Rihanna Ready to Do Bigger Things, Kyler Murray Ready to Bring His A-Game; Both Looking to Flex What They’ve Got Next

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Whether as a sports fan or music fan, lots of folk got their eyes on the scoreboard. For sport fans it might be the NBA draft lottery or playoffs where Lebron James is out but Kawhi Leonard is in. After an almost magical game-ending shot, The Raptors moved on to play Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals.

For music fans it might be the latest release from Ciara or waiting for the next winner on Idol or The Voice to be crowned. But even those primetime events might not be where it’s at. Folks are also watching for how Rihanna is ready to do bigger things and NFL #1 pick Kyler Murray is ready to bring his A-game.

Both are looking to flex what they’ve got next. Rihanna announced a major partnership for her luxury ‘Fenty’ fashion line with LVMH. Word is that she’s the first woman to have an original line with the iconic fashion house. She’s also the first woman of color to head-up her own high-fashion creations there.

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Murray took to the field recently as part of rookie minicamp. He’s got a lot riding on him playing for the Arizona Cardinals. They’ve had a few losing seasons and are hoping to turn things around with Murray at the helm as QB. In the days ahead, all eyes will be on the scoreboard for both Rihanna and Murray.

They didn’t get to this point overnight. Rihanna now 31, won her first Grammy at 19. She’s produced loads of hits and fans are waiting on her next project which is rumored to be reggae-infused. Murray comes from a football family and can’t wait to develop his pro game. They know it’s about working on the:

  1. Talent

At an early age Rihanna figured-out that she had singing chops. Then she was discovered by Jay-Z whose record label gave her the exposure and the resources for developing her talent. Now she’s a multi-award artist and international icon. She’s turned talent into far-reaching fandom and record sales.

  1. Player

The concern some sports commentators have about Murray is he’s got average height. Will he be able to see over the offensive or defensive lines? What he seems to bring is that he’s not so much a pocket-passer as much as he is an open-field scrambler. Maybe as a player he’s more like a Michael Vick.

  1. Star

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One of Rihanna’s big hits came with the words ‘shine bright like a diamond.’ It’s something she’s been able to do on the world stage. Murray’s got his chance in the big leagues. So what’s it going to take for him to be a star? Maybe a winning record or a breakout performance as rookie and starting QB.

  1. Brand

Just imagine, Rihanna started out as a little-known singer from Barbados. She made a name for herself on the music charts. Then she made some moves into fashion with boots, cosmetics and other sexy apparel. Now she’s stepping up her brand-name mojo and market appeal to having a luxury clothing line.

For Rihanna and Murray, it might feel like they’re at another starting point in their careers. Like a lot of recent college grads, they’re getting ready to flex what they’ve got next. If what they’ve done already in sports and music says anything, then they’re ready to do bigger things and bring their A-game.

Tip: Those ready to flex what they’ve got next bring their A-game to do bigger and better things by taking their talent from ‘diamond in the rough’ to brand-name star.

Talkback: Who’s ready to see Murray’s first scrimmage or waiting for Rihanna’s next album drop?

Tracks: Rihanna – Diamonds – https://youtu.be/lWA2pjMjpBs

Shaggy – Money Up – https://youtu.be/VW5ayZX38Jo

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Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union Show How the Grind is More than Just Make a Living Because of What Hustle-Love Can Do

The regular NBA season is about to end. Some fans are getting ready for the game to go to the next level. The playoffs start in a few days and sports commentators are busy ranking a team’s chances to win it all. It’s the first in a long time that Lebron James will be missing and watching from the sidelines.

Another streak that‘s about to end is Dwyane Wade’s NBA career. He’s played for 16 seasons during which he’s won championship trophies, MVP awards and scoring titles. Wade’s been savoring the moment with his ‘One Last Dance’ tour in NBA cities, swapping jerseys with other players along the way.

Wade has become an icon to many for his hustle-love on and off the court. He’s been teaming-up with his wife Gabrielle Union in doing more than just the grind but also encouraging us to be who we were meant to be. They’re parents of a new girl born by surrogate that’s been its own life-giving story.

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As Wade’s career takes a shift, Union is charting new ground in her career as a judge on America’s Got Talent. They’re both seen in TV commercials pushing each other on the treadmill but maybe even more importantly, inspiring us to grow in mind, body and spirit. They’re good examples of life beyond the grind.

Wade’s personal and professional journey is seen in a special video that is a big tear-jerker. He’s thanked by five people with their appreciation for what he’s meant in their lives. In the video we learn how Wade sees the game, the grind and the gift for making a difference. His hustle-love has been driven by:

  1. Pain

The story behind the man is heard from his mom. She remembers falling short in caring for him due to her own substance abuse challenges. But when Wade showed love to her even then, she saw him as more than a son. Hustle-love can turn pain into gain, into something that’s paying or even a payback.

  1. Project

He didn’t go to school to become a fashion designer, but he’s caught the ‘style and fashion’ bug. His line of socks is sold through Amazon. It’s something he began as a side project. His hustle-love on the court is seen in game-winning shots. But hustle-love is also in learning something you didn’t go to school for.

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  1. Passion

Wade’s not sure what’s next after basketball. He’ll likely pitch products beyond his sneaker line. If socks became his passion project, then wine testing is becoming a possible business passion. He says there’s something about the feeling around the ‘wine & dine’ experience with others that gets his juices flowing.

  1. Purpose

He knows things could have gone differently as a child. There were times of lack and lost opportunity. But people gave him a helping hand and he wants to do the same. That came through in the video for how he’s fulfilling his purpose. Hustle-love through purpose means ‘hustle & love’ to serve the people.

During the last week of the season fans came out to show love. Union defended him against those wanting to dim his shine. NBA coach Gregg Popovich said Wade’s hustle-love is bigger than the game of basketball. And President Obama put in a word saying “Wade’s done us proud” grinding all his life.

Tip: Showing up for work is more than just making a living. It’s bringing hustle-love through the pain in a project or where passion can serve a larger purpose.

Talkback: How has Wade changed the game after teaming-up with Lebron and Bosh?

Tracks: Nipsy Hussle – Grinding All My Life – https://youtu.be/nHLKEHnfo9c

Ne-Yo – Champagne Life – https://youtu.be/gqayCgvI_uI

Lebron James and Serena Williams Give Us a Preview of 2019, Using a Review of 2018

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The College Football National Championship was a shocker! Well, maybe not to Clemson players and fans, but to Alabama coach Nick Saban and the roll-tide squad who fell short at the end. The sports world will re-watch the game highlights and see that they’re some budding stars in the making.

Lebron James and Serena Williams are already big-time stars with lots of winning moments too. They were recently named AP Male/Female Athletes of the Year. James for the third time, Williams for the fifth. So, if you’re wondering what’s next for them, they give us a preview of 2019, using a review of 2018.

James has been recovering from a groin injury suffered during the Christmas Day game. He doesn’t want to return too soon, making sure that he’s fully mended. In 2018 he got no NBA Championship parade or MVP awards. But his ‘game stats’ were just as impressive in social advocacy and community impact.

The same kinda holds true for Serena who didn’t get to win that coveted 24th grand slam championship. But she did something that few have accomplished by returning to the game after a dicey child birth less than a year earlier. The AP selection group says she got the award for showing perseverance.

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Serena recently played a tune-up match in a mixed-doubles game. She’s hoping to get back to her usual ‘passion & fire’ form. For James during his absence, the Lakers coach is hoping that the team can find its mojo while he’s out. James and Williams on and off the court help preview 2019 for how to:

  1. Flex your stuff

During her pre-game warm-up and stretch, Serena was seen holding her child close. It seemed her baby was a little fearful and needed some lovin’. So, in the new year we can break the fear. Just take time to warm-up to how you’ll flex your stuff, bring some hustle-love to your game and stretch yourself in 2019.

  1. Up your game

James is probably spending a lot of time with the team trainers doing things to strengthen the injured muscle. How he plays the game might be about shots and rebounds. But how he ups his game might be about hustle and flow. It’s about getting mind, body and soul to work together and put you on a roll.

  1. Earn your keeps

Downtime from the game for Serena allowed her to grow her family. Downtime for James might also be about how he grows his value with pro sports, his Foundation and other biz enterprises. Sometimes the work you do isn’t just about the 9 to 5, but also how you add value personally, professionally and socially.

  1. Rock your best

James recently re-shared a quote from former ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott who once said “Don’t downgrade your dreams just to fit your reality. Upgrade your convictions to match your destiny.” That might be a good way to describe how they approach their game to amaze at work and rock their best.

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The clock is still ticking on James’ return. Fans want to see that magic again. Serena is getting ready for her next grand-slam tournament at the Australian Open. If the review of 2018 serves as a preview of 2019, they’d say you gotta get on up and do what you gotta do to keep it smokin’.  Holla if you with me!

Tip: In order to rock your best and earn your keeps you gotta get on up and do what you gotta do to keep it smokin’.

Talkback: What’s in-store for your new year to make it a “new you, new woo?”

Tracks: Jodeci – Get on Up – https://youtu.be/Sy6gPBix32k

Angie Stone – Do What You Gotta Do – https://youtu.be/4oS-GAy5MUY

Kobe Bryant Brought ‘Mamba Flava,’ Kerry Washington brings Acting Chops with Their Talent on the Big Stage

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That never-ending question of who’s the greatest ever NBA player has surfaced again. This time it’s because of a TV commercial featuring Michael Jordan. In it he sets the stage for an NFL matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Of course folks thought Jordan was hinting at something else.

Often the question of the greatest ever basketball player brings up the name of Lebron James. But there’re times another name gets thrown in, that of Kobe Bryant. He went on to be known as one who brought the ‘Mamba Mentality.’ He says it’s a matter of ‘building your process and working your craft.’

Bryant has moved on from the player-roster but his name is still relevant. So is Kerry Washington who’s moved on from ‘Scandal’ on network TV to a new production on Broadway. Bryant brought his mamba flava while Washington brings her own acting chops in how talent rises on the big stage.

Sometimes people debate who is the greatest. Other times they debate a trend that’s the latest. What these two celebs know and show is how talent is to your it-factor as ‘hustle love’ is to your hit-factor. Bryant explains this by sharing that he worked at the small things so he could perform the big plays.

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When you peal back the player in Bryant and the layer in Washington you get to some core aspects of their success and greatness. Some of what they do can apply to the work court and career-you. Whether it’s to start-over on the daily grind or start-up a new journey in the real world they push their talent for:

  1. A goal

Washington who grew up in the Bronx has returned to New York to perform on stage. It’s something she’s familiar with as a child. She says she was a busy-body teenager when she caught the acting bug because her mom put her in extra-curricular activities. Her goal is to improve her ‘live performance’ roles.

  1. The game

Bryant says he worked at his skill and at his game. There’s the skill in how he shot the ball or how he made a pass. But there’s also the game in how he made talent become more than his it-factor. He would try to understand all aspects of the game (the detail) to deliver his hit-factor.

  1. Some guts

There’re times you see an athlete make a play that commentators say was a gutsy move. That simply means not everyone with talent might have been able to pull that off. Bryant and Washington from their career might say ‘gutsy’ happens when we commit to growing in the game personally and professionally.

  1. Pure glory

The ones who experience a measure of greatness are those who are remembered not just for their play but for their story. Washington has made her commitment to social justice a part of her story. Bryant is turning his champion experience into life-notes for trailblazers. Oftentimes the story is the road to glory.

Washington hopes to pass-on her childhood experiences while working in NY. She’s taking museum trips and other adventures with her kids. Bryant hopes to inspire the next class of great players. They know that regular folks and those with startup dreams reach the mountaintop by turning it-factor into hit-factor.

Tip: The road to glory might start-off with talent as your it-factor. But it moves from the valley to the mountaintop because of your hit-factor.

Talkback: Was that Michael Jordan commercial a tease or a throwback?

Tracks: Sia – The Greatest – https://youtu.be/GKSRyLdjsPA

Juice Wrld – Lucid Dreams – https://youtu.be/mzB1VGEGcSU

Lebron James as Rapper, Ice Cube as Baller: The Genius Behind Their Rise to Fame

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The NBA season is a few weeks in and looks like the fellas are still working out the kinks. The Golden State Warriors lost their first game on the night they got their championship rings. The Cleveland Cavaliers lost more than three games in a row and fans are wondering what’s going on in the ‘Land.

Well maybe getting ready for Halloween had them a little distracted. James went to his annual costume party dressed-up as the Pennywise clown from the movie ‘It’. Steph Curry rode in to his on a bicycle like another kind of clown himself. James was also seen on Carpool Karaoke with Ice Cube tagging along.

The costumes of James and Curry stood out as the best. But it’s James as rapper and Ice Cube as baller that helps us see what can make our job performance standout. We see them light-up with their unique strengths and take-off with their creative flow. In a sense that’s the genius behind their rise to fame.

Sometimes sport commentators do the game recap. As they review a big play the video graphics will show how the play unfolded. There’re times the player and the path in the graphics will light-up as things take shape. That’s how James and Cube light-up the scene the way video graphics are smart and cool.

The whole Halloween thing might be scary to some. But it’s a fun way for people to show-off their alter-ego in personality. James could easily go as a rapper. He’s always sharing Instagram clips of his rap-alongs. Cube could easily go as a baller since he’s the co-founder of the 3-on-3 basketball league.

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There’s something else about how they make performance stand-out. They get to show-off their alter-ego in passion. Plus, they’ll bring gametime effort as a balance between how they light-up their strengths on the work-side and flex their flow on the play-side. That’s why we cheer because their genius got game.

As a blogger I’m always using my unique strengths to drop some lines. I realize in writing that a part of getting through comes from being heard without necessarily being seen. I also have a love for how music can bring creative flow to the script. It’s the same reason why movie trailers use music in their promos.

Some of what makes James light-up is hitting the big shots. What makes Cube light-up is spitting slick rhymes. But it’s in how their ‘genius got game’ that’s helped them rise to a higher level of fame. They’ve taken what they know from their main thing and turned it into movies, merchandise and pulling strings.

Chris Paul from the Houston Rockets tells his story of unique strengths, creative flow and being traded from the LA Clippers. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to uproot his family. His main concern was, in one sense, around ‘happy wife happy life.’ He also didn’t know how his son felt about leaving his friends.

He took his son on signing-day when he was introduced to the media and fans. The moment he walked out and heard the cheers, it caused him and his son to light-up. The look on his son’s face said it all. So whether as po’ folks or ‘just folks,’ great performance is about how we stand-out and light-up the place.

Tip: Your performance stands-out in how you shake-off the doubts and light-up the place so that your genius got game.

Talkback: What makes the performance of James, Curry or Cube stand-out?

Tracks: Mary J. Blige – Doubt – https://youtu.be/NUE5r4Mzf80

Nappy Roots ft Anthony Hamilton – Po’ Folks – https://youtu.be/QbN6VkleO48

Anthony Davis and Lebron James Were the Ones Shining at the NBA All-star Showcase #BigTimeUniversity

#BigTimeUniversity – “Small Talk, Street Dreams, Next Level”

This production of “Wise-up Weekly” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Hotstepping’ – Get Jiggy, Get Woke!”
A Cool Way for Flexing Style, Game & Soul in How We Roll (Old-School Flava)

It’s another birthday year for Michael Jordan who turned 54. In many eyes he’s the reigning all-time best in NBA play. Fans hoped to see some of that at the recent All-star game as things went jazzy in New Orleans. While the game had some folks sighing, Anthony Davis & Lebron James were the ones shining.

Post-game chatter is overall play was a joke. According to USA Today even Kyrie Irving chimed in saying “It’s all in good fun, but I definitely think that, if we want a competitive game, guys will probably have to talk about it before the game.” It’s things people talk about to bring ‘more game & less lame’ to the office.

The all-star showcase features athletes who know what ‘good-better-yes’ looks like and what winning feels like. It’s where fun is plenty, boos are rare and thrills are high. Plus in the days of Jordan & Magic we’d see how pros excel in stepping out of their heads and into the zone by having a picture of the goal.

Some sports analysts wonder if that mindset is getting lost in the fat-check world of the league. What many remember and point back to is how in the Jordan era athletes would work hard and play smart to get the best out of their effort. They’d give us lots of dunks but not slack-off on playing a complete game.

Cheers were heard when Durant and Westbrook connected on a tag-team score. Then we saw the high-fives. If for nothing else, the best plays in a game or at the office are those where players bring it as go-getters and team players. Maybe next time in L.A. Irving says ‘let’s groove’ they’ll picture it like pure gold.

Groove-Track: Earth Wind & Fire – Let’s Groove – https://youtu.be/Lrle0x_DHBM

Theme:–The Year of ‘Hotstepping’ – Get Jiggy, Get Woke!”
A Cool Way for Flexing Style, Game & Soul in How We Roll (New-School Flava)

Another b-day for air Mike. Turned 84, no 54 psyche! For many he’s the real MVP. All-time best in scoring spree. True fans hoped they’d get. A game where players would sweat. Things were jazzy in Pelican town. Lots of celebs hung around. Some folks were kinda sighing. But Davis & James did their shining.

Past-game chatter on overall play. It was a joke is what some say. Even Kyrie Irving chimed-in a bit. On looking for good fun and no sh**. For all-star game to come alive. Players gotta show-up with no jive. Talk before tip-off makes it good. For ‘more game & and less lame’ like they should.

All-star showcase of athletic feats. Dudes from local and foreign streets. Those who know about ‘good-better-yes.’ With winning as a way to bless. Fun is plenty, boos are rare. Thrill are high like they don’t care. Plus in days of Jordan & Magic we’d see. Them be in the zone of goals running free.

Sports gurus wonder out loud. If mindset has become to proud. Getting lost in the fat-check digits. But reduced play and passion so midget. When Jordan and them did their thing. It was more than just about the ring. Work hard, play smart the same. Lots of dunks and a complete game.

Cheers heard for Durant & Westbrook score. With tag-team pass and shot on the floor. Then the high-fives made it feel. Like they were keeping it real. Why best plays in game from go-getters. Are like best work at office of team players. Maybe next time before Irving is old. He’ll say ‘lets’ groove’ for pure gold.

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Tip: The best game in town is where team players are set, goals are reached and new victories are won.

Talkback: What are people saying about the level of play at the recent NBA All-Star game?

Groove-Tracks: DJ Khaled ft Beyoncé & Jay-Z – Shining – https://youtu.be/nD92-vOEUG8

Kiiara – Gold – https://youtu.be/sO9cBXRcBvo

This production of “Wise-up Weekly” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

Lebron James SI Honor Says He’s Got Game; Steve Harvey Reminds Us Not to Be Lame #BigTimeUniversity

#BigTimeUniversity – “Small Talk, Street Dreams, Next Level”

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST

LOL Tube – Got Funny?

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Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine with Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (Old-School Flava)

The college football playoffs are set. Four teams will do battle on the gridiron. Fans are hoping for good fun and a great time. But before that we got to see Steve Harvey’s Showtime at the Apollo reboot & Lebron James named S.I. sportsperson of the year. They’ve got game and remind us how not to be lame.

In his interview with Sports Illustrated James said “I dreamed of being Batman, of making the NBA, of buying a house for my mom, of being the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—the Fresh Prince of Akron, it was as big as I could dream.” These guys find the biggest motivation to achieve what no one saw coming.

Harvey’s hitting the flow as the ‘hosted by’ king. He could host a ‘dog & pony show’ and make it work even with only animals in the audience. For us regular folks we should replace the word ‘hosted’ with our own strengths. That’s like ‘created or produced or led by’ without letting stuff go to your head.

James knows this as the world’s greatest after bringing an NBA title to his hometown Cleveland. His childhood story of some rough times is one that could be defined as ‘greatness by.’ So far he’s taken two teams to the highest level of achievement and he’s working on doing the same in his community.

So Harvey’s taking a ‘jump’ with his talk show from Chicago to LA. James is upping his teammates’ roles. They know the purest motivation we get at home, the office or the marketplace is being ‘loved by’ God and the folks in your circles. Plus, they could buy back the block and spot their name on it.

Groove-Track: Brand Numbian – Don’t Let it Go to Head – https://youtu.be/500F9W1qku8

Theme:–The Year of ‘Flashlighting’ – Get Seen!”
A New Way to Shine With Highlights, Insights and Media-bites that’s Exciting (New-School Flava)

College football playoffs set. Folks lining-up their bet. Four teams to do battle on the field. Fans hoping for high score yield. Before that there’s Steve Harvey’s Apollo reboot. While Lebron James takes S.I. sportsperson loot. Both still see ways to flash their game. In reminding us how not to be lame.

In S.I. interview James looked back. On how his dream did stack. Wanting to be Batman, NBA pro and so. Buying house for mom as he’d grow. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, really Akron. As big as his dream was spun. Finding major motivation they’ve achieved. No one saw coming except those who believed.

Harvey’s right about hitting the flow. As ‘hosted by’ king on many a show. Could do a ‘dog & pony’ TV series as a beat. Even with only animals in audience seat. For regular folks, replacing ‘hosted’ word. With your own strengths, ya heard. Like ‘created by,’ produced or led. Without letting stuff go to your head.

James knows as world’s greatest player. After bringing NBA title as Cleveland slayer. Childhood story of rough times. Now worth lot more nickels and dimes. Best seen as ‘greatness by’ hero. His paycheck’s got many a zero. Taken two teams on championship ride. And supporting his community with love and pride.

So Harvey’s making talk show ‘jump’ to LA. Hoping that move from Chicago will pay. James upping his teammates’ roles. Watching them gel is food for the souls. Where purest motivation they know comes from God. At home, work, marketplace or on iPod. Plus, they could buy back block hook, line and sod.

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Tip: You don’t have to be an athlete to jump leaps & bounds as your dreams and gifting does the lifting.

Talkback: How did it feel to see Bron Bron keep his MLB World Series bet with D-Wade?

Groove-Tracks: R. Kelly – The World’s Greatest – https://youtu.be/WgcovIu3k9o

Clean Bandit ft Sean Paul – Rockabye – https://youtu.be/papuvlVeZg8

This production of “Wise-up Wednesdays” Blogcast by Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is a presentation in “social media entertainment from the groove-track of life!” #WUWECAST