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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: one-and-done a “travesty” for college hoops

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likes experienced players, part of the reason he picked San Antonio to knock off Golden State.

And it’s one reason he thinks John Wooden wouldn’t have the same enjoyment or success if he were coaching today. His coach at UCLA would have disliked how the one-and-done era has changed the college basketball game that the Bruins ruled under Wooden.

“He wouldn’t have been able to do it now,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday in an interview at The Associated Press headquarters. “It’s a totally different circumstance now. Kids aren’t going to college to get an education and play ball. It’s one or the other.”

The NBA’s draft lottery is Tuesday and the team that gets the No. 1 pick will likely use it on a freshman, such as point guards Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. They might become All-Stars but they won’t arrive in the NBA with anywhere near the resume of Abdul-Jabbar, who won three championships in three seasons from 1967-69 – freshman were ineligible at the time – and was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player each time.

“They’re there less than six months. It’s not even six months and they’re gone,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It’s a travesty, I think. They’re just using the college system as a stepping stone to the NBA and that’s really unfortunate. I think an education is vital to having a good life and these guys aren’t getting that opportunity. It’s sad.”

Dressed in a dark blazer, blue tie and khaki slacks, the goateed Abdul-Jabbar spoke in a studio about his relationship with Wooden in his new book “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court.” The book details Wooden’s influence on his life as a player in college and years later as they became closer when Abdul-Jabbar returned to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers.

Wooden won 10 national championships, most by a men’s coach, but Abdul-Jabbar hopes readers will see that many of Wooden’s best lessons weren’t about sports.

“I hope that they get an understanding of the man, what he was all about and what he gave us in terms of an understanding of how to be good citizens, good husbands, good fathers,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “That was really what he was all about. He used basketball just as a metaphor to teach us about life and he did a great job.”

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s career scoring leader, is now 70 and does some work for ESPN. He picked the Spurs to beat the top-seeded Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

“I went with the Spurs because they have a more veteran team and the way that they play the game will work because they can play an inside game and an outside game,” he said. “Golden State is more of an outside shooting team and they’re very good at it. So that’s why they play the games. We get to go see them and find out if our speculation was accurate or way off base.”

It appeared it was going to be right on, at least for Game 1, when the Spurs built a 25-point lead. But they lost Kawhi Leonard to an ankle injury in the third quarter and Golden State rallied for a 113-111 victory.

“I think San Antonio can challenge them but they’re going to need Leonard if they’re going to take it all the way,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

Pistons sign Luis Montero to two-way contract

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons have signed Luis Montero to a two-way contract.

The team announced the deal Monday. The 6-foot-7 Montero played 49 games last season for the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Reno Bighorns of the NBA G League. He played in 12 NBA games with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015-16, averaging 1.2 points, 0.3 rebounds and 0.1 assists.

NBA teams are allowed two two-way players on their roster at any time, in addition to the 15-man, regular-season roster.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

LeBron James reportedly so frustrated with Kyrie Irving he is “tempted to beat his ass”

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Anyone else getting weary of the spin wars between the Kyrie Irving and LeBron James camps?

Irving thinks LeBron and his camp leaked the trade report and are trying to drag his good name through the mud. LeBron  — the man who led the way in teaching other players they should take control of their destiny and where they play — is angry that a player took control of his how destiny and is about to leave him high and dry. Right now both sides are trying to control the story — does Irving really envy Damian Lillard and John Wall‘s roles over his own, or is that spin? —  while fans come up with trade proposals. (No, a Kyrie for Carmelo Anthony trade is not happening.)

About the only thing that is clear is that this relationship is beyond repair. As evidence, we bring you the latest bit of spin, this from Stephen A. Smith’s “sources” as he spelled out on his radio show, (those sources are almost certainly are in the LeBron camp).

The full quote was: “If Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted to beat his ass.”

I imagine if they were face-to-face right now it would look like every other NBA “fight” — they would push each other then make sure other guys jumped between them and held them apart so they could jaw but not actually have to throw a punch.

And yes, I know it’s Smith and we should take what he says with a full box of Morton’s Kosher Salt, but he illustrates a point:

Right now, the fight between Kyrie and LeBron is the sides trying to control the narrative.

No doubt LeBron is frustrated, he is in the legacy building part of his career and the Cavaliers were the consensus best team in the East with a shot at a ring next season. No Kyrie — almost no matter who Cleveland gets back in a trade — means the Cavs take a step back (while the Warriors and every other team in contention got better).  LeBron feels hurt and a little betrayed and is spinning that.

Irving is within his rights to ask out. There are certainly a variety of reasons he wants out, but at the top of the list is he wanted to control his own destiny before LeBron left next summer (probably) and Kyrie was left as the star on a team built to go around LeBron. Not that Cleveland did anything wrong, that is exactly the kind of team the Cavaliers should have built, LeBron will go down as an All-Time top 5 player, and this team brought Cleveland its first ring in 54 years. That doesn’t mean Irving can’t read the writing on the wall and want out.

For now, the drama will not stop between these two — nor will the spinning.

Timberwolves put out “0 for 30” video featuring Dave Chappelle missing a lot of jumpers

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are doing some work on their home arena, the Target Center, and it just so happens they had a special brick layer that got them started in 2013.

That extra helper was none other than comedian Dave Chappelle.

The team released a video on their social media platforms this week featuring Chappelle taking a bunch of jumpers on their floor in 2013. With a shot form somewhere between Shawn Marion and Stephen Curry, Chappelle wasn’t exactly a long range gunner.

Via Twitter:

I mean, it seems a little ridiculous to put up a video of the guy from four years ago hitting bricks and equating that to helping you remodel your home arena, but I feel like Chappelle can probably take it.

Either way, good work by the social team over in Minnesota.

Draymond Green reportedly to face civil lawsuit over 2016 Lansing incident

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Last summer, just before going to camp for the Rio Olympics, Draymond Green got into some kind of altercation with Michigan State University football Jermaine Edmondson. Green allegedly slapped him during this. Green was arrested, but the prosecutors had better things to deal with, so Green’s charges were reduced to a noise violation, where Green had to pay a $500 fine and $60 restitution fee. Because it was a civil infraction, there is no “guilty” or “not guilty” plea entered. And that was the end of it.

Or so we thought.

According to Marc Spears of ESPN, a civil suit is about to stem from this.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, facing a civil lawsuit believed to be tied to an incident last July in which he allegedly slapped a former Michigan State football player, is confident things “will be resolved soon.”…

The expectation from Green’s camp is that the lawsuit is in response to a sequence of events last July that culminated in Green allegedly slapping then-Spartan player Jermaine Edmondson. The alleged slap followed a verbal dispute outside an East Lansing bar in the early morning of July 10, 2016, and was preceded by an encounter two nights earlier allegedly involving Edmondson, his girlfriend, Green and two of the NBA star’s associates.

I’m not going to speculate on the validity of the claim, or the motive for the suit, I was not hanging out in a Lansing bar last July and I am not in the plaintiff’s head.

I can say, as someone who spent years as a young reporter covering courts and police, these kinds of cases are tough for the plaintiff to prove his/her case and get paid. While in a civil case the standard to reach drops to “a preponderance of the evidence,” the plaintiff has to prove damages.  The fact prosecutors wanted nothing to do with the case usually is a sign it’s a difficult case to make.