Asked if the rumors are a distraction for the Spurs as …

Asked if the rumors are a distraction for the Spurs as they prepare for Friday’s preseason finale against the Houston Rockets, Gasol said, “Not at all. It hasn’t been brought up or anything. But it’s weird.” Gasol said it helps that the players learned long ago to focus only on what they can control. “Some things are completely out of your control,” he said. “I always say, you control what you can control. You control what’s in your hands. Wake up with a smiling face, go to work and feel blessed. You have an incredible job. If stuff happens because people make certain decisions about you, this is a business at the end of the day, and you just continue to do what you do and be who you are. Don’t let that affect your daily routine. Don’t let that affect your behavior. Just continue to be true to yourself and control what you can control.”
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Kyrie Irving is 100 percent right. The N-word needs to be put to sleep. It is a most wretched word, in all of its iterations: with “er” at the end of it, as well as “ga.” The former is, of course, the most vile curse word in human history, a grotesque bastardization of negro, the Spanish/Portuguese word for Black. It was adapted over decades by White people in America, for one purpose and one purpose alone — the degradation of the Black Africans who were sold into bondage and slavery in the United States and the Caribbean. To call a Black slave that word was to separate that person from his or her humanity, to stress that they were not subject to the rights or privileges of White people, beginning with life itself. The formal end of slavery and Reconstruction did nothing to stop the word’s use by White people; rather, the word became cemented in the American lexicon, in a way that, say, “anti-fogmatic” — what we now call “whiskey” — did not.
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