Pro athletes make bank during the season (and still do well when not in season), and coaches make even more. As such, there really isn’t much in existence that they don’t already possess. It was for this very reason that the Tampa Bay Bucs’ offensive guard/center Evan Smith decided to do something a little bit different for Christmas this year.
Instead of their traditional annual gift exchange in which players would give other players stuff that they really didn’t need or want, Smith proposed a new tradition: pool the money that they would’ve spent on gifts and give that money to the more unappreciated members of the Bucs’ staff.
“The equipment guys, the trainers, the kitchen staff — coaches get paid a lot of money — like those who help us out on a regular basis, the people who cook special food for us….they spend tons of time with us,” said Smith. “Not all those guys make as much money as people think they do.”
Just before going on Christmas break the team members blasted some holiday music through the locker room speakers and went around giving each staff member an estimated $450-$500! The idea came after Smith realized that their white elephant gift exchange just wasn’t yielding the Christmas cheer that it’s supposed to. “….everyone shows up with a drone. There were like five guys with drones. I’m like, ‘Nobody wants a drone.’”
So instead of watching the cheap or stupid gifts come rolling in, Smith decided to simply have each player combine that money into one of the best Christmas gifts that anyone could ever ask for.
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Martin Truex Jr. won his very first NASCAR Championship this season, but at one of the many end-of-the-year award ceremonies, he was given another notable accolade that not only included him, but also his wife Sherry Pollex.
During the end of November’s festivities in Las Vegas, both Truex and Pollex were given The Myers Brothers Award, which is the top award handed out after each season to those who have made “outstanding contributions” to the sport. It was awarded to them for their charitable work surrounding childhood and ovarian cancer — a cause very near and dear to the couple.
The duo’s Catwalk for a Cause, a fundraiser and fashion show benefiting children with cancer, has been operational for eight years now, and has raised over $550,000 this year alone.
Truex and Pollex also hosted their second annual “Drive for Teal & Gold” earlier this September, which features many NASCAR drivers across all three series in a charity campaign that sees them racing with gold and teal steering wheels in honor of childhood (gold ribbon) and ovarian (teal ribbon) cancer. At the end of the month, each wheel is auctioned off.
Pollex herself has been battling ovarian cancer, and had only just recently beat out her most recent diagnosis. Understandably, she was emotional when accepting the honor on stage and couldn’t talk as much as Truex did.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Truex said to Pollex upon accepting the award. “I didn’t either,” Pollex replied. “I’m going to try really hard not to cry. It’s been a crazy, crazy year for both of us. Personally and professionally with my cancer and …”
Truex went on to say what the ability to help others has meant to the both of them, especially considering Pollex’s constant battles.
“This is definitely an unbelievable honor to receive this award… We are so proud of everybody. We’ve learned so much from past champions. Just everybody in this sport is willing to give back and willing to give their time to great causes. We don’t deserve all the credit for this. I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons from a lot of people in this room and a lot of people in this sport in general,” Truex elaborated.
“We’re very fortunate and definitely lucky to be able to give our time to great causes, and I’m so proud of (Pollex) for her fight and her battle and what she’s been able to pull through and get through, and at the same time willing to help others to give her time,” he added. “Just really, really proud of this. Thank you all very, very much.”
The annual awards, which have been presented since 1958, are voted on by the National Motorsports Press Association, and together, they gave 82 percent of their vote this year to Truex and Pollex.
Other awards handed out at the Myers Brothers Awards included the Chevrolet Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s foundation that auctions off cars for different causes, and the Buddy Shuman Award, which went to SMI Chairman Bruton Smith for his contributions to NASCAR.
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Chris Bosh went through a lot during his playing days in the NBA. After starting out his career in Toronto for his first seven seasons, he overachieved on a team that couldn’t find the success he was aspiring for, so he consequently moved to Miami to join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in playing for the Heat.
The 11-time All-Star and two-time champ was unfortunately forced to call it quits earlier than expected however, due to recurring issues with blood clots. Though he had complications in the past and was able to come back, as the 2015-2016 season came to a close nearly two years ago, Bosh was forced to miss the remaining 29 games of the season due to subsequent inflammations.
As a result, Bosh continued to suffer medical complications, which led him to fail his preseason physical in 2016. It was for that reason that the Heat had no choice but to finally relinquish his contract on July 4 earlier this year, leading the 6’11” power forward/center to have to retire, at least temporarily.
However, Bosh isn’t counting himself out of playing, and even if he has to because of his health, he still wants to stick with basketball and work in the NBA in some sort of developmental role. He appeared on NBA TV’s show Players Only to talk more about his future.
“I’m always going to be around the game of basketball,” Bosh said. “I plan to keep my options open as a player moving forward, but that’s not coaching. Maybe front office work, working with teams and spreading the game, maybe teaching the game to young people, that’s something that’s a very big passion.”
Bosh’s No. 1 jersey is expected to be retired in Miami, as owner Pat Riley has stated in the past that his number will “never be worn by another player, and we can’t wait to someday hang his jersey in the rafters.” He played for the Heat for his last six seasons in the league.
Being the good guy that he is, Bosh also said that he’d like to work with players that may not necessarily find themselves on the first team, but are looking to improve their all-around game.
“I would want to work with guys that maybe aren’t starters, guys that are the fourth or fifth option. To be honest,” Bosh went on, “I’m looking at today’s game and I put myself in that position and how I would benefit from the faster basketball, more threes, catch-and-go opportunities, attacking the paint with more space, that’s what kind of gets me juiced up and riled up when I watch today’s game. I would really want to teach someone how to function without having to have plays called for you.”
Over his career, Bosh averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
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Due to concussion symptoms from the violent nature of the sport, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan was all but pushed out of the ring by his doctors in 2015. Taking their medical advice seriously, Bryan gave up his title as world champion and decided to retire.
Now, in stunning news, the fan-favorite is looking to make a comeback — all he needs is the approval from the WWE’s medical professionals.
In a recent interview on former WWE Diva Lilian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, Bryan’s wife Brie Bella broke news that not only had Bryan spent much of the last year or so visiting multiple doctors around the U.S., but some have even told him that he should be able to return to the ring.
“He just wishes he was in that ring,” Bella said. “I was with him the day he was told he would have to retire due to health issues and for WWE to find a position for him so that he could still be part of the family, for me as his wife, that’s like a dream come true.”
Bryan made his return to the WWE stage last year, when he surprisingly became the new general manager of the SmackDown offshoot.
“Bryan has been happy being back. He knows wrestling better than anyone so being the general manager is the perfect position for him,” she continued.
Bryan’s wife also went on to say that he’s been doing everything in his power to fully recover, including taking measures like using oxygen chambers. According to her statements, many doctors are telling Bryan that he should be clear to re-enter the ring, and that there should be nothing holding him back other than the WWE’s own regulations.
“He is [trying to come back to wrestle]. Literally from the day they told him he couldn’t do it anymore, he’s been all over the United States and to all different doctors to figure out why and what he can do to turn that no into a yes.”
The yes-positive wrestler is now more optimistic than ever before, but as Bella has correctly stated, the WWE needs to take the proper precautions to protect both him and themselves.
“I think WWE are looking at it and that’s why he’s been really vocal lately because he does have hope. They are willing to look at what the other doctors are saying. You don’t blame a company for being careful, and Bryan gets it, he understands WWE’s point of view,” she concluded.
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News broke on Friday that MLB pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife, Heidi, decided to donate their home to Camp Barnabas, a camp for special needs and chronically ill children.
The 32,000-square-foot home and over 100 acres of land will be the largest donation in Camp Barnabas history.
“There are tons of amazing charities in southwest Missouri,” Cole Hamels said. “Out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings. Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it. Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way.”
The Hamels family thought the mansion would be their dream home but they decided to take the move to Texas.
The move is great news for the southwestern Missouri organization. The property was big in the discussion of rezoning earlier in the year.
What was once planned to turn to a clubhouse for condo owners will now become a camp ground for several children in need.
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After 42 days off of the field, Dallas Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott is heading back to work.
Elliott met with coaches and staff on Monday and head coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Elliott looked “ready to go.”
The player was under a six-week suspension following his violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. While under the suspension, Elliott was prohibited from being at the Cowboys’ facility to which he went to Mexico to clear his head and workout.
“He looks skinny. He [does] look slimmer. It makes his head look even more bigger,” said Dez Bryant, Cowboys wide receiver. “He looks damn good, and I know he’ll be ready to play.”
Wednesday marked his first practice back on the team. Elliott’s return means good news for the Cowboys who will now have a chance at the playoffs. Prior to Elliott’s suspension, the team had three straight wins, then came the losses — three of which were by more than 20 points.
With two weeks left in the season, Cowboys fans are hopeful that Elliott’s return will benefit them.
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Kobe Bryant stood at center court as his jersey no. 8 and 24 were both retired during halftime at Monday’s game against Golden State.
Prior to the ceremony, Bryant’s short film Dear Basketball was displayed throughout the Staples Center arena. As the crowd chanted Kobe’s name, Magic Johnson, the President of Basketball Operations and good friend of Bryant, took the mic.
“We’re here to celebrate the greatest who’s ever worn the purple and gold,” Johnson said. “For 20 years, he thrilled us; he made us scratch our heads (and say), ‘What did we just see? What did we just witness?’ And he gave us five NBA championships.”
When the mic was passed to Lakers Owner and President Jeanie Buss, she read off several letters of appreciation the Laker fans had addressed to Kobe.
“What we’re celebrating tonight is the journey that you took us on for those 20 years,” Buss said to Bryant. “We are retiring both your numbers, because if you separated each of the accomplishments under those numbers, each of those players would qualify for the Hall of Fame.”
As the two curtains pulled back, separating slowly, they revealed Bryant’s No. 8 and 24 jerseys among earlier legendary Laker playmakers.
A thankful Kobe Bryant stepped up to the spotlight to give his appreciation to the late Dr. Jerry Buss and his fans as well as the great ball legends who came before him.
“It’s also about the next generation,” Bryant said. “It’s about this current Laker roster that we have here. It’s about embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward so that the next 20 years are better than the past 20 years.”
During his 20 seasons with the team, Bryant led the Lakers for five championships and won two NBA Finals MVP awards, and retires in the number three in all-time NBA points.
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