Sports Odds and Ends
Each year, I receive many selected or unsolicited books. Among them, veteran journalists Jemele Hill and Stephen A. Smith both share their lives and careers in surprisingly candid and revealing memoirs. We’ve known both Black journalists for many years.
Hill’s “Uphill” reveals her whole story, her family, and the aftermath of the Trump White House calling for her to be fired from ESPN, after she called the former POTUS a “White supremacist.”
“What I tweeted about Donald Trump in 2017…honestly, I think it’s one of the most unoriginal things I’ve ever said, because I thought everybody knew it,” said Hill at last summer’s NABJ Convention.
Now at “The Atlantic,” Hill is Detroit born and bred. Growing up in Motown only makes you stronger, she said proudly. “Detroit is very crucial to me as a person. A lot of people tend to say that about their hometown, but it’s a certain grit that comes to live in a city like that. Detroit was never considered a cool city like Chicago,” Hill said.
Over the course of her career, Hill has covered Michigan State sports for the Detroit Free Press, become the Orlando Sentinel’s first female columnist, and was a rising star at ESPN before the Trump stuff happened.
“I’m a journalist by trade. The love of writing came very early. I’m one of those outliers who knew what I wanted to do at a young age. I knew in 10th grade I wanted to do this and not necessarily be on TV.
“I wanted to write. I wanted to tell people stories. I didn’t get into it to be on TV or to be famous or make a lot of money,” noted Hill.
Smith’s “Straight Shooter” is surprisingly personal. He explains the highs and lows of his life before he became a high school reporter, then a general sports columnist, to now a major star at ESPN.
I’ve also known Charles Adams and his family for years. His first book, “Twin Cities: My Life as a Black Cop and a Championship Coach,” came out in September. Like Hill’s and Smith’s offerings, Adams talks about life as a Black Minneapolis cop and longtime North High School football coach. He writes about how he grew up as an Northsider, joined MPD after graduating from North, and how he navigated his adult life both as a cop in a city where cops aren’t always trusted by most Blacks and as a Black man raising his family in Minneapolis.
“I just pray for strength [because] there are no playbooks written on how to handle these situations,” said Adams. “So, I pray for strength in that guidance to lead.
“I knew that I could be a person that the kids can rely on. So I have to be some type of a stable person to help them, help lead them,” he stressed.
Adams, now retired from MPD and working for the Minnesota Twins, said that his book is good for all audiences, especially Black people, in showing how to be “excellent without having to go to the NFL.”
All three aforementioned books are perfect additions to your reading list and personal library.
“I would definitely make sure that people, especially in our community,” said Adams, go out and buy his book and others from a local Black-owned bookstore, such as Strive, located at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.