Hello, Readers! Welcome to another segment of the Rule Your Nation Awards! The past couple months have been pretty crazy, but I come bearing gifts. The people in this segment will be honored for their life’s work, for making strong statements, and for setting records. Unfortunately, we’ve also lost some great people who exemplified Ruling Your Nation by blazing trails in their fields for others to follow. Without further delay, let’s get started.
Arguably the only basketball player in NBA History to rival Michael Jordan, Earvin Magic Johnson ran the Showtime Lakers offense like a CEO during his playing days and brought a wonderful return on his investment with five championships. He was ahead of his time as a 6’9 point guard with better ball handling and court vision than any other point guard in the game, but he still possessed the toughness and touch to score and rebound like a forward. His legacy in the NBA is that of a revolutionary, and even after retirement, Magic continues to stay relevant. He started Magic Johnson Enterprises in the 80s, but stuck with it until it grew into a $1 billion dollar entity that funds AIDS research, after school programs in urban communities, scholarships to students of color. Combine that with his 22 partner companies, and Magic has more than made a name for himself as an athlete and business pioneer. That is why Sports Illustrated awarded him the Sportsman of the Year Legacy Award. Magic is only the second person to receive this honor, and it is well deserved. Kudos to you, Magic Johnson. You are Ruling Your Nation by continuing to expand your impact on the world around you. Keep it coming.
Source: Sports Illustrated
Introducing Alia Atkinson. She is a swimmer for Jamaica. She is a gold medalist. She is also the first black woman to win a world swimming title. On Saturday, December 6, 2014, Atkinson swam the 100 meter breast stroke at an amazing 1 minute 2.36 seconds. Even she was amazed by her own feat when she saw the time. Kudos to you, Alia Atkinson. You are Ruling Your Nation by making history. This writer salutes you.
Source: The Root and eurweb.com
Derrick Rose Derrick Rose earns yet another Rule Your Nation Award for wearing an I Can’t Breathe T-shirt. Most athletes don’t make these kinds of political statements, but in light of the grand jury decision concerning the death of Eric Garner, the country was in an uproar. “I Can’t Breathe” hashtags and t-shirts popped up everywhere, and everyone had an opinion. Derrick Rose expressed his thoughts the best way he knew how; by showing them on his chest in front of millions of viewers. Kudos to you, Derrick Rose. You are Ruling Your Nation by making a statement regardless of the potential repercussions. Continue to express yourself both on and off the court.
On Saturday, January 3, 2015, the world lost a great man in the journalism world. Stuart Scott lost his battle to cancer after putting up a championship caliber fight for over seven years. Scott was a pioneer. He revolutionized the way that journalists spoke to and about athletes. He coined phrases like “cooler than the other side of the pillow,” and generally made SportsCenter a staple show in household around the world. Stuart Scott is an inspiration to any sports fan, and he will be missed. Kudos to you, Stuart Scott. You Ruled Your Nation by living life on your terms. This writer is honored to have watched and read your work and hopes to only be half as good as you.
On January 17, 2015, the world lost yet another great man in Greg Plitt. Greg Plitt’s dedication to fitness, and his unflinching willingness to push others to achieve their goals inspired millions. He posed for magazines. He had a website with over 10,000 subscribers. He pushed other fitness experts to be the best in their field. Greg Plitt was more than a fitness guru. For many, he was a hero, and his unfortunate death in a train accident was a source of mourning around the world. Kudos to you, Greg Plitt. You Ruled Your Nation by never losing your convictions and staying true to your craft. Hopefully many will follow in your footsteps.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the man, the legend, has just hit another milestone. On January 25, he earned his 1,000th win; the most in NCAA Men’s history. Of course, Coach K was a great coach before he won that game, but another notch on his belt serves to cement his prowess in the college basketball game. Kudos to you, Coach K! You are Ruling Your Nation by dominating the game! Keep doing your thing!
Serena Williams is yet another legend. She just tied for third on the list of Grand Slam Champions with 19. On the tennis court, it just doesn’t get any better than Serena. With her powerful serve and relentless, attacking style, she has yet again proven too much for her opponent. After watching her revolutionize the game for years, we have come to expect nothing less. Kudos to you, Serena. You are Ruling Your Nation by winning at the game you love. This writer applauds your victory.
This clip doesn’t need any writing. Just watch.
Source: ABC News and Fox 4 News.
Every Day Conquerors
Unless you haven’t accessed the internet for the past couple months, you have heard of this woman in this picture. Principal Nadia Lopez of Mott Hall Bridges Academy has become an instant sensation after one of her students stated her methods for disciplining her students:
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
In an education system that is failing our students, it is inspiring to hear about educators who make it a point to tell each and very child that they are better than their circumstances, and even better than their own behavior. She also educates them on the school to prison pipeline in a way that sends a clear message; you are better than this and your life depends on you acting like it. While describing her school culture, Principal Lopez states:
“This is a neighborhood that doesn’t necessarily expect much from our children, so at Mott Hall Bridges Academy we set our expectations very high. We don’t call the children ‘students,’ we call them ‘scholars.’ Our color is purple. Our scholars wear purple and so do our staff. Because purple is the color of royalty. I want my scholars to know that even if they live in a housing project, they are part of a royal lineage going back to great African kings and queens. They belong to a group of individuals who invented astronomy and math. And they belong to a group of individuals who have endured so much history and still overcome. When you tell people you’re from Brownsville, their face cringes up. But there are children here that need to know that they are expected to succeed.”
As a a result of Principal Lopez’s strong leadership, Humans of New York lead a fundraiser raised over $1 million dollars for students from Mott Hall Bridges Academy to visit Harvard University every year. Kudos to you, Principal Lopez. You are Ruling Your Nation by inspiring the next generation to do the same. This writer admires your work.
Well there you have it, folks! So far, humanity has started off the year with a bang, and it’s only getting better from there. As some of you already know, February already has quite a few conquerors with stories just waiting to be written. Do you know someone who exemplifies Ruling Your Nation? Don’t be shy! Shine a little light on them by emailing me a photo and bio to email@example.com. Fame is not required. Awesomeness is a prerequisite. Until next time, my people!
Rule well, my friends.
p.s. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on relationships. I’ve got something for you this weekend! Here’s a hint:
I am the Greatest!