Kobe explains why he votes (and that he liked Sex and the City)

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We are less than a week away from the start of the NBA season. We are two weeks away from something far more important — a presidential election. And beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue you’ll have the chance to vote on who represents you in congress down to local issues on schools and much more. Things that impact your every day life.

Voter turnout in the United States is abysmal — unless you’re talking Dancing With the Stars. Then it’s great. But for the leader of the free world, not so much.

Kobe Bryant was one of those people who didn’t vote, but in a personal blog on iVillage he explains why that changed for him and how empowering voting is.

That’s a powerful feeling, one that I’ve taken for granted in the past. In the past I believed that not exercising my right to vote would not make a difference in who became the next president so why should I take the time to learn the issues? I’d rather be shooting hoops! The change occurred when Vanessa and I had our babies. Neither of us grew up in politically charged households so the issues weren’t things we were necessarily excited to read about and discuss to say the least. It was ESPN for me and “Carrie Fever” (Sex and the City) for her. (Yes, I watched the show and loved it… It was quite “informative.”)

As parents, the importance of the world we live in became a priority. Nothing is more important than the future of our little munchkins. They are now nine and six and are learning about the civil rights movement and the fight for women’s rights so they naturally have questions. Why were African Americans forced to sit in the back of the bus? Why couldn’t women vote?

The most important answer we can give them outside of the ones found in our history pages is that our world has CHANGED for the better because individuals fought for their rights while inspiring others to do the same.

First things first — I watched Sex and the City too and will defend that show. Well, not the ending or the second movie, but for the most part. I’ll stand with Kobe here. That was genuinely good television.

Not to go all eighth grade American history but…

We are a very lucky people — we get to have a say in our government. If a newly formed democracy on the other side of the world held and election and had our voter turnout the 24-hour news stations and talk radio would rip them. Rightfully. You can say the candidates don’t inspire you or that you don’t make a difference, but that’s not good enough. If enough people believe what you do you can change your town, your state, and much more. If you walk away, everyone else gets to make that choice for you.

Just get out and vote on Nov. 6. Then get home to watch the Detroit vs. Denver game that night. They don’t overlap.

Klay Thompson goes up for 360 dunk in exhibition… and he’s not a dunker (VIDEO)

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Klay Thompson has an amazing skill set — one of the best pure shooters in the league, he can put the ball on the floor and create, and he’s a very good perimeter defender.

He’s not a dunker. Oh, he can dunk, but he’s not the guy you’re inviting to the Dunk Contest.

Case in point, this video out of China where Thompson was part of an exhibition and tried to show off his dunking skills.

Thompson’s shoe sponsor is China-based Anta, which explains why he’s there playing some exhibition ball. In case you missed it, Thompson had a Finals shoe released.

Those are about as good as the 360 dunk.

Sixers will talk contract extension for Joel Embiid this summer, want to lock him up

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Could Joel Embiid be Philadelphia’s Stephen Curry?

No, I don’t mean taking 30-foot bombs that demoralize opponents (although, no doubt Embiid is game for trying it). I mean in having a contract extension off his rookie deal for less than the max, a value contract that allows the Sixers the cap room to secure a title contender around him.

After three seasons in the NBA, Joel Embiid is eligible for a contract extension this summer (one that would be negotiated now but not kick in until the 2018-19 season). Teams lock up their stars at this point, and Embiid is that — he was dominant in the 31 games he played. But it’s 31 games in three seasons, how much do the Sixers want to pay here?

Sixers owner Joshua Harris said extending Embiid is a priority for the team this summer, speaking at a press conference, via the Courier Times.

“Look, I’d just say we want Joel to be on the team for a long time,” Harris said. “We want us all to grow old together. That’s the way I would put it.”

A max contract for Embiid would be five years at about $130 million, an average annual salary of $26 million. Because of his injury history, would he be willing to sign five years at $100 million, maybe with an opt-out after four? That extra cap space may not sound like a lot, it’s not a Curry-level savings, but it would help the Sixers’ team building.

If the two sides can’t reach a deal by Oct. 31 (the deadline), Embiid will play out this season then be a restricted free agent next season. If he stays healthy, he will get a max deal from another team that the Sixers would just match (the Sixers and Embiid could also reach a deal).

The Sixers are not about to let Embiid go, they have their young core they believe they can contend with in a few years. Plus he is a fan favorite. The only question left is cost.

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
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Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

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This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.