Are there going to be any NBA players on your television during the Super Bowl? Well, LeBron James will not be on the sidelines (the Heat play at home that day). Maybe he or Kobe Bryant show up in an ad, maybe not.
But there will be one NBA owner — Mark Cuban.
Selling Skechers. He is apparently buying into the shoe company and will be in their ad, reports The Big Lead. The ad will tell the story of some small dog beating greyhounds in a race because he wears Skechers. Funny stuff, I’m sure. I owned some Skechers, pretty sure they made me slower (which is hard to do, by the way) but I’ll check it out. It could be funny.
But, of course, there is controversy. It follows Cuban around like the paparazzi follows around Jay-Z. From The Big Lead.
GREY2K USA, a non-profit group based in Somerville, Mass., opposes all greyhound racing and cites numerous instances of abuse and deaths to support its cause. “Thousands of greyhound advocates around the world signed our petition [to have Skechers ban the commercial] and also sent direct e-mails to company officials,” the group writes on its Web site….
Skechers described the commercial as “focusing on humor – and embracing our position as an underdog as Skechers launches a new lightweight, flexible running shoe with revolutionary mid-foot strike technology.”
I’m sure Cuban is really losing sleep over this. I want him to know it’s all okay with me. In fact, if he buys my Dodgers, I’ll even go out and buy some Skechers.
Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic tweaks knee in FIBA qualifying, to have surgery
Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic exited Serbia’s 91-65 World Cup Qualifying victory over Estonia on Monday after experiencing left knee discomfort early in the first quarter. Further evaluation revealed a minor injury to his left knee. On Monday, a minor arthroscopic procedure is scheduled at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, to be performed by Dr. Riley Williams. Bogdanovic is expected to make a full recovery and an update will be provided when it is available.
Bogdanovic had surgery on this same knee just after the season, and while this is considered less serious it’s still something to watch. Don’t expect to see him on the court preseason. The Kings have media day Monday and open training camp on Tuesday.
Bogdanovic, a 6’6″ sharp-shooting wing, averaged 11.8 points a game and shot 39.2 percent from three last season, making second-team All-Rookie.
Suns officially sign De’Anthony Melton for two-years, $2.3 million
Melton is a 6’4″ guard who could be a future backcourt mate with Devin Booker. Unless you’re a recruiting junkie, you probably first heard his name as the player in the middle of the NCAA/FBI recruiting scandal. He fell to 46th in the draft. However, at Summer League he showed why he was highly recruited and what he could become as a pro, averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, showing potential as both a three-point shooter and defender. It’s just Summer League, and Melton looked like a guy who missed a season of play at times, but the potential is there.
The Suns are going to get to explore that potential at a reasonable price for a couple of seasons.
Markelle Fultz says last season was about injury, he’s back now with confidence
Philadelphia went big game hunting in free agency and came up empty. If they are going to seriously challenge Boston this season for the top of the East, it’s going to be because of internal improvement — Joel Embiid needs to get better, Ben Simmons needs to get better…
And Markelle Fultz needs to be on the court and look like a No. 1 pick.
“I think it was a mis-term in words, but me and Drew have talked (after Hanlen said Fults had the yips),” he said. “What happened last year was an injury. Let me get that straight. It was an injury that happened that didn’t allow me to go through the certain paths that I needed to, to shoot the ball.
“Just like any normal person, when you’re used to doing something the same way each and every day and something happens, of course, you’re going to start thinking about it. It’s just normal….
“Everybody knows what happened last year, so this summer was really just me working to get my mechanics back, my confidence back, my swagger back. It was a very productive summer,” Fultz said. “I’m happy with the work I put in with Drew (Hanlen). We put up a lot of shots, a lot of hours in the gym. I’m happy with where I’m at right now going into training camp.”
Fultz is saying all the right things. That and $4 will get you a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks (although why you’d want it is beyond me).
The proof starts Saturday in training camp and runs through the season. It’s about results now. Expectations for Fultz are high, but welcome to the life of a No. 1 pick. His bolstered swagger will be tested, we’ll see how he handles it.
Joel Embiid on DeAndre Ayton: ‘He’s about to get his ass kicked this year’
At some point in the future — maybe not as far in the future as he thinks — a lot of NBA fans are going to turn on Joel Embiid and his unfiltered trash talk and social media presence. (Which, oddly, is very different from how teammates describe him, this seems to be more of a public persona.) It’s the nature of fame, we love the rogues and rebels until we don’t.
For now, Embiid is a lot of fun.
He went on the set of ESPN’s “The Jump” with Rachel Nichols on Friday (at Sixers media day) and when the picture of Deandre Ayton came up, well…
“He’s about to get his ass kicked this year.”
Embiid isn’t wrong.
Ayton is going to have a good rookie year, maybe very good (although the lack of a quality point guard to feed him the rock in spots he can do damage will hurt him), and at Summer League Ayton was a bit of a man-child against other rookies and young players. However, he showed flaws — his hands, for one, need to get better — and nightly in the NBA teams will roll out men who can match him and push back on him. It’s going to be harder than he realizes, and not just with Embiid or Rudy Gobert or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or Marcin Gortat and the other guys who can match up physically with him, but with the skill guys as well. Ayton isn’t going to push around Draymond Green easily. Al Horford is going to school him with skills.
Ayton is going to be on a learning curve this season, a steep one at times. All rookies get that. What matters is how he responds and how he develops. Expectations are rightfully high, but he’s got some learning to do.