Kurt Helin

Kobe Bryant

Kobe reiterates he has no intention of playing next season overseas

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At the press conference the night Kobe Bryant made it official and said he would not play another NBA season, he was asked about maybe playing another season in Italy. Kobe answered in Italian (he’s fluent) and said, in so many words, no. Which echoed what he had said even before the formal announcement.

That has not changed. No matter what Stephon Marbury may want, Kobe Bryant says he is not playing a season overseas after this one. Via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

Kobe appears at peace with his decision to retire, which was the most striking thing about his press conference. Here is a guy who has seen every obstacle — ones real and imagined — as something that must be conquered. To admit that Father Time has won the race, that all the effort he puts in does not reflect on the court anymore has got to be hard for him. But he’s accepted it.

And he’s not going to put his body through that for a season overseas.

Portland guards Lillard, McCollum held out with injuries

PORTLAND, OR - DECMEBER 14:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers and C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers talk before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 14, 2015 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. 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: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers are without leading scorers Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum for their game at Atlanta.

Lillard has plantar fasciitis in his left foot. McCollum has two sprained ankles. Lillard says he has been playing with a sore foot for a few weeks.

The injury ends Lillard’s streak of playing in 275 consecutive games – every game of his career.

There is no timetable for either guard to return.

Lillard leads Portland and is tied for seventh in the NBA with his average of 24.6 points per game. McCollum is averaging 20.1 points.

Tim Frazier and Allen Crabbe are expected to be the fill-in starters in Portland’s backcourt on Monday night.

Shaq, Iverson, Yao among basketball Hall of Fame candidates

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Yao Ming (R) former NBA basketball star talk with Shaquille O'Neal during the 2014 NBA Global Games match between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at MasterCard Center on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China.  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.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming are among the first-time candidates on the ballot for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and former women’s star Sheryl Swoopes are also among the candidates announced Monday for the class of 2016. The finalists will be announced on Feb. 12 during the NBA’s All-Star weekend, and those being enshrined will be unveiled April 4 in Houston before the NCAA championship game.

O’Neal and Yao became eligible last week when the Hall amended its eligibility procedures, making players eligible after four full seasons of retirement. It was previously five years, which meant they were six years removed from their playing careers when they were enshrined.

The full list of candidates is available at http://www.hoophall.com

Hear Iman Shumpert’s emotional 911 call after his child’s home birth


As a father who has been in three delivery rooms for the birth of my daughters, let me say I have no idea how I would have handled what Iman Shumpert had to do, helping his fiancée, singer Teyana Taylor, through the birth of their child while in the bathroom of their home. But probably not as well as he did.

Above is the tape of the 911 call in this case, and you can hear how emotional and understandably a little scared Shumpert sounds. The tape comes via The Daily Mail. My favorite part may be the 911 operator, who is not only calm but also annoyed at the start and got after Shumpert a little to get him task.

Shumpert said on Good Morning America Monday this was his best assist ever.

Shumpert later posted this on Instagram.

We have successfully started our very own family! 💂🏾🐞🐺👶🏾!!! 2015 has been capped off with a grand finale! Our beautiful daughter is finally here and doing well along with her beautiful mother (my fiancé!!!). This is definitely the best assist I've ever recorded in my life. We were indeed terrified until I finally saw her hair…then the fear left and i kinda just knew what to do! Our bathroom is forever sacred lbs! People always tell me there is no greater gift than fatherhood and I finally understand the feeling. I'm not too proud to say I cried endless tears of joy for my first born. Thank you @teyanataylor for this gift and for turning our houses to homes, you are truly special in every aspect! My smile still hasn't left since her first breath! Thank you to all those that have sent positive vibes our way. You all are deeply appreciated! #iknowyallwassickofourmaternityshoots #yallstillloveus Cue the Gnarls Barkley – smiley faces. Mommy carried you. Daddy delivered you. 12.16.15 we love you June bug! #meettheparents

A photo posted by Iman Shumpert (@imanshumpert) on

Bucks prep for life without injured coach Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd
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ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks are about to experience another unique test.

One of the youngest teams in the league will have to play without coach Jason Kidd as he recovers from right hip surgery.

It will be up to Joe Prunty, a longtime NBA assistant, to lead the Bucks while Kidd is out. Kidd has said he hopes to return to the office in a couple weeks, though it’s unclear when he might be able to coach in a game again.

There is no doubt that he’s still in charge, though.

“Trust me, as soon as soon as we are able to be talking with him, we’ll definitely be in touch,” Prunty said Monday.

Kidd was scheduled to have surgery in the morning in New York.

The Bucks made the announcement after a 101-95 win on Sunday in Phoenix that wrapped up a four-game Western Conference road trip. Kidd, 42, said the injury dated to his playing days and his second stint with the Dallas Mavericks between 2008-12.

The pain has been become chronic, and periodic cortisone shots were no longer helping, Kidd said after Sunday’s game.

“The pain has been to the point where I can’t function. I’ve taken all the medicine that I can do,” Kidd said.

The task of leading the Bucks out of their early hole in the Eastern Conference falls on Prunty, who is in his 20th season in the NBA and his third year working with Kidd. Prunty assisted Kidd in Brooklyn, then followed Kidd to Milwaukee when he took the Bucks job last season.

Prunty said he will continue to call offensive plays, while assistant Sean Sweeney will draw up the defense.

“Our system is our system,” Prunty said. “There’s not an intent to make any changes at all.”

Youth, defense and depth were the hallmarks of the Bucks’ surprise run to the playoffs last season.

At 11-18, the Bucks have had more problems early on this year. Defense was a problem in the opening weeks, though the team has been better in that area of late.

Injuries at point guard to Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez have sapped the team of backcourt depth. Three-point shooting has also been an issue.

The Bucks did welcome back forward Jabari Parker after he missed last year with a knee injury. Center Greg Monroe has been a welcome addition, especially offensively, after arriving as a free agent from Detroit.

The ideal Bucks starting lineup, which would also include 21-year-oldd Giannis Antetokounmpo, wouldn’t have a player older than 25.

“I think if we can put together whole games, not having lapses, I think we can be pretty good,” said forward John Henson. At 24, he’s another key member of the Bucks’ core.

The up-and-down season has included home wins over NBA powers Cleveland and Golden State, and a road loss last to the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the worst teams in the league.

Perhaps Prunty can get a few tips from the Warriors’ Luke Walton, that team’s interim coach while Steve Kerr recovers from back surgery. Golden State under Walton started the season an NBA-record 24-0 before the streak was snapped earlier this month by the Bucks.

“It wouldn’t be bad for Joe to take what Luke has done,” Kidd joked.

Even-keeled and composed, Prunty isn’t viewing his shot on the sideline as a showcase for himself.

“Absolutely not. I don’t know what other people are going to think, but for me this is about the Milwaukee Bucks,” he said.

He’ll make his debut on Wednesday when the Bucks host the Philadelphia 76ers.