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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
June 12, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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June 12, 2019

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WE HAVE IT COVERED IF IT'S PLAYED June 12, 2019 Former MP and current UGA defensive end Malik Herring is bringing some of his Bulldog buddies to host a free one-day camp for Monroe County kids at the rec department from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. you II all ream Monroe County residents Brady Christman (top row fifth from left), Tristan Hunt (top row second from right) and Jase Nichols (bottom row second from left) and head coach Tim Christman (top row far right) were members of the Elite Garn- ers Christman 12U travel baseball team that competed at the Cooperstown Dreams Park in Cooperstown, N.Y the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame last week. The squad placed in the top 16 out of 104 competing teams with a 5-1 record. The Elite Garners' lone loss came at the hands of a team from New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Ansley Hunt) Mercers football tailgating experi- ence will reach new heights this fall with the announcement of the Ford Concert Series, a one-of-a-kind live music performance held before each of the Bears' six home games. Presented by Ford, Mercer fans will have the opportunity to enjoy live music from national recording artists and popular local talent before kickoff at Toby Town, the desig- nated tailgating area on Black Field, located adjacent to Five Star Stadium. Performing acts for the concert series will be announced at later dates in the near future. "We're thrilled to partner with Ford for an exclusive concert series on our campus this fall" said Mercer As- sociate Athletic Director Daniel Tate. 'gtttending a college football game is about much more than the game; it's a full-day experience. Our goal with the Ford Concert Series is to continue striving toward being one of the best tailgating atmospheres in the South- east." Kickoff times, broadcast availability and more special events aligned with each of Mercer's six home football games will also be announced at a later date. Mercer 2019 home dates include: Sept. 14 Austin Pea5 Sept. 28 Campbell, Oct. 5 Chattanooga, Oct. 19 VMI, Nov. 2 Samford and Nov. 9 Wofford. umni pizza party Members of the Hubbard Alumni Association, with help from Marco's Pizza, organized a pizza party for the Mary Per- sons marching band on Mary Persons Graduation Night on May 24. The dinner, which preceded graduation ceremonies, served as a thank you for the band's continued support for the Hubbard Alumni. (Photo/Richard Dumas) By Richard Dumas forsyth@mymcrnet Persons who would like to attend the third annual enshrinement ceremony of the Forsyth-Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, June 22 can buy rickets at a handful of Forsyth locations. Tickets, which cost $35 per person, are on sale at the Reporter office, United Bank, Persons Bank, the Forsyth Welcome Center, the Forsyth-Monroe Coun- ty Chamber of Commerce office and Haygood, Lynch, Harris, Melton & Watson law firm. Eight inductees, Tra Bat- fie, Lloyd Bohannon, Rich- ard Chambliss St Harold Clarke, Geraldine Ham, Edgar Hatcher, Bobby Melton and Jimmy Watts, will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame at the ban- quet, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 22 at the Monroe County Convention Center. As part of the annual banquet, team members, coaches, cheerleaders and managers of the Monroe Academy 1973 and 1974 SEALS state championship football teams, coached by 2019 enshrinee Hatcher, will also be recognized. In addition, the Forsyth- Monroe County Sports Hall of Fame committee is requesting individual or business sponsors for the Hall of Fame banquet. Sponsorship forms are available online at fmcs- or in paper form at the Monroe County Reporter office, Haygood, Lynch, Harris, Melton & Watson law firm or the Forsyth Welcome Center. Sponsorship pack- ages include: Gold Sponsor Level ($1,000 donation) -- 8 rickets to the banquet, a full page ad in the banquet program and signage at the banquet; Silver Sponsor Level ($500 donation) -- 4 tickets to the banquet, a half-page ad in the banquet program, signage at the banquet; Bronze Spon- sor Level ($250 donation) -- 2 tickets to the banquet, a quarter-page ad in the banquet program and signage at the banquet; Patron ($100 donation) -- name listed in the banquet program. FROM THE PRESS BOX Seldom in life can you say in the immediate aftermath of an occasion ,tla, at it was truly unfor- gettable. But Monday nights Game 5 of the NBA Finals will be remembered as long as basketball is played, and its impact could have league-wide rever- berations for years to come. The most obvious impact is on which team will win this year's NBA title after Toronto curiously coughed up a six-point lead when the Raptors were just three minutes away from Canada's first-ever NBA title. The Raptors' stunning collapse (one of the worst in cham- pionship sports history) and the Warriors' late-game heroics would normally merit a whole column in itself. But not this time. Because Monday night was all about Kevin Durant. Even casual basketball observers probably know the Durant story by now. Perhaps the greatest natural scorer in recent NBA histor) the 6'11" wingman was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2007. Durant moved with the Sonics franchise to Oklahoma City, where he turned the Thunder into a perennial power, culminating in a 2012 NBA Finals appearance and a 2014 NBA MVP Award. When Durant received his MVP trophy, he gave a moving 25-minute speech in which he thanked every OKC teammate by name and gave particular praise to his mother Wanda, who successfully raised him as a single mom in the Wash- ington D.C. suburbs. Five years ago, Durant, who also donated $1 million to aid Oklahoma tornado .3- relief in 2013, was among the most universally admired athletes in the world. That all changed on July 4, 2016 when Durant made a bizarre decision to leave his rifle-contending Thunder, fresh offa heartbreaking seven-game playoff series loss to the 73-win Golden State Warriors, to sign with of all teams, the Warriors. Not only did Durant's move shift the power structure of the league, making the Warriors a virtual title lock for the foreseeable future, Durant also showed a surprising lack of self-awareness. For exam- ple, instead of even calling his longtime running mate Russell Westbrook, whom he left behind in Oklahoma, Durant reportedly sent him a brief text to tell him he was offto the Bay. Over the past three years, Durant has continued to act in many instances like a front-running bully who has been atypically sensitive to media and fan attacks for a cdebrity of his stature. At one point, the thin-skinned Durant famously created burner social media accounts to defend himself against critics and just two weeks ago he basically called a media member a liar during a Twitter beef. Nevertheless, Durant's on-court success in Golden State has gone as-advertised, collecting a pair of NBA Finals MVP trophies and two (so far) championship rings despite persistent attacks that his titles are mean- ingless because the deck appears stacked against the rest of the league. With Golden State the heavy favorite to threepeat, Durant opened the 2019 playoffs on a tear, averaging 35 points per game over his first 10 playoff games. But on May 8, Durant pulled up lame after a jump shot in the third quarter of a critical win against the Houston Rockets. While the Warriors claimed Durant suffered a calf strain, TNT analyst Reggie Miller immediately noted the way Durant grabbed at the back of his lower le,indicating an Achilles tendon injury. Warriors' brass initially said Durant would be back within several weeks, but his absence stretched out to a full month. While Golden State initially continued to thrive without Durant, his absence was felt in the Finals as the Raptors' defense smothered the Warriors' vaunted offense. With the Raptors leading the series 3-1 and one game away from the rifle, the whispers about Durant's injury grew. Was Durant's injury worse than the Warriors initially let on? Or was the upcoming free agent merely saving his body for the $200 million contract he's expected to receive in three weeks? When Bay Area columnist Tim Kawakami of The Athletic re- ported after a Game 4 loss that some Warriors' insiders were confused as to why Durant had not yet returned, it only heightened the intrigue. After a light workout on Sunday, Durant was finally cleared by Warriors' team doctors to play on Monday. He appeared fine in pre-game, dancing in the hallway and throwing down a two-handed jam in front of a boisterous Toronto crowd. Then, when the game start- ed, a tentative Durant came out ablaze, burying his first three long-distance attempts. As the Warriors' clung to an early lead, Durant's confidence appeared to grow. Early in the second quarter, he tried to make a move on ex-teammate Serge Ibaka, but his right leg, the same leg he injured one month earlier, gave way. Close-range cameras showed Durant's leg muscles literally ripple as his Achilles appeared to rupture. As Durant limped offthe floor amidst an initial chorus of cheers from Toronto fans, it was immediately clear his season was over and his future is in limbo. With Durant having left the arena prematurely, War- riors' GM Bob Myers was left to tell the waiting post- game media that Durant had in fact injured his Achilles this time. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelbume, the Warriors believe Durant tore his Achilles tendon (an MRI was to occur Tuesday), an injury that could keep him out for six months to a year. The basketball ramifications of Durant's injury are huge. Teams like the New York Knicks that were expected to make their pitches to Durant on July i will now be left wondering whether he will ever again be the See IRI Page 3B