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Anthony Davis

Spike Lee narrates Anthony Davis’ rise to stardom in new ‘NBA 2K16’ promo (VIDEO)

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Anthony Davis is the fastest-rising star in the NBA. He just inked a five-year $143 million extension with the Pelicans and comes into his fourth season widely expected to be the next transcendent, generational superstar at the LeBron James/Kevin Durant level. He’s also one of three cover athletes for NBA 2K16, which will be out in October. The other two, James Harden and reigning MVP Stephen Curry, have already gotten videos in which Spike Lee narrates their rises to fame. Now, Davis has his:

“When people talk about the greatest ever, I want to be in that conversation,” Davis says at the beginning of the video. Considering what he’s done already and the fact that he’s only 22, it’s not a stretch to imagine that he will be discussed in those terms by the time his career is over.

Draymond Green blocking LeBron James, now as an emoji collage (PHOTO)

LeBron James, Draymond Green
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Remember Draymond Green blocking LeBron James in overtime of Game 2 of the Finals?

Well, now that iconic image exists as an emoji collage, courtesy of Warriors social-media manager Julie Phayer:

Emojis are the most 2010s art form imaginable, but it sort of looks like an old mosaic. Very cool.

J.R. Smith announces he’s re-signing with the Cavaliers

J.R. Smith
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J.R. Smith’s return to the Cavaliers was always a matter of when, not if. He opted out of the final year and $6.5 million of his contract, hoping to secure a long-term deal after a solid season in Cleveland. But he found no market this summer after a terrible performance in the Finals, and re-signing with the Cavs seemed inevitable. Smith broke the news on Thursday evening with a post on his Instagram account.

Here’s what Smith said below the picture:

Happy to say that I am returning to the Cavs! It’s been a long ride this summer but I can say for sure, well worth the wait. When I opted out of my contract, I wanted to understand the landscape of the NBA and where I fit best. The Cavaliers had things they needed to do in order to piece together a championship caliber roster. I ended up deciding that instead of potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere, I wanted to rejoin an incredible organization in pursuit of the ultimate goal, an NBA championship. Thank you to the Cavaliers for making this happen. Can’t wait to get started!

It was always unlikely that another team would throw big money at Smith — what his inconsistent three years in New York and solid half-season with the Cavs proved beyond all doubt is that he’s not a first option on offense. He thrives spotting up for open threes, which is all he’s asked to do in a Cavs offense that includes LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Next up for the Cavs: re-signing Tristan Thompson. He has threatened to take the one-year qualifying offer and leave next summer, but the Cavs have no choice but to cave and offer him a max deal.

LeBron James dunked pretty much every shot he took in Philippines exhibition

LeBron James
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The Philippines is a basketball-crazy country — they love their hoops and they love their NBA stars. LeBron James is there right now selling Nikes to take part in ‘Rise,’ a Philippines reality TV show trying to help young Filipino basketball players from poorer areas and the countryside improve their skills. The show is sponsored by Nike, we should mention.

While there, LeBron took part in an exhibition game, and put on his own personal dunk contest. He dunked on everyone. Here are just a few highlights.

There was less defense than the NBA All-Star Game (or playing the Timberwolves) and everyone else on the court was five inches shorter than him at least, but still. That’s a show, LeBron gave the people what they wanted.

NBPA hires trainer with eye on injury prevention

Derrick Rose
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LeBron James, presumably speaking for more players than just himself, asked for a longer All-Star break and fewer back-to-backs.

The NBA delivered – extending the All-Star break last season and scheduling fewer back-to-backs this year. The league even went a step further, reducing the amount of four-in-fives.

But has the NBA gone far enough?

The National Basketball Players Association wants to find out.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:

Coming off a season in which star after star was lost to serious injury, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts have made player health one of the top priorities to address this offseason.

With that in mind, the union hired Joe Rogowski, a former athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach with the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, as the director of sports medicine and research. The certified athletic trainer with a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Central Florid is tasked with developing programs and coordinating best practices to try to limit the number of games lost to injury.

AP: How much will the new schedule and fewer back-to-backs and four-in-five nights help?

Rogowski: As far as if it will make a big impact, I’m in a wait-and-see mode. I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction. I definitely am in favor of it. But we’ll see. Time will tell. Do we still need to keep going in that direction? Yes. Are there other avenues we need to address and look into? Absolutely. Having gone through it myself, I would definitely like that. And I know the players are in favor of it.

The NBA has made a good-faith effort to reduce wear and tear on its players, and the league should be applauded for that. Of course, it’s also self-serving. Fans want to see their favorite players at their best. The fewer injuries and players slumping while fatigued, the better the product on the floor. The better the product, the more the league can charge fans to see it.

Fundamentally, player health is a players’ issue. It makes sense for them to hire a trained professional to better understand the nuances.

Rogowski can research the regular-season schedule, practices and training. He can examine everything teams asks players to do, how each affects players.

And when it comes to negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement or amending the current one, the union can push for rules that keep players healthy and base those arguments on research rather than suppositions.

The league has done a good job addressing player health. Rogowski will help the NBPA ensure that continues in the best manner possible.