One thing Mama constantly poured into my life was being SPECIAL and being GIFTED. I was completely oblivious of being poor. I welcomed hand me downs, discount store clothing from places like Zayre, Venture, or Ames and even thrift stores. I thought it was cool to rummage through endless piles of toys to find one I liked, an iron that actually worked, or a toaster that eventually trained me to enjoy burned toast.
In my mind we were rich. Gangster Disciples, Mickey Cobras, Black Disciples, and Vice Lords stalked the community and sought out young black boys like men to recruit.
Mama always taught me to never get into a situation I could not walk away from. Turns out I had to fight my way to and from school every day to avoid joining a gang. Mama's last gift to me was encouraging me to go to Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 7th grade. I was disappointed to leave my friends, but Mama told me those around me would not reach places I would go and I had to leave them behind. Turns out she was right. Every single one of my childhood buddies wound up either dead, in jail, addicted to crack cocaine, or a life of lesser stature. Soon after my eighth grade graduation, Mama would pass on, leaving me to a life discovering the world on my own. The gift of God, education, ambition, and a lifelong drive to make her proud of me fueled me. Through Section 8 project apartments, sleeping on a park bench as a teen, all the way to sneaking in events just to enjoy a decent meal, I marched on.
Only 1% of all foster children actually obtain a college degree. An infinitely less amount achieves two college degrees in Economics and Finance. Even less than 1% of 1% obtain 2 college degrees and go on to achieve a law degree.
My opinions are just as rare as my credentials. I am not just a lawyer. I love old school hip hop. I love jazz, I love live music. I love watching the sweat from the brow of a drummer as he rips through an improvisational stick waving frenetic boom bapping of sound boxes. I love to watch the crinkled forehead of a rapper freestyling a cleverly crafted 16 bars of intellectually driven braggadocio rhyme patterns.
I love sports. I love the lessons sports teach us about the rise and fall of heroes, camaraderie, and rising above struggle to win a championship. I love rooting for the underdog. I love rooting for my hometown Bears, Bulls, Hawks, Cubs, AND Sox. I have loyalty to the Cubs because while the Southside Sox played on Cable, I had basic TV as a kid. Guess what basic TV showed? The Cubs.
I love a smart movie. I like stupidly funny dumb movies. I love documentaries. I love watching the credits roll as a movie ends to see the names of how everyone, like a band, performed together to create a masterpiece, from obtaining financing all the way to the advertising for the film.
I love business. We live in a capitalist country. I love our country allows us to turn an idea and a dream into companies like Dell, Facebook, and Starbucks.
I love politics. I love the game people play to win. The public buys it hook line and sinker because they want to believe the ideals of human character. We're suckers every election to promises we know will not be kept.
You now know me, and you know the premise behind the blog. It will be funny, because I will poke fun at everything, from celebrities and athletes getting arrested, to the lockouts in the NFL and NBA, to the AT&T - T-Mobile merger, all the way to the parking meters. You'll be entertained. Why? You have been hypnotized.
Help me make this better. Write me. Make suggestions. This blog is not about me. It is about you, the law and business behind sports and entertainment we love, and the business and politics shaping our culture for now and the future.
Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an Entertainment/Sports Attorney from Chicago and avid lover of music and Sports. All opinions expressed by Mr. Pope are his on and not necessarily those of The Tribune Company, The Chicago Tribune, or Chicago Now. Please leave your comments here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twiter.com/exavierpope
(c) Exavier Pope 2011