You ALWAYS pushed us to be more competitive!!! I’m grateful to be in a position to make players voices heard and honor you as a fierce competitor. We’re ALL fans of the game after all!!! 🙏🏾 #MambaMentalitypic.twitter.com/dNzLXKoBIp
With nearly 6.5 million viewers tuned in to an epic dunk-off between Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr., the 2020 slam dunk contest helped launch each player not only to new heights on the hardwood, but also in the marketing world. In the aftermath of his narrowly claimed slam dunk contest win, Jones signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with Puma, adding the 6-foot-6 high-flyer to a select group of NBA and WNBA athlete partners with the company.
In their first home game since his passing, the Lakers held countless video tributes before James addressed fans with a passionate impromptu speech. Though the Lakers lost that game to Portland, they played with the kind of passion they have sought to replicate all season. Other NBA stars and young players credited Bryant for playing through a tough stretch, knowing that he consistently excelled even when he faced injuries or personal strife. Before Sunday’s game, Chris Paul recalled talking to Russell Westbrook about how Bryant still maintained his intensity in All-Star Games, which resulted in tying Bob Pettit for a league-record four All-Star MVP awards. “We definitely felt his presence,” Celtics guard Kemba Walker said. “Growing up, watching Kobe in those games, I felt like he was always competitive. He was kind of the one who got the game going. I think we kept that going tonight. I think he definitely would have loved to watch the way we went out there and competed tonight.”
Nets owner Joe Tsai spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek, and essentially said that he and Levy, the former president of Turner Broadcasting, had different expectations for the job. Tsai, who closed his record purchase of the Nets in September, also made Levy the president of J Tsai Sports. Through the holding company for his sports portfolio, Tsai owns not only the Nets, but the WNBA’s New York Liberty, a lacrosse team in San Diego, and stakes in MLS side LAFC and in the Premier Lacrosse League. “He was already looking ahead at how to grow the J Tsai sports portfolio, but we also needed someone to do the nuts and bolts,” Tsai told Bloomberg Businessweek. “Maybe he thought that he wanted to do something that’s bigger and he could just bring in other people to do it, and I’m of a view that before you outsource something you should do it yourself.”