What do you buy for a man who takes helicopters to games?
If you’re DJ Mbenga, you buy Kobe Bryant a court with his name on it in the Congo. Seriously. It’s in the official Lakers Blog — not The Onion — so you know it’s true.
I told him, “I’m going to give you the best gift you’ve ever had … I’m building a basketball court in Congo with your name on it. People they love you there. You helped me to get a ring, I’m going to give you something back. I’m going to give you a basketball court with your name – that’s something nobody else can have. Even Michael Jordan never had that. I told him, “You’re going to give people hope. There are kids that are stealing, killing, (doing drugs) … instead I want them to play basketball at the Kobe … Bryant … Court.” It’s going to be in Kinshasa.
It makes me feel great. He told me he was going to have a surprise for me, and something he and I talk about often is visiting Congo and speaking to some of the kids. DJ and I have a really close relationship. This is a tremendous honor, something that I didn’t expect. (DJ does) a ton for (the people) over there. It’s something that people don’t hear about, but he doesn’t do it for the attention, he does it because it’s something that’s close to his heart. I absolutely have to (go visit).
DJ Mbenga is one of the more interesting interviews in the NBA when you get him talking about the Congo and his work there. He has a foundation and donates a larger percentage of his salary to causes than just about any player ever in the league. It’s personal and he’s passionate.
And this is a gift from his heart. That is what you get someone.
“I didn’t see my career in Miami ending like this. I didn’t get a call or a test or anything like that.”
That was Chris Bosh‘s comment in his latest self-directed video, one where he learns that he failed his physical with the Heat and they are not looking to bring him back. In that video he says that his career is not over, and along the way he takes some shots at team president Pat Riley and the Miami organization, saying they did not communicate with him.
Riley countered that it was Bosh who cut off communication, as told to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.
Bosh has never been cleared by the team.
Bosh’s time in Miami is over, and those bridges are aflame right now. There is no going back. The problem is there are no good alternatives for him or the team moving on from this situation (unless he wants to forfeit a vast majority of the $75 million he is owed to facilitate a buyout). This situation is going to drag out for a while.
It looks like Donatas Motiejunas is about to go the route Tristan Thompson did — it worked out for the Cavaliers’ big man.
But this would be a huge bet on himself by Motiejunas.
The Lithuanian is headed toward playing this season on a qualifying offer with the Rockets, then becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer, according to the latest report from Adrian Wojnarowski and the team at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Last season the Rockets tried to trade Motiejunas to the Pistons (where he would backup Andre Drummond), but Pistons voided the deal, saying he failed his physical. Motiejunas slammed Detroit for the move. This summer Motiejunas was a restricted free agent, but he didn’t land any offers from other squads (teams were convinced the Rockets would just match any reasonable offer).
That gets us to where we are today, where Motiejunas appears headed to signing the qualifying offer, then testing the market next summer as an unrestricted free agent. It all seems a little messier than it had to be, but this is where we are.
The Sixers cannot catch a break. Or, to be more accurate, they are catching too many.
After center Joel Embiid is finally set to take the court after missing the past two seasons with a foot injury, now Ben Simmons — the recent No. 1 pick and point forward who had created a lot or buzz — has suffered a fracture to his right foot, the team has announced. Simmons will miss time, exactly how much depends on the course of treatment, but with this injury the shortest recovery time is 6-8 weeks.
From the Sixers official press release:
After receiving an X-ray and MRI of the foot and ankle, the images were reviewed by Sixers Head Physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers Chief Medical Officer and Co-Chief of Sports Medicine Orthopedics at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow.
It was determined that Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot. Further medical evaluation and treatment options are being considered at this time and additional updates will be provided when appropriate.
The first reports out of practice were Simmons had rolled his ankle. Clearly it was much more than that.
The injury is commonly known as a Jones Fracture, which is what Kevin Durant suffered a couple years back and has hit a number of NBA players in recent years (Cameron Payne, Jodie Meeks and others). The fifth metatarsal is the bone that runs from the base of the little toe up to the ankle on the foot. Even in a serious case surgery can repair it, however, healing can be slow because that is not an area of the foot with great natural blood flow. The Sixers and Simmons have to be patient so this doesn’t become a lingering issue (remember Durant needed multiple surgeries and missed a lot of time).
This just sucks for the Sixers, who see Simmons as the playmaker at the core of their young roster — one they hoped to have fully on the court this season. Now that will at least be delayed a while.
If anyone in the NBA should have a thick skin when it comes to talk of player conflicts and trade rumors, it should be Kevin Love. Those stories have been like a cartoon cloud following his every step since he landed in Cleveland.
And he doesn’t give a… you know.
The Cavaliers just won a title with Love playing a key role, and yet the cloud still follows him. Love was asked about the stories of his fit with his team after practice Friday (video below, if you’re easily offended by language don’t hit play).
“I love this team. There will always be stories. I don’t think they’ll ever leave. Frankly, I don’t really give a s—.”
It’s amazing what winning can do. If the Cavaliers had not come back from 3-1 down in the Finals, the consensus around the league was that Cleveland would have made significant roster changes last summer and Love likely would have been the big name out the door. In some parallel universe that happened.
But not in this one — Love has a ring. And he’s still a Cavalier. And he doesn’t care what his critics think of that.