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Michael Jordan takes another shot, enters high-end tequila business with Jeanie Buss, other owners

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Michael Jordan’s drink of choice? Tequila. And not the cheap stuff poured into a weak house margarita at a tacky chain Mexican restaurant, we’re talking the good, sipping tequila. The stuff the rest of us think we can afford about three drinks into the night already.

Now Jordan is getting into the tequila business with several other NBA owners — the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss, the Bucks’ Wes Edens, and the Celtics Wyc Grousbeck plus his then-fiancée-now-wife Emilia Fazzalari — and the brand has just launched.

Chloe Sorvino at Forbes Magazine had a more detailed breakdown about how this idea came together over a dinner they all shared at an owners’ meeting in New York in 2016.

By the time they were seated, this multibillion-dollar table was discussing the specific characteristics they wished they could find on the shelf—a tequila with a smooth, long finish like a fine cognac or whiskey.

“That was when we realized there was an opportunity in the market to create a new tequila, a better tequila,” says Fazzalari, who spent 29 years in financial services, in part developing information platforms for the energy sector, and has been heading up the project as CEO. “We let our hair down and became true friends that night.”

Tequila-fueled gamesmanship aside, the idea for Cincoro came at the right time. The United States consumes more tequila than any other nation–about 18.3 million cases last year, or 56% of global consumption, according to consultancy IWSR Drinks Market Analysis… The ultra-premium side of the American tequila market (where the starting price is $45 a bottle) is also growing fast—a 19% increase each year since 2013.

Having Jordan’s name and brand attached to the product also can help sales, as Nike will happily attest.

Maybe this works, maybe it doesn’t — much like the restaurant business, the liquor business is a fickle one that tends to defy expectations. These people have the money to afford a little loss, but they didn’t get rich taking losses very often.

Just expect if you’re sitting in the high-end seats near the court this season to watch LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kemba Walker, there will be certain, somewhat pricy tequila available on the menu.

Bucks GM confirms team will offer Giannis Antetokoumpo supermax next summer

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This is about as big a secret as President Donald Trump’s feelings about Joe Biden:

Next summer the Milwaukee Bucks are going to offer Giannis Antetokoumpo a supermax contract, worth five-years and an estimated $247 million.

But if you need proof, here is Bucks GM Jon Horst at a recent town hall event in Milwaukee, courtesy Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Here’s your money quote:

“First of all, the answer for now is that we can’t talk and negotiate anything. So Giannis, basically, a year from now will be eligible for a supermax extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a supermax extension.”

While Antetokoumpo is under contract for two more seasons (at $53 million, total) next summer he can be offered an extension. After winning the MVP last season, he is eligible for the “supermax,” giving him 35 percent of the Bucks salary cap space.

Of course the Bucks were going to offer the max. That was never in doubt. The question is, will Antetokoumpo accept it?

Very likely, yes.

There have been rumblings that if he doesn’t feel the Bucks are doing all they can to win a title, he could look around.

That may be mostly wishful thinking from some quarters. Talking to sources around the league, teams are watching the Antetokoumpo situation but widely expect he will re-sign in Milwaukee. Unlike Anthony Davis and others, there are no meaningful signs of discontent.

The rumors Antetokoumpo wants to make the finals may be simply a warning to the Bucks front office. This is a team that heads into the coming season as a title contender and Antetokoumpo wants to keep the pressure on so the team doesn’t make cost-cutting moves that hurt them on the court.

Horst seems to get that in his comments, mentioning coach Mike Budenholzer.

“Bud and I talk about this all the time. It’s our responsibility to create an environment, a culture, a basketball organization where our players want to come to work everyday, players that they want to play with everyday, and they want to win at the highest level. And we’ve taken great steps towards that last year. We’ve continued to build on that. We’re going to continue to build on that. I think we all fully believe that if we continue to put the right things in place and give Giannis the right opportunities — he loves Milwaukee, he loves the state of Wisconsin — I think he’ll be a Buck for a long time.”

Giannis is a loyal person and considers Milwaukee his home in America — it’s the only place he’s lived and played. He almost certainly takes the big paycheck and stays, but in this NBA nothing is 100 percent certain.

Check out Sidney Moncrief’s Hall of Fame induction speech

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Defense can get you to the Hall of Fame.

That was what drove Sidney Moncrief’s induction into the Hall this weekend. laying for the Bucks and Hawks, Moncrief was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, made an All-NBA team, is a five-time All-Star and four times made the All-Defensive Team.

Congrats to Moncrief on a well-deserved induction.

 

Brook Lopez on Team USA facing Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘He’ll try to tear our heads off’

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SHENZHEN, China (AP) The U.S. men’s basketball team figured that it would eventually cross paths with Giannis Antetokounmpo at this World Cup.

And the Americans were right.

For the first time, a reigning NBA MVP will play against the U.S. on a major international stage. Antetokounmpo and Greece (2-1) will be the opponent when the U.S. (3-0) opens second-round play on Saturday night, in what’s essentially a must-win game for the Greeks in their quest to reach next week’s quarterfinals.

“Oh, he’s going to come out to kill us. There’s no question,” said U.S. center Brook Lopez, Antetokounmpo’s teammate with the Milwaukee Bucks. “He’ll try to tear our heads off. I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise.”

Greece has already survived one must-win game in this World Cup, beating New Zealand 103-97 on Thursday night to clinch the 16th and final available spot in the second round. Had they lost, the Greeks were going to the classification round and relegated to no better than a 17th-place finish in the 32 team tournament.

Instead, they get the U.S. in a game that’s sure to command major attention.

“For us, we go as far as Giannis goes,” Greece’s Nick Calathes said. “Not just offensively because offensively he can score, he can pass. But defensively, he’s a big impact for us. We’ll be ready to go. We’re not afraid of anybody. Obviously, USA is the best team in the tournament right now so we’ll be prepared and have the right mindset coming in.”

All second-round teams play two games before the quarterfinal field is set. The U.S. will play Brazil in the second-round finale Monday, while Greece will play the Czech Republic.

There is no mystery about what this event means to Antetokounmpo.

“To represent my country, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Antetokounmpo said. “You really cannot explain it. But one thing I’ll say is when you play for the national team, you don’t only play for yourself. You represent every single Greek person.”

He said in the weeks leading up to the tournament that he would trade the MVP award for the World Cup crown.

If only it were that easy. Greece will face a U.S. team that is coming off a 53-point romp against Japan to finish first-round play.

“Our opinion has been all along that all these players from overseas that play in the NBA are obviously good players or they wouldn’t be there, and Giannis is pretty special as far as good players are concerned,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “But when they play for their countries, we like to say that they become superheroes.”

Greece will probably need Antetokounmpo to find his superhero cape if this upset is going to happen.

He’s averaged 15.7 points so far in three games in China, shooting 50 percent from the floor and only 17 percent from 3-point range. The Greeks have been careful with his minutes and his best game of the World Cup, by far, was Thursday when he logged 30 minutes and scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out six assists.

Greece coach Thanasis Skourtopoulos likely won’t be cautious with his star’s minutes Saturday.

“Giannis is the superstar of the team and everybody knows what he can do,” Skourtopoulos said.

The Americans struggled at times in their opener against the Czech Republic, nearly lost to Turkey in their second game and arrived in China last week a few days removed from a loss in Australia. All that has led to plenty of questions about their vulnerability.

Skourtopoulos isn’t buying that notion.

“The USA team, of course, even with a lot of stars missed, the roster is great,” Skourtopoulos said. “The coaching staff is more than great. It’s a very good team and we’ll have to be 100 percent ready if we want to go against them and take the victory against this great team.”

There’s a very distinct familiarity for Lopez and U.S. wing Khris Middleton, since they see Antetokounmpo in Bucks practice every day during the NBA season. And three members of the Boston Celtics who are on the U.S. roster – Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart – faced Antetokounmpo in the second round of last season’s playoffs, the Bucks winning in five games.

Brown is eager for Saturday.

“Looking forward to it,” Brown said.

Middleton said he hasn’t done any chatting with Antetokounmpo since the World Cup started. And he cautioned that focusing too much on Antetokounmpo could be problematic for the Americans.

“He is the MVP, but at the same time they do have other great players on that team,” Middleton said. “They have Calathes, they have a couple bigs, couple shooters. So it’s not just all about Giannis. He’s a smart player who knows how to use his teammates. We can’t just focus on him.”

New Zealand does pregame Haka in front of Greece, Giannis Antetokounmpo (VIDEO)

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Greece beat New Zealand in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China on Thursday morning, 103-97. Milwaukee Bucks superstar and 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo finally decided to show up in the World Cup, notching 24 points in the winning effort while going to the free-throw line 15 times.

The win allowed Antetokounmpo to take his national team squad to the second round where he will have to take on the likes of Team USA, Brazil, and the Czech Republic.

But before this advancing win, the Kiwis decided to put on a display of national pride, one that is always fun to watch on video. Before the things got tipped off, New Zealand did a traditional Māori Haka dance in front of their Greek competitors.

Typically thought of as a war dance of intimidation, New Zealand’s Haka just about worked. They only lost to the Greeks by six points, and Steven Adams isn’t even on their roster for this contest.

Check out the video of the Haka above.