MLB, NBA, NFL all have a touch of Southwest Virginia. sports news

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve heard the oft-used meme referred to as “pointing Leonardo DiCaprio.”

This is an image taken from the 2019 film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” featuring Rick Dalton (portrayed by Leo) happily pointing at a television screen with his left hand.

expert Explain that it is used “to express feelings of aroused recognition.”

Some of the people around these parts have probably hit Rick Dalton’s pose lately.

Over a period of the past five months, friends from far southwest Virginia have appeared in National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and National Football League games.

Mack McClung (Gate City) scored six points for the Los Angeles Lakers in their season-ending win over the Denver Nuggets on April 10, and he appropriately capped the performance with a highlight-reel slam dunk. This came after a game cameo with the Chicago Bulls in December and the 6-foot-2 dynamo headed to training camp with the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors soon after.

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Justin Grimm (Virginia High) appeared in 15 games for the Oakland Athletics before being left by the organization in May. It marked his ninth season in the majors and the right-hander owns a World Series ring for helping the Chicago Cubs win it all in 2016.

Jordan Stout (Honeker) was stellar in his NFL debut as the starting punter and holder for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon. He averaged 48.5 yards on six punts and jumped 64 yards, showing no rookie, in a win over the New York Jets.

James Mitchell (Union) was inactive for the Detroit Lions in their season-opening loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, but the rookie tight end will soon make his NFL debut.

This is impressive for those who rose to prominence while playing in the two shortest classifications of the Virginia high school league.

Some have climbed the Mountain 7 District to the highest level of the sport, while Stout is a true gem of the Black Diamond District.

How Big a Deal Is Southwest Virginia’s NBA, MLB, NFL Triple Play?

Well, it hadn’t happened in a calendar year since 1961.

Own Jim Palmer of Keoki, Virginia, ended a three-season NBA career with the New York Knicks; Boston’s Tracy Stallard (Coburn), Kansas City’s Jim Archer (Max Meadows) and Boston’s Dave Hillman (Dungnon) all joined the American League; and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Carol Del Wise was in his second NFL season.

Hank Williams Jr. once said that country boys can survive.

They can thrive even against the best of the best.

“I think it shows that even though we’re from a small place, it doesn’t mean we’re destined for small things,” Stout said in an interview last week. “If you want to be great you just have to work harder than everyone else. It doesn’t matter where you are from. I also have a rigid culture at a young age through all the wonderful coaches I have.” Was. “

Northeast Tennessee athletes have also topped the list, with Daniel Norris (Science Hill) of the Detroit Tigers and Brett Martin (Morristown East) of the Texas Rangers establishing themselves as left-handed pitchers in the big leagues. Hunter Stratton (Sullivan East) is knocking on the doors of the majors as a handicap for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A farm team.

Outfielder Evan Carter (Elizabethan) is considered the Texas Rangers’ top prospect as he continues to climb the minor league ladder, while slugger Gavin Cross (Tennessee High) becomes the biggest pick ever in Major League Baseball’s regular stage . He was made the ninth overall selection by the Kansas City Royals as of the Amateur Draft in July.

He has mashed his first season in the minors this summer.

“I personally think there are a lot of talented people in our region in their respective sports,” Krauss said. “It is great to see people from our region succeeding in their respective sports. I try to keep up with people around Bristol. The great thing about sports is that it doesn’t matter where you are from or how you grow up. If you can play, you can play.”

Of course this is not a new phenomenon.

The folks at Mountain Empire’s Map Dots have made their mark at the game’s highest level for more than a century and made some history.

Beatty Feathers (Virginia High) was the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher with the Chicago Bears in 1934, rural retreat-born Deacon Phillips won Game 1 of the inaugural World Series in 1903 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the aforementioned Carol Dale played. Green Bay Packers victorious in first two Super Bowls.

Ahmed Bradshaw (Graham) and Heath Miller (Honekar) also have two Super Bowl rings.

Bluefield’s “Bullet” Bill Dudley has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Elizabethan’s Jason Witten is expected to join him soon. Billy Wagner (Tazwell) is making a strong bid for baseball’s Hall of Fame as the former All-Star relief pitcher’s vote total continues to grow each year.

Steve Spurrier (Science Hill) was the Heisman Trophy recipient in 1966 as quarterback for the Florida Gators and went on to become a very good ol’ head ball coach. Olan Cassel (Appalachia) won a gold medal in track and field at the 1960 Olympics in Tokyo as he ran the opening stage on the victorious 4×100 relay team.

Heck, Glenn Roberts of Pound is credited with being one of the inventors of basketball’s jumpshot.

He is just scratching the surface.

The list of legendary locals goes on and on and on.

Now there is a new crop of talented players carrying on that tradition.

If, like so many others, you watched college football for hours on Saturday, you might have seen Purdue’s Cam Allen (Graham) returning interceptions for the score against Indiana State, Virginia Tech’s Jaden Keller (Tennessee High) of Boston College. Made five tackles against him. And Dene Davis (Sullivan East) is finding time to play for the University of Tennessee Volunteers in a win over Pittsburgh.

Some of you may have also made the Rick Dalton point.

Once upon a time they were small town boys with big dreams.

Now the country is seeing what we have known for a long time.

These locals can play.

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