Antic on run in with NYPD: “what happened that night wasn’t our fault”

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Thabo Sefolosha is still recovering from his broken leg and has refused to accept a plea deal after a run-in with the NYPD on the night former Pacer Chris Copeland was stabbed outside a New York nightclub. That night and encounter left Sefolosha with a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

Former Atlanta Hawks big man Pero Antic was with Sefolosha that night as the two men went out after arriving in the city with their teammates. Antic was arrested that evening and charged obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment. Those charges were eventually dropped.

Antic left the NBA this summer, deciding on returning to Europe to play for Fenerbahçe of the Turkish Basketball League. But in a series of recent interviews he talked about that April night in New York.

One was with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A:…I’m happy that justice was done and people can finally see that what happened that night wasn’t our fault. I’ll just try to forget that and concentrate on the future and better things in life.

Q: What can you say about the way you were treated by police now that your case is over?

A: Not good to be honest. I know that they have the power and everything but at the end of the day we are all humans and we all have rights. Nobody has the right to hit you or even put your career in danger. But not all policeman are like that. I truly believe in that. But those few individuals are making the big difference of what and how people think about the police.

Antic was far more blunt in an interview in a Croatian paper, as translated by LoLz14 at NBA reddit (also I checked this with Google Translate, which returned something similar).

“We were in a wrong place at the wrong time, but in the NBA, going out isn’t forbidden. Thabo went out of a car so he could give 20 dollars to a homeless guy (beggar) and all of a sudden police started to push him violently. I went out to see what is happening, after all he only weights ’20 kilograms’ (probably meaning that he isn’t as tough as Antic). It was pure racism that is spread around America. Thabo is black, all officers were white. I didn’t want to leave him so they arrested me as well (or maybe they took him into custody, I don’t know the correct translation). We never got explanation for their behaviour. Police kills people over there and nothing happens.”

It is very possible that speaking to a European publication Antic felt he could be more blunt and open.

In both cases, he said the incident had nothing to do with him leaving the NBA. He could make about the same money here or there, and he told the AJC he prioritized other things.

“You know me better than the other people from the media and you know how much I loved and enjoyed my time in Atlanta. The biggest reason is that I want to be closer to my family and spend more time with them. When we found out that my wife is pregnant with our third child the decision was to stay in Europe (it’s a boy). Believe me it was hard to do it.”

Donovan says Lonzo Ball’s recovery has ‘been really slow’

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
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Watching the finger-pointing and heated moments between Bulls’ defenders on Wednesday night as Devin Booker carved them up to the tune of 51 points, one thought was how much they miss Lonzo Ball‘s defense at the point of attack.

Ball had a second surgery on his knee back in September and the team said he would be out at “least a few months.” It’s coming up on a few months, so Donovan gave an update on Ball and his recovery, and the news was not good for Bulls’ fans. Via Rob Schaefer at NBC Sports Chicago:

“It’s been really slow,” Donovan said when asked about Ball’s rehab. “I’m just being honest.”

Donovan added Ball has not necessarily suffered a setback. The Bulls knew this would be an arduous process. But he also noted that Ball is “not even close” to being cleared for contact or on-court work.

Ball had his first knee surgery in January and the expectation was he would be back and 100% by the playoffs. However, Ball’s knee didn’t respond well, and he was eventually ruled out for the season. Things didn’t improve over the summer, which led to the second surgery. How much do they miss him? The Bulls were 22-13 with him last season, and he averaged 13.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists, a game. However, it was his defense that was most crucial.

There is no timeline for his return. Which is not good news for Chicago.

PBT Podcast: Timberwolves without KAT, get Luka some help

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Minnesota has stumbled out of the gate this season, and now they will be without Karl-Anthony Towns for around a month with a calf strain. Just how much trouble are the Timberwolves in?

Corey Robinson from NBC Sports and myself discuss that and then get into Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Team USA vs. Team World matchup — does Evan Fournier get the world team in trouble? Who guards whom?

From there, it’s time for Corey’s Jukebox and some New Orleans jazz for Zion Williamson. Some Mavericks’ talk follows that — Dallas has put a big load on the shoulders of Luka Doncic, and while he’s playing like an MVP it’s a long-term concern for the Mavericks and their fans.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

LeBron calls out reporters for asking him about Kyrie Irving but not Jerry Jones

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Within days of Kyrie Irving being suspended by the Nets in the wake of a Tweet promoting an antisemitic film (and his initial refusal to apologize for it), Irving’s former teammate LeBron James was asked about it. He had to deal with the controversy, saying, “I don’t condone any hate to any kind. To any race.”

At the end of his press conference Wednesday night after the Lakers beat the Trail Blazers, LeBron scolded the assembled press for not asking him about the 1957 photo that surfaced of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones outside North Little Rock High School while white students protested the integration of the school when they had been quick to ask about Irving.

“When I watched Kyrie talk, and he says, `I know who I am, but I want to keep the same energy when we’re talking about my people and the things they’ve been through,’ and that Jerry Jones photo is one of those moments that our people, Black people, have been through in America. And I feel like as a Black man, as a Black athlete, someone with power and with a platform, when we do something wrong or something that people don’t agree with, it’s on every single tabloid, every single news coverage. It’s on the bottom ticker. It’s asked about every single day.

“But it seems like to me that the whole Jerry Jones situation, the photo, and I know it was years and years ago, and we all make mistakes, I get it. It seems like it’s just been buried under, like, `Oh, it happened. OK. We just move on.’ And I was just kind of disappointed that I haven’t received that question from you guys.”

Irving and LeBron were teammates in Cleveland and won a ring together, there was a direct connection (plus Irving had been linked to the Lakers in trade rumors over the summer).

However, there was a connection between LeBron and the Cowboys as well. LeBron was for many years a very public Cowboys fan (despite growing up in Browns territory). It came up as recently as October, when LeBron was on Instagram Live promoting his HBO show with Maverick Carter “The Shop” and he said he had stopped rooting for the Cowboys in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests, “There’s just a lot of things that were going on when guys were kneeling. Guys were having freedom of speech and wanting to do it in a very peaceful manner…. The organization was like, ‘If you do that around here, then you will never play for this franchise again.’ I just didn’t think that was appropriate.”

When asked about the photo, Jones said he was a curious 14-year-old who was watching and didn’t understand the magnitude of the moment or situation.

Watch Russell Westbrook drain two buzzer-beaters against Blazers

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The Portland Trail Blazers had to know it was not their night when Russell Westbrook knocked down a buzzer-beating step-back 3-pointer just before the half.

Westbrook wasn’t done, he had one more buzzer-beater in him at the end of the third.

Westbrook wasn’t the only guy in the building draining half-courters — for the second-straight game a Laker fan knocked down a half-court shot, this time to win $25,000.

It was a good night all around for the Lakers and their fans at home against the shorthanded Trail Blazers. They got 31 points from LeBron James, plus 27 points and 12 boards from Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves added in 22, and the Lakers took control in the third and cruised in for a needed win.