About Zuri

I’m a sports writer and producer for Boston.com, originally from San Francisco. I’m a graduate of California State University, Chico and I’ve been writing for newspapers the last eight years, covering sports in Massachusetts and California as well as municipalities like Oakland and Nevada City. I’ve also penned an award-winning column for The Union’s sports section, touching on preps, pro and community sports.

7th Annual Sports Task Force Jam in New Orleans at the House of Blues

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Here are the details on the Sports Task Force Jam, a marquee event for the NABJ convention and career fair in New Orleans next week.

The Annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam is a special fundraising event. Come out and enjoy music and dancing for a good cause. Proceeds from the party go to benefit NABJ’s Larry Whiteside Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to help aspiring journalists; proceeds also support general funds for NABJ and the Sports Task Force.This event is hosted by New Orleans’ own Michael Smith and Stan Verrett. DJ Limelight and a New Orleans deejay will be spinning.

Date: Friday, June 22, 2012
Time: 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
LocationHouse of Blues, 225 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Attire: Upscale
Age Requirement: 21 or older

Purchase tickets on NABJ’s website. Here are the prices:

Categories Rates
New NABJ Member – Joined between March 1, 2012 and May 15, 2012
Email New Member Ticket requests to membership@nabj.org
$10
NABJ Member $20
Non-Member $25
VIP (limited) $100
At the door $50

Sports Task Force programming for 2012 NABJ convention and career fair in New Orleans

THURSDAY

Sports Task Force Professional Development Breakfast (7:30 to 9 a.m.)
Powered by ESPN, join the NABJ Sports Task Force for its annual mentorship breakfast, where aspiring journalists are paired with professional mentors from broadcast, print and online newsrooms. Moderator: Michael Smith, ESPN Talent; Presenter: Jemele Hill, ESPN Talent; Featured Speaker: Stan Verrett, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor. Location: NOHR Napoleon Ballroom (3rd Floor).

Interactive Session I (12:15 to 1:30 p.m.)

A “Brand” New You: Cut Through The Media Clutter and Make Your Mark!
Creating your own journalist brand is a must these days, as we all work to differentiate ourselves from the news/blogger crowd. Having your own brand can boost your profile at your current job, lead you to your next job or even help you create your own entrepreneurial Website or blog. This panel will offer tips, tricks, tools and techniques to help you create your own brand and take it to the next level. Presenters: Natalie McNeal, Personal Finance Journalist/Blogger/Speaker Frugalista.com; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, SBNation.com and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Marcus Osborne, Founder & Podcaster/Blogger, Straight Male Friend; Corynne L. Corbett, Beauty Director, Essence; Benet Wilson, Founder, AviationQueen.com, Freelance Aviation/Travel, Journalist, Director of Media Relations, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Interactive Session II (3:45 to 5 p.m.)

Faces Behind the Lens: The Unseen Sports Jobs
Sports fans are familiar with the well-known, on-air personalities. But most people don’t see the people behind the camera – the producers, directors, editors, talent bookers and publicists calling the shots. This session will feature a group of professionals who will provide an overview of the sports jobs you should know and what it takes to succeed in these positions. Presenters: Rashan Ali, Social Media Correspondent, NBA TV; Galen Gordon, Coordinating Producer, ESPN; Harold Bryant, Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports; Drew Watkins, Creative Director, Turner Sports; Tony Wyllie, Senior Vice President, Communications, Washington Redskins.

FRIDAY

Interactive Session III (9 to 10:15 a.m.)

No sports oriented session.

Interactive Session IV (3:30 to 4:45 p.m.)

From the Playing Field to The Press Box
Professional athletes are accustomed to answering – and sometimes dodging – the tough questions. What is it like leaving the game and being on the other side – now being paid to publicly constructively criticize others? This workshop features those who have made the switch. Presenters: LaVar Arrington, Sports Radio Host, WJFK FM, former NFL Player; Jim Rice, Baseball Analyst, Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee; LaChina Robinson, WNBA Analyst, NBA TV; Masai Ujiri, General Manager, Denver Nuggets; Michael Smith, Senior Writer, ESPN.

A Brand New Game: 40 Years since Title IX
Before 1970, women were essentially stonewalled in the sports world, even moreso than in some other facets of society. In 1972, Title IX came along and helped advance women dramatically in the sports arena. In this panel, pioneers and beneficiaries of Title IX discuss the changing landscape as well as the obstacles that remain. Presenters: Lisa Salters, Reporter, E:60, Correspondent, ESPN; Laurel Richie, President, WNBA; Graham Watson, Sports Blogs Editor, Yahoo!; Paula Madison, Owner, Los Angeles Sparks.

Sports Pioneer Awards ceremony (6 to 7:30 p.m.)
Powered by the NFL, Fox Sports, NASCAR, the NBA, and NFL Players Association. Location: Grand Salon B.

Sports Task Force Jam (10 p.m. to 3 a.m.)
The Annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam is a special fundraising event. Come out and enjoy music and dancing for a good cause. Proceeds from the party go to benefit NABJ’s Larry Whiteside Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to help aspiring journalists; proceeds also support general funds for NABJ and the Sports Task Force.This event is hosted by New Orleans’ own Michael Smith and Stan Verrett. DJ Limelight and a New  Orleans deejay will be spinning. More on the Sports Task Force Jam.

SATURDAY

NABJ Golf tournament (7:30 to 10:15 a.m.)
This year the NABJ Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place in the home of New Orleans’ first PGA tournament and the South’s premier golf destination Lakewood Golf Club. Hosted By: Stan Verrett of ESPN and former professional football player Kordell Stewart. Location: Lakewood Golf Club, 4801 General Degaulle Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131.

Interactive session V (10:15 to 11:30 a.m.)

The Art of the Hustle
This financial seminar for young journalists just starting out is designed to offer a reality check. Graduating is scary, but it’s even scarier when you don’t know the source of your next dollar. Young journalists need to know how to work a side hustle and how to invest early. They also need to know how to budget, how to invest and how to save. This panel targets graduating seniors, unemployed young journalists and recently employed graduates. Presenters: Keith Reed, Senior Editor, ESPN The Magazine; Ashleigh L. Atwell, Student, Georgia State University; Marcus Vanderberg, Yahoo! Sports.

Interactive session VI (11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

New Media, Old Problems
There has been tremendous growth in the blogosphere and at traditional new media sites, such as ESPN, Fox, Yahoo, and NBC-Comcast. Yet despite the vast opportunities, the number of African-American sports journalists in new media remains frighteningly low. The Big Lead and Deadspin have become immensely popular sports pop culture sites, yet neither employs an African-American blogger. Panelists will discuss the lack of diversity and the reasons behind it and the role of content in the lack of diversity. The session also will offer solutions for hiring companies and black journalists. Presenters: Jemele Hill, Columnist/Television Personality, ESPN.com; AJ Daulerio, Editor-in-Chief, Gawker; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, SBNation.com and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Don Povia, Creator, HuggingHaroldReynolds.com; Graham Watson, Blog Contributor, Y! Sports.

NABJ Sports Task Force business meeting (2 to 3 p.m.)
Come meet the members of the Sports Task Force board and find out about what the NABJ Sports task force has been up to the previous year and what’s ahead. Location: Compass.

Sports Task Force party date has been moved

The 2012 NABJ Sports Task Force Scholarship Party will be held on Friday, June 22 at the House of Blues in New Orleans. The move of the party from Thursday to Friday by NABJ president Gregory Lee was to give our membership covering the NBA Finals a chance to attend. A potential Game 5 of the NBA Finals is on June 21.

More info coming soon.

Shaun Powell: Remembering the best day I ever had

“My brother died on 9/11, but Sept. 10 stands out because I don’t remember it at all”

By Shaun Powell
ESPN New York

My daughter Victoria awakened early that Tuesday morning and put on a rose dress, the color of her mood. She was eager and also nervous, because it was her first day of pre-kindergarten, Christmas in September for a 3-year-old. Let’s go, daddy, she said. Can’t be late. She took me by the thumb, dragged me out of the house, pulled me into the gorgeous and, as it turned out, deceitful sunshine that kissed us on the doorstep.

The school was less than a quarter-mile from our New Jersey home. I walked. She skipped. She was too short to notice the view from the road, a panoramic snapshot of the tip of Lower Manhattan, 14 miles away. It was a speck in the distance except for the Twin Towers, permanently aligned together like a middle and index finger. The peace sign.

She didn’t want me to return home. At that age, kids are clingy, and she stayed tattooed to my right calf in the schoolyard for five minutes. Then 10. I suddenly knew how Alonzo Mourning felt years ago, trying to shake his shin free of Jeff Van Gundy. It will be OK, I gently assured Victoria, before she reluctantly released, allowing my blood to resume circulation. That’s all I thought about on the way home, laughing at her terrified reaction, totally oblivious to the updated view of the Towers, the peace sign suddenly transformed into a pair of matchsticks.

Poured a glass of juice, turned on the radio for two seconds, then rushed out of the house, back to the street, to the curb to look eastward at the charcoal New York sky. Then ran back into the house just in time to hear the Pentagon was hit, too. The Pentagon! That’s where my younger brother Scott works.

“He hasn’t called yet, but don’t worry,” my mother assured me from Washington, D.C. “The phone lines are down. Your brother will call. He always does.”

Read Shaun Powell’s entire story on ESPNNewYork.com.

Durant duels LeBron

By Michael Lee
The Washington Post

About an hour before the most star-studded summer league game tipped off at Morgan State’s Hill Field House, I spotted Goodman League commissioner and master of ceremony for the night, Miles Rawls, and asked him about when his team was going to have a rematch against the Drew League in Los Angeles. Rawls again mentioned that they are looking at getting together on Sept. 25, but added that the Drew League is still trying to get Kobe Bryant involved in some way.

“K.D. wants Kobe, doesn’t he,” I asked Rawls, since District native Kevin Durant had already told Brandon Jennings the night before on Twitter that he wanted to see Bryant playing for the Drew League the next time the teams square off.

Rawls nodded and said, “You know K.D. ain’t ducking nobody.”

Rawls words would prove to be on point later in the evening, as the late-arriving Durant eagerly accepted the challenge of being the lone all-star for the Goodman League against the all-star trio of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul that led the Melo League.

“Playing against those guys was a lot of fun for me. I’m excited I got that opportunity playing against some great players, playing with some great players as well,” Durant said after his team lost, 149-141, in a game that was lopsided until the final five minutes.

Read Michael Lee’s full story on the Washington Post’s website.

ESPN: What if Michael Vick were white?

An ESPN illustration of Michael Vick as a white player.

ESPN The Magazine asks a simple question for its Sept. 5 issue: “What if Michael Vick were white?”

The article, penned by Touré, is already causing waves on the internet with a wide array of responses. Mostly though, they are in response to the illustration of Michael Vick made out to be white.

>> Read the article here: “What if Michael Vick were white?”

What did you think of the article? The illustration? Outrageous? On point?