You hear people talk about what is different in the NBA and the European leagues. The NBA has more and superior athletes. Rather than rely on that, the European leagues play a system more dependent on team play and fundamentals, plus bigs who can step away from the basket and score.
Former Utah Jazz player Andrei Kirilenko played for CSKA Moscow in his native Russia last year but is returning to the NBA now, to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And he made an interesting observation about what is different to Utah’s Deseret News.
“I’m working a lot on my physical condition,” Kirilenko said. “It’s the most important thing in the NBA. My game is very energetic. As long as I’m in good shape, I’m running. That’s my game is running.”
In Europe there are more practices but fewer games and less of a travel grind. The NBA game is both more athletically demanding and more of a grind.
It’s interesting. I’ve heard the similar things from NBA players and even NHL players talking about the differences in minor and major leagues — conditioning, and a willingness to really push to get the most out of your body, is a part of the separation. There is talent, there is the IQ of the game, but conditioning is part.
And Kirilenko says he’ll be ready in Minnesota.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.