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Olympic Basketball: Jerry Colangelo, honest and old school

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—Jerry Colangelo is a good guy. An old school guy. A basketball lifer. Successful. Respected.

Perhaps he came up living in a world where people really did say how they felt and really didn’t catch much grief for it. But you see with the dawn of the information age, we’ve got to have something to fill up these screens twenty-four-seven-365.

Following Sunday’s Gold medal victory in the Rio games, Colangelo said via Yahoo Sports.

“I’m all for raising the bar for global basketball.”

“The more interest in basketball on all levels, I’m for. I’m a lifer of the game. Basketball is the No.2 sport in the world. We just need to see these other countries get their acts together and become more competitive. I’m not going to be making any excuses.”

“One of the officials said to me, ‘You oughta play with four.’ I said, ‘No, maybe the other teams oughta get their act together and compete.’ We’ve been helping in basketball around the world for 50 years. We’ve taught the world the game. We’ve taught their coaches. Look at the number of players in the NBA. Look at the number of international players in college today in the states. We’re all for that. I want to see their level raised.”

Somehow, someway, USA Basketball brought a roster of  maybe 8 the top 10 basketball players in the world on its rosters, save for a guy named LeBron and Curry who sat out.

How in the world did that happen. Oh that’s right the game was invented.

But Colangelo expected for the world to catch up by now. Perhaps he sees interest peeked in the game but the powers that be “misorganizing” or failing to implement a cohesive model of player develop that will yield a consistent bevy of superstars as the US does.

Either way-the dreamyish rosters of USA Basketball since 1992 has been pretty amazing, however less Colangelo forget that in 2004 the US finished with the bronze not the gold. A team coached by Larry Brown, that featured the world’s greatest player LeBron James.

The world was wanting the U.S. to get their act together, and so it did, hiring Colangelo in 2005 and the Men’s team has not lost a game in Olympic play since.

That’s why Kevin Durant calls Colangelo “The Godfather”.

Photo Credit: Embed from Getty Images

ESPN apologizes after confusing arrested Notre Dame cornerback with the Suns’ Devin Booker | For The Win

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Notre Dame cornerback Devin Butler was arrested on preliminary felony charges of battery to law enforcement and resisting arrest on Saturday.

In reporting the arrest on Saturday night’s SportsCenter, ESPN confused Butler with Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker in a photo.

 

Source: ESPN apologizes after confusing arrested Notre Dame cornerback with the Suns’ Devin Booker | For The Win

USA Basketball: Goodbye Coach K, Hello Pop

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-Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com writes about the next head coach of the United States Men’s Basketball team, Gregg Popovich, who succeeds Mike Krzyzewski.

Popovich-a final cut of the 1972 Olympic Team- is much more eager to take the helm than many realize.  MacMullan predicts Pop will try to get more practice time for the U.S. players.

Gregg Popovich will lead the team he was left off of four decades ago

-ESPN.COM-

 

NBA Free Agency and the Pursuit of Happiness

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There has been a lot of talk about this word “legacy” recently.

Reggie Miller, the former Indiana Pacers guard and current TNT NBA analyst, takes great pride in having played for a single franchise, 18 seasons in total.

Miller this week wrote for the Bleacher Report regarding Kevin Durant’s motivation and decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder (Small Market) for the Golden State Warriors (middle-market, crossing over to a broader geographic market).

Miller wrote, “At the end of the day, what’s more important, rings or legacy? The media only cares about rings, and rightfully so. We are judged on jewelry, so that’s why I can’t argue with it. From a personal standpoint, I’m upset that a small market will never recover from it.”

Miller continues, “That’s what Durant gave up by leaving the Thunder. And that matters. Had he stayed in Oklahoma City, people would have said, “He spurned all the other offers and continued to fight the giant.”

Now Durant is a part of the giant.

Miller may be right Kevin Durant did give up a proverbial first-born status in Oklahoma City for the proverbial bowl of soup in Cali.

Simply, he was bored in OKC and felt like Golden State with the allures of the Bay Area, the winning, the hype, a change of scenery would be good, rather than staying in the same place.

Lots of people get burt out on their jobs, lots, and they move to a competitor in the same industry to get a breathe of fresh life and energy into their life.

That’s probably what Durant did.  We’ll see if it brings Durant peace or regret.

Reggie Miller: Kevin Durant Traded a Sacred Legacy for Cheap Jewelry

Comments, Feedback? E-mail Digital Sports Daily editor Travis Duncan editor@digitalsportsdaily.com

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In a world of hot takes, Kevin Durant announces his news via the Players Tribune

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Kevin Durant hijacked the Fourth of July.

The Players Tribune outscooped NBA beat veterans like Adrian Wojnarowski, Marc Stein, Marc Spears, Chris Broussard and a legion of up and coming non-traditional media.

Of course the scoop and the speculation was not to be scooped.

That was part of the deal.

To get the deputy publisher of The Players Tribune you cannot divulge any indication of what the said deputy might choose in free agency.

So there it was the Players Tribune headline spread across the website’s large free newsletter subscriber base and on social email:

“My Next Move”

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The post published by deputy publisher of The Players Tribune, Kevin Durant, who also moonlights as a 6-foot-11 NBA swing forward, announced he wanted a change of scenery or to further his maturation as a person. He would be taking his talents to Oakland. A la the King in 2010, a la South Beach.

A challenge. A different place.

Durant didn’t mention the Golden State Warriors are already stacked with talent and arguably one of the most talented NBA teams in recent or league history. Perhaps that was believed to be self-evident on this Independence Day.

Social media cried: He’s chasing a ring.

In reality the sports entertainment business is really now largely a function of what we call social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others. TV and print and the like are really accessories which debate and show the images.

In terms of hot takes, an NBA executive told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that now everyone is just playing for second, including LeBron James.

Goodman Tweeted you can’t blame KD for wanting to ensure himself a ring, when it was likely not going to happen in OKC.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said on the air that this was the weakest move by a superstar ever.

Still many others moved into the direction of Oklahoma City’s heartbreak and it’s twisted love affair with the NBA in which it landed an NBA franchise at the heartbreak and pain of another good basketball city called Seattle. Many social media pundits imagined that Seattle would be happy to hear the city which stole their team was now suffering as well, and likely that was not the case in any form of reality but in terms of social media it seems to all make sense.

In reality, the one shining piece of truth through it all is that Jerry West is a very staunch NBA executive who has never gotten the credit for helping the Warriors build what they have now or helping the Lakers build what they had when he helped lure Shaquille O’Neal from Orlando in the 90s’.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, points out that according to people in the know, the key to the ‘Dubs landing Durant was none other than the logo himself.  The influence of Jerry West is the story that doesn’t grab headlines and is hard to say because the story won’t be told in full.

In the end, the fruition of a July 4th weekend of social media humdrum won’t be fully realized until November when KD and Crew  play a real basketball game.

In the mean time, the NBA should write Twitter and several other websites a big check for keeping the minds of real thinking humans preoccupied on its league year-round for yet another July to remember.

The decision part six lived up to the hype.

Comments, Feedback? E-mail Digital Sports Daily editor Travis Duncan editor@digitalsportsdaily.com

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Game 7 in Oakland, just the way the NBA drew it up

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There’s been a lot of talk on the Twitter lately that perhaps the NBA had arranged for the NBA Finals series between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers to go not five games, not six, yes seven games-count them.

Can you believe that?

Who would believe the NBA would want a thing like that.

 

The 2016 edition and emergency meeting of the International NBA Conspiracy Theorists really got kicked off when the NBA suspended Warriors forward Draymond Green for Game 5 after the Michigan native and newest NBA bad boy swiped ever so quickly at the groin area of one King James in Game 4. Not that Green had ever gone for the groin before (about six times this season), but it chose Game 5 with the Cavs down 3-1 to take Green out of the action. So we have full-on David Stern-Patrick Ewing-lottery level type conspiracy. Then in Game 6 Thursday night in Cleveland, the reigning back-to-back MVP Steph Curry collected six fouls. Light bumps here or there but none the less the whistle each time.

“He gets six fouls called on him, three of them were absolutely ridiculous,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. “As the MVP of the league, we’re talking about these touch fouls in the NBA Finals.”

Immediately after her husband’s sixth foul, Ayesha Curry set off a Twitter storm of epic proportions when she posted a Tweet (which she later deleted) that just said, hey yeah I give up this is rigged has her baby got called for No. 6.

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Of course, the Warriors couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, missing 49 field goals and hitting just 15 out of 39 three point attempts. Curry was a cold, as was his splash counterpart Klay Thompson. Curry hit eight of 20 field goals and Thompson made just nine of 21 attempts.  While Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes missed all nine of his shot attempts.

So we will have Game 7 in Oakland on Sunday night and it will draw a huge TV rating for ABC and the NBA will leave us for the summer with a spectacular showdown between good and evil in a 48 minute time capsule.

Who’s complaining?

Is LeBron James getting a free pass?

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Thursday night LeBron James played OK. His team still lost.

Fast forward to Game 2 Sunday night. LeBron just plain stunk. He wasn’t a superstar, he was marginal and his team quit. He dished out nine assists, but unfortunately this is not a game of assists, this is a game of scoring and we expected or wanted LeBron to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors, and he scored just 19 points on 7-of-17 from the field.

LeBron gets a reputation of not taking over in big moments, and this is why.

Post game LeBron looked as though he really didn’t care that much.

When reporters wondered why LeBron hadn’t taken charge as a true leader might, he started to talk about turnovers. A reporter asked him if he needed to be more selfish.

“Selfish is probably the wrong term,” said James.

“I got myself in a lot of trouble tonight personally. Turned the ball over way too much. And I said after Game 1 we just can’t turn the ball over against a great team and expect to win, and I had basically half of the turnovers. We had some in the fourth quarter, but we had our third group in. They had some. But I had half of the turnovers when I came out, and it resulted in them getting some easy baskets.”

This isn’t about turnovers. This is about taking charge, jacking up 40 shots if you need to. At least showing the world that you care. At least showing the people of Cleveland you’re going to try.

It’s not too late. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Cleveland. Expect the King to show up.

The decline of Tim Duncan has been greatly exaggerated

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I have to give credit to the Inside the NBA TNT Crew. Ernie Johnson, Shaq, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley are the voice of the NBA at this point. Tuesday night Sir Charles declared that Tim Duncan should see the bench, because he’s hurting the Spurs.

This comes after the Spurs dropped two straight games at home to the Thunder, a Thunder team many felt were hapless and dysfunctional, unable to decide whether Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook is the guy.

Tim Duncan hasn’t been the guy for the Spurs all season. Duncan averaged 25 minutes per game and is averaging 20 minutes per game this postseason. This is a team effort thing in San Antonio, it’s not Kawhi Leonard’s team, not Parker’s but a collective group.

Duncan averaged eight points per game in the regular season and scored just five points Tuesday night against the Thunder on 1-of-6 shooting.

But Kevin Durant said it best before the series started:

“Tim Duncan could play until he’s 90,” Durant told the San Antonio Express News. “It’s not about him scoring 20 and getting 10 rebounds, it’s just his presence.”

TNT’s Reggie Miller, among others, is not a fan of benching Duncan.

“You don’t have to play him major minutes, but I just think there’s a rebound, a blocked shot, there’s a defensive assignment, there’s something that Tim Duncan (will do),” Miller said on WFAN in New York on Wednesday. He is (too) valuable for your team to sit him down.”

Steph Curry is the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP

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Dating back to the 1955-56 season when St. Louis’ Bob Pettit took home the very first NBA Most Valuable Player Award, there has never been a unanimous winner, until now.

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As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Stephen Curry is the first ever NBA MVP to winner unanimously.

Curry received a possible 131 out of 131 first-place votes.

The award is based on a media vote from the United States and Canada and a single vote decided upon by fans.

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard finished in second-place with 54 second-place votes, and LeBron James finished in third with 40 second-place votes.

Michael Jordan won five times. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won six times. LeBron James has won the award four times. Yet none of these have ever been unanimously selected in the award’s 61-year history.

Curry is also the 11th all-time back-to-back MVP winner, having won in 2014-15.

Team Basketball and the Houston problem

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San Antonio, Golden State, and sometimes Cleveland all play a brand of team basketball, yet stars such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Steph Curry and LeBron James are allowed to exemplify their best qualities.  For the most part no sub-star feels slighted from what we hear. They are happy and winning.

It’s not earth shattering news that hasn’t happened in Houston with James Harden. It’s not the first time an uber talented hoopster such as Harden has totally forgotten about the team, scored a ton of points and become a major headache for a franchise and city.

Houston didn’t win and isn’t about to win. Dwight Howard is probably gone. And so it will be a one trick show in Houston unless they can attract another free agent talent.

Former Houston Rockets star Robert Reid said the problem was Harden, as related by KHOU 11 TV in Houston. 

“Harden is a tremendous player, but he’s not bringing it for the team,” Reid said Monday.

“I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it. Harden looks after Harden.”

“The new coach that they bring in here is the one that’s going to have to say ‘I’m the one who gets fired if we don’t win, not you’,” Reid continued.

At least for now Harden has gotten a free pass, but the chirps and murmurs are coming out one by one that there is a problem in Houston.

 

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