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Harlem Globetrotters great Curly Neal dies at 77
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Harlem Globetrotters great Curly Neal dies at 77

Harlem Globetrotters great Curly Neal dies at 77
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File
FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2008, file photo, the Harlem Globetrotters' Fred "Curly" Neal performs during a timeout in the second quarter in an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix. Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, has died the Globetrotters announced Thursday, March 26, 2020. He was 77. Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, appearing in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Harlem Globetrotters great Curly Neal dies at 77

Fred “Curly” Neal, the dribbling wizard who entertained millions with the Harlem Globetrotters for parts of three decades, has died. He was 77.

The Globetrotters said Neal died in his home outside of Houston on Thursday morning.

“We have lost one of the most genuine human beings the world has ever known,” Globetrotters general manager Jeff Munn said in a statement on Twitter. “Curly’s basketball skill was unrivaled by most, and his warm heart and huge smile brought joy to families worldwide.”

Neal played for the Globetrotters from 1963-85, appearing in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries for the exhibition team known for its combination of comedy and athleticism. He became one of five Globetrotters to have his jersey retired when his No. 22 was lifted to the rafters during a special ceremony at Madison Square Garden in 2008.

Neal was a crowd favorite with his trademark shaved head, infectious smile and ability to dribble circles around would-be defenders. He was a key player during the Globetrotters' most popular era in the ‘70s and ’80s, appearing on TV shows and specials like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “Love Boat” and "Gilligan's Island."

Neal and the Globetrotters also appeared in numerous TV commercials, episodes of “Scooby-Doo” and had their own cartoon series.

“Hard to express how much joy Curly Neal brought to my life growing up. RIP to a legend,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr tweeted.

Neal was a star high school player in Greensboro, North Carolina, and led Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title after averaging 23 points per game as a senior. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in a 2008 class that included North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

Neal also was inducted into the Globetrotters' Legends ring in 1993 and continued to make appearances for them as an “Ambassador of Goodwill.”

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS Kirby Smart says the football position affected most by the universal sports stoppage is quarterback, where Georgia will be breaking in a new starter next season. 'There's no substitute for reps out on the field,' Smart said during his Tuesday teleconference. 'We can't argue that we're not going to lose reps. 'If you had to say who does this affect the most it's going to affect the quarterback more than anything, in my opinion.' Smart didn't want to speculate on when college football might resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, preferring to defer to more educated authorities. RELATED: Kirby Smart shares staff's top priority during sports break But the Bulldogs' fifth-year head coach was comfortable talking about his team, and how his players and staff are handling these unprecedented times. Georgia is among the national favorites once the action resumes. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 3 behind Clemson and Ohio State in the USA Today's post-spring preseason Top 25. RELATED: Georgia football jumps 8 spots in offseason rankings Georgia is regarded by many to have the best defense in the nation returning, with 9 of 11 starters back off a Sugar Bowl team that finished No. 4 in the nation and went 5-1 vs. Top 25. Opposing quarterbacks will be challenged by Smart's defense whenever action resumes. But the Bulldogs have their work cutout on offense, too. Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman is expected to win the starting job at quarterback. But redshirt junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and incoming freshman Carson Beck are all competing. RELATED: QB trainer says Jamie Newman will excel quickly Smart said Newman was able to get plenty of throwing in during the voluntary workouts portion of offseason conditioning. 'I feel like he was starting to get some rhythm, he got to throw a lot with those guys in their own time, the time that they elected,' Smart said. 'He and Stetson and Carson and D'Wan would all go out there and throw with our wideouts.' RELATED: Mathis continues comeback from brain surgery in Athens Smart said Georgia maximized the NCAA allowances during the offseason conditioning portion of the sports calendar prior to the scheduled start of spring drills. 'We were able to meet leading up to spring practice, a lot of people forget that, we were able to have walkthrough, leading up to spring practice,' Smart said. 'We maximized that time and knew that we needed that time.' Smart had no idea spring drills would be canceled, but he knew he had an offense that was under construction. 'Knowing we had new quarterbacks, and a new offensive system,' Smart said. 'We had to make sure we spent time with that, so we spent a lot of time with that.' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Kirby Smart: Football stoppage will affect quarterbacks more than anything' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart says he's like everyone else, 'trying to figure out what the new normal is' amid the sports stoppage triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The fifth-year Georgia football coach can't be on the field with his players, but he's doing everything he can to look out for them. 'The number one thing we do is try to worry about the well-being of our players and making sure their families are ok,' Smart said on Tuesday, speaking on 680 AM and a teleconference. 'We've tried to encourage them through conversation and talking to them and spending time with them over the phone. 'The biggest thing is control what you can control, take care of your own health first.' Smart and the Bulldogs were scheduled to be taking the field for their seventh practice on Tuesday. Instead, daily staff meetings are being held via video conference. 'It's an adjustment for everybody out there,' Smart said. The NCAA canceled the spring sports practices, seasons and championships on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The SEC has suspended all on-campus activity. Georgia, most recently ranked No. 3 in USA Today's preseason rankings behind Clemson and Ohio State, is scheduled to open the season on Monday, Sept. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Virginia. Georgia returns nine starters from defense and five off the offense that took the field against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. 'It's been a different three or four weeks than I've ever experienced,' Smart said. 'I can't speculate on what I don't know. We don't know a lot about the future and what that holds, so I'm not gonna sit back and say this is what I think should happen. 'The number one things is the well-being of our players,' Smart said. 'We're trying everything we can to make sure they have everything they need.' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: Control what you can control' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Many questioned Isaiah Wilson's decision to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft with two years of eligibility remaining. But interviews with Wilson at the NFL combine, and more recently on ESPN, reveal a young man who places a high value on his family. RELATED: Colorful and caring, Isaiah Wilson a popular teammate Wilson explained to DawgNation at the combine in Indianapolis last month his decision to skip Georgia's 26-14 bowl win over Baylor. 'I took off from the bowl season to spend time with my family,' Wilson said. 'I'm from New York. My family stayed in New York when I went to Georgia, and I spent probably a total of eight days with them in a three-year period. 'I just wanted to get home and spend a little time with my mom, and my dad, and my brother, before I embarked on this journey.' The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson has been projected to be selected between the second and fourth round of the NFL draft. Isaiah Wilson's NFL draft stock rising, per 7-round CBS mock But wherever he gets selected, he told ESPN host Laura Rutledge it will be a tearful moment for his mother when his name gets called. As @AdamSchefter has reported, the NFL Draft will look a lot different this year but the emotions for families in the middle of it will be the same. @_LayZay_ illustrates that beautifully here: pic.twitter.com/Mg8OuRqYS7 Laura Rutledge (@LauraRutledge) March 29, 2020 'I think she's going to be speechless, genuinely,' Wilson said. 'I don't think she's going to have a lot of words. She may say, I'm proud of you' after about 10 minutes of crying. But I think initially she's going to cry for a long, long time.' There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes, said Wilson, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Poly Prep 'In youth leagues I had to pay for membership to play and all that good stuff,' Wilson said. 'High school, I went to a prestigious private high school that was 40k a year in tuition. It was more than some colleges out there, and she made it work. 'I wasn't on full athletic scholarship, because it was just so much, and she had to make ends meet. 'She had to sacrifice weekends where she was supposed to be resting to take me to practice or take me to a game,' Wilson said. It didn't take long for the sacrifices to pay off once Wilson was at Georgia. Wilson started and earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors in 2018 after redshirting the 2017 campaign. Last season, Wilson overcame an ankle injury to help anchor the offensive line. NFL.com projects Wilson as a player who will be a starter in the next two seasons at football's highest level, even though he needs more work on his technique. 'I would say I'm big, strong, fast and athletic,' Wilson said last month in Indianapolis. 'My football I.Q. is pretty good, so the playbook won't be a problem. 'I come from a Pro Style system. It was a Pro Style Spread (at UGA), which is making its way into the NFL.' But more than anything, Wilson likes sharing that he comes from a father and mother that loves and supports him. 'That's 12 years of your weekends just gone, so the time she's put in, and financial support she's put in, emotional support of when things got tough to keep my head up and help me push through certain adversity, she's done a ton, and so has my dad,' Wilson said. 'They've both broke their backs to help me to get into this position.' DawgNation Georgia NFL draft stories D'Andre Swift NFL draft stock breakdown from Mel Kiper Jr. Mel Kiper Jr. Top 10 position rankings feature several UGA players Georgia football Mauler' Solomon Kindley on Atlanta Falcons radar Andrew Thomas in first-class form at NFL combine Isaiah Wilson sheds light on 2020 Georgia O-Line Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Lawence Cager message at NFL combine high ceiling' D'Andre Swift draft stock makes Georgia football RBU' again Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson The post WATCH: Former Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson reveals years of family sacrifice appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The Division I Council voted on Monday to permit schools to allow their respective spring sport athletes an extra season of competition and another year of eligibility. Winter sports athletes, however, were not granted the extension. Most or all of their regular seasons were completed, with the notable exception of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Per the NCAA release: 'Division I rules limit student-athletes to four seasons of competition in a five-year period. The Council's decision allows schools to self-apply waivers to restore one of those seasons of competition for student-athletes who had competed while eligible in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 spring season' The much-anticipated eligibility announcement came on Monday, with much of the world still at a standstill where sports and group gatherings were concerned on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Financial guidelines were granted some relief per the new measures. This will allow spring sports programs to carry more scholarship athletes on the teams to account or incoming signees. It's good news for the Georgia baseball team. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 when the season was suspended, was expected to contend for an SEC championship. The Bulldogs have four seniors. Starting shortstop Cam Shepherd and first baseman Patrick Sullivan are two of the seniors who might now return. One key provision within that roster expansion, however, is that schools do not have to provide the same amount of student aid to the returning seniors granted the eligibility extension. It will be up to the Division I schools to assume financial responsibilities to account for the additional scholarship positions. 'The Council's decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,' Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Penn, said in the NCAA.org release. 'The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that.' The post NCAA votes to grant spring sports athletes extra year of eligibility appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That's what the Intel brings. This entry is about all things CJ Washington in the 2022recruiting cycle. He's certainly a name to keep tabs on. CJ Washington plays for Cedartown High School in Northwest Georgia. He wears No. 27 for those Bulldogs. Yes, that No. 27 for Cedartown. If that doesn't bring to mind enough of a parallel, let's make that a direct link. Washington will work out frequently with Nick Chubb, including two times today. He collected 20-plus sacks during his sophomore year for Cedartown. Made a few All-State teams. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Washington is electric off the edge and is the definition of a physical football player. His lifts are what somebody who works out with Nick Chubb better be able to do. Washington bench presses 340 pounds, does some rep maxes with 295 for power cleans and is already squatting 515-plus pounds. His power clean max is at 330 pounds. ( NEWS FLASH: This is a high school sophomore.) When recruiting analysts size him up, it is a fitting comparison to liken him to former No. 1 overall recruit Nolan Smith. He's got that kind of explosion coming off the edge. TBT Tuesday (Rockmart v Cedartown) 4 '22 Cedartown DE CJ Washington @cedric_washing4 pic.twitter.com/fO7kbcZCrW NwGa Football (@NwGaFootball) December 10, 2019 Chubb? Smith? Those are some big names to think about there. There's another one that comes to mind for me. That one would be Fred G. Sanford from the cult classic 'Sanford and Son' television show from back in the day. Why? Because that's the visual for me with Washington. 'That's my dream school,' he said about UGA back in December of 2019. 'Every time I go there it is like wow' and whoa' and they make me feel so welcome. They are just cool people you just try to be around. It just feels comfortable.' When DawgNation asked what it would be like if the Bulldogs ever offered him, it was like he busted out his best Redd Foxx impression. 'I don't know about that one,' Washington said. 'I don't even know how to explain that. I just know I will be very thankful for that offer.' His response there came when he just held offers from Albany State, Coastal Carolina and Nebraska. But he managed not to mention 'Elisabeth' or coming to join anyone. But the young fella did look like he was having palpations. He put one hand to the side of his face and started smiling. That picture even included a long exhale and taking a few deep breaths. The first time he visited Georgia he admits he was nervous. It was before he was ever offered by UGA, but the staff kept talking to him. 'I started opening up and then I just caught that bond with them,' Washington said. 'That was really coach Dell McGee. The running back coach.' He rates as a 4-star ATH and the nation's No. 88 overall recruit for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. Washington even landed that long-sought offer from Georgia late last year. So blessed to receive an offer from UGA!! #GoDawgs @Mansell247 @KirbySmartUGA @jeffsentell @DellMcGee @CoachSchuUGA pic.twitter.com/HR3Iq0rQJH Cedric Washington (@cedric_washing4) December 23, 2019 What was that late? 'Really breathtaking,' he said. 'I was like shocked. I really never knew that I could get a Georgia offer. But I was telling myself that even if I got a Georgia offer that wasn't going to stop me one bit from working and grinding and working to what I am trying to become.' 'So really I am thankful to have all my offers. But to me, once I get focused more on colleges I'll start really looking to see where I'm going to really go.' Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. Offered by UGA: What has that been like for CJ Washington? His last UGA visit came back back in late February. When he made that trip, he did so with an offer. That was a first. So was getting the chance to put on the red and black jersey for the first time. 'They basically have got what I need,' he said of UGA. 'That's what I am basically saying.' He's no longer two cycles away while the 2020 recruiting period is going on. He felt more 'love'on that last visit. 'They are cool and funny up there at Georgia,' Washington said. 'Those coaches are cool.' He had to cook hamburgers as part of a kitchen challenge. That did not go well. But he was able to learn how the Bulldogs view his skill set at this time. 'They were telling me how they look at me as not even a one-spot player,' he said. 'They see me playing all around for them.' 'They see I can do middle, outside linebacker and possibly play running back. They were also talking about the school and once they got into the school stuff I really started listening.' 'The way they were describing it is everyone learns differently. Basically. They were telling us that all players learn differently. Once you get there and open up to Georgia, you go to the academic counselors and you tell them how you learn things and study. Then they help identify the way you learn and show you the way you learn and the best way they are going to be able to help you from an academic support standpoint.' Georgia showed Washington how the program can make him a better student on that visit, too. It was encouraging. Washington has been taking his early college visits looking for spots that will support him academically during the football season. That's when his time is divided. He has been an 'As and Bs' student so far as a sophomore.Washington intends to keep it that way. 'When I go to other places, the schools weren't talking about that,' he said. 'If I went to Georgia with the way I told them the way that I learn things, I think that is a better environment on me. It will help me get my work done in the most efficient and best manner possible. It will show me how I can do more from an academic standpoint as a college student at Georgia.' The Georgia staff also brought up the word 'entitlement' with him. The coaches say they are seeing more and more guys enter the college level thinking they are owed something. That's never been what Washington is all about.He's a worker. He's got a coach that he treasures who stays on him. 'He always tells me Head down. Don't talk. Just grind.'' Washington is working out multiple times per day right now during the COVID-19 health concerns. That's just his mindset. 'I just play football because I love it,' he said. 'I play it for my brothers. I'm not focused on what I need to get or what I have to get or focused on any one position. I just want to play and help out my team. Anywhere the team needs me, that's where I will play.' He does feel that way about Georgia right now. 'To make it simple, Georgia is basically my second home,' he said. 'My first home is Cedartown High School. Georgia feels like home. That's where I have been mostly. So of course, it is going to feel like home. So I am going to feel like I am going to feel like I fit in more right now.' Coach speak: An honest assessment about Washington Chris Hirschfield is the offensive coordinator at Walton High School. He's been able to coach elite talents like Dominick Blaylock, Kerryon Johnson and Jordan Matthews along his varsity career up to this point. Those are just the names most of DawgNation will know. Hirschfield has coached at programs in Alabama and Georgia that have continually sent players to the SEC. He served as the coach on Washington's team at the 'Georgia Elite Classic' All-Star event last December. He had the chance to work with Washington for a few days. A fella who has seen two current NFL starters every day as a high school coach surely won't impress easily. Washington played at H-Back, defensive end and outside linebacker for the winning team in that showcase. 'When we had him out wide at d-end, we stood him up and put him an extra yard out wide basically as an outside backer,' Hirschfield said. 'Basically nobody could block him coming off a speed rush.' His roster didn't have any H-Back or fullback types on the other side of the ball. 'He obviously fit the part there, too,' he said. 'We taught him four plays literally. Power. Counter. Literally four or five plays in practice. I've never seen anybody collision and hit the way that kid does. His explosiveness might be the best I have ever seen.' 'Absolutely explosive. Full speed and does not shy away from contact and he's so powerful. He doesn't just hit. He drives people backwards.' Check out a few clips of Cedartown sophomore OLB CJ Washington in action tonight at the @GAEliteClassic at McEachern. @cedric_washing4 played on both sides of the ball in a night fit for a Gore-Tex photo shoot. pic.twitter.com/HXtNKu1l0i Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) December 23, 2019 They gave him maybe four or five reps in practice at those positions. Those reps had to come after the defensive period.Washington had it from that point on. Hirschfield even handed him the ball a few times in the game, too. 'He's special,' he said. 'I didn't even teach him the name of all the plays I would just tell him Right Strong' or Left Strong' as far as his alignment and I gave him three words. Counter. Down call which is our power. He'd kick out the play-side defensive end. Or Insert. He then knew to insert there and get that middle backer. He was really really good at it.' That was his part-time job. His main duty was flying off the edge. 'He couldn't be blocked,' Hirschfield said. 'He's special. Absolutely special.' That goes for on and off the field. 'Great kid, too,' he said. 'I talked to him outside of practice and the game. Polite. Spoke to him at the bowling alley event. Extremely humble. Very well-spoken young man. Very gracious. Just a very very nice kid.' Matthews was a receiver. So was Blaylock. Johnson was one of the best running backs in college football at Auburn back in 2017. Those are all different types of players. 'Those were all offensive playmakers and we are talking about a defensive playmaker here,' Hirschfield said. 'But he's just so versatile. So much athleticism. He's got wide shoulders. His frame. He's long. He is going to carry weight and he has no fat on him.' 'He's definitely going to be a defensive player in college.' Washington showed physicality as an H-Back at that event. It was enough to convince Hirschfield that he could be an inside linebacker in college, too. 'The way he closes space down as a blocker I see that and think about a middle linebacker and filling a gap so quickly the other way around,' he said. 'I do think he can be that type of impact player there, too.' It makes sense. Especially as an ILB in a 3-4 front. Washington could be pretty impressive at either LB spot at that next level. That Nick Chubb connection with CJ Washington Washington has worked out with Chubb dozens of times now. 'It is really no big deal,' Washington said. 'He's just a regular person.' That's kind of how he comes across. Washington was immune to the fact he's lifting with an NFL Pro Bowler. But it hasn't even sunk in that he works out every day with a world class athlete like Chubb. Chubb is one of the few humans on this earth that can run a 4.5 laser 40, power clean 400 pounds and squat well over 550 pounds, too. That's just his off-season workout buddy. He tried on Chubb's No. 27 jersey at UGA. He knows if he wears that number, he will have to work. 'I want that push,' Washington said. 'I want to push myself to try to find a way to be even better than him. That's a lot. That's a whole lot, but that's the way I work.' Chubb does not tell Washington he is strong for his age. Or any age. Or as strong as he was when he was a sophomore in high school.The Georgia all-time great won't give him that. 'He will pick on me,' Washington said. It should surprise no one that Chubb doesn't bring up Georgia with Washington. They just lift and work. Those two now work out every day of the week except for the weekends after the season. They are also joined by a few other current and former Cedartown Bulldogs, including 2020 Clemson RB signee Kobe Pryor. 'Things happen but no matter how hard it gets. You have to push through it'330 @Mansell247 @ChadSimmons_ pic.twitter.com/NXan6h3ATA Cedric Washington (@cedric_washing4) August 1, 2019 I don't complain no more, Gotta suck it up and get right to work!! Coach told me 'what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger'.That's 500 . I'm not done get pic.twitter.com/q2f0DszWzg Cedric Washington (@cedric_washing4) July 31, 2019 Check out the 2019 highlight reel here. There are a lot of memorable moments. CJ Washington: The next steps in his recruiting journey Washington sounds like Chubb in a lot of ways. There are clear connections here to Georgia, but feels like he now needs to see other schools. Florida is an option. 'I'll be honest with you,' he said. 'I've been having my eye on Georgia. Honestly. The way things look I am still going to be open minded. Just to see how other colleges are. I've been thinking about making my decision the summer of my junior year. The junior summer. If I decide to so somewhere sooner, then I guess it is going to be then but I am really waiting until my junior summer.' To be clear, that will most likely be the summer prior to his senior year. It will allow more schools to see him play multiple positions. It will also allow him to see more schools. 'Georgia is my dream school and they are showing me love,' he said. 'That's great and all. But I think my recruiting is getting to the point where I open up to new places. Georgia is not getting old to me. But Florida came in. Now I want to at least see how Florida is and those other colleges. I want to see how other colleges are now.' He's been researching Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia online on his own. Washington will look at their academics and the campus layout. He will kick the tires on potential college majors. Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann now talk to him about both linebacker spots at Georgia. They now recruit him, along with McGee. What is Washington looking for in a future school? 'Brotherhood.' 'Relentless work. A school that is always working hard every day no matter what.' 'Everybody holding each other accountable of pushing each other to do more than they ever thought they could do.' He's used this COVID-19 break to become a master at mowing his Grandmother's lawn. 'Getting really good at my lawn mowing game,' he said. 'Getting really good on that grass.' It has also led him to help his mother out in the kitchen. He's been busy at that the last few days. 'I can go crazy on meatloaf,' he said. Washington is certainly a name to pay attention to in the 2022 class. The post CJ Washington: The 2022 prospect who brings to mind Nick Chubb, Nolan Smith and Fred G. Sanford appeared first on DawgNation.