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Champions – Black History Tribute Poem

Celebrate Black History Month with a spoken word poetry tribute to the athletes who broke barriers and inspired us.

“Champions” by Raliq Bashard
Follow: @Raliq_thewriter

We weren’t suppose to champions, but we made it
Didn’t have a full deck, but we played it
with patience
Displays greatness in the game and changed it,
became it,
became famous, through all the slander,
Through all the snake-ish
Black backbiting grammar
that slayed us
in the papers, they called us Bammas
And it was that hate that made us,
They gave us ghettoes and chained us,
But we won metals and came up, fate raised us and
made us

…Louis,
Mike Tyson:
Enticing
Titans,
Tycoons, bisons,
Fists like rifles
Pitbulls biting
Heart tight as vice grips, fighting vices,
Lifeless but living
loud hounds singing
pound for pounds swinging, sifting
shape-shifting
Weight shifting, putting shifts in
We had narrow
roads but stayed driven
We made good-crowns outta put downs
Golden thrones outta broken homes,
Loaded domes, made men bow
Jim brown with a field goal, Pin down,
like a gentiles, praying
laying sins down

Outbound, inbound
On the right court.
With a nice Spalding ball
We Mike Jordan weaving
Calling shots
white Nikes balling
great white knight, bald head
You can doubt mine,
But just always remember that jump man logo outline…
…that was from the foul line!
We out-shine:
fire in our chest, diamonds in our eyes: cow sized,

‘Bout time they saw we were destined
Just some ol’ bare back, dirt ball,
half-homed black boys
turned legend.

We’re Hank Aaron at the 7th
Bat dropping at the base dashing
Robinson joltin’ in the gadget
of his own fire, no holes in his game,
Slashing, blood on his gym towel,
We been fouled,
been here, got wins here, lost wind here,
Been scared

But we ain’t give up!
We don’t forfeit,
‘Cause we are fit,
they stole our dignity
We stole bases
Cold game–
First down, first inning
Foul line, free throw
Shape shift
Jim Crow, 3rd ward,
Crack house, basement

This game’s ancient
Game came with real struggle,
They can’t say boxing without Ali
They can’t say basketball without a Bill Russell
We instilled hustle
We never sold out, we sold out
with our souls out
Stole crowds, whole crowds
Two knees, both down
We ain’t come from medals,
but we aint losing so fate choosing,
Call us champions

They had plans and we cancelled it!
Wrote new manuscripts
Hate rang out in the stands and we answered it

We’re Doug Williams with doves, building
We broke walls, cut ceilings
Touched children, plus million

Gorgeous arms, flawless shot
Gorgeous form,
…Halter tops

And stockings, shmuck grins
For the woman had two against them and still shined
If we speak Althea Gibson
We speak
1965 with a drive like Malcolm while shifting
This is history!

This is Gabby Douglas
athletes with tough skin, in a world that gave
us nothing
and made us something,
and look who we get to be!
Honorable and brave as the man who is Michael Sam,
Who says “I am who I am, and I play as I am”

We can all be as great as Tiger woods
But stereotypes us, hype us
treat us like we hood and we play twice as good
life is good,

We stole gold, we Flo Jo
We Jesse Owens
We steady hoping
sprinting in our boycott genes
We New Orleans when the levees
broke in

We Jim
Douglas
and Tommy Smith with a win
metals for ghettos, and the legacy that echo
With a chance to rise with two fists when it ends,
from football fields to
courts to
gyms
We shook up the world!
Showed them how to dance, it was the rhythm in
our hands
Our swing, our dribble,
our feet, our stance
We weren’t made like this
We weren’t made to be champions
But we played like it,
Made away like it,
These just black boys dreams,
We’ Alabama blooded,
We gold studded halos on folks
that owned nothing
Nothing but a right
to be remembered in history
…now, just imagine…
Imagine what our kids can be

Video by Relevant24 – http://relevant24.com/
FOX Sports Producer: Justin Ching

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