By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. As sports returns, we take a look at an NHL player speaking out for racial injustice, an NBA hopeful, a triathlete setting a record, and the passing of a surfing legend.
Matt Dumba makes stand by taking knee
The Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba was the first NHL player to take a knee during the U.S. national anthem, as the hockey season restarted. On Aug. 1, prior to the start of the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers game, a pregame ceremony featured players from both teams standing in a circle on center ice. Dumba, a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, spoke about racial injustice and how hockey and its fans can help.
“Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor’s life matters…Hockey is a great game, but it can be a whole lot more,” Dumba said in his speech before the players in a fanless arena. The Hockey Diversity Alliance is composed of NHL players to eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in the sport of hockey. A sport made up of primarily white players from the United States, Canada, and Europe, Dumba is Filipino Canadian.
As the American national anthem played, Dumba took a knee with Blackhawks’ player Malcom Subban and Oilers’ Darnell Nurse, placing a hand on each shoulder. Dumba stood for the Canadian national anthem.
Dumba played the next night against the Vancouver Canucks. Instead of taking a knee, Dumba raised a fist during both the U.S. and Canadian anthems.
Unlike the NBA, where almost all of its players have taken a knee during the first couple games of the restart of its games, Dumba was the sole player to take a knee. However, many other NHL players showed support for Dumba and his support for Black Lives Matter.
Dumba is the face of social justice in the NHL. Dumba and the Hockey Diversity Alliance is hoping that the sport will become more diverse and incorporate people of color in promoting the sport.
Singh becomes first NBA Academy grad to sign with G League
Princepal Singh, a 6-10 forward, has signed on to play in the NBA’s G League Select Team, which features elite youth prospects. Singh joined the NBA Academy India in 2017 with the hopes of playing professionally. The Academy is an elite basketball training facility that helps top prospects throughout the country of India.
Singh moved on to the NBA Global Academy in 2018, where he trained with other top prospects from around the world. He will join other top athletes, such as Filipinos Kai Sotto and Jalen Green, with the hopes of making it in the NBA.
The 19-year-old from Punjab started playing volleyball as a youth. He wanted to attend a volleyball academy, but was instead recruited to play for a basketball academy in India. In October 2019, he was named the most valuable player at the Indian Junior National Championship. He also helped Punjab capture a gold medal in the under-21 category of the Khelo India Youth Games this past January.
Japanese Triathlete sets world record
Hiromu Inada set a Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest person to complete the Ironman World Championship. The 87-year-old became the oldest to finish the Ironman World Championships when he completed the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 run in Kona, Hawaii in 2016 and 2018. He was 83 years old and 85 years old at the time of completion. This past July, the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed the achievements.
“The Ironman World Championship was not achieved by one person,” said Inada in an interview with a Japanese newspaper. “I think I was able to finish the race because of the support from all over the world. I don’t think about the limit of how old I am, so I want to cherish the feelings inside me and do what I can now.”
Inada was 85 years and 328 days old when he completed the 2018 Ironman. He completed the race in 16 hours, 53 minutes, and 49 seconds, just 6 minutes and 11 seconds shy of the 17 hour cutoff for race participants. Remarkably, Inada has raced in Kona eight times and finished three times.
“It’s an extremely tough race for an old man like me,” said the retired television reporter. “[B]ut there’s a part of me that wants to challenge myself and see how long I can keep competing. “
Surfing legend passes
The first Hawaiian world surfing champion Derek Ho passed away in July at the age of 55. Born in Hawaii, the Chinese American won a surfing world title at the age of 29 and became the first native to do so.
Ho became a top surfer of Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline as a teenager. The area, located on the North Shore of O’ahu, is one of the world’s most famous places to surf. In his early 20s, he won the Pipeline Masters event, which brings out the top surfers from around the world. He went on to become a four-time Triple Crown winner. The Triple Crown event consists of three surfing events on the North Shore of Hawaii.
Ho reportedly died of an apparent heart attack. He had been surfing big waves up until last year.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.