101_Chris Paul Unveils Jordan CP3.VIII

Chris Paul discusses his signature shoe, hoops with media at launch of his Jordan Brand CP3 VIII (VIDEO)

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NEW YORK — Chris Paul is way more into sneakers than you are.

That became evident almost immediately at the launch event for his latest signature shoe from Jordan Brand, the CP3.VIII, which took place in Manhattan on Wednesday.

“A lot of the shoes I wear during the year, I actually have a NikeID account, and I pay for them,” Paul said. “I go, and I make ’em, and I pay for ’em — just because it’s fun to do, and it’s a lot easier than calling somebody and telling them what I want. I can just go sit at the computer and do it myself.”

Plenty of NBA athletes have signature shoe deals in place, but few are more passionate about the process or as knowledgable about the intricate details of those shoes than Paul is. The interest is genuine, and you can tell that he would be just as engaged even if he wasn’t one of the best basketball players on the planet.

“The best part of having your own shoe is actually putting things into your shoe that people don’t know about — unless you tell them,” Paul said, before recounting some of the insane details that were included on previous versions, and then explaining some that are unique to his latest signature model.

On the inside of the tongue, for example, is a design that’s actually a family tree. And there’s a Chevron logo on the bottom of the sole as a tribute to Paul’s grandfather, who had a gas station that Paul worked at when he was younger. (This actually appears on every one of Paul’s signature sneakers.)

But as with all signature shoes, the design wouldn’t be anything if it wasn’t backed up by an elite level of performance.

Jordan Brand has been going with its new Flight Plate technology in its top-of-the line basketball shoes for the past couple of years, including in the Jordan XX9, which we discussed at length here recently. Paul, however, prefers the Podulite cushioning, and kept it in the latest edition because that’s what he’s become accustomed to feeling in his sneakers over the years.

“I know that the other shoes went to the Flight Plate. Obviously my game is not really about flight,” he told me with a laugh. “It’s more about that comfortability for me. I know what I like, and know what I’m used to, and I think that the Podulon and Podulite technology has been very successful with the shoe. Some of the biggest feedback I usually get from my shoe is how comfortable it is, so I wanted to keep that.”

A full recap of the event can be seen in the video clip above, which includes Paul discussing a specific feature of the shoe that he feels gives him a significant advantage. It also features highlights from a game of pickup at the wear test portion of the event, where he joined in the fun and casually led his team to victory while exerting maybe 10 percent of the effort he’s capable of — an act of kindness, really, just to make us believe that we might have actually had a chance.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks at Democratic National Convention (VIDEO)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 06: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks at the South Los Angeles Get Out The Vote Rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Leimert Park Village Plaza on June 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. The presidential hopeful is attending a series of campaign stops on the eve of the California presidential primary election, where polls indicate a close divide between Clinton supporters and those of Democratic rival Senator Bernie Sanders.   (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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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:

Kevin Durant denies report he told Russell Westbrook he was returning to Oklahoma City

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Spurs agree to two-year deal with free agent forward David Lee

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 01:  David Lee #42 of the Dallas Mavericks during the first half at American Airlines Center on March 1, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Lee will have a player option in the second year of his deal, which will be worth the veteran’s minimum.

Lee, 33, considered more lucrative deals elsewhere, but committed to the Spurs’ opportunity to win a championship and play a backup role to LaMarcus Aldridge andPau Gasol.

General manager “R.C [Buford] and coach [Gregg] Popovich put a lot of time and energy to give David a visual of how much they wanted him and would use him,” Bartelstein told The Vertical. “A lot of people talk about taking less money, and not many people do it, so the Spurs get a lot of credit for selling David on joining their organization.”

After winning a championship with the Warriors in 2015, Lee was dealt to Boston last offseason, where he fell out of the rotation quickly. He was bought out midseason and signed with the Mavericks. He was solid in Dallas, but at his age and with almost no defensive ability, he didn’t draw much interest on the market. In San Antonio, he likely won’t have a big role, but he’s a solid veteran scorer in the frontcourt off the bench in limited minutes.

Bulls sign guard Spencer Dinwiddie

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 13: Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Detroit Pistons in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on April 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Pistons defeated Cleveland 112-110 in overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.

The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.

The Bulls announced the move Thursday.