Until Wednesday, if you asked people from Argentina about God, you probably got an answer about Lionel Messi.
But now Argentina is buzzing because Buenos Aires native and Cardinal Jorge Mario Begoglio is now Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church worldwide.
Among those pretty excited is Argentina’s greatest basketball player Manu Ginobili, who was practicing with the San Antonio Spurs before Thursday’s game against Dallas, and talked about the pope, according to Spurs Nation at the Express-News.
“It is incredible,” Ginobili said after this morning’s shootaround. “We were watching and when we heard the name I said, ‘What? Did we hear it right?’
“We were all in shock. The country is going crazy….
“An Argentinean being in charge of a billion people is not something that happens often,” Ginobili said. “Catholicism is the main religion in my country and, of course, it is a big thing.”
So if Ginobili hits some miracle shots in the playoffs, or just seems to get all the calls, we can now blame someone higher up than David Stern.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.