Getty Images

Chris Bosh: ‘I’m disappointed’ not to be Hall of Fame finalist

Leave a comment

MIAMI — Chris Bosh is not hiding his frustration about not being a finalist for this year’s enshrinement class for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The former Miami and Toronto forward released a video statement on social media Tuesday, using some version of the word disappoint – be it “disappointed,” “disappointment” or “disappointing” – no fewer than 15 times in 5 minutes.

Bosh was a surprising omission last week from the class of eight finalists announced by the Hall as still being under consideration for enshrinement this year, a list that included contemporary players Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. The class of inductees will be revealed in Atlanta on April 4 at the men’s college basketball Final Four, and the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony is in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Aug. 29.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Bosh said. “I’m a competitive man. I’ve been competing my whole life. A lot of people don’t really know that about me, but I’m a fierce competitor. Losing bothers me. Coming up short bothers me. It always has, you know, since the moment I started playing basketball and it kind of bleeds over into everything that I do. So I’ll just get ahead of it. And so you hear this from me, I’m disappointed.”

Bosh is one of 13 players in NBA history to average 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in a career that included at least 11 All-Star selections.

The other 12 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Larry Bird, Bob Pettit, Patrick Ewing, Elvin Hayes and Elgin Baylor – are all in the Hall of Fame.

Bosh is also the only Hall-eligible player with 17,189 points, 7,592 rebounds, 1,795 assists, 11 All-Star selections and two championships who is not already in, or a finalist this year for, the Hall of Fame. There are other players with those numbers, such as LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki, who are not yet eligible because they’re still playing or retired too recently.

“One of the things people like to say is, ‘Oh, next year,’” Bosh said. “What if there’s not a next year? That’s something that I think about every day. And I hope you think about it as well, but what if there’s not a tomorrow? What does that even mean? That is a definite question that’s been on my mind quite a bit, but I just have to be honest with you guys. I’m very disappointed.”

Bosh, who turns 36 next month, said he wishes he was still playing and believes he would still be in the NBA if not for the health issues that abruptly ended his career in 2016. Bosh had at least two bouts with blood clots.

He was an All-Star for Miami in his final season, 2015-16. He was averaging 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds that season and had just arrived in Toronto for that year’s All-Star Game when a clot in one of his legs was discovered.

He never played again. Bosh eventually came to grips with that reality, saw his jersey be retired by the Heat – the team with whom he won two championships, a stint perhaps most notably remembered by his rebound and assist that set up Ray Allen’s season-saving, game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio. Bosh also blocked a 3-point try by Danny Green at the end of overtime to seal Miami’s three-point win, and the Heat would go on to win Game 7 for their second straight title.

“I’ve been disappointed with my career coming up short,” Bosh said. “I feel that I should still be playing basketball right now, but that’s neither here nor there. That was in my goals. That was in my plans and it just did not work out like that. I don’t want to be in this position. Now I’m here dealing with that. Had other plans, started making plans on the potentiality of going in with such a great class, didn’t even qualify. You know what I mean? … It’s just disappointing.”

Doc Rivers: Lou Williams expected to join Clippers for restart

Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Lou Williams
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers says Lou Williams is expected to join the team for the NBA’s restart in Florida.

Williams has described himself as “50-50” on whether he would finish out the pandemic-interrupted season because he didn’t want to distract from the ongoing push for social justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.

“Obviously, up until we get on the plane, anything can happen,” Rivers said during a video conference with media Wednesday. “But I do expect Lou to be with us. I would be very surprised if he’s not.”

Williams, last year’s Sixth Man of the Year, was averaging 18.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 60 games before the league shut down in March due to the coronavirus.

Rivers said he doesn’t think any of the Clippers are opting out from resuming the season. The team heads to Orlando, Florida, on July 8.

“But listen, it is their choice and we support that,” the coach said. “There are so many reasons for everybody to play but there are also very valid reasons for guys to opt out. I don’t think many will. I think they are all invested in what we are trying to do. But again you don’t hold it against anyone on any team. This is extraordinary times and we just have to support each other.”

Guard Landry Shamet echoed other players’ feelings about traveling to Florida at a time when COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in certain states.

“It’s obviously a concern, but we’re in the best possible situation and scenario to combat that,” he said. “If there’s a scenario where you feel more comfortable it would be being in a bubble. That’s as controlled as any environment can be, so that’s one positive that I’ve been thinking about.”

Rivers added, “I’m hoping when we get to the bubble it becomes the safest place in America.”

LeBron James’ voting rights group converting arenas into polling places

LeBron James Orlando
Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

ATLANTA (AP) — If basketball icon LeBron James gets his way, NBA arenas and other sports venues around the country will be mega polling sites for the November general election.

James and his voting rights group, formed this spring with other black athletes and entertainers, are joining with other professional basketball leaders and Michigan’s top elections official to push for mega voting sites to accommodate in-person balloting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Than A Vote, the James organization dedicated to maximizing Black turnout in November, shared its plans with The Associated Press on Wednesday after the Detroit Pistons became the second NBA franchise to announce plans to use its arena for voting later this year. In Georgia, Fulton County elections officials this week approved the Atlanta Hawks’ proposal to use State Farm Arena as a polling site. Plans call for the arena to serve as a countywide early voting site ahead of Election Day.

The idea, which comes after Kentucky used large facilities in its June 23 primary, is to use large spaces that allow for in-person voting while still enforcing social distancing guidelines. It also underscores the attention on the mechanics of voting amid the pandemic, with the intensity already reflected in both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden warning that state and local officials have the power to “corrupt” the election.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson called her “partnership” with the Pistons an “blueprint for other teams and leagues seeking to advance our common goal of protecting access to the vote for all.”

Lloyd Pierce, head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, said the arrangement in his city ensures “high turnout” in a safe environment. Benson, Pierce and David Fizdale, former New York Knicks head coach, will advise NBA franchises and arena management entities around the country on how to replicate the existing deals.

The Milwaukee Bucks also confirmed they are willing to use their home arena as a voting site in the most populous city in the key battleground of Wisconsin.

The coordinated push is a turnabout, of sorts, in the often-partisan jousting over voting procedures.

Some Democrats panned Kentucky elections officials for limiting in-person June primary voting in the state’s two most populous counties to Louisville’s Exposition Center and the University of Kentucky football stadium in Lexington. Voting rights advocates argued in federal court that the plan, part of culling voting sites statewide amid coronavirus concerns, would harm minority voters.

A federal judge rejected their claims, and voting proceeded without the melee that some advocates had forecast.

Now, Benson, a Democrat, is pushing the arena model not as an example of potential voter suppression, but a way to fight it. “One of our greatest challenges in protecting voters’ access to democracy this November is identifying accessible locations where citizens can safely vote in person,” she said.

Amid COVID, that could outweigh potential logistical difficulties of large sites. Lines for such venues can still be long — just as with normal polling locations — as was seen in Lexington at some points on primary day. Voters also could face traffic jams or public transit hiccups given the number of people involved. General elections also have considerably larger turnout than primaries.

Nonetheless, there’s a growing bipartisan push for large-venue voting. NFL executive Scott Pioli last week presented the National Association of Secretaries of State a plan for widespread use of professional and college sports facilities.

James’ group is officially nonpartisan. But the NBA star has been open about its emphasis on the Black community, where Trump faces intense opposition for his white identity politics. James has not endorsed Biden, but he endorsed Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.

In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the Bucks owners, the Lasry family, are major Democratic Party donors. Bucks executive Alex Lasry helped lead the effort that landed the Democratic National Convention in the city.

Missouri man freed from prison with help from WNBA’s Moore

AP Photo
Leave a comment

A Missouri man was freed from prison Wednesday after a county prosecutor declined to retry his case, punctuating years of work by WNBA star Maya Moore and other supporters who argued he was falsely convicted of burglary and assault charges.

Moore was on hand when Jonathan Irons, 40, walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center. She clapped as Irons approached a group of people waiting for his release. She then dropped to her knees at one point before joining a group hug around Irons.

He had been serving a 50-year prison sentence stemming from the non-fatal shooting of a homeowner in the St. Louis area when Irons was 16. But a judge threw out his convictions in March, citing a series of problems with the case, including a fingerprint report that had not been turned over to Irons’ defense team, according to The New York Times.

The Missouri attorney general’s office unsuccessfully appealed the judge’s decision, and the lead prosecutor in St. Charles County decided against a retrial.

Moore and Irons became friends after meeting through prison ministry, according to the Times. The 31-year-old Moore, a Jefferson City, Missouri, native who starred at UConn before helping lead Minnesota to four WNBA titles, put her career on hold last season to help Irons.

Moore said in January she planned to sit out a second season and miss the Tokyo Olympics. After Irons’ convictions were thrown out in March, she told the AP her plans hadn’t changed.

“’My decision to take another year was bigger than this case,” she said at the time. “But obviously this case was in the forefront of my mind. I’m looking forward when this is done to finally getting some rest and time with my family.”

Adam Silver: Restart broadcasts may need delay to keep cussing off air

Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

NBA players trash talk and swear more during a game than a Samuel L. Jackson character.

That’s not exactly insider knowledge. However, most of what is said is covered up by the ambient crowd noise and in-arena music at a traditional game. Nobody at home can hear Patrick Beverley‘s stream of consciousness.

But what is going to happen at the NBA’s restart in Orlando? With no crowds and less noise, and courtside microphones can pick up everything. Including language some fans may not want to be brought into their homes.

This is why the league many need a broadcast delay — similar to the seven-second delay used on some live broadcasts — so it can drop any offensive language, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the Time 100 interview.

“I think often players, they understand when they’re on the floor, they’re saying certain things to each other because it’s so loud in the arena, they know a lot of it is not being picked up. They may have to adapt their language a little bit knowing what they say will likely be picked up by microphones and in all seriousness, we may need to put a little bit of a delay.”

One solution would be to have a live stream available to fans where nothing is dropped. There are those of us — hard-core NBA fans — who want to hear the trash talk, want to listen to the coaches call out the play as the defenders call out what is coming and talk about set picks, etc. We all what to hear what LeBron James is going to say to J.R. Smith on the court. That should be available to fans, along with the video game look and other customizable streams.

The league may have fan’s faces on video boards around the court and music pumped in, but this is just not going to look and feel the same. There may need to be a delay to keep some of the language off the air (that happens at sporting events anyway), but it would be fun to give the viewers the option, as ESPN did with The Last Dance.