This Day in NBA History: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes NBA’s all-time scoring leader

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It was fitting he did it with a skyhook.

On April 5, 1984, in a game against the Utah Jazz (played in a sold-out Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took a pass from Magic Johnson, swung left, and drained a hook shot that gave him career point No. 31,420, moving him past Wilt Chamberlain to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

The game stopped as the celebration ensued as Kareem’s teammates swarmed the captain. He was taken out of the game at that point, done for the night.

Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t done scoring, however. H retired five seasons later with 38,387 points, a record that stands to this day.

Kings’ Kyle Guy’s grandfather dies due to COVID-19

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Kyle Guy wants people to take the coronavirus and the sheltering-in-place orders seriously.

That way, fewer people will have to go through what he and his family are experiencing.

Guy’s grandfather passed away from COVID-19, Guy announced on Twitter.

Guy, a former star and national champion at Virginia, was taken late in the second round and traded to the Kings, where the point guard has been on a two-way contract. He’d played in just two games for the Kings, but at their G-League affiliate the Stockton Kings he averaged 21.5 points a game shooting 40 percent from three, plus 4.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds a night.

Our thoughts are with Guy and his family, and the thousands of others across the nation that have lost loved ones to this disease.

Be healthy and stay safe out there.

Frustrated Kevin Durant bounced in first round of NBA 2K players tournament

Nets star Kevin Durant
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It was one of the strategy questions coming into the NBA 2K players tournament broadcast on ESPN Friday night: When would players use the big-gun teams? The rules of the competition had players designate eight teams they might play as, but they could only use each team once. Teams such as the Bucks and Lakers are high value, but use them early to advance and it becomes hard to win it all.

Derrick Jones Jr. went to the big guns and played the Bucks in the first round against Kevin Durant, who picked the Clippers. Durant has complained in the past on Twitter that the transition defense in NBA 2K20 is terrible, and Jones showed exactly why on his way to an upset win.

Durant’s Clippers could not stop Giannis Antetokounmpo in transition. Although to be fair, the actual NBA has that same problem.

Durant’s other problem may simply have been he’s old at age 31, born in 1988.

What may have been most interesting through the night was the side banter between the players. For example, when Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton said he’s been lifting during the NBA’s coronavirus-forced suspension, the Bull’s Zach LaVine said he didn’t need to get any bigger. Durant said it had been a while since he touched a ball and Jones said he was shooting onto his roof to keep his shooting touch as best he can.

On the virtual court, Trae Young used the Bucks to thrash Kings forward Harrison Barnes 101-59, Ayton, using the Rockets, topped LaVine (Heat) 57-41, and Patrick Beverley (Bucks) beat Hassan Whiteside (Lakers) 84-54.

The first round of the tournament continues Sunday on ESPN2.

Vanessa Bryant reacts to Kobe Bryant’s election to Hall of Fame

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Everyone knew it was coming, Kobe Bryant was a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer.

It didn’t make the announcement that he was officially in any less emotional.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, appeared on the ESPN show announcing the 2020 class and spoke about her husband.

 

“Obviously, we wish he was here with us to celebrate, but it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career. Every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.”

The love for Kobe poured out from every corner of the Lakers’ organization on Saturday.

“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss. “Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles – and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”

“Kobe was always one to downplay his professional accomplishments – MVPs, NBA championships, gold medals, Oscars, and on and on and on,” said Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. “But all of us can trust that this Basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate. The highest of congratulations to you, dear friend. This one is so well deserved — for all the hard work, sweat and toil. Now, a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats, where your legend and spirit will continue to grow forever.”

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett are officially Hall of Famers

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It may be the greatest Hall of Fame class in history.

There may not have been a lot of suspense — the shock would have been if these three did not get in on the first ballot —  but Saturday it became official:

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett are Hall of Famers.

They were elected on the first ballot in a deep class that also includes Tamika Catchings, Rudy Tomjanovic, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.

It is Kobe’s election, months after his tragic death in a helicopter accident, that draws the most emotion.

“Obviously, we wish he was here with us to celebrate, but it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career,” Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant said on the broadcast announcing Kobe’s enshrinement. “Every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.”

“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss. “Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles – and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”

Kobe’s resume was nearly unparalleled: Five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time NBA All-Star, 11-time All-NBA First Team, the 2008 NBA MVP, nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member, he is fourth on the NBA All-Time scoring list, plus Bryant earned two Olympic gold medals.

One of the few guys who can put up a resume anywhere close to that is Tim Duncan, the face of a two-decade San Antonio Spurs dynasty. He is a five-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP, two-time NBA MVP, he was a 15-time NBA All-Star, an eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member,  Rookie of the Year, and Duncan is the only player in NBA history with 1,000 or more wins with one team. At Wake Forest, he was a three-time First Team All-American and won the AP College Player of the Year award.

There also was never any doubt about the resume of Garnett: An NBA champion, NBA MVP, 15-time  All-Star, nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, Defensive Player of the Year, and he has an Olympic gold medal.

“It’s just the culmination, just the culmination,” Garnett said on the broadcast of the announcement. “You put countless hours into this, you dedicate yourself to the craft, you take no days off, you play through injuries, you play through demise, you play through obstacles, give no excuses for anything, you learn, you build, this is the culmination.”

“This is an honor so well deserved. We congratulate Kevin on being selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said. “From the day we drafted him in 1995, we knew there was something special about him that Minnesota had never experienced before. I’ve watched Kevin grow on and off the court and will forever be grateful for his contributions to the Timberwolves organization. He was beloved by our fans in a way that only few players experience and will always have a place at Target Center.”

Those three alone make this an insanely good and distinguished class, but it goes beyond them into other deserving people. Also elected to the Hall of Fame are:

• Tamika Catchings. A WNBA MVP and champion, she is a 10-time WNBA All-Star and won four gold medals with Team USA.

• Rudy Tomjanovic. A legend of the Houston Rockets, he is the only person in NBA history to score 10,000 points as a player and win 500 career games with two championships as a coach. He coached two Rockets teams to titles and the 2000 Olympic team in Sydney to gold.

“Congratulations to Rudy T on his well-deserved and long overdue selection to the Hall of Fame,” said Rockets owner Tilman J. Fertitta. “As a longtime Rockets fan, I admired Rudy’s tenacity as a player and loved watching his attention to detail in coaching the back-to-back championship teams in the 90’s. Heart of a champion! This is an exciting day not only for Rudy and his family, but for Rockets fans everywhere.”

• Kim Mulkey. She coached the Baylor Bears to three national titles, and she won one herself as a player.

• Barbara Stevens. The coach of Division II powerhouse Bentley University, she is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins.

• Eddie Sutton. He coached four schools to NCAA Tournament and won more than 800 games as a college coach.