Author: Brett Pollakoff

LeBron James

LeBron’s personal barber: ‘It’s all his hair’


Let’s start here: I don’t care one bit about the hairline of LeBron James.

But for whatever reason, it has been a hotly-debated topic among fans for several seasons.

There have been dissections of the sizes and angles of the headbands that James has worn over the years, and side-by-side photo comparisons made (like the one below from Sporting News) to try to prove that work has been done.

But in a feature story from Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, the personal barber for LeBron swears what we’re seeing is all natural.

Barber Nick Castemanos has grown tired of getting asked over and over again about the hairline of his most famous client, LeBron James.

“There is no dye. No additives. No preservatives,” Castemanos told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Thursday. “Everyone thinks he’s dying his hair using [temporary hair colorings] Bigen or Black Ice. It’s all his hair. They still don’t believe me. I get Bigen comments all the time.

“I’ve become numb to it. It used to bother me. It’s not easy to hear that.”

Bigen is the stuff that, when used in excess, can make you look ridiculous — just ask Carlos Boozer about that. But evidently, when used properly, it could be responsible for fixing a hairline’s problems.

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. of The Root:

In a layman’s hands, Bigen is nothing more than semipermanent hair dye. But in the hands of a master barber, Bigen becomes a fountain of inky youth applied in such a way that a razor-sharp hairline can be shaped and manipulated, or tufts of hair sprouted on the face look like a full mass of beard. Hairlines are sculpted tightly back into their starting blocks; beards become so sharply angled that pro skiers would be wary of those slopes.

It appears as though something has happened to make LeBron’s hairline snap back into shape. If it was a transplant procedure of some kind, then technically, the hair we’re now seeing on his head would indeed be “all his.”

As I mentioned at the top, I couldn’t care less about this. But for those who continue to be obsessed, you can check out the photo below and decide for yourself.


WATCH: Referee Joey Crawford tells player to ‘shut up’ during Game 4 of NBA Finals

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was the 50th officiated by longtime referee Joey Crawford, and while he managed to stay out of the spotlight for the most part, he did have one memorable exchange.

Crawford was caught telling either Cavaliers big man Timofey Mozgov or Warriors defensive ace Draymond Green to “do me a favor and shut up,” and while this may not seem to be the most professional way of communicating, keep in mind that officials are often berated by players and coaches throughout the game, and are subjected to hearing far worse.

Make sure to check out Warriors’ assistant coach Alvin Gentry taking all of this in on the sidelines; his reaction, a combination of shock and amusement, is priceless.

Report: Kings’ employees had no idea Vlade Divac was in charge until they heard it through the media days later

Vlade Divac

When the Kings hired Vlade Divac and named him the Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations, it was originally believed his role would be more on the business side of things.

Once it became clear that ownership brought him in to run the basketball side, however, those currently in the front office — adviser Chris Mullin and GM Pete D’Alessandro — bolted for better opportunities.

But it appeared to be a messy transition.

From Tom Ziller of SB Nation:

The Kings’ franchisee has never stopped tinkering with his front office since acquiring the team in May 2013, eventually adding enough members that no one outside the walls really knew who reported to whom. (The midseason hiring of George Karl, a known personnel meddler from the sidelines, only complicated the issue.) D’Alessandro showed his hand by offering a “no comment” when asked about Divac’s arrival once it became clear Vlade would be more a decision-maker than a community ambassador.

This is the craziest thing about Divac’s arrival: According to league sources, no one but Divac and Ranadive actually understood he’d be in a powerful basketball operations position until a few days after the announcement. It was assumed that because Divac has extremely limited front office experience — one year as a scout for the Lakers — and deep business connections, he’d be a glad-hander instead of a personnel boss. Even folks in the front office, according to sources, were unclear Divac had personnel power until the big man said as much in the media and Ranadive confirmed. Imagine getting a new boss and not realizing it until a few days after s/he arrives. That’s some serious professional whiplash.

The organization can obviously operate however it chooses, but the Kings franchise has a long history of handling things poorly and making questionable decisions.

Hopefully for the fans in Sacramento, Divac can finally provide some stability while working toward achieving a sustained measure of success.

WATCH: Kristaps Porzingis impresses in workout for league execs


Kristaps Porzingis is projected to be a top-10 pick in the June 25 NBA Draft, although the way he impressed in front of league scouts and executives during a workout on Friday at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, he could end up being selected much higher.

Porzingis is 7’1″, but shot the ball from NBA three-point distance consistently and with ease. He also showed the ability to knock down jumpers from midrange, which will make him a potential force in pick-and-pop situations.

In addition to the shot-making ability, Porzingis showed a nice touch inside, and went through his workout with a high level of energy while ferociously attacking the rim whenever he got the chance.

One scout believes Porzingis is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, and is clearly better than Karl-Anthony Towns. It’s tough to envision teams passing on Towns or Jahlil Okafor with the first couple of selections, and the Sixers are heavy with bigs, so taking a guard with the third pick (D’Angelo Russell or Emmanuel Mudiay) would make the most sense.

But the Knicks at four is where things get interesting, and Phil Jackson was among the many from around the league who attended this workout in person.

J.R. Smith, how would you assess your game right now? ‘Horsesh-t’

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

J.R. Smith has been a key contributor for the Cavaliers for the bulk of the season.

But he’s been dismal in a reserve role during the NBA Finals, at the time his team needs him the most.

LeBron James has been desperate to find help on the offensive end of the floor in this series, but only Matthew Dellavedova (at least before Game 4) had provided it on anything resembling a consistent basis. Cleveland needs Smith to do much better than the 29.7 percent he’s shooting in the Finals, but to this point he’s been unable to find his way.

Smith owned up to his poor play postgame, with a colorful, honest description of how things have been going.

Q: You aren’t shooting the way you want to throughout The Finals. How can you change that?

Smith: Stop thinking so much and just go out there and play. Be more than just a shooter, go out there and defend, rebound and create plays for everyone else. …

Q: How would you assess your own game right now?

Smith: Horses—.

Smith’s father believes his son will break out of his slump soon, and do so in thrilling fashion.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

After a string of maddening, Bad J.R. nights, he seems overdue for another J.R. joyride.

“Oh, it’s coming,” Earl Smith said with a chuckle. “It’s coming.”

The Smith family is nothing if not confident.

“He’ll be all right,” the elder Smith said. “He’s just got to keep shooting.”

Shoot ’til you’re hot, shoot ’til you’re cold is how the saying goes, and there’s no question that will be J.R.’s mindset.

But his nerves in Game 5 will need to be as cool as he looked during his Game 4 entrance in order to have a chance at turning things around.