Dwyane Wade’s custody battle is pretty depressing

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One of the things I tend to gravitate when we’re talking about off-the-court issues is how I would respond, were the situation to arise in my very non-famous life. It’s easy to put these players on  a pedestal, and just as easy to knock them into the dirt and kick them around. To be clear, their lives are not like our own. Bills, daycare, bosses, the hassle of daily life, all of these things are not a part of their life while they’re in the A. But they are still human. As my father says, “They put their pants on one leg at a time” just like the rest of us.

(I promise I’m not headed towards slipping in quotes from friends and family every thirty seconds like some guys in the sports business.)

So when I read about Dwyane Wade’s custody battle which Wade testified in Friday, I think about what it would be like going through that process, and having it all played out in the press. Wade on Friday answered questions about whether he beat his kids, whether he engaged in sexual acts with Gabrielle Union in front of them, whether he had drugs and weapons in the house while they lived with him. He denied abandoning them, neglecting them, and abusing them.

He testified that his ex-wife physically abused him during arguments, and that he didn’t abuse her, but he did sit her down “aggressively” and in the process of flailing her arms, she hit herself.

All of this in a court room with reporters watching.

Having that process dragged out in front of people has to be both painful and embarrassing for someone, irregardless of how many points they score or who their teammates are or how much money they make. Whether the allegations are true or not, it’s a painful, uncomfortable situation. For what it’s worth, a lawyer appointed for Wade’s two sons has recommended that Wade be granted custody and that his ex-wife seek professional counseling.

Wade was granted custody in June, but the boys have stayed with their mother while Wade gets through his summer wheelings and dealings. Wade told reporters after he testified that the process has been especially hard on his oldest son and that it “hurts to see him go through this.” That’s the worst part in all of this. Two boys, their home torn apart, dealing with courtrooms and photographers and allegations between their parents. You can sympathize with either Wade or his ex-wife, both have been burdened with hurt in this process that happens so often in our society. But everyone can empathize with two boys trying to make sense of a world that won’t be repaired no matter how much money their father makes.

LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards

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With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.

It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.

 

 

That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.

James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”

He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.

The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.

And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.