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How George Floyd changed Ian Mahinmi's perspective on advocacy and fatherhood

How George Floyd changed Ian Mahinmi's perspective on advocacy and fatherhood

Over the last month, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.

NBC Sports Washington is launching the first part of an ongoing video series entitled Race in America this week. Ian Mahinmi, Natasha Cloud, and Mike Locksley joined Chis Miller for the first of these roundtable discussions to share their experiences, thoughts and how they’re using their platforms in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here.

Wizards center Ian Mahinmi has been familiar with the history and horrors of racism from a very early age. With a father from Benin, Africa, he was taught about slavery as a child and in graphic detail, to the point where it numbed his views on other subjects of race relations.

He explained in honest and introspective detail on 'Race in America,' a panel hosted by NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller that also featured Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and University of Maryland football coach Mike Locksley.

Here's what Mahinmi said:

"Me, I have such a different view, first because I'm African. You wouldn't believe the stuff that I've seen and that I was exposed to. My dad always showed me what was slavery at home. I have pictures. My dad always showed me everything. So, it wasn't the first time I saw something crazy like that happen," Mahinmi said, referring to the video of George Floyd being suffocated by a police officer in Minneapolis.

RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION HERE

"It's almost like you look back and I felt a little embarrassed of myself that it took [George Floyd's] story for me to be shocked again. It's almost like I became numb to it. It's like 'I've seen this before, it's crazy but I've seen it before.' It's like okay, alright, that's it, no more. Now, I'm a grown man and I have kids. I'm going to do anything I can now, anything in my power to do my part."

That feeling of frustrated indifference is one Mahinmi wants to prevent his daughters from ever experiencing in their own lives as African-Americans in the United States.

"Is it normal that I'm numb to this? No, it's not. And I don't want it to be normal for my kids anymore, for it to be just another scene that they have seen before. The fight started a long time ago. As an African, as a Black male from Benin where slavery was at its peak, I've gotta do my part. Even though I started this fight a long time ago, I've gotta do more and I'm going to do more," he said.

"At some point, what are you going to do about it? You get to a point where now I'm 33 years old and I have three girls and I'm looking at myself in the mirror and I'm like, man, if this doesn't start with me, my kids are going to say the same [thing]. Enough is enough."

Mahinmi's thoughts were one of many powerful moments during the 'Race in America' conversation. You can watch the full panel right here:

To watch the full roundtable discussion, featuring Ian Mahinmi, Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud, and Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley, click here.

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Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

Wizards' losing has created bizarre situation in NBA standings, lottery odds

The NBA only taking 22 teams to Orlando for its restart had the potential for some really strange things to shake out in the standings and now that the Wizards have started out 0-4, those possibilities are being realized.

Just look at the East right now. The Wizards are technically not eliminated from the playoffs, yet they have a worse record than the Charlotte Hornets, who are eliminated from postseason contention.


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Notice the 'e's.' When else would you see something like that? Maybe in college football, if a team loses postseason eligibility, but continues on playing games. 

Those standings, though, are just an odd element of some extraordinary circumstances as the NBA did what it could to resume playing basketball. Things could get much more real when it comes to the draft lottery.

By losing to the Sixers on Wednesday, the Wizards dropped below the Hornets in terms of win percentage, as you see above. Washington now has the eighth-worst record in the NBA.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM WIZ-SIXERS

But because the league changed the lottery rules for the restart, the Wizards would have the ninth-best lottery odds if the season ended today. The bottom eight teams, including Charlotte, are cemented in where they stood when the league shut down on March 11.

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What that would mean if it holds up is a strange situation on lottery night. The Wizards could have fewer ping pong balls than a team that has a better record than them. They could even slide past the Bulls if they keep losing and have worse odds than two teams with better records than theirs.

On lottery night, it will be the difference of a few percentage points, which on the face of it might not seem all that important. Here is how the odds break down for the No. 7 through 9 teams:

7th-best odds - 7.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 31.9 % chance at top-4
8th-best odds - 6.0 % chance at No. 1 pick, 26.2 % chance at top-4
9th-best odds - 4.5 % chance at No. 1 pick, 20.2 % chance at top-4

As you see there, the Wizards would only be missing out on either 1.5% or 3.0% in terms of odds to get the No. 1 pick. But when you add the percentages up for the top-four selections, their odds are affected by as much as 11.7 percent. That is fairly substantial.

The thing is, however, it could work both ways. The Wizards could be hurt by the lottery odds, but still end up getting lucky by staying at ninth. The ninth spot in the lottery could yield them a really high draft pick and therefore make Chicago or Charlotte wish the rules were different.

But just consider how things went in last year's draft lottery, the first under the new system of rules. The No. 1 pick went to the team that had the seventh-best odds, the New Orleans Pelicans. The No. 2 pick went to the team with the eighth-best odds, the Memphis Grizzlies. And the team with the ninth-best odds, the Atlanta Hawks, fell a spot to land at No. 10.

The No. 1 pick was Zion Williamson, the No. 2 pick was Ja Morant and the No. 10 pick was Cam Reddish. That is a huge difference.

If the same class was available this year, and the lottery shook out the same way, the Wizards would pick 10th and come away feeling like they got robbed of Williamson or Morant, both of whom appear to be generational players. That would be a stroke of bad luck that would take years, if not decades, to get over.

This draft does not seem to have that type of talent at the top, depending on how you feel about guys like James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. But it's still an NBA draft and every year there are future All-Stars available. Most years there are future Hall of Famers to be had.

All of this may not matter much, or it could matter a lot. In the most extreme scenario, it could legitimately have a major effect on the future course of the league.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

GM Tommy Sheppard says John Wall dunk video only a glimpse of what he's able to do

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard has been following John Wall's recovery from Achilles surgery every step of the way and continues to now even though he is inside the bubble in Orlando while Wall is working out near his offseason home in Miami.

Sheppard gets daily updates on Wall's progress, so he wasn't surprised to see Wall throw down a 360-degree dunk the other day in a video that went viral on social media. Sheppard has seen much more than that, as he explained on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Postgame Live on Wednesday night.

"The video that John posted is nothing compared to what he's doing behind closed doors, which we're very tuned in with. We have a coach down there working him out," Sheppard said.

Sheppard isn't necessarily making some big proclamation there. What he likely means is Wall is looking good playing in scrimmage situations, that he's in good shape and gearing up to start training camp in just a few months.

RELATED: WALL'S LATEST INSTAGRAM WORKOUT AS AMAZING AS EVER

Sheppard has been keeping tabs on Wall, plus Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. Beal is out of the NBA's restart due to a shoulder injury and Bertans sat out to preserve his stock for free agency. 

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All three have been in contact with players and coaches to offer their thoughts on how the team has fared in their games so far.

"[I see] what Bradley's doing to get his shoulder right... Davis, he's working out with his national team in Latvia and doing what he's supposed to do," Sheppard said. "I have a great deal [of confidence] in that when we leave here, we have three pretty good players who aren't here. We have a good idea of what we need to do in the offseason with those guys being there."

Wall and Beal will be back next year, that we know. Bertans is a question mark given he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. The Wizards consider him their No. 1 offseason priority, NBC Sports Washington was told.

If he does come back, he will play on a team that should have Wall and Beal back fully healthy and ready to go.

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