Donald Trump's Steve Kerr remarks prove sports, politics inseparable

Donald Trump's Steve Kerr remarks prove sports, politics inseparable

SAN FRANCISCO -- Thanks to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and United States President Donald Trump, we finally can kill and bury what should have died at least 83 years ago.

The fallacy of sports and politics sleeping in different beds.

They’ve always been linked, always will be locked in an embrace of varying comfort levels. Pretending otherwise is brazen ignorance of facts that pass before our eyes every day.

Continuance of the war, initiated last Friday with Morey’s tweet expressing support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, came spilling from Trump’s mouth Wednesday, with his words landing upon the head of Warriors coach Steve Kerr and then, by circumstance, into the lap of Golden State superstar Stephen Curry.

Asked Monday night if he had any thoughts on Morey’s since-deleted tweet, which prompted Rockets chairman Tilman Fertitta to apologize to China and marginalize his GM, Kerr said he had nothing to offer. He said it was a complex issue with which he’d like to be more familiar.

His non-response sent tails wagging throughout Trumpian society, which branded Kerr -- usually outspoken on certain domestic political topics -- a coward for failing to address this controversial international issue.

Sports and politics, together again in disharmony.

When the topic came before Trump on Wednesday, he followed his usual based-on-TV-viewing script, launching into a dismissive, middle-school belittlement of Kerr.

“I watched this guy Steve Kerr and he was like a little boy,” Trump told reporters. “He was so scared to be even answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking. 'Ohh, ohh, ohh. I don’t know.'

“He didn’t know how to answer the question. And yet he’ll talk about the United States very badly.”

News of Trump’s comments came barely one minute after Kerr had concluded his daily media availability -- but minutes before Curry, often at odds with Trump, had his.

“I’ve got to welcome Steve to the club,” Curry said, referring to the list of sports figures, entertainers, independent women, Gold Star families, American prisoners of war, fellow politicians and others who have been publicly ridiculed by Trump.

Meanwhile, China’s reaction to Morey’s tweet has been harsh and thorough. Tencent, the Chinese media partner of the NBA, has put the Rockets into a black hole, suspending that partnership. No Rockets games on TV. One social-media post Monday showed someone in Shanghai painting over Rockets artwork, including the logo, inside a gym.

It’s as if, at least for now, the Rockets have been erased from China.

Indeed, one Rockets fan in China, daring to side with his favorite team, reportedly threatened to burn the national flag and invited authorities to arrest him. They did. He could face as much as three years in prison.

Sports and politics. Can’t keep them apart.

For nearly 20 years, since Houston drafted Yao Ming in 2002, the Rockets have been conceivably China’s most popular American sports team. Longtime Rocket and Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady was, for a time, the most popular athlete in China.

Warriors star Klay Thompson, who has an apparel contract with Chinese corporation Anta, is a huge celebrity, attracting massive crowds every time he visits. That, too, is in peril, as Anta announced Wednesday that it will “immediately stop contract renewal negotiations with the NBA.”

Which points up the thorniest issue, one without an easy resolution. The business aspect.

The NBA and China are business partners, each benefitting off the interests of the other. China is the league’s biggest market outside the U. S.

That’s why NBA commissioner Adam Silver has made multiple attempts to satisfy the Chinese government while simultaneously affirming American freedom of speech. It’s a dance so delicate and, perhaps irresolvable, that it could go on the weeks or months. Maybe even years.

It was in 1936 that Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany sought to affirm its physical and intellectual superiority by triumphing in the Olympic Games in Berlin. This international sports event would, once and for all, prove that Hitler and his “master race” of Aryans were bred to rule the world.

It didn’t work out so well Hitler, of course, but those Games crackled with political overtones, as have many others. Take Mexico City in 1968, when American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos took a stand to fight for equal rights, and Munich in 1972, when Black September, a Palestinian terrorist group, took Israeli athletes hostage and killed 11.

[RELATED: Steph responds to President Trump's comments on Kerr]

Here we are, 83 years removed for the ’36 Games, and the NBA and China are at odds. A basketball league in a country of 325 million vs. a nation of more than 1.4 billion.

It’s a form of war. All because of a single tweet.

Warriors' Draymond Green jokes about wanting buyout to join playoff team

Warriors' Draymond Green jokes about wanting buyout to join playoff team

Breaking news: The Warriors are not going to the playoffs this season.

That means they have 27 games left and the offseason begins after the final horn sounds at around 9:30 p.m. PT on April 15.

So what does Draymond Green want to accomplish before the 2019-20 campaign comes to an end?

"A buyout," the three-time NBA champion told reporters after Wednesday's practice. "Go to a playoff team."

After a couple seconds, he smiled and said: "I'm just playing."

Draymond, whose four-year contract extension worth just under $100 million begins next season, has never missed the postseason since entering the league as the No. 35 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

It's going to be very strange for him to view the games from afar.

It's safe to assume that in addition to checking out the games on TV, Draymond probably will watch a lot of film on the top draft prospects as the Warriors most likely will have a top-five pick.

[RELATED: Why Kerr isn't entertaining idea of Klay playing this season]

But that's a conversation for another day. Green and his teammates have a job to do the next two months.

"Just trying to continue to get more rhythm with the guys that are here, continue to help them improve," Draymond said. "And really just work on my own game. Not often you get the opportunity to work on your game in a game setting.

"These games matter, but they don't matter. You're not playing for seeding or trying to preserve your legs for the playoffs. So you really get the chance to work on some things in game situations."

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Warriors have list of players they want to sign to contracts this season

Warriors have list of players they want to sign to contracts this season

On Feb. 8, the Warriors signed Jeremy Pargo and Zach Norvell Jr. to 10-day contracts.

Golden State is not giving either player a second 10-day deal, which means the team has a couple of roster spots to fill.

"As it relates to Jeremy and Zach, I'm not exactly sure -- just without having spoken to Bob (Myers) and Mike (Dunleavy) and Kirk (Lacob) yet -- I can't give you an exact thought on how that played out," coach Steve Kerr told reporters Tuesday night. "But they both did a great job."

Pargo -- who before joining the Warriors last appeared in an NBA game on March 29, 2013 -- recorded 15 points and two assists against the Phoenix Suns last Wednesday in the Dubs' final game before the All-Star break.

Kerr doesn't know who Golden State will be bringing into the fold and/or when that will happen.

"To be perfectly honest, I just got back from the All-Star break a few hours ago," Kerr explained. "I haven't had a chance to speak to guys in the front office. I know we have a list of players who we'd like to take a look at. We'll see how that all pans out.

"But there's a good chance that over the last couple months of the season we take a look at some different players. That's the idea."

Technically, the Warriors don't have to sign anybody for two weeks. But with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry sidelined -- and Kevon Looney continuing to deal with various ailments -- it's safe to assume they'll be adding some bodies sooner rather than later.

[RELATED: Why Kerr isn't entertaining idea of Klay playing this season]

But that won't transpire before Thursday's game against the Houston Rockets:

The situation remains fluid and can change at any moment.

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