Kurt Helin

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Karl-Anthony Towns says NBA should legalize medical marijuana


Former NBA Commissioner David Stern has backed the NBA changing its rules on medical marijuana. Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has an open mind on the subject. In a league where painkillers and anti-inflammatories are almost as common as Skittles, could a natural, more herbal substance do the job with fewer side effects?

Count young Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns among those who want to see the league make a change. He backed Stern during an interview withESPN.com’s Nick Friedell.

“I agree with David Stern with marijuana. You don’t have to actually make it “Mary J” (or) “Half Baked.” You don’t have to do it like that, but you could use the [chemical] properties in it to make a lot of people better. That’s something that Adam Silver has to do, that’s out of my control, but maybe legalizing marijuana. Not fully legal where people are chimneys but using it as a beneficial factor as an athlete, as a person living daily. I think a lot of times fans forget that sometimes there may be some things that are banned that may not be the greatest for playing basketball, but for everyday living off the court, sometimes those things that are legal could help us.”

He’s right, and on the right side of history with this one. Society is evolving toward marijuana legalization, look at any poll on legalization broken down by age and you can see where things are headed. Professional sports leagues are going to have to deal with it.

Right now a change in the rules presents challenges, even if used medicinally. It would be legal for a player taking on the Warriors (California) or Nuggets  (Colorado) to use, but bring that medicine when said player travels to face the Thunder (Oklahoma) or Spurs (Texas), and the rules are different. The NBA doesn’t want to see its players arrested at airports for possession.

This will need to be collectively bargained with the union, but it will happen. Eventually. Whether it is during Towns’ playing career, that’s a good question.


Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard will return “sooner rather than later”

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So far this season the Spurs have been doing what they do, going 9-5 and winning without their best player, their two-way star Kawhi Leonard. They continue to execute and not beat themselves, LaMarcus Aldridge is playing his best ball in years as the offensive focal point, Rudy Gay has been fantastic off the bench for a dozen points a night, and the Spurs have the fifth best defense in the NBA even without their two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

But when will Kawhi Leonard return? He’s been out through training camp with right quadriceps tendinopathy (he played through it last season), and some reports have had recovery going more slowly than expected.

Gregg Popovich addressed the issue Tuesday before the Spurs beat the Mavericks, via Tom Osborn of the San Antonio News-Express.

Asked if there is “light at the end of the tunnel” for the Spurs’ linchpin player, Popovich said after shootaround Tuesday morning, “Oh, sure. He’s gonna be back sooner rather than later.”

The coach then paused before adding, “Whatever nebulous (stuff that was). As soon as I said it, I thought, ‘What the hell does that mean?’ ”

Make of that what you will. It’s plenty vague.

Our only glimpses of Leonard did not make look positive. This is what Popovich said a week ago to ESPN, and it seems more telling.

“He’s just coming along more slowly for whatever reason,” Popovich said. “It’s just been more difficult for him to get through the rehab routine. So his body hasn’t reacted the same way as Tony [Parker].”


Kyrie Irving gives game-worn jersey, shoes to military members in crowd

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In life, we should find someone who makes us as happy as Kyrie Irving made these female members of the military after the Celtics’ win in Brooklyn Tuesday night by giving her his jersey and shoes. This is what joy looks like.

Thank you for your service! #HoopsForTroops #ThisIsWhyWePlay

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Good on Kyrie, just a couple of days after Veterans’ Day.

Three Things to Know: Masked man Kyrie Irving drops 23, Celtics streak to 13

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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. Here’s what you missed while trying to avoid getting a DUI on horseback.

1) Kyrie Irving doesn’t like his mask, still scores 23 and leads Celtics to 13th straight win. Celtics fans were already looking ahead to Thursday, but first Boston traveled to Brooklyn Tuesday night… although you would never know it listening to the Celtics-heavy crowd at this game. It sounded like a game at the Garden.

Celtics fans are everywhere right now and they should be proud — their team has won 13 in a row after dropping the Nets 109-102. The win was a combination of their defense once again holding the opponent down — the Nets did well shooting 40 percent from three on 35 attempts, but they didn’t get a lot of shots at the rim, and from three feet to the arc they shot 8-of-29 — and getting enough offense when they needed it.

Kyrie Irving spent the night uncomfortably touching and adjusting his mask — he’ll be wearing it for a couple of weeks due to a facial fracture… at least he’s supposed to — but found his way to 23 points. The real offensive star for the Celts was Marcus Morris, who led a 10-0 fourth quarter run and finished the night with 21 points on 12 shots. Brooklyn hung around because they are a scrappy bunch, but it was not enough on a night when Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 32 points.

@kyrieirving’s wizardry lead the @celtics break & @jaytatum0 oop!

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This sets up the measuring stick game for the Celtics: Thursday night against the Golden State Warriors. The defending champs, and the overwhelming favorites to party with Larry O’Brien again, come to the Garden. It will be the best offense in the NBA against the best defense. The Warriors have won six in a row all by double digits, they come in on a roll of their own, and it is a chance for Boston to take a measure of itself against the best.

2) James Harden: Amazing Eurostep move or travel? You decide.

The NBA rule is you get two steps after you gather the ball, so if that first step is Harden’s gather this is legal. However, if he has control as he takes that first step it’s a travel.

In practice, no call so it’s a Eurostep and a bucket.

3) Harden couldn’t Eurostep the Rockets to a win, Raptors beat them 129-113. The Rockets have been a solid, middle-of-the-pack defensive team this season — which with their offense is plenty — but they got shredded by the Raptors on Tuesday night. As a team, the Raptors had a true shooting percentage of 66.2, which will get them a win every night.

DeMar DeRozan was attacking, doing a good job being a playmaker too (especially in the first quarter) and finished with 27 points on 16 shots for the night. Kyle Lowry and C.J. Miles each added 19.

However, the real star was rookie OG Anunoby, who was thrust into the starting lineup with Norman Powell out (hip), and he shot 6-of-8 while spending much of the night guarding Harden and doing a respectable job, his energy created great defensive pressure, and he passed and shot with confidence. It may be hard for coach Dwane Casey to keep him out of the starting lineup.

Iman Shumpert, wife Teyana Taylor to get new reality show on VHI

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The network that gave us Basketball Wives is now giving us something else we all have been dying to know:

What Iman Shumpert‘s home life is like.

Well, what Shumpert’s home life is like on a scripted reality show. (If you think reality shows are unscripted I have a good friend who is a Nigerian prince and we have a great deal for you.)

If you don’t know, Teyana Taylor is a recording artist with a strong career of her own.

Shumpert is part of the problem with struggling Cavaliers, he is averaging 9 points and 5.8 rebounds a game this season and is not terribly efficient. Not that he ever was, but his defense is not making up for it any more.

Now, if they had the camera’s rolling the night Taylor went into early labor with their daughter and Shumpert had to deliver the baby himself, that I would have watched.

This new show… somebody will have to tell me how it is.