Dan Feldman

Gregg Popovich headlocks Terrence Ross, thinking he’s Jonathon Simmons (video)

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The Spurs and Jonathon Simmons appeared to part ways on less-than-great terms last summer.

But after Simmons (17 points on 8-of-13 shooting) helped the Magic top San Antonio on Friday, Spurs president/coach Gregg Popovich cheerfully tried to embrace his former player.

One problem: Popovich headlocked Terrence Ross, not Simmons. Those darned warmup hoodies.

At least Popovich eventually found Simmons to wish him well.

WNBA star Breanna Stewart: I was sexually abused as child

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Inspired by the #MeToo movement, Breanna Stewart – a WNBA All-Star for the Seattle Storm who was the No. 1 pick and Rookie of the Year last year – revealed that she was sexually assaulted by someone who lived at the home of a relative when she was 9 years old.

Stewart in The Players Tribune:

I don’t know how to say this part. I haven’t told many people. I’m not the most vulnerable person — I don’t talk about my feelings much — so this is uncomfortable.

I was molested for years.

The TV would flicker, and everything would be quiet. “It’s O.K.,” he’d say. He’d touch me and try to get me to touch him.

Sometimes I would try to pull my arm away, but I wasn’t as strong. I was just a kid.

I’ll never forgive him.

But I’m not ashamed.

Every time I tell someone, I feel a little more unburdened.

I’m still working through what comes next now that I have told my story. In sharing, I know that no matter how uncomfortable I typically am making things about myself, as a public survivor, I now assume a certain responsibility. So I’ll start by saying this: If you are being abused, tell somebody. If that person doesn’t believe you, tell somebody else. A parent, a family member, a teacher, a coach, a friend’s parent. Help is there.

Writing this article was incredibly courageous. Hopefully, by sharing her story, Stewart finds peace and helps others do the same.

The time Tyronn Lue chastised ‘f—ing rude and disrespectful’ LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

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Coaching LeBron James is a unique challenge.

Take the time he and Kyrie Irving kept shooting after a Cavaliers practice during the 2015-16 season.

Jason Lloyd’s book “The Blueprint: LeBron James, Cleveland’s Deliverance and the Making of the Modern NBA,” via The Athletic:

What it lacked, however, was showers. So while Irving and James remained on the floor shooting and shooting, the rest of the sweaty Cavs stood on the sidelines or sat in the bleachers and waited. As the minutes swelled into an hour, their patience waned. Sasha Kaun, an NBA rookie, was the first to be visibly irritated. Anderson Varejao saw how mad Kaun was getting and laughed at him.

“He doesn’t get it,” Varejao joked with me. “This is life with LeBron. Sometimes you wait.”

Yet after about 20 more minutes, Varejao wasn’t laughing anymore. Now he was annoyed, too. (Kevin) Love fidgeted with his phone. Assistant coaches made dinner plans. James and Irving, however, never flinched. They simply kept shooting.

“I will never leave the court without him,” James told me. “Meaning if he’s the only person in there shooting, I’m not going to leave. I’m not. And he knows that.”

James knew teammates and coaches were getting upset, but he didn’t care. The shooting session went on so long that even Tyronn Lue, still (David) Blatt’s lead assistant, stormed back into the gym as James and Irving were concluding. “Let’s go!” Lue shouted across the gym. “This is fucking rude and disrespectful!” James chuckled and told him not to get so upset in front of the media, even though there were only a few of us there at the time.

“They can leave us. They don’t have to wait for us,” James told me later. “We know the way back.”

Maybe LeBron thought everyone could leave without him and Irving. Maybe LeBron would have been even more upset if they actually did.

This is the unspoken difficulty of working with LeBron. He wields all the power. The Cavaliers walked on eggshells around what they thought he wanted.

Except Lue. As a former player, Lue – now Cleveland’s head coach – has a certain sway with LeBron. Can you imagine David Blatt speaking to LeBron that way?

Lue can push boundaries others can’t, but even he is in a tough spot. Who wants to stop a player from supporting a teammate by putting in extra work? Consider LeBron’s stature, and this situation becomes far more complex.

These are the types of issues that come up nearly daily with LeBron. He has earned his lofty position, and he’s not afraid to leverage it – usually for better, but sometimes for worse. And it’s not always clear which or how to handle it.

Shabazz Muhammad changing name to Bazz

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Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad has a complicated history – most infamously, scheming with his father (Ron Holmes) to present himself as a year younger than he actually is.

Soon, Muhammad will put some of that history – or at least the name associated with it – behind him.

Jerry Zgoda of StarTribune:

Reserve forward Shabazz Muhammad’s just reads “Bazz” for a reason.

Muhammad said before Friday’s 119-116 victory over Oklahoma City that he intends to legally change his name to just the short, single nickname.

“I just like it,” he said. “Everybody calls me that anyway.”

He said he’s not sure how involved the process is and now long it will be before the name change becomes official and he will be introduced at Target Center and elsewhere as such.

Name changes are not unheard of by NBA players. Rockets center Nene, formerly Nene Hilario, also started going by a single name, though that’s more common in his native Brazil.

I doubt Muhammad’s decision is as simple as he makes it sound. Name changes usually aren’t. But if he’s more comfortable as just Bazz, more power to him.

Draymond Green calls out team executive (reportedly Trail Blazers’ Neil Olshey) for giving finger

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Warriors forward Draymond Green, defending himself after his scuffle with the Wizards’ Bradley Beal, brought up a Clippers-Trail Blazers game.

After Clippers forward Blake Griffin hit the game-winning 3-pointer Thursday, Trail Blazers president and former Clippers general manager Neil Olshey can be seen sitting in the first row to the right of the basket and making a gesture.

Green, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“They got presidents of teams giving middle fingers on national TV and nothing’s said,” he said. “You don’t want to shine the light on somebody else. They got someone else to be the bad guy, so, I’ll just keep being me. I guess I’m not supposed to be me. I tried that. That s— don’t’ work, either. So, it is what it is. I wish I had a better answer, but I really don’t have a better answer. Failing to disengage? I don’t know what that means. Getting punched, grabbed and slammed is maybe what that means.”

The executive Green was referring to, sources tell ESPN, was Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. After LA Clippers power forward Blake Griffin nailed a game-winning triple in Portland on Thursday, Olshey was seen on camera along the baseline making a nondescript hand gesture.

Sources said the league looked into the matter and learned that Olshey’s hand gesture was directed at a close friend, who is a fan of the Clippers, which is why no punishment was issued.

A little weird Green brought up an opposing executive’s actions during a game not involving Golden State? Yup. But we’ve long realized Green isn’t wed to traditional boundaries, especially when it furthers his agenda.

Also, avoiding a fine because the gesture was directed at a close friend? Bet Josh Jackson wish he thought of that excuse.