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Let’s talk about Doc Rivers’ legacy as a coach… is he really trash?

Doc Rivers’s legacy is rounding into form… just not in the way he would hope.

The Clippers lost to the Nuggets last night 104-89. After leading the series 3-1 and leading in games 4, 5, and 6 by 15+ points and blowing all of those leads (they won game 4), the Clippers were absolutely trounced last night, falling behind by 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Rivers has now blown a 3-1 lead THREE times in his career, two more times than any other coach ever has. NBA Twitter exploded last night with a cascade of receipts, memes, and jokes practically neverbeforeseen.

Doc does not deserve all of the blame, or even the jokes, really. It was Pat Bev and Marcus Morris talking smack all year, and a couple of the other cats who’d never won before but talked like they had.

But the game is the game. And Doc’s legacy cannot be ignored any longer. How much more rope can ONE chip 12 years ago get you? Doc’s teams, after last night, will be largely rememberedas ones that underperformed, and choked when it mattered most.

Playoff P? Kawhi Jordan?

Man get the *bleep out of here. You reap what you sow.

It’s easier to be the hunter than it is the hunted. When those expectations come around, watch who’s able to weather the noise. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

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Doc Rivers is 58 years old. He has been the head coach for a team in the NBA in three decades now.

In 1999, he got his first gig with the Orlando Magic. That Magic team had Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill on it, and nearly had the opportunity to bring in Tim Duncan as well.

However, Rivers had a policy of not allowing players’ family members to come on the team plane, and that was all it took for the game’s greatest power forward ever to say bye to the Magic and resign with the Spurs.

But, still, the Magic had a superstar with McGrady leading the way. And in 2003, they were up 3-1 on the Detroit Pistons.

Fast forward a week? The Magic blew it, and Rivers was subsequently fired.

But Doc found himself in a cozy position when the historic Boston Celtics hired him, with superstar Paul Pierce on the team. Just a couple years later, the C’s were practically gifted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in trades to fit alongside Pierce, and thus the first “Big Three” as we know it, was born.

The Celtics won the NBA championship in 2008, and only made it to the finals one more time, in 2010, when the team blew a 3-2 lead to the Lakers.

Listen to what HOF coach Phil Jackson said to his team during a timeout about their opponent.

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“This team has lost more games in the fourth quarter than anybody in the NBA. They know how to lose in the fourth quarter. They’re just showing us that right now.”

After the Celtics nucleus got too old to compete, a rebuild was in order, and the C’s shipped Rivers to LA in a rare coach-trade that instantly made the Clippers a contender.

But this is a Clippers franchise that has NEVER EVEN made a conference finals. And in 2015, with a 3-1 lead against the Houston Rockets, the team absolutely collapsed and lost the next three games, spurred largely by runs when James Harden was on the bench.

That made two 3-1 leads blown for Doc, and with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and a more-than-solid supporting cast, the Clips had the better team. A Doc team underperforms, rinse and repeat.

This year was the chance for a fresh start. The reigning Finals MVP was now on board, with another two-way star in Paul George and 6th man of the year Lou Williams.

The Clippers no longer saw themselves as little brother to the Lakers in LA, and they barked louder than ever before like they were already a dynasty.

Pat Beverley, Marcus Morris, every single other player besides Kawhi who has never won anything… humble yourself. Or more aptly, reflect on the fact that Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets just did that for you.

In an otherwise bleak time, NBA Twitter had a NIGHT, reveling in the failure of the team that crowned themselves champions before even making the conference finals.

Even Damian Lillard, who has a recent history of beef with the Clips, had a great time getting his jokes off.

We deserved this night. You can’t cheat the system and test the basketball gods with load management and talking junk without backing it up. And the target the Clips put on their own back made the jokes all the more sweet. But most importantly after last night…

Doc Rivers… it’s time we had a conversation.

How the NBAs stand against racial injustice is changing the sports world

The NBA is taking a stand.

After the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, the league officially delayed the remaining Wednesday and Thursday matchups.

The Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers contests were also announced to be delayed.

 

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“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Milwaukee guard George Hill told ESPN.

The actions come in light of the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot seven times by police officers on Sunday while trying to enter the driver’s side of his vehicle. His three children were inside.

“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African-American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings,” the Bucks players said.

For The Bucks, the systemic injustice and oppression were especially personal.

Bucks forward Sterling Brown was tased and arrested for parking in a handicap spot in 2018. Eight cops apprehended him for a misdemeanor,booking him for a misdemeanor, but did not properly Mirandize him, and searched his car without a warrant, or even probable cause.

The Bucks continued, “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”

President Barack Obama and several other players sent their support in favor of the boycotts.

The NBA’s actions have rocketed across the sports world, resulting in multiple other leagues, teams, and individuals participating in boycotts.

The Detroit Lions notably canceled practice on Tuesday, where the players gathered outside of the team’s practice center to address the media.

The phrases We wont be silent” and The world cant go on” were displayed on large whiteboards.

“Were just trying to figure out what we can do to not only bring light to the situation of what happened and how its wrong with police brutality,” said safety Duron Harmon, “but how can we as a team create change.”

“When people you care about go through things like that, its tough,”said Matthew Stafford. “And I wish America, I wish everybody could be on these calls or be in these meetings. I feel so lucky and privileged to be a part of it.”

The ripple effect continued across the NFL, as several other teams suspended practice and delivered statements.

Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow stood up to share his thoughts on the recent events.

Even further across the sports world, into the MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds postponed their Wednesday night game to offer their stance.

 

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Games between the Mariners-Padres and Dodgers-Giants were also called off shortly before they began.

The Seattle Mariners have the most African-American players on their roster in the league, and pitcher Justin Dunn took to Twitter to offer his support.

Japanese tennis star and two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka pulled out of a major New York WTA tournament due to the shooting.

 

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Atlanta United and Inter Miami MLS teams stood together in solidarity before the league’s games were called off.

 

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The moves across the sports world have resonated throughout the country.

Athletes are demonstrating to their leagues and to the nation that racial violence cannot and will not be tolerated. Their refusal to participate in sporting events is a courageous and humble move that will only help stress the severity of the situation.

There are several things across the world that are more important than sports now. A global pandemic and unacceptable occurrences of racist-fueled attacks and police brutality have plagued society and culture in an unforgettable way.

The only way past these two crises are to stand together. And that is just what the world of sports is doing.

We look forward to watching safe play resume, but not before a profound and striking message has been established. Luckily, the world’s sports stars will not give up until change is made.

HOT TAKE: LeBron and the Lakers will not make it to the NBA Finals

The NBA playoff season is finally here. And with it comes the standard flurry of predictions, hot takes, and not-so-friendly bets.

As the 16 teams will finally square off in bubble, numerous storylines have formed to bring us to this point. Most notably, the current season is taking place in one of the strangest times in history. Never before has a public health nightmare taken such a large toll on the worlds favorite hoops league.

Nevertheless, the battle will resume during these uncertain times. Regardless of the long-lasting impact, one squad will be returning home with the shiny Larry OBrien trophy. Unfortunately for the city of Los Angeles, it will not be the Lakers.

The Lakers were one of the leagues best teams after bursting through the gates with a 17-2 record. Much of this success was due to the Lakers offseason free-agent revamp, with former Pelicans forward Anthony Davis leading the pack.

By March 10th, the Lakers had fought their way to a 49-14 record, primed to take a top spot in the Western Conference.

However, the team encountered some trouble following the leagues extended break. The Lakers have only managed to go 3-5 since arriving in Orlando, managing close wins against the Clippers, Jazz, and Nuggets.

The squad was shaken by the Raptors during their 65th game and endured a three-game losing streak after taking a pounding from the Thunder on August 5th.

The Lakers are set to begin a first-round series against the Trail Blazers. This is where one of their biggest problems exists: Damian Lillard.

The 30-year-old guard is the last type of player that the team needs to encounter first. In the past two weeks, Dame D.O.L.L.A has recorded 45, 51, and 61 point performances, tying his career-high with the latter.

The Lakers have faced trouble this season when underestimating opponents with hot-off-the-press talent. Their recent 97-113 loss against Houston saw James Harden drop 39 points and Ben McLemore dish out a generous 20.

Although Lillard has only averaged 42 minutes per game in the bubble, a revamped rush of adrenaline against the leagues best in LeBron James could quickly shy away from his fatigue. Not to mention that Lillard has averaged 36 points per game against the Lakers this season.

Along with this, the Lakers have had the second-worst true shooting percentage during the bubbles eight games. The Blazers can use this to their advantage by forcing the ball from the deep court.

Even if the Lakers do find a way past the Blazers, their two best players could come to haunt them in the later rounds.

While it would be borderline insane to place LeBron James and non-clutch in the same sentence, James 2020 action-shot points must be taken into consideration.

Out of the 54 players who have scored at least 50 clutch points this season, Mavericks guard Luka Donic is the only player to have done so less efficiently than LeBron. His shooting percentage of 41.9% came to hurt the Mavs in their loss against the Clippers last night.

James is only 6-for-39 in jump shots outside of the paint during clutch moments. Along with this, he has attempted less than half of the number of clutch shots than he did two years ago. With only 60 attempts, the Lakers must take a more approached structure with James in the playoffs. It is all notable, but it is also likely one of the byproducts of a player in his 17th league year.

Anthony Davis, on the other hand, has a glaring lack of playoff experience.

By only making the playoffs twice, including one first-round loss, Davis will have to start mentally sound in an opening match against a flaming hot Blazers squad. Again, this will be tough to overcome given the substantial change in atmosphere and nonexistent arena fans. Impossible, no, but a notable challenge, most definitely.

LeBron has not succeeded with a playoff partner carrying the lack of experience that Davis has. Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving both had heavy exposure to the playoffs during James past championships.

Davis will have to step up in the unfamiliar territory that exists within the Orlando Bubble. This will be especially necessary against Lillards Blazers, but will also have to translate to the further rounds.

All in all, the Lakers have a chance to make yet another Finals. Of course they do. They have LeBron freaking James.

However, this is one of the most uncertain and cautious LeBron squads that we have seen entering round one of the playoffs. Frank Vogel will have to game plan accordingly in order to utilize his two superstars effectively and hold off the flames and uncertainty of a loud Blazers squad and quiet Orlando bubble.

We look forward to seeing the Lakers and Blazers face off tonight. If they start struggling though, it might be time to read in between the lines.

It’s Dame Time: How Damian Lillard keeps proving his haters wrong

Damian Lillard just does things differently.

The five-time NBA All-Star smashed 61 points through the hoop to lift the Portland Trail Blazers in a critical win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Lillard scored a late three to tie his career-high points scored, and rolled to histhird 60-plus point game of the season. He is one of two players to do so in league history, taking a spot next to Wilt Chamberlain.

Recently, Lillard has caught buzz regarding his interactions with the media and fellow players.

After missing two free throws in the last 18 seconds on Saturday, Lillard was mocked by opposing LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverly. He imitated Lillards trademark Dame Time celebration by pointing to his wrist and waving goodbye to the Blazers.

During the post-game presser, Lillard savagely reminded the press of the punishment he had dealt the Clippers in the past.

Asking me about Patrick Beverley, who I sent him home before at the end of a game. Paul George is a guy sent home by me last year in the playoffs, so they know. The reason they reacting like that is because of what they expecting from me, which is a sign of respect, and it just shows what I have done at a high clip more times than not. I am not offended by it.

Social media banter predictably ensued between the three players, with emojis and one-offs traded across Instagram.

Lillard was also asked about his missed opportunity during the same presser.

“I don’t see myself as a mental midget or somebody that is going to hold on to it,” Lillard said. “I am a shooter.”

Lillard held himself accountable for the loss but refused to let it hold him down. His comments, as well as his off-court interactions with players, have shown the honest, outspoken, and loyal leader that he is.

Recently, Lillard has also developed beef with infamously outspoken sports columnist Skip Bayless.

TheSkip and Shannon: Undisputedstar has been known to criticize LeBron James over various topics during his career. Lillard recently admitted over Twitter that he has confronted Bayless regarding the hate.

This reveal came around the same time that Bayless ripped Lillard’s viability following a 51-point performance. The Blazers guard defended himself.

Lillard’s response might be viewed as petty by some, but it was simply self-defense against a critic’s opinion. After all, he does have the goods to back it up.

With an easygoing demeanor, Lillard was prepared to speak and settle things with Bayless. He held his position and stated his feelings directly to the talk show host.

“When he called me, I was just like ‘Bruh I don’t know you like that, you don’t owe me no explanation, and I don’t owe you. Stop speaking on me incorrect.'”

Top players, including the late legend Kobe Bryant, have noticed and appreciated Lillard’s top game and outspoken sense of passion.

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Lillard was rated only a two-star prospect by Rivals coming out of high school. After helping lead his Oakland Oakers high school team to a 23-9 record his senior year, he accepted a scholarship to Weber State University.

As a freshman, Lillard was named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year after averaging 11.5 points per game. In his sophomore year, he improved his average to 19.9 points per game and led the Wildcats to the conference championship. He was named honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press.

After taking a medical redshirt the following year, he averaged 24.5 points per game his junior year and won his second Big Sky Player of the Year award. He forewent his senior season to enter the 2012 NBA Draft and picked up sixth overall by Portland.

Lillard’s rookie year was a boom. He was one of 10 NBA players to score 1,500 points and finished fifth in the league in 3-pointers made. After starting all 82 games and averaging 19.0 points per game, Lillard won the Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the fourth person in history to do so unanimously.

Over the next seven seasons, Lillard would garner five All-Star selections, an All-NBA First Team selection in 2018, and would lead his team to Western Conference Finals in 2019.

Lillard’s success has come in the form of team wins, awards, and a distinct off-court approach. It is rare to come across a player who is so honest to himself and his teammates. Lillard will say and do things as they are, without worrying about repercussions.

The Oakland-native has the opportunity to take the Blazers deep into the playoffs this strange season. We cannot wait to see Lillard take fire these next few weeks.

Is J. Cole good enough to make it in the NBA? Here’s why he could

Rapper J. Cole could be headed for the big leagues, according to a new report.

When speaking with TMZ, fellow rapper Master P said that Cole is seriously training for an NBA career.

“When I talked to J. Cole, he was like ‘You know, big dog you did it. What do you think I would have to do to make it happen?'” said Master P.

“I said to get one of these NBA jerseys, it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be a lot of hate, it’s gonna be a lot of people not believing in you but you know J. Cole — he got the right size, he in the gym!”

The 35-year-old Cole has been an avid basketball player for some time, and is widely known as one of the best non-pro players in the nation.

He tried out for his collegiate team at St. Johns University, but ultimately decided to focus on his music and education.

“In my mind, I’d have made the team,” Cole said. “Who know what would have really happened? But I knew I wasn’t ready for that type of commitment and that lifestyle.”

His sacrifice paid off, as he graduated magma cum laude from the university in 2007, with a degree in business and communication.

“But, what I told him … this a different time we’re in,” Master P continued. “They’re going to pick you apart! You’re gonna have to be able to hit every shot and if you don’t hit every shot, they — you know in the NBA, they don’t hit every shot but they believe in them. So, you’re gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believe in you and the players believe in you.”

Cole recently partnered with Master P to film a Puma commercial, where it is strongly implied that he is training for a shot at the league.

Master P supposedly had his own fling with pro basketball back in the day. He has said that he earned an NBA contract with two different teams in the ’90s, after he had already gained fame as a rapper.

“They’ve been putting their whole life into this,” P warns. “So, you’re gonna have to prove you’re worthy of being on that court.”

One team did reach out to J. Cole after hearing the news. The Detroit Pistons made clear they’d welcome him for a tryout – for all the dreamers out there.

 

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Cole was born in 1985 at an American military base in Frankfurt, West Germany. He began rapping at the age of 12, and started focusing on his production skills when his mother bought him an ASR-X music sampler for Christmas.

After graduating college, Cole worked various part-time jobs in Fayetteville before dropping his debut mixtape,The Come Up,in 2005.

As of now, Cole has won 8 BET Hip Hop Awards, 3 Soul Train Awards, 1 Music Billboard Award, and 1 Grammy, along with countless other nominations. He has released five studio albums with a sixth one set to drop this year and has headlined eight concert tours.

Cole’s transition to the NBA would make sense since he is a proven baller. He crushed the court in high school and has a profound love for the game.

“We’ve played basketball together since we were in rec leagues. Anyone who knows him knows that Cole’s main love outside of music is basketball.”

More importantly, Cole’s contribution to the NBA would bring a fresh spark and a sense of a fearless venture.

The league has faced controversy this year, with its decision to resume play in Orlando criticized by many, and its choice to limit activist jersey names slammed by others.

Cole’s new career would bring a welcome distraction to the tension. Even larger though, the rapper has a serious chance to win a roster spot and become a professional rapper-turned-player.

His new path would not only bring a warm storyline to next season, it would also show how artists and other celebrities are not limited to their root strengths. It could bring a movement to stars who want to pursue other career paths, not limited to music, sports, or film.

We hope to see J. Cole in a jersey in the near future. To hold us over until then, his new albumThe Fall Offwill release sometime this year.

Why Russell Westbrooks new clothing line is a voice for NBA players

Russell Westbrook is striving to use his platform for change.

The Rockets guard announced that he will be teaming up with the NBAPA to create a new social justice clothing line.

Honor the Gift will emblazon new shirts with social justice messages that were not approved for the back of jerseys during the NBAs return to Orlando.

Of the 350 anticipated NBA players, 285 of them have decided to put a social justice message offered by the league. According to Westbrook, the social justice messages offered by his clothing line will “honor the victims and families of those who continue to inspire us.”

LeBron James notably said last week that he will not replace the last name on his jersey because the messages “didn’t resonate with my mission, with my goal.”

“I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey,” James said,perESPN. “I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. I’m absolutely OK with that. … I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”

His teammate Anthony Davis provided a similar statement, saying“I think the name ‘Davis’is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor with my family. I was torn between the two,” he said,viaMark Medina ofUSA Today. “My last name is very important to me.”

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Westbrook’s clothing line is important because it gives himself and his fellow players a voice in a league largely dictated by officials.

Several players are taking the action of using the provided names on their jerseys, but Westbrook’s clothing line will extend the message beyond the basketball court.

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NBA athletes have an enormous platform, especially with their extreme popularity and with the league returning at the end of the month. So it is necessary that these athletes are focused beyond the game not only with social justice topics but with inspirational and self-owned themes as well.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Westbrook will be rejoining his team in Orlando this week. He tested negative twice and will have to self-quarantine in a hotel room before rejoining the Rockets on the practice court.

We look forward to seeing how Westbrook’s clothing line will resonate among the basketball community, and how the Rockets will fare in the coming weeks.

The NFL is rich AF. So what is it doing with all its money?

The NFL is rich… af. Evidence: Patrick Mahomes.

The 24-year-old Super Bowl MVP agreed to a $450 million extension with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, making him the highest-paid player in league history.

The contract will reportedly be worth up to $503 million with incentives.

This is a well-deserved payday for Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl championship in 50 years. He won the NFL MVP award in 2018, and has set numerous Chiefs club records.

Mahomes rich deal shows his value to the league both as a player and icon. He undoubtedly has a clear value as a television commodity, bringing in more viewers to experience the array of advertisements and sponsorships that live sports offer.

The deal also shows just how much money the NFL has.

Stars like Mahomes sell busloads of season tickets and merchandise, making the team owners very wealthy. The average NFL team is priced at $2.86 billion, a value that increases every single year. The value is also the most expensive for an individual American sports team.

In 2018, the total revenue of all NFL teams was $14.48 billion, an increase from $13.68 billion the year prior. There has been an increase in revenue each year since 2001, when revenue totaled to $4.28 billion.

With its massive cash amount, the league is sure to put its dollars to various beneficial causes. The NFL Academy in the United Kingdom is just one example.

The academy, backed by Nike, the league itself, and various mentors, is the first British program aimed to bring the youth American football opportunities.

A day at the academy consists of classroom sessions, weight-room and skill training, and a multitude of character development sessions.

“It’s dedication, it’s commitment,” says Will Bryce, the NFL UK’s head of player development.

“It’s prioritizing studying, managing your time, getting to bed early, getting off social media when you don’t need to be on it. It gives the kids structure, they’re part of a team, plus there are some pretty cool opportunities too.”

“Whatever happens after this, I’ll be a better player and a better person,” says 19-year-old Tyrese Peters-Tovey. “I think I made the right choice.”

The academy is clearly a step in the right direction for league expansion and beneficial youth movements. The coaching staff, personnel, and former players who work with the academy demonstrate the utmost level of dignity and character. Taking time out of their lives to assist these young players is a magnificent thing.

The league business as a whole, though, must continue to address current issues in order to remain a top-dog openhanded organization. With its massive revenue rolling in for 2019 and 2020, there are several issues for the NFL to address.

The COVID-19 pandemic is something that it has already contributed to enormously. Back in March, the league announced that it donated more than $35 million as part of COVID-19 relief efforts.

This was a phenomenal and generous task that the league partook in. Organizations that received funding include the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Salvation Army, and Meals on Wheels America among many others.

“We have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said league Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The NFL will continue to find ways to give our support so we can get through this time of uncertainty together.”

The league must continue to address underprivileged communities and social activism. The NBA recently announced that it will allow players to wear social messages on the back of their jerseys at the Orlando restart.

Taking a page out of its neighbor’s book, the NFL can implement this same freedom during the upcoming season, should it happen.

Along with this, the league can create funding opportunities, youth educational sessions, and community relief missions as a collective unit. Using its own back muscle and money will surely create a wave of positivity.

The NFL is very rich and has the potential to do great things with its money.

It has already put its earnings and effort towards expanding outwards and assisting youth, as well as offering a helping hand for the pandemic. Continuing this trend with underprivileged communities and activism would be a fantastic next step.

We are hopeful that the league will come up with some great ideas in the near future, but we have to see it to believe it first.

The NBA bubble in Orlando is coming. But is it actually gonna work?

Basketball fans are eagerly awaiting the NBA seasons restart.

The July 30th date cannot arrive soon enough for diehard fans and players alike. Teams are set to arrive in Orlando today, and training camps will begin Thursday morning.

The league released a detailed plan of action on June 26 addressing the safety protocols and the goal to promote social justice. Despite the best intentions of all parties, it remains unclear if this move will be a safe move forward in a pandemic-stricken nation.

Orlando COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in the past two weeks. After seeing a gradual increase in the early months of June, daily cases suddenly exploded to 9,585 on June 27. The numbers rose to 11,458 over the holiday weekend, and have lowered to 6,336 as of yesterday.

I think theyre making a good-faith effort, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Hotez.

Its just that the risk of doing this in an area where cases are climbing is a lot higher than it would be in a place where you dont have much COVID transmission.

The case numbers are extremely unpredictable, and can see a sharp spike at any given time. Health officials have not been able to find a concrete solution, as the numbers only grew following the nationwide lockdown.

From the leagues own mouth, a rigorous program has been established in order to prevent the risk of spread, including daily testing and temperature screenings.

However, these efforts can only go so far due to the contagious nature of the virus. If a single player were to test positive, all people within his immediate point of contact would be at risk.

Furthermore, it must be noted that this is mainly a move of financial security. While the league clearly wants its players and fans to enjoy quality play during self-quarantine, they are primarily securing their financial investments.

The league earns money primarily through merchandising, television rights, and ticket sales. According to Forbes, the league earned a total revenue of $8 billion in 2018. Each team is worth around $1.9 billion, approximately three times the valuation from 2014.

The NBA broadcasts 277 regular-season games every year. Rich contracts are inked with national networks, including Disneys ESPN, Warner Medias TNT, and ABC.

Both TNT and ESPN resigned their deals in 2018 for $24 billion in total value. Local television contracts also gross between $120 and $150 million each year.

Jersey sales earn each team about $9.3 million each year, not including t-shirts, hoodies, and other merchandise. Individual team arena sponsorships net a heavy check each season as well.

The 2015 8-year, $1 billion contract the league made with Nike is one of the prime sources of sponsorship income.

With the ban of fans from stadiums, the NBA must rely heavily on TV advertisements and merchandising in order to profit this season. They want to make certain that every household has their eyes glued on the screen for each game, absorbing the advertisements and sponsorship content.

The league is doing this at the risk of player and personnel safety, unfortunately. They must put bodies in harms way to profit, as well as promoting the idea that superstars are leaving the safety of their homes to go hoop.

Social justice promotion and clothing is one of the NBAs ideas for revenue and player appease. According to ESPN, social justice messages such as Power to the People, Hear Us, Equality, and Peace have been approved to grace the back of players jerseys.

A shared goal of our season restart will be to use our platform in Orlando to bring attention to these important issues of social justice, saidCommissioner Adam Silver in a statement.

The opportunity to shed light on these issues is something that players and league leaders are taking very seriously. Several players take these issues just as importantly, if not more importantly than the continuation of play itself.

Were just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out, saidOklahoma City guard and NBPA president Chris Paul.

People are saying that social justice will be off of everybodys mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesnt go away.

This opportunity is a way for the players to put their own touch on the leagues financially-centered return. Despite the safety concerns and cash-craze that the league is dancing with, player leaders are finding a way to put a positive and useful spin on their work.

The representation of these leaders on television is an important message and voice for the nation as the pandemic continues its destruction.

We will be tuning in for the leagues return on July 30th, even though thats exactly what they want us to do.

We will not be doing it for financial reasons though; we will be doing it to watch the game we love and to support the leaders in their mission.

Are the Rockets revolutionizing basketball with their ‘little’ lineup?

Where were you the night that Daryl Morey killed the Center position?

Thats a text I received last night during the first quarter of Rockets-Lakers. After trading Clint Capela, their $90 million starting center, on Thursday the Rockets rolled out a starting five that had the shortest average height since 1963.

Not a single player was taller than 66. The Lakers of course had a starting frontcourt of LeBron James (68), Anthony Davis (610) and JaVale McGee (70). Given the Lakers record (38-11), last night would be the first true litmus test of Daryl Morey and Mike DAntonis mad experiment: can dominant shooting/spacing overcome dominant size in todays NBA?

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I felt like I was watching a collision of two different team practices: shooting drills versus a lay-up line. Though the first half was tied at 63 apiece, optically the Lakers had owned the Rockets — Davis might as well have been guarded by middle schoolers as he got into the paint at whim and LeBron finished the first half with 9 assists.

They made every bucket look easy and the announcers seemed to think that the Rockets had leaned a little too far into this whole Small Ball thing. Charles Barkley and Shaq made similar comments at the half (because of course they did) saying that this style wasnt sustainable and that the Lakers big men would wear down the Rockets in the second half.

If youve watched a DAntoni-coached team over the years you know that in addition to the 3-point shooting, spacing, and fast pace, theres also the essential feature of having a premier pick-and-roll man who can set a solid screen for his point guard. His job is to roll hard to the rim as the point guard goes downhill and either a) shoots, b) passes to a perimeter player for a three or c) lobs it to the roll man for a dunk/lay-up.

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Amare Stoudemire was that roll man on DAntonis Suns and Knicks teams, as was Dwight Howard for his Lakers team (who were garbage). Clint Capela had been that roll man for a Rockets team that won 65 games just two seasons ago and had also come the closest of any team to beating a fully healthy Warriors squad during their pseudo-dynasty.

In the lull of James Hardens iso-heavy style of play, the most exciting breaks in monotony would often be an alley-oop from Harden to Capela — the recipient of the majority of Hardens assists.

Then Harden broke basketball. For the last two seasons, hes not only led the NBA in scoring, but hes also done so in a fashion never before seen or imagined–by taking 20+ combined free throws and threes per game.

All of these offensive opportunities are set up by his footwork, but more importantly, by his stepback three. He became such a dominant isolation scorer, that having Capela set a screen for him became more of a luxury than a necessity. And this season, he found himself playing alongside another ball-dominant player in Russell Westbrook — a scoring guard who cannot shoot threes in the most prolific three-point shooting system in NBA history.

Russ cannot stretch the floor, but he takes up space — both physical and emotional. He is still one of the three scariest players in the open court following a rebound. In the half-court, he can still get to the cup at will, but if there is a center in the lane guarding the Rockets traditional center, it muddies what Russ is best at.

The combination of Hardens historic isolation scoring and Westbrooks need for space in the paint made it necessary to deal Capela and go all in on this Small Ball movement. According to StatMuse, Houston is 10-1 without Capela this season. As of last night, they are 11-1.

The second half of Rockets-Lakers featured a torrent of threes from the Rockets–they finished with 19 made threes to the Lakers 9, but had also taken 11 more. The larger oddity is that the Lakers only outrebounded them by 1. It should be noted that a significant portion of this run came when LeBron sat and if youve watched the Lakers at all this season, you know their offense craters when he sits. Its also only one game.

Just one regular-season game — probably doesnt mean anything! But. If youre the Rockets, you have to play the math of the personnel youre dealt with. I dont believe it will hold up over a seven-game series against the best teams the West has to offer, but their ceiling is certainly frightening. As is their style to the future of the league.

Charles and Shaq, who had been so certain the Lakers size would crush the Rockets in the second half, were visibly dejected and mortified in the post-game analysis. And understandably so–they had just witnessed a team declare the position they spent their careers playing to be outmoded (Giannis is proof that it is not by the way–which is why they love him).

And NBA Twitter was popping off — Bill Simmons was losing his shit over the Rockets and how their three-point shootout style was what was responsible for the dip in television ratings this season. Amidst all the bellyaching of the lost beauty of the game, there was something truly enjoyable: when Kenny the Jet whimsically mentioned to no one in particular that he had played in the wrong era.

David Stern’s legacy proves that there was always more to basketball

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern passed away Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

Stern, the commissioner who engineered the complete transformation of the league and sports as a whole, leaves behind a legacy of innovation, wisdom, and abundant care for the community.

It cannot be overstated: The NBA would not be the multinational force and entertainment model it is today without Stern. Fans of the NBA and all those who reap the benefits the league produces owe great gratitude to Stern and his efforts.

When David Stern became NBA Commissioner, NBA Finals games aired on tape-delay. The majority of fans across the country were not able to see the teams they loved play the game. At the time, there was also a drug problem tainting the values of the league and threatening its very existence.

However, along with brilliant pioneers Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Stern was able to market the sport beyond what it once was. The jovial and charismatic black man in sunny Los Angeles versus the rugged and introverted white man in Boston made for a fantastic rivalry, and in the late-80’s, Johnson and Bird quite-literally saved the league.

Stern rightly saw the NBA as entertainment. It was and still is a league unlike any other.

In the NBA, players don’t have to protect their heads with helmets and shield their faces. In the NBA, five players touch the floor at a time, delivering one player the ability to impact the game in a way players in other sports just can’t.

Where the NFL is the sport of the shield, the NBA is the sport of the superstar. It is no mistake that NFL players take to Twitter to voice their regrets of choosing the wrong sport when they see an average NBA player secure a $200 million guaranteed contract.

The ingenious Stern saw the promise in the league in the 80s, and with Magic, Bird, and then Michael Jordan, Stern had all the firepower of superstars to expand the league and make everyone a whole lot of money.

But it wasn’t just crafty marketing that Stern completed in his tenure.

Stern expanded the NBA into a global brand. In the 90s, the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies were introduced (along with new domestic franchises like the Hornets, Timberwolves, Heat, Magic, and Bobcats).

Stern struck deals with television channels across the world, enabling the NBA to be seen by a wider audience. He also allowed professional players to play for the national team, paving the way for the 1992 Dream Team, which did wonders for showcasing the NBA’s premier stars and intrigue to the rest of the world.

U.S. citizens that were alive in the late 70s and early 80s surely could not expect that the NBA would be as prosperous and popular as it is today, but the league is in an extraordinary position because of Stern’s efforts.

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a unicorn in his abilities and hails from Greece, while his family is from Nigeria, and Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic is a Slovenian phenom who most recently played in Spain.

Without the global outreach efforts of Stern, it is unlikely we would be able to witness to these talents, and the advantages the league has provided for those two superstars and others like them.

Stern also established the league’s social responsibility program, NBA Cares, demonstrating the league’s focus on being about more than basketball. Stern showed himself to be a man of passion, integrity, and devotion for the game, and all those in it.

In regards to his passion for the game President of the Golden State Warriors told the NYT:

He would talk about the athletes, the beauty of the sport, and explain how we were going to create a business structure around this to make it a really good investment…

Welts continued,

He was mesmerizing when he would get in a room. You couldnt not believe him because of the passion.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took to Twitter as well to express his gratitude and respect for the late great David Stern.

Players, coaches, and media members all voiced their admiration and appreciation for Stern after his passing.

 

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The NBA is the league of superstars, the league of social media, the league for the community and the people.

The NBA is the entertainment league, and without David Stern, none of it would have been possible. We owe a debt of gratitude to the man who saw the promise in a stuttering league and built it up to be the league of the culture.

David Stern’s legacy will forever be remembered and may he rest in power.