NBA

DURANT, LIVINGSTON, BARNES QUESTIONABLE FOR GAME 2 VS BLAZERS

DURANT, LIVINGSTON, BARNES QUESTIONABLE FOR GAME 2 VS BLAZERS

Kevin Durant hates to acknowledge injury, which is why he said he was OK Sunday despite being examined by a member of the Warriors training staff in the third quarter of Game 1 against Portland.

“I’m cool,” Durant said when asked about it after a 121-109 Warriors victory.

Durant is not so “cool” after all, as the Warriors announced the 6-foot-9 forward missed practice Tuesday because of a left calf strain and is questionable for Game 2 on Wednesday.

Backup guard Shaun Livingston also is listed as questionable, with a hand contusion and sprain of his right index finger. Reserve forward Matt Barnes, who missed Game 1 with a right ankle/foot sprain, also is listed as questionable.

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LeBron James is putting the NBA in danger during hiatus

LeBron James is putting the NBA in danger during hiatus

OK, so LeBron James is working out with teammates at a “safe, secure” private location these days.

That doesn’t sound as if it fits under the NBA’s guidelines for what can be done during the league’s hiatus. Apparently “safe" and "secure” are relative terms.

Most teams were operating under the assumption that players could work out only at team facilities:

In the past, players hold (sic) their workouts in practically any practice facility. However, the NBA announced that it won’t be allowed this time around. Players can only workout in their team’s facility.

Yes, three or four players could be on the court at the same time, but they had to be separate. They were NOT supposed to actually be “practicing” together. There were all sorts of other rules associated with it, but I’m sure “The King” abided by them all.

I mean, he would never think he’s so special that he’s not governed by the same rules as his minions, right?

You’ve heard, by now, about Jordan Rules. Now get used to LeBron Rules.

If you haven’t already.

Dame D.O.L.L.A. announces release date for upcoming new single

Dame D.O.L.L.A. announces release date for upcoming new single

Without basketball, Damian Lillard has been at home, trying to stay in basketball shape and recording some new music.

Earlier this year, Lillard aka Dame D.O.L.L.A. announced that he'd be dropping a single and now we have a date. 

Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard had an impromptu Instagram live session earlier this week and while talking about life during quarantine, Lillard dropped the news.

You know I have to drop the single on June 12th, with a visual, you feel me?

Well there it is, folks. New Dame D.O.L.L.A. music will be on the way soon to hold us over!

His last album, Big D.O.L.L.A, received love from his peers and fans when it dropped last October.

Lillard is certainly at the forefront of athletes who can play ball and rap at a high level. 

Expect Dame D.O.L.L.A. to give us an album rollout here soon once he drops his new single.

D.O.L.L.A. season in approaching.

Circle your calendars...

LeBron or MJ best of all time, or are they forgetting someone else?

LeBron or MJ best of all time, or are they forgetting someone else?

ESPN released a list of the NBA’s 74 greatest players and, of course, the big argument is at the top, where Michael Jordan is ranked No. 1 and LeBron James is No. 2.

I will say first, I would rank Jordan ahead of James but I wonder if ESPN would have, too, if it didn’t happen to be airing Jordan’s “Last Dance” documentary right now.

I’m not even totally sold on either of them being No. 1.

There is a real lack of understanding about how important talented centers were in the history of the game. For decades, if you didn’t have a great center, it was almost impossible to win a championship.

I watched teams take the floor against squads led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain and it was a hopeless situation. You could not stop them. There was nothing you could do.

Chamberlain was an athlete unlike anyone playing today -- a 7-2 LeBron James. When I hear people talk about Shaquille O'Neal being the best combination of speed and power in the game, I just laugh. Wilt would have dominated him. He was an all-around athlete (high jumper, 440 runner and world-class volleyball player) the likes of which few NBA players have ever been. And for all the points he scored, he once led the league in assists.

And even though Bill Russell won all those championships, he wasn’t the player Wilt was. I believe most people who rank him higher than Chamberlain did not see them play. Russell was a defensive genius and a leader, but did not have Wilt’s offensive skill. It wasn’t even close.

But Russell played for the Celtics, a great franchise with a great coach, surrounded by Hall of Fame teammates. That matters.

Abdul-Jabbar caused the colleges to outlaw the dunk just so they had a chance against him. But they couldn’t ban his skyhook, so there was still little chance of stopping him.

The problems with ranking the all-time best players in the history of any sport are many, And that’s why it can be so controversial.

A lot of the people doing those rankings didn’t even see many of the players on their list actually play, Or they rank players based on how many titles they won -- which was very often beyond the control of an individual player who landed on a hopeless franchise with no leadership... and no free agency to bail himself out of those situations.

Then, of course, there is the problem of comparing different eras. The three-point line had an enormous impact on the way the game is played, once coaches were able to commit to using it to its full potential (which took way too long).

And then there are the people unwilling to give players from the past a chance to be able to develop in modern systems that allow more and better weight training, nutritional guidance and salaries high enough players didn’t have to worry about an off-season job selling insurance.

In today’s game, Jordan obviously would have shot more three-point field goals. Wilt and Russell were both quick enough to get out on the floor and defend pick-and-rolls.

And players from previous eras such as Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Geoff Petrie, Walt Frazier, Elvin Hayes and Elgin Baylor would have all starred in this era.

So make up whatever list you want -- but please pay respect to history and perhaps rank only the players you’ve actually seen and discard whatever myths you’ve heard about the others or the eras they played in.

Because you really don’t know.

Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy to retire “Mamba” from name 

Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy to retire “Mamba” from name 

The Mamba Sports Academy, which was co-founded by the late Kobe Bryant, has made a decision to retire “Mamba” from its name. 

In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, the basketball training facility in Thousand Oaks announced it would change its name back to “The Sports Academy,” which was its former name before the Los Angeles Lakers legend partnered with the company. 

"Today, with respect for an unparalleled legacy, the Academy will retire the 'Mamba' in the Mamba Sports Academy name — to raise it to the rafters, where it belongs," the academy said. “In doing so, Sports Academy will carry on the vision it curated during that special partnership.”

Not everyone was pleased with the academy’s choice to remove Mamba, a reference to Bryant’s “Black Mamba” nickname he gave himself throughout his stellar NBA career. 

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford and friend of the Lakers great felt the name change was unnecessary. 

O’Shea Jackson, son of rapper Ice Cube, expressed his disappointment in a post. 

Trail Blazer Mario Hezonja simply shared the name change in a post of his own on Twitter. 

Others felt the name “Mamba” should stay to honor him. 

The academy shared another statement hours later saying the decision to change the name is “not a decision we came to lightly on our own.” 

Do you think the academy made the right decision? 

Over his 20-year-career, Kobe exemplified the “Mamba” assassin-like mentality and proved he could score from just about anywhere on the court. He was a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star. Both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys were retired by the Lakers. 

In April, Kobe was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Michael Jordan wasn't exactly fair to his old teammate Scottie Pippen

Michael Jordan wasn't exactly fair to his old teammate Scottie Pippen

If there was ever any doubt that Michael Jordan is shaping “The Last Dance” to fit his own narrative, it was on display Sunday night.

The documentary went into full detail about Scottie Pippen’s refusal to take the court for a final shot in Game 3 of a 1994 playoff series against the New York Knicks. Pippen was miffed that Toni Kukoc was designed to take the last shot.

It was a terrible mistake by Pippen that marred his career and Jordan made sure to get all of that in the story. But what he didn’t bother to spend any time on was what happened in Game 5 of that same series.

And I didn’t think it was possible to talk about that series without focusing on the foul Hue Hollins called on Pippen as he defended Hubert Davis’ last-shot attempt.

Pippen made contact with Davis, but it was after the shot was out of Davis’ hands -- which, in those days, was never called a foul. These days, it is… but it was considered a horrible, series-deciding call at the time.

And a year later, Darell Garretson, who was officiating on the floor that night with Hollins, had become the league’s director of officiating. And in a rare moment of candor, he did not mince words about what happened:

"All I can say is that it was a terrible call," said Garretson, who retired from active duty at the end of last season. "Any time an official calls a game, he hopes he doesn't make any, but that wasn't the only one."

You can argue the merits of the call all you want, but that play was the turning point of the series and if you’re telling the story of the Bulls without Michael Jordan, that would have been a must. The Bulls fell behind 3-2 in that series and won Game 6, but couldn’t pull out Game 7.

So why didn’t Jordan, who has complete control of the product, insert something about that in the documentary? Well, it might help you understand if you read what Jerry Reinsdorf told The New York Times years later.

“If we had won that game and then the series and gone on to win the title that year, the whole legacy of Michael would have been different,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, the Bulls’ owner, who recently hired Pippen as an organizational ambassador. “But because Michael had left and came back and then we won again, he was given all the credit, and sometimes it was unfair, especially to Scottie.”

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

Kate Brown's latest guidelines could have giant impact on local sports

As the United States continues to deal with the coronavirus, some states have slowly started to roll-out procedures to open back up. 

On Thursday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a multi-level plan to re-open the state. 

The plans will work in phases, with each phase gradually allowing more businesses to operate and loosen restrictions on social interaction. 

According to Brown, during Phase I restaurants and bars can open for limited in-person dining,  salons and gyms can operate with physical distancing and sanitation guidelines, and gatherings of up-to 25 people will be permitted.

The re-opening will be on a county-by-county basis and can start as early as May 15th.

The last phase of the process is Phase III, which would allow sporting events and concerts to start up again. However, Brown hinted in official documents that that phase won't happen anytime soon. In fact, Brown has called for the canceling of all sports events and large social gatherings through at least September. 

Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won’t be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be. Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Further guidance on large gatherings scheduled for later in the fall will be provided this summer. - Oregon Governor Kate Brown

READ GOVERNOR BROWN'S FULL RELEASE HERE 

So, how does this impact the local sports scene?

Let's first look at the NBA, which postponed its season in early March. Should they return to play the remainder of the season and the playoffs, there is a chance the Trail Blazers could be playing games in September.

If that's the case, and the league doesn't play at one central location as has been discussed, then you will have to watch the Blazers play on TV inside an empty Moda Center. If this season gets canceled, but next season starts normally with pre-season games in October, then there is still a chance no fans will be allowed in the arena. 

Local universities will likely be impacted should the NCAA Football season go on as scheduled. Both Oregon and Oregon State have four games scheduled for the month of September, with both teams playing three of those four games at home. 

Oregon State starts the season on the road at Oklahoma State on Thursday, September 3rd, but the next three Saturdays they play at Reser Stadium.

As for the Ducks, they start their season with three-straight home games, none bigger than the September 12th matchup against Ohio State. 

The Buckeyes vs the Ducks is one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in the entire country this season, and under the current guidelines set forth by Governor Brown, that matchup could happen inside an empty Autzen Stadium. 

Even the Vikings will be impacted, with one home game currently scheduled in September, and one of their road games that month being against the Beavers in Corvallis.

On the pitch, both the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers had home games scheduled in September prior to their respective seasons being postponed. With MLS now allowing teams to hold individual workouts, a return to play could be in the future. A return to play means both teams would presumedly have home games scheduled in September and would have to join their local sports counterparts in playing inside empty stadiums. 

On Thursday, the Timber/Thorns released the following statement:

The Portland Timbers and Thorns FC have been in constant dialogue with state, county and city officials throughout the pandemic and were aware of the work being done on large public event guidelines that the governor issued today. While we remain hopeful there is a path forward to play in front of our supporters in 2020, we have kept our fans and annual members apprised of their options given the possibility of a full season not being played. Annual members will have the opportunity to rollover their funds with added benefits to 2021 for any missed matches, or may opt for a refund. The Timbers and Thorns have been diligent in our adherence to the advice of local public health authorities and government agencies throughout the crisis and will continue to do so with the safety and well-being of our fans, staff and players as the clubs’ highest priority. - Portland Timbers/Thorns

Of course, things could take a turn for the better and Brown could adjust these dates back earlier, but as for now, fans will have to live with the realistic possibility of watching their favorite teams from the comfort of their home while those teams play in empty stadiums. 

 

Former Sonics forward Detlef Schrempf brings superstars together to support Seattle Children’s

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USATI

Former Sonics forward Detlef Schrempf brings superstars together to support Seattle Children’s

Former Seattle SuperSonics forward Detlef Schrempf knows we are facing uncertain times.

With many families already buckling down to pay the expensive costs for their sick child’s health, Schrempf brought together athletes and influencers to help Seattle Children’s and the families it serves. 

Schrempf, a three-time NBA All-Star who played in Seattle from 1993-99, is raising funds for children in need by auctioning off one-of-a-kind items from and experiences from sports legends and icons through an online fundraiser on PledgeIt.  

Each online donation of at least $11 is entered to win items like:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. signed bat
  • Russell Wilson signed jersey 
  • Ben Schwartz personalized message from Sonic the Hedgehog
  • A round of golf with Spencer Hawes
  • A Jamal Crawford signed “12th Man” Seahawks jersey
  • An Isaiah Thomas signed Wizards jersey 
  • Signed shoes from Dirk Nowitzki
  • Golf with Schrempf and Charles Barkley
  • A Richard Sherman signed mini helmet
  • Gary Payton signed shoes
  • A personal video message from Kevin Calabro

And the list goes on. Currently, a Duff McKagan signed guitar leads the pack with 42 contributors and $2,539 raised.

For a chance to win an amazing experience and cool memorabilia while supporting the fight against COVID-19, check out the Det’s Superstars for Seattle Children’s COVID-19 Relief

If NBA teams are for sale, Seattle should be first landing spot, not Vegas

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USA Today Images

If NBA teams are for sale, Seattle should be first landing spot, not Vegas

The city of Seattle has been yearning for the return of its beloved NBA team, the Seattle Supersonics. 

The team, who was owned by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, was sold to Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett in 2006 and moved to Oklahoma City two years later. A dispute over a new potential arena was said to be the focal point of the team’s decisision to relocate.   

Fans were dumbfounded and heartbroken over the move, but the Emerald City has not stopped dreaming about the return of the Seattle SuperSonics. 

In a recent episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq, Shaquille O’Neal said he heard “in the grapevine,” that there are a couple of NBA teams for sale. He did not shed light on which teams could be on the market, but acknowledged Las Vegas could be a possible landing spot. 

What we do know is that the San Antonio Spurs ownership group are reportedly selling a minority ownership stake in the franchise, but do not plan to leave San Antonio. Joseph Tsai also became an NBA owner for the Brooklyn Nets last August by purchasing a majority stake of 51 percent. It’s unclear if either of those organizations are on Shaq's list of those selling.

Many believe Seattle, not Las Vegas, would be the first city to warrant consideration. At this time, the Sonics have two ways of returning: relocation or expansion. Now that the city is constructing New Arena at Seattle Center to host an expansion NHL hockey team in 2021, it’s feasible to think the Sonics could one day call Seattle Center their future home. 

NBA Twitter had some ideas of which franchise they’d eliminate to bring back the Sonics. 

Sports legends like Sue Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford are personally all for a Sonics revival. Even recent Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Garnett told Tim Reynolds of AP that he would bring a team to Seattle if he could. 

"If I have a dream, I would say that I would love to be able to go and buy the Seattle SuperSonics and reactivate the Seattle Northwest and get NBA loving back going into that area,” Garnett said. “I think it's needed and it's essential. Seattle was huge to our league. Not just Portland, but the whole northwest. I would love to be able to do that."

Maybe it’s just a pipe dream for Seattle to get the SuperSonics back... or maybe something miraculous could transpire in the coming years. Nonetheless, there’s a history there, and Seattle deserves to have an NBA franchise return home sooner than later.  

Former Trail Blazer Sebastian Telfair loses mom, brother to COVID-19

Former Trail Blazer Sebastian Telfair loses mom, brother to COVID-19

Sebastian Telfair, the 13th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004, and his family have been hit hard by the coronavirus. 

It was reported by the New York Post on Monday that Telfair's mother, Erica Telfair, had passed away due to complications from COVID-19. 

She was 64.

Unfortunately for Telfair, that wasn't the only loss he has suffered due to COVID-19.

In an interview with the Undefeated in late March, Telfair's cousin, former NBA guard Stephon Marbury announced that Telfair's older brother, Dan Turner, had also died of the virus

Telfair spent his first two years in the league with the Portland Trail Blazers before bouncing around the league and eventually ending his NBA career in 2015 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Over his ten-year career he averaged 7.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.

NBA fans and players, both past and present made sure to show love and support for Telfair and his family on social media.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Telfair family.