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Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

Tom Joyner has gone from radio icon to Miami Heat fan — Andscape

Get This Before It Disappears!


Get This Before It Disappears!

Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

From singer Gloria Estefan to rapper DJ Khalid to boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. to musician Jimmy Buffet, the Miami Heat always have celebrities sitting courtside. There is, however, one particular celebrity fan that longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem pays his respect to before home games. For Haslem, the mere sight of him evokes fond memories of his late mother and father.

Haslem calls the man Mr. Joyner. The world knows him as Tom “The Fly Jock” Joyner, who is also a Heat season-ticket holder.

“I’m a huge fan. My mom listened to the Tom Joyner Morning Show when I was growing up, and then I started listening to it,” Haslem told Andscape. “So, it’s like he’s part of the family. You wake up in the morning on your way to school, headed down the expressway, and the Tom Joyner Morning Show’s on there. I was just excited that he was coming to the game and that he was a Miami Heat fan. Every time I see him, I speak, ‘Hey, Mr. Joyner, how are you doing?’

“The first time I met him, I let him know how big of a fan I was, and that my family was. That’s just cool to know that people your parents idolized and made a big deal about actually know your name, like what you do, and appreciate what you do. That was really cool for me.”

Joyner is best known as the host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a nationally syndicated radio show that aired on urban contemporary- and urban adult contemporary-formatted stations from 1994 to 2019. The show became the nation’s No. 1 syndicated urban morning show, airing in 115 markets nationwide and reached nearly 8 million listeners, according to Joyner. At one point, 1 in every 4 African American adults were listening to his show, Joyner said. Joyner was also nicknamed “The Hardest Working Man in Radio” because he would host his morning show in Chicago and fly to Dallas to do an afternoon show five days a week for seven years.

Joyner was a renowned radio voice for the African American community. He’s been credited with getting a quarter-million African Americans to vote during the 1996 presidential election, and regularly addressed issues and social causes that needed urgent action. The Tuskegee Institute alumnus raised more than $60 million to support historically Black colleges through the Tom Joyner Foundation. Joyner also co-founded REACH Media Inc. in 2003, and it is now a subsidiary of Radio One reaching “more African Americans than any other live media source.”

“If I didn’t have this career, I would want to have this career,” Joyner told Andscape at Soho Beach House on April 23. “Everyone should want to have this career. It’s the best. It’s very difficult to give the answer to my fondest memories. Almost every day, at least every week, there was something that would happen that would be of envy because the show had a spectacular day. It was like that all the time. Every day.”

Even so, Joyner acknowledged that the iconic radio show weighed on him and his family.

“My biggest trouble was getting up at 3 in the [expletive] morning. I wouldn’t go to sleep until 11 or 12. I could actually sleep on the plane. I had it down to a science. But it got to the point where I lost my family. But no regrets,” said Joyner, who has been divorced twice and has two sons.

Radio host Tom Joyner (left) and then-wife Donna Richardson Joyner (right) during Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise in 2006 at Navigator of The Seas on The Royal Caribbean.

Monica Morgan/WireImage

Along with being a radio mogul, Joyner also believes he played a major role in African Americans going on cruises.

Tom Joyner’s Ultimate Party with a Purpose cruises began in 1999 as a fundraiser to support students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). It was the first American festival to charter an entire ship and have music programming. Legendary singers Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill and Charlie Wilson are on the schedule to headline this year’s sold-out cruise from May 20-27 that will set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with stops in Cozumel, Cayman Islands and Jamaica. This year’s cruise features seminars, celebrities, theme nights and more than 40 live entertainment acts.

While Joyner’s cruises are an institution now, they almost sank in the beginning.

“Black people didn’t do cruise ships for good reason,” Joyner said with a laugh. “But the main reason why Black people hadn’t been on cruises then was because they weren’t invited. They weren’t marketed to. We decided to try it and we went to a cruise line and said we wanted to charter a ship. They said, ‘We don’t really do that. We will let you have a certain part of the ship, but not the whole part of it. Besides, we don’t have ships just hanging.’ We went to Norwegian and they said, ‘All right we got one ship you could have. It’s a little old. It’s a classic. And it’s right out there.’ It looked like the Titanic. They said we could have that one, so we took it. We didn’t know nothing about cruise ships. We did music and radio.

“So, we contracted out to Cruises R Us to sell the ship for us. They said all right, but they never dealt with Black people. They said, ‘Only put so much on this credit card and the rest on this day.’ You know how we do it. Tickets were going out to wrong people. Playas were trying to buy tickets for their ‘side pieces’ [and] had tickets coming to the house. The first one was tough. We had so many complaints. But once I got it out there and we started jamming … The Gap Band would go on into 3 in the morning. That rolled into Shirley Caesar and the sunrise service. Then back on the cruise, all day and all night, no rest and start partying.”

Joyner is still very active at 73 years old despite suffering a stroke during a boxing workout in April 2020. The stroke severely affected the left side of his body. He is aided by his assistant, Dion Lewis, and he uses a wheelchair and cane.

“I’m good. I still can’t go to my left. I will [expletive] up an Electric Slide line. But I’m still The Fly Jock,” Joyner said.

The VIP attendants at the Kaseya Center take special care of Joyner when he arrives at games, helping him get from his wheelchair to his baseline seat below the basket on the side of the Heat’s bench. And when Joyner needs to use the restroom, he gets an assist from Heat president and former head coach Pat Riley as he has permission to use the facilities in his private suite.

Riley is a huge R&B fan who used to listen to Joyner’s radio show. Joyner said he is also friends with Basketball Hall of Famer and former Heat center Alonzo Mourning, who is now the team’s vice president of player programs and development.

“I’m in a wheelchair. There isn’t a bathroom close to my seat and they told me the nearest one is in Pat Riley’s suite,” Joyner said. “I got to go to the bathroom and I knock on the door. They say, ‘Tom come on in …’ It’s cool. They had a nice spread catered. ‘You want something to eat or drink?’ Thanks, coach. It’s really cool.”

Radio personality Tom Joyner hosts his morning talk show in Dallas, on Oct. 2, 2009.

Donna McWilliam/AP Photo

Joyner is quite comfortable with his retirement in Miami. He is financially strong after earning “lottery money” over the years while doing his radio show, netting a salary of $14 million a year at his peak before retiring at the end of 2019.

Joyner credits his mammoth success from being a native of Tuskegee, Alabama, adding that what is “extraordinary for most was normal for me” being from Tuskegee.

One of Joyner’s close friends is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer Lionel Richie, another Tuskegee native, who he gets on a Zoom call with monthly. Tuskegee is the birthplace of legendary scientist and inventor George Washington Carver and civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Renowned educator and author Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute (originally the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers). The Tuskegee Airmen went on to produce nearly 1,000 pilots and made history as the first African American soldiers to enter the U.S. Army Air Corps. Joyner also said he saw civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., and Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X speak while growing up in Tuskegee.

“It’s in the DNA. I’m from Tuskegee. Rich in Black history,” Joyner said. “That is what the Tuskegee Airmen were about. That is what Booker T. was about. That was what George Washington Carver was about. I was born and raised there. Look at Lionel Richie. He couldn’t sing or play the piano and he wasn’t in the choir. I didn’t know what he could do, but he’s the biggest star in the world.

“But that’s Tuskegee for you. There are some other folks that have come out of Tuskegee that you’ve never heard of that have done amazing things. That is what Tuskegee was about then. Somehow, my DNA ended up in Tuskegee.”

Another famous person from Tuskegee was Joyner’s late brother, Al, who was the reason he fell in love with basketball.

Al Joyner was most well known for owning and operating as many as 23 McDonald’s restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi. He also owned franchises in Birmingham, Alabama, before he died in 2015. Al Joyner also served on the board of directors for the Jackson State University Development Foundation and was a community leader and mentor.

Tom Joyner said his brother was also a great assist man as a point guard at Tuskegee Institute High School. Al Joyner won MVP honors on a state championship team, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“For everyone at my school, I was known as ‘Albert Joyner’s brother.’ That was my name,” Tom Joyner said. “He was a star. They went to State. They won. And he was captain. Me? I was fat … He was a high school star. A real star.”

Joyner said he once owned season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks when he lived in Dallas. He said he ultimately gave them up after being disillusioned by the Mavericks re-signing 7-foot-6 center Shawn Bradley to a seven-year deal worth more than $30 million. Joyner described himself as a “casual basketball fan,” but he wanted Heat season tickets when he moved to Miami and he misses homes games “only when I have to.”

“I bought them tickets. I don’t want them to go to waste,” Joyner said. “I got to basketball games because I like the crowd.”

Joyner said he was able to get to obtain baseline front row seats by the visiting bench in 2017 after calling in a favor to then-Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold W. Donald (the Heat are owned by Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison). But former Heat star Jamal Mashburn and his wife, Bailey, convinced Joyner to move to two baseline seats next to them near the Heat bench in 2018.

Mashburn, a former NBA All-Star, lives in Miami and has had success in owning automobile dealerships, fast-food franchises, a waste management business and real estate. Bailey Brooks Mashburn, who introduced her husband to Joyner, is a wedding planner who first met Joyner when she planned an event for him at the Kentucky Derby.

Retired radio personality Tom Joyner watches from his seat behind the basket during Game 4 of the first-round series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat at Kaseya Center on April 24 in Miami.

Marc J Spears/Andscape

The Mashburns and Joyner have become close friends. Joyner attended Mashburn’s 50th birthday party in Saudi Arabia last year and hosted the couple at an Usher concert in Las Vegas.

“That was a blessing. My new best friend. That’s the best sitting next to him,” Joyner said. “My best conversations with Mashburn come when there is somebody playing with ‘Junior’ on the back of their jersey. I say, ‘Mashburn, you know his daddy?’ He says, ‘Yeah, I dusted his daddy.’ The son will come over and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Mashburn, how are you doing?’

“I see a row of assistant coaches and asked if he played against them and if he dusted them. He says, ‘Yeah, you know it.’ As soon as a good shot is released he’ll say, ‘Money.’ Sure enough, nothing but net. He always tells me, ‘First to 100 wins.’ He’s only been wrong one time in the years that I’ve known him.”

Like Haslem, Mashburn became a fan of Joyner listening to his radio show in the car with his mother during his youth.

“One of the things I love about Tom is he’s very inclusive,” Mashburn told Andscape. “I consider him the LeBron James of back in the day. He just wants everybody to have a good time. We love him to death. What I like about Tom is I can ask him about deejaying, entertainment, media buys on the radio, commercials, how the media business has changed and where it is going. He gives me feedback on that. But he asks me a lot about what goes on the court.”

On April 24, Joyner was in at the Heat’s Kaseya Center as history was made when forward Jimmy Butler scored a Heat playoff-record 56 points in a 119-114 win over the Eastern Conference’s top seed Milwaukee Bucks. Joyner enjoyed getting his usual basketball insight from Jamal Mashburn and joyously chair danced with his wife to “Swag Surfin’ ” during a timeout. Several people came to Joyner’s seat to pay respect to him and take pictures, including Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller.

“I’m not like that old guy [actor Jack Nicholson] who goes to the Lakers game. I’m not that guy,” Joyner said. “Players recognize me. But more than players, refs always recognize and always give me dap. And the parents of players. I was just kicking it with [Milwaukee Bucks forward] Jae Crowder’s dad.

“Up close, the person I like watching the most is Jimmy. Jimmy is rolling. His dad sits courtside. Kyle Lowry’s wife, mother-in-law and two boys courtside right by me.”

So, do the Heat players other than Haslem know who Joyner is?

“They probably have no clue,” Haslem said. “Man got more money than all of us. That man’s been getting it for years, man. The work ethic, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and just to be able to do that consistently for so many years, bro, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.”

After Butler’s big game, the NBA All-Star celebrated his historic night by hugging a friend within a few feet of a smiling Joyner. Shortly after, Lewis and the arena attendants helped Joyner back into his wheelchair. Lewis then pushed Joyner past the Heat locker room into an elevator that could take Joyner down to his private SUV. Joyner said he has become a big fan of reggaeton music in recent years, but he asked an elevator attendant to play old-school R&B music on his phone to celebrate the Heat’s win. The elevator attendant joyously did on cue.

Once Joyner got settled in his car seat, he said: “What I saw from Jimmy tonight was Jordanesque.”

Mashburn believes Joyner has had a Jordanesque radio career.

“It’s a real-life history lesson sitting next to him,” Mashburn said. “Forget about what he has done on the radio. Growing up in Alabama, where he came from, I love that part of the story. All the things he’s done. All the people he’s touched.

“He has love from his industry where everyone shows him respect. It is almost like being with Michael Jordan in the arena amongst peers with the love that he gets and embraces.”

Said Joyner: “I opened the door. When you open the door, you let someone else walk through it.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.


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