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Stephen Curry calls for real conversation on veterans’ issues, not just kneeling

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Stephen Curry has had his name in the center of the swirling vortex of controversy that is President Donald Trump’s Twitter account — the president called out Curry and said he rescinded an invitation to the White House for the Warriors (trying to beat them to the punch, they were going to vote not to go).

Curry, like a lot of athletes (particularly in the NFL), have heard from fans who think they are disrespecting the flag, the nation, and veterans by protesting during the anthem, whether by locking arms (as many NBA teams do) or kneeling (an issue that would have faded by now if it wasn’t useful for the president to fan those flames).

On Veteran’s Day, Curry took to the Player’s Tribune in a thoughtful piece that calls for a real discussion of veterans’ issues — and flag protests are not on that list.

One of the most rewarding conversations that I’ve had this year was with a veteran — it was just the other night, actually. My wife, Ayesha, held the opening for her restaurant, and we all came out to eat dinner there and support her. And one of the guests who came in that night was a man named Michael, who was there with his wife. He came up and introduced himself, and we just got to talking.

He happened to have served in Afghanistan — and he told me about how much he had been through, both physically and mentally, just in trying to transition back into society, and into his daily life. He offered some advice to me, about how I could help to raise awareness about some of the serious issues that veterans are going through — for example, with the Veterans Affairs medical system, and how its administration is broken. And he educated me on demographics — telling me about how less than 1% of the population today serves in the military, which makes it a real struggle for veterans, as a political constituency, to get the representation that they need….

We hear all the time on TV and social media about “supporting our troops.” But it’s not just about saluting them or thanking them for their service at the airport — and it’s definitely not just about how we observe the national anthem. Michael told me that our veterans need real action. They need real help with medical services, and access to jobs, and readjusting to society….

So that’s why I’m writing this — that’s my plea to y’all for this Veterans Day: Let’s please not get lost in another one of these endless debates about who means what when they’re doing what, or who is disrespecting whom.

Instead, let’s respect — let’s celebrate — our veterans, by having a conversation about the actual ways that we as civilians, as their fellow Americans they’ve fought to protect, can hold up our end of the bargain. Let’s talk about the broken VA medical system, and traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD. But let’s also talk about homelessness, and unemployment, and mental health, and, yes, racial inequality.

Let’s talk about how we can do better, to make their lives easier.

Seconded.

Go read the entire article from Curry.

We are a nation that loves to be angry right now, and with that, we are easily distracted. Politicians across the spectrum see more short-term value in riling up their bases and using that anger than having rational conversations, ones that lead to —gasp! — compromise and real progress (not that compromise is always an option, see the Civil War as an example). Washington is deadlocked, but with virtually all of the House of Representatives in safe districts politicians can play to the fringes with little consequence. If change that will help veterans and other Americans is coming, it is coming from the bottom up.

We can and need to do better.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.

Three Things to Know: Angry Russell Westbrook sparks Thunder against Warriors

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. As a matter of housekeeping, this will be the last Three Things of this week, as we take a holiday break. Happy Thanksgiving!

1) Angry Russell Westbrook sparks Thunder we’ve been waiting for. Don’t make Russell Westbrook angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Unless you’re a Thunder fan, then you’ll love him. Westbrook came out with an edge we haven’t seen from him this season as he has tried to play nice and integrate Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Not Wednesday night. Wednesday night Kevin Durant and his Warriors came to town, and Westbrook was not taking it from anyone.

That sparked the Thunder team we have been waiting for all season. Westbrook finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and he was joined by Anthony with 22 points, and George with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals. The Thunder used a 22-10 first-quarter run to take the lead and never looked back, leading by 26 at one point and going on to win 108-91. This was by far the best the Thunder have looked all season as they have stumbled to a 7-9 start before Wednesday. Maybe this game was the spark they needed to start playing well at the end of games — they closed out well against Golden State. Maybe this was what the Thunder needed to find themselves and become the playoff threat to the Warriors we expected.

As for the Warriors… ¯_(ツ)_/¯. We haven’t said this about them this season (only the Cavaliers), but they looked disinterested much of the night (outside of Durant). Give credit to the Thunder, physical and aggressive defenses that can overplay the Warriors (and recover) give them trouble, and OKC did that. The Warriors just didn’t care to counter. They looked like a team coasting through a road trip (2-2 in their last 4), and when they ran into a quality, motivated team they didn’t have the gear. That doesn’t mean anything long-term, but it means they may be vulnerable during the season until they find their edge again. Whenever they flip the switch.

2) Miami ends Boston’s win streak at 16. For a couple of weeks now the Celtics had been living dangerously — they had to come back from double-digits to win four of their last five games heading into Wednesday night.

Their luck ran out against the Miami Heat.

Miami raced out to a double-digit first-quarter lead, pushed that lead to 19 and were comfortably ahead most of the game, and we kept waiting for the Boston run. It came in the fourth, a 13-0 push that made it a game again. However, Miami responded with a 5-0 run of their own, Dion Waiters seemed especially motivated to take on Kyrie Irving, and the Heat held on for the 104-98 win. Goran Dragic had 27 points, Waiters 26 and 6 assists.

Boston’s streak was bound to end, but they established themselves as a strong defensive team during that run, and the squad in the East best poised to knock off LeBron James and the Cavaliers. We’re a long way from the games that matter in that push — the Cavs have won six in a row, and are playing defense again — but we know the pecking order for who gets a shot at the champs. Boston will get their shot, and early on they look like they will be ready.

3) Patrick Beverley is out for the season and the Los Angeles Clippers have some hard questions to answer. For the first four games of the season, we saw the potential of what this Clipper roster could be — four head-turning wins. Then the injuries started to pile up — Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, and starting point guard Patrick Beverley — and so did the losses. Nine in a row, until they picked up a road win in Atlanta Wednesday.

Now comes a brutal blow — the Clippers have lost point guard Patrick Beverley for the season. He had microfracture surgery on his knee and will be out until next season.

That’s a real blow to the Clippers, and it means they may need to answer some harsh questions. If the losses continue to pile up and this is clearly not a playoff team by the time we get to Christmas — a reality that became a more possible on Wednesday — do they need to trade free agent to be DeAndre Jordan? Other teams are already calling and asking if he is available in a trade, if the Clippers think they can’t resign him this summer (or at least the odds are lower than they like) they have to consider the move. Los Angeles wouldn’t get a lot back for a rental, but they would get something to help the rebuild they need to consider.

The other question: How much longer is Doc Rivers the coach. The sense from many around the league is the reason he wasn’t let go when he was stripped of his GM powers this summer was he is making more than $10 million a year and had a couple of years left on his deal, and that was too much for even Steve Ballmer to just eat. Plus Rivers has shown he can coach. Whether he can coach this team still is a different question entirely. Right now, this team is not responding to him, and the sense around the league is the question is when, not if, he will be let go.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.