Greg Hardy

Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy says he can beat LeBron one-on-one. Please.


When you’re the king of the mountain — and undoubtedly LeBron James is currently standing on top of the NBA mountain — everybody wants to knock you off.

That can be the other 29 teams in the league. That can be a legend who once stood in that spot and can’t let it go.

Or, that could be an athlete from a completely different discipline with delusions of grandeur.

Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy was a basketball player back in the day at Ole Miss, and he told the Charlotte Observer thinks he could beat LeBron one-on-one.

Q: If you went 1-on-1 with LeBron who would win?

A: How should I answer this question? …I would dominate that dude. Hands down, guaranteed win. And that’s my favorite player.

Q: Why?

A: I’m a beast…

I’m not saying I would beast him, but I would definitely win. I got a good shot, I got good handles, I got good size (6-foot-4, 275 pounds). I feel that we match up pretty well. I was a defensive player in college.

Hardy, stay in your lane.

We can break this down if you want. Hardy is a big man — 6’4”. 275 pounds — but he gives up four inches and a whole lot of quickness (with all due respect to Hardy) in this matchup. LeBron is not giving up much bulk. Hardy had enough skills to play DI ball, and maybe he can bull rush his way to a couple points in a matchup, but LeBron would own him with jumpers and drives and length.

Sometimes people underestimate how good NBA players are. Look at it this way: What happened when NBA role player Brian Scalabrine took on non-NBA guys one-on-one?

Hardy went on to say this was a response to the people who said LeBron could play DE in the NFL. But this kind of schoolyard retort makes Hardy look like he’s grabbing for attention, just the same as the people who think LeBron could play for the Cowboys next season.

Could LeBron walk onto the field and play defensive end in the NFL tomorrow? No. If he’d stuck with football maybe he could have made the league as a tight end, and only maybe, but LeBron wisely decided to make basketball his focus.

He stayed in his lane.

Tony Parker wants to play six more seasons with Spurs

Tony Parker
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Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.

Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.

Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”

That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)

Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.

But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.

I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.

Report: Pelicans signing Greg Smith

Greg Smith
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The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.

Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.

Enter Greg Smith.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.

But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.

Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.