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April 7, 2015 Updates

"Young basketball stars today are ingrained in culture and fashions and life in a way that the stars from other sports here are not," said Darren Rovell, who covers the business of sports for ESPN. "People talk about Russell Westbrook's glasses and Dwayne Wade's shoes. When you look at the numbers in terms of most Twitter and Instagram followers, the NBA blows other sports away." Washington Post

April 6, 2015 Updates
April 5, 2015 Updates

Kevin Durant to Bill Simmons: Stop bringing up the James Harden trade. Bill Simmons: OKC newspaper piece about the Harden trade leaves out the key point - they didn't have to trade him when they did. http://newsok.com/article/5407507 Twitter @BillSimmons

Alex Kennedy: How much preparation and homework goes into being an analyst and how much do you enjoy that role? Jay Williams: Well, I love it. It took some getting used to at the beginning, to be frank with you, because ESPN kind of throws you right into the mix. So first off, I had no idea what camera to look into. Secondly, I’ve never had to speak with somebody else speaking in my ear. You have your producer and you have an on-site camera guy to tell you what camera to speak into while your producer is giving you the layout of the stuff that is coming up next. And, by the way, we aren’t reading off a teleprompter so we have to be able to talk about 350+ Division I teams like the back of my hand and that was a challenging task. Basketball Insiders

Kennedy: If you were a general manager and you had the first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, would you pick Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor? Williams: It all depends on what you need and it depends on the system in which you play. If the Knicks were to get the first pick and Phil Jackson has made it clear that they want to run the triangle and you already have a pillar in Carmelo Anthony who is a legit wing, it makes sense to take Jahlil Okafor because he is a old school center. If you’re a team like Minnesota, then maybe it makes sense to take a versatile four-five like Karl-Anthony Towns. It all depends on what you like. Basketball Insiders

April 3, 2015 Updates
March 31, 2015 Updates

Bill Simmons has a new NBA-specific podcast called “Bill Don’t Lie” where he only talks with his friends about NBA basketball. If that sounds familiar, it’s not just because Simmons has been talking about NBA basketball with his friends on his podcast for years now on “The B.S. Report,” it’s because “Bill Don’t Lie” uses the same theme music as NBA TV’s NBA-specific television show, “The Starters.” People have noticed, including the guys from The Starters. The Big Lead

"That's totally irresponsible, we're not tanking games," Saunders said to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other reporters gathered. "If that's so, then [Utah] got beat by a team who was tanking. … We're playing to win. Our guys are out there: We won two games ago at New York, we lost in the fourth quarter against Charlotte last night. We're not tanking games. It is irresponsible for them to go on TV saying that. If you work at ESPN, you get fired for saying stuff like that." Bolerjack, however, apparently disagreed that the conversation went too far. And during Saunders' pregame interview Monday night, the Jazz play-by-play man asked the coach if his feelings had changed. "Still feel like the announcers need to be fired, including myself?" Bolerjack asked. "I didn't say you," Saunders replied. "I just said that at ESPN, you do things like that. … You know, we have these [interviews] beforehand, people come and ask us, you know, who we have, who's playing, who's not. So that's why we have this here." Salt Lake Tribune

March 30, 2015 Updates

On Monday morning, the NBA D-League announced that ESPN will air its postseason play for the first time, this season, beginning April 7th. The outlet will be broadcasting up to nineteen games, picking up the local feeds with some of the minor league's best up and coming broadcasters. Ridiculous Upside

Craig Sager, the Turner Sports NBA sideline reporter known for his colorful outfits, is battling a recurrence of leukemia, his son confirmed. Sager missed the NBA playoffs last year while undergoing treatment for the disease and had returned to the sideline earlier this month. Craig Sager Jr. announced the news Sunday night on Twitter, saying that there was some comfort this time in knowing “the blueprint” for the new round of treatment and that, immediately, his father is fighting a flu bug. Washington Post

March 29, 2015 Updates

Craig Sager II: We wanted to ensure he was taken care of & that we knew what the next steps were before we shared this #SagerStrong: "Sr. is battling his newest set of obstacles, but unlike the first time when everything was new, there is a blueprint in place and all focus is on one checkpoint at a time. Sr's leukemia returned last week and he is undergoing a treatment that will be much like this time last year when he got rounds of chemo and prepared his body for a bone marrow transplant. The flu was going around and he caught it, but he was able to get his fever down and got to go home for the day before he returns to outpatient treatment in the morning. Beating the flu is a main priority right now. There are constant changes as we learned from the last 11 1/2 months but we will try to keep you as uo to date as we can." pic.twitter.com/IhUM2nK8yl Twitter

March 26, 2015 Updates

When Tramel got home, after midnight, he got a text message from his niece’s husband. It was then he realized that his encounter with Westbrook was a “thing,” in the new-media sense. “Hey, Berry, just texted you to see if you’re OK,” the message read. “Just know that I still love you.” It was as if Tramel had been in a terrible accident or charged with a crime. Grantland

That was the funny thing about Tramel’s conflict with Westbrook. He and Westbrook weren’t mad at each other. Never had been, really. They didn’t even know each other, despite sharing a locker room for seven years. “I could have been from Syracuse for the way he acted,” Tramel said. “[But] that’s not really Russ’s fault, I don’t think. I think the culture created that.” By “culture,” he meant the invisible handcheck that pushes reporters away from athletes. The disconnect that permeates monthly YouTube clips starring Westbrook or Marshawn Lynch or Phil Kessel. What created such a culture? Follow me, if you will, into the Thunder locker room … Grantland

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