Famous Friday


Gianna Bryant, sometimes referred to as “GiGi” was an American middle school who loved the game of basketball.  She was destined to take after her father, the legendary NBA star, Kobe Bryant. Gianna Bryant was born in Los Angeles, California on May 1, 2006. She is the daughter of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant. Her father was African American and her mother is Mexican. Her mother was a model and her father played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years and helped them win five NBA championships..

Gianna, just like her father, took up basketball as her sport playing on her middle school team at Harbor Day School and Mamba Academy. Bryant played basketball competitively at her father’s Mamba Sports Academy, where she was coached by her father.

Just like every other aspiring athletic kid, Gianna had dreams to attend University of Connecticut where she would pursue playing basketball and join the WNBA.  There were many times when she would be seen alongside her father at Laker’s, UConn, and WNBA games. The two seemed to have shared an inseparable bond with their love of basketball.

Unfortunately now Gianna is famous because of a tragedy.  On January 26, 2020 while traveling to the Mamba Academy via helicopter with her dad, and seven others something went wrong with the helicopter and it crashed.  All nine passengers tragically passed away that day.  Gianna had such a full life ahead of her with so many dreams.  Even as many would tease her father that he needed a son to carry on his legacy, Gigi would interrupt and say, “I got this, you don’t need no boy for that.”  We now pray for the Bryant family and for her father and Gigi to rest in peace.


Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President


Picture by Chris Costello Via MoPho/SpashNews.com

Famous Friday!

Ben Simmons

ben simmons philly mag dot com

Ben Simmons is the man and that’s why this is my second Famous Friday feature on him. I wrote about Ben here on the Project RACE blog back in January 2016 when he was a college freshman at LSU. In the last 21 months he has earned himself a repeat spot!

As I predicted, Ben was the number one pick in the 2016 NBA draft and signed with the 76ers in July 2016. But a couple months later during a training camp scrimmage he suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot that kept him out for the entire 2016–17 season. It was a tough break for Ben, the team and the fans who were anxious to see this phenom play at the NBA level.

But now he is back and better than ever and the constant comment on Simmons is that he was “worth the wait!” In his official NBA debut, just last week, Ben scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Two days later he became the 11th player in NBA history and the first player in 76ers’ history to debut with consecutive double-doubles. In his third game, the very next day, he had18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the only players ever to post 10+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists in their first three NBA games. In his fourth game, on 23 October, he got his first triple-double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the third rookie in NBA history to record a triple-double in his first four games! I told you he’s the man. Plus, rumor has it that he’s grown two inches since being drafted, and is now just under 7’0”! I hope I’m still growing at 21!

Ben, who was born to a white-Australian mother and an African American father (Julie and Dave Simmons), even has dual Australian and American citizenship. Is that another kind of double-double?

– Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo credit: PhillyMag.com

Famous Friday

Shane Battier
African American and Caucasian


To keep the theme of NBA players going, this week’s Famous Friday is on former NBA player and current announcer. Battier played his college ball at Duke University where he led the Blue Devils to two Final Fours and beat Arizona in the Championship in 2001. That year he was awarded National Player of the year and subsequently his jersey was retired at the University. He graduated from Duke in 2001 and was a two-time Academic All-American.

Battier was selected with the 6th overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 NBA draft. Although Battier was a skilled offensive player with good shooting ability, he earned his nut in the NBA as a hustle player constantly diving after loose balls and drawing chargers. He was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2006 where he played until 2011. He earned his nickname there as “The Ultimate Guy” because not only was he a terrific basketball player, but he was incredible hard worker and an all around great individual.

An example of how much of a team player Battier is, when the Rockets played against the Spurs in the 2007 season. Normally a starter, Battier asked to be taken out of the starting lineup so he could guard Manu Ginobili, the incredible 6th man for the Spurs. As Rockets GM Daryl Morey later commented, “No one in the NBA does that. No one says put me on the bench so I can guard their best scorer all the time.” Battier finally got his championship ring when he signed with the Miami Heat to be with superstars Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Battier should not only be an idol to young kids around the globe, but an inspiration. Day in and day out he illustrates to people how hard work will pay off.

Tom McManus
PRT President

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Multiracial Person of the Day! Multiracial Heritage Week


Elizabeth Cambage

(Nigerian/Australian) [Australian (born in Britain)]

 Elizabeth Cambage was born in London on August 18, 1991 to an Australian mother and a Nigerian father. Cambage and her mother moved to Australia after her parents’ separation when she was three months old. She and her mother settled in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. Later they moved to Melbourne and then to Mornington Peninsula.

Always tall for her age, Cambage the kids in school teased her about her height. When she was 10 years old, she was 6’ tall and at 14 she was 6’5”. Seeing that her daughter had no friends, Cambage’s mother suggested she play basketball at age 10 as a way to make friends.

Known as: Professional Basketball Player (Played for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, Zhejiang Golden Bulls, and the Australian National Team; Previously played for WNBL’s Bulleen Boomers)

 London 2012 Summer Olympics: Women’s Basketball for the Australian National Team (Bronze Medal)

 Awards/Accolades: WNBA All-Star in 2011; 2011 WNBL Most Valuable Player; Two time WNBL All-Star Five

For more information please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liz_Cambage