Words: Alex Synamatix
Photography: Alex Synamatix
Every now and then, the worlds of fashion, streetwear, and sports give us the chance to sit down with someone slightly on the outskirts and hear a fascinating story. My time with Claude Johnson, founder of the Black Fives Foundation, was one of those moments. Black Fives Era is not a deeply interesting part in the history of basketball (and until recently, unspoken), but also in the history of modern culture.
I was warned in advance that Claude had a lot to say and a very interesting story to talk about, not just with his personal career and life choices, but with the history of Black Fives Era, and as prepared and interested as I was already thanks to a large amount of reading up on the topic, nothing could have prepared me for the conversation we had. It may sound melodramatic, and maybe it is, but I found myself quickly lost in a conversation that could have happily had no end, and a conversation that was both educational and unafraid to touch on provocative or touchy subjects.
If you’re reading this and thinking “What is Black Fives Era? Am I supposed to know this already?” don’t be surprised. It’s not a history that has gotten much attention at all, but not for any specific reason, as Claude was quick to point out. The Black Fives Era represents the time in America when basketball was still segregated, and it tracks the history of the black teams who pioneered the sport. You’d think that this story would be an integral, interwoven part of the history of modern basketball, but you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s only recently, thanks to Claude’s work, that the story has finally been pieced together and has a voice.
I won’t go on any further because in all honesty, I don’t think anyone could tell this story and history better than Claude Johnson himself. It’s by no means a short story, but it’s more than worth the time.
Head over to the Black Fives Foundation website to learn more about the Black Fives Era.
I read that your previous career path has seen you working with some of the world’s largest sports brands. What exactly did you do before Black Fives?
Well, I worked in IBM, American Express, but then I veered off of that path and got a position at NBA, I was the Director of International Licensing. What was cool about that was I got to know some of the markets overseas. It was right around the time the NBA was starting to expand its base of licensees, so I got to know some of those retailers and got to go to ISPO and some of the trade shows and that kind of thing. I came to visit London at that time — that was the first time I’d been here. It was really in and out. I didn’t get to see the city much, but that brought me here.
From the NBA I went to work at Nike, where I was the Product Line Manager for Nike Basketball, which was their basketball category with the ball and Swoosh. Basically, they had NCAA, Jordan and NBA at the time, and this branded category. So I did that and then I left there and went to work for Phat Licensing at Phat Farms with Russell Simons, which got me an introduction to Streetwear. At that time, he was expanding into licensing. Then I left there to go to work at Benetton Sportsystem, which is the holding part of the family that owned Rollerblade, Prince Tennis, Nordica Skis and Ektelon Racquets, but they eventually started spinning those off and broke apart this group and that’s when I was laid off, because of that. I had an employment contract with a severance agreement and so I had 2 years worth of pay, but I had to not work for anybody, so that’s when I full-time started this Black Fives endeavour.
I had discovered these teams back when I was with the NBA and it was right around the time of their 50th anniversary and they published a book called the ‘NBA Encyclopaedia of Basketball’, it’s an 800 page book, but it only had 3 pages devoted to these earlier black teams. I knew that they existed because of Arthur Ashes book ‘The Hard Road To Glory’, which was about the history of African American athletes, and in that book in the basketball section he listed a handful of teams and I started to realise that there were dozens of these teams, by doing the research. Each time I found a new team like that, I also trademarked the name and logo. Over time I compiled not only research, but intellectual property and artefacts, so we are now the leading authority on this history.
At one point we were trying to figure out how to get others interested in this, like Mitchell & Ness, and Stall & Dean, and some of the vintage guys, but nobody really got it for a long time and so I just kept cracking away — if we weren’t going to get any kind of commercialisation out of it, then I just kept doing the research and collecting the artefacts, then eventually there was so much of that good will and content that somebody at Nike called and said “Can we put this logo on an Air Force 1?” and I said “Of course!” That’s like “Wow!”… the holy grail right? That ended up being not just an Air Force 1, but Air Force 2, Air Force 3, Dunk, Vandal High, Vandal Low, Legends, Blazers, and in these different teams with our corporate logo as well.
Remind me when that was?
That was 2006. For 2 seasons, so it was Fall 2006, Spring 2007, only in their Alpha doors, which are the places which no one knows where they are. You only see it and you’re like “Where’d you get those?” and they’re like “Sorry, they’re sold out” [smiles]. That was very lucrative, but it was only a spike, it wasn’t longterm. They then gave that license to Converse and Converse celebrated their 50th anniversary by making some remakes of some of their original Chuck Taylor’s that they outfitted these early teams with, even before it said Chuck Taylor on the ankle. So, they did some remakes of those and some other cool products to help celebrate this, but again it was short lived and not really comprehensive, although it was great working with them.
When that went away, there was a period of lull where nothing was happening with this category and at that time I just decided that “OK, I’m gonna right a book. I’m going to continue the research, continue to do the collection of artefacts and also add another component which is to try and identify as many of the descendants as possible.” To keep celebrating these pioneers and advocating for that. It reached a point where school teachers were calling and saying “Can you come talk to us?” One of the things I did all this time was to create and start a blog and a web presence, and these articles would actually get picked up by major platforms like Deadspin, New York Times and others, so we always had a bit of a loyal following. One day I said “Probably if school teachers are calling me, then there’s some kind of philanthropic aspect of this, which is the giving back part, and specifically in the cities where these teams once played” and then I realised “Well why not just create a foundation for this?” and when I did that I then donated and assigned all of the assets from the previous commercial entity, which was Black Fives Inc., to the new foundation and dissolved the old company. A huge collection of artefacts; the leading, most important one in the world. We don’t even think there is another collection of these kinds of artefacts that exists. All the logos for dozens of teams and all the other assets we had, mailing lists etc., even the bank account, went over to the new foundation and we applied and got the 501C3 designation, which is the official charitable contribution tax exempt designation from the government, and suddenly that aligned all of the energy behind it and it made the story easier — our mission is that we preserve and promote this history and teach it, but also in teaching it we go into schools and engage the students with the lessons that the experiences of these pioneers can teach us; collaboration, problem solving, finding common ground, leadership, academic achievement. We even talk about the industry itself, the sports industry as a viable career option, any part of it, you don’t have to be a pro athlete to make it into the NBA or any professional sport, because that was my experience.
Then I started realising “Well, why don’t I try to forge relationships with the NBA teams that play in the cities where these original teams played?” So that’s LA, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, DC, I might be missing one, and then there’s a couple of other cities that don’t have NBA teams but they still have really strong history. The first step of that relationship was with the Brooklyn Nets. The Brooklyn Nets identify the schools for us through their community relations department, they have a program called Nets Assist which does different programming with various organisations in Brooklyn, and then through that they tell us the school and we go out and give a presentation about the history of the Black Fives Era, but specific to Brooklyn; “This is where this guy lived, this is where this milestone happened, this is where the venue was, this is where the promoter lived.”
So you make it personally relatable to kids…
Personally engaging, because then they’re sitting there and they’re like “Oh I live on Halsey Street!” and they can relate to it, and in the relating to it they become more open to hearing about these lessons and it’s not just like preaching or a lecture, it’s more a conversation. I always say to the students “I’m gonna talk to you like I talk to my kids. Is that ok?” and they’re like “Yeah!” and then it becomes “OK, we know each other now. Now I can talk to you, and I’m telling the truth.” I’m not trying to preach or hide something or give them an agenda, I’m an open resource. I’ve experienced a lot, I’ve done a lot, I’ve tried a lot of things and this is a whole new category. It’s not because I’m clever, it’s because I just put love in to it all these years and tried to keep going, keep going, keep going. And now ’47 Brand has discovered it and they’ve been really genuine and amazing with not only their interest level, but their thoughtfulness and their execution of the product.
It’s a development challenge that’s fascinating because it’s sort of an industry first in a couple of different ways. 1 is that they took these teams and they picked 7 of them and instead of just designing a line where it’s just the same item in 7 different colours, they said “No, let’s give each of these teams to a leading boutique in that city” and each of them on their own are not just some guy’s shop, they’re considered the premium, most outstanding, top of the line boutique for this category. They got 7 of them and each of them did their own interpretation of a team’s story. Some of the jerseys have 1 patch, some of them have 2, the inset is different, the embellishment is different. 7 different times! And not just for 1 piece, for all the pieces. The quality of that and being able to pull that off from a development point of view is challenging and the consumer knows that there’s something amazing about that because you hardly ever see that. That’s an industry first – I don’t know of any other time that a brand or a sports property that has done this kind of collaboration that’s co-branded with leading retailers.
What I found interesting about that collection was that because of that, each store gave it a spin that’s unique to their city and their audience, and you could almost see the influence of each city in each capsule.
Yeah exactly! And what’s brilliant about that is each city in and of itself is a special story, it’s not just the team or the logo, and I think that’s where the leagues make the mistake, NFL, MLB, they try to come here [the UK] and talk about the Cleveland Indians or the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I don’t know if the European consumer cares about that. What they should do is talk about how amazing a city Pittsburgh was and how they had the steel industry and working class people and this is the grit of the personality and the values that they admire, and then when you talk about that, that’s going to make somebody in a town that has a similar kind of ethic say “Man, I want that. That’s me!” Doesn’t even matter what the logo is! So here, this has the opportunity to be about the city, its own self identity.
How well versed was the story of Black Fives Era in America before you picked it up?
Nobody actually really knew about this. A couple of historians, we’re a tight knit group of historians, there were some historians that did papers, or maybe give a presentation on it, you see some mention of it in some books, maybe a paragraph or 2. Even when I mentioned Arthur Ashe, he mentioned one or two of these teams in a couple of paragraphs. So really no, no one. Some newspaper account over the years, but that’s it.
Considering the size to which the sport of basketball has grown, why do you think this part of the history is so untold?
Well, this is what I’ve been able to determine; this period, the Black Fives Era, from 1904 when the game was first introduced to Blacks on a wide scale organised basis, through 1950 which is when the first African Americans were signed by the NBA. When that happened, there was no reason to look back. In other words, here you have this brand new NBA and they have 3 black stars and they keep on adding more each year after that, the NCAA also took off because once you had the breaking of the colour barrier in the league, it then made it that black basketball talent was in demand because it was ok, so all the college conferences were like “Hey, you know what? This is worth it,” before you had pretty much one or two teams that anybody could ever play for, now you have the whole NBA. And then, the Globetrotters, which were one of these teams from the Black Fives Era, they decided to go a different path which was more towards comedy and entertainment, and they did a great service to the game which was by expanding it. They went world wide. All three of those entities had their own agenda as far as promotion, and there was no reason to go back and study or even reference or shout out to those earlier teams and so the knowledge of them just died out. Newspapers had really no reason to write about them and every once in a while there was a sports writer who knew about or honoured that history. The players didn’t go away, they just went into their communities and became coaches or mentors or community leaders.
What’s fascinating is that the next wave of players were almost all mentored by these guys, so these guys became heroes a second time around, but obscure, other than within their community. One example is John Isaacs who played on the New York Rens, which was arguably the best team of that period, and after he finished playing he had a job but he was also a councillor at a boys and girls club in the Bronx and he had this job as a youth councillor for fifty years and during that time generations of players and kids, who later became adults, he impacted and effected them. Up until the day that he died, literally, sitting in a chair at that boys and girls club he had a stroke. But, one of the things that we do is that we advocate for those pioneers that they get better recognition. As a result of our efforts, the Basketball Hall of Fame created a new committee a couple of years ago called the Early African American Pioneers Committee and that committee directly elects candidates into the hall. Before, you had to go through this whole gauntlet of the veteran’s committee and they had to nominate you and then you had to become a finalist and then if you were a finalist that still didn’t mean you made the final cut, and they were relying on members of the committee, all of whom are anonymous, but none of them knew anything about this history, so they would always just say “We don’t know anything about him.” They would always just vote on veterans who were NBA veterans after 1950, but not on any of the basketball pioneers that existed before that. So, they did that, and this guy John Isaacs was elected in earlier this year [smiles]. So his family is going to the enshrinement and it’s a big deal. That’s what we want because then I can go into a school and talk about the Rens some more.
It must be really exciting and rewarding uncovering this lesser-known history by yourself anyway, but also passing it on and educating people on it, and I’m sure that for example most of the people involved in the collaborations can’t have been too informed on it.
That’s right. The guy that reached out to me was the historian for ’47 Brand. Now most brands don’t have a historian, his actual title is Historian, and he worked at Mitchell & Ness before this, I got to know him because we tried to interest Mitchell & Ness in this years ago and they passed but they were very helpful in terms of their resources that they provided to us to help make this a possibility. At the time, we created a line of jerseys and throwbacks and that was hot. Shipped them out of the garage and sourced them in Korea. That was a whole effort in itself. That trend died because of too many Mitchell & Ness knock-offs coming into the States, so we got burned a little bit on that, but you keep having to reinvent yourself and keep going and keep going. But yeah it is really gratifying because my kids now think that this history is cool and everybody that we talk to thinks it’s cool, and part of the reason that they think it’s cool is because Nike or ’47 Brand is doing something with it, or the Brooklyn Nets through Barclays Center. The fact that our images are in Barclay Centre, and Barclays Center is probably the coolest centre in the league, makes the history cool because it’s sort of a stamp of validation like “Well if they put it in the Barclays Center there must be something about it. Let’s find out.”
I was going to ask how important you feel that projects like that one, involving collaborative merchandise, are to educating the younger generation?
Oh it’s extremely important! Obviously ’47 Brand are a company and they have a bottom line, they don’t have share holders because it’s a family owned business, but they have financial goals and so yes, on the one hand they’re selling product, that’s what they do, it’s a business, but on the other it’s worth much more than product because each of these items is a story waiting to be told, it’s a conversation that’s waiting to be had, it’s questions waiting to be raised and so I expect and hope that walking down the street that person who’s wearing this comes up to their mates and they go “What is that?” and they go “Oh it’s this…” It’s more of a conversation and that brings awareness and by doing that it keeps the history alive.
Even though the John Isaacs of the world have passed away, there’s no more pioneers that are living, we do have their descendants to keep it alive, but now we also have these artefacts to keep the story going and we present those, like at the New York Historical Society where we had a museum exhibition, and now we have these items which each of them is a fashion piece that you could wear without knowing anything about the history, but at the same time it could raise a story that encourages you to look at the images. The images themselves are also interesting, because when most people think of black history in the United States, they think of negative images; fire hoses, lynchings, any kind of other grotesque, cruel manifestations of racism, you hardly ever see a great looking group of men or women who are basketball players and they’re just intent, they’re not angry, they don’t have attitude, they’re not sad, they’re not mad, they just have intention. There’s this intentionality in their faces, it’s purposefulness and part of the reason for that is because they were playing for something much bigger than the game. Some of them were professional teams and they did draw salaries, $120 a month or whatever, which back then was actually a lot of money. Rent for a really good apartment was $25, so to make $125 is decent right? Making five times your rent money… that’s pretty good [laughs]. But more than that, they were playing because it meant something to the bigger community. They had this saying: “Uplift of the race.” How do you continue? How do you succeed? You have to find ways internally to create things for everyone to be proud of, to follow, to cheer for, to show that you can keep excelling and growing.
And to what extent did those pioneers have a direct impact on the breaking down of the race barrier in the forming of the NBA?
Oh they paved the way! For example, the Rens, which was the best team of that period, in terms of African American teams, they would tour around the country and play local teams. There was no league, but they would play teams in Indiana or Wisconsin or wherever. They even went to California. They’d travel all around. When they went to a town, often it was a remote town that maybe had never seen black people before, but they knew about basketball because everybody knew about basketball, and so the reason they were invited is because people wanted to see great basketball, but also they were a mobile economy, it meant that people from miles around would come to this town, spend money at the hotels, the restaurants, the bars, the merchants who would have their own betting on the sides. It was also a novelty, so even during The Great Depression, when people didn’t have money and a lot of people didn’t have jobs, it was a form of comic or entertainment relief, seeing a good game, and it was lucrative for the promoters on both sides. What it also did is it meant that somewhere along the way a white guy had to shake hands with a black guy to seal the deal and they would have a share of the gate receipts and whatever, so this was lucrative actually during The Great Depression. Not only that, it introduced this new way of looking at African Americans in a wide scale way. They travelled everywhere! Anywhere there was a gym. So did the Globetrotters and other teams. All of these travelling teams, black and white, Jewish teams, Irish teams, Swedish teams, they sort of had their own identity like that, they would all claim they were the champions: “Here come the champions!” Eventually a newspaper in Chicago, the Chicago Herald American, decided let’s settle this once and for all, it can’t be that everyone is the champion, so they created an invitation only world championship of pro basketball in 1939 and they invited the 12 best pro teams, which included 2 African American teams, the New York Rens and the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Rens won that inaugural tournament, so they were officially not only the black champions, but just World Champions.
And is that the time they beat the Globetrotters? I read that after suffering a single defeat that the Globetrotters refused to play the Rens again…
They played them again. In 1939 they were in the same bracket and they beat the Globetrotters and then they beat the Oshkosh Allstars, which ironically was a future champion of a league that didn’t allow black teams to join, so it’s interesting right? It was a big deal. It made the New York Times and the mainstream media. That ultimately paved the way because the following year the Globetrotters won that same tournament and a couple years after that the Washington Bears, a lineup that mostly was former Rens players, won it again. So 10 years before the NBA there were World Championships that were being won by black teams and that made everybody realise that African American talent is here to stay. The community already knew that, but now it was mainstream and then it opened the doors for promoters to say “You know what? We can make money. We want a win,” and it again forced questions because the owners of the New York Knicks, he wanted to win, they really wanted this guy Sweet Water Clifton on their team and the other owners in the league didn’t want any blacks in the league, but he said “If you don’t let me sign this guy I’m gonna leave. I’m the premium franchise and I’m gonna get out of here. I’m gonna take my team. I can just do well on my own. Don’t worry about it.” And so they conceded. They had to. It sort of forced the issue.
And on a smaller scale, do you hope that projects like the ’47 Brand collaboration force similar questions? The NBA has come a very long way since that time you’re talking about, but it’s still got small pockets of racism such as the Donald Sterling incident last year.
Yes, it was April or May of last year. The reason I know that is because it was during our museum exhibition and we invited Adam Silver, the Director of the NBA, to that exhibition and his office contacted us and said “I’m sorry he couldn’t meet you, but he did go on his own and said it was a terrific exhibition.” Right around that time is when ’47 Brand contacted us also. Now, they could have said “It’s too provocative. It’s too hot of a topic,” but they just went right ahead, because this whole thing of basketball and sport in general, it just brings people together. Then in August I went to the Hall of Fame enshrinement because David Stern, the outgoing commissioner, was being enshrined and I knew that Adam was going to be there. I went up to Adam and I said “Thanks you for your office contacting me. I’m glad you enjoyed the exhibition,” and he pulled out his iPhone and started showing me all of the photos he had taken in my exhibition [smiles]. So I said “That’s really cool, but wouldn’t it be even more cool if the New York Knicks wore Rens as a commemorative night?” and he said “That’s a great idea! Have you talked to Steve Mills [Gm of NY Knicks]?” So eventually I had the conversation on with Steve, he loved the idea, he had to talk it over with Phil Jackson and the owner and he said “I don’t want to be the only one. Let’s talk to other teams,” and we’re just now in the process of coordinating all that.
We also have this very strong relationship with the players union and that’s going to be a key. The President of the players union and the Vice President are LeBron James and Chris Paul and they’ve already said, in their own way, “We want something like this.” The reason was that they have a Chinese New Year jersey, but how many Chinese are there in the league? But it’s not a knock on anybody! Each year they have a St. Patricks Day shout out where they make the jerseys green, then they have Noche Latina, which is Los Knicks, Los Suns, but again, how many Irish or Hispanic players are there? There’s some, but the black payers, which is about 80%, they’re like “Yo, what about the legitimate commemorative jersey for us?” and so we come in and I think that we represent a really good option for them now in these cities, including LA, which is the Hall of Fame rendition of the Red Devils, which happens to be also in the Clippers colours. So it’s perfect right? They have crazy logos: you couldn’t make them up if you tried.
On top of that, Fox Sports Net, which broadcasts the SuperBowl, came to us and they said “We want to do these thirty second long vignettes where we have all these NBA players in our markets that are gonna do these readings of this history.” So Chris Paul already, and DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin, already did on air shout outs where for example Blake Griffin said “Before I won the Slam Dunk Contest, there was William Dollar King,” who was one of these Brooklyn players that’s also featured in the Barclays Center. So it all comes around. There was thirty-five players doing shout outs to Black Fives pioneers, so I took that to the players union and I said “Look. You already have these guys who are interested. I don’t know how much they know other than the reading, but we wrote the script and provided the imagery and so on.” It’s sort of ripe already for the union, the league, the commissioner and the teams to step in and use this history.
That touches on something I wanted to talk to you about: How educated are current players on this topic, when they’re coming through college etc.?
Some, and there’s a handful of players who when we did our throwback jerseys we were selling them through 250 retail doors in the States, and the retailer would call us sometimes and say for example “Allen Iverson was just in here and he bought 11 of your jerseys!” and Shaq and Jermaine O’Neill and we would see them in party pictures wearing our jersey. So through that I think there was a certain amount of ground swell, but it wasn’t enough to where people were calling us and saying “We want to find out more,” because it wasn’t really legit yet. Even when Nike did it, it wasn’t comprehensive. Now that this project is so comprehensive, it’s multi-year, it’s gonna be layered and it keeps getting more comprehensive, the website has been created to tell the story and to merchandise it really nicely, what that’s gonna do is that’s gonna bring us more visibility. It’s not just that ’47 Brand have gift boxes that they’re gonna send to celebrities and they’re gonna give us nice little shout outs, but also now there’s a way to stay in touch. I think that it’s just gonna keep growing and growing.
And what are your end goals for it? It still feels like there’s a lot of ground that can be covered.
It’s still feels fresh right? I think it’s the tip of the iceberg. One thing that would be amazing, I mean of course we have this educational component, so I want to develop a curriculum because there’s only 1 of me, so I can’t really replicate this myself in many cities, so I want there to be a curriculum that’s a full fledged, sponsored possibly curriculum where it could go for free to any school teacher to download it with media that goes with it and other materials. Then I want to have relationships with schools and community relations in each of these cities linked to the NBA, and then ultimately I want to have each of these NBA teams, where it’s relevant, to do a commemorative jersey, wether it’s Nike, because they now have the rights, or wether it’s another supplier, so that a couple of nights a year, maybe during Black History Month, or any other time, they would do a shout out and then that shout out would be a way to draw in the masses of kids. Then to turn that around and to use that as an opportunity to educate and to inspire and really bring it back to life, including with the descendants.
That’s going to be years in the making, but we’ve already been at it 100 years or me so what’s another couple of years? [laughs]
It definitely feels very possible. Even just from hearing the stories you’re telling, it feels very organic and that you’re uncovering ground that should have already been uncovered by now.
Yeah it does. I mean, it’s really nobodies fault. It wasn’t a conspiracy. They weren’t trying to hide the information. I say “Once forgotten, but important.” It was forgotten, but not because it wasn’t important, it’s just that sometimes things get laid down or put to a side and people genuinely forget about it.
This is also from a time where documenting things wasn’t as simple or expansive as it is now with the internet. People also forget that there’s a whole generation now where if it’s not on the internet, it didn’t happen.
…it doesn’t exist. You’re exactly right. And what’s fascinating is, when people discover this we get emails from people and they’re mad! “How come we didn’t know about this?! How come they didn’t teach this?!” There are people like that, that are upset. They’re not upset at us, they’re upset at the system or the schools or something, they don’t really know who, but that just gives them an examples of “What else is there that we didn’t know about?” And it’s not just limited to African Americans! I think as many people of other ethnicities and races are interested in this history as blacks, because it’s just pure culture. You and I, we’re not Peruvian or Alaskan, but you might really like Peruvian art, or North West American art, or something else like the French Impressionists. I’m not French, but I can certainly appreciate it. Or we could go to Brick Lane and eat Indian and it’s delicious, but we don’t know the language. Last night we came out of the restaurant and we ran into a bunch of kids of African descent and they don’t even follow basketball, but they were standing congregating outside the pop-up shop and we were telling them the story and they were like “Oh, it’s cool!”
If you look at this logo carefully enough, it’s really light play, they’re not necessarily all black, they’re silhouettes. It’s almost like they’re half white, half black, and I wanted it to be that way on purpose because we’re all Black Fives, we’re all in this together, it’s all through the lens of basketball. When I sign my book at book signings I say “Basketball brings us together. Make history now.” That’s as true then, when a black team is going to some remote town for the first time, as it is today when an NBA team is going to London or Berlin or these guys from Australia coming here to rep this line. They’re telling me that in Australia, the indigenous community there, Paddy Mills, now there’s some other thing going on there where this could be instructive of self pride and development and raise the level of awareness. It doesn’t really matter who you are, this is just a story that’s inspiring.