Kurt Helin

Magic Johnson trash talked Michael Jordan once. Once.


Jim Croce tried to warn us, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape.

Magic Johnson did once — he trashed talked Michael Jordan during the legendary 1992 Dream Team scrimmages.

Magic was on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week and told the story, admitting he learned his lesson the hard way.

Magic — still my favorite player of all time — also told the story of playing basketball with Prince.

LeBron James passes Shaq for fourth on all-time playoff scoring list

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the first half against the Toronto Raptors in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 19, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

That is a milestone.

In the third quarter of the Cavaliers comfortable win over the Raptors in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James hit a layup that moved him past Shaquille O’Neal into fourth on the all-time NBA playoff scoring list. LeBron now has 5,255 playoff points (and he did it in 28 fewer games and fewer minutes than Shaq). It speaks to LeBron’s durability and how long he has played at a high level — Shaq was a dominant playoff force, to pass him is an impressive feat.

Next up on the list is Kobe Bryant, but LeBron has 385 points to go to get there.

Kyle Lowry walks back to locker room during game to “decompress,” faces crititicsm


After a first half where the Raptors had hung close with the Cavaliers, things were starting to unravel a little. You could feel Cleveland was starting to take control of Game 2, more than that as they got hot there was nothing Toronto could do about it.

With 2:35 left in the first half, the ice-cold Kyle Lowry subbed out of the game — then went on walkabout back to the locker room.

It ended up being during one of the most critical stretches of the game, and Lowry just walked off — not injured, not followed by training staff, just by himself. Lowry was criticized on the ESPN broadcast for it, while the NBA Twitter reaction ranged from confused to ripping him (online this, combined with former Lowry mentor Tyronn Lue saying Lowry wanted to get together with him Wednesday to watch the Thunder/ Warriors game, led to a lot of questioning of Lowry’s priorities and toughness).

After the game Lowry was asked about his walk.

“Just to kind of decompress, get back there, kind of relax my body and relax my mind,” Lowry said. “And knowing that we had a chance to kind of make some things (happen). I wanted to get myself going and get my teammates going and get the team going. It was nothing more than just kind of to decompress, breathe and get back out….

“I’ve done it plenty of times. It’s just now with the magnitude of the situation, it shows a little bit more.”

It was an odd thing to do at an odd time. Clearly Lowry was frustrated — he was 1-of-8 from three in Game 2, and he has 18 points on 8-for-28 shooting through two games against the Cavaliers — but leaving the court to gather oneself at a critical juncture of the game doesn’t seem the most supporting thing a teammate can do.

Toronto isn’t going to win a game in this series without All-Star level Lowry playing, and so far that guy has been missing.

Report: Milwaukee Bucks’ players’ financial information potentially compromised in scam

Milwaukee Bucks New Court
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NBA players have been falling victim to financial scam artists for as long as the league has been around. These are men in their late teens or 20s who are now incredibly wealthy and who struggle to adjust (just like you and I would have at that age), and sometimes the people pretending to have their best interests at heart — including family — are just trying to get rich on the player’s back.

This is not that. This is the kind of breach of sensitive information American shoppers are all-too used to of late — and it appears the Milwaukee Bucks’ player’s information was released by a team employee who fell victim to a scam. Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the story.

In an email sent to Milwaukee players on Wednesday night, the franchise termed the issue as a “serious security incident” and took responsibility for an employee distributing 2015 IRS W-2 documents in an email scam in which team president Peter Feigin was impersonated, sources said.

The W-2 information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, compensation information and dates of birth. An unknown party requested the private documents on April 26, and the Bucks ultimately discovered on May 16 that the financial forms were sent to a spoof hacker, according to the email sent to players.”

The NBA, NBA players’ union, IRS, and FBI have all been notified by the team and involved, according to the report. The team is providing the players with two free years of credit monitoring as a result of this.

As you might imagine, some players — and their agents — are very pissed off. Understandably. There need to be safeguards with teams (the same way there are at my employer and yours). That said some of the biggest data leaks in the United States — most notably, the release of inside documents from Sony Pictures — came because an unwitting employee either fell victim to a scam or phishing expedition, or clicked on an attachment in an email from one of these scammers. Welcome to the digital age.

Hopefully, nothing comes of this for the players.

Report: Magic reach deal to hire Frank Vogel as new coach

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 29: Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers talks with his players during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on February 29, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 100-96. 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. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Frank Vogel had his choice of jobs, but hen he looked around the landscape the young talent in Orlando caught is eye — Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja, and whoever the team picks at No. 11 this NBA Draft.

Now we’ll see what he can do with it — Vogel and the Magic have reached a deal to make him the new head coach of the Magic, a story broken by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.

The Orlando Magic have reached a deal in principle with Frank Vogel for Vogel to become the team’s new head coach, the Orlando Sentinel has learned….

Team officials sped up their search because Vogel had received interest from three teams with coaching vacancies — the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

Vogel was the best coach on the market, and he is an upgrade over Scott Skiles, who unexpectedly resigned from the position last week with three years left on his contract.Skiles had differences with management about the club’s commitment to some of the youth on the roster. Vogel beat out Magic assistant coach Adrian Griffin for the job.

Vogel makes sense following Skiles — he’s a defensive-minded coach who can build on the improvement seen on that end of the court last season, but Vogel will do it with a much more positive attitude. Vogel’s players in Indiana also liked him; he was let go because Larry Bird thought Vogel had been there too long and his voice had gotten stale. Skiles burns guys out.

There will be some pressure on Vogel — this is an organization expecting to make the leap into playoff contention.