P.J. Hairston is a basketball player, and now he’s playing basketball.
As it should be.
Some of his problems (reckless driving, speeding) would have troubled him anywhere and others would have mattered only in certain states under certain conditions (marijuana). But his most-recent issue – and the one that has most substantially effected his career – matters only to the NCAA. The NBA doesn’t care who pays for whose rental cars.
Mostly, the NBA cares about who can play. And if Hairston’s D-League debut is any indication, Hairston can play.
Coming off the bench, Hairston led the Texas Legends with 22 points (on 16 shots, including 4-of-9 3-point shooting) and six steals.
Hairston is ranked No. 32 by Draft Express and No. 34 by ESPN, but if he keeps up this level of production, he’ll be a first-round pick, even in this loaded draft.
Washington Wizards rookie Glen Rice Jr. paved the way, getting drafted No. 35 last year after spending a season in the D-League following an ill-fated run at Georgia Tech. NBA teams increasingly see the D-League as a route to basketball’s highest level.
Rice performed well in the D-League over 48 games, though. This is only one for Hairston so far.
But there’s a long season ahead for Hairston to establish his value, and at least he has a chance to prove himself.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.