Few people can represent both the diversity and opportunity in the United States like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
So he makes an interesting and smart choice as a United States Global Cultural Ambassador, something Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton named him on Wednesday, the White House announced.
He will soon be going to Brazil in his new role, trying to strengthen already strong cultural bonds with the land of Renaldo and Nene. Next week he will be there meeting with some of the less well off youth of that nation and discuss the importance of education, social and racial tolerance, cultural understanding, and using sports as a means of empowerment. Of course, there will also be basketball clinics, Kareem is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, six-time NBA champion, six-time MVP, 19-time All-Star, owner of the most devastating shot in the history of the game, and the man behind a legendary movie role as co-pilot Rodger Murdoch.
“I am excited and honored to serve my country as a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State,” said Abdul-Jabbar in a released statement. “I look forward to meeting with young people all over the world and discussing ways in which we can strengthen our understanding of one another through education, through sports, and through greater cultural tolerance.”
Kareem is a complex person, not one that fits neatly into our predefined boxes of what a sports star should be. That rubs some people the wrong way, and he is not by his nature a person who loves the public spotlight on his private life. But he is a person committed to the promotion of education. He’s an author, helped make a documentary about the Harlem Rens — combining his love of African-American history and hoops — and is a man who has taken advantages of the opportunities granted him to live a full and interesting life. To me, that makes him a great ambassador of our American culture.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are not a good basketball team. Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James’ former squad had just seven wins.
Enter Larry Nance.
Where’s the Cavaliers down by one point with nine seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Rodney Hood took it upon himself to take what he thought would be the last shot for Cleveland. Hood danced around the defense before finally taking a jumper from the free-throw line, which bounced softly off the rim.
Nance, battling down low for the rebound, worked his way free for a tip-in as time expired.
There’s not much to cheer for in Cleveland this season but that’s a fun way to win a basketball game.
What counts as collusion these days in the NBA? What counts as tampering? It’s hard to say, but the league office takes a look at each and every comment like the one LeBron James made on Tuesday about New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
Speaking to reporters, James said it would be incredible if Davis were somehow able to make his way onto the Los Angeles Lakers. This slots into the rumor around the NBA that LA is stockpiling its young core to be able to trade for a player like Davis.
Here’s the quote from LeBron, via ESPN:
“That would be amazing,” James told ESPN on Tuesday before the Lakers’ 115-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
There’s nothing much here that LeBron said that isn’t factual. Davis is a 5-time All-Star and one of the best players in the NBA, a unicorn not unlike LeBron himself.
The NBA is certainly hoping that the Lakers can get their act together and put a powerhouse around James at Staples Center. How he does it is up for debate, although making comments about current players probably isn’t the best idea. James has been able to keep his mouth shut for the most part, but perhaps talk of Davis is just too tempting.
Did James Harden travel on Monday night? Obviously.
But was Harden called for a travel by officials? No. At least, not at first.
Video of Harden’s ridiculous shuffle was circulated on social media after the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz, 102-97. Harden was asked about the move by media, and said that he wasn’t going to tell on himself, which is fair enough.
On Tuesday the official NBA referee Twitter page decided to comment on the play at hand, admitting that they had made a mistake and had missed a travel.
Having a Twitter account hasn’t always worked out for the NBRA. Their explanations of what many would consider to be violations have often stood in the face of common sense. To that end, they’ve sometimes been mocked on social media, which is against their goal of having the social channel in the first place. But this play with Harden was a particular sore subject with fans around the league, and it was right of them in to make a comment.
At least they got it right.
LeBron James is seemingly and ageless wonder. The Los Angeles Lakers forward is still one of the most athletic players to ever grace an NBA court, and despite his obvious physical decline, that’s not to say he’s a slouch out there. He’s not exactly late-career Boris Diaw just yet.
But LeBron is now 34 years old, and as such there are other players on the floor with him at any given time that have a bit more bounce than The King. James found that out the hard way on Tuesday night as the Lakers took on the Brooklyn Nets in New York.
During a play early in the first quarter, James drove to the basket only to be rejected by Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen at the rim.
The result was striking.
Good for Allen. It’s one thing to say you have played against the best player of all time, but it’s another thing altogether to swat him on a play that creates a turnover.