Nick Friedell: Butler: “We were just lazy. I hate this word — and soft. I hate it. But that’s exactly what we were. They beat us at every 50/50 ball.”
October 17, 2017 | 11:45 am EDT Update
Darren Wolfson: Many Wade Baldwin questions in my timeline. No #Twolves interest shown so far. Hear #Rockets, #NYKnicks, + Pelicans among those w/ interest.
Maybe you’ll play against little Bronny when he gets to the league? “I don’t know if I could play washed, but I damn sure would love to stick around if my oldest son can have an opportunity to play against me. That’d be, that’d be the icing on the cake right there.”
When it comes to on-court greatness, LeBron beats MJ—and every other athlete—for these factors and more, and because he has the legitimate potential to play the game of basketball at the highest level longer than anyone else. Or, as he put it when I asked how he thought he could become greater than MJ in most people’s eyes: “If I was the most consistent and was at the top of the food chain more than anybody in NBA history.” He’s been to seven straight NBA Finals and could seemingly play at that level for another 10 seasons—25 total. That’s astonishing. And no one has been “the greatest” for decades.
It’s also thrust Lowry and DeRozan into leadership roles that are in in their best interests to embrace with the two veterans almost taking a good cop/bad cop approach. Guess who is the taskmaster? “I am a pretty tough guy. I am a prick when it comes to some stuff,” says Lowry of his leadership style. “But honestly I do have [his younger teammates] best interests at heart, because I do want them to be successful. I want them to provide for their families, I want all them guys to be all-stars, to be able to witness some of the things I’ve witnessed in this league.”
The other scar? “During the Finals I fell into a camera, against Golden State. The first time we played them.” Did you have any stitches then? “No, I actually—this was just glue. It was going to be staples, but I told them, ‘Don’t fucking staple my head.’ And they put in the glue, and it didn’t heal right. We kept this one under wraps, though.” Why? “Because we don’t talk about injuries. I don’t talk about injuries.”
The Warriors wanted respect in 2015. They wanted to show the world they weren’t lucky in 2016. They wanted to hush those 3-1 blown-lead joke tellers in 2017. But what will they rely on in 2017-18, when there is nothing left to prove? “I think it’s a misnomer that you need a reason to go out and win, or you need a reason to go out and compete,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers told The Vertical. “Some people say, ‘What is your motivation?’ Sometimes, it’s just as simple as, ‘I don’t like to lose.’ That could last your whole life. You could have 20 championships and it cannot be enough. People ask the question, ‘How do you come back after winning?’ Well, the same way you went in when you did win. Because you care about your craft, you’re a professional. Losing hurts and you try to do anything you can to avoid that.”