Kurt Helin

Rare LeBron James rookie card could fetch $200K at auction


AKRON, Ohio (AP) A rare piece of Cleveland Cavalier history – a LeBron James autographed rookie card – was put up for auction and could fetch up to $200,000.

Just eight bidders had vied for what’s being billed as the world’s rarest and most valuable James basketball trading card as of Friday, the Akron Beacon Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2dh0XRS). But the leading bid was expected to grow from its figure that day of $85,000 before the auction closed Saturday.

The one-of-a-kind card from Upper Deck’s 2003/04 Ultimate Collection series features a picture of the Cleveland Cavalier taking a shot, along with a swath of the NBA logo from his game uniform. It was randomly placed into a pack of cards more than a decade ago.

The card is graded as a “MINT 9” but Professional Sports Authenticator group and the card “reflects an untouched, impeccable appearance.”

Officials at New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions haven’t disclosed the identity of the seller, but they said the card would be sold, as the minimum $50,000 bid had been met.

While sought after, James hasn’t reached the collector’s status of “Mr. Basketball” George Mikan. A mint condition version of Mikan’s 1948 card fetched more than $400,000 last year.

Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com

Welcome back NBA: Stephen Curry’s scoop alley-oop to Andre Iguodala


The NBA is back.

Well, sort of. The NBA preseason is back, but for the Warriors there was still some showtime in Vancouver as Stephen Curry threw the scoop alley-oop to Andre Iguodala for the reach-back slam.

This team is still just fun.

On the whole, the game was as sloppy as you’d expect in the first preseason game — particularly for a Warriors team trying to fit in Kevin Durant and a lot of new pieces.

Before the game, the Raptors did lock arms as a sign of unity during the national anthems.

Raptors players, coaches lock arms in solidarity during national anthems at preseason game


How many games did it take to for there to be some kind of protest action during the national anthem of an NBA game?


At the first preseason game of the year, the Toronto Raptors players and coaches locked arms during both the American and Canadian national anthems, before they tipped off against Golden State in a game played in Vancouver.

On the other side, veteran David West stood about two steps behind the rest of his teammates during the anthems.

Raptors players had said since the start of training camp they were looking for a way not so much to protest but to keep the conversation going about what fueled the protests in the first place. This seems a smart answer.

The league expects there to be more protests coming. The NBA (unlike the NFL) has a rule that players must stand with their team for the national anthem, and they have enforced it in years past. The league and players union have talked about how to handle the protests that everyone knows will continue to come in a variety of forms.

The protesters will have the support of big names such as Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. What the NBA will want is a way to help players not only express their opinions but make a difference in their communities.

Watch Wizards’ Otto Porter drain halfcourt shot

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The Washington Wizards were having a little fun, a half-court shooting contest near the end of practice on Friday.

Apparently, half court is well within Otto Porter‘s range.


Porter’s going to be starting at the three, working next to John Wall and Bradley Beal, and they could use another shooter to help balance the floor this season. Porter hit 36.7 percent from three last year, he’s got some range. Although he really shouldn’t try this shot mid-game, Brooks wouldn’t even let Kevin Durant do that.

Report: Ben Simmons suffered acute foot injury, will need surgery

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Within hours of the Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons going down with a foot injury that might derail his rookie season, the rumors about it being weight related started. Simmons needed to add weight coming it of LSU and had reportedly put on more than 30 pounds since the draft. Was that too much too quickly? Both players and major trainers have said yes.

The Sixers have moved to shoot this down, saying this was an acute fracture — something that happened suddenly, from stepping on a teammate’s foot Friday during a scrimage — and was not stress related, as would happen with weight issues.

More importantly, the severity of the break means surgery, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Surgery will mean Simmons likely will be out until around the first of the year — and maybe much longer — and you can be sure the Sixers will be cautious bringing him back (we saw that with Joel Embiid).

This is just deflating to a Sixers franchise that has had terrible luck with injuries the past couple of years. And yes, some people around the league quietly will say this is karma for all the tanking.