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Behind the Lines: Lloyd Johnson

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Albany, NY – As the buzzer sounds to end another weekend series for the Albany Legends players from each team congratulate one another. Press and Media come out and meander on the court as well as fans. While most players in the IBL play 4 quarters in a regulation game the Albany Legends play 5. But the 5th quarter isn’t reserved for slam dunks, 3 point shots or fast breaks. The 5th quarter is the time the Albany Legends spend after every game with their fans. Everyone from the players to the coaching staff and all the way to Front Office.

A connection to the fans has been important to every member of the roster. It also has helped connect the community to the players. While most players on a typical IBL roster have a collection of players from around the country and the world, the Legends boast a bevy of home-grown talent. One of those home-grown players is Albany Legends’ point guard Lloyd Johnson.

Johnson is having a great season for the Legends. He is 12th among the IBL League Leaders in scoring with 20.3 points per game this season. He is also 10th in the IBL in Assists per game with 4.6.  Johnson is also one of the Legends’ deadliest 3 point marksmen. Proof positive that Lloyd Johnson has evolved into a prolific scorer and a player that can “step up”.

Johnson has been a key spark for the Albany Legends all season regardless if he starts or comes off the bench. (Photo by Anthony DiMoro)

Heading into the 2011 IBL season the Legends’ were anxious to fill the void left by the departure of Kenny Saterfield who was the leading scorer for the 2010 Championship Legends team with 19.7 points per game. Not only did Johnson step up, he raised the bar. “I just wanted to bring experience and leadership this year. Seeing as how I was a member of this team last year and a big part of the Championship, I wanted to help the new guys out and show them the ropes a little bit.” said Johnson

The impressive factor is Johnson has been this productive while mostly being out of the starting lineup. The Legends have one of the deadliest 6th men in the league who is capable of sparking a run the instance he enters the game.

While bouncing in and out of the starting lineup may frustrate and hinder the performance of some player, Johnson has proven to be the exception. Johnson would say “In the beginning it was not about me it was about us trying to gel and trying to find ourselves. I know I can score but I wanted to become more of a leader on the court.”

While many describing Lloyd Johnson’s game would use words like “quick”, “efficient” and “consistent”, Johnson would describe his overall game in other terms; “Electric, quick, fast, game changer who can shoot the 3 and can play good defense.” It’s hard to disagree with any of those terms.

But while Johnson is continuously focused on the present he does take time to look to the future. “Hopefully I’d like to get a nice contract overseas and be able to help my family out better and myself,. That’s the dream.”

But while Johnson may long a chance to play overseas he has cherished being an Albany Legends and the opportunity to play in front of his hometown. “It’s beautiful. A lot of the kids, a lot of people around here look up to me. Playing in a Professional league just shows them that it can happen and hard work pays off.”

As the Legends walk off the court to the locker room and close out their home schedule next weekend, Johnson sees the impending long road trip as an important journey for the Albany team. “I think it will let us grow as a team and help us out a lot. Being on the road you have to be as one, you have to play together, you have to play with heart, it’s not about individuals on the road and I feel like we’re gellin now. I think we will be alright.”

Many fans in Albany would agree with Johnson. The Legends will be “alright” and some think that in a frantic International Division battle for 1st place the Legends will end up “alright” in the end.

How the Legends have grown as a team this season provides confidence that a trip to the IBL Championship game is about as sure as a Lloyd Johnson 3 pointer.

Johnson is just another prime example of why the IBL is such an exciting league to watch. From buzzer to buzzer you see tons of talent that certainly cannot be contained in the confines of a single basketball court. A passion, hunger and a dedication to one’s craft exudes from every player that is not often seen in other professional leagues that are plagued by millionaire contracts.

Need an example of why the IBL is “different”? Stick around for the “5th Quarter” of an Albany Legends‘ game. And for the first 4 quarters, keep an eye on #3. With his production and energy he would be impossible to miss.

Talk About & Support the Albany Legends (Click Here)

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Boxing

25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event

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Photo Credit: Monica Alvarez

The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.

Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.

The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.

Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.

I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”

In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”

And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,

Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”

Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”

Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”

Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”

Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”

Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”

Individual tickets for Celebrity Fight Night start at $1,500 – $10,000.  To purchase tickets or to get more information on the event, please visit www.celebrityfightnight.org, or call (602) 956-1121.

About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.

The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.

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Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23

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Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.

Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”

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Kansas City Chiefs

Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl

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It’s Championship Sunday and one of the NFL staples remain atop the league. The New England Patriots are appearing in their record 8th AFC title game in hopes of competing for a sixth title.

A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.

Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic ,  As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.

The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.

In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”.  Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?

I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.

Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.

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