Kurt Helin

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It should be official Tuesday: Los Angeles to host 2018 All-Star Game

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I had heard these rumors at this year’s All-Star Game in Toronto. Sam Amick of the USA Today heard the same thing from sources reliable enough to report.

Now comes the news that Tuesday the NBA, Los Angeles officials, and Staples Center officials are hosting a press conference to announce “big news.” That can only mean one thing:

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles.

Staples Center, home to the Lakers and Clippers, hosted the All-Star game last in 2011. You might remember that best as the year Blake Griffin dunked over a Kia (but JaVale McGee should have won that Dunk Contest).

The NBA has taken a little heat for having the last couple games in cold-weather cities in February — New York in 2015 and Toronto this year both had cold snaps during All-Star weekend. In 2017, the All-Star Game heads to Charlotte — home of Stephen Curry. Oh, and Michael Jordan’s Hornets.

The NBA clearly wanted warm weather for 2018. There are rumors that Cleveland and Brooklyn both want to host again soon, but neither are warm weather cities. Also, both Sacramento next season and San Francisco in a few will open new arenas and likely will get in the All-Star bidding process.

But 2018 will be in Los Angeles. That becomes official Tuesday.

Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young accused of sexual harassment

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Two Lakers — guards Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson — have been accused of sexual harassment for an incident Sunday in Hollywood, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

The Lakers are investigating the incident and say they are taking it “very seriously.”

The charge comes from Alexis Jones, an activist who helped start the women’s empowerment organization I AM THAT GIRL, told Holmes what she said happened.

Jones said following dinner she and her 68-year-old mother stopped their vehicle at the intersection, where a Jeep with four men pulled up alongside them. According to Jones, the men inside the Jeep began making “vulgar, sexual” gestures toward her mother.

“She was super rattled. That’s the truth. It scared her,” Jones said. “We were in a small car, and they were in a big Jeep, and it was a bunch of big dudes. They’re leaning out of the car and making vulgar, sexual gestures. My mom was really shocked. That immediately turned into sobbing.”

Jones added, “The irony is I created a program called ‘ProtectHer’ out of the urgency to address sexual abuse in athletics, and I was on phone calls with the NBA as of Friday talking with them about integrating this message and this program into the NBA.”

Jones didn’t know who the men were at first but had taken pictures and posted it to Instagram, where commenters identified two of the men as the Laker players.

(***PLEASE NOTE… I never could have imagined the reaction this post would cause or the thousands of inhumane comments and death threats I would receive because of it. The only reason I'm not deleting it altogether is because THIS perfectly epitomizes why less than 20% of women EVER speak up and report ANYTHING. Because the victim shaming and hateful backlash is usually worse than even the initial incident. I'm grateful for moments like these to root the work I do into something so painfully personal. The comments below contain highly vulgar and inappropriate language. Please remember that people who spread hate like this are in pain and they more than anyone, need our love. Adversity only makes us stronger in our convictions and I'm grateful for this moment to remind me why the work I do is so important.)———————————————— I pray these pics go viral because THIS is the problem with little boys. Five minutes ago, at the intersection of Melrose and La Bre here in LA, a jeep of four boys pulled up at a red light and started yelling and making the most disgustingly vulgar gestures at my mom and me. I rarely "rant" about things but this is the f%+#ing problem and the reason I've now dedicated my life to educating young men about respect, not just for women but for everyone. I'm angry. I'm insulted. I'm hurt. They were laughing hysterically until they realized I was filming them and immediately they panicked like the cowards they are. Thank you to all the real men out there who would never treat a mother and daughter that way… Speaking of, I'd love for this to make it back to their mothers!!! Help me find who these guys are!!! Let's see the power of social media and hold them accountable. I'd LOVE to have a candid conversation with them about sexual harassment not simply to shame them, but to understand their mentality so we can better educate young men to be respectful in the future. #littleboys #cowards #realmenrespectwomen #messedwiththewrongchick #wewillfindyou

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According to Jones, the Lakers reached out and apologized for the incident.

Lakers spokesman John Black told ESPN on Monday that the team takes this matter “very seriously” and is looking into it but does not have any further comment at this time.

The topic of development of young Lakers players has been a controversial one among Lakers fans this season, but developing players properly is more than just teaching them about how to play on the court, it’s about teaching them respect and professionalism off it. A number of teams find that as much or more challenging.

Terrible news: Craig Sager says his cancer has returned

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After twice missing time to battle leukemia, and twice getting stem cells from his son Craig Jr., Craig Sager and his unmistakeable bright suits have been back on the sidelines of NBA games this season working for TNT. Even Gregg Popovich was happy to do sideline interviews with Sager after what the respected reporter went through.

Tuesday night on HBO’s Real Sports, Sager announces that his cancer is out of remission and back for a third time.

What is next? This is from the trailer released for the show (which can be seen above).

“Uncharted waters. I’ve already had two stem cell transplants. Very rarely does somebody have a third. So I have to maintain my strength, so I can go through this….

“Still kicking, still fighting. I haven’t won the battle. It’s not over yet, but I haven’t lost it either. There have been some victories and some setbacks. I still have to fight it and I still have a lot of work to do.”

Sager is scheduled to continue working with TNT through the end of the month, although it’s unclear if that will change.

The man is a fighter and I look forward to many future rounds between him and Popovich.

Report: No suspension/fine for Howard on Stickum incident; teams get memo

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From the start, this was the most likely outcome.

Dwight Howard was caught putting Stickum on his hands — then it got on the ball — during the Rockets’ loss to the Hawks over the weekend. At the time no foul was called, just both benches were warned that the substance is not permitted in the NBA. Howard said he did this every game and didn’t think it was a big deal.

The league has investigated, and there will be no suspension or fine for Howard, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

While some people around the league wanted to see the Rockets punished for the incident, former Nets executive Bobby Marks (also of Yahoo’s Vertical) had the more consensus opinion.

Howard had used other, allowed products, and has said he likely will just go back to those rather than the spray.

If Howard and the Rockets are looking for another bright side, the Thunder’s Steven Adams thinks no stickum might help Howard at the free throw line.

Rockets’ Dwight Howard upset by being called a cheater

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dwight Howard is surprised and disappointed that he’s being labeled a cheater.

The NBA is reviewing the Rockets center’s use of a sticky substance on his hands during Houston’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Atlanta’s Paul Millsap complained about the ball while shooting free throws with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter. Howard had made a layup before Millsap’s free throws.

Howard said Monday that he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“I just think that it’s getting overblown, like I’m doing something crazy,” he said. “But again, I’ve never been a cheater, never been the type of player that has to do something illegal to win. It’s upsetting, but I can’t control it now.”

After the incident, referees gave warnings to each bench and then approached the scorer’s table, where they were directed to a can covered with white tape. The can was removed, and one of the officials told the scorer to alert him if it was seen again.

Howard noted that many players use sprays and powders on their hands during games.

“I’ve been using the spray for the last five years,” he said. “I never hid the spray. I never did anything to try to hide what I was doing. It was just something to make my hands dry.”

There was no penalty issued during the game. Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff said the league interviewed him Sunday night, but he hasn’t been notified of any disciplinary action. The Rockets play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

Bickerstaff was surprised that anyone asked about the can, and by reports that the team tried to hide it from the officials.

“Every time Dwight goes into the game, it’s the same routine,” he said. “It was no cover-up on my part.”

Bickerstaff said Howard has done nothing wrong.

“He’s never run to the back in the locker room to try to trick anyone,” he said. “It was never brought to our attention. No one’s ever said anything to us about it. If you go back, you can watch every single one of our games for the past three years, it’s (the can) there. So we were obviously surprised by the attention it has drawn.”

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP