Stephen Curry and LeBron James may be rivals on the court — the NBA sees it that way, they and their respective teams are headlining the Christmas Day games — but when it comes to speaking out on social issues, Curry has LeBron’s back.
Days after LeBron helped open the “I Promise” school for the most at-risk youth in his hometown of Akron, President Donald Trump Tweeted out an insult aimed at both CNN reporter Don Lemon and the intelligence of LeBron. Other NBA players came to LeBron’s defense, as did big names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and even First Lady Melania Trump.
The day before teeing off in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, Curry was asked — again — about his reaction to Trump’s Tweet and told Logan Murdock of the Mercury News:
“Frustration,” said Curry, who will participate in Ellie Mae Classic Thursday. “That rhetoric is all based in some longstanding racism in terms of black men with a voice in power. Unfortunately, that’s being revealed more and more as the days go on.”
Curry is spot on with this.
Maybe Trump’s Tweet played well with his base, but it’s not going to have an NFL-style impact on the younger, more urban, and more diverse NBA fan base. The League will back its players, who it encourages to speak out on social issues. And those players have a very different power dynamic with NBA team owners than the one in the NFL. For Trump, there is no win here.
By the way, Curry shot a one-over-par 71 on the first day of the Web.com event, leaving him eight strokes off the lead heading into Day 2. His goal was to make the cut, which means he needs a strong Friday.
Kobe Bryant’s investment in BodyArmor is paying off – in a huge way.
Darren Rovell of ESPN:
Bryant made his first investment in the brand, for roughly 10 percent of the company, in March 2014, putting in a total of roughly $6 million over time. Based on the valuation of the Coca-Cola deal, his stake is now worth approximately $200 million, sources told ESPN.
Bryant earned about $330 million in his 20-year playing career. Add endorsements and this investment, and he could be approaching the level of wealth necessary to buy a major share of an NBA team (if that’s what he wants, which it doesn’t seem to be).
But we need greater context to understand Bryant’s acumen as an investor. If he diversified his portfolio, reporting on only the big winner could be extremely misleading. It’d be like saying Bryant made 11,719 shots. It’s impressive. But understanding how impressive requires knowing how many shots he attempted.
Ben Simmons rarely shoots jumpers, but when he does, they’re left-handed.
Yet, the 76ers point guard usually takes right-handed layups and even threw out a first pitched righty:
Considering Simmons’ struggles with his jumper, could he switch shooting hands?
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
If Simmons goes all righty this season, as some expect, we will adjust.
I’m not sure who expects Simmons to switch hands. But it sure doesn’t look like as if he’s among them.
There’s a case for Simmons to switch shooting hands. His 3-pointer especially is so substandard, experimenting could barely hurt.
But the switch will work only if Simmons believes in it, and that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum explained Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors with an analogy about getting jumped by a gang with your brothers then joining that gang and forgetting about your brothers. McCollum called stars passing through Golden State to win big before joining another team – a la DeMarcus Cousins – “disgusting.”
Those comments have predictably generated plenty of discussion. But McCollum dislikes how those discussions are being framed.
Not everything McCollum says is newsworthy. Nobody is ethically obligated to amplify every comment he makes in a lengthy interview. Everywhere I saw, McCollum’s quote was given clear context.
It’s not newsworthy McCollum called the Warriors great. We all know they’re great. That’s why their existence is controversial.
And McCollum didn’t say just that he would never join Golden State. He called it “disgusting” then elaborated many other players would have too much pride for that track. The rhetoric was sharp and wide-reaching.
I found McCollum’s comments interesting, and I’m happy he shared them. I didn’t necessarily agree, but I appreciate his perspective. The NBA is more fun when more players reveal their differing points of view.
So kudos to McCollum – and Andre Iguodala.
McCollum totally forgot about Iguodala – but not incorrectly. Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson look like future Hall of Famers. Maybe Cousins gets there, too. But Iguodala doesn’t deserve it. He made only one All-Star game and mostly topped out at good-starter level. His Finals MVP – which should have gone to LeBron James or, if you insist on awarding a winning player, Curry – shouldn’t push Iguodala over the top.
The best part of McCollum’s Twitter defense today:
McCollum has won seven playoff games – including a series against the Clippers and a single game over the Warriors in 2016. He could have easily brought those up.
But “Im trying Jennifer” is a far more enjoyable response.
Does this give us a hint about what Dwyane Wade is thinking?
Probably not. What it means is that the Heat want some depth along the front line and, more importantly, a quality presence in the locker room. They want to bring back one of the icons of the franchise.
Udonis Haslem is reportedly nearing a contract with the Miami Heat, reports Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.
Haslem played in just 14 games for the Heat last season, and 72 total minutes. He just turned 38 and the Heat could use that roster spot to develop a young player. But this is about loyalty, and it’s a move that will play well in the locker room and with the fan base.
Wade also will like it. Whether it is an omen of his decision remains to be seen.