Boston Celtics

Over the years, people have asked me how a guy born and raised in S. FL became a Boston Celtics fan. Well, when I was around 7-8 years old, I remember watching my first NBA game on tv with my father. Not sure who the Celtics were playing, but I remember falling in love with the parquet floor in the old Boston Gardens. That day, the Celtics became my team. I have rooted for them through the good times and not so good times. I am glad Florida finally got two NBA teams, but I will always be a Celtics fan. My father passed away three years ago this week. If he was alive today, we would be talking about the Celtics run for their 18th Championship. Go Celtics!!! ~OC

Magic and Bird Saved the NBA

I truly enjoyed the ESPN documentary The Last Dance, chronicling the career of the GOAT Michael Jordan. But without Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, there probably is no Michael Jordan or NBA. Magic and Bird saved the NBA. Let me explain.

Some of you are probably too young to remember, but once upon a time the NBA playoffs and finals were taped. That’s right, you had to avoid the news all day if you did not want to know the scores of the games. The NBA was coming off a drug scandal. Most people were just not interested in watching the NBA. Then March 26, 1979 happened. The NBA would never be the same.

On March 26, 1979, the Michigan State Spartans took on the Indiana State Sycamores for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Ervin “Magic” Johnson, the kid with the big smile vs. Larry “The Hick from French Lick” Bird. Most of America watched the drama play out from Salt Lake City, Utah. That night Magic’s Spartans got the best of Bird’s Sycamores. But that would not be the last time we would see these two compete against each other. That night in Utah would change the NBA forever.

Magic Johnson would be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird would be drafted by the Boston Celtics. Magic and Bird would turn around the two most storied franchises in the NBA. Most importantly, they brought the fans back to the NBA. No longer were the playoffs and finals on tape delay. Fans could not get enough of Magic, Bird and the NBA.

No doubt Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play in the NBA, but we must never forget that the kid with the infectious smile from Lansing, Michigan and the Hick from French Lick saved the NBA. ~OC

My Hero, The Hope Dealer

Last night, Laura and I had the honor of attending the first Inner City Innovators Gala to celebrate the young men who this amazing organization helps. It was also a time to celebrate one of my heroes Mr. Ricky Aiken. Let me tell you about my hero.

I met Ricky when he was about 14 or 15 years old. I was volunteering with a great organization Urban Youth Impact at the time. Ricky and I just hit it off. I think it was our mutual love for books and sports. You know God is real when he brings a Boston Celtics fan and a LA Lakers fan together. As happens in life, we lost contact for a brief period. When Ricky turned 18 we reconnected around his birthday. My wife had heard about Ricky and wanted to celebrate his birthday. Oh, did we celebrate. My wife had a blast taking Ricky shopping. I think Ricky might have been a little overwhelmed by Laura’s enthusiasm, but he indulged her. That day Ricky became Laura’s son. It is a relationship that has continued to grow throughout the years. Laura still loves celebrating Ricky’s birthday.

Back in 2015, one of Ricky’s friends was shot and killed. For Ricky that was the last straw. He could no longer sit around and watch his community be destroyed by gun violence. That is when Inner City Innovators was born. Ricky has become a leader in his community. A leader in his city. And I believe in time, a national leader. This from a young man labeled emotionally disabled by the educational system. How I wish the person who made that incorrect diagnosis could see Ricky now. To see the Man he has become. The Leader he has become. The Hope Dealer he has become.

I could go on and on about my godson and the man he has become. Laura and I are so proud of him. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves when we see all that Ricky has accomplished in life. We are thankful God has blessed us with a front row sit. I pray that one day, Ricky will write a book and share his amazing story with the world. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to check out Inner City Innovators at

Some of My Favorites

Some of my favorites:


Cincinnati Reds

Boston Celtics

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Florida Gators


Baseball: Johnny Bench

Basketball: Larry Bird

Football: Lee Roy Selmon & Derrick Brooks

Florida Gators: Al Horford, Danny Wuerffel & Tim Tebow

Coach: Tony Dungy




Brian’s Song (The Original)

12 Years a Slave


Remember the Titans

Doc Hollywood

Facing the Giants


America History

Any Jimmy Stewart Film


Kirk Franklin


Michael Jackson



DC Talk

Bruce Springsteen

George Michael

Bee Gees



Elton John

Alisa Turner

Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Anthony Evans



FC Worship

Lionel Richie

The Commodores

Stevie Wonder

Rod Stewart

Kenny Chesney


Michael English


Kim Walker-Smith

Harry Connick Jr.

Michael Neale

Tenth Avenue North

Jeremy Camp


Earth, Wind & Fire

Hall & Oates

Def Leppard

Hillsong United

Jackson 5

Luther Vandross

Whitney Houston




America Story by Bob Dotson

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

Moment Make by Carlos Whittaker

Under Our Skin by Benjamin Watson

Just Mercy Bryan Stevenson

Unscripted by Ernie Johnson, Jr.

Living Out Loud by Craig Sager

I’ll Push You by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray

Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad

Love Does by Bob Goff

Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Radical by David Platt

Transformed by Remi Adeleke

Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Drop the Stones by Carlos A. Rodríguez

Brave Surrender by Kim Walker-Smith

Comeback by Dave Dravecky

When You Can’t Comeback by Dave & Jan Dravecky

Quite Strength by Tony Dungy

Separate Peace by John Knowles

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Believe by Eric LeGrand

Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

God & Football by Chad Gibbs

The Pact:Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, Rameck Hunt

Vulnerable by Raleigh Sadler

This Life I Live by Rory Feek

42 Faith by Ed Henry

The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores

Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes

Long Run by Matt Long

Forty Thousand To One by Ben Petrick

The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose

When The Game Was Ours by Jackie MacMullan

Catch You Later by Johnny Bench

Love Thy Rival by Chad Gibbs

This is just a short list of my favorites. I could go on for days. ~OC

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