Raptors honoring Vince Carter tonight, which will rankle many Toronto fans

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Raptors fan still boo Vince Carter, whose only possible rival for greatest player in franchise history is Chris Bosh.

At his peak, Carter wowed fans nationally with incredible dunks. In Toronto, he brought unprecedented playoff success, leading the Raptors to their only postseason-series victory and within a game of the conference finals.

But his tenure in Toronto ended ugly. He demanded a trade, quit dunking and let his effort slip.

Many Raptors fans, understandably, have yet to forgive him.

So, the team is taking an interesting approach when Carter’s Grizzlies visit Toronto tonight.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

Like it or not Raptors fans (and many of you won’t), the Raptors will play a video on Wednesday night looking back at Vince Carter’s time in Toronto.

Carter will be in town with the Memphis Grizzlies, making his only appearance in Canada this season.

Throughout the year, the Raptors will be running videos on the scoreboard to commemorate the 20-year history of the franchise.

In time, Raptors fans will forgive Carter. They’ll cherish his highlights and look past his transgressions.

I have no doubt about this.

Many fans were forced to reconsider their hate of Carter when they couldn’t help but become excited by the prospect of him re-joining the team. How much can you truly distain a player you also want on your favorite team?

But forgiveness hasn’t happened fully yet and probably won’t until Carter retires.

Unfortunately, the Raptors are commemorating their 20th anniversary this year, not after Carter finishes playing. So, they’re left with this awkward dilemma – and they made the right choice by including him in the celebration.

Carter has played a huge role in the franchise’s history, and the Raptors shouldn’t ignore it. To do so would be a massive slight, one bigger than Carter deserves at this point.

If fans want to boo while the video plays, fine. Really, Raptors fans booing Carter is an even bigger part of the team’s identity than Carter playing for it.

But if fans want to use this as an opportunity to move on, that’d be great, too. I don’t expect it to happen tonight, but it will soon enough.

Watch Kobe Bryant memorial live stream (video)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) Thousands of mourners will gather in Staples Center on Monday to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

The basketball superstar and his 13-year-old daughter will be honored in a public memorial at the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant died along with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

The Celebration of Life will feature speakers reflecting on Kobe Bryant’s impact on his sport and the world, along with music and retrospectives on Bryant’s on-court achievements. Bryant became active in film, television and writing after he retired from basketball in 2016.

Bryant’s family, dozens of sports greats and many major figures in Bryant’s public life are expected to attend.

Staples Center is sold out for the memorial. The money made from ticket sales will be given to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, which supports youth sports programs in underserved communities and teaches sports to girls and women.

Bryant played his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, including the final 17 seasons at Staples Center, which opened in 1999. The five-time NBA champion’s two retired jersey numbers – 8 and 24 – hang high above the arena where he became the third-leading scorer in league history until Lakers star LeBron James passed him on the night before Bryant’s death.

Bryant’s death caused an outpouring of grief across Los Angeles, where he remained the city’s most popular athlete into retirement. Dozens of public memorials and murals have been installed around the sprawling metropolis, and thousands of fans gathered daily outside Staples Center to commiserate after the crash.

Symbolic meanings will run throughout the ceremony, which will be held on a 24-foot-by-24-foot stage. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, chose Feb. 24 as the date in honor of the uniform numbers of Kobe and Gianna, who wore No. 2 on her youth basketball teams.

A private funeral was held for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Orange County on Feb. 7.

Lakers’ Rajon Rondo throws dead ball into air, hits Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in head

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What an unfortunate encapsulation of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s time with the Lakers.

At least Rajon Rondo, beyond this gaffe, did plenty to help the Lakers beat the Celtics.

Bucks’ minor-league coach goes on epic rant, calls ref ‘f—ing clown’ (video)

Bucks' minor-league affiliate Wisconsin Herd vs. Pistons minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Drive
Mike E. Roemer/NBAE via Getty Images
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After coaching the Wisconsin Herd (Bucks’ minor-league affiliate) to a loss to the Grand Rapids Drive (Pistons’ minor-league affiliate), Chase Buford – son of Spurs CEO R.C. Buford – had a normal one.

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

Buford:

The officiating definitely went right for Grand Rapids. That was as unprofessional as an officiating performance. I hope you tweet this out and tag the league, because that was embarrassing. Matt Rafferty is a f—ing clown. That being said, we have to be so much better at the end of games. We can’t blow a 21-point lead with 12 minutes to go. However bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating the referees are, we have to be better at closing games. And so that’s the way I feel.

Herd:

The words are amazing: “f—ing clown,” “illegal,” “cheating.”

But the hair really completes the whole unhinged motif.

Mavericks protesting loss to Hawks

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was irate after his team’s loss to the Hawks on Saturday.

He’s putting his money where his Twitter fingers are.

Dallas is protesting the game, according to the Last Two Minute Report. That requires posting a $10,000 fee to be refunded only if the challenge prevails.

The contentious play occurred in the final 10 seconds. Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith was called for goaltending Trae Young‘s shot. The play was reviewed and ruled a clean block. However, officials determined the whistle was therefore inadvertent and blew while John Collins was in his shooting motion on a successful putback attempt. So, Collins’ basket counted.

The Mavericks are claiming officials misapplied the rules – a key distinction for a protest. A simple missed call won’t get it done.

Protests rarely succeed. This one probably won’t.

But I think Dallas has a chance. The whistle wasn’t inadvertent. It was intentional. It was for a wrong call. But it was intentional.

Even if the challenge is successful and the Mavericks get their desired jump ball in a re-do, they’d still be trailing by two in the final seconds. They’d still be underdogs.

On the other hand, odds still strongly favor Cuban getting fined… eventually.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

The NBA plans to await commissioner Adam Silver’s ruling on a Dallas Mavericks game protest before leveling possible discipline on owner Mark Cuban for his behavior during and after the Mavericks’ loss to Atlanta on Saturday night.