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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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How Twitter can become Twitter again and overtake the doubters and the stock market

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For one, I love Twitter.

Been there since close to the beginning, well I came three years after the deal began.

It was then in 2006, as an NYU student working at Odeo, Jack Dorsey sent out the first Tweet ever: https://twitter.com/jack/status/20….

On Monday, Twitter let go four executives amid a constant uncertainty that surrounds the future and direction of the platform.  And not to be overlooked as the main culprit is the Twitter stock price has gone from $69 at its peak to around $17 this week.

And it’s not just about a stock price. It’s about usability. One quote that sticks out in my mind, or roughly, is that the Twitter guys wouldn’t feel Twitter was successful until it became a social utility of sorts akin to our use of water, or electricity. A part of everyday life so embedded you wouldn’t even think about it.

I do think about Twitter quite a bit and use it quite a bit, but not as a social tool for connecting with friends, more so as a tool to connect with like-minded sports fans, bloggers and even a few professional media members.

But that gets me to my point, Twitter has jumped the shark as far as the masses and the true Twitter experience. The everyday Twitter user is so far disconnected from the platform it’s no longer a social media platform but simply a media platform.

Verified accounts, and those of media conglomerates, and celebrities with the little blue verified check are the ones who truly have the user experience the rest of us can have on Facebook. And I get that Twitter is not, and should not, be Facebook.

But to the point: Quit serving up the celebrities and the big media accounts. Simple as that. With that said here are 5 simple solutions to make Twitter Twitter again, (with a slant towards sports, as you are reading a sports website) in the ever-changing social media and internet frontier.

  1. Premium accounts. How many times have you been tempted to try that LinkedIn 30-day trial just to see who has been snooping at your profile. That premium membership is a quick, easy, gauge to check your professional temperature.  Twitter can and should implement a premium feature that allows you to see who’s been peeking under the hood, and broader the analytics they already provide for free.
  2. Make promoted Tweets more accessible for bloggers and small-time website and small business owners. If you haven’t caught on the theme of this blog is to look out for the little guy who actually makes up the greater number of Twitter users. The problem with promoted Tweets is they are too much like Adwords from Google and other advertising solutions. It’s way to complicated to pull the trigger. Who in the world wants to go through all the mess of setting up of a budget etc,.. Let us just get promoted and get our website or name out there for a reasonable price. Make promotion easy, click and pay done.
  3. Allow us to tweet longer if needed for such things as personal essays and extended tweets. No longer will sports bloggers and others need to screen shot a paragraph they really want to share with others.
  4. Give us a little more space and flexibility in the profile pic. I understand the profile pick was intended as a mugshot, but give us a little more flexibility the square is too tiny and this will actually benefit a greater number of small time operations to be able to insert their logo.
  5. Make inserting video better. Why do we need to use services such as Vine or Streamable just to show Steph Curry’s latest three or Blake Griffin’s biggest jam. Let us insert video so easily we don’t know it’s there.

Technology to make swimming safer 

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Since July over 500 people have drowned in the U.S. according to the Center for Disease Control, but as the New York Times reports there’s a new safety device aimed at reducing tragedy.

Kingii is crowd funded wearable device invented by a man named Tom Agapiades that works as an underwater air bag. It goes for $79 and has raised over 600k to date.

Read more at the New York Times

Manute Bol Court opens in Juba, South Sudan

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Via Luol Deng on Instagram

Manute Bol Court was officially opened on August 6, 2015 in Juba, South Sudan. On the list of accomplished I’ve been blessed to achieve, this is very high on my list as one of the most memorable ones. The faces of smiling youth made it an instant success in my book. Thank you to everyone who made this possible#SouthSudanUnite #OnePeople

Good pressure and Bad Pressure the D’Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor story

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The expectations in Philly are laughable at best, and the joke on social media Thursday night during the NBA draft was, “What is Philly going to do with all these centers?”

Los Angeles drafted D’Angelo Russell ahead of Jahlil Okafor, who for for the better part of the 2014-15 college basketball season was expected to be the No. 1 pick.

Okafor tried his best poker face after finding out he was going to the Sixers but no doubt he had thought for sometime he would be in Los Angeles and be “the guy”. Now he’s the guy in Philly.

Here’s Okafor’s response to not going No. 1 or No. 2:

“I can’t be disappointed,” said Okafor.

“I’m in the NBA living my dream.  I’ve been getting a lot of criticism.  People in my circle, we’re just going to take it with a grain of salt.  It’s easy to shoot at somebody when they’re at the top of the hill.  I’ve been pretty much at the top all throughout high school, all throughout college, so I’m expecting it.”

His response on what the Sixers will do with so many big men:

“I don’t know, it’s not my job to figure out.  I’ll just go there and work as hard as I can.”

Meanwhile D’Angelo Russell was all smiles.

“Man, it’s a blessing to be here,” said Russell.

“God is good.  I can’t really put a nail on how I’m feeling right now.  I feel like busting out like a baby in tears.  I feel like being tough, being strong.  I don’t really know how to put a nail on it, but definitely surprised to be here right now.  Just a few months ago I was graduating high school, so to go through a year of college and then be in this position is a blessing, man.”

And now for the first time in his NBA career Kobe Bryant, can take the time to challenge and mentor a young player the way he was meant to. Bryant understands that this is his last season and but this Lakers team is not Championship caliber. He can take the time to mentor Russell the way he has never had the time or opportunity to do so for any other young player. Frankly the Lakers have not had a talented young player like Russell in Bryant’s tenure.

Russell will be the guy in Los Angeles and is considered a great passer. Kobe loves it when you pass. Okafor will be the guy in Philly but he doesn’t have a lot of help.


Report:  Roger Goodell will suspend Tom Brady for DeflateGate 

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According to the New York Daily News, Roger Goodell will issue a suspension of Tom Brady sometime next week for his role in what is now known as “deflate gate”.

Via Source: Myers: Roger Goodell will suspend Tom Brady for DeflateGate – NY Daily News

Our view: The NFL tends to be reactionary of late as to the discipline it hands out. Public sentiment has found Brady guilty of knowing that the footballs were being deflated and that was his request. The NFL is generally interested in generating buzz and dollars a suspension of Tom Brady will help in the Buzz category and probably not hurt the revenue either but in the end the idea that one of the biggest stars in the NFL can be suspended for something seemingly minor still is surprising.

Texas will reportedly hire VCU’s Shaka Smart as its next coach

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Update 8:03 pm ET UT is certainly not holding back the funds-they are reportedly offering a $14 million contract over 5 years to Smart

By Travis Duncan

Texas is finalizing a deal to bring VCU’s Shaka Smart in as its next men’s basketball head coach, according to a report by Chip Brown of Rivals.com,

On Sunday, Texas fired coach Rick Barnes after 17 seasons, the last three or so of which were well below program expectations. Texas officials stated they planned to move in on a coach within the next week, and it appears they have done just that.

The 37-year old Smart caught the attention of America with VCU’s Cinderella run in 2011 to the Final Four, but Smart has resisted a move from VCU until now.

Smart finished his sixth season with VCU in 2015 loosing in the first round of the Tournament to the lower-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes 75-72 in overtime on March 19th.

According to his bio on the VCU Athletics website Smart played his college basketball at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and graduated magna cum laude in 1999 with a degree in history.

More as it this develops.

Cubs send Kris Bryant , Addison Russell and Javier Baez to minors; MLBPA responds

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By Travis Duncan

—How many mediocre MLB’ers have started the season on the Chicago Cubs 25-man roster in its history of relative mediocrity?

Great traditions-but not a hoard of legendary players have donned the red white and blue on the north side.

Would it be so bad to strike while the iron is hot; ride the wave of positive feelings towards your franchise and place Kris Bryant on the MLB team Day 1 in 2015?

It wouldn’t be. But the Cubs did not back down from Bryant nor his agent’s preference that the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball be with the Cubbies next week.

Instead, Monday afternoon, the Cubs made it official.

Bryant has been optioned to minor league camp along with Addison Russell while Javier Baez has been sent to Triple-A Iowa.

That oomph you hear is the punch to the gut of the Cubs nation.

Cubs GM Theo Epstein has not done a whole lot to defend his position other than to say he has never started a player with zero MLB experience with the big league club in all his time as an MLB GM.

He said Tuesday, “It’s always difficult to send young players down because it is news they don’t want to hear,” via ESPN Chicago.

“We entered camp with the presumptive move of sending him to Triple-A, and it is always the presumptive move for us with young players who haven’t played in the big leagues yet. You see how camp develops and how the roster shapes up to see if there is grounds for an exception to the rule.”

The Major League Baseball Players Association responded by stating “Today is a bad day for baseball” and that the issue will be addressed either in court or through bargaining. And further went on to claim that the Cubs made the decision early on before Bryant’s hot spring training and instead of changing course based on the results-they are sticking with their initial decision.

The Full Text of the MLBPA statement is as follows:

Today is a bad day for baseball. We all know that if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great game,and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both.

Meanwhile Cubs manager Joe Maddon diplomatically said that he would have liked to have Bryant in his lineup but is looking forward to working with the 23-year old for the next 15 years.

Chris Mullin to be named head coach at St. Johns

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Chris Mullin is returning home to St. Johns as its next head basketball coach according to multiple reports Monday. 

Last week the Red Storm and Steve Lavin parted ways after five seasons.

The school is expected to introduce Mullin at a press conference on Monday.

Mullin has yet to coach at the collegiate or pro level.  Mullin was an All-American twice as a player at St. John’s and averaged 18.2 over a 16-year NBA career. He was the National player of the year in his senior at St. John’s in 1985.

Mullin has worked in the front offices of both the Golden State Warriors and most recently the Sacremento Kings. he has also done television work for ESPN.


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