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Interview with Corey Benjamin: Former NBA Basketball player

IMG_9685By Nia Turner Moreno 

Where are you currently living at?

San Bernardino County, CA

Growing up did you ever think that you would play for the NBA?

Yes, that was my main goal in life. As a kid I used to dream of playing for the Chicago Bulls. I used to dream I was Michael Jordan when I was younger. And my dream came true because I actually was able to play with him when I joined the Chicago Bulls.

How old where you when you started playing basketball?

When I first picked up a ball and started playing I was 4 years old. I was going to Oregon State for 2 years, and I got drafted at 20 years old.

What did you like most about playing for the NBA and what did you like least?

There was really nothing that I liked least about playing for the NBA. Dreams come true so for me being in the NBA was an accomplishment

Do you still play basketball in your free time?

No, I don’t play, but I’m a basketball trainer for the Inland Empire. I train kids at Etiwanda High School and Fontana High School and middle schools in San Bernardino County. I’m also a mentor for nine Elementary Schools.

What have you been doing since you retired?

I’m a role model in our community and I have personal relationships with young boys and girls. There’s a lot of kids out there that need a good mentor. I’m a mentor for a lot in the San Bernardino community, especially the youth that are going off to college. I do my best to be there for them. Growing up in the environment I lived in, I didn’t have any good role models or guides to help me, so I pretty much just had to find my own way. I want these kids to have some kind of help; someone to set a good example for them.

Do you have any other hobbies beside basketball?

I fish when I have free time and I love spending time with my family and being a father to my five kids, 4 girls 1 boy. I’m busy most of the time, so it’s nice to spend time with them. Family is a very important part in my life.act_corey_benjamin

Is “Basketball Legende” still an ongoing program for the youth?

That’s the name of my program for the kids in the community. Legende is Legends in French. I played overseas in France and I like to incorporate my professional basketball background into the things I do now. A part of the things I do in the program is basketball training and I talk to the kids about keeping up good grades, as well because that’s a big part of playing basketball.

What would you say to the youth or anyone that is striving to reach their goals?

I tell all the kids that “dreams do come true it all starts with yourself”. Work hard, the harder you believe in your goal, whatever your goal is it can come true. What I tell my kids is if you want to be a doctor, find the best doctor there is and apply that to yourself. If you want to be a basketball player find the best basketball player there is and apply that to yourself.  Whatever it is that person did to make it where they’re at, apply it to the qualities that you already have. You have to put your goals first. Life is like a merry go round you’re up, you’re down; you’re not always going to be happy but you just have to believe in your goals if that’s what you want. There are other programs out there to help young kids, but if I can also help them that’s what I’m going to do. Kids are our future so I do my best to help out.

Is there anything else that I might have left out that you would like for people to know about you?

I’m a mentor. I’m a trainer. I’m a life coach. I speak for D.A.R.E programs, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. I consider myself a disciple; I’m one of God’ called people.



“Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Everywhere you go in life there are warning signs. There are signs along the roadway that point to danger that lies ahead. There are warning signs that our bodies give us from time to time. There are warning signs that our minds send out when there is a problem. Then, there are spiritual warning signs. Times when we slack up in our commitment to the Lord… When we forsake the assembly of the saints… When we don’t pray and when we don’t give as we should. Times when we harbor bitterness and un-forgiveness… We hold onto hurts and have hard feelings toward others. Right now, lights are flashing “Approaching Danger” because there is some stuff that you are walking in that ain’t the way that God has told you to walk. There are some things that you are doing that God hasn’t told you to do. Flirting with sin; messing around in areas where you have no business being…  “Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200”….This is serious… It could be the difference between life and death!  Take heed to God’s warning or you will suffer the consequences.

Listen, warnings are meant to help, not to harm us.  They are meant to protect us from doing something foolish and harmful in our life. Warnings are an act of God’s grace. Unfortunately though, there are many today who are not good listeners, and they only hear what they want to hear, because just like the opposing Jews of the first century, their hearing is dull and their vision is blurry. I tell you we are remarkably oblivious to the obvious. We can see absolute concrete signs that something is so, and yet, we don’t listen, we don’t believe; we don’t pay attention.  How many people have been killed because they went around a railroad barricade? Lights flashing; bells ring; barricade in the way, nah, those don’t mean anything right. Next thing you know, death has swallowed another one up… Do not ignore the warning signs. Read the writing on the wall and heed God’s warning because “Warning Comes before Destruction!” Do not be like Samson who manifested all the signs of a man who was headed for trouble in his life {Judges 14:1-9} yet, he ignored every one of those signs and traveled ever farther down a road that brought him dishonor, defeat and death.  As Samson took his first steps down the road to ruin, he had no idea where his path would ultimately lead him. He had no idea how bad things would be at the end of the way. Had he heeded God’s warning signs, Samson could have avoided many of the problems he faced later in life. Even Israel, God longed for them to repent. But instead of growing closer to God, they were getting farther away. God had sent His Word, but she had refused to obey. He sent correction, but she only hardened. He invited her to trust Him, but she chose to place her trust in man. He desired for her to return, but she drifted farther and farther away. Don’t do it… Don’t ignore God’s warnings. You know Zephaniah chapter 3 verses 1-7, was written to the backslidden nation of Judah, but they offer some valuable information for us today. When we find ourselves headed in the wrong direction, there is only one intelligent thing to do: Turn- around! The Bible calls that repentance; or changing our direction.  Imagine for a moment how Samson’s life would have been different if he had recognized the warning signs and turned his life toward God. Imagine now what God could do with us if we would simply recognize the warning signs that present themselves in our lives.  If you can see evil desires, disobedience to God’s will and deception in your life, the time to change is now. It may not be too late to avoid catastrophe in your life. You know the starting place is what the rich man in Hell acknowledged, that you must repent of your sins, and change the direction of your life.

True- Story. “Many years ago a young man violated some traffic laws, and was involved in a hit and run traffic accident. He was chased by the police, but made a desperate effort to get away. He attempted to get on the Turnpike at the interchange. And when he saw that the entrance was lined with cars, he went off the entrance drive, around the pay stations, and sped onto the Highway. The police followed the speeding car, and telephoned ahead. Roadblocks were quickly set up in an effort to stop the person from his mad rush to a likely accident. But he was able to dodge the roadblocks, one after another. Sometimes he simply ran them down; other times he crossed the median strip and went into the other lane of traffic, and then turned back again. Finally, in a desperate effort to stop the young man, two huge trucks were placed across all four lanes of traffic. Red flares were set up at intervals several miles ahead, to warn the driver of approaching danger. Everyone was sure this blockade would stop the mad driver, but as he approached the roadblock, he looked in his rearview mirror; he saw the police behind; he looked straight ahead and saw the two trucks, but instead of stopping, he kept moving at one hundred miles per hour, and crashed headlong into the trucks, hurling his soul into an endless eternity. His car went under the trucks, and came out on the other side, a smashed, mangled, twisted bundle of steel…” Listen, just as the policemen did everything within their power to stop the speeding boy and even gave him warning signals ahead, so God is doing everything possible to keep us from continuing on the path that leads to Hell. It is God’s desire that every human being should repent, believe the Gospel, and live a new life of obedience to Jesus Christ, walking daily under the control of the Holy Spirit.

I hope that each of us will keep our eyes and ears open to the warning signs that are given to us in the Bible so that we can live a life that will be acceptable before God and so that our souls will be saved in the end. Let us believe God. Let us see His grace in His warnings concerning His wrath against sin. Let us not deny the truth, but warn people to flee from the wrath to come. Let us make sure that we ourselves have repented and hidden ourselves in Christ alone, so availing ourselves of the one and only escape from God’s wrath, faith in Jesus Christ our sin bearer. Let us make sure we respond to God’s trumpet call of warnings and obey His commandments that we might live. Surely, if anyone who reads this message ends up in the place of outer darkness, you will go there over the love of God, the warnings of God, the cross of Calvary, the prayers of God’s people, and the teaching of the Gospel.  Do Not Pass Go… Do Not Collect $200!

Pan African Film Festival Closes Out with Man in 3B, Celebrity After Party

By Naomi K. Bonman

It’s always an exciting affair to have the pleasure of covering one of the largest and long standing film festivals within the Black community. On Sunday, February 15, the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) closed out an amazing two weeks of panels, international films, and workshops with the highly anticipated film, The Man in 3B, based off of the book by world renowned Black author, Carl Webber. The premiere of the film took place at Rave Cinemas 15 located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. It was preceded with a red carpet and followed by an exclusive after party.

The film is directed by Trey Haley; produced by Princess Monique, ND Brown, Veronica Nichols, Tracey Moore, Jeffery Dumpson, and Walter Nixon; and the film features an array of incredibly talented actors which include Lamman Rucker, Christian Keyes, DB Woodside, Brely Evans, Kellita Smith, Nefessa Williams, Billie Dee Williams, Jackee Harry, Marla Gibbs, Robert Ri’chard, Anthony Montgomery, and Olivia Longott.

Man in 3B is a romantic thriller following the story of Daryl Graham (Lamman Rucker) who just moved into a Jamaica, Queens apartment building, and his neighbors, female and male alike, can’t stop talking about him. From his extreme attractiveness to his undeniable swag, Daryl is the man every woman wants to be with and every man wants to be.

After the screening there was a Q&A session with the cast and crew. During the session each actor gave a few pointers, tips, and advice to those who want to break into the industry. Some of them were to “continue working hard, network at film festivals such as PAFF, and to be a pleasant spirit because no one wants to work with an individual who becomes a headache.” They also mentioned how each of them started with several littles roles which then opened the door for their big break. So as long as you keep working hard and NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK with the right individuals, your goals and dreams will unlock.

The production crew has been blessed to receive several offers regarding distribution and screening of the film for the future. Be sure to keep an eye out for the film to hit your local theater and/or department store. Please visit www.tridestined.com for updates regarding the film.

Photos by John A. Castro & Naomi K. Bonman