Butch Trucks, original drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, won’t let the end of ABB slow down his rhythmic drive. He’s since banded together a crew of professionals for two projects, Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band and another Allman Brothers side-project Les Brers. While there’s no promise of a full-band reunion, it’s nice to know that the members of the Allman Brothers are still playing down their own respective paths. Who’s to tell what the future holds? Because, as we all know, well, the road goes on forever…This interview was conducted November 24, 2015, but has since been updated with links to news/videos related to the topics of conversation:L4LM: Butch, it’s been over a year since the last Allman Brothers shows. What have you been up to since?Butch Trucks: I’ve spent most of the time since last October at our home in France. Very relaxing. And I’ve been catching up on my reading while I work on other projects. I have done a few dates with Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band. I have also played Wanee Music Festival and The Peach Fest with what I am working on becoming a new band called Les Brers. This includes (ABB rhythm section) Jaimoe, Oteil, Marc Quinones, and Jack Pearson (guitar in ABB 1997-99) and his guitar mate Pat Bergeson, Bruce Katz and Lamar Williams, Jr. (son of Lamar Williams, bass in ABB 72-76). If all goes well, Les Brers will be touring and playing festivals in summer of 2016. We are already scheduled to play the midnight set on the Mushroom Stage at Wanee Friday, April 15.Warren Haynes Reunites With Members Of The Allman Brothers For Les Brers At Wanee [Full Audio/Video]L4LM: How does it feel to not be doing the Allman Brothers for the first time in over 25 years?BT: I do miss the passion that the ABB brings to my life. Last March was a bit of a downer. First time in 25 years I wasn’t in New York City. Otherwise, I have enjoyed the peace and quiet of Mas Les Baux (our home in France).L4LM: It’s been said that the Allmans mutually decided to hang it up in 2014. How did you all come to that difficult decision and what was your take on it?BT: Well I’ve read a few interviews from some of the guys about how we “mutually” agreed to hang it up in 2014. Then it’s followed by them saying that some members (especially me) got “cold feet” and tried to keep things going. What is left out of the conversation is that when we mutually agreed to wrap it up in 2014, it was also MUTUALLY agreed that we would do, for the first time in years, a full tour that would cover the entire country.Watch Butch Trucks Sings For The First Time In 45 Years, Covers Bob Dylan ClassicWhen all was said and done, we played about 30 shows, 26 of them at The Beacon. After agreeing to the full tour, the guys doing those interviews seemed to not want to discuss this aspect of our agreement. No matter how hard we tried to put together tours, we were always met with resistance. While we had mutually agreed that 2014 was not going to be the ABB going out with a whimper, but a major tour, in reality we played fewer shows in 2014 than at anytime since our reunion in 1989. Some of the members wanted out and apparently were ready to make those agreements with no intention of keeping them.L4LM: Do you think there’s any chance of a reunion? What about for the 50th anniversary? BT: I have no clue what I’ll be doing or where I will be 2019. If we play together again, it will most likely be before then. We’ll see.Watch Les Brers Play A Scorching 24-Minute ‘Mountain Jam’ For Macon CloserL4LM: It seems as though Gregg and Dickey have recently been on the mends. In the event that ABB does a reunion show/tour, would Betts be involved?BT: No comment. So far “on the mends” has been little more than Gregg talking.L4LM: In its 45 years, the Allman Brothers Band has had nearly 20 members. How would you describe the evolution of the band’s sound?BT: I wouldn’t call it an evolution. That implies a movement from one form into the next. What happened was more like “reach the point where we can’t get along well enough to play” then reunite with something different. Most of these reunions were most definitely NOT an evolution. They were devolutions. The reunion in 1989 was the exception and that is the main reason it lasted so long.L4LM: You recently told us about the moment of epiphany you had on the day Duane Allman “reached into [you] and turned [you] on.” Can you tell us more about that?BT: As you may know, I had played with Duane and Gregg about two years before Duane began putting together the ABB. I wasn’t the most self-assured drummer around back then and when things weren’t really in a groove, I tended to pull back. When Duane showed up with Jaimoe and began putting his band together, at some point he decided he needed two drummers. He had Jaimoe and Jaimoe kept telling him that I was the guy.Butch Trucks Shares His Thoughts For Duane Allman’s 69th BirthdayKnowing Duane, I don’t think he wanted an insecure player in his band and one day I think he decided to see what I was made of. We were jamming at a top 40 AM radio station outdoors. We started a shuffle and it just didn’t go anywhere. I pulled my usual stunt when that happened and pulled back. Duane whipped around at some point and looked at me dead in the eye and played a very strong lick with little misunderstanding that he was calling me out. My first reaction was to pull back more and then he challenged me again. Then he did it again and I noticed that he was showing me up in front of a lot of people.I got mad and Duane and I got into a musical fist fight for a while. I was hitting my drums like I was hitting Duane upside the head and he would keep coming back at me. After a few minutes of this, he stepped back smiled at me and said, “there ya go.” The band was soaring. Duane had gotten me so angry I forgot to be scared, and that made all the difference in the power coming from the group. It was like he reached inside me and flicked a switch. The light went off in my head and I realized that I may not be the greatest drummer in the world, but I could play and from that moment on I have never played in fear. After seeing how I handled myself, Duane added me to the mix he had and I have never looked back. If that moment had not happened, I am certain that Duane would have chosen another drummer and my life would have taken another route. That was the kind of man Duane Allman was. He changed people that were lucky enough to know him.L4LM: Tell us about “Eat A Peach”. Where did the record’s title come from?BT: We had finished recording the album we were in the middle of doing when Duane was killed. I walked into Phil Walden’s (manager) office one day soon after and he had that cover art on his desk. He asked me what I thought and I said, “That cover is great, but the title sucks.” They were gonna call it “The Kind We Grow in Dixie”. Duane had done a big interview with Rolling Stone not long before, and in it, they asked him what he did for the revolution. He laughed and said, “there ain’t no revolution, it’s all evolution.” Then he told them that every time he headed South he would “eat a peach for peace.” I told Walden to keep the art but call the album “Eat a Peach For Peace”. That became “Eat a Peach”. Was years later I was re-reading the “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot and came across the line, “Do I dare to eat a peach?” Duane loved Eliot and I’m sure that’s where he got that line. Ya can’t eat a peach without getting messy.Learn More About The Allman Brothers’ Third Studio Album “Eat A Peach” HereL4LM: Being the backbone of the band, you have also been called the “Freight Train” and that name kind of stuck. In fact, you’re even about to embark on a mini-Florida tour with Butch Trucks and the Freight Train. Tell us about that band.BT: Been having a lot of fun Playing with Berry Oakley, Jr, my son, Vaylor [Trucks] (kid on the cover of Brothers and Sisters) and some other special guests. We’re doing a six-show run Dec 26 – Dec 31 all around Florida. Got some new tunes and it will be fun and powerful. BE THERE!!!!!**Update**Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band includes some particularly interesting characters, mostly all Allman-related, with Berry Duane Oakley Jr. on bass and vocals (the son of original bassist Berry Oakley), Vaylor Trucks on guitar (Butch’s son, Derek’s cousin, and also the little boy on the cover of the ABB album ‘Brothers and Sisters’), Damon Fowler on guitar (previous work with Greg Allman, Chris Duarte, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, and more), Bruce Katz on the Hammond B-3 Organ (member of Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band and past member of Gregg Allman Band), along with sensational young guitarist and vocalist Heather Gillis, and Tad Isch behind the second drum kit. Catch Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band on the road in a city near you. All tour dates can be found here.Les Brers is another special act that came together as a “Butch & Friends” show at Peach Music Festival last summer. In addition to the original drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe, the band is complete with ABB’s latest rhythm section, including bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quinones. Before them, stand guitar master Jack Pearson, who played with the Allmans from 1997-99, his guitar mate Pat Bergeson, along with longtime collaborator Bruce Katz on keys, and Lamar Williams, Jr., son of bassist Lamar Williams who played with ABB from 1972-76, belting the vocals. Having just played a rocking midnight set at Wanee Music Festival, the all-star band will return to their birthplace at Peach this August.The road, indeed, goes on forever!
Gerry Seavo James, founder of The Waterman Series and Explore Kentucky, puts on events throughout Kentucky, including paddling races, festivals and a triathlon, that draw thousands of people from across the country. And all of it—the funding, the participation, the permits—is up in the air. “For me it’s a big hit, but also for the local community it’s a hit because we come and camp and buy food and gasoline,” James said. “They stay at the campground or a hotel, we buy shirts, there’s snacks, we eat at the barbecue restaurant where it ends. It’s part of this ecosystem of events around the state.” At Phidippides, a running store in Georgia, the staff tried to figure out how to keep the shop open when so much of their business is done face to face. When relying on online sales wasn’t working, they started offering virtual fittings through Zoom. Store employees walked customers through the normal process, asking about their running habits and watching them run around. The customer could then get the shoe shipped to them or pick it up curbside to see if it fit. “A big concern when we rolled this out was the feel of a shoe is so important and we were afraid we were going to be taking a lot of returns through this process,” said General Manager Sloan Ware. “But it actually hasn’t been the case. Most of the time, we’re able to get down to a shoe that is going to work really well for that person. It hasn’t been as difficult with returns as we initially expected.” “It all came crashing to a halt,” James said. “For this African American-oriented project that already has less attention than legacy organizations, can we bounce back after COVID? The economy’s going to be down. Can we get the donations we need?” When funding increases, Leavitt said brands need to take a look at how they are sponsoring athletes and influencers in the industry and with what resources. “Recognizing that being paid in income is important,” she said. “Likes aren’t going to pay the rent. There’s multiple levels of who has rank in the industry, whether it’s in the nonprofit or for-profit world, and who comes out of this situation okay. If brands want to come out of this in a better light, they have to start thinking about the bigger picture. How are they actually creating space for BlPOC people in their business in higher-level positions? How are they going to look at their ambassador and athlete team? How are they actually taking the time to listen and wanting to fix the problems versus just throwing money to try and do a quick fix.” “Developing our recreation infrastructure is an opportunity to invest in resources like trails and river access points that will benefit the quality of life and economy of the community down the road,” he said. “We’re anticipating seeing people leaving densely populated areas and moving to less densely populated areas. So, I think those communities that get out in front of this trend, make some serious investment, and build their outdoor brand are going to win.” For seasonal businesses like River & Trail Outfitters, the pandemic hit at a particularly difficult time—the lowest cash point of the year coming into their main season. “For a seasonal business, you really have to think about the three or four months to make hay while the sun shines,” said owner Natasha Baihly. “You just really hope you’re going to get those couple of months in order to make your business go. You don’t get the opportunity to slide it into the winter or have things pick up in the middle of the fall.” From online sales and curbside pickups to virtual events, retailers are reimagining the way they interact with customers. For Joey Riddle, owner of Joey’s Bike Shop in West Virginia, bike sales and bike repairs are through the roof. “We have no bikes on our floor and we can’t get any,” he said. “That’s the biggest problem right now. Bike companies are sold out of bikes. Typically, this time of year, we have over 100 bikes in stock. We have 15 with nothing on the horizon probably until July.” The Road to Recovery So how can the outdoor industry be a part of our economic recovery? The Outdoor Alliance, a national coalition of 10 outdoor recreation groups, including IMBA, Access Fund, and American Whitewater, is advocating for recreation infrastructure projects at the Congressional level. Communications Director Tania Lown-Hecht said the pandemic amplified inequalities that have existed in communities for a long time. “Where are the green spaces, parks, and forests and who can get there?” she said. “Our hope is that decision makers, especially members of Congress, see how important that kind of recreation and green infrastructure is for the country and see that as a priority investment.” Jenn Chew, director of The Assaults, on supporting events in the future: “The uncertainty of when it can open back up has affected not only the people who work in the industry, whether it be event directors or producers, but even people that are stagehands, AV companies, and anything that has to do with putting on events. Without participation, they’re going to die off, just as they are right now with not being able to have them. I think it’s really important for people to participate, support, and attend events, festivals, rides, races, and concerts.” River & Trail was also in the middle of an expansion when the pandemic hit, preparing to open another location for their whitewater rafting trips. The Baihly’s decided to take a leap of faith and go ahead with the new location in hopes that families would be looking for ways to get outside together this summer. “My dad always said that boats and beer were the things that would withstand anything,” Baihly said. “And I think he might be right. We have 48 years behind us, so that’s a wonderful thing.” An event, whether it’s a race, festival, or fundraiser, is centered around the idea of community and bringing people together. Racers huddled at the start line, volunteers working aid stations, and crowds surging towards the stage—it’s difficult to imagine what these events will look like with social distancing measures put in place. To address these inequalities and contribute to economic recovery, organizations including Outdoor Alliance are pushing for national solutions like a conservation corps dedicated to rebuilding outdoor infrastructure and providing jobs. Legislation like the Great American Outdoors Act would provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and money for backlogged park maintenance projects. “That would provide crucial funding that will help put people back to work, address urgent maintenance needs, and have more close to home recreation opportunities,” Lown-Hecht said. Moving Forward — More Voices from the Outdoors Predict the Path Ahead Roan Mountain, Tenn., is one of those places that relies on outdoor recreation to bring in tourism dollars as an official Appalachian Trail Community. Mike Hill, a Carter County commissioner representing Roan Mountain, said businesses in town rely on the thru-hiker bubble that comes through each year. “When they come off trail in Roan Mountain, they’ve been in the woods since Erwin, Tenn.,” he said. “They’re hungry. They’d love to do some laundry. They need resupply items. A shower with hot water and a washcloth is a huge deal. They come off the trail with discretionary income and specific needs.” These events, no matter their size, take time and funding to succeed. Planning for Color the Crag, a climbing festival held at Horse Pens 40 to promote black, indigenous, and people of color climbers, takes organizers a full year to prepare for four days of climbing, clinics, and demos. Leaders from Brown Girls Climb and Brothers of Climbing, the partnership behind the festival, decided to cancel the festival in October to take care of themselves, their families, and their community during these difficult times. Brittany Leavitt, the festival’s director of operations, said even if the pandemic were over by the end of the summer, it wouldn’t be enough time to get everything together. “We’ve all seen the documentary of Fyre Fest,” she said. “That’s pretty much what they did. They did it in a few weeks to try and figure things out. That’s just impossible.” With the Summer Outdoor Retailer show cancelled, opportunities to network with brands for sponsorships were cut short. “There’s been furloughs and layoffs,” Leavitt said. “A lot of brands have downsized their employees. Therefore, most of that money isn’t going to go towards events. It’s going to go towards supporting their employees. That takes a big toll on us because we aren’t able to redesign or reconfigure that support system for this event.” James started canceling events scheduled in March, April, and May before Kentucky got its first confirmed case to keep people safe. But the uncertainty of how long the pandemic would last, and how widespread the effects would be, made it difficult when thinking about events farther down the line. For two years, James has been helping plan the Outdoor Adventure Weekend with the Friends of Cherokee State Historic Park for June 2020. The park was originally built during a time of segregation as one of the few parks in the South open to the Black community. Funds raised from a weekend of art, music, and cultural activities would go towards revitalization of the park, including new signage, a pollinator habitat, and programming. The three-day event has now been rescheduled for Summer 2021. A New Way of Doing Business While the virtual fittings have helped Phidippides stay open during this time, it hasn’t made up for people coming into the store and looking around. “Across the board, people are very concerned about where their money is going,” Ware said. “Right now, buying a $130 pair of shoes is a luxury good. With so much uncertainty in the world for people’s incomes, it’s a big ask for people to be spending a lot of their money on something outdoorsy.” Where do we go from here? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. In a time when COVID-19 continues to affect day-to-day life and the future is filled with uncertainty, what will outdoor recreation look like when we are able to start gathering again? Most bikes and bike parts are made overseas. Between factory closures, shipping delays, and restrictions, companies are struggling to keep up with high demand. Riddle is actually turning away customers, telling them he’ll call if he finds any bikes. “This is like the perfect storm,” he said. “We’re getting in whatever we can. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is. We’re selling it.” At the same time, more bike manufacturers are shipping directly to customers—a growing trend in the last five years, with the pandemic fast tracking the way bike companies do things. But customers are still coming into the shop when something isn’t shipped right, or they can’t put something together. “The internet cannot fix your bike,” Riddle said. Dr. Kim Walker, co-founder of Abundant Life Adventure Club, on taking a simpler approach to getting outside: “It doesn’t have to be very complicated, you don’t have to go very far, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. I feel like a lot more people are realizing or revisiting their appreciation for the health benefits of spending time outdoors.” When the Appalachian Trail Conservancy asked thru-hikers to step off the trail in March, Roan Mountain lost out on some of that revenue generated by hikers stopping in town. The town also canceled their annual trail festival, Hikerpalooza, originally scheduled for May. Although the class of 2020 thru-hikers will have to reschedule their thru-hikes, Hill and others in the community are pushing the message that Roan Mountain is the perfect place to get outside away from other people. “We are Roan Mountain and we are the Appalachian Trail,” Hill said. “Social distancing wise, it’s a really awesome opportunity to get out away from it all. I really think that message is going to resonate more and mean more to people now than it would have six months ago. The trail is still here, our characters are still here. There’s plenty of room, and we’ll see you when you get here.” Altogether, Riddle sees the increased interest as a good thing for the bike industry. “Hopefully we can retain 10 to 15 percent of these new customers,” he said. “When people start going to sporting events again and living their lives as they did before, I’m hoping a lot of these folks don’t forget how much fun they had riding bikes with their family or going out in the woods and getting away from screens. I hope they continue to do that.” Outdoor recreation advocates, event producers, and retailers discuss how the pandemic is affecting outdoor recreation in our region and where the industry is headed. Rethinking Events Having been a part of the Atlanta running community since 1974, Ware said now the shop needs the running community’s support more than ever. “You’re seeing that across the board,” he said. “Shop local, drink local, eat local. I think that message is getting through to people and I hope they remember it after we get through the pandemic.” While in-person fittings will always be Phidippides’ bread and butter, Ware does think that the ways in which the pandemic forced them to get creative will help them serve customers unable to get into the store down the line. When putting in a request for a permit, event producers have to demonstrate safety, security, and recycling plans. Marshall thinks they will have to demonstrate a plan for preventing the spread of diseases in the future. “I think it’s going to be very similar to how things changed after 9/11 with security and safety protocols,” she said. “I think it will change and eventually it will feel like the new normal. That’s my opinion. We were always conscious of health and cleanliness when it came to events, but I think there’s going to need to be a more outward show.” Pete Eshelman, director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation, said parks in the Roanoke, Va., area have seen anywhere from a 50-to-200-percent increase in visitation since March. At a time like this, with localities looking to cut their budgets due to a decrease in revenue, parks and rec budgets are typically the first thing on the chopping block, but Eshelman argues that now is really the time for cities and states to fund those opportunities more than ever. This article includes the most up to date information since this issue went to press on June 18. Since that time, certain details affected by the pandemic may have changed. Please check with local regulations and organizations before making plans to get outside. The outfitter offers a variety of activities and camping options near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., including whitewater rafting, kayak, tube, and bike rentals, and food tours. River & Trail opened up in May with new guidelines in place. For rafting trips, they’re keeping it to one group per boat. Shuttles are running at 30 percent capacity with the windows down and are sanitized after every trip. Common spaces at the campgrounds are closed and porta potties were added to each cabin. “There is just a whole lot of uncertainty,” Baihly said. “Everyone was not sure what to plan for, not sure if they should hire for all of their programs. With an outdoor business, you kind of recreate the wheel every year. You have at least a chunk of staff that’s new. So, there’s a whole lot of effort that goes into preparing for a short amount of time. The big question is what do we invest in and prepare for not knowing what kind of a season we’re going to have.” Throughout the ongoing pandemic, cities and states have experienced an increase in the number of people getting outside. With outdoor recreation considered appropriate and essential for maintaining health in almost every state, people are turning to the outdoors for physical exertion and mental wellbeing. Amy Allison, director of North Carolina’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, on tourism post-pandemic: “When the restrictions start to loosen, we are going to see visitors flooding our public lands, making it more imperative than ever for us to do our part to mitigate that impact and take care of our gateway communities, our wild places, and those who work and volunteer in those areas.” Jenny Baker, host of The Georgia Jewel, on balancing work and parenthood: “As parents, we need to be present for our children. At the same time, our livelihoods are in jeopardy. How do you manage that, emotionally? Your mind is constantly on that hamster wheel of what bills can I put off, what things do I need. And then your children are home and they don’t understand things either.” When deciding to cancel or reschedule, Tes Sobomehin Marshall, race director and founder of runningnerds, looked at each of her events individually. “If it’s a fundraising event that was meant to raise money for a charity, and that’s one of their main sources of income, I think it’s important to try to figure out a way to keep people engaged,” Marshall said. “I’m not trying to force virtual events down the running community’s throat. I want to do stuff that people want.” While many of her races were canceled or turned into virtual events, Marshall is still considering what to do about her largest event. The Race, scheduled for the first weekend of October, brings in runners from across the country. Even if she can get a permit, Marshall wonders if people will show up. “We could be allowed to have an event, but are people going to sign up for it?” she said. “Are they going to feel comfortable coming out?” Andrea Hassler, executive director of Southeastern Climbers Coalition, on nonprofits: “We have seen a dip in nonprofit contributions as a result of a decrease in the economy and the instability and uncertainty of the future. Members are still willing to contribute, and they have. But without the ability to offer events in person, our fundraising is limited. I’ve also seen a decrease in the availability of grant funding for projects. A lot of corporations that typically sponsor or provide grants have diverted that funding elsewhere or do not have that funding available because of the current economy.” Cover illustration by Kevin Howdeshell
NOBODY was to blame for the death of Australian opener Phillip Hughes in 2014, says the coroner who led the inquest into his death.Hughes died from a brain haemorrhage, two days after being hit on the neck while playing for South Australia in a first-class match in Sydney.New South Wales coroner Michael Barnes did, however, make recommendations to ensure the sport was safer.Cricket Australia said it would make the changes as soon as possible.“We want to do everything possible to avoid this sort of thing happening again in the future,” chief James Sutherland told reporters in Perth.Mr Barnes said there had been no “malicious intent” from New South Wales’ Sean Abbott, who bowled the fatal delivery at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and “no failure” to enforce the laws of the game in respect to the short-pitched deliveries.“Of the 23 bouncers bowled that day, 20 were bowled to him,” he said. “Phillip was comfortably dealing with short-pitch balls. I conclude they did not contribute to his death.“Hughes was dealt a fatal ball with a high bounce. He could have ducked but such was his competitiveness he wanted to make runs from it.”The coroner added: “A minuscule misjudgement or a slight error of execution caused him to miss the ball which crashed into his neck with fatal consequences.”During the five-day inquest, Hughes’ fellow Australia internationals Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger and David Warner, who were playing for New South Wales, denied there was any element of unsportsmanlike behaviour in the match.Those sentiments were echoed by Tom Cooper, who was batting alongside Hughes at the time of the incident.Questions had been raised over whether one bowler told Hughes: “I’m going to kill you.”Mr Barnes said while he could not be certain sledging – verbal abuse designed to unsettle a batsman – had taken place, it was “difficult to accept” it had not, but it would not have played any part in Hughes’ death.“Hopefully the focus on this unsavoury aspect of the incident may cause those who claim to love the game to reflect whether the practice of sledging is worthy of its participants,” he added.During the inquest, the Hughes family walked out of court because they believed unsportsmanlike play had contributed to the tragedy.“The family’s grief at losing their much-loved son and brother was exacerbated by their belief that unfair play had contributed to his death,” Mr Barnes said.The family were not at the court to hear the findings of the inquest.Mr Sutherland said he did not believe sledging was an issue for cricket, but was mostly good natured and in the spirit of the game.”If it has become a problem, then I’d say the umpires are not doing their job,” he said. (BBC Sport)
Masai Ujiri NBA most sought after front desk manager, Masai Ujiri, at the weekend commended the board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) for putting up a working organisation for the men’s national team, D’Tigers ahead of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup holding in China between August 31 and September 15.Speaking at a welcome home trophy show in Lagos, Nigeria, Ujiri who led the Toronto Raptors to win the NBA title for the first time in the club’s franchise history, observed that the Nigeria Basketball Federation has put some organisation in place that has seen the national team working in progression.“I think the national team has done very well so far because Nigeria has the right talent. The only thing that has always come to question is with our organisation and preparation for major tournaments. I have been in touch with the President of the NBBF, Musa Kida, Col. Sam Ahmedu (rtd) and Coach Alex Nwora. In fact, Col. Sam and Nwora visited me in Toronto while scouting for players. I must say they are doing things the right way which is the process of preparation for the national team. “I am very encouraged with what they are doing also with the women’s team where Mactabene Amachere is helping to put things together. The girls have a good chance of being champions again and the men’s team has shown character through the World Cup African Qualifiers. They have the potentials to make a difference at the World Cup.“Sadly, I was not in Canada when they played their tune-up games. I see them taking the advantage of the withdrawals of some key players from the American team to make a huge statement for the country and Africa,” stressed Ujiri. He pointed out that there are several opportunities that can be tapped into if the private sector is properly galvanised to promote the game of basketball in Nigeria, noting that this is the only way the youths can be reached and given a chance to excel.Ujiri was a member of the Nigeria team to Senegal ’97 that qualified for the World Cup in Greece and the Raptors Nigerian president is credited for much of the success of the Canada-based team.As President of Basketball Operations, Masai Ujiri engineered the blockbuster trade which brought San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, a three-time NBA All-Star, NBA champion and finals MVP, to Toronto last year. The move has paid off remarkably with Leonard leading the team to their first ever NBA Championship title.As part of his visit home, Ujiri also took the NBA trophy to his parents in Zaria and to the Ahmadu Bello University where he presented it to his first coach Oliver Babatunde Johnson (OBJ) who nurtured him in his formativeyears.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The body of Donegal fishing skipper Garret Boyce is to be flown back to Donegal today.Mr Boyce, a 45-year-old from Downings, passed away while fishing on December 23rd.The popular fishing skipper, who has worked with McBride Fishing all his life, was married with one daughter. Following his sudden death at sea, Mr Boyce’s remains had been flown to Denmark where a post-mortem was carried out.McBride Fishing last night issued a statement on the funeral arrangements for the late Mr Boyce.It read “Following the tragic & sudden death of our beloved colleague and skipper Garret Boyce on board Peadar Elaine II on Saturday 23rd of December his remains will be repatriated to Ireland on Saturday 30th of December.“Wake will take place at his home on Sunday 31st of December and Monday 1st of January, followed by funeral at St. John The Baptist Church on Tuesday 2nd of January at 11am.” RIP.Remains of popular Downings fishing skipper to arrive home today was last modified: January 2nd, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalDowningsfuneralGarret Boyceskipper