might not be a Drake if Carter hadn’t come first.

“If you had told me 20 years ago that a half-white, Jewish kid from Toronto who sings and raps would be as big as he is today,” he said. “I would say there’s no way.”

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Snoop Dogg’s West Team beats 2 Chainz’s East in Adidas Celebrity Game ‘We all think we supposed to be in the league … just like all #NBA players think they supposed to be rappers.’

LOS ANGELES — At the intersection of hoops and hip-hop, one thing has always been the case. “We all think we supposed to be in the league,” the legendary MC Snoop Dogg professes, “just like all NBA players think they supposed to be rappers.”

So the godfather of West Coast rap approached Adidas about creating a special event for 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend. And at #747WarehouseSt — the brand’s two-day All-Star experience, which mixes fashion, sport and music — his vision came to life, via the first annual East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop celebrity game. The two teams featured only artists, and were coached by none other than Snoop and Atlanta hip-hop star 2 Chainz.

“My roster was based sheerly off the way artists walked. If you’re onstage going back and forth, there’s a sort of athleticism to it.”

“What happened was, I was sitting back at home watching the [official] celebrity game, trying to figure out a way to put something together … where we could have a good time, and it was only rappers,” said Snoop at news conference before Friday’s game — which he pulled up to an hour late with his fellow coach 2 Chainz, who came with a lit blunt in hand as well as his 4-year-old French Bulldog, Trappy Doo. “So I hit my nephew 2 Chainz up, and told him what I was thinking. He came in with a few ideas, and we matched these ideas together.”

Snoop’s roster boasted the likes of David Banner, Chris Brown, K Camp, Chevy Woods, and himself, of course, while 2 Chainz rolled with a squad that included Trinidad James, Young M.A., Wale and Lil Dicky. Originally listed as a player for the East squad, Quavo of the Migos pulled out at the last minute to take his talents to the NBA’s official Celebrity All-Star Game, during which he dazzled the crowd with an MVP performance.

“My roster was based sheerly off the way artists walked. If you’re onstage going back and forth, there’s a sort of athleticism to it,” said 2 Chainz, who served as strictly the coach of the East, having broke his leg last July. Snoop’s general manager skills followed a more traditional scouting approach. “A lot of the people on my team, I played with him, or I’ve played against them, in [other] celebrity games,” he said. “I’m just a fan of rappers that love the ball.”

The rappers-turned-hoopers took to the multicolored court, named after Pharrell, in custom Adidas jerseys that all appropriately featured the word “Rapper” on the back. Actor/comedian Michael Rapaport and rapper Fat Joe served as the AND1 Mixtape-inspired on-court commentators of the contest, from which Snoop’s West team emerged victorious. New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. even made an appearance on the court. He’s a Nike-endorsed athlete, but on this afternoon, he couldn’t resist experiencing this cultural moment, brought to the people by Adidas.

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Blake Griffin jumps over a Kia and other memories from the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest The former Clipper was strongly challenged on his home court the last time the event was in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – With 19,067 people mostly on their feet in Staples Center, Baron Davis stuck his head out of the sunroof while wearing Los Angeles Clippers warm-up gear and a red headband. His Clippers teammate Blake Griffin needed a memorable dunk as JaVale McGee was eying the trophy in 2011. While the Kia Ultima wasn’t Griffin’s car of choice, he made it work.

And in one of the most memorable and debated NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Championships, Griffin sealed the victory by jumping over the silver sedan, somehow having the timing to catch a misplaced one-handed lob pass by Davis and dunking the basketball hard with two hands.

“I was worried that I wasn’t going to get the dunk down,” Griffin said. “The idea was to windmill it. It was a little high. So, then I was just like, ‘Dunk it.’ So right after I dunked it, I came down and I was pissed because I didn’t think it was going to be good enough. But it worked out. But like everything, there was controversy.”

The Slam Dunk Championship has had its memorable moments, such as Michael Jordan versus Dominique Wilkins in 1985, 5-foot-9 Spud Webb winning in 1986, Vince Carter perhaps giving the greatest performance of all time in 2000 and Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon in 2016. With the NBA All-Star Weekend returning here in 2018, memories of Griffin jumping over the Kia will certainly be recalled before the Slam Dunk Championship begins on Saturday night at Staples Center. Griffin’s rise over the moon roof will always be remembered in dunk contest annals. But often forgotten was that the 2011 NBA All-Star was strongly challenged.

McGee, Los Angeles’ own DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka were ready to take the spotlight from Griffin on his home court. Hall of Famers Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Clyde Drexler, James Worthy, Wilkins and former Slam Dunk champion Brent Barry served as judges. Online fan voting also played a role in deciding the winner.

Looking back, it was amazing that a grieving and fatigued Griffin was able to do so well.

“That All-Star Weekend was kind of a blur for me,” Griffin said. “We had been on an eight-game road trip leading into All-Star. My best friend passed away Wednesday night before All-Star Weekend started. I was in the dunk contest, Rookie Game and All-Star Game.

“It was in L.A. I kind of overbooked myself. Things I didn’t know at the time. I wish I could look back at that dunk contest with more fonder memories.”

NBA color analyst Kenny Smith promised a memorable dunk contest to the audience and he was right.

Surrounded by cheerleaders carrying NBA Africa flags, Ibaka re-made an old Dr. J. dunk by taking off from the free-throw line to slam it down on the first attempt. The tough judges gave him a 46. “Air Congo” had a story line in his second dunk as he was trying to save a young boy’s lost teddy bear that was dangling off a small pole from the front of the rim. The 2008 Spanish League dunk champion came from behind the basket and got up high enough to slam the ball in while also catching the stuffed animal with his teeth. It was so good and creative that the crowd was confused.

DeRozan offered a strong remake of former slam dunk champion J.R. Rider’s “East Bay funk dunk” by taking the ball through his legs in the air before jamming it. Somehow, he only received a score of 44. The Compton, California, kid was perfect on his second dunk, receiving a 50 after he threw the ball in the air, scooped it with his right hand, turned his back to the basket and finished with an acrobatic dunk.

“I put a lot of thoughts into my dunks and executed them as planned,” DeRozan said. “Most definitely, I thought I did everything in my power to be in a position to win the event.”

McGee was creative from the start as he had two regulation 10-foot rims placed side by side on his first attempt. He followed by dunking a basketball simultaneously into each basket in a dunk that had never been done before and scored a 50. Needing a 45 to make it to the finals, McGee stayed creative by having his former WNBA star mother, Pam McGee, and the FBI bring out a special ball. With one ball in each hand and a third thrown by then-Washington Wizards teammate John Wall, JaVale McGee slammed all three down and received a 49 to make the finals.

Meanwhile, Griffin had an acrobatic and strong 360-dunk with two hands on his first attempt that was reminiscent of Wilkins and landed a 49. The first attempt on the rookie’s second dunk had the makings of something memorable as he threw it off the side of the backboard and attempted a failed 360-dunk. With the clock winding down, Griffin threw down a safe but pretty windmill dunk.

Griffin and McGee advanced to the finals while DeRozan and Ibaka were eliminated, to the chagrin of some critics. It is typically rare in the Slam Dunk Competition that all four contestants do well. Unbeknownst to DeRozan and fans watching all over the world, he forced a change in Griffin’s game plan.

“Some things just went wrong,” Griffin said. “One of the dunks I was going to do, DeMar DeRozan did right before I was going to go up there. So, I panicked because I only had four dunks. I always tell guys now that if you’re going to do the dunk contest, make sure you have six dunks or backups in case someone does it. So, I had to do something on the fly.”

With the ball cradled against his forearm, McGee went along the baseline and ducked his head while flying under the hoop before throwing it down on his first dunk in the second round. Griffin stepped his game up in the second round as he took a page out of Carter’s book by throwing the ball off the glass before dunking and hanging on the rim with his elbow inside it on his first dunk.

McGee’s final dunk was a fierce slam off the backboard in which he came from the left side, was well above the rim, caught the ball up high with his right hand and dunked it in. Despite the creativity, McGee said he didn’t spend a lot of time preparing for the contest.

“I didn’t put a lot of time or effort in, to tell the truth,” McGee said. “I [created] all my dunks at the practice. The two-rim dunk I didn’t create until the practice day.”

While McGee’s final dunk was acrobatic, it didn’t have the flair that Griffin saved for last.

The Crenshaw Elite Choir slowly walked to half court and sang R. Kelly’s, “I Believe I Can Fly.” While Griffin wanted to use a convertible, the event sponsor wheeled out the Kia onto the court. With Davis inside ready to go, Griffin jumped over the hood, caught the ball and slammed it through with two hands.

Much of the crowd was stunned in amazement, but McGee wasn’t swayed by what Griffin did.

“I didn’t think it was that impressive,” McGee said. “There was a lot of production. He had the Kia, which was sponsored by the NBA. I was like, ‘OK, it’s not going to go well.’ ”

While DeRozan didn’t use any props and isn’t a big fan of them in a dunk contest, he gave Griffin credit.

“I’m someone that studies and appreciates the history of the game,” DeRozan said. “Dominique, Spud and M.J., none of them used props. It should be about athleticism. Blake did change the bar for everyone, got the crowd going in a creative way and used some cool props.”

After the judges and fan vote was tabulated, Griffin was named the winner over McGee and was handed the trophy from Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller. McGee didn’t take kindly to the result, wasn’t a fan of the fan voting and never competed in the dunk contest again. The current Golden State Warriors center, however, says he has since moved on and looks back on it all fondly.

“That was 2011. That was seven years ago. Crazy,” McGee said. “There is nothing I can do now. It’s not a big deal now. At the time, I was kind of mad. It was a great event. I did some legendary dunks.”

When DeRozan was asked who should have won, the longtime Toronto Raptors guard said: “Me, of course. For sure it would have been cool to win at home in front of my family. But it’s in the past now.”

While the night was far from perfect for Griffin, his unique dunk contest performance will go down as one of the most notable because of the car jam.

“I wanted my teammates to drive out in a convertible and jump over the whole thing. I wasn’t allowed to do that,” Griffin said. “I had to use the Ultima. I wanted to use a convertible. That was my original idea. A lot of stuff just happened. And on top of that weekend with everything that was happening, it was kind of a blur. But it was a lot of fun.”

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