Kurt Helin

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2015 - Arrivals

Klay Thompson tries to cheat at go-karts and… instant karma

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Come on Klay Thompson, did Mychal raise a cheater? I don’t think so.

The NBA champ was at the go-kart track and decided to cut a corner. To quote John Lennon, “instant Karma’s gonna get you” and it slapped Thompson right in the face.

By the way, in a recent interview Thompson said he had worked on adding a pump fake to his game this summer — that could be a dynamic addition. Last season defenses started to pay attention to him more and more (not easy with Stephen Curry in the same backcourt, plus a loaded roster), and Thompson saw more of his shots contested. That’s only going to get worse. A move that gets a defender in the air and lets Thompson put the ball on the floor and drive, or draw a foul, would be a great addition.

(Hat tip to Mr. Go Kart Matt Moore at CBS’s Eye on Basketball)

Stephanie Ready to become first full-time female local NBA game color analyst

From twitter.com/StephanieReady
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We certainly have heard some superb women working as analysts of NBA games before. ESPN’s Dorris Burke steps in occasionally and is better than most in that chair. Both Ann Meyers and Nancy Lieberman have done some local work as well.

Now Stephanie Ready has been tapped to take the next step — she will be a full-time color analyst on Charlotte Hornets games on Fox Sports Southeast, something the team announced Thursday. Ready will work with play-by-play man Eric Collins and former Hornet standout player Dell Curry in a three-person booth.

Ready is going from sideline reporter to the booth (she also has and will continue with postgame shows on the network).

“I’ve had a love affair with the game of basketball for as long as I can remember, both as a player and a coach. I’m honored and excited to be able to share my passion for this sport with our audience,” Ready said in a statement. “FOX Sports and the Hornets have always taken pride in being innovative and forward-thinking. I’m extremely proud to be a part of history.”

This breaks another barrier around the NBA — young girls watching the games should see role models and know they can grow up to be part of an NBA franchise in a variety of capacities, not only someone who dances during timeouts.

But as an NBA League Pass junkie I’ll tell you why I’m happy — she’s good. She was a fantastic sideline reporter. Combine her with Curry in the booth and a rock-solid veteran play-by-play man in Collins and we should get some quality, insightful commentary and a broadcast worth watching. All local broadcasts have a bit of a homer feel (know your audience), but the best ones have a level-headed sense and a love of the game that shines through above all else. A lot of teams miss that boat. I could be watching a lot more Charlotte broadcasts this season.

Remembering Darryl Dawkins’ 20 greatest dunks (VIDEO)

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We will remember his eccentric ways — from saying he was from the planet Lovetron when he played, to more recently wearing brightly-colored suits at games.

We will remember his smile, his clear love of the game.

We will remember his nickname — Chocolate Thunder — and we will remember the seemingly countless nicknames he had for his dunks.

But more than anything, we will remember the dunks themselves.

As we look back on the life and career of Darryl Dawkins, who passed away Thursday at the age of 58, we bring you 20 of his best dunks. The man was power personified — even vintage Bill Walton could not contain him. He was ahead of his time in being above the rim.

If you’re keeping score at home, there are two shattered backboards on the list.

Report: Kyrie Irving likely not back opening night, could be out until January

Kyrie Irving
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LeBron James may be pumped about finally getting to play with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love again, but it looks like he is going to have to wait awhile.

The Cavaliers are going to be very cautious with Irving’s return from a fractured left kneecap, which required surgery. Understandably, we’re talking about a franchise player here. But instead of the original timetable of 3-4 months, the Cavaliers likely will not have him when the season tips off in late October, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They may not even have him in 2015 period.

Multiple league sources say his rehabilitation is going smoothly, but that the chances are slim of him being in the opening-night lineup against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 27. One source said he could very well be unavailable up until January….

The Cavaliers want to bring him back slowly without risking a setback, with the goal of being at full strength entering the playoffs.

This isn’t just the exact right approach to take, it’s the only sane one to take.

Last season, when Irving, Love and LeBron were on the court together the Cavaliers outscored opponents by 13.6 points per 48 minutes with an offensive rating of 113.5 points per 100 possessions. After the All-Star break, they were +14.7 per 48 and did that with a defensive rating of 99.2 (points per 100 possessions allowed).

As much as Irving will push to get back on the court, the Cavaliers can go without him for an extended period — Mo Williams was brought in as a backup point guard and Matthew Dellaveova has re-signed — and still comfortably be a top seed in the East. Likely the top seed.

What matters starts in mid-April. Cleveland’s success next season is not going to be judged on regular season wins, it’s all about the playoffs. If healthy, anything less than a return trip to the Finals is a disappointment (and for some, it will take winning a ring to make them happy). Pushing Irving back for a game in November, which could lead to a compensation issue and pain or an injury that follows him through the season, makes no sense.

What the Cavaliers want is to be 100 percent healthy around the All-Star break and then pick up momentum into the postseason. If they can do that, watch out.

Legendary Sixer, backboard-shattering dunker Darryl Dawkins dies at 58

NBA House - Moynihan Station 2015
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From the planet Lovetron, 6’11” center Darryl Dawkins…

Dawkins — nicknamed Chocolate Thunder and using that wild introduction for a stretch — was a player you paid to see back in the late 70s and early 1980s, a guy who dunked so hard he shattered backboards all across the land. He was a fan favorite in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and even with visiting fans everywhere else he played.

Dawkins has passed away at the age of 58, something confirmed by CSNPhilly.com and the NBA. His family released this statement.

“It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved husband and father, Darryl Dawkins, who succumbed today to a heart attack. Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart.  His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father.  We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss.”

Dawkins made history as the first player drafted directly out of high school to the NBA back in 1975. He went on to play 14 NBA seasons and fit the mold of physical big men of his era (he led the NBA in fouls given three times). Mostly, he was just fun to watch, because of the dunks and a, um, creative personality — for a stretch Dawkins claimed to be from the planet Lovetron where he said he practiced interplanetary funkmanship. But even after his playing days he stayed close to the game, an ambassador of the sport. A lot of today’s players looked up to him.

Rest in peace Chocolate Thunder. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.