January 05, 2018
Antonio Brown was one of four repeaters from last season on the Associated Press 2017 NFL All-Pro Team, and the only unanimous choice.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' star receiver drew all 50 ballots Friday from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. Brown missed the last two-plus games with a calf injury.
He was among four players to make a fourth All-Pro squad, joining New England tight end Rob Gronkowski (five), Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker.
The repeaters from 2016 were Brown, Hekker, Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who got 49 votes, and Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Catch-all: Antonio Brown is unanimous All-Pro choice
In their turnaround season, the Rams led the way, with six All-Pros, including two more specialists: kicker Greg Zuerlein and kick returner Pharoh Cooper. Running back Todd Gurley and left tackle Andrew Whitworth were also honored.
"Dang, that's crazy. It means a lot, honestly," said Gurley, who likely would have led the league in rushing had he played in L.A.'s finale. "It's a blessing. I've got so much respect for everybody in this league, and to be in this position just means so much to me.
"I've been following people around the NFL my whole life, and to be considered as an All-Pro, man, God is good, honestly. Honestly."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his third All-Pro team.
Three Steelers joined Brown on the roster: Le'Veon Bell as the flex, interior defensive lineman Cam Heyward and right guard David DeCastro. No other team had more than two All-Pros, with the NFC getting 18 players and the AFC 10.
Two rookies made it: punt returner Jamal Agnew of Detroit and special teamer Budda Baker of Arizona.
Also making it: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce; Panthers left guard Andrew Norwell; Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins; Jaguars edge rusher Calais Campbell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey; Saints edge rusher Cameron Jordan; Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones; Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith; Detroit defensive back Darius Slay; and Titans safety Kevin Byard.
First-timers made an impression on both sides of the ball, with 15 on the team: Byard, Slay, Rhodes, Jones, Jordan, Ramsey, Campbell, Hopkins, Norwell, Kelce, Johnson, Agnew, Baker, Gurley and Cooper.
Wagner is on his third All-Pro squad.
"When you get voted for these types of awards," Wagner said, "it shows you all the work you do in the offseason, the grinding, all the things you push through. ... When you get this, when people say this is not AFC, NFC, this is the league, this is who we deem the best at their position in the league, that says a lot.
"And you see the guys before you, the things they were able to accomplish, you've seen those things, and you want those things. It's part of that mindset of wanting to be great and understanding what comes along with that, and wanting that kind of acknowledgment."
While making All-Pro has become almost natural for Wagner, Jordan finally got there in his seventh pro season.
"I'm definitely trying to push myself to be better than I was the year previous," Jordan said. "I think I had a really good year last year. Of course, sack numbers won't show that, but in terms of playing the run, in terms of getting after the passer I thought last year was one of my better years [7.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss]. So what I wanted to do this year is, of course, push myself to be better than last. That probably only poses the problem of where I go next year. Now I've got to shoot for more than what I did this year."
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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