By Christian Mosqueda
Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Male Success Alliance (MSA) was recognized by the Los Angeles Lakers Feb. 28 for its contributions mentoring youth.
Members got the opportunity to meet TV commentator Stu Lantz and Laker star Tarik Black.
Lantz was asked a variety of questions, including who is on his Lakers’ Mt. Rushmore and what he believes is his favorite Laker moment.
Lantz said naming his Mt. Rushmore would prove too difficult, but answered that watching Kobe Bryant sink his freethrows after rupturing his Achilles tendon inspired him.
Black, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and a master’s in African-American studies from the University of Kansas, talked about the importance of education, even while competing in a league that pays players millions.
Hector Martinez, a member of MSA, said that Black holding a master’s degree had a big impact on him because it shows that he always plans ahead and is prepared for the future. Many players, he added, don’t finish college.
Black also talked about the importance of mentorship and how having mentors helped him pave the way to where he is now. He also said he learns just as much from children as they learn from him.
MSA Secretary Frank Rojas said that meeting Tarik Black gave him hope.
“We know the statistics for young black and brown men, and as someone of color myself, it was rewarding to see someone reach that level of success and still be humble,” Rojas said. “That is what we are all about at the Male Success Alliance — spreading our agency to let people in the community know that we are not just products of our environment.”
As for the impact that MSA has on the mentees:
“I think MSA has a great impact on the children and their families because they get to see their kids get recognized for a great achievement,” Martinez said. “I believe the families are proud of the mentors for helping their children become better academically and moving them in the right direction, to one day get a college degree and have a better life.”
Rojas added that MSA makes sure that when children return to their families or their neighborhoods they are able to be leaders and continue the cycle of success within their communities.