Author: Kurt Helin

NBA All-Star Game 2014

Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis both set to play in Lakers/Pelicans game Wednesday


This is what the NBA has come to: Two star players will play in a game and that’s news.

But the fans in New Orleans will get what they paid for Wednesday night — both the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis will play when the Los Angeles takes on New Orleans.

Kobe had sat out the last two Lakers’ games to get some rest but he is back now, coach Byron Scott announced at shootaround.

Davis has been battling a sprained big toe on his left foot but the Pelicans are not the same without their leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker — they lost to the lowly Knicks and Sixers in their last three games without him.

Davis said this about the injury, speaking with the Pelican’s official Web site.

“(It was) soreness. That’s really it,” Davis said of what had prevented him from playing. “But it’s all better. I’m ready to give it a go tonight.”

Jrue Holiday remains out for the Pelicans.

Report: Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokounmpo in All-Star Dunk Contest

Milwaukee Bucks v Los Angeles Clippers

I feel like I say this every year, only to be let down, but…

This year’s NBA Saturday All-Star Dunk Contest is going to be flat out amazing.

The first leaks on who will be dunking have come via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (who else).

The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo have committed to participating in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee will be a part of the competition too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

It has long been expected that Minnesota’s Zach LaVine and maybe Andrew Wiggins would be part of the group, and Wojnarowski said LaVine is expected to take part as well.

That’s a lot of great athletes.

The “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is a fan favorite and helps make the Bucks a League Pass favorite. He is a crazy-athletic 6’11” guy who has the hops to and length to pull of some ridiculous dunks that other guys couldn’t even attempt. He’s had some great dunks in game.

And even with Antetokounmpo and Oladipo in the contest, LaVine should be the betting favorite — he is a dunking showman.

Shawn Marion announces he will retire after this season

Shawn Marion fashion photo

The Matrix is ready to walk away. On his own terms.

Four-time All-Star and NBA champion (2011 Mavericks) Shawn Marion is going to retire after this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is Marion’s 15th NBA season but at age 36 the pull of family was too strong, he told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.

When the Suns drafted Marion in 1999, Marion set a goal to play 15 seasons. The 36-year-old believes he could play another three seasons but being away from his first child, 8-month-old Shawn, has convinced him to retire after this season with the Cavaliers.

“I wanted to go out on my terms,” Marion said. “The biggest thing is having a son. I got attached to him. Seeing him periodically is hard. Watching him grow up on pictures and videos is hard.”

Marion signed with Cleveland this summer in part to be closer to his son, who lives in Chicago. Also, the Cavaliers looked like contenders.

While Marion has played for other teams and won his ring since then, we will remember him as part of the revolutionary Phoenix Suns teams that featured Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Marion’s length, athleticism, and balanced game made him a great fit for those teams. He was part of the revolution in that he could play fast and at either the three or the four — and he could guard multiple positions well. Marion averaged 18.4 points and 10.0 rebounds but that really only tells part of the story of what he did with that team.

Ultimately, then GM Steve Kerr traded Marion for Shaquille O’Neal in an ill-fated move that spelled the end of the chances for those Suns.

Grantland’s Zach Lowe started an interesting debate on twitter.

In the end I think Marion misses the cut, but like Marion himself his case is sneaky good and based not on the raw numbers as much as the understanding of people who watched him on how he influenced the game.

Whatever happens with the Hall, Marion’s style will be missed.