NBA

The time the Rockets signed someone still hungover and played him 34 minutes that night

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The Rockets clinched the NBA’s best record with a few games left last season. In their penultimate game, they beat the Lakers in Los Angeles. The following day, they closed the season in Sacramento.

Aaron Jackson – whose season playing in China already ended – attended that game in Los Angeles. Then, Houston signed him to play against the Kings.

Aaron Jackson on the Dunc’d On podcast:

I saw some plays that I liked, and I actually put them down in my notes in my phone that I was going to bring back to my Chinese team. And I got a phone call the next morning.

Obviously, I went out that night. I drank. I smoked. I did all things that adults do in L.A.

And I got a phone call the next morning, and it said, “Can you play tomorrow?” Nate, I’m hung over. I’m really hung over. I opened my eyes like, I literally wanted to say, “Who the hell is this calling me?” But it was my agent. I’m just like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. My season’s over.” He’s like, “The Rockets, you know they’ve always been interested you. They saw you again in person yesterday. They want to know if you want to play for them in the playoffs.” I’m just like, “Yeah, of course I want to play.”

And then they said, “We play today.” I get on the jet. Can you get on the jet? I got in the team owner’s jet.

And I’m thinking, “Hold on, I’m playing today?” I don’t have my sneakers with me, nothing. Keep in mind, I’m dehydrated, of course. I didn’t get to drink any water. I went straight to the clearport. I’m just trying to drink as much bottles of water as I can. I’m looking at the owner. The owner’s family would look at me. I’m wondering whether they think I’m drunk or I’m hungover from last night, because I didn’t get to shower. They literally rushed me, as soon as I woke up, to get on the Uber and get into the plane. So, I’m just looking like this is awkward as f—, as they say.

An all-nighter. Just imagine an L.A. party scene in the movie. I had one of those nights.

And I get to the gym the other day. And Trevor Ariza – he’s not playing – he’s like, “Hey, you want to wear my sneakers?” It’s like, is this really happening? I’m wearing some random sneakers, some random tights. I got someone’s tights. They were too big. I got in the game, and John Lucas was like – I was like, “I was partying last night.” He was like, “It’s basketball. Just play the game. Play the game.”

Amazing.

Jackson scored eight points in 34 (!) minutes in his NBA debut. He stuck with the Rockets for their playoff run, playing garbage time in seven postseason games. He returned to Beijing Shougang this season.

Report: Lakers have interest in Joakim Noah

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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in Dwight Howard. He has not yet been bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies, but a return to L.A. for Howard would be one of the most Lakers things of all time.

Howard infamously left Los Angeles under an auspicious circumstances in 2013 after things went south during the 2012-13 season between him, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash. He signed with the Houston Rockets that summer.

But Howard is not the only aging center under consideration by the Lakers. According to Shams Charania, Los Angeles is also considering adding Joakim Noah to their roster.

Via Twitter:

DeMarcus Cousins’ ACL injury has created a dearth of center depth for the Lakers, one that cannot be easily filled quickly. There aren’t a lot of available players left, and Los Angeles doesn’t have much to help facilitate a trade.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis need some help moving forward if they want to go deep into the Western Conference playoffs, and having only JaVale McGee playing at the center position won’t help them do that. They need to add somebody, but Howard or Noah being the answer to that is a scary proposition for a team with championship hopes.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn’t like how Bruce Lee was portrayed by Quentin Tarantino

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was friends with Bruce Lee before the actor’s tragic death in 1973. He was his teacher, pal, and co-star in in 1972’s Game of Death. Naturally, Abdul-Jabbar is protective of his friend’s legacy, and he’s not too happy about how Lee was portrayed in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film.

Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a meandering, beautiful, boring tribute to the film industry as it was changing at the end of the 1960s. It’s worth seeing just as a thing to look at, but the narrative — or lack thereof — is plodding, and the ending harkens back to a kind of transposed version of Inglourious Basterds that leaves you wondering what the point of making the film was in the first place.

Somewhere in the middle of its long 2h 45m runtime, there’s an extended scene in Once Upon A Time where Brad Pitt’s character Cliff fights Bruce Lee. Why? Probably because Tarantino wanted to pay tribute to Lee being an important part of that era, and because Tarantino so untouchable that nobody could tell him to leave the extemporaneous scene on the cutting room floor.

Instead, what Tarantino’s tribute scene appears to have angered Abdul-Jabbar along with members of Lee’s family.

In an article penned in The Hollywood Reporter this week, Abdul-Jabbar called Lee’s portrayal “sloppy” and “somewhat racist”.

Via THR:

Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not live up to this standard. Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being.

The John Wayne machismo attitude of Cliff (Brad Pitt), an aging stuntman who defeats the arrogant, uppity Chinese guy harks back to the very stereotypes Bruce was trying to dismantle. Of course the blond, white beefcake American can beat your fancy Asian chopsocky dude because that foreign crap doesn’t fly here.

Lee’s family, including daughter Shannon, has also spoken up about how Lee was portrayed in the film. In an interview with The Wrap, Shannon Lee said that, “He comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air.”

Once Upon A Time is a forgettable movie wrapped in the trappings of modern prestige media, where viewers are either unable separate production value from content, or unwilling to do so. It is beautiful, and the people involved are heavy hitters. But halfway through, the viewer is left asking “What’s the plot of this movie?” and that question remains until the final 15 minutes, when the inevitable, telegraphed ending finally, mercifully closes the story and the end credits roll.

Meanwhile, in true Tarantino form, his indulgences have created a mini-storm around one of his films in the most unnecessary way. An ill-conceived and executed scene that added nothing but length to Once Upon A Time has turned into a grating talking point for people like Abdul-Jabbar and Shannon Lee.

Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor to host ‘NBA Countdown’

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Things just keep getting better for NBA fans when it comes to national TV broadcasts.

It was announced in August that TNT would be doing away with the “Players Only” broadcast that appeared on NBA TV. Those broadcast crews were roundly criticized as being meandering and uninformed when it came to the product on the floor.

Now fans are getting more of what they want in the form of Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.

According to a report from Richard Deitsch, Nichols and Taylor will be the hosts of ESPN’s pregame show, NBA Countdown.

Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups Won’t return as analysts on the pregame show next year, leaving just Jalen Rose. That means there are a couple of spots open, and we don’t yet know who ESPN will fill them with. Nichols will reportedly continue to host her regular show “The Jump”.

As the league continues to get more popular, it makes sense that broadcast partners listen to the audience. Nichols is an NBA favorite, so having her be more visible makes a lot of sense.

NBA players roast Kyle Kuzma over outfit posted to Instagram (PHOTOS)

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Kyle Kuzma is going to be expected to have a big year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks he can have the impact of a third star for L.A., a team that didn’t add Kawhi Leonard to go alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer.

That’s big talk from Kuzma, but perhaps that talk has boosted his confidence a little bit. In a photo posted to Instagram this week, Kuzma could be seen wearing… whatever this is.

Via Twitter:

Twitter had a great time with Kuzma outfit, which looks like something pulled straight out of an early 2000s episode of TRL.

Kuzma’s contemporaries in the NBA thought he was getting a little wild with it, too, with several hopping onto the post to roast the Lakers big man.

Via Twitter:

I don’t know what this means for the upcoming Lakers season, but I’m sure it’s something interesting.