Author: Brett Pollakoff

Russell Westbrook

WATCH: Russell Westbrook surprises single mother by giving her the car he won as All-Star MVP


When Russell Westbrook was named MVP of the 2015 All-Star game following his 41-point performance, he didn’t just get to take home that shiny commemorative trophy.

The MVP winner also gets a new car courtesy of Kia, one of the NBA’s sponsors.

But young millionaires tend to be a little bit flashier with their automotive choices, which means the cars won are usually given away or donated to a worthy cause.

Westbrook used the opportunity to give his car to a single mother in the Oklahoma City community, in what was a kind, generous and touching gesture.

Watch how it all happened by checking out the video clip above.

Clippers release video to encourage voters to name DeAndre Jordan as Defensive Player of the Year

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks

Doc Rivers has been going on about DeAndre Jordan’s case for Defensive Player of the Year for quite some time, and even publicly defended Jordan when a piece appeared on a major national media outlet explaining why his impact on the defensive end of the floor isn’t quite as it seems.

Now, the Clippers have joined in the action, releasing a video with highlights and statistics in support of Jordan’s Defensive Player of the Year candidacy.

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The argument against Jordan essentially comes down to his on/off numbers where rebounding percentage is concerned; as Tom Haberstroh detailed, L.A.’s rebounding on the offensive floor is impacted far more when Jordan sits than it is on the defensive end where the award is based.

There are also other worthy candidates in guys like Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, Kawhi Leonard and potentially others. But there is no clear-cut choice, so the Clippers creating a bit of propaganda in favor of their guy is relatively harmless.

[via Eye on Basketball at CBS Sports]

Celtics waived Shavlik Randolph because he wouldn’t commit to a non-guaranteed deal for next season

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics

The Celtics have had an on-again, off-again relationship with Shavlik Randolph since 2013, and his desire for some stability heading into next season has caused it to be off once again.

Boston waived Randolph on Monday in order to sign Chris Babb to a multi-year deal, which is something Randolph wasn’t interested in because it would have been non-guaranteed for next season.

From Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders:

That afternoon the team discussed the situation with Randolph, who had an expiring contract, and he expressed he would not want to sign a non-guaranteed deal for the upcoming season. Randolph would like to keep his options open, including the possibility of returning overseas to China with the intention of returning to the NBA in February, as he has done in the past.

“As much as I would have loved to finish the season and playoff run with this team, I just wasn’t willing to commit to a non-guaranteed deal for next season,” Randolph told Basketball Insiders. “So they had to do what was best for them, which I completely understand.”

Randolph and the Celtics parted ways for a second time on good terms, he said.

“I said, ‘I don’t know who I’ll be with next season or whatever is going to go on, but I want you guys to know I would welcome any opportunity to come back here if it presented itself,’” Randolph recounted. “They told me the feeling was the same, I was always welcome back here, and that was something we could explore down the road.”

This is a smart move by Randolph, because it puts him in a position where he essentially has nothing to lose.

Agreeing to a non-guaranteed deal would mean he would have to wait for training camp to prove himself and potentially catch on, and it would also open him up to being waived at any point next season, without being paid for the rest of the year.

Now, Randolph can try to get a guaranteed deal to play in the NBA or overseas, and if nothing comes along that’s to his liking, he can always get a training camp invite on a non-guaranteed deal when that time comes — either in Boston, or somewhere else.

NBA to become first U.S. professional sports league to visit Cuba

2013 Global Games - Shanghai

The NBA will become the first U.S. professional sports league to visit Cuba, when it hosts a basketball development camp in Havana later this month.

From the official release:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced today that they will host their first joint basketball development camp in Havana, Cuba April 23-26. 

Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro will lead the four-day camp with the Cuban Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and community outreach projects in association with the Cuban sports ministry, INDER, and the Cuban Basketball Federation (CBF). …

“We’ve seen the bridges that basketball can build between cultures,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum.  “We look forward to sharing the values of our game with Cuban youth and learning together through the common language of sports.”

President Barack Obama ordered relations with Cuba to be normalized in December, via the Associated Press.

The NBA has long been working to increase its global audience, and has played both exhibition and regular season games internationally in recent seasons.

Does kinesiology tape work? James Harden, Rockets’ trainer believe that it does.

Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder

James Harden is nearing the end of an incredible regular season campaign that’s worthy of MVP consideration, and his ability to stay healthy has been a primary reason for the Rockets’ overall success, when so many of his teammates have been lost for extended stretches due to various injuries.

Harden can be seen regularly sporting KT Tape on his right shoulder, but he isn’t injured — it’s a preventative measure to ensure those muscles and joints are behaving as they should.

Kinesiology tape in general has many in the industry skeptical as to whether it provides an actual health benefit, but Harden is a believer, as is Rockets’ Head Athletic Trainer Jason Biles.

“I’ve been in the NBA now eight years, and I’ve been using it probably seven or eight years, right when I came in,” Biles told “I like the KT Tape specifically because it promotes a sort of natural healing response, helping with swelling reduction, encouraging optimal movement and proper movement, the appropriate alignment of the joints. It gives the athlete great feedback of where their body is in space — we want them to be aware of if they’re in a vulnerable position, or if they’re in the proper position they can move optimally from.

“So, it’s the tape that we use for those things and also just to sort of encourage the movement that we would like. So if a joint tends to want to, say, become mal-aligned, then we can apply some tape to encourage the proper movement to achieve what the athlete needs on the court.”

A recent piece in the New York Times from Gretchen Reynolds isn’t so sure, and essentially says the claims of the tape providing concrete health benefits are, to this point, largely unsubstantiated.

“There is no solid, independent scientific evidence that kinesio tape does what it is supposed to do,” said Jim Thornton, the president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the head trainer at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. “It is possible that it has health benefits” like improving muscle flexibility and reducing pain, he added, “but we just don’t know yet.”

Scientifically, the jury may still be out. But if athletes believe it is helping, it can create a legitimate placebo effect, which ultimately can help to achieve the desired result.

“What I would say is that with the use of the tape these days, the athlete, it helps them psychologically to deal with feedback and support, and encourages their optimal movement,” Biles said. “Then, there’s immediate buy-in. So that’s really all that matters when it comes to the evidence that you need.

“We’ve used it on anything from ankle sprains to reduce edema, to help support the arches or the tendons and muscles in the feet and lower legs to encourage them to come back a little bit quicker, and it helps with that. We’ve used it for different tendinitises, whether it’s a common jumper’s knee, low back strains, cervical strains and shoulder strains, they seemed to really respond well to the tape. And one of the major benefits to the tape is postural awareness, and cueing the athlete to be in a good posture so that they can move correctly from that. I think that’s one of the major benefits.”

James Harden isn’t injured, and in fact has only missed one game all season (and that had nothing to do with his health). But he wears the tape anyway, simply as a preventative measure.

“It’s more injury prevention,” Biles said, when asked if the tape was treating a current injury Harden was experiencing. “We have used KT Tape on plenty of the athletes, including James, for injury. But the tape job you see on his shoulder is more for injury prevention. Obviously James is a very physical player, and so he takes a lot of contact on that right side. We just try to encourage as much stability there as we can.”

Harden is a wrecking ball when attacking the basket, and durability is the key to the way he plays the game. He’s made more free throws this season than any other player has attempted, so creating contact is extremely important. And even if the health benefits of the tape can’t be quantified just yet, Harden says the mental aspect of wearing it has been huge for him during what may end up being an MVP season.

“Whenever I’m sore, whether it’s my knee or my shoulder, putting the KT Tape on gets the blood flowing and circulating around my body,” Harden said. “I’m able to go out there and play free, not really thinking about injuries.

“It just gives me that confidence. It gives me confidence to go out there and not worry about getting injured. If you’re playing free and you’re confident, great things are going to happen on the court.”