Great Sports Books to Love

By Denise Turney

Kareem Abdul Jabbar Giant Steps Sports Book

I still remember when I first heard about Kareem Abdul Jabbar.  He went by the name Lewis Alcindor back then. At the time, Kareem was playing basketball for UCLA. Sports writers deemed him to be the guy who could beat, finally beat, the dominating Wilt Chamberlain. Just as people waited desperately for someone to dethrone Muhammad Ali, people waited eagerly for Kareem to enter the NBA.

They didn’t have to wait long. After Kareem was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, expectations surrounding him grew. Wilt Chamberlain was so dominant, he appeared to be a Goliath of sorts. Akin to others, I eagerly waited for Kareem to dethrone Goliath. I also promised myself that I’d follow basketball for as long as Kareem played. Had no idea at the time that he’d end up getting traded to the very team (the Los Angeles Lakers) Wilt played on.

. . . Back to the early 1970s. Back to those heady days when change still hung thick on the American landscape.

I sat on the living room floor alongside my siblings, gaze glued to our family’s black and white television screen. I wasn’t even in the game, and my heart was racing. On the inside, I cheered for Kareem, begged him to win. But, Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t having it.

Looking back, I think it was only right for Wilt to hold ground. After all, he was the elder statesman, the guy who’d dominated the game unlike any other professional basketball player had at that time. He deserved to be respected, even by me (smile). And today, I do just that . . . respect his game. . . But not back then. Oh, did I want Wilt to lose.

Of course, Wilt Chamberlain had a stellar career in the NBA. As the ensuing years unfolded, Kareem would do the same, becoming top scorer in the league. His sky hook would become his signature trademark, a shot not often seen today. He’s also be voted to play in 19 (count ’em, 19) NBA All-Star games. He’d also rack up at least 40 points in 70 NBA games, not to mention the 61 points he scored while playing at UCLA.

Years later, Kareem Abdul Jabbar showed the world another side of himself, a storytelling side. That (and other) revelations were shared in Kareem’s autobiography, Giant Steps, a book that remains my all-time favorite book written by or about a professional athlete. When I consider that Giant Steps wasn’t ghost written, it makes the book that much better.

Oh, the flow to Kareem’s writing. As a professional writer, I really appreciate his style, his flow. Reading Giant Steps felt like sitting on a porch with a friend, listening to him share his life’s story so far. I hadn’t been to New York City yet, but felt like I knew the city as I continued reading Giant Steps, felt like I’d been to the Big Apple, a city I would visit for the first time two decades later.

Jim Brown’s autobiography, Out of Bounds, is another great sports book. Like Kareem, Jim Brown is candid, incredibly open and revealing in Out of Bounds. Arthur Ashe’s, Days of Grace, is another sports book I highly recommend. Through these books, you get to see the soul of a man. In these books, professional athletes seem to care to hide nothing. But, that’s not the books’ strongest points. It’s the conversational style the sports books are written in that make them winners.

Another sports book favorite is Seabiscuit, written by Laura Hillenbrand. This is so fitting, as my favorite athlete of all time is a horse – the one and only, Secretariat. Akin to the struggles central characters in Seabiscuit experience (and overcome), Raymond Clarke (star athlete in Love Pour Over Me) faces high risks and seemingly insurmountable odds. His athletic dreams fuel him forward.

It’s a treasure to watch a person do what it takes to achieve her dreams. Having run track in elementary, middle and high school, I know firsthand the work that goes into achieving athletic success. It might look easy, but it doesn’t always feel that way when you’re in the middle of it. Watching a person do what it takes to earn a lifestyle as a professional athlete is even more commendable. It’s truly icing on the cake when a talented athlete, someone who’s braved fierce high winds time and again, shares his story with readers in a way only he can.

I’m glad I heard about Kareem Abdul Jabbar all those years ago, when I was a kid. I’m glad that he achieved his dreams, set records and made history. It’s also a very good thing that Kareem didn’t keep his life’s journey to himself, but instead decided to share it while showcasing his engaging writing style. He might not have beaten Wilt Chamberlain right out of college, but he definitely wins-wins-wins with Giant Steps.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to, B&,, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Spotlighting Positive African American Males

By Denise Turney

Rey Flemings, Stephon Alexander, Tyler Perry, Curley M. Dossman, Jr., Dr. Howard Rasheed and Milton Jones are just a few of the many positive Black men in America. These men do more than start businesses, lead their families and promote forward thinking in others. They also mentor other males, particularly youth, helping to inspire and motivate them toward rewarding adulthoods.

Positive black men like Rey Flemings, owner of Stripple, employ  their talents to capture every day as well as uncommonly seen events. Milton Jones and Dr. Howard Rasheed develop educational as well as mentoring programs through 100 Black Men of America, an empowering organization that launched in New York in 1963.

Work that these and other men, like Tyler Perry and Curley Dossman, Jr. perform has made its way into the media, gaining the attention of the masses. However, there are many positive African American males who never get spotlighted in  local or national media outlets. It’s these positive Black men who do the inner work to strengthen their marriages, improve the communications they share with their children, study with their offspring, contribute to communities they reside in, etc.

Some positive African American males raise children single handedly after the mothers of their children pass or after they experience a divorce. Daily responsibilities they perform include cooking meals, checking homework, bathing and dressing their infant children, transporting their children to school, attending school events, carving out time to have fun with their young children an hour or more a day, including taking their children with them to sporting events, museums, etc. Positive Black men fulfill these and other responsibilities while balancing full-time jobs.

It’s these images, the stories of these men, that teens need to hear about, images that smash at negative depictions of men. As these real life images get more exposure, people won’t look on in shock when they hear about positive African American males who are finding ways to empower themselves, their families and communities every single day. These men are out here, everywhere — it’s just that so few people take the time to notice or spotlight them and the great things they do. 

As other men commit to doing, Raymond Clarke’s father raises a child alone, yet he has inner issues to deal with that he refuses to face until late. He loves his son, but struggles to balance sharp inner conflicts. Some fathers, from all cultures, struggle to find balance within themselves. The good news is that when they do, they offer positive contributions to society and  . . . to their sons. Support men who are like Raymond’s father receive from organizations like 100 Black Men in America, the National Organization for Men, Positive Men’s Organization, Men’s Health Network, Boys to Men Foundation and The Good Men Project could help them become even better fathers and contributors to society.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to, B&,, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.


God Bless the Tough Independent Child

By Denise Turney

book about independent children

You don’t  have to grow up in a single parent home to realize early in your life that your lot is to be one of the children Billie Holliday sang about in her hit song “God Bless the Child.” If you’re going to get on in this world, you’re going to have to fend for yourself. This realization might have come to you after you buried one or both of your parents. You might have realized this after you became a ward of the state, being moved from one foster home to another.

Growing Up as a Tough Independent Child

Or you might have struck out on your own, nothing except the clothes on your back serving as your wardrobe, after having yet another fight with your parents. The decision to remove yourself from an abusive relationship or home might have also helped push you into the streets. After all you’ve been through as a tough, independent child, leaving home may not have been as scary for you as it would be for other people simply because you’ve been fending for yourself since early childhood.

As with other people, you may have learned to be fiercely independent as you watched one or more of your parents struggle with an addiction. Or you might have learned how to be fiercely independent after a parent walked out when you were an infant or toddler, leaving you to spend your older years wondering if there’s something wrong with you, causing you to compel that parent to step out of your life.

You’re not alone. Both events happen to some children like Raymond Clarke, a boy struggling to grow up emotionally and psychologically balanced. Genetics aren’t against Raymond Clarke. It’s Raymond’s father’s inner conflicts that cause Raymond to feel abandoned, as if he’s in the world alone, all by himself. As many troubled parents do, Raymond’s father, Malcolm, takes his inner conflicts out on his growing son.

There is no mother to fend for Raymond; she walked out years ago. Just as you and many other children do, Raymond survives. Yet, his belief that everyone is, at their core, like his alcoholic father and absent mother, causes him to fear the very thing he needs . . . love.

As I hoped for Raymond, I hope that you learn how to receive love. I hope you don’t allow your independence to cause you to shun affection or to think that behind every kind act is a trick. Some people are genuine and sincere. Some people have no intentions to cause you harm. Some people are pulling for you, wishing, hoping and praying that you win.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to, B&, and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Sources: (Verbal Abuse Site)

In Pursuit of Your Most Passionate Dreams

By Denise Turney

Become aware of a dream you have deep inside your being and you might be tempted to think that the road to achieving your dream will be an easy one. The illusion could be so intense until you disregard the hard challenges and ongoing struggles, some lasting for years, that other people faced as they pursued their dreams. For example, while reading autobiographies and biographies about courageous people like Harriet Tubman, Joan of Arc, John Johnson, Mary Kay Ash and Harland David Sanders, you might focus solely or heavily on the triumphs in their lives.

Dream Fulfillment May Not be Easy

Do this and you might convince yourself that other people who fulfilled their dreams had it easy, were gifted with miraculous journeys that other folks don’t get to experience. However, if you look closer at many courageous people’s lives, you may find that this simply is not the case. Not only do courageous people, folks who do what it takes to fulfill their most passionate dreams, bury their loved ones and meet the responsibilities of caring for their children, they also experience financial challenges, have to find time to take care of their personal health and seek out creative ways to keep moving forward during changing and hard social and economic conditions.

Their lives are anything but easy. It’s a reason many consider them to be heroines and heroes.

As you continue to pursue your dreams, consider letting go of the idea that achieving your dream will be easy. Consider letting go of the idea that your journey to the success you want will be smooth. As Raymond Clarke, a man determined to make it on the professional track and field circuit discovered, It might not be. In fact, your physical journey might hold experiences, surprises, you are yet to know anything about. You might celebrate some of these experiences and curse others.

Pursuing Comfort Might Keep You from Fulfilling Your Dream

What you may not want to do, especially if you have conviction about your dream, is quit. Additionally, as you pursue your dream, you might not feel as if the journey was easy until your dream completely manifest itself, and even then, you’ll likely be starting another life journey. It’s a reason the goal for constant comfort and the process of achieving a dream may not marry well. The pursuit of constant comfort could find you seeking rest more than labor, lack of change more than change and routine instead of unexpected events.

However, it’s the unexpected, the non-routine and focused effort that, step-by-step (sometimes these steps feel frustrating and way too hard), lead to the fulfillment of dreams. As Raymond Clarke does in Love Pour Over Me, if you really want to fulfill your dreams . . . keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to, B&, and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.