Author Archives: Sam Fiske


Kobe Bryant and Bill Clinton Discuss Sports and Kids

Building a community through the language of sports and play is part of the foundation of Sports for Sharing. It is probably unsurprising then, that we celebrate any moment that the value of sports and community are championed on a public forum by some of the world’s most famous faces. Last month t the Clinton Health Matters Conference during an ESPN Town Hall hosted by Mike Greenberg, Kobe Bryant and Bill Clinton discussed sports and kids, and how sports affected their lives from childhood. Sports is considered a valuable tool for human development, and this dialogue was brought to a national audience.

Both Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant elaborated on moments from their youth when sports played a major factor. For Clinton, one moment in particular runs strong the former United States President, “I still remember the only church league basketball game that I was the leading scorer. I was 16 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the basket I made to be the leading scorer. You may think that’s silly, like this guy’s been president and he’s thinking about a basketball game … it was one of those magical nights. I might as well have won the NBA championship.”

Meanwhile, Kobe recalled his childhood growing up in Italy, not knowing a word of Italian, and learning to communicate through sports and playing basketball. He deemed sports as “the universal language” that helped him grow as a person and living in another country. Another big part of his emphasis was the cultural movement away from competition, “There’s a lot of people out there who don’t believe in having healthy competition,” Bryant said. “I think we have to make it enjoyable and for kids to understand that there’s a certain spirit of competition that’s fun. It’s not nasty, it’s not aggressive, it’s just fun competition, and I think when you have that kids will go out and enjoy themselves. They’ll pick up their activity instead of just plopping down in front of the TV.”

The chat was intended in part to address the growing trend towards less physical activity and athletic participation. Most reliable surveys indicate less than 1 in 3 children between the ages of 6 to 17 play sports on a daily basis, at least in part due to the cultural shift away from traditional sandbox games play. We often hear of the increasingly competitive youth club teams for most major sports that then exclude children that are not as gifted or fail to make the cut to play the games they love. For Bryant, it is about getting back to playing sports because they are fun with your friends, “As a kid growing up, it was fun trash talking with your buddies and competing with your friends. That’s what made getting out and being active fun.” In other words, have fun playing sports with your friends, not just playing sports to go pro.

Kobe has indicated that championing sports for kids will be the focus of his work away from the court, both during and after the future Hall of Famer’s career comes to an end. Clinton’s foundation is partnered with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play which launched April 2013 with the slogan of “Reimagining youth sports in America.” For more information, follow this link to a comprehensive report on physical activity in America and helpful infographics. Watch the video below to see the full conversation between Kobe, BIll Clinton and ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg.

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Michelle Obama, FDA Introduce New Food Labels


Michelle Obama and the FDA have proposed changing the Nutrition Facts label.

The First Lady Michelle Obama and Food and Drug Administration Commisioner Margaret Hamburg spoke today introduced a proposal for new nutrition facts labels to help consumers make healthier eating choices, and reflect more accurate serving sizes. Have you ever eaten a bag of potato chips, only to look at the nutrition facts and realize you had eight servings at 200 calories per serving? With the modified labels, the nutrition facts would reflect the whole volume as one serving size and help you comprehend just how much you are consuming of your daily intake.

Michelle Obama said Thursday that American families will benefit from the modified nutrition labels.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” Obama said in an FDA news release. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.” (Source)

The proposed changes would remove  the “calories from fat” in favor of total calories for each serving. It is now widely viewed that the type of fats you ingest are more important than the calories themselves, so the fat vs. unsaturated fat and trans fat line would remain. Additionally, the new labels will emphasize added sugars and specific nutrients such as potassium and Vitamin D.

While sugars are seen as something Americans do not know how much they are over consuming, there has been a notable deficiency in Vitamin D and potassium in the average American diet. The labels, if passed, will certainly help Americans become more aware of important nutrition facts such as calories, sugars, fats and vitamins if they care to look. Or at the least, we’ll know exactly what those bags of  chips are putting in our bodies.






Getting to Know Keith Gray



As part of  Sports for Sharing’s  Athlete Ambassador program, Keith Gray, a former professional athlete, will be speaking to students at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School on Friday, February 28.

Below is a biography: Getting to know Keith Gray. 

Keith Gray grew up in a single parent household where his mother taught him the value of education. Keith’s passion for learning led him to earn a full athletic scholarship to American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in Justice.  After leaving American, Keith signed a contract to play professionally in Reutlingen, Germany.

Keith then returned to the US and went on to work and further his education at the University of South Florida (USF) where he served as an University Administrator and instructor. At USF, he earned his Masters of Education while working hard to have a positive impact the on lives of young men and women. Shortly after receiving his Master’s degree, Keith then played professionally for Puerto Plata (Los Marineros) in the Dominican Republic. After playing in DR, Keith decided to officially retire from basketball and to focus his on his professional career.

Keith then returned to USF where he was primarily responsible for ensuring that minority students were able to gain access to and matriculate through college. Keith helped many first generation college students, like himself, become successfully admitted to college and set on the pathway to prosperity.

Keith has always wanted more for his community. He has a passion for youth who have experienced tough circumstances, just as he did growing up. After witnessing consistently low African American male college enrollment, Keith sought to work “on the ground” to protect and serve disadvantaged youth. This led him to a career in law enforcement, where he served for a number of years as an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

As an officer, Keith was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of several recreational centers and youth serving facilities while serving as a mentor to many youth who attended the centers. He used his athletic talent and experiences to partner with other divisions within the department to organize basketball clinics across the city in an effort to open the lines of communication between police and the community’s youth.

Today Keith serves as an adjunct professor at American University in addition serving as President & CEO of his security-consulting firm, Grayeagle Integrated Solutions. Keith owes all that he has achieved and continues to achieve to the diligence, drive, and discipline that was instilled in him through sports. He continues to teach youth about the benefits and importance of balancing both academics and sports.

Recently Keith announced his candidacy to run for State Delegate in Maryland’s 26th legislative district. Keith is committed to excellence, whether on the basketball court, in the community, or via mentoring youth.  It was never a part of Keith’s plan to run for public office until he fully realized the impact that legislators have on policies that impact the everyday lives of young adults and struggling families. Keith is running for Delegate to help lead District 26 forward by empowering youth, protecting senior citizens, incubating economic development, and working to ensure that all members of his community have a safe, clean and peaceful place to live.

Keith is a tireless leader with a heart and mind dedicated to helping everyday people. Keith is committed to community development and looks forward to serving all of his neighbors and friends in Prince Georges County. Keith not only believes, but will work to ensure that all Marylanders are “Better Together.”

Keith and his wife April are proud residents of the Maplewood community in Fort Washington, MD where they attend Ebenezer AME Church and are active in the Maplewood Civic Association, the NAACP, and mentoring neighborhood youth.

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Keith Gray