Inside the Screen With Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson

Twenty-year-old professional player Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, has played sports and video games all his life.

One day, he realized that he was better than most of his family and friends, so being a professional player was always something that was in his grasp before he even realized it.

Hobson is a member of Knicks Gaming as a shooting guard and is one of the best at his position in the league. He recently joined Inside the Screen with ONE37pm’s Aaron Dukes to discuss his journey.

Dukes: Do you think Covid-19 affects your playing style and your vibe?

Hobson: Yeah, I think it affects our season and everyone else’s season in the league, to be honest. Some teams would have played better on the stage, and some teams would have played worse. We would have been one of the teams that would have played better.

Our team ended up missing the playoffs by one game, and if we were on stage, we would have been a much better team. It is what it is, and we had to make do with what we had. We had a good season, and all of our games were on ESPN2.

Dukes: With 2020 being the year that it has—Have you been focusing more on your brand as far as just streaming more, making more YT videos, or even putting more clips out?

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Hobson: I am actually starting my Youtube Channel literally today [Monday, November 16, 2020]. I started already, but I took a break during the season.

I posted a tweet about the new games and consoles that just came out, so everyone is looking for the new builds and things of that nature.

So, I played a couple of pick-up Pro-Am Games, and everyone wants my build in the game. I did not want to give it up; I had to since everybody liked it.

Dukes: For a rookie in 2K, what are some tips?

Hobson: If you are new to the game, you will not be good at all. That is just that you must play. That is my advice you must play for at least a week and try to get halfway decent at it.

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Dukes: Can we talk about you playing for the USA 2K Team? 

Hobson: Things like this are crazy to me because you have a 2K team for USA Basketball. I made that, and the trial process is 30 players like they do in real life, and they were only taking seven of us, and I ended up making it.

The first day I didn’t do that well, but we have two days of trails, and I was able to turn it around by averaging 30 points per game and went 6-0. That night they told me I made the team, the rest is history, and we play in December.


Dukes: What separates you from other players? 

Hobson: I think I am a pure scorer, and I am one of those who do not like to lose. I know I am one of the best 2K players in the world. I am the best at the shooting guard position. If you watch every shooting guard in the league and the impact, mine is always bigger. Then the next man, I play defense, I play offense, I make reads, and not everybody doing that.

Teams are game-planning for me, and when I get the ball, they will not let me shoot threes because other teams know that is what I like to do. I command a double team, and I can get the open man involved.

Dukes:  How were your parents when it came to you playing video games?

Hobson: My mom did not accept me playing games at first; in fact, she hated it. I almost did not make the league. She did not want me playing video games. I am one of those people that when I have a goal, I lock in on it, and everything else around me does not matter.

My mother thinks it is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. I was locked in trying to make the 2K League, and it was the summer before I went to college. I attended Troy University, but I left after a week because I made the league, and this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My mother did not come around until I made the team.

Dukes: What does your family say when people ask what you do? 

Hobson: My mom will say I play videogames, but she will also talk about the 2K League and my accomplishments. It is cool everyone that I tell about the league or recognize me wearing the mech. They will ask me what it is, and I will explain it to them, literally the coolest thing ever.

Check out the full interview with Hobson below, and make sure you keep an eye out for Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson, as he continues to set the 2K league on fire. You can follow him on Twitter & Instagram.

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LA Galaxy Star Sebastian Lletget Discusses His Future Goals and Recent Trip With USMNT

San Francisco native Sebastian Lletget is a midfielder on the LA Galaxy in the MLS [Major League Soccer].  He is also a member of the United States Men’s National Team and represents the US at the U-17, U-23, and U-23 levels. Lletget is coming off a recent stint overseas with Team USA as they faced off against  Wales and Panama, which they won 6-2. In a game that featured Lletget scoring in the 87th minute, after maneuvering around his defender, he was able to score the third international goal of his career.

In a recent sit down with ONE37pm, the five-year MLS midfielder discussed some of his personal goals that he would like to achieve next season with the Galaxy. Lletget also discusses the charity that he will be working with and being a leader on a young USA Soccer Team during his recent trip overseas. He also recently launched his YouTube Channel.

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer MNT

ONE37pm: You are a first-generation American. Did you feel that there was a lot of pressure to succeed as a child?

Lletget:  I think it hit me more when I was older, and I was already starting my career. I think it was then when I felt a little bit of pressure that you cannot fail, and you cannot let your family down. Things like that, which are very necessary things that you should not tell yourself, especially a young man or young girl trying to start their career and follow their dreams. It was a tough time when I was sixteen when I started to feel that pressure, but it was things that I put on myself that were not anything coming directly from my family. Everybody might experience it at different times; it just depends.


ONE37pm: When did you develop a love for soccer?

Lletget:  I cannot remember exactly, but my dad is a huge fanatic of soccer, and he put it on me pretty early. Our goal as this generation of soccer players and coaches in this country is to have exposure to people globally about US soccer, but people in the country domestically. Sports like football, baseball, and basketball run the show, and I think we are getting there. The future is promising.  It is just going to take some time.

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ONE37pm: You recently returned home after having a successful stint with Team USA Soccer. Can you talk about having the opportunity to represent Team USA Soccer and some of the goals you scored?

Lletget: It was a great trip and the first time in ten months since COVID hit. The last time was the beginning of January that we were all together, and on top of that, there was a brand new group of young guys. I think I was the only one that was based out of the states playing for the MLS. So, it was a unique experience to meet a lot of the young guys that are playing out in Europe. We were all excited to get the chance to wear that jersey again.

After a long time and so much uncertainty, it was an experience, and we played Wales and Panama. I was fortunate enough to get a goal against Panama. These are friendlies, but for us, it is important because it is preparation for next year. Next year there is an opportunity to qualify for a World Cup. We have the Gold Cup, which is a huge tournament. It was definitely a good way to end the year for me.

ONE37pm: The US National team is one of the youngest teams in the world. How do you feel that you have contributed to the team in a leadership role?

Lletget: It was a different experience because, in the last couple of years, I was the person that was in the middle and did not consider myself a veteran of the group. Then this year comes around, and it is a brand new fresh group of players that are now of age or playing at a high level, and they got called up to the national team. I think I was one of the oldest ones there, and I do have experience. I tried to use it by helping them out.

I also tried to learn from them, as well. I know that is an important thing as well because I do not know it all. It is about learning from each other and getting to know the guys. I think that is what I used this camp for, and to catch my bearings with all of them. It was weird, though, being a little bit older, and in sports, it is crazy how time flies.

ONE37pm: You started off the season with the Galaxy having to learn a new position. Can you talk about that transition during that time?

Lletget: I have had a great experience since I signed with the club, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. This year is more on the downside, but that happens in sports. For me, at the beginning of the year, we had high hopes, and I am one of those guys that can play multiple positions, so it is a good thing because it can keep on the field, but sometimes you would rather be an expert at one position, and master that.

Forever reason during my career, I have had a hard time doing that coaches know I have the qualities to play at different positions. In sports today, you must be able to adapt and mentally and physically ready for that. It is something I learned early on in my career.

ONE37pm: What are some of your goals for next season with the Galaxy?

Lletget: Win a championship that is always the end goal. There are always some undecided things at this time in terms of space on how the roster will be filled. For me, I wanted to build on what I was able to accomplish this year.

It was not the best year as a team, but individually I took out a lot of positives, such as things I want to get better at in my game. I think I showed glimpses of that, and I know that I can improve on them.

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ONE37pm: How do you and Becky G manage your relationship when you are both in the spotlight?

Lletget: I think we have done very well; I think we have built a very good foundation for ourselves as a partnership. I think it is important, especially at the beginning of the relationship to set that foundation and we are two individuals trying to support each other, and grow with each other. 

However, we do not lose sight that we are both individuals and both want to make each other better. I learned that from her, and she is way ahead of the game. She is 23, but she has the mind of a 40-year-old woman.  She is very mature for her age and she has just blown my mind in the way she carries herself.

ONE37pm: You and Becky G have been very outspoken on social justice issues such as Black Lives Matter. Why do you feel the need to lend your voice?

Lletget: As we all know it has been a huge issue not just now, but years and years of this country having a broken system, and I think we have all woken up to it. Many of us must, unfortunately, and I never considered myself a racist or considered myself to hang out with people who have that perspective, but it is still a wake-up call. I have experienced discrimination, but maybe it is for different reasons, but I think people such as brown skin Latinos or dark skin Latinos for many years have experienced some dark times, and currently experiencing dark times.

I think it has been a wake-up call for me as well, because it is a privilege to learn about racism as opposed to experiencing it, and right now, I am just trying to keep educating myself by having conversations with anybody who I can. So, I can keep learning and see what more we can all do. I want to change the world, and that is why I want to put myself in situations where I can keep learning. I believe if we all can do that and I know it is going to take a couple of generations to get there, but I do believe that we will get there.

ONE37pm: How has the MLS handled players kneeling for the National Anthem, compared to other professional leagues like the NBA and the NFL?

Lletget: It probably was not broadcasted all over the place, but I was proud of players of color in our league before the first game back. Came together and stood around the field with shirts that had different messages and it was a powerful message. I was also proud of the National team before the game against Wales. We had our jackets on that read “Be the Change,” and in the back everyone had the options to do what they wanted.

I put “Black Lives Matter,” others put “Antiracist,” while other messages brought attention to the social injustices as well, and nothing was off the table. It was powerful and for the National Anthem, we all stood and locked arms. It showed unity and my hope is that even if it is a small marginal step forward and keeps pushing it into people’s faces to create change.

ONE37pm: How has COVID-19 affected your routine as an athlete?

Lletget: It has been challenging especially in the beginning when I was scared for my life like I think everybody else. I did not think I could put my hand on the table without washing my hands with just that paranoia. There were so many unanswered questions like how the virus could transfer from one person to another.

The biggest thing for me as far as the routine was the league shutting down for three months. We all kept in contact as a club on how we continue to maintain fitness, and they gave us a bunch of ideas. Before I could order a treadmill, and even that was backed up with backorder.

You had to run in the street, we will send you some bands, you had to buy weights, or they would send you some. Usually, as athletes, we have everything that we need at our disposal to get better on the field they provide that. So, going from that environment to now at home and having to be creative to maintain fitness is nuts.

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ONE37pm: What are some of your pre-game routines before taking the field?

Lletget: I love knowing that I got a lot of rest, and I am one of those guys that likes to do things the right way, like a textbook. For example, when to start hydrating during the day, how many electrolytes. I am a little bit eccentric with that stuff, to be honest.

I just love to know when I am on the field. I have done everything I can possibly do to be ready. That could be with anything in an interview, I am always trying to be prepared for everything, and I am even trying to get better at that.


ONE37pm: I heard that you will be launching your YouTube channel. What can fans expect to learn from your platform?

Lletget: I am excited about that, and with the global aspect, I had the opportunity to think about what I wanted to do after my soccer career. What I want to do now with the messages that I want to talk about, and just like everyone else, I want to tell my story. I feel it is unique, like everybody else, and I think it will be fun. It is also out of my comfort zone even though people look at my social media a certain way, but I am kind of different.

I am not exactly what I think, and I am more real now than I ever was, but socially you don’t get a chance to show exactly who you really are, and I think it is an opportunity. I will be talking about things in-depth such as mental health, athletes being put in a box, and I want to break those barrios. I am also still learning on the go, where I want to take it, and having fun with it. The more I do it, the more momentum it will gain, and I hope I will be excited about it.


ONE37pm: How important currently as an athlete to market self-outside your sport of choice?

Lletget: It is huge, and I have been it is something that I have been aware of for a long time, but I think I have only gotten better with time. It is crazy the lack of information athletes have been getting for a while now. Especially with all the resources and the platforms that we could be using, and I am still guilty of not using them enough, and there are some things that we can get into. 

Not everyone is into the same things, and there are so many different avenues people can take. Whether that is fashion, photography, mine is mental health. It can also be a charity or different organizations that you work with. You can have so much exposure. It has always blown my mind that athletes have not taken advantage of all the things they have at their disposal.

 ONE37pm: Are there any charities that you are currently involved in?

Lletget: I have had a lot of amazing experiences with the LA Galaxy, maybe one-off events, and different things such as visiting kids at hospitals and getting to see what other people are going through. The one organization that I will be working with is Power Soccer, which I was introduced to through the Galaxy, but I felt a true connection, and I was able to relate to the cause.

I think it was when I was injured during the 2017 season, which I was out for a year. I had an opportunity to meet kids and learn about the organization that focuses on anyone that is born with a disability of not being able to walk. There are different types, but they are in these power chairs, and they play soccer. There are two teams that feature five players on both sides at an indoor facility, and it is incredible. And I had some much fun that I wanted to be more involved with the organization.

ONE37pm: You are a fan of both the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco Giants. What was it like for you watching the “We Believe Warriors” finally winning three championships in four years, and the Giants years with Barry Bonds to capture the world series in 2010, 2012, and 14?

Lletget: I am proud that I was a Warriors fan before they started winning championships, and I lived in Europe for many years. However, any team that represents San Francisco or The Bay Area I have always supported. I am not shy about it because people are always quick to call people bandwagon fans, but we are a title town now and don’t think about The Bay Area without a lot of championships.

ONE37pm: It was recently reported that Klay Thompson will miss the upcoming NBA season due to another injury setback. Over your career, you have also had challenges with injuries; how were you able to overcome these setbacks?

Lletget: When you go through an injury like Klay’s, it humanizes you because as an athlete, you might have gone most of your life with everything going in the right direction. Then suddenly, something happens to you, and it is hard to get back up from that. It is not only tough physically, but emotionally as well with rehab and all the things that it entails.

When I got injured, I kind of lost myself. I had to go through a lot of ups and downs because you kind of lose your sense of purpose a little bit, and you feel what I am doing, and it goes way beyond how much money you are making. You want to play the game you love and cannot because you are recovering from your injury. So, I can only imagine what Klay is going through right now, especially dealing with back to back injuries.

ONE37pm: Do you see yourself coaching or in a management role when you retire from professional soccer?

Lletget: That is a good question, and I am still trying to figure that out. That is going back to the YouTube stuff, and I am still trying to see what suits me best, and I love the game of soccer. There is a global sport, and there are a lot of positions that I can possibly fit into post my playing career, whether that is working in an office, on the field, or being a head coach, assistant coach, and/or a scout. I am not sure yet, but as I get orders, I appreciate coaching more. So, I think that is something that I have gained in the last two years, and I have been blessed to have worked with so many people seeing different styles and many ways to do things. Coaching is something that interests me. 

You can follow what Sebastian Lletget has going on Instagram and Twitter.


Chess Boxing Champion Matt Thomas Has His Sights Set on the Olympics

Meet Matt Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently the Chess Boxing champion in his weight class of 90-kilogram (198-pound), Thomas competed in the 2018 Chess Boxing World Championship in July 2018, where he captured the title. With that victory, Thomas became the first American World Champion in the sport of Chess Boxing. 

When he’s not competing, Thomas also runs a nonprofit called Brawl for a Cause. Brawl for a Cause is an event that allows individuals to get into the boxing ring and fight for different charities that they hold dear to their hearts. 

“In six years and nine events, Brawl for a Cause broke the $100,000 donations milestone. The Brawl Team decided to take the event and its impact to the next level, so we booked the Mercedes Benz Stadium field on February 17th, 2018. Hosting the first combat sports event on the same field where the [Atlanta] Falcons play proved to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was worth it. We donated over $200,000 to the 30 causes we supported, effectively doubling the organization’s overall impact,” Thomas said in a 2018 interview with Voyageatl.

“Now, we are working with TV producers and expert videographers to turn Brawl for a Cause into a TV series. Each matchup will be its own episode, in which viewers will get to know the Brawler, their Cause, why they signed up to fight for it, and the training journey for their first charity boxing bout. We plan to film and air our first season in 2019, and we hope you’ll sign up to Brawl or check it out when it’s live!”

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Thomas recently sat down with ONE37pm to discuss his Chess and Boxing background growing up and how he came across the sport. 

ONE37pm: So, what exactly is Chess Boxing?

Thomas: Chess Boxing is exactly what it sounds like: It is the board game of chess combined with the combat sport of boxing. You alternate between Chess and boxing until there is a checkmate or a knockout. So, we would get wrapped up our wrists and get ready to fight, but the game starts on the chessboard.

So, we sit down across from each other and play speed chess, which means you make a move and hit your time, now that means my time is going. I make a move and hit my timer, now your timer is counting down, and we keep going back and forth like that for three minutes. 

After those three minutes, they stop the timer, they take the chessboard out of the ring, and we have a minute put on our gloves, get psyched up, and then fight for three minutes. After those three minutes, we have a minute to take off the gloves, sit back down at the board and pick up the game where we left off. 

ONE37pm: How did you get into Chess Boxing in the first place?

Thomas: I grew up playing competitive Chess. So, on the weekends, I would play in chess tournaments until I was 13, and in college, I was competing in the sport of boxing for the University of Georgia. So, we were competing against other schools in our region, and after an amateur boxing bout, I injured my shoulder. 

So, I had to get shoulder surgery, and I was on bed rest for six weeks, and I could not punch a heavy bag for six months. I had a super long recovery period, and I meant most of it watching YouTube, playing video games, Chess, and one day I was playing speed chess watching an old video on YouTube. 

The video that was up next was something on chess boxing. YouTube auto-played a chess boxing video, and when I saw it, I told myself I was born for this. The sport combines two of my favorite things to do, and I started researching it, and I found the founder that created it back in 2003. A Dutchman named Iepe [Rubingh] reached out to him and told him I love what he had created, and I would love to get involved. 

Then I asked when the next competition was, and he told me. I told him as soon as I recovered that I would reach out. About a year and a half later, I reached out, and he said the only event left in the year was the Chess Boxing world championship in Kolkata, India.

He informed me that if I did compete, I would be the first American to compete in the sport we have never had an American compete before. I decided to go and compete after turning for a couple of weeks and won the whole thing. 

Photo courtesy of Matt Thomas

ONE37pm: Growing up, did you follow grand chess master Bobby Fischer?

Thomas: Bobby Fischer was one of my heroes growing up as a kid, studying chess openings and old games. Bobby Fischer was my favorite one to follow, and he is a legend in the game of Chess. 

ONE37pm: Chess and boxing both require strategies in a bout. Being an expert in both fields, how has it helped you in those separate entities?

Thomas: It is interesting because each sport is super old. For instance, Chess is 2000 years old and was started in India. Boxing has been around since the caveman days, even if it’s not the same rules, and everyone can wrap their heads around a fight. 

There is so much history in both sports and a lot of strategy in both individual sports, but when you combine the two, that changes. Some chess players are good at that part of the sport and are new to boxing or vice versa. Some are balanced at both sports, and even though you are good at both, you could still come across an opponent that is good at boxing. 

That will cause you to change your strategy because you will want to limit his advantage in the boxing ring and maximize your advantage in Chess. In the boxing ring, I might want to jab and stay away and then maximize my time on the board because that is how I am going to win that match.

Where if I am facing someone great at Chess but not boxing, my strategy is going to flip. So, it is really a flex sport depending on your opponent, what their strengths and your own strengths are, how you approach each match.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Thomas

ONE37pm: Could you see chess boxing becoming an Olympic Sport one day?

Thomas: The goal is to make Chess Boxing recognized as an international sport and be included in the Olympic games. Right now, we have made some progress. So, for some countries where Chess Boxing is really popular, like Russia, India, Germany, and France, there are already nationwide competitions. Meanwhile, that does not exist in the United States, and interviews like this help bring awareness to the sport, and we can build a team here in the US, instead of just being a couple of us like it is now.

ONE37pm: Are you familiar with the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit?

Thomas: Queen’s Gambit is amazing! And if you have not watched it yet, definitely turn on Netflix. It is the number one show in the country right now, and you will love it. Even if you do not know about Chess, for instance, my girl is learning how to play Chess, and she loved the series. I know a lot about Chess and broke down a lot of the games they had with some of the famous matchups. 

That they were replying during the series, and I loved it, so it does not matter who you are; you will enjoy the show. The cool thing about Queen’s Gambit is that it had many chess consultants, so all the games were realistic and high level. One of the chess consultants was Iepe Rubingh, who was the founder of Chess Boxing.

So, it is this weird collision of worlds he created the game in 2003, and now he has advised from this worldwide critically acclaimed show. However, due to Covid, Iepe passed away in May, so if you watch it all the way through, the series is dedicated to him. After the seventh episode, it says in Memory of Iepe Rubingh. I was not aware of it until I saw it, but I started breaking down when I found out. His impact on the world was not just chess boxing, but now he helped advise for this show.


The Queens Gaming Collective Is Charting A New Course for Women in Gaming

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The Women-Led Gaming and Lifestyle Brand Queens Gaming Collective is a lifestyle company created by women for women. Launching today, as it looks to give women competitive opportunities in a male-dominated industry. Nearly half of the 2.6 billion gaming enthusiasts are women; many feel marginalized and left out in the streaming and competition like in many other sectors.


“I feel as though it’s hard to be taken seriously as a woman in the gaming space. You constantly have to prove your knowledge and worth and get scrutinized significantly more than a male would,” shared Jessica Chancello, also known as Maid of Might with ONE37pm.

“Sometimes it feels like people are waiting for you to make one mistake so they can turn around and say, ‘Aha! Look, you’re a fake gamer!’ It can get exhausting.”

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“The biggest challenge would probably be self-doubt and recognizing my own worth within the community. I think that having confidence is sometimes hard to build in oneself, especially when in the past, there have been many gatekeepers within the industry. Having a support system like Queens has really has helped me reset and empower myself,” added Kiera Please.

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According to VentureBeat, Queens “gives creators, streamers, and competitors equal access to the infrastructure, resources, and representation needed to build fair and profitable careers in the gaming industry.”

The collective is financed by a $1.5 million investment from a gaming-focused financial group, consisting of BITKRAFT Ventures, as well as strategic investors Assia Grazioli-Venier and Rachel Springate, the founding partners of Muse Capital.

“I feel like Queens is going to be a game-changer for the industry. Women coming together to play video games, which has been seen as a ‘guys industry’ for so long. We want to show the industry that we can do anything,” said actress and singer Carrington Durham

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“The Queens Gaming Collective is a game-changer for women because it’s going to show that there’s a lot of pretty women, beautiful women, and queens that can play games and do it all and not be judged to be doing it,” said WNBA Champion, Alexis Jones.

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Other members of the investing group include Rosie O’Neill (Sugarfina co-founder),  former MTV, Sony Music, and Maker Studios executive Amy Finnerty, and Dre Hayes (President of Kappa USA, Cofounder of The Foundation). Seven other prominent successful entrepreneurs round out the roster, with the collective being led by a team that adds vast experience in gaming, sports, entertainment, consumer products, and technology.

“Now more than ever, the spotlight is on women. Women in sports; Women in business; Women in politics; Women in gaming. At Queens, we are committed to recognizing and celebrating all the women who identify as gaming enthusiasts and giving them a place to call home. A community of this caliber has not really existed before, so we are truly launching at the perfect time, especially with such a dynamic and diverse group of Queens,” said Alisa Jacobs, the CEO of Queens Gaming Collective.

“Additionally, in the absence of live events and with the pivot in traditional marketing, the industry is digitizing. All aspects of culture and brand are rapidly finding their footing in the virtual landscape where Queens is uniquely positioned at the intersectional epicenter. We had been building this company since the beginning of 2020, and several things have happened since February that elevated the mission and purpose of our company.”  

Justin Giangrande, the co-founder and Chairman of Queens Gaming Collective, added: “Before beginning our funding round, we had already hired key positions in the company to ensure we could immediately put our best foot forward and hit the ground running.

Fast forward to November, and we have assembled a best-in-class team of investors, executives, advisors, allies, and strategic partners across gaming, sports, entertainment, consumer products, and tech. Now is the right time to launch Queens. But it’s not just about launching; it’s about executing. And we are as ready as ever.”

Courtesy of Queens Gaming Collective
Alisa Jacobs

According to Jacobs, she saw an opportunity to create a global movement with QCG, and he jumped at the chance when asked by Giangrande to be a co-founder and the CEO of the company.

“I have worked in marketing for most of my career, including recently as the founder of a culture-first branding agency LOOP, where I consulted for brands in sports, consumer products, tech, and other verticals. When Justin asked me to be CEO & Co-founder of Queens with him, I saw it as an opportunity not just to build a gaming lifestyle company, but to create a global cultural movement,” Jacobs shared.

“I put my agency on hold, moved cross-country, and am now ALL-IN on elevating this industry through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and equity. It is truly anyone’s game—and we are here to help each, and every Queen reach their career goals as a gamer and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Giangrande shared that he came up with the company’s concept after reading an article earlier this year that revealed nearly 50% of the gaming audience is female. 

“I saw an article back in February posted by NewsZoo that said 46% of the gaming audience is female, and it blew my mind. At the time, I immediately took it to my friends (now partners) at Zoned Agency as they’re the most endemic to the gaming space. I asked if it was true, and if so, ‘Where is the prominent women’s gaming collective in the industry?’ To which they replied, ‘It doesn’t exist.’ 

The light bulb immediately went off in my head as it seemed like a no brainer to me; the gaming industry is huge from a cultural perspective, women drive purchasing habits, they’re talented content creators, they’re almost half of the audience, and yet no one is speaking to them. I began building the business model, putting together this incredible team of C-suite executives, including our CEO and co-founder Alisa Jacobs, and gathering a strong roster of gamers that would support our movement.”

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Giangrande is also the CEO of The Network Advisory and a former Partner and EVP at VaynerSports. He partnered with an agency and venture studio, Zoned Gaming, and helped assemble an advisory panel of industry experts, including hospitality and entertainment company The H. Wood Group as well as senior executives from Amazon, Twitch, TikTok, and Spotify.

According to Newzoo, the industry is expected to grow to almost $175 billion this year (+20% year-on-year) and exceed $217 billion by 2023. Like traditional sports, competitive gaming draws major sponsors, advertisers, endorsements, stars, rivalries, and dynasties.

Courtesy of Queens Gaming Collective
Taylor Heitzig-Rhodes

Taylor Heitzig-Rhodes, the head of talent and also a partner, joins the brand from the talent agency Evolved, which focuses on content creators and competitive Esports. During her time as an agent, Heitzig-Rhodes worked in close collaboration with teams, players, influencers, and brands such as Chica, Alexandra Botez, and Athena. Now she identifies, signs, and manages Queens’ increasing talent.

In addition to ownership, Queens has the tools, relationships, and expert advice to generate economic benefits through original, women-focused digital programs and other innovative monetization opportunities. The current queens include Cosplayer and content creator Kiera Please, DJs and designers Coco and Breezy, Singer and gamer Cray, WNBA Champion Alexis Jones, Gamer and recording artist Bunnymightgameu, Gamer BlackKrystel, Singer and gamer Sunzibae, Content creator xmiramira, Singer and songwriter Sharlene, Gamer and influencer,  Streamer/Gamer and Cosplayer HelloIAmKate,  Gamer Bloody, Influencer Carrington Durham, Streamer Kayla Delancey, Gamer demisux, Actor and cosplayer Maid of Might, Vocalist and model Erica Nagashima, and Gamer and model SavEdgeDoll.

Each queen was chosen for her skills, intelligence, and engagement in a wide range of games and entertainment. The future of women in gaming and entertainment is not homogenous, and each Queen serves as a strong and unique character model for women of all ages and backgrounds, whether casual gamers, viewers, or would-be pro players.

Their collaborative content and activations will reside on platforms owned and operated by Queens, providing entry points to the games through sports, music, fashion, beauty, fitness, and the performing arts.

Among the first members of the Queen’s Court were former NBA All-Star and entrepreneur Baron Davis and digital and media maven Karen Civil, known for her work with Cash Money Records, and with the late artist Nipsey Hussle. She is also the Founder and CEO of LiveCivil & AlwaysCivil.

Queen Gaming Collective has also partnered with Razer as an official gaming device and hardware. QGC is also scheduled to join Queens’ talent for a live launch party on Twitch on December 5th. The talent lineup has not been released yet.

As for what Jacobs and Giangrande envision for the company in the future? Jacob wants the company to become a global conglomerate and one of the biggest content producers.

“Queens becomes a multi-dimensional global business—for women, by women—and creates an ecosystem that can support all stages of a gamer’s career. Queens will be one of the biggest content companies of our decade, and without question, the most Impactful,” Jacobs said. “My vision is for Queens to lead blurring the line between gaming and lifestyle into E-culture, a community and marketplace equalized for economic success for all.”

Giangrande wants QGC to be a platform where all women can accomplish their dreams.

“For Queens to be the inclusive business that gives women the platform to accomplish their goals and for Men to support that mission,” Giangrande said. “To also be one of the most innovative media companies of this decade, that provides economic inclusion for our talent. To Change The Game. And to Change the Face of Gaming.”

Make sure you keep an eye out for Queens Gaming Collective as they look to shake up the industry and change the game.


Lamar Jackson Is Not As Good As Patrick Mahomes, But He Could Be One Day

The Baltimore Ravens are currently sitting at 6-2, and they are second in the AFC North, behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Unsurprisingly, the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, has been a key figure in Baltimore’s hot start to the season. Jackson, in just his third year, has posted a winning record of 25-5 tying him with Dan Marino for the best start by a quarterback in NFL history.

“It’s pretty cool, I’m up there with a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “But you still got to win each and every game. So, it’s all right.”

“I think that’s really something. Wow,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson tying Marino’s mark. “Lamar will tell you it’s a team effort. I think the team will tell you that you couldn’t win those games without Lamar.”

Jackson’s latest victory this past Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts did not come without adversity. The Ravens trailed the Colts 10-7 at the half and coming into Sunday’s game, Jackson was 0-6 when playing from behind.

However, on Sunday, that would not be the case; Jackson would complete all ten of his passes for 119 yards and add a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Finishing the game with 170 yards passing on 19 passes and added 58 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

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Jackson has accumulated 1513 yards on 62.9% of his completions through the first eight games, with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 469 yards and three touchdowns.

Since entering the league, Jackson has been criticized for using his legs to run rather than using his arm. When the pocket starts to collapse, everybody knows that he will take off, including ESPN’s analyst and former Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Marcus Spears.

“That percentage of them winning is because of Lamar operating as he did from the pocket [on Sunday],” Spears said in September.v” I don’t care what anybody says; every analytic person knows when Lamar Jackson is running the football.”

That’s not to say Spears is not a fan of Jackson’s game, but the main goal is to win a Super Bowl eventually, and for that to happen for the Ravens, according to Spears, Jackson has to evolve as a quarterback.

“I felt good about what Lamar did. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t use his legs; I was never trying to make that point,” Spears said. “For his evolution, for his next phase of the game and when we’re talking about winning a Super Bowl, he’s going to have to operate from the pocket like that, especially if they are in the playoffs.”

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Jackson has also drawn comparison to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes won the regular season MVP back in 2018, and the following year led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory, and Ravens are hoping Jackson can do the same. If Jackson can win the Super Bowl, would he receive the same respect that everyone gives Mahomes? It’s tough to say.

However, NBA analyst Brendan Haywood does not think it will happen.

“Lamar Jackson will not get the same respect as Patrick Mahomes because he is not as good as Patrick Mahomes,” said Haywood on Instagram Live Monday night.

“They can win games with Lamar being a game manager. That is how they have won games this year. If you watch the Ravens play, Lamar ain’t been ballin. Lamar is not in anybody’s MVP conversation. Lamar is not a top seven guy in the NFL, and it is because he has a bunch of games under 200 yards passing. His rushing has gone from 80 yards per game to like 58 per game; his rushing TDs are down from last season. And the thing is the NFL has film on him, and Lamar cannot throw outside. Those on time, back-shoulder throws like Patrick Mahomes. They know that this dude is trying to run the ball or play action and throw the ball in the seams to his tight-ends or Hollywood Brown, and people are covering that.”

Jackson and the Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman need to switch things up to catch these defensive coordinators off guard. And they can start this week when they play the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.


Sterling Brown’s Settlement With The City Of Milwaukee Wasn’t The Headline, The Apology Is

On Monday, ESPN’s Eric Woodyard reported that three years after Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Sterling Brown’s run-in with the Milwaukee Police Department, both sides finally agreed on a settlement of $750,000, ending Brown’s rights lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee.

Brown instructed his attorney Mark Thomsen to accept the deal on Friday after rejecting a $400,000-offer last October.

The incident in question occurred on January 26, 2018, and according to Brown, Milwaukee PD profiled him outside a Walgreens store because he was black. The officers involved elected to use a stun gun when Brown did not immediately follow their orders of removing his hands from his pockets.

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Brown elected to file his lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee in June 2018, upon the release of the bodycam footage, which showed an officer stepping on his ankle. Brown also requested that the City of Milwaukee release a statement stating that admitting the constitutional violation. In addition, the City must commit to incorporating amendments to the Milwaukee Police Service’s Standard Operating Procedures, and that they are implemented within 180 days of the agreement.

“I’ve got plenty of people going through the same thing in Chicago and back at home,” Brown told ESPN in December. “So, I know it’s happening in Milwaukee, so I’m pretty much being that voice for those who don’t have the platform that I have to make this national news.”

The Milwaukee Bucks also released a statement on Monday, stating that they were pleased both sides agreed on a settlement. The statement reads:

“We are pleased that Sterling’s lawsuit has been mutually resolved and that there’s been an important commitment by the City of Milwaukee and its Police Department to make changes to the MPD’s standard operating procedures…No one should ever have to go through the horrifying abuse and injustice that Sterling experienced. We commend Sterling for his courageous response to this terrible situation by repeatedly sharing his story and working tirelessly with countless local groups and organizations to help make a change in our community. And we also commend the City’s leadership for its commitment to implement these important changes to better Milwaukee.”

Brown is getting ready to enter his fourth season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and during his career, he has averaged 5.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game.

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On Monday, former NBA veterans Brendan Haywood and Ryan Hollins discussed Brown’s settlement of $750,000 and raised the question: Was it enough?

“There is never a price that you can put on behind whipping that did not deserve. From people who are supposed to protect and serve, that racially profile you. The biggest thing to me was not the money,” said Haywood.

“When I saw the settlement, ‘The City of Milwaukee will reportedly pay Brown $750,000 to settle the lawsuit, but the agreement also includes more than just money.” According to The Athletic, “the city will also publicly admit to violating Brown’s constitutional rights and implement concrete changes to the Milwaukee Police’s standard operating procedures within the next 180 days of signing the agreement. It [is] not yet known what those changes will be,” read Haywood.

“That is the biggest part of that deal. The city had to say hey, ‘our cops were racist.’ They saw a black man, and he did not comply; they thought he should, instead of giving him due process, as we would a white person. We whooped his ass, and that is big because, during the season, they were originally going to give him $400,000, but the city was not going to admit any wrongdoing. And he said no, so $750k and the city, saying we were wrong, and we will be moving forward differently. I’m okay with this. I would love to see him get $5 million, but Sterling Brown has money.”

Ryan Hollins shared that he got pulled over once while playing for the Celtics, and when the cop realized it, he let Hollins go.

“If you let me know that you played for the Celtics, I would have let you go a long time ago,” said Hollins.

Haywood also shared a story of when he got pulled over in Charlotte.

“I got pulled over in Charlotte; this was when I was playing with [the]  Dallas [Mavericks]. I had always lived in Charlotte. I got pulled over; the cop asked me, but I had a Dallas license. It expired during the season, so I had to get a Dallas license while in Dallas.”

Recounting the event, Haywood said that the police officer that pulled him over assumed that the car was stolen. Since the license plate number did not match the address on Haywood’s driver’s license. The officer called for backup, and when they arrived, the second officer verified Haywood’s identity.

Not too long after, they let him go.

“They let me go a minute later. Had the cop not said this is [Brendan] Haywood, that could have been a totally different experience,” said Haywood.

Haywood played 13 seasons in the league and won a championship in 2011 as a part of the Dallas Mavericks.