What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Lil Wayne is front and center for Warriors at Houston — but who is he rooting for?

That’s a difficult question to answer

10:51 PM

WHO: Lil Wayne

VENUE: Game 2, Western Conference finals; Toyota Center

WHHW: Weezy might’ve missed his set at Rolling Loud in Miami, but he wasn’t missing out on Warriors vs. Rockets Part Two. It’s no surprise Tunechi is courtside — he’s one of the most die-hard sports fans in all of music. As for who he’s pulling for, that’s a difficult question to answer. We know he’s a Lakers fan. We also know he’s a die-hard Kobe Bryant fan, so maybe he’s just there because he’s a student of the game (with amazing seats). Whatever the case, Wayne’s long-awaited The Carter 5 could see liberation this year, as he just signed with Creative Artists Agency, and he and Birdman look to finally be on cordial terms once again.

You could feel the love for Wakanda and Chadwick Boseman at Howard University’s graduation

King T’Challa delivers a message that few will forget, ‘Howard Forever’

5:41 PMEverywhere you looked Saturday morning at Howard University’s 2018 graduation, you’d see kente cloths of all styles and colors, even on graduates’ mortar boards, worn by students, family and others attending the ceremonies. Black pride was everywhere at the university’s 150th commencement.

And it was because King T’Challa from the movie Black Panther, actor Chadwick Boseman, was there to speak to his HU family.

The more than 2,200 graduates, parents and the entire HU family were treated to a ceremony and occasion like no other as Boseman, a 2000 graduate and star of the hit 2018 film, returned to share his message and his love.

He used his interpretation of “Wakanda Forever” (“Howard Forever”) to get the graduates, faculty and HU family hyped about what lies ahead.

He harped on the magic of Howard, noting the university’s physical and non-physical beauty and how his HU education had prepared him for roles that included Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and T’Challa.

“Beyond the physical campus, the Hilltop [Howard University] represents the culmination of the intellectual and spiritual journey you’ve undergone while you’re here,” Boseman said to the graduates.

He urged the graduates to appreciate the moment and their accomplishments, as well as the obstacles they overcame to make it to this special day. Boseman referenced Howard by its nickname of the Hilltop, illustrating how appropriate the name was and students’ uphill battle to make it at Howard.

“Completing a long climb, one first experiences dizziness, disorientation and shortness of breath due to the high altitude, but once you’ve become accustomed to the climb, your mind becomes open to the tranquility of the triumph,” said Boseman.

Finally, he encouraged the graduates to savor the moment and understand the significance of their accomplishments: “Don’t just swallow the moment whole without digesting what has actually happened here. Look now over what you’ve conquered and appreciate what God has brought you through.”

Boseman said he’d help lead the re-establishment of the College of Fine Arts at the university, and he referenced the student protests at Howard this year. For nine days, Howard students occupied the administration building on the campus with a list of demands and grievances. He said he’d taken part in student protests while at Howard, and he praised the protesting students and the administration who listened to their concerns.

Then he concluded his address by crossing his arms across his chest and saying, “Howard Forever” before being awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Nkechi Nnorom, a 2018 Howard University broadcast journalism graduate, contributed to this story.

James Borrego breaks barrier as NBA’s first Hispanic full-time head coach

Former Spurs assistant will lead Charlotte Hornets

9:48 AMJames Borrego pushed through a barrier when the Charlotte Hornets named him the first Hispanic full-time head coach in NBA history on Thursday.

The former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach’s family is of Mexican descent and three generations removed from arriving in the United States, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The 40-year-old Borrego grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has previously said basketball helped him connect with kids from other cultures.

Perhaps Borrego’s hiring could spark more Hispanics to get involved in basketball, as players decreased from 6.3 percent in 2015-16 to 4.9 percent during the 2016-17 season, according to the 2017 Racial and Gender Report Card: National Basketball Association.

“What connected me with other cultures was sports,” Borrego told The Orlando Sentinel in 2015. “Basketball really brought us together. They saw I was a pretty good basketball player. They said, ‘Hey, why don’t you join the game?’ and all of a sudden we have two, three and four cultures come together to play a game, and from that those guys became my best friends.”

Erik Spoelstra became the NBA’s first Asian-American head coach when the Miami Heat promoted him from assistant coach in 2008. The Boston Celtics named Bill Russell the first black coach in the NBA in 1966.

Borrego was an assistant coach under Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich for the past three seasons. He began his 15 years of experience in the NBA as a video coordinator for the Spurs during the 2003-04 season. Borrego has also been an assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets and the Orlando Magic. He served as the Magic’s interim head coach for the final 30 games of the 2014-15 season before returning to the Spurs. Mexican-American coach Kaleb Canales, an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks, was interim head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012.

Borrego, a former University of San Diego basketball player, was an assistant coach with the Toreros from 2001-03 before going to the NBA. Former USD players with NBA head coaching experience include Borrego, former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown and New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale. Borrego will be the 11th head coach in the history of the Michael Jordan-owned franchise.

“I’m confident in the coaching foundation I’ve had the opportunity to develop during my time in San Antonio, Orlando and New Orleans, and I cannot wait to get to work in Charlotte,” Borrego said in a statement.

Said Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak: “[Borrego] has been a part of teams that have ascended to the highest levels of success in our league and understands what it takes to win in the NBA. James is considered one of the NBA’s most well-regarded assistant coaches, and it’s great to have him as part of our team.”