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In ZORA. More on Medium.

Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Olympics.
Florence Griffith Joyner at the 1988 Olympics.
Florence Griffith Joyner of the USA celebrates her 100m win during the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. Photo: Allsport UK/Allsport/Getty Images

The inimitable Florence Griffith Joyner was a force. A record-breaking and fashion-forward force. Though she’s best known for sprinting her way to the history books and rocking the ultra long nails and colorful one-legged track suits, she was also a business-savvy force. That savviness blazed a path for Black female athletes to take in becoming athletic icons and million dollar brands, writes Amira Rose Davis in a retrospective for ZORA earlier this year.

“From her brand development to her fashion line, from the way her body was policed to her unapologetic fusion of athletic excellence with Black femininity, Flo Jo…

Back to the Future

The champion, whose work exceeded her sport, urged women to demand what we deserve and own our power

Venus Williams holding her Wimbledon trophy in 2000 on a Windows 95 desktop with a rainbow gradient background.
Venus Williams holding her Wimbledon trophy in 2000 on a Windows 95 desktop with a rainbow gradient background.
Photo illustration; Image source: Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

This story is a part of our Back to the Future series on how key moments in the year 2000 influenced similar events in 2020.

Venus Ebony Starr Williams is a woman who has always owned her power.

Confident in her beautiful brown skin with a big game and an even bigger determination, she charted a path to historic wins while fighting systemic racism, sexism, and unequal pay one trophy at a time.

Like Venus, I began my sports career in the mid-1990s, and more than any woman I encountered, Venus did the most to make me feel like her…


Though it was brief, this week’s historic work stoppage in sports demonstrated the power of not participating in spaces that rely on your talent yet do little to nothing to address your anguish. We saw that when players from the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court in a playoff game Wednesday to protest police violence. The team’s home arena is less than an hour from Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man was shot seven times by cops. Other NBA squads followed suit, as did teams in three other sports, including the WNBA. …

The ESPN alums and longtime friends team up to host a new late-night talk show on Vice TV

Closeup portrait photo of Jemele Hill and Cari Champion standing back-to-back.
Closeup portrait photo of Jemele Hill and Cari Champion standing back-to-back.
Cari Champion and Jemele Hill. Photo: Jasmine Durhal

Over the past few years, “listen to Black women” has become a ubiquitous refrain on social media and IRL. Black women show up at the polls, amplify important issues, and mobilize the people. Still, some folks are slow to heed our advice or follow our lead. That, however, hasn’t stopped Jemele Hill and Cari Champion from voicing their incisive opinions on everything from electoral politics to the ways race and gender intersect with sports today. The two ESPN alums don’t mince words — we know Hill is never afraid to call out the occupant of the White House — and…

Its popularity during the pandemic reminds of how much it’s been safety and self-care for me and my people for decades

Photo: Tasneem Howa/Getty Images

Thanks to the pandemic, roller skating is trending so hard that stores are running out of skates. #Rollerskating has over two billion views on Tik Tok, the social platform that kicked off the nostalgic trend. It’s the perfect pandemic pastime, requiring only minimal gear and a smooth expanse of pavement. It is inherently joyful, and you can do it while socially distancing. Seeing women who look like me on Insta and Tik Tok dancing down their respective streets in retro-styled outfits on candy-colored Moxis just makes my heart happy because I’ve been skating my whole life.

When I was a…

Black Lives Matter changed everything, and it’s been a long time coming

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Monday, the Washington NFL team’s owner, Dan Snyder, announced that the Redsk*ns name and logo are being retired. While they’ve yet to declare a replacement, which makes me somewhat apprehensive, the fact that Washington will finally stop using a dictionary-defined racial slur as its moniker is worthy of celebration, or at least, a sigh of relief.

To my knowledge, Natives have been demanding that Washington drop the Redsk*ns name for at least 50 years. Snyder himself once said that he was “never” going to change it. As it turns out, “never” means two weeks. …

Doing It My Way

The analyst and host shares her career story and her thoughts on the future of athletics — Zoom locker room interviews could be a thing

A photo of Maria Taylor at the news desk.
A photo of Maria Taylor at the news desk.
Maria Taylor. Photo: Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images

As Maria Taylor explains it, her success in sports broadcasting was born at the intersection of doubt and empowerment.

“When I was graduating, my professor [at the University of Georgia] said, ‘You’ll never find a job in sports and you’ll never make any money in sports, so good luck with that,’” she recalls.

That professor was clearly wrong.

Eleven years later, Taylor is an ESPN host, analyst, and reporter. She not only bypassed the naysayers in becoming a bona fide sports media star, she also advocated for herself.

In 2017, after just three years at ESPN, Taylor walked into the…

Losing Kobe hurts. But remembering Kobe hurts too.

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Center on December 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

I didn’t grow up with an undying love of sports. My seemingly unhealthy infatuation with the Los Angeles Lakers began when I felt my relationship with my younger brother starting to strain. He was a big fan of the game. Watching Lakers’ basketball together meant we could have something in common, something to share and gab about. We’d text about the latest stats, and we’d never miss an away game in Atlanta. When he went out west for college at UCLA, I’d join him at the Staples Center, and we’d say how unbelievably lucky we felt to be alive for…

Young women getting ready to surf at the Black Girls Surf Camp in Dakar, Senegal in January. Photos: Ricci Shryock

A growing number of Black and Brown enthusiasts are joining the scene

For a child of the 1980s, the way to learn about other cultures and places from around the world was via TV, books, or encyclopedias. Although I loved to read and let my imagination run wild, TV was my method of choice: in particular, old classic movies with beautiful locations and stories I dared to dream about. And it was on Turner Movie Classics (TMC) where I first saw Gidget, a romantic romp where Sandra Dee played a tomboy who fell in love with surfing. I was enthralled with surfing as it was a new phenomenon I had never heard…

In a landmark deal, players chart a new path for the WNBA with higher salaries, enhanced mental health resources, and other benefits

Forward Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks takes a shot in the game against the Phoenix Mercury at Staples Center on August 8, 2019. Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

When basketball star Nneka Ogwumike announced in a November 2018 essay for The Players’ Tribune that the WNBA Players Association would opt out of its contract with the league, she also commanded the WNBA, and society at large, to bet on women. And with today’s monumental news, the WNBA demonstrated that it heard Ogwumike’s call for action loud and clear.

In a landmark move between the Women’s National Basketball Players’ Association and the league, a new collective bargaining agreement was reached that invests more into the players, 88% of whom are Black or women of color. …

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