Imagined and -Realized

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Updated: January 8, 2013
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“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

– John Lennon

by Tony McClean, Editor-In-Chief, Emeritus BASN

NEW HAVEN (BASN) — That classic line from the late Beatles’ song “Imagine” has been uttered and repeated for many years. However, its message and impact has never touched me more than it has the past few days.

The sudden passing of my friend and colleague Roland Rogers, the CEO of the Black Athlete Sports Network, has left many of us who either worked with or had him touch our lives feeling very sad. I’ve been very blessed to work with many talented folks over the years while in the sports media business.

Roland was no exception. In many ways, he set himself apart from anyone who I called my boss.

I first joined BASN way back in 2002 just after one of my many journeys while surfing the net. However, I never thought that over a decade later, the impact and interactions that had with so many during my time at “The Soul of Sports” would still be felt to this very day.

I wasn’t one of the original folks that started BASN back in the day. However, I definitely believed in the site’s basic mantra. Roland wanted BASN to be “the definitive place on the Internet to find coverage of Black athletes and Black involvement in sports at all levels”.

He had me at that statement. When he would later give me with the title of Editor In Chief of the site, I was humbled and honored. The fact that he entrusted me with his vision and the direction of the site was one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon me.

Now it was always cookies and cream. Yes, we had our differences. Yes, we would bark at each other at times. But it was never out of lack of love or respect for each other. We all had the same basic vision, but we had different ways of reaching it.

Roland was a man who wore many hats. Many of you may or may not know that he had several ventures into politics while serving at BASN. He would many several runs as Mayor of New York City because of his displeasure with Mayor Bloomberg and his policies.

The mayoral runs spoke to Roland’s passion about issues within the black community. When Roland had a cause he believed in, he went after it full blast. Nothing ever seemed impossible to him. It goes back to the Lennon line I spoke of previously.

Roland always dreamed of doing things big. I feel it was his strength and his weakness at times.

Many colleagues reading this will long remember the seemingly endless meetings within and outside the staff. The times when Roland was “working on some stuff” that never seemed to come to fruition. The projects that had good intentions, but were either forgotten or not pursued.

One such project that did get started, but of a small level was “BASN Radio”. Roland was looking for this to be a 24-hour sports network — similar to the 24-hour radio stations in New York (WFAN), Chicago (WMVP), and Los Angeles (KSPN).

It was ambitious. But with a staff of barely 20 folks, it was just impossible to cover the shifts.

It did however spawn three shows that still exist to this very day. “The Batchelor Pad” (hosted by myself and L.A. Batchelor), “Soul Tree Radio: In The Raw” (hosted by Michael-Louis Ingram) originally called “The Sports M.C.’s” was another, and “The Gray Leopard Cove” (hosted by Gary Norris Gray).

All three of these shows still follow Roland’s basic mantra in being “the definitive place on the Internet to find coverage of Black athletes and Black involvement in sports at all levels”. In many ways because of these shows, Roland’s dream still lives.

When I left BASN, I left on a good note. There was no bitterness. In fact, the last time I talked to Roland, I was razzing him about his beloved Bills. We also talked (or should I say whined) about the present situation with our Mets.

All in all, the thing I’ll always remember about Roland was his passion and his desire to venture into so many things. Again, I go back to the Lennon line which in retrospect really speaks to the kind of person that Roland was.

As I’ve told many of my BASN colleagues, I will do anything and everything in my power to Roland’s dream alive. Because he believed so much in me, I feel that I owe this to him, his family, and his lasting legacy.

Rest in Peace, my friend. You have and will be missed by us all.

Note: This article was written by Tony McClean, Editor-In-Chief, Emeritus BASN

14 Comments

  1. Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

    January 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

    well said my brother Roland gave voice to the voiceless

  2. tom donelson

    January 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Good job, Tony and I know that Roland is in heaven looking down upon us all.

    • Ron

      January 10, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Roland was a true visionary and has touched so many through BASN and through his other ventures. God Bless

  3. DC Livers

    January 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    BlackPressRadio mourns the loss of Black sports pioneer ROLAND ROGERS. We dedicated a portion of our Facebook to him today. It was a pleasure to have known him. May he rest in peace.

    _ DC Livers, managing editor
    Historical Black Press Foundation
    646-450-4249

  4. Thurston T Reese

    January 9, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Rest in Peace Roland, we will all miss you.

  5. Eric G. Satterwhite

    January 9, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Agreement in full T-Mac…I personally had an outstanding communication/correspondence with the Elder brother Roland Rogers. Roland had a forward vision for BASN and I was honored to have worked with him (behind the scenes) in developing a 21st century and beyond cyber prominence. Roland never wavered on relaying his love for his wife and child in our dialogues as well as his mistress BASN and all its components.

    Respects and blessings be upon the soul of the Elder…Roland Rogers.

    Salutations!

  6. Daga Rogers

    January 9, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Thank you Tony and everyone who is and will be helping me to keep Roland’s dream alive. The show must go on.
    We miss Him terribly.

    • Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter

      July 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      we will do our best every year

  7. Francis Walker

    January 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I’m stunned and feel terrible having learned the news of the passing of Roland Rogers. Mr. Rogers gave me an opportunity to have a voice and to be part of the Black Athlete Sports Network family since 1998. Mr. Rogers’ commitment to BASN always kept me willing to write for him, especially whn he asked me to do a feature on a fighter. I’ve enjoyed many, many opportunities to write and to have a voice in print and I owe many, many thanks to Roland Rogers. Thank you. I’m going to miss you Sir.

  8. Roger C

    January 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Tony I think you are dead on about Roland and his unlimited passion and dreams. I started Chinese Athlete with him and spent several weeks with him and China. He truly lived with no fear and I watched him in press conferences with Tiger Woods there, asking questions on his boyhood idols in order to extract his thoughts on what sort of role model Tiger wanted to be for the black community, and world community as a whole. This was the same in all aspects of his life.

    I have always felt Roland could be an inspiration to millions and just wish he had finished his memoirs to be passed on. His stories on his life were truly amazing and so many lessons to be passed on to others. A true character with a truly good heart. My best wishes go out to Daga and his daughter. In the last few years when I talked to Roland, not once did he not mention his love for his wife and daughter and what a joy it was to be a family man.

    A truly great man, a wonderful dreamer and an inspiration and conduit of progess to many.

    Roger

  9. Pingback: A Tribute to BASN’s Roland Rogers | BlackAthlete

  10. RALPH COOPER

    January 11, 2013 at 8:03 am

    ROLAND, LIKE MANY OF US , WAS A DREAMER WITH SO MANY GREAT IDEAS…HE ACCOMPLISHED MANY THINGS BECAUSE OF A RELENTLESS SPIRIT TO DO THE UNEXPECTED. I NEVER MET HIM FACE TO FACE BUT VIA THE TELEPHONE I FELT I HAD KNOWN HIM FOR YEARS. HIS GIFT AS A CO-FOUNDER OF BLACKATHLETE.NET AND WRITINGS WILL ALWAYS BE CHERISHED BY ME…THANKS TO GOD OUR PATHS CROSSED IN OUR LOVE OF GETTING THE STORY OUT ON BLACK ATHLETES.

  11. Pingback: Tribute to Roland Rogers | BlackAthlete

  12. Pingback: Tribute to Roland Rogers | norris19

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