WASHINGTON (AP) — Several NBA teams have played the so-called “Negro National Anthem” at games during Black History Month thanks to the urging of a retired Howard University professor.
Eugene Williams, who is 76, lives in Clinton, Maryland, made it his goal to get professional and collegiate teams to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during February. Williams says he learned the song has a kid and it has given him strength, and he wants it to do the same for others.
Williams says the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors have already played “Lift Every Voice and Sing” this month.
He will attend the game to hear the Washington Wizards play the song Wednesday for their game against the Warriors.
Williams is hoping next year even more NBA teams play the song during Black History Month. He is also pushing for universities to include the song during games.
Billy Donovan left the Thunder despite them offering a new contract. Maybe it wasn’t as much money as he desired to coach a team that could be entering rebuilding. But active head coaches rarely turn down an NBA job unless they know they’ll land on their feet.
Donovan will land on his feet – with the Bulls.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is a major credibility upgrade for Chicago, which fired Jim Boylen. Donovan is a solid NBA head coach who adapts to his players rather than putting them through extreme measures.
Considering they just hired Arturas Karnisovas as president, the Bulls might have patience for a rebuild. Donovan will be tasked with overseeing the development of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft. Donovan’s time as a college coach at Florida shows he can help players progress.
But Chicago also frequently faces pressure, especially internally, to win sooner than later. Donovan inherits veterans like LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. Donovan showed at Oklahoma City he could manage a team with immediate expectations.
Is this group’s long-term future inspiring? No. Is this group’s present inspiring? No.
But Donovan provides a little boost in both areas.
The Celtics don’t have quite enough dependable players to fill a playoff rotation. So, beyond its core, Boston has juggled deep-bench minutes throughout the postseason.
One of those options – Romeo Langford – will no longer be available.
Celtics guard Romeo Langford this morning underwent successful surgery to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. He will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.
A rookie, Langford also suffered a right-hand injury last season at Indiana. A pattern? Probably not. But it’s another interruption in the 20-year-old’s development.
For Boston’s playoff hopes, this is a minor setback – one made even smaller by Gordon Hayward returning (and staying). Though more of a forward, Hayward clears the way for Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to handle more guard minutes, a few of which could have gone to Langford.
Politicians have repeatedly criticized the NBA for its involvement in China.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is defending his league.
Sopan Deb of The New York Times:
Senators have power to affect the United State’s foreign policy, including where American companies are permitted to operate. The NBA shouldn’t face unique scrutiny for acting like a business, seeking to maximize profit, within legal parameters.
Silver is generally right: There is value in exposing American values to countries with authoritarian regimes. Basketball can be a good vehicle for doing so. Those connections can inspire change for the better.
But the league has repeatedly failed to uphold American values it espouses in its dealings in China. That warrants criticism and leaves Silver’s response quite lacking.
The NBA said next season would begin on Christmas at the earliest.
But get it straight: That’s a best-case scenario.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via CNN:
My best guess is that – even though, as you said, it will be the 2020-21 season – is that season won’t start until 21. We said a week or so ago that the earliest we’d start is Christmas of this year, but the more I’m learning – even listening to Dr. Fauci this morning – I continue to believe that we’re going to be better off getting into January. The goal for us next season is to play a standard season – the other part of your question – 82-game season and playoffs. And further, the goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans. But there’s still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example. Would that be a means of getting fans into our buildings?
February seems like a reasonable expectation. But so much is changing with our handling of coronavirus. Predictions are weak at this stage.
Of course, the NBA wants to play a full 82-game season with fans at arenas. That’s how to most directly maximize revenue.
But when will it be safe for fans to attend games? How long will owners and players be content to wait while making practically no revenue? At some point, will it be better to play games and draw some revenue?
Assuming next season begins on a date the NBA doesn’t want to use as its start date going forward, how will the league get its annual calendar back on track if not reducing the schedule length? Fewer off days? Shorter offseason?
Like with many things, coronavirus creates many difficult complications.