Brandon White has been so inspirational to his peers on the skateboarding scene in Southern California that they've started learning another language to connect with him: Sign language. White was 2 when severe ear infections left him deaf. He found his calling in skateboarding, which is somewhat of a surprise because it is usually a sport that requires all the senses. This is what makes his prowess on a skateboard all the more remarkable.

Here's more of White's story and how he and his friends have developed a special bond.

The movie Where Hope Grows features a former MLB player who has a drinking problem and broken family relationships after bombing out with the Detroit Tigers. He finds redemption and a second chance from an unlikely source -- a grocery clerk with Down syndrome whose nickname is Produce.

Just based on the trailer, this movie already delivers a memorable line. When Calvin, the washed-up ballplayer, asks Produce how he's doing, the response serves as a simple but powerful reminder to count your blessings:

"Even when I'm doing bad, I'm doing good."

David DeSanctis, who portrays Produce, has Down syndrome, and he had no acting experience when he auditioned for the part. But he memorized 130 lines and one of the producers, Milan Chakraborty, says DeSanctis learned how to work a set like a pro.

"Just like Rudy and Hoosiers, when given the opportunity, people -- all people -- can amaze you," says Chakraborty, an Indiana native.

The movie, written and directed by Chris Dowling, premieres Friday. Getting it made was its own underdog story.

"I read it in 2009," Chakraborty says. "For years people -- Hollywood 'experts' -- said, 'Don't make this movie. No one will care. How are you going to get someone to play like they have Down syndrome?' It took partnering with two other visionary producers, one of which I went to college with, and an investor, that believed into putting good out into this world. Even after making it, some theaters are not even willing to take us, even if we have an organization pre-buying 500 tickets. Why? Because they want one more screen for The Avengers, Mad Max and Pitch Perfect 2. It really is the story of David vs Goliath."

The Special Olympics World Games, which will be held this summer in Los Angeles, has endorsed the movie because of the way it is "promoting acceptance and inclusion and breaking down the barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities."

"David grew up a part of the Special Olympics and we want to bring awareness to athletes of all shapes and sizes and abilities," Chakraborty says. "They are all champions. People can do good and do well."

Notable sports stars have become big fans of the film after seeing it and meeting DeSanctis at early screenings.

DeSanctis and Tim Tebow

DeSanctis and Jeremy Lin

DeSanctis and Albert Pujols with family

DeSanctis and Kyrie Irving

The film also hit Angels star Albert Pujols on a personal level because his oldest daughter, Isabella, has Down. Pujols watched the film for the first time in December, and he found it so inspiring that he arranged for a special screening during Spring Training in Arizona. Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner was among those who attended, and he loved it:


Here's an interview from the MLB Network with Kristoffer Polaha (Calvin) and DeSanctis, who talks about being an Angels fan:

Eric Calhoun is a dedicated baseball fan. He will ride the bus from his home in Los Angeles to watch USC play 30-40 times a season. If the Trojans are out of town, Calhoun will find a bus to catch games at UCLA or Loyola Marymount.

Did we mention that Calhoun is blind?

"It means a lot for me to go to these baseball games," says Calhoun, who was born blind and moved to California from the Virgin Islands when he was 5. "It means a lot because I get to meet some of the parents. I get to meet some of the players. I get to meet some of the scouts. But best of all, I get to find people who understand me and understand what my plight is and they don't question and they don't complain. The one thing that I get out of the ballpark that I can't get from anywhere else is solitude. It feels good to actually feel the wind in my face and feel the smells of the hot dogs and actually eat a hot dog and nachos and enjoy a baseball game without having to be pressured."

Now, 40, Calhoun has become a fixture at college baseball games in Southern California. Sometimes he will even take the bus to San Diego.

His mom, Lorine Calhoun, says Eric is comfortable with his blindness because he never had sight in the first place.

"Well, Eric was born blind, and there is a big difference between born blind and becoming blind," she says. "Blindness is like wearing a shirt to him. He has it on and that's how he was born. Now Ray Charles, he became blind. Well, there's a difference there. He has seen things and can recognize things. But Eric ... he was born blind."

Tags:
Baseball, Fan

Bob Knight forgot to silence his cellphone before giving a speech to a retirement community in Carmel, Indiana, and thanks to video from the Indianapolis Star, we now know what the Hall of Fame coach's ringtone is.

It is the absolute perfect selection for a man who makes no apologies for who he is and what he stands for: "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.

The video of the speech runs 13 minutes, and Knight gets the first of two calls at the 1:16 mark.

In typical Knight fashion, his time with the residents of The Barrington swerved from the funny to the serious, from the profane to the emotional. Star reporter Dana Hunsinger Benbow writes that after he told the story about how one of his Texas Tech players is finally getting his degree, "tears welled up in Knight's eyes."

"I asked him 'Why did you decide to come back to school and get a degree?'" Knight told the packed room of retirees. "He said, 'Coach, let me tell you. Somebody told me that in all the years that you coached you only had two kids that didn't graduate and, coach, I didn't want to be one of them.'"

Jose Romero already had a Raiders logo tattooed on the top of his head. With some room available on the side, Romero wanted some ink to honor the Dodgers. He decided a sweeping view of Dodger Stadium would be perfect, and he went to Jose Guijosa of Killer Tattoos in Los Angeles to craft it. The process took seven hours, and Guijosa also included the Dodgers' interlocking-letter logo next to Romero's right ear. Check out the details:

Jerry Angelo was general manager of the Chicago Bears from 2001-2011. Angelo hired coach Lovie Smith, who led the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance in 2006 season. He also spent time as a scout for the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. He spoke with ThePostGame about his role on draft day and his thoughts on this year's draft.

***

ThePostGame: Would you like to tell me what you're doing with Thuzio?
JERRY ANGELO: Sure. They asked me prior to the Super Bowl if I would be their guest speaker at one of their members-only events so I said yes. So it was an opportunity to get back to Chicago, and it really was a great venue, entertaining a number of clients. We had approximately 50 people from all walks of the business life. Male, female, young and old. A very good entrepreneurial-type crowd. We headed downtown to one of the renown steakhouses in the private room. It was very casual. We had a long Q&A. I was able to let my hair down a little bit with no cameras or media taking notes. We had fun with it, but very first class setup and a very enjoyable evening. They have another one coming up, and I'd pay to go to this one with Lance Briggs. They usually get animated, marquee sports figures an they’re right on the money with Briggs.

TPG: What would you do on draft day as a general manager?
ANGELO: Everything is pretty well set a few days before the draft. Your boards are all set. We have them in terms of your strategies. You've pretty much talked over all the scenarios, all the what-ifs. If this happens or a player comes that you weren't expecting, if you get a trade call when you’re on the clock, how far down would you go and still get a quality player? All those types of scenarios you have to flesh out. So most of the time, 48 hours before the draft, it’s more now kind of catching your breath. You're excited obviously. You’re anticipating what could be, and you’re probably fielding some calls and making some calls to get a feel for what’s going to happen not only in the first round, but following rounds. Maybe there’s some trade talk as well and just posturing yourself in the event that you may want to do something on draft day.

TPG: What role do you have in the evaluating process of these prospects? What do you look for for a team to draft a certain player?
ANGELO: I’ve said this, but drafting talent is easy. Drafting talent with character and a good medical is the challenge. There’s a lot of things that the media don’t know. They’re looking more or less at the talent and that's how they’re drawing their conclusions for the most part, not all but most. But there's more to it. Your doctors have to pass the players on the physicals. There's some grey with the players; how much risk, certainly the character has to be determined. Each team has to make their own decision on that. It's very challenging, because when you draft a player, you are making a big investment and for that investment to pay dividends, it’s got to be in the league. You want players to have careers. You just don't want a guy for a year or two and you're looking for the same guy again in a couple of years in the draft process.

TPG: What positions do you feel are overvalued or undervalued in the draft? How important is the quarterback position?
ANGELO: Quarterback speaks for itself. It’s hard to win without one, so you've got to have somebody. There's probably a dozen teams that don't have an established quarterback leading them. Those are the teams and those first two picks will be one of those dozens teams. I don't look at it necessarily as the value of the position. It’s the quality of the player. You want to bring in quality players and the team that has the most quality players usually wins. Again, it's not an exact science. We've heard that cliché a number of times and that’s accurate. Every year is a different year. The field changes and it's a different year, so you have to be able to adapt and adjust. We all want to get good players, players we can win with. That’s the bottom line.

TPG: There’s a debate about the No. 1 pick, so if you were the general manager of the Buccaneers, who would take with that pick?
ANGELO: Right now, Winston looks like he’s got the pole position. Just given the fact that he’s prototypical of what you look for. He’s got it and he’s been groomed in a pro-type offense where Mariota hasn't been. That's not to say he's not going to be a fine quarterback, but there's more projection going on for him. Both are quality prospects. Mariota did an unbelievably good job at the combine, running in the [4.4 seconds]. Good size, quick release, a lot of things to work with. But Winston is just farther along because of the system. He's more poised and probably ready to go.

TPG: Are there any players you see as sleepers in this draft?
ANGELO: That's a tough one. I don’t study the draft as if I were running a team. I stay more focused on the top picks. But those sleeper types, I’m going to leave that for the scouts to find those. I did find one player that’s pretty interesting. He's not a sleeper. The offensive lineman out of Florida State [Cameron Erving]. He’s got an interesting resume, being on defense, having starts at tackle and then center. He's got nice size, he’s got a lot of versatility. It will be interesting to see where he goes. He’s supposedly going to go somewhere in the late first, early second round, but he seems like he could be a sleeper in terms of teams getting him a little later. He may bode very well once he gets into the league because of his versatility.

TPG: Do you have any memories from the NFL draft that stand out?
ANGELO: I've got a lot of great memories. I've certainly been fortunate to be around a lot of great players that we drafted. To single any one out, I really can’t sit there and do not and be unfair to somebody else. I’ve always had great scouts and they’ve done a good job doing their homework and always presented our staff with quality players and we certainly had a good amount of them over my career.

Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is a civic icon in Baltimore, and perhaps his fiery voice is the one that help restore order. The city erupted with riots Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who suffered a spinal injury while in police custody and later died.

Lewis went on social media Tuesday to plea and demand for the violence to end while also acknowledging that there is a deeper issue at hand.

"Kids, go home," Lewis says in an emotional Facebook video. "Stay home. You don't have no right to do what you're doing to this city. Too many hard-working people built this city. We put this city together. We put this city on our back. We're with you. We know what's going on. We know the problems. We know there was wrong done. ... But rioting in the streets is wrong. It's dead wrong."

I've got a message for the rioters in Baltimore. #BaltimoreRiots

Posted by Ray Lewis on Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Now that Kris Bryant has been recalled to the majors, his friends at Red Bull decided to put his time on the farm in Iowa in perspective as well as asking some established Chicago voices for their opinions on the Cubs phenom. Bulls center Joakim Noah might have supplied the best line: "I don’t care that Kris is Chicago’s new favorite guy. He's only 6-foot-5. He’s still a miniature person." Welcome to the big time, Kris.

Here's more from Noah, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Ron Cey and Mike Ditka on Bryant, who tore it up in Spring Training and only opened the season in the minors to allow the team to defer his free agency for another year:

For more insight and additional photos of Bryant, click here.

During a visit to Manny Pacquaio's gym in Los Angeles, UFC announcer Bruce Buffer says that Floyd Mayweather needs to give more respect to MMA competitors. Buffer also says that there is room for fans to appreciate boxing and MMA without having to go negative on the other sport.

Veteran commentator Jason Whitlock says he is expecting a dud when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio finally fight on May 2. Although it will be a massive money maker and gigantic media event, Whitlock says the ages and styles of the fighters will contribute to a dull bout.

Whitlock, whose ESPN site The Undefeated launches this summer, participated on a media panel Thursday at the IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily in Los Angeles. Shortly afterwards, he shared thoughts on the fight, the NBA MVP race, plans for his site and what else he watches on TV besides reruns of The Wire:

"We want to be ahead of the conversation and more focused on what's the truth, what's provable, rather than just writing what's popular at the moment that will get you a lot of retweets on Twitter," Whitlock said of The Undefeated during the discussion that featured former ESPN executive editor John Walsh, Fox reporter Pam Oliver and TheMMQB.com's Peter King.

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