Summer in the NBA is sort of an odd place. We wait for confirmation of players switching teams, then most of what we see is either about players having fun, or players hitting the gym.
For some fans, they only want to see one or the other. While the more mature NBA fan probably understands that players are unique, dynamic individuals with lots of time on their hands, some diehards have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.
Social media has made it so that fans are able to go after players who they think aren’t keeping up with an offseason regimen. But of course, that allows players to respond to fan concerns.
That’s exactly what happened when one Twitter user complained at Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard for not working out enough. The Twitter user hadn’t seen video of Lillard working out, so they assumed the Blazers star wasn’t hitting the gym.
He was wrong, and Lillard let them know about it.
This seems like an extremely basic fact, but the idea that Lillard isn’t in the gym because people see him enjoying his life — like a normal human being — is patently insane. But the summer is long and the heat makes fools of us all, I guess. That and having to watch early-season NFL games.
The interaction did make for some good Twitter banter, at least. What a goober.
Lillard went even further, posting … uh, whatever this is:
Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen received a raise as part of the team deciding he deserved additional compensation after moving up from an assistant position.
Of course, what Boylen probably didn’t expect when he took the head job was to literally be in a more vulnerable position on the floor.
During Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Boylen was it standing on the sidelines in front of his bench when an errant pass from Nikola Jokic sent Torrey Craig hurdling into Boylen.
Everyone appeared to be okay after the collision, but even still it feels like with the way things have gone for Boylen in Chicago, this could only happen to him.
Kyrie Irving made headlines on Wednesday night when he won the game for the Boston Celtics against the Toronto Raptors, then proceeded to call LeBron James to apologize about how he treated the Los Angeles Lakers star when the two were on the Cleveland Cavaliers together.
To many, the move seemed like a quick maturation of Irving as well as a surprising about face by the shifty point guard. Even LeBron thought that Irving calling him was out of character, saying as much to media on Wednesday.
However, some saw Irving’s comments and actions a little bit differently. Speaking on Inside the NBA on TNT on Thursday, Charles Barkley said that he felt Irving’s conversation with LeBron was actually a swipe at his current Celtics teammates.
To be fair, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst expressed a similar sentiment to Barkley’s on “The Jump” on Thursday, and I have to side with both of them. Their explanation of Irving’s comments make more sense than some kind of overnight maturation on the part of the Celtics star.
Irving is a very good player but he’s also a transparent marketer. His flat earth comments, his commercial that became a terrible movie … it’s all about his personal brand. Part of that is shifting blame away from himself as Boston — currently fifth in the East — continues to struggle.
I don’t think Irving is magically more mature. If anything, his apology is a self-serving attempt at comparing himself to LeBron and by association, the rest of the Celtics as the flotsam that has traditionally consisted the Cavaliers roster.
That’s really not a fair view of either side, and I don’t trust much of what comes out of Irving’s comments beyond their obvious marketing value.
Russell Westbrook seems like a pretty intense guy. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has won an MVP not by being a pushover, but by pushing past opponents for triple doubles.
We have really rounded out Westbrook as a individual over the past couple of years, particularly after Kevin Durant decamped Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors. Part of that has been seeing Westbrook as a father, which we got more of on a Thursday before the Thunder took on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before the game, Westbrook was seen on the floor hanging out with his son, Noah, and generally having a good time.
The result was, admittedly, extremely cute.
Noah Westbrook will be draft eligible in 2036. Set your calendars, I guess.
Michael Beasley has given us several hilarious moments over his career. The Los Angeles Lakers forward is known for being a bit of a draft bust as well as an enigmatic, often goofy NBA personality.
On Thursday as the Lakers got set to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, Beasley was unable to check into the game thanks to a wardrobe malfunction on his part. Specifically, Beasley tried to enter the game while wearing his practice shorts.
Officials told him he couldn’t enter the game and Beasley quickly ran back to the locker room to change into the correct uniform.
LeBron James can’t return back to the Lakers soon enough.