Jonah Bolden Q&A: Technology, fashion, Philly fans

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Jonah Bolden Q&A: Technology, fashion, Philly fans

Jonah Bolden has had a really interesting path to the NBA. Not every rookie can say they’ve played professionally in three different countries by the age of 23.

Bolden was born in Australia, while his father played professional basketball, and his mother, who is of Egyptian descent, worked as a psychotherapist. Bolden moved to the United States his senior year of high school and went on to play collegiately at UCLA, before making the decision to play professionally in Serbia after his sophomore year.

Bolden credits his move to Serbia as his biggest year of growth, and after he was drafted by the Sixers with the 36th pick in 2017, his playing overseas continued with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. Now a part of Brett Brown’s rotation, we reached out to the fans to see what you wanted to know about Bolden.

What did you like about playing in Israel? Would you ever go back and do you think it helped your game?

Tel Aviv is one of the nicest cities in the world, to me personally, and to people living there and experiencing it first-hand. It helped me grow up. The year before, being in Serbia matured me the most, but again being overseas by myself made me more independent, having to kind of fend for myself, even though it was a different level of basketball.

One thing you've learned about Philly since you've been here that you didn't know before? 

Just how enthusiastic they are about their sports, I definitely didn't know that. Whether it's us, the Sixers or the Eagles, they are just very enthusiastic and you know that they are behind you 100 percent. 

Comparing it to other places I've been, there's nothing that really compares to it. You make a play and you've got 100 tweets from different people in Philly talking about it, whereas you do that in Serbia or Maccabi Tel Aviv, you won't hear about it. So there's a lot of support and people watching and following us.

Closest mate on the squad?

I wouldn't say I have one closest mate, but I'm close with guys like Furkan (Korkmaz), T.J. (McConnell), Ben (Simmons).

Meat pies or Philly cheesesteak?

Meat pies.

(*For those, like myself, who didn’t know what a meat pie is, think hand-sized pie with minced meat and usually gravy and veggies, iconic in Australia).

Do you have a favorite spot to get a Philly cheesesteak?

No, I've never gotten one in Philly.

What? Do you not like them?

Just haven't gotten around to it.

Who do you model your game after? And what do you think are your biggest assets?

I don't really model my game after anybody. I just watch a lot of basketball and take things and pick apart different players or anyone that's playing. Bring energy, tenacity, stretch the floor, running, length and athleticism. 

Funniest person on the team?

T.J. I just click with him and get his jokes and he makes a lot of remarks here and there.

(*T.J. had just tried to crash our interview at this point)

What goes through your mind when you go up for a block?

Just timing, just trying to time and put myself in his shoes. What is he going to do? If he sees me coming at him, maybe faking that I'm going to go left, knowing that he's going to go right, if I do that, so just trying to time it out and get it perfect.

What feels better, a big block or a big dunk?


Do you have a favorite book?

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

If you could have any job, not in the NBA, what would it be?

Something in technology. Probably creating and owning my own, something to do with software.

How did you get so into technology?

Ever since I was young, I studied it since high school in Australia, software design and development and all of that, and it kind of just snowballed from there. 

Other interests outside of basketball?

Fashion. Clothing. I have my own clothing brand, HVNLY. Started that about six months ago now. I'm revamping the whole Instagram page currently. I'm starting to redo the whole new collection that is coming out. I've always been into fashion.

Who has the best fashion on the team?

I would say me, I'm sure a lot of people would disagree with that. Ben has good fashion, Jimmy (Butler) has great fashion. Landry (Shamet) has really great fashion. Overall, I don't think we have a bad dressed team. 

Describe your fashion style …

Sometimes simple, sometimes out of the blue.

Favorite saying?

All praise to the most high. That's something I live by.

Do you have any pets?

A dog, named Benji, six and a half months. Benji is like my son. He's energetic, loving, happy, loyal and just fun.

What about life after basketball?

Investing. Technology will always be there. My clothing brand, fashion is part of it. Investments are something I do currently and will continue to do in preparation for after.

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Five things the 2020 NBA Championship odds are telling us


Five things the 2020 NBA Championship odds are telling us

While the Toronto Raptors lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy signified the start of the offseason, the Anthony Davis to the Lakers trade proves that in the NBA, there’s no such thing as an offseason.

According to Tom Haberstroh, the national NBA Insider for NBC Sports, the Lakers should be the heavy favorites to win the title (see story). But what are the new NBA title odds telling us?

Here are five takeaways from what I think the oddsmakers at FanDuel are telling us about the league, and the eventual 2020 NBA champion.

1. The Sixers (11-to-1) will keep Jimmy Butler.

The Sixers have the fifth-best odds to win the NBA title, third in the East, and are significantly ahead of the Boston Celtics (18-to-1), the team with the fourth-best odds in the East. I think this says a lot about what the team oddsmakers think the Sixers will have next season, which the value indicates will include free agent Jimmy Butler.

Looking at the available free agents on the market, Butler is the only one that could keep the Sixers in this spot in the oddsmakers minds. Should he go to the Lakers, or another team, the Sixers would have the current value closer to the Celtics to win the title. While Tobias Harris is a nice player, he doesn’t impute the same value as Butler. The oddsmakers are making an assumption that #23 will be back.

2. The Warriors (11-to-1) are underdogs, but you shouldn’t count them out.

Don’t be so quick to write off the Golden State Warriors, who will be without Kevin Durant for the entire season, and perhaps, Klay Thompson, too. Oddsmakers have them even with the Sixers with the fifth-best odds in the NBA to win the title.

First of all, Steph Curry — a very good basketball player — returns alongside Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and you’ve already got a formidable trio. Should Thompson return, now you’ve got four players that nearly won the 2019 title themselves. 

Perhaps KD was already going to leave anyway, so his injury could be more symbolic, but it would be unwise to write the Warriors off just yet. 

3. Kawhi is probably going to the Clippers.

This reminds me of last offseason where each of the LeBron James suitors had elevated odds, just incase he were to land there. First of all, the Raptors enter the offseason with the third-best odds to repeat at 5.5-to-1, which makes me think that the bookmakers want to keep the Raptors high enough so that no one bets on them before Leonard decides. I have absolutely no interest in the Raptors at the third-best odds without Leonard, but they seem fairly placed in that spot with him. If you like the Raptors to repeat, just wait to see what Kawhi does because their odds won’t move much, if at all, if he stays.

The Clippers, on the other hand, come in seventh-best at 12-to-1 and are elevated given the chance they will land the NBA Finals MVP. The Clippers finished eighth last season out West and the odds currently reflect their strong chance to get Leonard. 

4. The Knicks and Pelicans will have to wait their turn.

The Knicks come in at 25-to-1, the 12th-best odds in the NBA to win the title, but what would that number have looked like with a healthy Kevin Durant? Maybe half that number?

The Knicks are a potential landing spot for nearly every free agent, but without KD, the oddsmakers aren’t giving them much of a shot. They missed out on the top pick in the draft, and while they’re likely to get a good player at No. 3 — our Amy Fadool has them taking R.J.Barrett in her mock — they’ve got time before they’re going to be seen as challengers.

Same for the Pelicans (100-to-1), who are being praised for what they got in return for Anthony Davis. An infusion of youth, it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Zion, Lonzo Ball, and company over the next five years, but this year, according to the oddsmakers, certainly isn’t it.

5. Despite being favored, the Lakers could be the best value.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma — do the Lakers (4-to-1) need anyone else? Of course they do, but that’s a tremendous start. With their entire complement of talent intact at the start of these playoffs, the Warriors were -200 to win the title. Now imagine a team with the three players mentioned, and perhaps, another superstar. With the Warriors weakened, Kawhi perhaps headed to a lesser team and KD out for the season, getting the Lakers at 4-to-1 now could look like incredible value come next postseason.

6. Bonus Longshot: Dallas Mavericks at 42-to-1.

How good will the Mavs be with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis? Not sure, but 42-to-1 could be worth a punt.

Happy NBA “offseason,” everyone. See you on Thursday for the draft, and perhaps, more craziness. 

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NBA offseason begins in earnest as Lakers reportedly agree to trade with Pelicans for Anthony Davis

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NBA offseason begins in earnest as Lakers reportedly agree to trade with Pelicans for Anthony Davis

It didn’t take long for the NBA offseason to begin in earnest.

Just two days after the Raptors clinched the NBA title, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired star center Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. In return, the Pelicans are getting Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 selection in this year’s draft. 

The move has massive big-picture implications for the league. The Lakers now have a six-time All-Star with career averages of 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks to pair with LeBron James.

New Orleans got a substantial haul in return. Ball and Ingram, two former No. 2 overall picks, are both 21 years old. A Villanova product, Hart couldn’t build on a promising rookie campaign last year but has the makings of someone who can be a valuable NBA role player for many years. The Pelicans will also feel they have a real chance to land a star(s) with the three first-round picks, whether through the draft or through subsequent trades. They already had the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and are expected to select the electric Zion Williamson. 

According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Lakers gave up all that for one guaranteed year of Davis — Haynes says Davis will enter free agency after this year. The fact that Toronto’s gamble to trade for one year of Kawhi Leonard before he hit free agency paid off could spark a league-wide trend of banking on short-term "rentals" for stars (see story). 

For the Sixers, the first, obvious takeaway from the trade is that their biggest rival failed to land Davis — the Celtics were reportedly interested in him, but The New York Times’ Marc Stein reports Boston refused to make Jayson Tatum available, which stunted negotiations. 

It’s unclear at the moment how the trade might affect Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris, the Sixers' two big-name free agents. Haynes reported Friday that Butler, as expected, will decline his player option. He also reported the Lakers “have genuine interest” in Butler. The Sixers hold Butler’s Bird Rights and are the only team who can offer him a five-year, $190 million deal.  

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