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Draymond Green on Rudy Gobert crying: ‘I don’t believe in that’

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Draymond Green didn’t make the 2019 NBA All-Star team. Neither did Rudy Gobert. For some reason, Green had lots to say about Gobert’s reaction, which included briefly welling up with tears when discussing his All-Star snub and Gobert’s mother’s reaction to the news that the Utah Jazz center didn’t make it.

Folks on Twitter seemed to have a pretty harsh reaction to Gobert’s emotions, which amounted to not much more than him having to pause while talking to reporters and covering his eyes.

Green, never one to stop flapping his gums, added to his justification for publicly criticizing Gobert by going into his own thoughts on CJ McCollum‘s podcast recent “Pull Up” podcast.

Via NBC Sports Bay Area and Pull Up:

“I guess I was just raised a little different. That’s just not OK with me. I’m all for passion and people showing their emotion and all these things, but to cry that you don’t make the All-Star Game is a bit much for me,” Draymond explained. “And credit to Rudy — he didn’t make it and he had 25 and 13 that night. Go do that though … credit to him for going out and having the game he had right after thinking he should have been an All-Star and not getting the nod. I respect that and I rock with that.

“But the first part (crying) — I can’t get with that. I don’t believe in that. I don’t think that’s cool.”

“Also, when you look at what we do, especially Rudy — Rudy’s a big man, he’s somebody who locks the paint down; he’s an intimidator — you do that and you kind of lose some respect from some guys that you got to play against,” the 2017 DPOY said. “Some guy (who may have feared you) is now looking at you like, ‘Huh? Wait. You crying?'”

“So even more so than anything, the mental edge that he may have on someone — it takes a hit. And the mental edge can be exactly what gets you over the hump. The mental edge can be exactly what allows you to dominate one particular matchup.

“It’s not necessarily the fact it’s a man crying — men cry, women cry, people cry, kids cry, everyone cry — but you’re crying over All-Star and we’re talking about basketball … that’s my issue with the interview.”

Green has let his emotions get the best of him in ways that, frankly, are far more embarrassing than anything Gobert’s done. The man is a technical foul machine, and as Dan pointed out when this story first came about, also admitted that he had to keep himself from crying in relation to the All-Star game.

Via NBC Sports Bay Area:

Draymond Green thought, for the briefest of moments, he was hearing things, that his mother’s voice was in his head because surely she was not in his presence.

But Mary Babers-Green was indeed on the talkback line, and hers was the voice the Warriors’ power forward heard Thursday afternoon, telling Draymond he had been named to the Western Conference All-Star team.

“I had to keep from crying,” Green said on a post-announcement conference call.

Green is a big talker and his criticism of Gobert, out of the blue, wasn’t additive in any way.

It’s probably rare that grown adults will take to crying in a professional setting, but the fact that Gobert was moved to do so was indicative of the passion held for his life’s work. Even the supposed basketball reasons Green gave in opposition of Gobert — a loss of an intimidation factor leading to an edge — is wholly reflective of how Green plays the game, and doesn’t have anything to do with how Gobert approaches things.

The few tears Gobert shed were his own individual expression of his dedication to his purpose, but more importantly stand as an obvious projection in insecurity on the part of Green in the face of something antithetical to stereotypical masculinity. There’s nothing that says Gobert can’t be a Defensive Player of the Year and also a guy who cries — because that’s factually what he is. This is about Green not being able to understand how that can be the case, because that isn’t his own experience.

That Green doesn’t “believe” in crying in that situation, ultimately, says more about him than it does about Gobert.

Kemba Walker feels love from Charlotte fans, returns it All-Star Weekend

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Curry was only a few podiums away. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid were elsewhere on the court and could be seen in flashes on the big screen above. Some of the biggest stars in the basketball universe were floating around. Then the chant broke out from the stands.

KEM-BA WALK-ER. KEM-BA WALK-ER

In Charlotte, Kemba Walker is as beloved as any of them. Maybe more.

Walker raised his arm and acknowledged the chanting fans with a smile. The love is mutual.

While All-Star weekend in Charlotte has been a triumphant homecoming for Stephen Curry and a celebration of the Curry family — who Commissioner Adam Silver called the “first family of Charlotte” — there also is love for the slightly undersized point guard who was drafted by into Charlotte, adopted the town, and has become its biggest NBA star and ambassador.

“The fan support has been A1, which is how it is each and every day for me,” Walker said. “For the fans, I’m happy they have this opportunity, I’m happy we got this event here. I think we deserved it.”

Walker, a three-time All-Star, said he and the city have been taking in everything around All-Star weekend — the concerts, parties, pop-up stores and more — and savoring it. Walker competed in Saturday night’s Three-Point Contest (although it was not his best outing). He admitted to being tired because of the fast pace of everything in a city that usually moves a little bit slower, but that and a little more traffic were his only complaints. And minor ones at that.

“I’m just happy to be home, honestly,” Walker said. “Excited to welcome people into the city — I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback about the city. Like today, a lot of guys have been telling me it’s their first time in Charlotte, they didn’t know how cool it was, so I was really excited to hear that.”

Walker grew up in a very different world, the Bronx in New York. However, his story of not having a lot of money — spending his days after school at the Boys and Girls Club — and having to work hard has resonated with the city and its residents.

So has his loyalty. Walker has not tried to push his way out the door despite the franchise not putting players around him who can win consistently. (Walker is a free agent this summer and will have options, although the Hornets want to re-sign him and will break the bank to do so, and Walker has professed his love for the city and sounded like a guy who wants to re-sign.)

This season’s Charlotte team is a good example of what Walker faces. It feels like Walker against the world — the team is 6.2 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits, mostly because the offense falls apart. The team’s second best player is Jeremy Lamb. Or maybe Cody Zeller. Walker has pushed Charlotte to a 27-30 record this season, good enough for seventh in the East at the All-Star break, but just half a game ahead on nine-seed Miami and one up on surging Orlando. Charlotte also has the toughest remaining schedule in the East over its final 25 games, and fivethirtyeight.com gives them a 45 percent chance to make the playoffs.

“Hopefully my teammates are getting some rest now, because when this weekend is over we need to make a strong, strong push,” Walker said of the team’s playoff drive. “We have a pretty tough schedule.”

But that’s for next week.

For the remainder of this weekend, Walker — and his mother — are around and just trying to soak it all in. He admitted it’s been surreal to be named an All-Star starter the season the game is in Charlotte, and he wants to make sure those fans who love him and chant his name get a show.

“I’m going to enjoy it, but I’m definitely going to go out there and compete and try to get a win,” Walker said. “Put on a show for the fans.”

Hamidou Diallo is Superman for a night, wins 2019 Slam Dunk Contest

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.— The Oklahoma City Thunder have more athletes on the wing than those couple of guys whose names you know playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

They have Hamidou Diallo, and he can climb the ladder with the best of them and knows how to throw it down.

Diallo had the best dunk of the night — a Superman-themed elbow dunk over Shaq — and is deservingly your 2019 All-Star Dunk Contest.

The problem with practicing a dunk over Shaq is the man himself is not around to practice with.

“It’s tough,” Diallo said. “My man Chuck (Millan) from Team Flight Brothers, we tried a bunch of things. We tried having people stand, putting basketballs on top of them, just to make sure I could clear the shot. So it was tough.”

Diallo edged out the Knicks’ Dennis Smith Jr. in the Finals. On his first Finals dunk, Smith tried to go with a between the legs 360 but missed twice. He changed it up for his third and final dunk attempt, a high bounce tomahawk, but he missed that one too. The judges generously gave him a 33, but he was destined to lose after that.

Smith still put on a show. On his second finals dunk, he brought out Stephen Curry and Dwyane Wade, taking the pass from Curry and leaping over Wade, and after a couple of misses he finally nailed it — for a full 50 from the judges (which the crowd in the arena didn’t agree with).

The contest itself was hit and miss (and for stretches much more miss), and the crowd in the arena did not seem into it, but there were highlights.

John Collins came out first and had one of the more underrated dunks of the night, slapping the backboard on one side then reverse dunking on the other. The judges gave him 8s across the board, which was low for a high degree of difficulty dunk.

On Collins’ second dunk he brought out a mini-replica of the Wright Brothers plane, went with some “first in flight” gear, and…he clipped the plane but made the dunk.

Diallo was next and pulled Russell Westbrook out of the crowd. Westbrook threw it off the side of the backboard and Diallo grabbed it and threw it down. His 48 (out of 50) had him in the lead after the first round.

In the second round, Diallo brought out Shaq for that dunk of the night. That got him into the Finals.

Smith Jr. was next and started with a high bounce catch and dunk but had to do it a couple times after he missed the first one. His second dunk was one of the best of the evening — he brought out J Cole (Sunday’s halftime performer), put on Cole’s high school jersey, then did not hold back.

Charlotte’s Miles Bridges had the hometown crowd behind him, but when he missed every dunk attempt in the first round his night was destined to be short. For his second attempt, he brought out Charlotte legend Muggsy Bogues, rocked the Larry Johnson jersey, then went off the side of the backboard with Kemba Walker for a perfect 50.

Hamidou Diallo elbow-dunks over Shaq (video)

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CHARLOTTE – Vince Carter‘s elbow dunk in the 2000 dunk contest is legendary.

Hamidou Diallo just one-upped it.

The Thunder forward put his entire forearm through the rim – while dunking over Shaquille O’Neal.

Compare that above video to Carter’s iconic dunk. Diallo’s path to the rim is far more impressive than Carter’s:

John Collins breaks airplane on Wright Brothers tribute dunk (video)

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CHARLOTTE – In North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers took flight, John Collins paid homage in the dunk contest. The Hawks big put on a cap, scarf and goggles befitting the Tuskegee Airmen and brought out a large model airplane to jump over.

Removing the goggles was disappointing enough. Then Collins broke the darn plane!

I love gimmick dunks, but you can’t break the prop.