Warriors

Warriors' Kevon Looney details injury rehab, dieting in HEADSTRONG

Warriors' Kevon Looney details injury rehab, dieting in HEADSTRONG

Kevon Looney was a McDonald's All-American and Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball as a high school senior. He spent only one season at UCLA before the Warriors took him with the No. 30 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at just 19 years old.

Then his life as a basketball star quickly was derailed. He had two hip surgeries early in his career and played in just five games as a rookie.

"It was really frustrating," Looney said in a segment during NBC Sports' documentary, "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports." "Coming into the league, you have these dreams that I'm going to take the league by storm, and my first year, I was really just sidelined."

Looney struggled mightily with the mental side of his rehab. Basketball was his passion and a major part of his identity. He heavily leaned on his family during the dark times away from the basketball court.

Years later, Looney sees the positive of dealing with adversity. It was through these tough times that he really learned about the importance of having a healthy diet. He always could eat what he wanted and be a great athlete.

He needed to open his ears and make a change.

"That's when I really learned how to be healthy," Looney said. "I really had to learn about my body and how to take care of my body. I had a couple veterans like Andre Iguodala telling me to eat right and do those type of things, and I didn't really listen because I'm 19, 20. I gained a bunch of weight when I came back from the injury and really didn't feel right, so I changed up my diet."

Looney lost nearly 30 pounds over six weeks when he made a change to his diet. His minutes continued to increase the past few seasons, and he's now a key player for the Warriors.

The now-23-year-old signed a three-year, $15 million contract to remain with the Warriors this past offseason. He's currently on the mend with a neuropathic issue, but he should be able to lean on lessons learned in the past to combat the mental gymnastics of being away from basketball.

Looney wants to be a role model for those who are struggling, especially with their weight and diet.

"I'm one of those people where I struggle with changing my diet, and I just want you to know that it's possible," Looney said. "The beginning of it is always hard, but if you stay disciplined, you can change your life. You can live longer and be there for your loved ones, and you can help people. You can be a walking testament.

"There's a lot of people that struggle with weight, and I've been one of those guys, but if you can be disciplined, you can take your life to another level."

Looney's struggles through rehab and how he learned how to be healthier will be discussed during Wednesday night's edition of "Warriors Pregame Live," as well as "Warriors Postgame Live," on NBC Sports Bay Area before and after the Warriors face the Los Angeles Lakers.

You can watch all of the "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports" vignettes right here. The full documentary will play all month on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.

Check our channel listings page for times and dates.

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell is rapidly approaching a date some NBA observers have circled since the Warriors acquired him this summer.

Golden State can trade Russell as soon as Sunday, Dec. 15, and the 23-year-old has been the source of trade speculation during his time in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Wednesday, citing sources that the Minnesota Timberwolves "remain interested in Russell" and that the guard "seems to be realistic in understanding that he may not be long for the Warriors once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return to full health."

Russell is averaging a career-high 22.4 points per game this season to go with 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, serving as the top offensive option in the absence of his All-Star teammates. He knew he wouldn't play much with Thompson this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but Curry's broken hand threw a wrench into the Warriors' -- and thus Russell's -- prospects this season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised how Russell has handled the rumors surrounding him. 

"Money doesn't buy peace of mind," Kerr said Friday morning (H/T San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau). "It doesn't buy a sense of belonging, a sense of, 'Alright, this is my team.' If there's speculation that you're going to be traded all the time, I don't care how much money you make, I don't care who you are. That's tough. That's no fun to deal with, and this season has been nowhere close to what D'Angelo thought it would be when he first signed with us.

"There's no Steph. We're struggling to win games. He's had his own injuries, and we're throwing all kinds of different lineups out there based on the other injuries we've faced." 

Russell has played in just 15 of the Warriors' 27 games this season, playing on a team that looks far more like the Los Angeles Lakers of his first two seasons than the playoff-contending Brooklyn Nets a year ago -- let alone the reigning Western Conference champion Warriors. 

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Kerr, who entered this season with the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.785), is as aware of Golden State's dramatically different reality as anyone. He said it has only brought out the best in Russell. 

"So given all that, he's played really well, and he's been a great teammate and he's doing everything he needs to do to solidify his position here," Kerr continued. "But this is the NBA here, and we never know what's coming, what's happening. So, it's a difficult position to be in in general, but for him in particular it's strange set of circumstances and he's handling it really well." 

Whether or not the Warriors trade Russell, it's clear Kerr holds him in high regard.

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Warriors two-way guard Ky Bowman made his G League debut Friday night in Santa Cruz.

He dominated the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. 

The Boston College product could have scored 40 points if he really wanted to, but he picked his spots and made sure his teammates were getting good looks.

After shootaround in Utah on Friday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked what Bowman can work on while he's with the Sea Dubs.

"He's got a really aggressive mindset -- which I like -- but there are still circumstances and situations where he needs to think more pass," Kerr said. "And more strategic, rather than just score, score, score."

Bowman clearly listened to the eight-time NBA champion.

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Also, "Sky Bowman" was on full display.

The 22-year-old will be back in action Sunday afternoon as Santa Cruz faces the Northern Arizona Suns. Watch the game at 2:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

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