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This NBA team stood up to homophobia big time last night with a tribute to Pulse victims.

On June 12, 2016, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history took place at Pulse, a prominent LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The tragedy rocked the entire country (and world). But it was especially devastating to the Orlando community.

Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.


It was a day that won't soon be forgotten in central Florida.

More than four months later — and just two miles down the road from where the atrocity took place — the NBA's Orlando Magic dedicated its season opener on Oct. 26, 2016, to those who lost their lives this past summer.

"I couldn’t be more proud of this community,’’ said Magic CEO Alex Martins of Orlando's coming together in the months since. "I will be shocked if there’s a dry eye in the audience tonight."

Brandon Jennings, who played for the Orlando Magic last year. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

Performer Brandon Parsons sang “Forty-Nine Times,” a heart-wrenching song dedicated to the 49 victims of the shooting.

“Tonight, we honor their lives, the heroes who emerged that early morning, and a healing community that showed the world love always conquers hate,” the team's announcer told the filled stadium.

A rainbow-colored banner, printed with the number 49 and all the names of those who were killed, hung from the rafters.

Photo by John Raoux/AP Photo.

"It will be our way of making sure that we don’t forget those who lost their lives in this tragedy," Martins said of the colorful banner.

Players' warm-up shirts sported a rainbow heart and the #OrlandoUnited hashtag, paying special tribute to those affected.

Orlando Magic player Elfrid Payton. Photo by John Raoux/AP Photo.

Magic fans used the #OrlandoUnited hashtag on social media to share how the pre-game events went far beyond basketball.

Since June, the Orlando Magic have stood with other local athletic groups in solidarity with Pulse and the city's LGBTQ community.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the Magic — along with Orlando City Soccer Club and the Orlando Solar Bears ice hockey team — funneled millions of dollars into the OneOrlando Fund, which is aiding victims' families and survivors during their time of recovery.

Between the Magic organization and the DeVos family, which owns the team, $500,000 was given to the charitable fund.

Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.

Last night's dedication was particularly moving because it showed a pro sports team proudly standing alongside the LGBTQ community.

That's big.

Homophobia and transphobia in sports are still very real, especially in the U.S. That's why groups like Athlete Ally are so critical — they combat the various forms of discrimination queer men and women face in locker rooms and on athletic courts everywhere.

Retired NBA player Jason Collins. Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images.

It's an injustice many athletes, like retired NBA player Jason Collins, know all too well.

"I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore," Collins, who was the first NBA player to come out as gay in 2013, said of his decision to live openly. "I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, 'Me, too.'"

In Florida, #OrlandoUnited has proven to be so much more than a catchy hashtag.

It's reflective of a community that gets why we all hurt when one group hurts. When one family mourns, we all bear the pain.

And when we heal together, it shows why no amount of hate — or bigotry, or some warped idea of morality — can prevent love from conquering hate.

Photo by Manel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Kevin Bacon's farm songs have become a social media favorite.

When Beyoncé dropped two songs from her upcoming album of country tunes, Renaissance: Act II, she may not have expected to make history, but that's exactly what happened. Her first single from the album, "Texas Hold 'Em," shot to the No.1 spot on the Billboard country music charts, making her the first Black female artist to hit that top spot. The catchy tune also topped the Billboard Hot 100 the last week in February 2024, a week after it debuted at No. 2.

Presumbaly, Queen Bey didn't expect her song to become an Irish stepdance hit, though that's also exactly what happened. And surely she didn't expect it to be sung by Kevin Bacon to a bunch of farm animals, yet that also has happened.

Perhaps we should all have expected that, though. There's a precedent here, after all.

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Courtesy of Woodell Productions

This speech had all the things, and the Maid of Honor wasn't even there

May we all have a best friend like Ally Lothman.

Lothman had just given birth to her first child (according to Today.com) and was unable to make it to the wedding of her lifelong best friend Michelle Levenson. But Lothman’s Maid of Honor duties were still gloriously fulfilled.

A now-viral video, posted to TikTok by wedding photography and videography company Woodell Productions, shows that even though Lothman couldn’t celebrate in person, her FaceTimed wedding toast managed to bring everyone at the reception—along with everyone who watched online—to tears.
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"Freddie Mercury" by kentarotakizawa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Fans are thrilled to hear Freddie Mercury's iconic voice once again.

Freddie Mercury had a voice and a stage presence unlike any other in rock music history. His unique talents helped propel the band Queen to the top of music charts and created a loyal fan base around the world.

Sadly, the world lost that voice when Mercury died of AIDS at age 45. For decades, most of us have assumed we'd heard all the music we were going to hear from him.

However, according to Yahoo! Entertainment, remaining Queen members Roger Taylor and Brian May announced this summer that they had found a never-released song they'd recorded with Mercury in 1988 as they were working on the album "The Miracle."

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Pop Culture

People think everyone should experience these things 'at least once in their lifetime'

Things like seeing an eclipse and having a true best friend make life worth living.

Representative Images from Canva

Here are some things everyone should experience once in their lifetime

If there’s one thing human beings all have in common, it’s our shared impermanence. No matter our race, gender, social class, wealth status, health regimen, moral code, political leaning, or any other divisive element, we all get one life. One life to hopefully fill with as many memorable, soul nourishing, expansive experiences as possible.

But let’s face it, there are more experiences available that there are days and hours in which to do them. Therefore, we have to use discernment. So, which experiences are truly must-haves in our all-too-limited time on this planet?

The answers to this question are undoubtedly personal, but perhaps some things, just like the inevitable exit of mortal coil, are universal.

According to a recent discussion on Ask Reddit, here are things one must absolutely “experience at least once in their lifetime”:
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Family

Helicopter's thermal imaging helps save a young autistic girl lost in a Florida swamp

“I just love how the deputy greeted her. What a beautiful ending. You guys are the best!”

A deputy locates a missing girl in a Florida swamp.

A 5-year-old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) wandered off into a swamp near Tampa, Florida, around 5:00 pm on Monday, February 26. The good news is that the girl was saved in about an hour thanks to the work of some brave sheriff’s officers and their incredible thermal technology.

The girl wandered from her home and was quickly reported missing by her family to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff quickly dispatched its aviation unit that used thermal imaging technology to scan the nearby swamplands to try to find the young girl before nightfall.

Thermal imaging technology captures images based on the heat emitted by objects, allowing us to see temperature differences even in the dark, making it super handy for night vision and heat detection. The thermal technology helped the officers quickly identify the girl from high above the trees.

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Family

10 things kids get in trouble for that adults get away with all the time

Why do we expect children to have more self-control than grown-ups?

Photo by Keren Fedida on Unsplash

Kids know when we're being hypocritical.

Raising kids is tough and no parent does it perfectly. Each child is different, each has their own personalities, strengths and challenges, and each of them requires something different from their parents in order to flourish.

But there's one thing that parents have long said, with their actions if not with their words, that justifiably drives kids bonkers: "Do as I say, not as I do."

To be fair, both moral and actual law dictate that there are things that adults can do that kids can't. Children can't drive or consume alcohol, for example, so it's not hypocritical for adults to do those things while telling kids they cannot. There are other things—movies, TV shows, books, etc.—that parents have to decide whether their kids are ready for or not based on their age and developmental stage, and that's also to be expected.

But there are some gaps between what adults do and what they expect kids to do that aren't so easy to reconcile.

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