KRISTINE LEAHY IS POKING THE BEAR

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You might not know who LaVar Ball is, but I think you should. LaVar Ball is a fascinating man who is captivating the sports world with his persistent and often over-the-top promotion of this family and entrepreneurial endeavors. His family is comprised of a wife and three incredibly talented young men, all who play basketball. The eldest, Lonzo, just finished his first and only year at UCLA and is expected to be one of the top picks in this year’s NBA draft. The middle son, LiAngelo, is a UCLA basketball team commit and the youngest, LaMelo, is still perfecting his craft at the high school level. LaVar has strategically built a brand, figuratively and literally, around his basketball playing family. He speaks of his sons’ talents in seemingly hyperbolic ways and provides no holds barred commentary. Beyond the talk, he created the Big Baller Brand, an apparel company, owned exclusively by the Ball family. While BBB started with hats, t-shirts and sweats, LaVar has taken the brand to the next level by making a shoe, Lonzo’s signature shoe, the ZO2. The ZO2 and matching slide ($220), which sells for between $495 and $1195, is sold exclusively on BBB’s website and without any licensing, endorsement or sponsorship from the large brands like Nike or Adidas. It’s a pretty bold step to turn down millions upon millions of dollars in potential endorsement money in an effort to grow one’s personal and ancestral wealth. I hope the Ball family collects big, big checks into infinity for taking such a leap of faith.

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Sydney Satchell Needs Your Help!

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Remember last year when we introduced you to Sydney Satchell, the inspirational former student-athlete who battled back from an amputation to begin a career in sitting volleyball? Well she’s got some amazing updates in her life and needs your help! Rather than me give you the 4-1-1, I figured I’d let Sydney tell you what’s going on…

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WHY WON’T WE SEE ANY WOMEN RIDING IN THIS YEAR’S KENTUCKY DERBY?

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Horses are majestic, strong, wild, fast but they’re also tamable, loyal and social. They captivate the attention of women, men and children alike. In fact, tomorrow millions of people, (some who know everything about horses and some who (like me) know next to nothing about horses), will sit in front of their TVs and watch as twenty 3-year old colts* and their jockeys race 1¼ miles for a $2 million purse at the 143rd renewal of the Kentucky Derby. While the race is indiscriminate about the fans it attracts, it seems that it might be discriminate in its participants. Since its inaugural running in 1875 only six women have raced as jockeys and the first didn’t do so until 1970. So what’s the deal? Why are women jockeys such a rarity at the Derby and in horse racing in general?

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SERENA’S SHINE WON’T STOP

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Serena Williams is the Queen. She is the Queen of the Tennis Court. The Queen of Winning. The Queen of Grace and Composure. The Queen of Slaying. The Queen of Everything. That’s not up for debate and isn’t in question. Unfortunately, rather than let her reign peacefully in her supreme glory, there are people hell-bent on trying to dim her shine. When she announced last year that she was engaged to Alexis Ohanian, Hoteps and Noteps alike offered their unsolicited, irrelevant opinions. They offered these opinions as if they would make Serena change her mind about who she would marry. This week after Serena announced that she was “with child,” Ilie Nastase felt the need to offer his ignorant commentary on the miracle growing in her womb. Rather than bow down at the realization that this woman claimed her SEVENTH Australian Open while pregnant, he race baited his way into the headlines.

Her entire career, naysayers, haters, lames and tired fools have tried unsuccessfully to knock her crown off of her head. Aren’t they worn out from their futile, uncreative efforts? Haven’t they gotten the memo that Serena Williams will reign forevermore?Newsflash, people. Serena Williams and her glory are going nowhere. She is a talent and a force to be reckoned with all her own. Her crown is on her head, not because anyone else’s opinions or hard work put it there, but because she painstakingly earned every jewel and every gem. For that reason, no matter what she decides to do in life, she will always leave a trail of golden Queen dust behind her. Negative opinions and digs won’t stop her. So here’s some advice, leave her alone or join #TeamSerena and be showered in her glory. Either way, her shine won’t stop.

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A CONVERSATION WITH NATASHA HASTINGS

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You see the bright lipstick and platinum blonde hair. You know about the Olympic gold medals and World Championship medals. It’s no doubt that she is a force in women’s sports. But are you seeing what she wants you to see and do you really know what keeps her going? In conjunction with SET Magazine, GladiatHers.com is bringing you an in-depth two-part conversation with the fiercely competitive, fiercely fashionable Natasha Hastings. Get to know the woman on and off the track and be inspired by her determination to win, even when she loses.

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GladiatHer® Wives: Samantha “DJ Spinvixen” Romantini Bethea

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Today we’re merging two of our classic features, GladiatHer® Wives and GladiatHer® Crush Wednesday, to introduce you to one outstanding woman. She’s a dedicated wife and mother, an entrepreneur and philanthropist and can make a party turn 0 to 100, real quick. To top that all off, she’s a proud graduate of the Real HU. Meet New Jersey’s own, Samantha Romantini Bethea aka DJ Spinvixen…

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CYNTHIA CALVILLO: A LIONESS IN A DEN OF LIONS

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If you’ve ever watched a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight, you know it takes a special level of toughness, dedication and bravery to step in the octagon. There’s nothing quite like hand-to-hand combat. Blood is spewn, bones are broken and champions are made. Today we’re talking to a woman who, day-in and day-out, confidently takes on the challenge of the octagon in hopes of one day becoming a world champion fighter. She’s undefeated, shows no signs of slowing down and speaks with a level of self-confidence and focused determination that’s heard only in champions. She doesn’t yell or scream, but she’s direct like she knows where she’s been and where she’s going. Meet Cynthia Calvillo.

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