A 10-day contract in the NBA is often really a tryout. A first date. Let’s see if this works for both of us and if it does we can continue, if not we go our separate ways.
Jason Collins got a 10-day contract with the Nets, which made him the first openly gay player in any of Americas’ four major team sports. It was almost assumed around the league from the second Brooklyn brought him in they planned to keep him past that first contract.
That is the Nets thinking, reports the New York Post. That in spite of the fact Collins struggled some against Portland in his second game as a Net.
“Game action is game action,” Collins said afterward. “But tonight, Portland attacked from the start, and it was hard to try to get back into the game.”
Collins’ 10-day contract expires early next week, but the Nets are all but certain to keep him for the rest of the season.
Collins has proven popular — the NBA isn’t really in the habit of releasing jerseys of guys on 10-day contacts (for obvious reasons) but they did with Collins and his was the biggest selling jersey on Tuesday. Collins wears the No. 98 in honor of Matthew Sheppard, a gay boy beaten and killed in Wyoming, a story that became national news.
But that’s not why the Nets signed him, rather they brought him in to provide post defense, set tough screens and provide some size inside. Two games in they are relatively happy with how he is doing on that count. Most likely Collins is given a second 10-day contract before his option is picked up for the rest of the season.
But that is the path the Nets seem to be on.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.