Eight-time NBA All-Star, and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo spoke with RunTheTriangle.com about his ambassadorship in Africa, his playoff battle with Michael Jordan, and the origin of the infamous finger wave.
The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena have named Nzinga Shaw as the organization’s new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO), it was announced today by CEO Steve Koonin. In this role, Shaw is responsible for developing and embedding diversity and inclusion best practices throughout the organization. She will design a strategic, cross-departmental program that creates deeper cultural awareness and sensitivity. Additionally, Shaw will serve as a member of the Executive Committee and provide guidance to the leadership team so that they can engender inclusivity in every facet of the business. She will report directly to Koonin.
“I am excited to be a member of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena organization at such a pivotal time. My goal as the CDIO is to help our organization continue to rebuild trust and partnership in the Atlanta community, emphasizing civility and sportsmanship in an effort to ensure that everyone can be a fan of the team, attend home games, and so that we can serve as a model for inclusion in the NBA,” Shaw said. “More specifically, I will lead the charge of creating a strategic framework to help shift the culture so that we can create greater inclusion and engagement with all of our fans and stakeholders.”
Shaw most recently served as SVP of Diversity & Inclusion at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations agency. There she led the implementation of a global diversity and inclusion strategy. For her work, Shaw was selected by PR Week in August 2014 as a recipient of the 2014 40 Under 40 Award, and she was featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle in October 2014 as one of 15 women to receive the inaugural “Women Who Mean Business Award” for her strength in creating viable workplace diversity and inclusion programs. Shaw is an alumna of Spelman College (BA) and the University of Pennsylvania (MLA). The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena organization understands that diversity and inclusion must be respected and valued at every level of the organization. “As CEO, I am committed to infusing diversity and inclusion throughout our organization and I will continue to champion it from the very top. A key part of the new model – appointing a CDIO who reports directly to me – will improve accountability across the organization,” Koonin said. “Nzinga will help us establish diversity and inclusion as a competitive advantage in terms of exceptional internal performance, outstanding customer service, and unparalleled fan engagement.” Prior to her work at Edelman, Shawhad been at the forefront of leading organizational change and driving diversity and inclusion at other large-scale companies such as Essence Magazine, the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network and the National Football League.
Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala and former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson joined 23 volunteers from Invesco and BNY Mellon at Atlanta Public Schools’ Humphries Elementary Nov. 13 to paint the school’s library/media center.
The volunteer effort is part of a larger renovation of the library funded by Invesco and BNY Mellon through the Dreambuilders Foundation. BNY Mellon executives from New York joined their Atlanta-based Invesco counterparts for the joint service project. The full renovation of the library will include fresh paint, new blinds, new furniture and rugs, as well as a new aquarium for the students. Muscala and Anderson participated in the work and spent time with students at the school.
“There are so many athletes who want to give back to either the community they play in, or the city where they are from, so we get athletes and corporations involved in community outreach,” said former National Football League player and Dreambuilders Foundation President Akin Ayodele. “It’s good for kids to meet these guys who have gone through what they’ve been through, and to see that they’ve made it. You see their eyes light up, they have a million questions, and once they realize who these athletes are, they are shell-shocked. A lot of times, the athletes see themselves in these kids.”
Ayodele said Invesco and BYN Mellon reached out to his foundation with a $12,000 donation, and his foundation contacted Humphries Elementary after learning about the school’s support from the nonprofit organization, Blessings in a Backpack. “We try to leave a footprint here. To be able to help Humphries Elementary fund the renovation of the media center and then to bring people in to volunteer their time is huge.” Next month, Humphries Elementary will receive an additional $15,000 from the Dreambuilders Foundation to cover the cost of the remaining 150 backpacks needed for its Blessings in a Backpack project.
About the Dreambuilders Foundation
The Dreambuilders Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with pro athletes across the country to help financially, physically and mentally-challenged kids receive the items, opportunities and equipment they need to reach their dreams. Dreambuilders works to benefit disadvantaged children in the areas of education, wellness and extracurricular activities. For more information, visit www.dreambuildersfoundation.com
About Atlanta Public Schools
Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 50,000 students across 106 learning sites. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 87 schools, 17 charter schools and two citywide single-gender academies, where students are offered rigorous instructional programs that foster success in school and life. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us
The Clippers held a players-only meeting after suffering a 121-104 defeat to the Golden State Warriors. Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said in practice today that the meeting of the minds was beneficial.
“It helped guys clear the air,” said Crawford. “I think the main point was just to get on the same page, everybody needs to be playing on the same page. The important thing is we understand that you have to go through the process.”
But Head Coach Doc Rivers doesn’t believe in such group sessions.
“I’m not fan of team meetings,” admitted Rivers. “When I hear about some team having a team meeting I’m like I want to play those guys.”
The Way They Were
The Clippers may have many of the same players that got them to the Western Conference semifinals, but Rivers contends this isn’t the same team.
“We deal with people, not X’s and O’s,” he explained. “The names might be the same, but this isn’t the same team I had last year.”
No Rest Down The Stretch
When asked if he would mirror San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s style of resting his star players during certain parts of the season, Doc Rivers said he’d been there and done that.
“If you remember we did that in Boston in 2012,” recalled Rivers. “I used the last month of the season to have a second training-camp. We had two and a half hour practices, and we sacrificed a lot games down the stretch because of it.”
The Celtics had home-court advantage on the line in the final game of the season against the Atlanta Hawks who they were to face in the first-round. Rivers rested his starters and ceded home-court to the Hawks. The move proved to be brilliant in the end with the rested aging Celtics winning the series 4-2.
“We played Atlanta the last game of the season and could have had home-court advantage, but we rested our starters and said just let them have it,” added Rivers. It was a gamble but it paid off in the end. I obviously won’t be able to do that with this team.”
The Atlanta Hawks will wear new home uniforms and play on a redesigned floor when the team hosts the New Orleans Pelicans in the club’s first preseason game tonight, October 6, at Philips Arena.
The new home uniform consists of a white jersey with “Atlanta” stitched in block-style blue letters with red trim, a change from the most recent jersey which displayed “Hawks” across the front. Completing the home uniform are white shorts featuring the new secondary logo, an updated version of the Pac-Man logo from years past. The logo is found at the bottom of the left leg, a change from the Hawks head logo found on the bottom of the right leg of previous shorts.
The red and white Pac-Man logo also appears at midcourt on the redesigned floor at Philips Arena, replacing the team’s primary logo. The playing surface no longer displays secondary marks in the upper corner of the court and is now surrounded by an apron that has been painted Hawks blue. The apron displays “Atlanta Hawks” painted in white block-style letters with red trim along both baselines. The address for the team’s website (Hawks.com), and Twitter and Instagram handle (@ATLHawks) are painted on the sideline opposite both team benches. New red free throw lanes without traditional lane markings leave the secondary logo as the focus of the court.
The Hawks will see changes to their blue road uniform and red alternate uniform in addition to their home white ensemble. Each pair of shorts will feature the secondary logo on the left leg, while each jersey will have a gold tab in the neckline to honor the 1958 NBA Champion St. Louis Hawks.
The Atlanta Hawks have signed guard/forward Jarell Eddie and center Dexter Pittman, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
Eddie played the last four seasons at Virginia Tech, averaging team-highs of 13.3 points and 5.4 rebounds while adding 1.2 assists in 32.6 minutes as a senior in 2013-14. He started 30-of-the-31 games last season and finished second in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 80 three-pointers made. He participated in the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Washington Wizards.
Pittman is a four-year NBA veteran who appeared in two contests off the bench for the Hawks last season. He has played in 50 career games with Miami, Memphis and the Hawks. He won a championship ring with the Heat in 2012.
The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent guard Kent Bazemore, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“Kent’s competitiveness and versatility make him a great addition to our group,” Budenholzer said. “He can impact the game in a lot of ways, especially defensively guarding multiple positions. Kent’s work ethic and enthusiasm for the game make him a great teammate and great fit with the Hawks.”
Bazemore split time last season between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers averaging 6.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 13.6 minutes in 67 combined games (15 starting assignments). After being acquired by the Lakers on Feb. 19, he recorded 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals in 28.0 minutes (.451 FG%, .371 3FG%) in 23 contests (15 starts).
The 6’5 Bazemore has played in seven NBA Development League games with Santa Cruz over the last two years, averaging 20.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 steals, 3.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in 33.6 minutes (.432 FG%, .811 FT%).
Undrafted after a four-year career at Old Dominion University (2008-12), Bazemore signed with Golden State as a free agent on July 26, 2012. The Warriors traded him, along with MarShon Brooks, to the Lakers in exchange for Steve Blake on Feb. 19, 2014.
Bazemore appeared in an Old Dominion record 140 career games as a collegian, averaging 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals in 26.3 minutes, and is the Colonial Athletic Association all-time steals leader (250). He won the Lefty Driesell Award as the nation’s top defender in 2010-11 and was the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year as both a junior and senior (2011-12).
The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed forward/center Elton Brand, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are happy to retain Elton,” Budenholzer said. “In addition to the production he gives us on the court, he is the ultimate professional and a terrific leader. Elton’s presence is felt by all of us, but especially his teammates.”
In 73 games (15 starts) last season with the Hawks, Brand averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and a team-best 1.2 blocks in 19.4 minutes (.539 FG%, .649 FT%). He ranked 23rd in the NBA in blocks per game and 12th in blocks per 48 minutes (3.0), recording 25 multi-block contests. Brand scored in double-figures 10 times and had five double-digit rebounding efforts.
The 15-year veteran has appeared in 1,005 games (863 starting assignments) with Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia, Dallas and the Hawks, putting up 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks in 34.0 minutes (.501 FG%, .737 FT%). The two-time NBA All-Star (2002 and 2006) was named to the All-NBA Second Team in 2005-06, won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2006 and shared NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1999-2000.
He ranks 16th among all active players in scoring (16,661), sixth in rebounds (8,877), second in offensive rebounds (3,267) and fourth in blocks (1,795).
Through 37 postseason games (30 starts), Brand has averaged 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.7 blocks in 30.8 minutes (.518 FG%, .722 FT%).