Both boys underwent counseling while participating in sports year-round.

Johnson finally persuaded Zaevion to play football, while Isaiah needed no convincing. He’s been playing football since he was a 6-year-old in the Falcons’ flag program.

Even when he saw LT cross, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to follow suit.

“Lawrence Taylor can cross the picket line and what are they going to do to Lawrence Taylor?” McConkey says. “But one of the last guys on the roster? It’s tough. LT could do whatever he wanted because he led by example and played every play with his pants on fire. He was the greatest teammate ever.”

But this was before the anthem. And this is what it’s come to in the NFL: fans so on edge they have no idea what they’re booing, or why. When you boo prayer, you’ve gone over the edge. Now, maybe the crowd booed, thinking the players were kneeling for the anthem. But the PA announcer spoke pretty clearly about praying for good for all Americans. And the boos came.

The maze spit Griffin out onto a couch overlooking the Staples Center court, above the lower bowl. Crowd noise pumped in. The team’s public address announcer declared the Clippers were retiring Griffin’s number. Team employees raised an actual banner into the rafters — a vision of the future they wanted.

“It was a cool feeling,” Griffin says. “It was very thoughtful. But I really wanted to hear their plan. I wanted to talk basketball.” So he did, for two hours, with Rivers, West, Ballmer and Lawrence Frank, the team’s president of basketball operations.

The Rox are 0-2 against Memphis, and undefeated against the rest of the league. Friday night’s win at Charlotte was Houston in technicolor. The Rockets set a record for the fewest 2-pointers attempted in a game, with 28. It also was only the third time in NBA history a team attempted 57 3-pointers or more. The other two occasions? The 2016-17 Houston Rockets.
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