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  1. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and now former SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL, despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on January 3rd, 2022 at Mack's home in Ashburn, Virginia, near the Washington Football Team Facility. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: Well given the fact that I've gained about 15 pounds since I retired from the SBA, am running a craft beer bar at One Loudon, and am on the dating apps, no, I'd say football isn't in my future at this point in time. I'd love to get back into something that competitively but I've found that I can channel my competitive energy into my bar and also in coaching, as I'm coaching a high school basketball team as well as an assistant. Smith: So you're coaching basketball now? Mack: Yeah, I don't necessarily have any designs on coaching at a higher level although college is something I'd seriously consider, and there are some great teams here locally. But right now I've got a diverse set of interests and also want to give back to this community. I've got some nephews running around too who I'd also like to coach, assuming I can get them good enough to make varsity. Their dad hasn't exactly done wonders training them up, but I've got them on a good track. Smith: Your protege of sorts, Steve Lattimer, is now in Charlotte. How has it been for the both of you working together and communicating now that he's there? Mack: Same as it ever was. I don't see him as often but I got used to that when he was in the SBDL playing in Tucson. And I think he got used to living on his own and getting used to a different lifestyle away from home too. I've been down to Charlotte a few times this season, love how he's developing both as a player and as a person; hell he even cooked for me once when I was down there, I sure wasn't doing that sort of thing when I was his age. I hate using the word 'proud' because honestly, who gives a shit if Alvin Mack is proud of someone, but for lack of a better term, I'm really proud of him. I'm in awe of him, frankly. He does everything the right way, on and off the court. Smith: Thoughts on this season's playoffs? Mack: Just hoping someone other than the Ravens wins. Loved my time there and love their coaches and GM, but hoping we get some parity and see if someone can take down the force that is Grant Thompson. Obviously I'm biased and would love to see Charlotte ascend the mountain, think they've got a hell of a matchup in the first round but can give any team fits on certain days. And of course want Atlanta to do well, think they can make a run, I wouldn't want to match up with them if I were on their side of the bracket. This wraps up the January edition with Alvin Mack.
  2. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and now former SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL, despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on December 1st at the Capital One Arena in Washington DC as Mack was attending the Capitals - Penguins game. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: Never say never. I was considering giving this up for good but then some new rules, some new possibilities have come into place...I really just think if there's an easy way for me to develop at the same time in my skillset in football and basketball, I'd really consider it. But right now it's not easy enough and I don't have that kind of time. Smith: You lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs in the SBA to the Miami Vice. You finish your career with some great personal accolades including Power Forward of the Year, but never advanced to an SBA Finals. What do you think your legacy will be? Mack: The thought that still keeps me up at night is that I left something on the table in my career. Whether it was spending my prime year on a team that wasn't going to make the playoffs most likely and being the casualty of the salary cap, to not advancing to the finals with the Ravens and then having to watch them win the title just a couple of seasons later...honestly it all really, really stings. And I'm trying to instill in my boy Steve Lattimer that he needs to be better than me, do better than me, accomplish more than me. And I think he will. But in terms of my legacy, I don't know man. I'd love to say I'm up for the Hall, but I don't think it'll happen and I'll have to live with that. Smith: Speaking of Lattimer, many GMs have reached out to gauge his interest in football. Do you have any idea his latest thinking? Mack: Steve's basically waiting for one of you all to offer me a million bucks on top of what you'll pay him for him to come over. But no seriously, coming off an incredible SBDL season, I think he's really focused on his basketball craft. Guy was the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Some thought he was the best player overall. Knowing Steve's mind, his heart, I think he is so motivated to prove his new franchise right, prove other naysayers wrong, and build the kind of career that even guys like myself couldn't achieve. I don't think football fits into that but that's just my gut reaction. Smith: We're faced with another controversy, this time comedian Dave Chappelle being paid $24M for his comedy special which included commentary that many felt was inappropriate or insensitive to marginalized communities. Thoughts? Mack: Comedians have a a task, a responsibility even, to find lines in society and maybe even go so far as to push those lines or cross them. What you think is funny may not be what I think is funny. I don't know why we think we can objectify humor. I really struggle with this topic because seemingly you can find fault with the most innocent remarks. I got called 'big' a lot growing up. I HATED it. Why is it okay for someone to remark on people's body size? That'd be like me saying 'oh hey buddy, you're short, tell me about your experience.' That stuff doesn't fly. But we don't have set rules and maybe we shouldn't.
  3. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL, despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on November 2nd at the JW Marriott in Toronto on the eve of the Atlanta Vipers' matchup against the Toronto Thunderbirds. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: I've decided that I'm not going to pursue a career in the EFL. I thought about having a second career in the EFL after finishing out my time in the SBA, but after reflecting with my family, friends, and doing some praying on it, I think it's in my best interest to just hang up my sneakers after this basketball season and not pick up ice skates. Smith: What's the experience in Atlanta been like thus far, and did that have anything to do with the decision you just shared with us? Mack: Atlanta's been great thus far. I think we've underperformed relative to our own high expectations but it's still early in the season and we have a lot to look forward to and a lot to learn about each other as we try to win a championship. My experience has been great, but to be clear, it hasn't influenced my decision about football. I just know that my heart wouldn't be into football, starting at the beginning, going on what would be my 10th professional season in any sport. It just wouldn't feel right and thus wouldn't be right to myself or any team who I joined. Smith: We know that you've been a mentor of sorts to Steve Lattimer, a basketball player currently on the Tucson Hyenas of the SBDL. Has he asked you for any advice on pursuing other sports and if so, what advice have you given him, as we know he's been recruited by the EFL. Mack: Steve and I talk all the time, what a great young man he is. I'm so grateful that our paths crossed and however he needs or asks of me to help him, I'm going to be there for him. To answer your question, yes he's asked me about my own decisions pertaining to football and whether it'd be a good fit for him or not. I've not persuaded him in any particular direction. I've told him that he's got a gut, he needs to use it to make that decision for himself. But I also told him something I was told at his age. Go be great. And if playing multiple sports inhibits your ability to be great, then that's probably something you should consider in your decision. Smith: We know today is a big day in your native state, Virginia, with the gubernatorial election. You keep your primary home in Virginia and thus have voting rights; are you going to vote and what are your thoughts on the election? Mack: This might be the first time I've ever decided to vote. In my adult life I've never been particularly inspired by a candidate enough to want to vote for him or her, with perhaps one exception. I feel a little differently about this election, not necessarily because of feeling inspired, but learning more about what these candidates stand for and how that aligns or misaligns with my personal thoughts, feelings, and values. I'm not going to share who I voted for, but I will confirm that indeed I did vote, and I'll be tuning into Twitter and my friends' text threads and the like to see how everything unfolds. But first, I have a job and a passion to perform - going out there and having a hell of a day playing basketball.
  4. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL, despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on October 18th at the rooftop bar atop the downtown Atlanta Marriott. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: Well, it's my last season in the SBA, my 9th year, hopefully ending on a strong note. I think I need to play this season out and then just, well, reassess everything about how the past months and years have gone for me, and how football may or may not fit into that. Smith: You decided not to re-sign with Philadelphia in the offseason, choosing instead to go to Atlanta which is why we're conducting this interview in Atlanta. Was Philly not what you wanted or expected it to be? Mack: My decision had very little to do with the team, it was more so about what I'm trying to accomplish in my last season. I had a good time in Philadelphia, competed hard, got to know some great young players and a new GM. Philly ended up basically being exactly what I expected it to be, minus fading toward the end of the year and not making the playoffs. But the Prowlers were committed to me, I was committed to them, and they got the best version of Mack at my prime. I think we all walk away feeling good about how things went. I signed with Atlanta because I trust the staff, have rapport with some of the guys on the team, and think this could be a great place for my last hurrah before I hang up my sneakers. Smith: You mentioned reassessing things after retirement. Do you see yourself coming back and giving up basketball entirely and just focusing on a new sport, like football? Mack: That's not what I'm going to do. While basketball isn't my first love, per se, it's been the sport that I've been able to excel at, play with the utmost passion, and has afforded me the greatest opportunities for my family and friends. If I decided in my next life to play football or any other sport, it'll be in addition to basketball, not replacing it. Smith: Jon Gruden was fired by the Las Vegas Raiders for comments he made over email while employed by ESPN. What are your thoughts on that situation? Mack: I think, to a man, every single person in every single professional sports league, front office, players, you name it, has some skeleton in their closet that you could find in a text, iMessage, email, you name it. That North Korea only decided to hack Sony Pictures and release their emails and not the SBA or VHL or EFL is a real break for everyone associated with those leagues. I'm not excusing what Gruden said but I'll take the totality of his good works any day over what he said in those emails. Hell if you want to label him a racist, I certainly hope all racists do the amount of good work he's done to support minorities that he has in his lifetime. Smith: So you have skeletons in your closet? Mack: I'd argue I have a lot less than the average person given I use encrypted services. But yes if you looked at my messages from grade school, I'm 100% certain I used derogatory language about someone, sometime. I also was voted class president, a friend to everyone I met, a volunteer, a captain, so I'd venture to say those actions speak for themselves.
  5. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL, despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on September 26th in Los Angeles, on the heels of Mack's latest game with his new SBA team, the Philadelphia Prowlers. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: Never say never but right now i just don't see it happening anytime soon. I've heard there's more openness in terms of supposed cross-earning across different leagues, which would definitely be a game-changer for me but without that, I don't know that I'll be ready to commit to the EFL until at earliest after I've completed my tenure with the SBA this first go-round. Smith: What, if anything, has your time in Philadelphia done to affect your mindset regarding playing football? Mack: It hasn't done anything negative in the least, if anything it's made me appreciate football even more given what a great football town Philly is. Houston, you don't feel the sport nearly as much as you do in Philadelphia. So it's been cool to experience that, even had some fans come up and tell me I should join, which has been flattering to hear even if I don't have interest right now. Smith: Most people didn't expect you in Philadelphia, and you're mired in your first losing season of your career. Would that have any impact on you changing sports? Mack: It hasn't had an effect in terms of making football more appealing. It's been a trying season thus far, I'm trying my best but we aren't winning enough. I knew it'd be harder here, with some great young guys, but still young at the end of the day. I had really different types of team members in Mexico City, Boston, and Houston, so I've had to embrace a new role, accept that we're going to go through growing pains, and be a different type of leader. Smith: What do you think about the EFLPA vaccination stance? Mack: To me, just make it mandatory, for two reasons. One, I believe in the science. And two, the rules are so prohibitive to those unvaccinated anyway, just call a spade a spade and make people do it. Legally I don't know what's possible but I also think that while athletes aren't necessarily role models, we shouldn't be given a pass for not getting vaccinated. I see everyday folks getting railed for not getting the vaccine; why do athletes get a pass? Smith: So you're vaccinated? Mack: I don't even know if you're supposed to ask that, but to answer your question, yes I am. I also have a preexisting condition that allowed for me to get the vaccine a bit earlier which I ran to. I've also got elderly family members and wanted to get vaccinated to help keep them safe too. I come from a family where medicine is in the family background, so again, I believe in the science, I trust medical professionals even while having a healthy skepticism of media. My own common sense is telling me to address the devil you know vs. the devil you don't.
  6. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack on August 13th over coffee in Houston. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: I hate to say it, but football could not be further from my mind right now given how hard I'm working at my basketball craft. Lots of changes in the offseason with the Ravens, really needed to focus on being better in a few areas in preparation for this year. We're in first place and that's where I'd like to stay until we're hopefully hoisting the championship trophy at the end. Smith: A month ago you were keen on football - now it sounds like you couldn't be further from playing in the EFL? Mack: I'm still frustrated with the arc of my career in the SBA. I have so much more I want to do and wanted to do, and it just doesn't feel like I'm going to accomplish all those goals. Maybe they were too lofty. But I'm feeling energized right now and hopefully success, recognition, accomplishment will all occur in the coming weeks. Smith: You've had GMs continue to ask you about playing. Is it time to just retire from EFL? Mack: Listen, if you give me one benefit to retiring right now from the EFL, one substantial benefit other than people not bothering me anymore, then I'll quit. Right now. But there isn't a good reason. There's no financial implications, no costs, no distractions other than my time. And I'll freely give my time to GMs who still see something in me even if it's to tell them that I'm not interested in playing for them right now. Smith: We understand you've had overtures from the team in town. Is that true? Mack: I've had conversations with many GMs, I'd prefer not to disclose who I'm having conversations with out of respect for them and their privacy, although if you ask them, maybe they'll tell you. Smith: Trevor Bauer situation. What does this mean to an athlete like yourself? Mack: I mean, it means pretty much nothing to someone like me who would never, ever, even remotely get close to a line of consent when with a partner. And I'm really lucky in that I've found the person I want to spend my life with and build my life with, we're committed to each other faithfully and devotedly. I read the Bauer stuff and honestly, it just doesn't apply to me, lots of athletes have fun love lives that are basically transactional. That's cool. To each his own. But it ain't for me and in a world where innocent until proven guilty doesn't exist in the court of public opinion, I feel even more fortunate that I met my life partner earlier in life. This is our August installment with Alvin Mack, current power forward for the Houston Ravens franchise. Come back next month for our next installment.
  7. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack over July 4th weekend as Mack was enjoying a holiday in his hometown. Smith: Same question, different month - any plans on pursuing football? Mack: Well with some of my struggles in the SBA this season, it's definitely crossed my mind more often than not. But I'm still committed to getting Houston back to the promised land and winning a title. Anything less would be absolutely devastating to me and would force me to reconsider my profession at large. Smith: So you're saying you might give up basketball? Mack: I want to be one of the best all time and have a winning narrative. Right now I'm not on track to be one of the best all time and I'm not winning titles. If I can't do that playing basketball but I can excel in other sports, then yeah, why wouldn't I give it a think? Smith: Do you have a timeline you're thinking of? Mack: Listen, I've got a few prime years of my career ahead of me. But I've been wanting to win it all yesterday, even going back to my days with Mexico City even though I wasn't pleased with management there. So in my mind, I'm behind schedule on everything. That being said, I've got a few more years in the SBA at least. My best basketball is ahead of me, not behind me. Smith: Have you been practicing football at all? Mack: Yes. I love playing sports. I"m practicing in my free time, catching passes, working on blocking drills. Hell maybe that's why I get in foul trouble, because I'm bringing the level of physicality of football to basketball. Smith: What do you think about the racist abuse that happened after the Euro 2020 Final on social media? Mack: It's overblown. These athletes don't want to experience racism, yet don't use the tools these platforms have to offer to protect themselves, then want to cry about it. Use the tools or don't but you can't have your cake and eat it too, otherwise these social media platforms will just sanitize the whole damn thing. Sure there are things that could be better, but social media isn't the cause of racism. If you really care about it, work with local law enforcement and get perpetrators arrested. That's the real deterrent. This is our July installment with Alvin Mack, current power forward for the Houston Ravens franchise. Come back next month for our next installment.
  8. The Sun Gazzette continues its monthly coverage and update of Northern Virginia native and current SBA basketball player Alvin Mack, as he continues to be eligible in the EFL despite not having entertained any overtures by the league and its general managers to date. Our beat reporter Jordan Smith caught up with Mack over Memorial Day Weekend down in Houston. Smith: Dare we ask whether you'll be joining the EFL anytime soon? Mack: I don't have any updates for you. I'm certain I'd enjoy playing but ultimately it would deter me from my ultimate goal right now which is helping the Houston Ravens win a championship. That's where my head is at and where it's going to stay for the time being. Smith: There are a number of multi-sport players. Why not give it a shot? Mack: It's a time thing. It's not lack of excitement, enthusiasm, anything like that. I need to focus my time and energy on basketball. People forget that this is my first go-round with the SBA. I take this shit seriously. Smith: Don't you think you're doing a disservice to the EFL to be in the league, but not really in the league? Mack: I don't think I'm doing anyone or anything a disservice. I've been open and honest about my intentions, keeping my options open, but mot pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. I think that's all anyone can ask for, really. I'm certain there are fans, teams, others who don't love the decisions I've made and am making, but I have my reasons, I've shared my reasons, and that's all I can do. Smith: Have you been practicing football at all? Mack: Yes. I have and always will believe in the benefits of cross-training, and not for nothing, I love hockey. The Ravens and I carved out a situation with my contract where I can 'legally' practice hockey under the supervision and approval of the medical staff. It's the best of both worlds. Smith: Do you think doing press is an obligation that athletes should be held to, given Naomi Osaka's comments prior to the French Open? Mack: We're lucky to play sports for a living; I'm a firm believer in taking care of one's mental health but to shy away from what is literally an obligation when you join a league, I don't agree with that. We're not doing the media a favor by spending time with them. We're all dedicated to promoting the health and growth of our sports and capturing the attention of young people in an era where they have more decisions across more interests than ever before. This is our June installment with Alvin Mack, current power forward for the Houston Ravens franchise. Come back next month for our next installment.
  9. The Sun Gazette has garnered a commitment from hometown product Alvin Mack to give exclusive monthly interview to our lead football and hockey writers. Football writer Jordan Smith interviewed Mack in the lobby of the Houston St. Regis, a day after Mack made waves in the SBA signing a 3-year contract with the powerhouse Ravens. Smith: Safe to say no one saw your free agent signing with Houston coming. What happened? Mack: I had no intention of leaving Boston. I really enjoyed my time there and saw myself as a foundational piece with the Minutemen. But my GM encouraged me to have some conversations, and I really felt comfortable talking to Houston's GM. Smith: Does this mean football lis officially over? Mack: Nope. I don't see why I have to give it up yet; and the GMs who have reached out in the EFL have told me that if I play around 10 years in the SBA, they'd love my next 10 years to be in the EFL. So never say never. Smith: Were there any other teams you considered going to? Mack: Every team, save for one or two who reached out, I seriously considered. The only situation I was fairly certain to try and avoid was one where it looked like a total rebuild. And I was really interested in coming back to Boston. But ultimately this was the decision I felt most comfortable with, even if it means trying to live up to insanely high expectations. Smith: Have you already spoken with local football and hockey franchises as of yet? Mack: I haven't as of yet. When you interviewed me last month, I mentioned trying to let GMs in the EFL know that I wasn't ready to have conversations about my future in football at this moment. Thus far, the GMs have really honored that and I'm grateful to them for that.
  10. While the world of football waits patiently and watches Alvin Mack start a new basketball season, teams are still sending scouts, newspapers are still sending beat reporters, and fans are still flocking to Boston in hopes of gaining some indication of Mack's interest in playing in the EFL. The McLean Sun Gazzette, Mack's hometown local paper, was able to gain an interview with the multi-sport star who is embarking on his 4th season in the SBA. The often reserved Mack opened up about some of his upcoming plans. Sun Gazette: Fans want to know, do you have a future in football? Mack: I don't know. I wish I could say something definitively, but all I know is what I've told you before - that right now my heart is in basketball, I've got a lot I want to accomplish there, but I'm hoping physically and mentally I've got what it takes, whether at my age now, or in a year, five years, ten years, to compete at a high level in football. Sun Gazette: Have you been in touch with any of the GMs in the VHL? Mack: Nope. I wish I could turn off my inbox indefinitely, so they don't waste their time and that they know how much I respect them and their time. It's flattering to hear from them but I just want everything to be above board. Sun Gazette: Is training for basketball helping or taking away from your football abilities? Mack: There's no doubt my skills would be somewhat rusty, but I've always subscribed to the idea that playing other sports helps in terms of physical development. Sure, different muscles are being used, but I'm putting in work and if I jump into football, I'd be closer to ready than people would expect from a physicality perspective.
  11. On the precipice of the SBA playoffs, the general managers of the EFL are also keeping a keen eye on what happens in the sport of basketball. For some of those GMs, their interest isn't purely leisurely. The hope remains that during the upcoming offseason, talent such as Alvin Mack will resume their pursuit of playing in the EFL. We caught up with a former GM who has been studying Alvin Mack in particular in the unique situation of a multi-star athlete having to juggle competing career paths. "Do you think Mack will ever play in the EFL?" GM: "I only see it happening if either the team he's playing for screws him over or isn't competitive. But he seems destined for a long career in the SBA. You can tell how hard the guy works. He wants to make it in basketball." "Why wouldn't he try both?" GM: "I know a person close to his camp. Mack thinks the SBA and its coaches and GMs are like a fraternity. If he does anything that pisses those guys off, he has no idea if it'll affect his playing time, his success in the league, his ability to be an all time great. So I don't think you're going to see him do anything to piss off the SBA inner circle." Calls to the Mack residence were not returned, other than a text response: "Alvin is committed to helping the Boston Minutemen as the team enters the playoffs."
  12. Alvin Mack walked along the banks of the Potomac River near his hometown in Northern Virginia. He looked out at the waters, his gaze past the Washington Monument and into the even further distance. It was clear that he was searching for something, something he hadn't yet found. It was only a month ago that Mack had agreed to participate in the Elite Football League, a bruising, athletic tight end in the mold of the first trendsetters at the position, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. Fast forward to mid-February, and Mack has not only not played in a single game thus far, but he has not committed to enter the draft and compete for a club. We caught up with Mack on this cold Tuesday, and asked him about his future in the EFL. "All of the excitement of playing in the EHL a month ago has been replaced by anxiety. I love football, but given my commitments to the SBA, I'm not sure if I'll be stretching myself too thin. I have people in my life I want to take care of, and despite wanting to be the first player to be an all star in 3 different sports, I don't think my head is where it needs to be to make that attempt." It's a disappointing update from Mack, given many thought that he could be the first professional athlete to star in 3 different sports at the same time, and use his jaw-dropping athleticism and on-field savvy to lead a team to a championship and, perhaps, lead Mack into the Hall of Fame. For now, Mack doesn't have any plans on committing to the EHL, saying his focus is solely with his new SBA team, the Boston Minutemen. "Boston took a chance on me, I still have a lot I want to do in basketball, and if I were to change my focus now, I'd be leaving more on the table than I want."
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