I still don’t get it, but it really seems to be happening and it may continue.
Using a guy who looks like the bassist for the heavy metal cover band that plays at your local bar, the Knicks are indeed recording what is said to and by Carmelo Anthony on the court, reports both the New York Post and ESPNNewYork.com (both of which follow up on a Star Ledger report from Monday).
From the ESPN report:
Owner James Dolan ordered Madison Square Garden technicians to place two microphones on opposite ends of the court, a move league sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard was put in place in order to protect Anthony.
It is not clear whether the recordings will continue, but sources tell Broussard that any move to paint them as Dolan “spying” on Anthony is “flat-out wrong.”
What word would you prefer? Eavesdropping? Snooping? Undercover investigation? (Okay, that’s two words.)
Apparently the word the Knicks like is “protecting.” The question really is what does Anthony need protecting from — the harsh comments of opposing players? I’ll grant you what Kevin Garnett reportedly said to ‘Melo — which led to ‘Melo trying to continue the “conversation” by the team bus and that led to a suspension — may have crossed the line of common decency, but he said it to get under Anthony’s skin and throw him off his game. It worked. Mission accomplished. Sending a tape to the league office will change nothing.
Fortunately for the Knicks, they have just one game this week and it is in London.
What remains clear in all of this is that Anthony is Dolan’s guy — remember then GM Donnie Walsh was playing hardball and not willing to ship half the team to Denver to get Anthony, but Dolan overruled him to get his guy. This is the New York born star (Red Hook area of Brooklyn) come home to save the Knicks. This is Dolan’s story, his guy, his deal, and if you mess with Anthony Dolan will want to protect him.
Except, Anthony needs to protect himself.
Without question, some kneeling/raised fist protests of the National Anthem are coming to the NBA once preseason games start in a couple of weeks. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers has already come out saying “there’s no more American thing to do than to protest.” Teams are discussing the need for social change.
While the NBA has a rule that players must stand for the anthem, the NBA and players’ union are already discussing exactly how and if that rule should be enforced.
While some players will kneel, Russell Westbrook will not be among them. Probably. Here’s is what he told Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.
Obviously, Westbrook is leaving himself some wiggle room here. Also, if there is one NBA star you can expect to be blunt about the situation when talking to the media, it’s Westbrook (when he feels like opening up to the media, anyway).
I expect few if any of the NBA’s top stars — the guys with the biggest international brands — will join the protests. However, there certainly will be players taking part. For a league that sees itself as progressive — and has a more politically progressive fan base compared to other American sports — how the league handles this will be watched.
Tributes have poured in all over the NBA world since Kevin Garnett announced his retirement on Friday afternoon — from other players, commissioner Adam Silver and media members who covered him. Garnett and Tom Thibodeau have a lengthy history together: Thibodeau coached Garnett in Boston as an assistant under Doc Rivers, and they won a championship in 2008. This spring, Thibodeau took over as head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted Garnett, saw his best years and saw him end his career. Thibodeau released a heartfelt statement on Saturday congratulating Garnett:
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Kevin for all of his great accomplishments and contributions to the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, and for me personally with the Boston Celtics. Kevin combined great talent with a relentless drive and intelligence. I will always cherish the memories of the way in which he led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. His willingness to sacrifice and his unselfishness led us to that title. Kevin will always be remembered for the way in which he played the game. His fierce competitiveness, his unequalled passion for the game, and the many ways in which he cared about this team was truly special. KG is without question the all-time best player to wear a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, and he is also one of the best to ever play this game.”
It’s a shame that Thibodeau didn’t get to coach Garnett again in Minnesota, but the team is in good hands with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Indiana Pacers have been a franchise for 50 years — 10 in the ABA and 40 in the NBA. To celebrate this anniversary, they’ve unveiled a new patch that they will wear on their uniforms this season. You can check it out below:
It looks pretty sleek, combining the Pacers’ logo with the zero in “50.” It’s subtle and well-designed.
This summer, three of this generation’s defining NBA players, and three of the greatest players of all time, called it a career: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The latter two in particular had a lot in common, as psychotic competitors and polarizing personalities. They had many memorable battles over the years, including the Lakers-Celtics Finals in 2008 and 2010 (they each won one) and the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, when Garnett was in Minnesota. On Saturday afternoon, a day after Garnett officially announced his retirement, Kobe paid tribute to him with a tweet.
The next time they’ll be together is 2021, when they go into the Hall of Fame together.