New @NBA basketballs are #tacky

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There are technical reasons for #s and @s in social media, but when those symbols begin unironically invading other methods of communication, it’s annoying.

@NBA can try to jam this down our throats, but it’s a turnoff #marketing #business #hashtag

NBA official release:

The NBA announced today that the @NBA handle will be added to the official Spalding game ball beginning with the 2014-15 NBA season. The NBA is the first professional sports league to include its social media handle on its official game ball.

The @NBA handle, which will appear directly under the “Official Game Ball” wording on the ball, represents the league’s global social media community of more than 660 million likes and followers combined – one of the largest social media communities in the world.

“The game is why we have 660 million followers, and our fans know @NBA is a must-follow for unprecedented access to our game, more insight into our teams, and unique behind-the-scenes content with our players throughout the entire year,” said NBA Senior Vice President of Digital Media, Melissa Rosenthal Brenner.  “The ball is the instantly recognizable symbol of our game, and now our fans have a place there too, where they belong.”

The official game ball is not changing and will be identical to last season with the exception of the @NBA addition.  Spalding has been the Official Game Ball of the NBA since 1983.

This is not like when the @NBA introduced #newballs a few years ago. Those, like the @FIBA balls, had a different feel. It’s in line with @AdamSilver adding his #signature, a purely #superficialchange that @nobody will notice in the long run.

If these #newballs accomplish anything, they’ll distract you from tackier changes that lie ahead.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).