There are plenty of NBA guys who will tell you all about their big money charitable foundations. For many of them it is a tax write-off and a chance to get some good PR but something they barely pay attention to, while there is a handful who are serious about the cause they focus on. That said, all of them love to do good in front of the cameras.
Which is why this story about Wizards rookie Otto Porter, out of a letter to the Washington Post, is so fantastic.
Porter is a Georgetown guy who stopped by a D.C. sandwich shop, and we’ll let the letter tell the rest.
After about 25 minutes (of the homeless guy asking people for food), Otto Porter Jr., the Georgetown basketball star and the Washington Wizards’ newest first-round draft pick, drove up, hopped out of his car and entered the shop. Mr. Porter soon exited with his sandwich and drink — but also with a sandwich, a bag of chips and a drink for the homeless man. Mr. Porter then sat down next to the man, and they both enjoyed their sandwiches while making small talk.
The letter writer repeats the old cliché — our true character is revealed with what we do when we think nobody is looking. In that case, Porter comes off as more caring and compassionate than most.
Both as media and as a society, we can focus too much on the negative — the players and coaches who get DUIs, who get arrested for a fight, who burn through all their cash. Not just with NBA players but with celebrities of every walk. But there are plenty of them who are good people who are good fathers/mothers, who are quietly active helping the needy one way or another, who are living lives we’d be proud to have our children aspire to. Those get overlooked all to often.
It’s nice to put a spotlight on the good for a change. We could use more of it.
Now that former Heat assistant David Fizdale has accepted the Grizzlies’ head coaching job, he’s starting to put together his staff. One name to keep an eye on, according to John Martin of ESPN 92.9 in Memphis: J.B. Bickerstaff, who served as the Rockets’ interim coach this season after the team fired Kevin McHale in November.
The Rockets were a chemistry disaster this season, but Bickerstaff is highly regarded around the NBA in coaching circles. He was a candidate to keep the coaching job in Houston when the Rockets’ front office began their search, but he withdrew his name from consideration when he started receiving interest around the league as a lead assistant. It sounds like Memphis is one of the teams going after him, and he’d be a good hire for Fizdale’s staff.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr called Thompson “ridiculous.” That may be an understatement.
Thompson had 41 points, hit an NBA record 11 three-pointers in a playoff game, and the Golden State Warriors don’t force a Game 7 without him.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob may have had the best response, he drops to his knees and does the “we’re not worthy” bow before Thompson in the hallway postgame. (As there are reports a return trip to the Finals again could be worth $40 million to the franchise, Lacob should be bowing to Thompson for making that even possible.)
Hat tip Eye on Basketball.
The Bucks have a promising young core — led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson, and Kris Middleton — but one that took a step back this past season. Setbacks can mean changes in the power structure of an organization, and there are changes coming to Milwaukee.
However, not in the coaching ranks — Jason Kidd isn’t going anywhere, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.
There will be changes further up the ladder.
John Hammond, the GM who was the architect of the current roster, has just one year left on his current contract, and the Bucks are bringing in Utah’s Justin Zanik as a GM in waiting, according to Wojnarowski.
Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.
Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise’s basketball operations.
The key is can Zanik and Kidd work together — Kidd has consistently pushed for more power in personnel decisions.
Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have been aggressive since buying the team, and you can expect Zanik will be under orders to get this team back to the playoffs and back on an upward trajectory. That may just take time as all their young talent comes together. Well, that and they have to figure out how to make Greg Monroe fit with everyone else.
“Klay Thompson was ridiculous. His shooting was some of the most incredible shooting you will ever see.”
That was how Warrior coach Steve Kerr described Thompson’s night — a playoff record 11 three pointers on his way to 41 points, sparking Golden State’s Game 6 win on the road. It wasn’t just the threes, it was the degree of difficulty on some of those shots — he was just in the zone. Not the Blake Griffin commercial zone, the real one.