Omri Casspi is home in his native Israel right now, celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and preparing for another season in the N BA. His second, after an impressive rookie campaign with the up-and-coming Sacramento Kings.
But all anyone is talking about right now is the news that someone is Sacramento painted a swastika over a mural of Casspi in the city. His reaction, like his game, was mature, and was gotten by Sam Amick of FanHouse.
“It’s all over the news here,” Casspi said. “I’m not shocked but I’m kind of hurt, you know. … It’s just crazy that it’s 2010 and still there are people who are racist and who hate. That’s the only thing that hurts and is a big shock….
“In Israel, obviously there’s not something like that,” he said. “I’ve been in Sacramento and all over the NBA and never had anything close to that, never had anything racist happen. Everybody has treated me warm and kind and been unbelievably great to me. It’s the first time for me to handle that kind of situation and I’m sorry I have to handle it at all.”
Casspi returns to Sacramento next week where he has to be considered the frontrunner for open small forward starting spot. Casspi said in the report that he has put on about 15 pounds of muscle this summer — last season fatigue was cited as a reason his lost the starting three spot near the end of the year.
This season he believes nothing will slow him down. Not the rookie wall, not racist idiots.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.