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Wizards players, Brooks and Van Gundy remember Craig Sager

Wizards players, Brooks and Van Gundy remember Craig Sager

The passing of legendary broadcaster Craig Sager on Thursday brought condolences from all across the game of basketball. His death affected many in the NBA, including members of the Wizards. Here are reactions from Wizards players, head coach Scott Brooks and Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, as expressed on Friday:

SCOTT BROOKS

"He will definitely be missed. When he has those short moments with you, he makes you feel like you guys are best friends. I thought I was one of his best friends, but as I'm reading and listening to all the people talk about him the last couple days, he's had a lot of best friends. He's had an impact not only in the job that he does, but also in how he did it. He's had an impact with me and the coaching world and players and my kids when they were a lot younger. They used to always say 'who's the crazy guy with the crazy suits?' He definitely will be missed, but what an impact around the league.

"You always only had a few minutes either during a game, before or after, but he always made you feel like you knew each other for a long time. I think when you look back you always think about people how they treat not only you, but how they treat people around you. He was always very friendly to everyone that I introduced him to.

"I think we're going to all take a lot from [his fight against cancer], his positive attitude going through some tough times and being there and being strong for his family. That's inspiring. Hopefully his life is going to help somebody find a cure for cancer. What he's done with his time is a lot more than what people have done with more time. It's pretty powerful to say that about a man's life."

STAN VAN GUNDY

"It's sad. I think Craig taught us all a lot of lessons, even before he got sick. Just in the way he approached everything. He had fun and understood what it was all about, this whole experience of living. Even more so when he got sick. His whole approach. He was more positive with that going on than I am with the basic ups and downs. You have to be impressed with the way he lived his life and hopefully you learn something from it."

OTTO PORTER

"I remember as a little kid getting to watch him on the Christmas games and he was in the crazy suits. Just his overall demeanor and how great of a person he was to everybody. He treated everybody with love and respect. For the players and coaching staff to show love back, that doesn't come around often."

MARCIN GORTAT

"Craig was a legendary icon in this league. I've been in this league 10 years and I've seen him since Day 1. He had an incredible impact on people. He was an incredible personality. The way he dressed, the way he talked and the way he kept cool about all those comments people made about how he dressed, he was just a tremendous person."

TREY BURKE

"You could just tell he had spirit and that he was content with his job and that he took it very seriously. I think we can all look at him as an example, how he came to his job every day and never changed. He always sounded the same and was very energetic about what he did."

BRADLEY BEAL

"He's meant a lot to so many people. He kind of changed the game for us. What he did, his character and the guy he was, that was a reflection of how everybody should live. He was a strong guy with strong beliefs and a very unselfish person. We definitely lost a good one yesterday."

MARCUS THORNTON

"[His fight] was very inspirational, especially to me because my mom had cancer, too. It was a different cancer than he had, but they went through similar things. To see him battle, he was a true soldier."

[RELATED: BEAL HITS 500TH THREE, ONE OF 3 WIZARDS TO REACH MARK]

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John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

John Wall shares fear of being pulled over by police, experiences growing up with racial discrimination

As people around the country continue to protest police brutality and racial injustices against black people, athletes continue to add their powerful voices and experiences to the cause.

Wizards guard John Wall joined in the conversation, discussing the fear he continues to have about being pulled over by the police. For many black Americans, the reality of racial discrimination makes the mere thought of being pulled over more daunting than it should be. Apparently that anxiety doesn’t dissipate just because you’re a star athlete.

“If I get pulled over right now, I’m terrified,” Wall said on Thursday’s episode of The Athletic’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “To be realistic. If I’m in a dark area, or a back street, I’m not stopping. I’ll go to a high-speed chase to get to a spot where it’s a grocery store, or somewhere where there’s a lot of lights at, because that’s how terrifying it is.”

To some, it may be jarring to hear a recognizable, millionaire athlete discuss his fear of the police, but the money and acclaim don't provide a shield from racism. And for many black people, the fear is instilled at a young age, either through personal experiences or those of people with the same skin color. In the age of camera phones, more and more incidents are being recorded for the world to see.

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George Floyd was suffocated and killed by a white police officer in Minnesota who put a knee to his neck for over eight minutes. Breonna Taylor was shot at least eight times and killed in her own home by police in Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery was shot to death by a white father and son while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood.

“You’re telling me if I want to be a black kid to jog in a neighborhood, and I say, ‘Ok, I want to cut through this white neighborhood, this rich neighborhood,’ and then all of a sudden, I’m targeted to get killed?” Wall continued. “Because I don’t belong there? Those are the kind of things I grew up with, like you wouldn’t go to this side of town where you wasn’t allowed. Why? We breathe the same air.”

Wall, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C., said the constant acts of racial discrimination have been frustrating and that all people want to see is justice. 

“I feel like this has been going on for decades, been going on for so much longer than the time I’ve been on this earth,” he said. “But if we didn’t have social media or camera phones right now, we wouldn’t be able to see this act going on.”

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confident one positive COVID-19 diagnosis won't derail NBA's return plan

The NBA now has a concrete plan to return to action, but there are still obstacles that will need solving when play resumes. One of the most important will be the health and safety of players amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the league will need to know how to handle the possibility of a positive COVID-19 virus diagnosis. With a large number of individuals destined to be in close proximity in Orlando, could one player testing positive derail the entire plan? Would that team then have to be eliminated due to the potential risk they carry?

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that will not be the case.

“The answer is we don’t believe we would need to," Silver told Charles Barkley on TNT's Inside the NBA, referring to the idea of having to eliminate a team due to a positive coronavirus result.

Silver's confidence stems from the vast amount of research and preparation the league has done to get to this stage in the return process. Not only have NBA officials detailed plans of action, but SIlver and others are working closely with health experts in Florida to make sure things go smoothly.

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Based on what they've heard so far, one positive test won't be the end-all for the NBA. If a player were to be diagnosed with COVID-19, the league knows the exact procedure to keep others safe.

“The view is that if we are testing every day and we are able to trace, in essence, the contacts the player has had," Silver said. "We are able to, in essence, contain that player and separate that from his team.”

The commissioner explained that the NBA is continuing to test on a daily basis, and that won't change anytime soon. The threat of coronavirus impacting the league's return is strong, but Silver and the NBA are confident that they'll be able to overcome any issues and have the season play out in a safe manner.

"The belief is we would not have to shut down if a single player tested positive," Silver said. 

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