Brad Pye Jr. was a rock and a foundation
July 23, 2020
According to the dictionary a foundation is the lowest load-bearing part of a building and the basis on which ideals and beliefs rest. That's the best way to describe Brad Pye Jr. He was the foundation for so many people including myself. Pye died on July 5, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 89 years old.
He was their rock and he taught us to never give up. He taught us to fight hard for equal rights every day. He was a man of many talents but his number one talent was to fight with a smile on his face. He once told me, as a young Black journalists, "You have to wake up every day and put your boxing gloves on."
Brad put his gloves on for decades and his determination and dedication put him in a position to not only be the best Black sportscaster and sports writer in the history of Los Angeles, he was able to be the best at whatever he did.
When he was on the radio his sports shows were filled with phrases like "Pretty little green ones" when he would talk about athletes singing contracts and he would say, "Switch reels" when he was moving on to another story. At one time he was on three different radio shows in one day
Brad was constantly switching reels in his own life. He was the Sports Editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel, one of the largest Black papers in the nation, for over 30 years. He was the first Black president for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners. The gymnasium at Saint Andrews Recreation Center in South Los Angeles is named after him.
He served as the president of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission and he was the assistant Chief Deputy to County Supervisors Kenneth Hahn and Yvonne Braithwaite Burke from 1987 to 2011. Hahn was responsible for helping Pye break the color barrier in the Los Angeles Coliseum press box.
"For many years the black media was not allowed in the press box until Mr. Hahn called the USC president and set up a meeting for me," said Pye during one of his last interviews on September 15, 2018 at TGSports TV1Radio Station in Inglewood. "After the meeting the president said he did not see why we were not allowed in the press box. The first home game we were in the press box." The same thing happened at UCLA. "It was a struggle but I would not let anything stop me."
Brad ran away from home at the age of 12 and came to Los Angeles from Plain Dealing, Louisiana. As a teenager he worked odd jobs and lived on 10th street in a boarding house. "I use to have to walk down the hall way and stand in line to take a bath," said Pye. A few years later his mother reunited with Pye in Los Angeles.
Pye's loved for journalism started at George Washington Carver Junior high school in south Los Angeles. "I was in a typing and print shop class and I was fascinated by the type writer and printing press."
On the same radio show in 2018 with Brad was myself, Amanda Scurlock and the host of the show LT Willis. On the show Scurlock, who is currently a sports reporter for the Sentinel had this to say about Brad. "I feel like I am on the shoulders of a giant. Listening to him makes me want to hold myself accountable. I feel like I have to step up my game and continue to be a good example despite what type of adversity I am going through. It's inspiring."
Brad Pye Jr. may not be perfect but what he has done for the City of Los Angeles is close to perfection. His success can be measured by the awards and pictures on the walls at his home in Leimert Park in Los Angeles. His walls are full. His name and influence will hover over Los Angeles like an Angel's halo hovers over his or her head.
Pye is survived by four daughters, Jill White, Jenice Pye-Conkrite, Jan Pye and Sharee Hollins, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eunice Pye and son, Brad Pye III. Funeral services are pending.