For the past couple seasons, a guy named Antoine Walker was playing for the Idaho Stampede in the D-League who looked and sounded a lot like the former Celtic and three-time All-Star.
But if you watched him he was a shell of that former player (which is why he never got another shot in the NBA). He had become a player more known as a cautionary tale of losing money than the Chicago legend who went on to play for storied teams like Kentucky and the Celtics. A guy who picked up a ring in 2006 with the Heat.
He announced it quietly, in the Stampede locker room, the team announced, a stark contrast to the bombastic player who could score and shimmy with the best of them. He is walking away from the game after a dozen seasons in the NBA and two in the D-League. A formal announcement is expected soon
Rather thank talk about what happened off the court, I will choose to remember the guy who could make the best defenders in the game look helpless.
LeBron James on Lakers clinching No. 1 seed: ‘They said I couldn’t do it’
“I’ll enjoy this one,” James said, nodding as he grinned. “They said I can’t do it.”
The Lakers entered the season fifth in the West in over-under wins (behind the Rockets, Clippers, Jazz and Nuggets).
But nobody credible thought the Lakers couldn’t get the No. 1 seed. With LeBron and Anthony Davis, the Lakers obviously had that type of upside. Their championship odds were far more favorable. The main doubts stemmed from how seriously LeBron would take the regular season.
That said, in the age of social media, players hear both more praise and more criticism than ever before. LeBron surely heard from haters who ruled him out. Crowning himself the Washed King, LeBron probably internalized that fringe opinion.
Indiana is a small-market team that consistently has not gone out and paid big money. We know that this was something that frustrated Larry Bird, who is a legend in the state of Indiana and elsewhere, I might add. It frustrated him enough that he stepped aside.
J.J. Redick has made the playoffs all 13 of his previous NBA seasons.
The Pelicans have put that streak in jeopardy.
New Orleans lost its first two games in the bubble, a nail-biter against the Jazz and a rout against the Clippers. During that loss to L.A., cameras captured Redick – on the floor exercising his back while out of the game – with a distant stare that became an instant meme.
I was angry we got our butts kicked. It’s embarrassing, and I think my face summed up that first half pretty well.
There’s so many circumstances you could apply the emotions that I was going through in that moment.
Redick is right: That meme fits many occasions, which gives it staying power.
However, it has plenty of competition. Though the feelings displayed aren’t the exact same, Redick didn’t even have the best reaction inside the bubble by an exasperated NBA player. That belongs to Nuggets star Nikola Jokic:
Darren Collison shocked the NBA last summer when he walked away from the game at age 32 — and a likely contract in the four-year, $70+ million range — and retired. His reasons were legitimate, he wanted to focus on his religion — “While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison said at the time — but the league has seen a lot of players say they were walking away for good reasons only to come running back.
Darren Collison on the “Minute til 6” podcast says he never thought about coming out of retirement to join Lakers or Clippers. The veteran guard called it “overhyped” as he opens up about that period and his future.