Jeff Van Gundy: ‘Lunacy’ for Dallas fans to boo DeAndre Jordan, cheer Greg Hardy

8 Comments

Mavericks fans booed DeAndre Jordan last night, and then Jeff Van Gundy had words for them during the ESPN telecast.

Van Gundy:

I have no problem with him changing his mind. That’s man’s greatest right, his right to change his mind. I do have a problem with him not directly contacting Mark Cuban to tell him about his change of mind.

I would also like Dallas fans to acknowledge the sheer lunacy and absurdity that they’re booing DeAndre Jordan tonight, and they’ll be cheering someone like Greg Hardy on Sunday. That, to me, is absurd.

All this guy did was change his mind.

Van Gundy has a point.

It’s worth acknowledging not all Dallas Mavericks fans are Dallas Cowboys fans. Plus, even among the overlap, not everyone who booed Jordan cheers Hardy.

But there are undoubtedly some fans who booed Jordan and cheer Hardy, who was convicted of domestic assault. (That conviction was overturned on appeal when the victim accepted a settlement and stopped cooperating.)

And it is lunacy.

But it’s also understandable.

Jordan is a sports villain. He plays a character in a drama called the NBA, and he became an enemy in Dallas for changing his mind about a job. He probably didn’t handle it as well as he should have, but in perspective, the situation hardly defines his character. It doesn’t make him a bad person.

Hardy is a real-life villain, beating a woman to the point she feared he’d kill her and seemingly showing no remorse. He’s also a heck of a football player.

How do we reconcile these dichotomies?

We boo Jordan, and I’m cool with that. That’s all in good fun – or at least should be. Anyone who doesn’t understand that has a problem.

Hardy is much more complicated. I’m sure many Cowboys fans are uncomfortable with Hardy on their team. They might not even cheer him during pregame introductions. But when he sacks the opposing quarterback and instincts take over, they’re more likely to overlook his transgressions and cheer.

We have a tough time talking about domestic violence. Should Hardy be banned from holding a job? He went through the legal process, and he’s a free man. An if it’s OK for him to have a job, why not as an NFL player? At this point, I’m not sure the appropriate way to treat him, not to mention how long he should receive that treatment. Lance Stephenson – a teammate of Jordan on the Clippers – allegedly pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs then hit her head into the bottom step in 2010. Van Gundy didn’t mention that or criticize Clippers fans for cheering Stephenson. Whatever public penalty Stephenson served, it has expired.

We have a much easier time talking about sports, so Jordan gets booed and Hardy gets cheered in Dallas. In the sports world, their roles are clear.

But consider what actually matters more, and “sheer lunacy and absurdity” is a fair assessment.

Frank Vogel earns spot as coach of Team LeBron in All-Star Game

Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LeBron James will have a familiar coach on the sideline with him in Chicago for the All-Star Game.

With the Lakers’ win in Brooklyn Thursday night — thanks to LeBron’s triple-double — the Lakers clinched the best record in the West by the Feb. 2 cutoff date, making Frank Vogel the coach for Team LeBron.

Vogel has done this before. Back in 2014, he was the coach of the Indiana Pacers, a team had the best record at the All-Star break. Vogel’s squad won 163-155 behind 31 points from Kyrie Irving (he was named All-Star MVP).

This will LeBron’s 16th All-Star Game as a starter (an NBA record) be and it is his third year as a team captain (he is 2-0 so far). LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo are team captains for the second consecutive year, and in two weeks they will choose their teams playground-style from a list of starters (named Wednesday) and reserves (named next week).

Vogel’s counterpart is not yet known. The Bucks will have the best record in the East but Mike Budenholzer coached the All-Star Game last season and the rule is coaches can’t do it two years in a row (called the “Phil Jackson doesn’t want to be here rule,” unofficially). After him, Erik Spoelstra (Miami), Nick Nurse (Toronto), and Brad Stevens (Boston) are all within a game-and-a-half of each other, any of them could end up coaching Team Giannis.

 

 

Watch LeBron James rack up triple-double, help Lakers pull-away from Nets

Leave a comment

NEW YORK — LeBron James had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his 10th triple-double of the season and the Los Angeles Lakers made a season-high 19 3-pointers to pull away and beat the Brooklyn Nets 128-113 on Thursday night.

James closed within 17 points of Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list with a flurry in the fourth quarter. He can pass Bryant on Saturday at Philadelphia, where the five-time champion with the Lakers was born.

James has 33,626 points. Bryant finished with 33,643.

A back-and-forth game for nearly three quarters turned into a rout after the Lakers broke the Nets’ spirits with four straight 3-pointers spanning the third and fourth quarters, extending a one-point lead to 107-94, and Los Angeles coasted from there.

Anthony Davis had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 12 boards in his first start of the season.

Kyrie Irving scored 20 points after missing a game with right hamstring tightness, but the Nets lost their fifth straight. Brooklyn has won just two of its last 14 games.

The Nets were without backup centers DeAndre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton, leaving them without many options behind starter Jarrett Allen. But they struggled just as badly guarding the perimeter. Los Angeles was 19 of 38 behind the arc.

The Lakers led 38-35 after one, before both teams made seven 3-pointers in the second. Howard went 4 for 4 for eight points in the period, helping the Lakers take a 75-70 lead to halftime.

Danny Green made three 3s in the first four minutes of the third, pushing the lead to 88-75, but the Nets had it down to 95-94 after a 3-pointer by Irving with 49 seconds remaining. But then Davis and Rajon Rondo hit 3s before Jared Dudley, who played in Brooklyn last season, hit one from near the Nets’ bench to beat the buzzer and make it 104-94.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made it four straight 3s to open the fourth, extending the lead back to 13. James then scored eight in the period before taking a seat for good.

 

Check out Jordan Brand/Nike designed All-Star Game uniforms

Image courtesy Jordan Brand
Leave a comment

It’s only fitting that Jordan brand has a significant role with the All-Star Game coming to Chicago.

Jordan Brand designed this year’s ASG uniforms and took its inspiration from the Chicago transit line. Here’s the explanation, straight from the press release (because you don’t want me trying to describe fashion, trust me):

Jordan Brand and Nike designers incorporated the color of each track into the uniforms as a base: blue and red for the NBA All-Star Game; purple and orange for NBA Rising Stars; green and pink for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles; and brown and yellow for the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game. The Jordan Brand official NBA All-Star game uniforms add the six-pointed star from the Chicago flag as the symbolic refrain while inviting the attitude of the ‘90s-era alternate uniforms worn by the hometown Bulls.

Take a look at them yourself:

The red and blue will be worn by Team LeBron and Team Giannis during the All-Star Game, with other colors for the Rising Star and Celebrity games.

Of course, they are available for sale at NBAStore.com and Nike.com.

Watch Trae Young’s emotional reaction to being named an All-Star Game starter

Trae Young
Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Trae Young is an All-Star Game starter at age 21 in just his second NBA season.

While that was not a total surprise — he had led the fan voting in the East among guards since the start — it still was an emotional moment for Young when it was announced (as filmed by his teammate Brandon Goodwin for IG).

Young and Kemba Walker were named the backcourt starters for the Eastern Conference (although both will go into a pool of players picked playground-style by the captains to form teams).

There are two 21-and-under starters in this All-Star Game, Young and Luka Doncic of Dallas. The last time there were two starters under age 21 was 1998 with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.