Dan Feldman

Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown dunks the ball past Philadelphia 76ers' Shawn Long, right, during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in Amherst, Mass. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Jaylen Brown goes down to get alley-oop pass and finish, sets up other dunk with behind-back pass (videos)

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Jaylen Brown was cooking for the Celtics last night.

We knew he had the athleticism to do things like this, grab a low alley-oop pass from Marcus Smart and still finish it:

But I wasn’t convinced he saw the court well enough to things like this, throw a behind-the-back pass to Jordan Mickey on the run to set up a dunk:

LeBron James chills on baseline, eats popcorn (video)


LeBron James is sitting out a few preseason games, waiting for the regular season (one which could affect his legacy).

How’s he spending his time?

Cleaning up after his teammates and acting like a fan – relaxing, watching the game and having a snack.

This wasn’t the first time we saw LeBron eating during a game. The other time, he was even playing! LeBron in 2009:

Joel Embiid goes around Marcin Gortat for putback dunk (video)


It’s fun to finally get some real Joel Embiid highlights.

His skills and footwork for a 7-footer – I can see why the 76ers have remained so excited for him. Hopefully, he stays healthy enough for all of us to see him develop.

This wasn’t the best box-out by Marcin Gortat, but Embiid makes the putback dunk look easy.

Here’s a slow-motion version:

LeBron’s foundation opens institute to aid college students

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 30: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles after a play in the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
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AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James isn’t just helping kids afford college. He wants them to stay there and leave with diplomas.

The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, whose foundation announced a partnership with the University of Akron last year to pay for four years of tuition for inner-city public high school graduates who meet certain criteria, has established an institute at the school to assist students.

The I PROMISE Institute will provide resources to support students pursuing four-year degrees. The institute will be constructed in a space inside InfoCision Stadium on campus. It will provide around-the-clock support to students.

“When we first started this program, I wanted my kids to graduate from high school,” James said. “But the more we grow as a foundation, the more we find can be done to give our kids the best chance to be successful. We don’t just want our kids to get to college. We want them to graduate from college. And we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help them do that.”

The first class for the program is currently in eighth grade and will be enrolling at Akron in 2021. James’ foundation has established a board of academics from across the country to establish a curriculum for the institute and determine the best ways to help urban youth stay in school.

“If we want to be ready for our students when they get to campus in a few short years, the work needs to start now,” said Michele Campbell, the foundation’s executive director. “For many of our kids, they are the first in their families to attend college, so we want to create a familiar, encouraging environment where they feel safe and supported.”

Even before the institute is open to college students, it will serve as a center for high school students and their parents as they prepare for the college experience.

On Wednesday, James reiterated his commitment to helping others.

“My foundation is probably, besides my family, the No. 1 thing in my life,” he said. “Being able to change kids and families, giving them an opportunity to see better days, we strive to do that every single day. And I get emails and I talked to my kids weekly about their progression in elementary school all the way to the kids in middle school, high school and the kids that are going to be going to college soon. So, that’s a huge thing for me.”

Kevin Durant, echoing 2014, says ‘I’m just going to say how I feel from now on’

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors points to the crowd during their game against the Los Angeles Clippers during their preseason game at ORACLE Arena on October 4, 2016 in Oakland, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Two years ago, Kevin Durant seemed to come out of his shell. Sam Amick of USA Today in 2014:

As Durant made clear in a wide-ranging interview that came days before his 26th birthday, this is his new norm: real, unfiltered, and — surprising though it might be for those who know only the “Mr. Nice Guy” side of who he is — occasionally profane. From his free agency future to his decision to not take part in Team USA over the summer to the notion that LeBron James is still the best player on the planet, Durant was uncensored in ways that we haven’t seen in years past.

It is, as he explained, all part of a personal evolution that is clearly liberating for him.

“I just realized that I’m just trying to be myself,” Durant said. “When I’m upset, now I feel comfortable being upset. It’s cool that I can be upset. I may cuss one time in an interview, or I may yell at my teammates. And it’s all right. I understand that it’s cool for me to be that way because that’s me. I’m human, and I have times when I’m upset. I think that’s what people didn’t see.

“It’s like I keep saying: I’m human. Some people look at professional athletes like superheroes and nothing is supposed to affect us. But sometimes it does, and sometimes I go off.”

And he mostly lived up to that image. He opened up about personal issues. He told the media we “don’t know s—.” He said we treated Kobe Bryant “like s—.”

But Durant also backtracked on both media criticisms.

Was Durant expressing genuine feeling on issues with multiple layers? Or was he just running back to the safety of the middle?

Either way, once again, Durant says he’s going to be himself.

Durant, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

“Man, whatever I say is going to be twisted up,” he said after going through a 90-minute practice. “So I can’t . . . I’m just going to say how I feel from now on. People that know me know what I mean, so it is what it is. Anything I say will be twisted up and be a headline. So it is what it is.”

The key phrase here is this: “I’m just going to say how I feel from now on.”

The interpretation is that Durant in the past generally had, out of discretion or propriety or personal etiquette, taken measures to avoid sheer honesty.

And maybe he had. Durant for most of his career has been portrayed by friends and associates as someone sensitive to his image as well as that of those close to him. They say he’s a quality individual who occasionally is susceptible to saying the safe thing to avoid further probing or scrutiny.

I’m leery of someone having to reset his public image as an honest representation of himself multiple times.

But being in the spotlight like Durant is tricky, and he deserves room to explore how he presents himself.

His new (new?) approach seems to be taking hold. Admitting he was happy the Warriors lost in the Finals? That’s pretty real.