For once, we have a good story out of an NBA player going to prison.
Thunder center B.J. Mullens has been going regularly to an Ohio prison this summer and fall to play some pickup basketball. With the prisoners.
It’s something he has done before, playing and teaching clinics, as was explained in a fantastic ESPN story.
Mullens was born in Canal Winchester, Ohio, and grew up playing basketball around Columbus. He lived off and on with his mother and five siblings until high school before moving into his own apartment, paying his expenses by working after school and on weekends as a plumber. During his junior and senior years of high school, Mullens lived with the family of one of his best friends. In his first year there, he and the friend visited a juvenile detention center to teach basketball clinics and talk to troubled teens about making better choices — and also to play pickup games….
“I played ball at some places for juvenile kids when I was in high school and I kinda wanted to get back into it,” Mullens said.
By mid-July, he played in his first pickup game at Ross, which houses mostly level 2 and 3 prisoners — medium and “close” security, respectively….
“They play some really good basketball up here,” Mullens said.
Not everybody would do this — would basketball finally stop at those walls? — so credit to Mullens for not only doing it but also reaching out to people who otherwise society doesn’t want to see. If that is not the spirit of this time of year, I don’t know what is.
Self-serving Knicks president Phil Jackson said Carmelo Anthony “would be better off somewhere else.”
Anthony’s wife, La La Anthony, revealed a different point of view when asked whether she’d divorce the star forward and about trade rumors involving him.
La La on The Wendy Williams Show:
Not right now. I’m not. You know, marriages are tough. And you know that. We all know that. It’s filled with ups and downs. And we’re just going through a time right now.
But him and I are the best of friends, and our number one commitment is to our son, Kiyan. We have to set an example to Kiyan, and that’s what’s most important to me. So, I would absolutely never say a bad thing about my husband. That is my son’s father, and he is an amazing dad. I could not ask for a better dad.
Every day, I see a different team. That’s for sure.
The most important thing with just that is to stay close to Kiyan. That’s my priority. That’s his priority.
So, wherever he ends up, of course we want him to be happy.
I am hood, and I want to stay close to the hood. So, New York is definitely where I’m at and where I’m staying.
The Knicks are lousy, and working for Jackson is no treat. Carmelo knows all that.
But this might reveal why Anthony hasn’t – and, according to Jackson, still won’t – waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal from New York. There are things that matter more than basketball.
Pending free agents almost always express loyalty to their current team, whether or not they actually plan to re-sign.
That’s what makes Danilo Gallinari‘s comments stand out.
Gallinari, via Premium Sport, as translated by E. Carchia of Sportando:
“Nuggets are not my first choice but they are exactly at the same level of the other teams. Denver’s advantage is that they can offer me a five-year contract while other franchises can offer me a four-year deal. Nuggets are at the same level of the others” Gallinari said.
One way to look at this: If a player stating a desire to return to his team – even if he plans to leave – is the baseline, Gallinari is definitely gone from Denver.
Another: Gallinari is being exceedingly honest, and we should just take his comments at face value.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made the All-Defensive second team at forward with 35 voting points.
Paul Millsap missed the All-Defensive second team at forward with… 35 voting points
The difference? Antetokounmpo had more first-team votes (seven to zero), and that was the tiebreaker. But not long ago, both would have made it.
The league changed its policy a few years ago to break ties rather than put both players on the All-Defensive team, league spokesman Tim Frank said.
In 2005, Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd tied for fourth among guards with 16 voting points each. Even though Wade had more first-team votes than Kidd (six to four), both made the All-Defensive second team.
In 2013 (Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah) and 2006 (Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd), two players tied for the first team. So, the league awarded six first-team spots and still put five more players on the second team.
I was definitely against that. A six-man first team should have meant a four-man second team – four guards, four forwards and two centers still honored.
But with a tie for the second team, I could go either way. Having a clear policy in place – and it seems there was – is most important.
It’s just a bad break for Millsap, who, in my estimation, deserved to make an All-Defensive team based on his production.
Tired of those videos where NBA players effortlessly swat kids’ shots?
Victor Oladipo and this kid help provide an alternative: