LeBron James uses word “retarded” in interview, quickly apologizes

18 Comments

Back in 2011 during the playoffs after a win over Boston, LeBron James found himself in a little hot water when during an interview he thought a question asked Dwyane Wade was lame and muttered under his breath “that’s retarded” and the mics picked it up. Retarded was (and in some circles is) a word thrown around a lot, but if you are using it you intend it as a demeaning insult to something or someone seen as stupid, not as a word to describe a condition (by federal standards that term is “intellectual disability”). It’s a word that is an outdated insult.

LeBron let the word slip out again on Wednesday night, in an interview before Miami went out on the court and got thumped by the Oklahoma City. He quickly apologized after the game.

Here is now Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post described it.

An hour or so before losing 112-95 to Oklahoma City, James was asked about Thunder forward Kevin Durant’s improvement as a passer and replied, “I actually think that’s a pretty funny thing when people say ‘people’s growth of passing the ball.’ That is retarded to me. Kevin Durant’s growth of being a passer? That’s part of basketball.”

Before taking questions after the game, he opened by saying, “I used the word ‘retarded’ before the game. Obviously it had nothing to do with kids that are underprivileged. It’s no knock on them. It’s a word that’s been around for a long time where I grew up. It’s a bad habit. I’ll try to break it. If I use it again– I’m gonna try to do my best not to. I mean no disrespect.”

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Thursday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Thursday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

This “controversy” is really more of a Rorschach test than anything — what you think this says about LeBron and his character really says more about what you think about LeBron than anything else.

Report: Rockets lure assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik out of retirement with ‘significant raise’

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Leave a comment

After a slow start, the Rockets got assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik to come out of retirement.

How?

The usual way employers attract someone to a job.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Fertitta was alarmed enough to personally recruit defensive guru Jeff Bzdelik, who retired just before training camp, to return, offering what sources say was a significant raise that pushed his salary to a range that ranks among the NBA’s highest-paid assistant coaches.

Good for Bzdelik using his leverage. He looked like a defensive whiz last season, and Houston slipped without him. Of course, personnel matters, too. There’s no guarantee these Rockets – minus Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute – reach last year’s defensive level.

Bzdelik has been back around the team, but isn’t working full-time yet. It’ll take a while to assess his impact on Houston.

And good for Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta paying up. Fertitta is still trying to determine the right amount for him to spend, but the team is better off if he’s willing to pay what’s necessary to attract the most desirable coaches.

Charles Barkley addresses Draymond Green-Kevin Durant dynamic (video)

1 Comment

Want to hear an entertaining guy address an entertaining topic? Here you go.

Trae Young: I’ll be better than Luka Doncic

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
1 Comment

Trae Young and Luka Doncic will be forever linked by their draft-night trade.

The Hawks took Doncic No. 3 then traded down with the Mavericks for No. 5 pick Young and a future first-round pick.

Young, via Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated:

“The thing with Luka,” Young says, “he’s a great player. I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear [Atlanta made a mistake] all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”

Of course, Young was never going to say Doncic would be better than him. But Young didn’t have to address this so directly at all. By going out of his way to make such a bold statement, Young puts more pressure on himself.

So far, both Doncic and Young have impressed. I’ll still stick with Doncic, though. Enough to justify Dallas surrendering that extra first-round pick? That’s a far tougher call and the one the Hawks will be judged by.

Young doesn’t want that leniency, though. He’s aiming to be better than Doncic straight up and unafraid to say so publicly.

Markelle Fultz’s new free throw stroke is… different.

Getty Images
3 Comments

Philadelphia’s Markelle Fultz is in his own head with his free throw stroke now. (And, likely much more than that, but we’ll stick with the free throws for now.)

Earlier this week Fultz double-clutched a free throw attempt and his stroke was a mess.

Each game that stroke seems to change and the latest one is… different. Very different.

As Vecenie notes, this is actually an improvement in terms of the release, but that doesn’t make it good. Fultz was 1-of-2 in his one trip to the stripe (as of this writing).

Still, I have never seen someone pass the ball back-and-forth between their hands as they go into their shooting motion like that. Very, very odd.