Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

The fact that Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL, despite so many quarterbacks with worse resumes being employed instead, does not add up for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

James firmly believes that Kaepernick, who holds a career passer rating of 88.9, is easily an NFL-caliber player that is being blackballed for his beliefs.

“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that.

“Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”

Since opting out of his contract last March, a total of 42 quarterbacks have been signed while Kaepernick waits, according to a study by Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. Some of those accomplished luminaries include David Fales, Matt McGloin, and Brandon Weeden.

So why isn’t he in the league? James points out the obvious with Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in America.

“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night,” James said.

“I see all these quarterbacks – first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks – that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”

James, another socially conscious athlete who uses his platform to affect change, compared Kaepernick’s activism to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

“I’ve commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him. Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature,” James said.

“When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.

“For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that.”

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LaVar Ball says he knows what type of coaching his son, 20-year-old rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, needs to be successful in the NBA, but thinks that isn’t what the Los Angeles Lakers are currently providing him

“They’re soft. They don’t know how to coach my son. I know how to coach him,” LaVar said Friday after the Lakers fell to 6-10 with a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus. “I tell him to go get the victory. Stop messing around.”

The head of Big Baller Brand added that he has no problem with Lakers head coach Luke Walton, but that he does with losing games.

After falling to the Suns, Walton said it’s important for his younger players to learn from their errors, and not to get too low each time they lose.

LaVar would apparently take a different approach with the impressionable roster, saying he would hold them more accountable for their mistakes.

“What I mean by babying (Lonzo), ‘He’ll figure it out,'” LaVar said. “It ain’t about that. ‘Be patient with him?’ Ain’t no patience if you’re winning.”

“They’re letting it go too easy, saying they’re a young team,” he added. “Forget about that. Put the (onus) on them. Say, ‘You guys need to win. You’ve got enough talent. Win some games.'”

LaVar added that losing at home “ain’t OK,” and said there aren’t any moral victories in a loss. “That’s why they’re so cool with losing by five or six, (to) say, ‘We was in the game.'”

Lonzo followed up his six-point performance against the Suns with his second triple-double of the 2017-18 campaign, ending Sunday’s 18-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists in just under 40 minutes of action.

He’s averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals for the 7-10 Lakers, although his 31.3 field-goal percentage and his 22.8 3-point percentage has left a lot to be desired.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant took some time to reflect on leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, and then he let everything out.

Durant admitted he was upset by how OKC fans turned on him after he chose to sign with Golden State, but he’ll ultimately look back fondly on his eight seasons with the Thunder.

“That stuff right there is going to last forever,” Durant told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. “That stuff is way, way more important than a championship. Me and my family didn’t just erase those eight years in OKC. D.C. and OKC is where we grew up – my mom, my brother, me.

“I am OKC. I’m still OKC. That blue is going to be in my blood forever. That place raised me. I have people there who would take a bullet for me and vice versa. But there’s a point in a young man’s life, just like when he goes off to college, or when he moves to another city to get a job, he’s got to make a decision for himself. You’ve got to make a decision that’s best for yourself and you would expect the people that love you the most to say they understand.”

The response from Thunder fans was similar to that of Cleveland when LeBron James left for Miami in 2010, after Durant’s announcement on The Players’ Tribune that he would take his talents to the 73-win team that eliminated the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Durant instantly went from being their favorite son to being hated, as fans responded by burning his jersey, flooding his social media mentions, and one person went so far as to fire an automatic rifle at his old uniform.

His former Thunder teammates followed suit. Russell Westbrook, who Durant once called his brother, played up the rivalry at every possible opportunity, which further endeared him to Thunder fans and made his bitterness toward Durant into a national storyline.

For better or for worse, these are people in his life that he’ll cherish, regardless of whether he gets the same love in return, or not.

“Those people really mean a lot to me to this day. No matter if they talk to me or they’re mad at me. Whether it’s Sam Presti or Troy Weaver or Russell Westbrook or Nick Collison. Whether it’s Wilson Taylor or Clay Bennett and his family, I love them from the bottom of my heart. We’re not talking, but eventually we will,” Durant said.

Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns has witnessed firsthand how medicinal marijuana can have a positive impact on ones life, which is why he’d like to see the NBA reconsider its stance on the substance.

“I agree with David Stern with marijuana,” Towns told ESPN’s Nick Friedell, echoing Stern’s belief that marijuana should be allowed for medicinal purposes. “You don’t have to actually make it ‘Mary J’ (or) ‘Half Baked.’ You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the (chemical) properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver has to do, that’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana.

“Not fully legal where people are chimneys but using (marijuana) as a beneficial factor as an athlete, as a person living daily. I think a lot of times fans forget that sometimes there may be some things that are banned that may not be the greatest for playing basketball, but for everyday living off the court, sometimes those things that are legal could help us.”

Towns has a girlfriend whose nephew is autistic. Some of the treatments used to handle the neurodevelopmental disorder involve properties of marijuana.

“I’ve seen nothing but benefits for him,” Towns added. “And I’m very happy that he finds comfort. He finds that normalcy every day. Just like a father, a mother, a parent with a child, you’d do anything for your child.”

The league’s current marijuana policy involves a mandated substance-abuse treatment program that must be completed following a positive test. A second would result in a $25,000 fine, with suspensions for every infraction from that point onward.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr used marijuana as part of his pain regiment stemming from multiple back surgeries. He believes cannabis is a better solution than prescription painkillers, which could cause more damage to the body.

Towns, meanwhile, admitted he’s never smoked in his life. Nonetheless, having been around his girlfriend’s nephew, as well as children at autistic schools, the 22-year-old knows the positives greatly outweigh the negatives in its usage.

“These guys, just because we’re NBA athletes, we’re not super humans,” he said. “Some of us have conditions that could use (medical marijuana) to our benefit for everyday living, just taking care of our kids and our families.”

Pro athletes going vegetarian is not a new phenomenon, although it’s hardly widespread. Kyrie Irving is the latest big name to adapt a plant-based diet, and he says he feels great – physically and mentally.

“I feel absolutely amazing,” Irving said, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “My energy, my sleeping patterns, just my intellect and everything that I’m awake to now, I’m very much aware. My awareness is a lot better now that I’m not eating all the GMOs and pesticides and all that they put in our food.”

The Celtics point guard credits watching the Netflix documentary, “What the Health,” for changing the way he views meat consumption.

Irving looks trimmer this season, and the results have been strong. While he’s not hitting career highs offensively, his defense has improved immensely, and he’s been the on-court catalyst for Boston’s league-best 13-2 record.

LeBron James has already made upward of $200 million in his NBA playing career, and many millions more in endorsements. He has a lifetime contract with Nike that reportedly pays him more than $30 million per year. He owns his own production company, and a minority stake in Premier League powerhouse Liverpool. His playing days don’t appear anywhere close to over, but he’s already set up extremely well for retirement.

Like Michael Jordan before him, James’ post-career years seem destined to include ownership of an NBA franchise; James himself has said that’s part of his plan. It would make sense for that team to be his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, who he has almost single-handedly dragged to prominence over 11 seasons.

But, as much as James – and likely, the people of Cleveland – would welcome that, a lot of pieces would have to fall into place for it to happen, including the willingness of current owner Dan Gilbert to sell at least a portion of his majority stake.

“To be an owner of any team would be crazy,” James told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd. “If this thing opened up and I’m in a position financially, and I’ve got the right team around me, obviously. But who’s to say Dan will (sell)? I’ve always kept it just player/owner at this point. I guess once I come down to that point, if the conversation needed to be had, I’ll have it. But I don’t have it right now.”

If and when it does come time to have the conversation, James may be a victim of his own success. His spectacular play has helped significantly boost the valuation of the Cavs – Gilbert bought the team for $375 million back in 2005.

The Houston Rockets, the most recent NBA franchise to be sold, went for $2.2 billion.

“I know how much the team cost when he bought it,” James said. “And I know how much it’s worth now – over $1 billion if he wanted it.”

Half-man, half-amazing. Air Canada. Vinsanity.

Vince Carter is still playing basketball at 40 years old and hasn’t been a member of the Raptors since his trade to the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 17, 2004. Regardless, he still feels a strong bond with the city of Toronto.

“Of course, I’d like for (the Raptors) to retire my jersey,” Carter told Marc J. Spears of ESPN. “You’d always like your jersey retired. That is where it’s started.”

Carter was a fan favorite throughout most of his tenure in Toronto. After being drafted in 1998, he played six-and-a-half seasons with the Raptors and made the All-Star team every year after his rookie campaign. He took the team to the second round in 2001, before missing the final shot in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, things turned sour and Carter’s relationship with the Raptors disintegrated before he was traded to the Nets early in the 2004-05 season. He was booed for years each time he returned to Toronto as a visiting player, although his relationship with the team and its fans has improved greatly in recent seasons.

Overall, Carter averaged 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game in 383 total appearances with the Raptors.

His next game in Toronto is coincidentally on the same day he was traded 13 years ago. Carter’s current team, the Sacramento Kings, visits Air Canada Centre on Dec. 17 for what could potentially be his last trip as an opponent.