It’s official, New York to host 2015 NBA All-Star Game

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We’ve known this was coming for a while but now it is official:

New York City — jointly the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and both the Knicks and Nets — will host the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Wednesday at a press conference in New York.

Brooklyn’s new Barclay’s Center will host the Friday and Saturday night events — the Rising Stars game (rookies and second year players), the skills competition and the Dunk Contest, among other events.

Madison Square Garden will host the 64th All-Star Game itself on Sunday.

“For that weekend, New York will be the capital of the basketball world,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

“This will be a unique event in NBA history, to have two teams co-hosting and sharing an All-Star Weekend,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “Although there are three days of events in the arenas we expect a week long celebration of basketball in the New York area involving all five boroughs.”

“To our friends in Brooklyn, like so many other times when New Yorkers put their differences aside for something bigger, we looking forward to giving our rivalry a rest — for a little bit — to ensure we deliver the very best All-Star experience the league has ever held,” said Knicks owner James Dolan at the press conference. Everyone laughed at that.

Both teams wanted to host the weekend and it took some negotiating and some arm twisting by the league and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to get to this compromise. Part of that is likely the All-Star Game returning to New York a handful of years after this with the roles reversed (Madison Square Garden hosting the preliminary events and the Barclay’s Center the main game).

“I don’t want to kill our leverage in negotiations, so I’m not going to say (that the game is certainly coming back to NYC), but given the cooperation and era of good will that this entire endeavor has delivered to us I don’t think it’s going to be a problem to have it here again and again and again if the league and the other owners want to do it,” Stern said.

While the situation is a little odd with co-hosting NBA is such a basketball Mecca that this event could be special. Even now players get up for games in New York — you ever watch Kobe Bryant at Madison Square Garden? — so the game has some real potential. And maybe even the dunk contest won’t suck.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.