From homelessness to finding a home

By Lu Zhao
Medill Reports

The single room occupancy (SRO) residence on Kenmore Avenue occupies a clean, quiet and lovely part of Uptown, dotted with a chain of Vietnamese and Chinese shops.

The building is close to the Argyle station on the Red Line, only a three-minute walk away.

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I wasn’t sure whether I could find Shea Allen at the SRO. She doesn’t have a phone and often goes out panhandling. Luckily, I ran across her at the elevator as she was heading to find her boyfriend, Tony Eovaldi. They hadn’t seen each other for three days.

Shea, 30, came from St. Louis with Tony last June. Hoping to find more job opportunities in Chicago, they didn’t make it and then ran out of money. Panhandling on the street and living in a small shack became their life. Then Shea’s heart condition and an amputated finger made her eligible to move into the SRO, one of the 168 rooms in the dwelling, in January. Continue reading

The future of shopping expands–grab and go at Amazon’s 4th store in Chicago

Yixuan Xie
Medill Reports

Amazon launched a fourth automated check-out store in Chicago this month, giving Chicago and Seattle most of the 10 stories open nationally.

The latest Amazon Go store opened at 111 E. Wacker Dr. at the Illinois Center this month,  offering 1,950 square feet of ready-to-eat foods and grocery essentials. Its “Just Walk Out” technology allows shoppers to walk in a store, grab items they want and simply walk out with everything automatically charged.

A store without cashiers or checkouts? Although it sounded like a gimmick when the first Amazon Go store opened to employee testers in 2016 in Seattle at company headquarters. It has expanded rapidly to the 10 stores operating across the U.S, including four each in Seattle and Chicago and two in San Francisco.

Chicago’s first Amazon Go store, located at 113 S. Franklin St., debuted in September 2018. The second and third, which opened in October and November, are located at 144 S. Clark St., and 500 W Madison St.

Photo at top: Chicago’s fourth Amazon Go cashierless store opened this month. (Yixuan Xie/Medill)

Local Chicago Instagram account helps launch international media company

By Seth Schlechter
Medill Reports

Andy Lederman describes himself as the friend who likes to find fun new things to do with his pals. This mindset didn’t change when he moved to Chicago after college seven years ago to work in private equity. The issue was he couldn’t find the go-to guide he wanted, so he decided to produce his own.

“We were all working really hard at our respective finance jobs so we didn’t have time to research this stuff and there was no good research out there,” he said.

Lederman created Chicago Bucket List, an Instagram account with a mission to curate a list of the best things to do in Chicago for his friends.

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Inside the high school that was “monumental” in Stephen Curry’s life

By Christopher Cadeau
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –In order to fully understand the bond between Stephen Curry and Charlotte that’s been on display this week you had to be in Memphis the night of April 9, 2016, to see a connection forged through faith, family and basketball at the Charlotte Christian School.

The Golden State Warriors had defeated the Memphis Grizzlies for their 71st victory of the season, putting them within one of the NBA record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. They were about to fly to San Antonio to face the Spurs the next night. After 45 minutes of postgame interviews, Curry strolled toward the tunnel in FedEx Forum and pointed out a visiting friend in the crowd of remaining stragglers in the arena.

“Take your time,” a Warriors team official told Curry. “Just know the plane is waiting for you to leave.”
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Diallo’s triumphant dunk is half-Superman, half-amazing

By Casey Bannon
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — He flew over Shaq like Nate Robinson did with Dwight Howard. He dunked and then dangled on the rim by his forearm like Vince Carter. And he tore open his jersey to reveal a Superman shirt like Cam Newton.

On a night where creativity, culture and controversy collided, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo stole the show and then slipped away with a dunk contest victory on All-Star Saturday night.
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Joe Harris doesn’t get memo, beats Steph in shootout final

By Joshua Jonah Fischman
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In not only the first three-point competition of his NBA career, but of his life, Nets guard Joe Harris defeated two-time league MVP Stephen Curry in the final round to win the 2019 event.

Curry, the 2015 champion, was supposed to win the shootout as part of the weeklong celebration of the return to his hometown. But Harris either didn’t get the memo or simply didn’t care. And if not Steph, it should have been defending shootout champion Devin Booker, Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker or Steph’s younger brother, Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry, also a Charlotte native. All three failed to advance to the contest finals, tallying 23, 15 and 16 first-round points, respectively.
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Tatum goes deep to snatch Skills Challenge

By Eric Frazier
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– In the battle of who has the best skills in the NBA, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge with a three-pointer from beyond half court.

Tatum beat out Trae Young in the final round with that shot after Young started strong and got out to an early lead in the matchup. Tatum said he learned his lesson after previous rounds when he let his opponent shoot first so he could move closer to the basket.

“I didn’t want to give Trae a chance,” Tatum said. “I honestly didn’t know I was going to hit the shot, but I had to give myself a chance, throw it up there, and it worked out for the best.”
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Adam Silver on NBA’s role in equality and inclusion

By Greg Melo
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The elephant in the room during All-Star weekend was the “bumps in the road” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged during his annual news conference: North Carolina’s recent history regarding LGBTQ rights and its impact on staging the event.

The heart of Silver’s opening statement detailed what it took for the NBA to feel comfortable hosting its showcase event in Charlotte two years after it was originally scheduled to be here. After Charlotte had been awarded the 2017 All-Star game, the North Carolina state legislature passed a bill known as HB2, which, among other things, required that citizens go to the bathroom of their assigned birth sex. The legislation created a sense of panic in the LGBTQ community and in 2016 the NBA switched the site of the 2017 All-Star game to New Orleans. The so-called “Bathroom Bill” was eventually repealed, thanks in part to the pressure put on North Carolina by corporate entities like the NBA, NCAA, and PayPal. Silver credited the efforts of Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and team president Fred Whitfield as well.
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Sounds from the 704: The 2019 NBA-All Star weekend Ultimate Playlist

By Andre Toran
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– The NBA and hip-hop are two streets that have formed an intersection as the league has become more accepting of the hip-hop community.

The two have become intertwined, especially during All-Star Weekend, as rappers, performing artists and other celebrities flock to arguably the biggest sporting event of the year.

As J Cole and Meek Mill are slated to perform on Sunday night at halftime of the 2019 NBA All-Star game, here’s a look at some of the players’ selection of ‘go-to’ songs for their pre-game warmups and this weekend’s events.
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The 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend is a landmark event for the G League

By John Alfes
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Beneath the surface of the NBA is an emerging pipeline, a new route for the game’s next wave of star players.

The G League is no longer a mystery, nor is it the cellar for basketball in America.

“It’s not deemed as a punishment,” said Darvin Ham, who spent over five years in the developmental league as a player and coach. “You’re actually going down there to play. It puts players in a different light.”

It has been a landmark year for the G League — and the 2019 NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte has amplified that notion even further.
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