The Unapologetic Podcast: Houston Edition

Hello My Loves! It’s been a while but I’m back and if you haven’t been following me on social media you wouldn’t know that I have now launched my podcast “The Unapologetic Podcast”. Back in December, I made the decision to leap and began to share my experiences, dope conversations and words of advice. Now, I will share these conversations with you exclusively on IAmJazAugust.com

Starting with Episode 3 of Season II, my trip to Houston, Texas. The place where the vibe is inexplicable- vibes on 1000%. On top of that, its the place where I can eat catfish and waffles for breakfast! In this episode, I talk OTRII with Beyonce and Jay-Z, why I love Houston, what my mom’s friend taught about being happy everyday and much more. So press play and get into “The Unapologetic Podcast”.

Exclusive Pics

Beyonce Performing
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Jaz August heading to the concert
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The Crew hanging out in Houston
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Club Nights
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Catching The Vibe
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The Beautiful City
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MLB: Gary Sheffield and MLB Analyst Talk Future of Baseball in America, Colin Kaepernick Protest and More

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With the MLB post-season growing nearer each day; TBS gears up to be the exclusive home for the Wild Card round through to the American League Championship Series. At the MLB on TBS luncheon, I had the honor of sitting down with the stars of their half-time, post-game and pre-game shows; 9X MLB All-Star and World Series Champ Gary Sheffield and 1989 Gold Glove Award winner and World Series Champ Ron Darling to discuss where the MLB as a whole is headed, Colin Kaepernick’s protest and the transition from athlete to broadcaster/sports agent. Here’s what they had to say:

When asked about the future of baseball in America, Ron Darling gave some constructive criticism about the current state of the game and pointed out a few changes that can be made.

Ron Darling: I think that baseball is at a crux. I think it’s at an interesting place, dangerous I could use. We would like things to move quicker, baseball moves slow. We need to make this a 2 1/2 hour game and maybe we don’t play extra innings and ties are alright. The socioeconomics of the game need to change. Baseball could attract better people to play in the minor league if they paid them more.

Ron Darling also had some strong words in support of Adam Jones quotes that the MLB is a “white man’s league”.

Ron Darling: I’m bias. I love me some Adam Jones. He is one of the most well spoken athletes we have in the MLB. He is not wrong and it doesn’t matter what baseball wants to say about it. African-American players have reduced to such a paltry level but it’s not just the players. It’s in the suits, managers on the field, coaches and executives. There are just as many talented minority candidates from Harvard and Dartmouth. I don’t know if Adam would agree but I’d be even more proud if one of these new hot shot GM’s were African-American. I think Adam took a great stance and now it’s up to Major League Baseball to find some common ground with Adam Jones not the other way around.

When asked about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the National Anthem, Gary Sheffield shared who he does and doesn’t have respect for.

Gary Sheffield: I always respect someone who stands for something and doesn’t fall for anything. He (Colin Kaepernick) stands for something and puts his money behind it. Me personally, I try to understand his cause and his cause is the injustice in society and I get it. So what better way to use that (protesting The National Anthem) than for this (injustice in society). I believe that anybody that takes stand…that takes courage. You’ve got a lot of athletes that won’t take a stand and those are the type of guys that get no respect from me.

After heavy conversations on the issues of racial tensions and social injustices in America. I transitioned the conversation into how Gary Sheffield was able to go from MLB superstar to TBS studio analyst and sports agent at his own company. (Real Life Goals!)

Gary Sheffield: I was approached by (TBS) while in Lake Tahoe at a golf tournament. I had people laughing and having a great time. I auditioned and I asked one question. If I say something that’s borderline or titillating the fence, I want to know that you guys are going to have my back.

I’m assuming there answer was YES ! lol and then I was both inspired and impressed by learning that Gary Sheffield is not only a TBS analyst but a certified MLB sports agent.

Gary Sheffield: I did my negotiations with George Steinbrenner and I felt if I could do my negotiations with him I could do it with anybody. I negotiated 100 million dollars by myself, I didn’t need anybody to do that and I didn’t have to pay anybody 5%.

Well with all that said, let the MLB Post-Season Commence!

Uncertain Times for Africans (in) America in Spite of Kaepernick’s Courage

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If it’s one thing that’s for sure: we are living in uncertain times. Unarmed African-American men, women and children are being murdered at the hands of law enforcement daily. It’s hard to not feel enraged, vulnerable, under attack and oppressed as an African-American in America. But the million dollar question is what are we as a country going to do about it?

NFL superstar Colin Kaepernick has decided to bring awareness to the genocide we are watching before our very eyes, by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. With increasing support coming from fellow NFL players such as teammate Brandon Marshall and Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane, U.S. Women Soccer player Megan Rapinoe, the entire WNBA Indiana Fever and 5 SMU band members; who have all kneeled during the National Anthem, Colin’s mission to bring awareness to the inequalities of African-American people has been successful.

However, the Colin Kaepernick conversation seems to be more about the ACT and less about the CAUSE. In every interview I hear reporters ask: “What do you think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national Anthem?” instead of asking “What do you think about the murder of three African-American people this week? As an American what are you going to do about it?”. America is proving to us that a SONG has more value than a BLACK LIFE. I’ve watched athletes, coaches and sports profession exhibit outrage at the sheer thought of someone disrespecting the national anthem but refer to the shooting of an unarmed 13 year old boy as a “social issue”. Let that sink in.

Comments from former NFL coach Mike Ditka like “I think its a problem anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, if they don’t like the flag, get the hell out” I wonder who the “they” is that Mike Ditka is referring to? Is the word “they” in lieu of saying “black people”? It sure sounded like it to me. If indeed those wore Ditka’s intentions, 70& of the National Football League is comprised of African-Americans. A business the 76 year-old is still involved in as an NFL analyst for ESPN. ESPN released no comment in regards to Ditka’s inflammatory words.

As Americans we have to ask ourselves are we truly living in a country that honors its pledge to provide liberty and justice for all ? Or is it liberty and justice for some. The some not including those whose ancestors were enslaved by the very country they call home. The some not including the ones who live in a system designed to oppress, dehumanize and discriminate against them. The some not being those who are MURDERED simply because of the color of their skin.

What Colin Kaepernick is doing is using his platform for the ones who’s faces will never see a TV screen unless their dead. He’s doing what our ancestors did in the 60’s and that’s fight for everything we deserve. We shall overcome…one day.

Impossible is Nothing: NBA Finals Recap

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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets handles the NBA championship trophy against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Finals Game Seven on June 19, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

More than a week after the NBA Finals Game 7 thriller that pulled in more than 30 million viewers (the most in 18 years); I still find myself basking in pure joy and Lebron fandom but most importantly feeling inexplicably inspired. Let me explain.

Various headlines swirled around this much-anticipated Finals rematch between “The King” Lebron James and America’s favorite golden boy Stephen Curry. And for good reason; The Golden State Warriors entered this post-season on a record breaking 73-9 regular season win streak, their franchise player was named the first ever unanimous MVP of the league and they were the heavy favorite to win back to back Larry O’Brien trophies. Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would have something to say about that though.

In stark contrast, the Cavs had what seemed like a tumultuous season filled with ups and downs, roster changes and most notably the firing of one head coach and the hiring of another. Rumors that Kevin Love, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye swirled around the team and it started to look like Lebron James may have left Miami a bit too soon.

Then something clicked.

The Cavs cruised through the Eastern Conference sweeping the Detroit Pistons, then went on to sweep the Atlanta Hawks and handled the Raptors respectfully in six games. They looked like a team that had figured it out and entered the NBA Finals having faced very little adversity. And still they were heavy underdogs against the Warriors who had just defied the odds again by coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in 7.

The stage was set. We just knew it was going to be blow for blow, neck and neck, wire to wire games between the Cavs and Warriors and then came Game 1. I left my favorite sports bar feeling underwhelmed; the Cavs lost to the Warriors 104-89. It only got worse; Game 2 the Cavs were annihilated 110-77. Experts were calling a sweep, at best The Warriors would dispose of the Cavs in 5. Then came Game 3 where the Cavs handed the Warriors a whooping of their own beating them by 30 pts. Still down 2-1.

Game 4. I was out having dinner with my grandmother for her birthday and the prototypical “Lebron Hater” reared his ugly head. A server at the restaurant paraded around letting all patrons know the Cavs wouldn’t win Game 4. He was right. We went down 3-1. No team had ever come back to win a Finals series after digging this type of hole. I was devastated. No exaggeration here. I began to prepare myself for our ultimate defeat to the Warriors.

Then “something” just clicked for me that next morning. We were going to win this series. I just knew it. I said “if we win Game 5, we will win this series”. Why was I so certain? The Warriors woke up a sleeping giant in Lebron James, with comments about Lebron’s” feelings being hurt” and comments in reference to James like “this is a man’s game”. The level of disrespect for Lebron’s talent and body of work was on full display during the press conference following Game 4. His heart was being questioned and there was only one way to answer and that was to win.

Over the course of the final 3 games of the series, I watched my favorite player show why he’s unquestionably the best overall player of our generation. I’ve never seen a player dominate the game on the offensive and defensive end of the floor the way Lebron does. In games 5 &6 Lebron scored 41 points to put the Cavs in position to win Game 7. He finished Game 7 with 27 points 11assists and 11 rebounds and Kyrie finished he deal with a 3 pointer from Cleveland over Steph Curry. Mission Complete.

Lebron showed me that when all the odds, experts and naysayers say you can’t, you still bet on yourself. Bet on everything you’ve given to your dream, your career, whatever that thing is for you. Bet on the fact you’ve put the work in, you’ve respected your dream/craft/career and it has no choice but to reciprocate. Adversity will come; it’s inevitable but just remember when “they” count you out, God counts you in.

Impossible is NOTHING.

NFL Couple Who’ve Mastered Sports,Love & Spirituality?

Yes at this point everyone knows I’m a “sap” also known as a “sucker for love” and someway, somehow I find a way to intertwine love into all things. In addition to being a “sucker for love”, I am a sports fanatic and above all else a spiritual animal on fire for Jesus(yes I wanted to give you a visual). So when I came across this story of how this couple was able to tie my three favorite things together and strengthen their marriage, I couldn’t wait to share!

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green and wife Miranda Brooke

aj n wifeCollege sweethearts A.J. Green and Miranda Brooke met while attending the University of Georgia where Green was a star wide-out for the BullDogs. Now a starting WR for the Cincinnati Bengals, Green recorded a career-high 10 passes for a total of 227 yards in a win over the Ravens during the 2015 season. But most recently, the couple attended the NFL’s Pro Athletes Outreach which “exists to unite a community of pro athletes and couples to grow as disciples of Jesus and positively impact their spheres of influence”. The couple was baptized together and committed their lives to Christ. True definition of Spirituality, Love and Sports!

Head over to Miranda’s Instagram page to check out videos and picture of this dynamic duo!

http://www.instagram.com/mirandabrooke_

 

Life: Damian Lillard Is Teaching Us It’s More Than A Game

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It’s so easy to discuss the numbers and stats, which coaches are getting fired and what turmoil is going on between teammates but what about a player personifying values that if applied properly can change your life. The player I’m referring to is Damian Lillard and he’s exhibiting principles on the court that far surpass the game of basketball.

After being the team to watch two years in a row, the Portland Trailblazers lost four starters in the off-season and were a clear favorite amongst analyst and experts to be a lottery team; surely not a play-off contender. Maybe all that chatter put a fire in Lillard’s soul and has assisted him in leading his team to 33 wins and a record above .500 in a tough Western Conference. Living up to his team’s name, Lillard has been a true “trailblazer” defying the odds as the only remaining starter and franchise player for this organization.

Resilience. Humility. Focus.

If one thing is for sure adversity will arise. People will leave and change will surely come  but its 5% what happens to you and 95% about how you react to it. When the two most notable of the four starters left town for the likes of Texas, it seems like Dame focused more on the reacting part. He proved his toughness, grit and ability to exhibit supreme resilience by working 10 times as hard as he did the year before.

In a recent interview with Chris Broussard, Dame spoke on the unselfish style of play that he and emerging star C.J. McCollum have been displaying on the court; something they both attribute to the teams success. I would describe it as humility. The humble beginnings of Oakland to the humble beginnings of Weber State University has shaped Lillard’s disposition. He’s showing us that you can be confident in your abilities, blessings and talents and still remain humble. I think Dame said it best “Be a King in your mind but do the work of a servant”.

There’s this thing that happens when you “lock in” as I like to call it. When you detach peripheral abilities from your vision and see only that which you want, desire and hunger to attain; the possibilities are endless. I’m talking about laser focus and Lillard is exuding it. In the month of February, he has averaged 29.8 points, 6.9 assist and 9.2 rebounds a game. Those are Lebron James type numbers; not stats of a 6’3 point guard. Dame appears to have one goal and one goal only and that is to win.

Not everyone will have the ability to euro-step, set screens and prefect pick and roll defense but we can all be resilient, focused and humble. Just like anything else, there are many layers and complexities to the game of basketball; the kid from Oakland is proving it. #DameShowedMe

 

Style: NikeID Lounge/Lebron XIII Review

Right from the door, I was impressed with the futuristic colors, bright lights and vibrant energy at Toronto’s NikeID lounge. From KD’s to classic AirForceOne’s, guests were able to not only view but experience the best and latest Nike has to offer.

Cool tunes were spun by the DJ on the second level of the two floor suite and desktops lined the walls for guest to customize their own sneaker. I was unware of the finite details that go into creating a sneaker. I chose the Lebron XIII’s and from the midsole to the flywire to the color of the swoosh, I was able to put my own personal imprint on my favorite sneaker. The best part? Having my name in scripted on the tongue.

IMG_1319Lebron XIII customized with Jaz August name imprinted in tounge

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The original Lebron XIII, 2016 before customization.

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Jaz August takes picture in front of famous Toronto area code 416 at NikeID Lounge in Toronto.

Overall, the NikeId lounge was not only effervescent but it was familiar. There was an innate family atmosphere that made guests feel like they were at home and apart of the Nike team.

Go Watch the IAmJazAugustTV Trailer now!

I’ve prayed about, cried about and dreamed about starting my own YouTube channel and procrastination has stopped me each time but now its here. Go subscribe to my channel IAmJazAugustTV on Youtube and check out the trailer! Thank you in advance!

Always,

Jaz August

Recap: All Star Weekend Toronto 2016 (Photos)

Where do I begin?! This year’s NBA All Star Weekend far surpassed my expectations. I knew that I had to be diligent and intentional about this trip if I wanted to receive the results I so desperately wanted. Many didn’t know this but I fasted from social media, bread and red meat(even though I slipped up two times, Lord forgive me lol) for the 10 days leading up to ASW. I did this in hopes of quieting my mind and my body so that I could hear God’s directions clearly.

In addition to fasting, My mentor Mia Hall along with two of our colleagues, decided to get up every morning at 6:30 am and pray. Pray about our dreams and goals for this trip. In true Habakkuk 2:2 fashion,  we wrote down our vision and made it plain. Sharing dreams, fears and aspirations with these ladies was refreshing and inspiring to say the least.

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So now let’s fast forward to the behind the scenes of ASW! We touched down Thursday morning around 10:30 am to 3 degree weather. Being from New York, I thought I could brave any cold but this ish was intense! My very first event I covered was the Jordan Brand Invitational at the Mattamy Centre which happened to be right next door to our hotel!(major key when your trying to save that coin).

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Oak Hill & Redondo Beach traveled to “The Six”to face two of the top high school Canadians teams Orangeville Prep and Father Henry Carr. The U.S. teams came away with wins in both games and I was able to talk with some top recruits like Shamar Bailey and Morgan Means.

Carmelo Anthony, Victor Oladipo and D’Angelo Russell were some of the NBA players who came through the event and showed love. D’Angelo Russell was so humble and nice! (Go to my YouTube channel IAmJazAugustTV and subscribe for deets)

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Friday was All-Star Media Day at the Sheraton Hotel, man was that place buzzing. We ended up in  the NBA Hall of Fame finalists room, running into Kevin Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. There was also a big life size poster of the one and only Lebron James, which was one step closer to seeing him in the flesh! (lol)

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Later on that evening, I attended Draymond Green’s Meet and Greet at Foot Locker. Draymond walked in real spiffy, donned in a green fur sweater jacket thingy and a “Future” hat. What I liked most about him was his demeanor. To my surprise, he was very humble, almost timid and was very cooperative and sincere with all his answers. I even asked him if a Draymond Green “23” sneaker was coming soon. (Subscribe to my Youtube channel to hear his answer!)

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Saturday was the big day! We headed to the NBA All-Star Practice. First person I see on the court warming up is The King aka LBJ aka LEBRON JAMES. I was overwhelmed, it took a moment to soak in where I actually was and knowing that this was the life I wanted to live on a everyday basis. Then I bump into Cari Champion and Jemele Hill, words can’t describe how these women inspire me. Then to put the icing on the cake I got a picture with the legendary Craig Sager!

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The NBA All-Star’s both West and East, went through a series of light drills, shoot arounds, setting a couple screens and more than anything it seems like they were enjoyig each other and just having fun. There was a sense of family and closeness between each player especially among the West; as they were celebrating Kobe’s last All-Star game. Then was the media room, where I bumped into the likes of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green (again!) and none other than Kobe Bryant.(All of this on video! Coming soon)

Surreal is the only word that comes to mind. Even right now as I’m writing this post, I still can’t believe I asked KD two questions and spoke to Kobe Bryant and guess what he spoke back!

Our final day in Toronto was Sunday. With our fight leaving around 6pm we wanted to get up early and make sure we got the most out of our day. Something told me to dress up and I’m glad I did because I ended up at Dwayne Wade’s “Blueprint: Power Hour” which was a panel discussion on marketing and management. The panelist were D. Wade, Ludacris, Michelle Roberts & the co-owner of Stance socks. Once again, I’m looking around the room like I can’t believe I’m here. Thats when it clicked; I belong here. This is my element, this is my passion and this is my purpose.

Ludacris shared something that stuck with me – ” Find the right passion with the right people and there is no limitation to what you can have”.

Oh and here’s my selfie with Gabby’s husband.

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#JazJewels- Life is as great or as miserable as you would like it to be. These last couple of weeks I’ve been thrown some curveballs and disappointments but instead of looking to my problems I kept looking to God. The more I stayed fixed on Him, the more I saw things start to shift. This experience and all that I accomplished this weekend is all by the grace and mercy of God. Just keep believing like I’m believing “The Best Is Yet To Come!”

Peace out All Star Weekend! See you in Charlotte 2017 !

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Sports & Love: How Important Is It To Have A Partner On The Road To Success?

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“Be my backbone, every ***** need a spine” -Young Jeezy

I think Jeezy said it best but I can tell you first hand that taking the road less traveled can be lonely, defeating at times and filled with moments of discouragement. I always relate my journey to becoming the best woman sports broadcaster to that of an athlete trying to be the best at his/her game. Those same qualities it takes to be a great athlete are the same qualities it takes to accomplish whatever dream you may have. No days off. Consistency. Practice.

But how important is it to have a partner thats willing to ride with you and for you? To support you on your road to success. The long nights in the gym to the early mornings on the field.

Last Sunday, Russell Wilson was unable to overcome the 31pt. deficit the Seahawks incurred in the first half of last week’s NFC divisional round and eventually succumbed to Carolina 31-24. Shortly after the defeat, Ciara posted this message:

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Russell Wilson responded by saying “Sweetest thing I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful for the loving, sweet, standup woman you are…Love you #TrueLove”.

 So I beg the question again, Is having a partner/companion necessary to be successful on the road less traveled?