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Just in time for a lockout, NBA to offer official champagne

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When you are ready to celebrate the lockout starting, pop open a bottle of the new official NBA champagne!

In what may be the worst timing ever for a league generally pretty good at that with marketing, the NBA has a new league-sanctioned champagne about to come out. Seriously. NBA champagne. Because there is a big market for that….

The Las Vegas Sun (in a story written by Robin Leach — yes, that Robin Leach) talked about it first because it was being poured at Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement party at the Palms hotel in that city (via the Express-News Spurs blog).

Shaq signed basketballs for Palms guests and then headed to Moon for his retirement party at a VIP table stocked with the new NBA-sanctioned Les Jeux (The Game) French champagne, and I was even presented with a souvenir bottle by the owners who helped sponsor Shaq’s party. Shaq was presented with a magnum!

I have asked via Twitter if the NBA is the first pro league to sanction its own alcohol drink. This one has NBA legend Jerry West on the label along with the NBA insignia. The owners told me that they will be launching it here in Las Vegas with several NBA star player appearances.

So what if the league is about to lockout in the middle of a recession and have billionaires and millionaires fighting over how to divide up the money the fans pour into the league — let them drink champagne!

I don’t drink a lot of champagne, but when I do I wonder if there is a way I could have it be an official drink of the NBA. Now we can all have that. I can’t wait to open my first bottle with a saber.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.