Lokomotiv Kuban forward Sam Dekker revealed on twitter …

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Steve Forbes: Our prayers are needed tonight for my good friend Maury Hanks, who has enjoyed a life-long association with the game of basketball in college and the NBA. He is fighting the #coronavirus and needs our help.🙏🙏 #Bigs 🙏🙏 He has so many friends & he needs all of our🙏🙏#SonnyBoy
Adrian Wojnarowski: Maury Hanks is a well-respected scout with the Detroit Pistons. He’s also worked in the NBA with the Nets and Raptors and coached for decades in college ball. He’s in a battle right now with the coronavirus. A lot of people on all levels of ball are pulling for him.
A camera operator who shot footage inside the Utah Jazz locker room after a March 7 game in Detroit is in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with COVID-19, his friends said. The game was played just four days before the NBA suspended operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. The man, who is in his 50s, has worked for years as part of broadcast crews for NBA games at Little Caesars Arena, according to friends. That included the Jazz-Pistons contest where part of his assignment, according to coworkers, was filming postgame locker-room interviews for the broadcast feed that went back to Utah.
Nick Young: If we dnt stop trying to be woke ....and stop coming up with all these conspiracy theories ...and blaming the government ......and just stay y’all ass in the house and let them feel like they doing something... they would have been gave us the cure...
Kerith Burke: Steph Curry talking to Dr. Fauci on instagram live tomorrow is brilliant because it reaches a different audience and connects them with factual, scientific information from an actual expert. I feel overjoyed and amused and grateful this is happening!
While the Golden State Warriors’ season is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stephen Curry has been active. The two-time Most Valuable Player has advocated for social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Curry and his wife Ayesha have started a breakfast and lunch donation pledge for out-of-school children in Oakland.
Trae Young’s dad was sitting courtside at State Farm Arena on March 11 when he found out the NBA season was being suspended due to COVID-19. His son and the Atlanta Hawks, who were being blown out by the New York Knicks, had not yet been alerted. “I remember looking at a tweet from ESPN that Rudy Gobert tested positive and the NBA suspended the season,” Rayford Young said. “Trae came out for the fourth quarter and he kind of looked at me. I said, ‘I think the season might be over. You better hurry up.’ “It was crazy because after that he went off, and one shot he took with both feet inside the logo near half court because they were down 18 to the Knicks.”
Young would score 27 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter to help send the game into overtime. The Knicks would ultimately prevail 136-131 in what would be the last day of the NBA season until further notice. “This is probably the craziest thing, if not the craziest thing I’ve been a part of,” Young said. “This is worldwide. … When the NBA is being shut down, you know it’s a big deal.”
Young, 21, stayed in Atlanta for a couple of days as mandated by the Hawks and the NBA, then was cleared to go to his house in Norman, Oklahoma, where he’s been reunited with his family who live nearby. “There is a sense of relief because everybody is close,” Rayford Young said. “You’re able to see and touch everybody. If you see anything happen, you’re right there. You don’t have to jump in a car or get on a plane somewhere. That is always a level of comfort.”

http://twitter.com/sergeibaka/status/1242900858943176705
Stephen Curry: Hyped to talk all things COVID-19 with Dr. Fauci of the @NIAIDNews tomorrow. This is a conversation for YOU so submit questions with #SCASKSFAUCI and join at 10am PT tomorrow (Mar 26). Let’s get it!
Brown, who was named the head coach of the Nigerian men’s basketball team in early February, will now have more time to put together a team, hire a staff, build a schedule and get prepared for the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. “It helps from the standpoint of there are a lot of teams that have been together … the players, especially. A lot of countries have players who have grown up playing together on national teams or All-Star teams,” Brown told The Undefeated. “There are a lot of coaches out there that are in charge of programs that they have been a part of for many years. “To have another year to grasp, not only the talent level of the team, but the direction the team needs to go and making sure we are able to put the best Nigerian team out there, it’s a welcomed advantage to have a little bit more time for a new guy like myself.”
Aminu, who played for the 2019 World Cup team, had surgery on Jan. 7 to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. How will the delay of the Olympics impact him? Mike Brown: He is obviously a guy who has been instrumental to this program for many years. He is one of the guys who has anchored the program. He has a lot going on right now to get himself healthy so he can compete with his current team, the Orlando Magic. Knowing him, how much pride he has and things he has helped his country accomplish in basketball, I think he’d want to play in the Olympics, especially the way they qualified. It gives him a lot more time to get healthy and get himself in playing shape. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it.
How have you stayed connected to the Warriors during the lockdown over the coronavirus? Mike Brown: I have been speaking to [head coach] Steve Kerr. I’ve been speaking to him a long time and he’s the best. We have a huge group chat via text where we communicate basically on a daily basis. Steve’s biggest thing is he wants everybody to make sure they take care of themselves, stay safe, stay healthy, take care of the family and try the best you can to enjoy this downtime knowing as coaches, especially, this can break at any time. Be ready.
NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted a sensitive message to everyone: "I’m not on the court anymore, but I’m still in the game, today I play for Team LA. Together we got to beat the Coronavirus, so show me what you’re gonna do, to become part of that team.”
For Young, seeing his NBA brethren test positive for the coronavirus has been an eye-opener. “As athletes, celebrities and things like that, sometimes it takes something like this to actually humble people,” Young said. “For us, sometimes you think you are untouchable or things might not happen to you because you are at this stature or whatever. It can. You see guys, big-time guys, superstars like Donovan [Mitchell] or KD get it. It is definitely an eye-opener. “It sucks that this has to happen to us for us to really realize that and for other people to realize we’re actually just human, too. … But we are going to all get through this together as people, not just athletes. We’re people and human together.”
Akron Family Restaurant co-owner Nick Corpas said he got a call last week and was excited to help. He started making his orders almost immediately and began prepping for the meals on Monday. He and restaurant employees arrived at the restaurant at 6 a.m. ET Tuesday to cook and assemble the meals. He said they finished around 4 p.m., and LJFF volunteers parked cars outside the restaurant. Adhering to social distancing recommendations, the volunteers remained in their cars while workers and volunteers placed the food in trunks. Each serving tray provided food for four to five people -- enough for more than 1,300 people to have dinner.
Billionaire Tilman Fertitta said he’s had to temporarily lay off roughly 40,000 workers at his casino, hotel and restaurant empire to limit the economic damage caused by government-imposed shut-downs. The Texas native, who owns the Golden Nugget casinos as well as hundreds of restaurants including Del Frisco’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp under the Landry’s Inc. umbrella, is calling on the authorities to allow businesses to reopen at limited capacity in a couple of weeks to avoid economic disaster. “I think what we are doing with the shut-down is good but in a few weeks people will need to be around people,” Fertitta said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday. “Otherwise you are going to go into an economic crisis that is going to take us years to dig ourselves out of.”
NBA star-turned-marijuana mogul Al Harrington says his Viola company's sales are through the roof since the coronavirus scare took over the U.S. ... and now he's scrambling to meet the demand. Of course, Harrington has turned into a highly successful weed advocate and entrepreneur in his post-playing days ... sharing the medical benefits for athletes, as well as, the average folk.
We spoke with Harrington about the insane demand for cannabis products right now -- after all, EVERYBODY is stressing out over COVID-19 -- and he says his sales have DOUBLED. "The challenge is gonna be making sure that we can keep up with the demand at this point," Harrington tells TMZ Sports. "Everybody is stocking up on their favorite brands. I feel like the 'canna-curious' is really steppin' up right now, especially when you're stuck in the house with your kids 24 hours a day."
The Chinese Basketball Association, seen by many sports leagues as a trial balloon for recovery from the coronavirus crisis, has delayed it's restart, according to multiple reports and confirmed by ESPN. The league had hoped to begin April 15, after about 11 weeks of being shutdown, but now won't attempt resuming until May after failing to get government approval according to reports from China.
Chris Forsberg: "Let me tell you something, that virus has never faced anyone like Marcus Smart." @Enes Kanter sends support to a teammate, says the Celtics are maintaining chemistry through video chats, and champions social distancing. 🎧 bit.ly/KanterPod 📺 youtube.com/watch?v=vH7g4S… pic.twitter.com/dJZwxHQZuT
But the spread of the novel coronavirus, which forced the NBA to suspend its season last week, presents an even greater financial challenge to the league. It could push the NBA’s revenue hit past the $1 billion threshold, according to team executives and media estimates, should the rest of the regular season and postseason be canceled. For a league that had enjoyed a decade of prosperity, the combination of the Hong Kong controversy and the coronavirus crisis represents an unprecedented and wholly unexpected financial challenge.
Gauging the precise economic hit of the NBA’s suspended season is impossible, but one high-ranking team executive said that the total damage could reach $40 million per team, or more than $1.2 billion, if the playoffs are lost. Similarly, a FiveThirtyEight.com analysis estimated that lost revenue could exceed $1 billion if the NBA can’t resume play.
Front office executives want the league to provide tentative contingencies on a return to play this season, but league officials have been reticent to share those estimates with teams. The loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September, sources say, which teams say necessitates games starting back up by July 1 -- and practice facilities reopening weeks before that.
Some executives and coaches believed that players are conditioned to find gyms to stay in shape, so why not under the supervision of the team? Perhaps, but teams are left to trust players to stay isolated the way the rest of America and parts of Europe and Asia have been asked to do. As one owner told ESPN, "Of course, it would make all the sense to have our players in the facilities, but if someone were to get sick there, the league and the team would get hammered. The league has no choice right now."
As one league insider cautioned me, we shouldn’t assume next year’s schedule will necessarily change as a result of this year. While all of us in the peanut gallery are jonesing to push the schedule back, that requires a massive undertaking from the league side at a time when it is already in the midst of another massive undertaking. The NBA could also do everything I outlined in this story and still kick off 2020-21 more or less on time this fall. If that’s the case, however, then that Labor Day timeframe becomes even more of a hard deadline for this season to end.
Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs. “I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
“It’s horrible,” Ingles said of the test. “It’s 10 seconds … with a swab up your nose that literally goes so far up your nose that it feels like it’s about to pop out the top of your head. It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever felt in my life … Every guy when they finished was like teary-eyed, because it’s that feeling. And then they back it up with a swab down your throat as well.”
Donatas Motiejunas: So, the whole trip home was intense. I’m worried and trying to make sure that I wash my hands and that I don’t touch nothing. I was kind of paranoid. When I came back home, a lot of people looked at it as a joke. Me and my coach kept telling all of the people, “Hey guys, let’s hope this thing isn’t gonna come to this country because the joke is going to be over as soon as it starts.” Sure enough, two months later, all the way from China it comes to Europe and now my government closes the borders, tried to take action. Like you said yourself, the States didn’t take it seriously and Europe also didn’t take it seriously. We started looking when it had already happened. Right now, the only thing we can do is try to contain it and try to keep it from spreading.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed in a video posted to Instagram early Wednesday that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, is in a medically-induced coma and connected to a ventilator due to COVID-19. Towns said that both his father and mother felt ill, then went to the hospital to get checked out and tested for the novel coronavirus. While his father, Karl Towns Sr., was eventually released from the hospital, Towns' mother wasn't allowed to leave as her condition got worse. "Both of (my parents) have gotten (coronavirus) tests. Both of them didn't get the results for a long time," Towns said in the Instagram video. "We all assumed my mom had COVID-19 due to the symptoms that she was exhibiting, and she was deteriorating daily."
Karl-Anthony Towns: WE CAN BEAT THIS, BUT THIS IS SERIOUS AND WE NEED TO TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION. Sharing my story in the hopes that everyone stays at home! We need more equipment and we need to help those medical personnel on the front lines. Thank you to the medical staff who are helping my mom. You are all the true heroes! Praying for all of us at this difficult time.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-JMTMeJhi6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
After finishing his first season as a Tar Heel, Cole Anthony is understandably being asked about his future. In a personal statement, Anthony took to Instagram to give fans an answer. "A lot of people have been asking me if I am going to declare for the NBA Draft. Anyone who knows me understands that playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine, but given the pain that America and the world are experiencing at this time, I am going to refrain from making any announcements around that topic.”
Cole Anthony: “Lliving in New York City, the Coronavirus hits hard. My family and I know many people directly affected by the Coronavirus-many hospitalized. A few in critical condition and one who has died. New York City is experiencing the highest number of Coronavirus cases in the United States. So my biggest concern right now is trying to figure out how I can help during this crisis. We are all in this together! Stay safe."
“I can’t say he’s my friend,” Cousy, a Worcester resident, said about Fauci on Monday from his winter home in Florida, “but I’ve been in his company three times and I’ve been telling people for 30 years that he’s my hero.” The 91-year-old Holy Cross and Celtics legend remembers first meeting Fauci many years ago at the Virginia Dental Association’s annual dinner. Ken Haggerty, co-captain of HC’s NCAA championship team in 1947, when Cousy was a freshman reserve, served as president of the association and invited Cousy to attend because Fauci was the guest speaker.
“Obviously, the last three weeks,” Cousy said, “you can’t turn on the television without seeing Dr. Fauci, and he handles himself so well. Talk about being unassuming.” Cousy said he hasn’t left his winter home in Florida lately other than to grocery shop while wearing a mask and gloves. He said he’s looking forward to returning home to Worcester, but realizes his health comes first. “I understand the gravity of it, especially at 91,” Cousy said. “If I wash my hands one more time, my skin is going to fall off. So I’m paying attention.”
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame has postponed its June 2020 induction ceremony until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Class of 2020 will now become the Class of 2021 and be inducted into the hall in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 12, 2021. There will be no additional members added for next year.
Mills has been in isolation in the United States since the NBA was sensationally shut down following Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert’s positive test nearly two weeks ago. “Stay at home and keep your distance; the better we can control this virus the better we can look after each other,” Mills said.
ONCE THE LEAGUE office delivered news that practice facilities were shut down and players began exiting team cities, the job of running organizations became further complicated. Front office executives want the league to provide tentative contingencies on a return to play this season, but league officials have been reticent to share those estimates with teams. The loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September, sources say, which teams say necessitates games starting back up by July 1 -- and practice facilities reopening weeks before that.
No one in the NBA wants to be tied to Labor Day weekend, because no one -- not the commissioner, not the teams, not the NBPA -- wants to limit the possibility of the NBA salvaging something of a season. If the NBA season could start later in July and finish later in September, well, no one is ruling out that idea either.
For now, front offices are working in isolation, on conference and video calls throughout the mornings and afternoons. Last week, some teams didn't want practice facilities reopened during this volatile coronavirus climate; some didn't want them closed. Several teams closed practice facilities as soon as Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11, which prompted the NBA to suspend the season within minutes. "Our decision was simply based on looking at the enormity of what was coming," Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard told ESPN. "We were three weeks behind most countries, and the data told us what was ahead. We were going to be conservative with our players and staff."
For teams, letting players leave their markets felt inevitable. The NBPA had pushed hard for player movement during the hiatus, and the league never believed it could do anything but recommend players stay close to their respective organizations. Many players' families live outside of the markets they play in, and the possibility of three months apart before restarting -- or the possibility of a canceled season -- was a non-starter. The NBA has set up testing and treatment protocols in cities where NBA players live, including one non-NBA city: Las Vegas, a league source said.
The last game Jeff Van Gundy called was March 8 – Clippers vs. Lakers in Los Angeles. The ex-Knicks coach-turned-broadcaster believes it will be his last one this season. Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs.
“I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Van Gundy has done the NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN for 13 straight years with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson. “There’s a lot of disappointment,’’ Van Gundy said. “If you’re involved in the NBA, you certainly miss it especially this time of year coming down the stretch and playoffs. But NBA people, when I talk to them, the conversations don’t center around, ‘I wish we were playing.’ It centers around, ‘Gosh, I hope we can make moves to get this (coronavirus) under control.'”
Adrian Wojnarowski: pic.twitter.com/zw4cAOyAQf

http://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1242511684104785921
"The commitments everyone made for 2020 are still there; we're all-in and we're committed," Colangelo said. "It's important to deal with the unknowns and this virus. This too shall pass and we'll be back for everyone's well-being."
Something wasn’t right. Hundreds of basketball games had tipped off without fail at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but this was an outlier. The three officials gathered to start, then there was a fourth, a suit unfamiliar to this portion of the show. It was the equivalent of a 747 tearing down the runway only to get called back to the gate. When games are ready to go, they typically do. But “typical” is not what’s happening to the world right now. The coronavirus is not typical, nor was March 11, when, in front of 18,000 people, Donnie Strack acted atypical to the NBA machine that was in motion around him.
Amid a strange scene that ended with the cancellation of not just a game but the postponement NBA indefinitely, Strack remained himself. For those unfamiliar with the 6-foot-5 native of Indiana, his face may have exhibited urgency as he explained the scenario to the officials and motioned for Thunder assistant general manager Rob Hennigan to join the huddle. But Strack’s face maintained the same controlled concern he has when talking to players in pregame with a hand on their shoulder and an even tone.
Strack — who was not made available by the Thunder to speak for this story — didn’t display panic or lack for answers. He was, despite the unprecedented circumstances of the night, operating as if there was a precedent. While Strack was the messenger, he was more. He had to be composed amid potential chaos. Only the NBA had the authority to call the game, which ultimately happened, but Strack was part of the group which had to quickly mobilize to give the league time to make the final call. By the time the NBA did make that call, the players were already back in their respective locker rooms.
South Korea's basketball league, the KBL, canceled the remainder of their season due to safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The KBL suspended play on February 29th. League officials met to discuss whether to restart the league on March 29th, but decided to cancel the season.
South Korea's basketball league, the KBL, canceled the remainder of their season due to safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The KBL suspended play on February 29th. League officials met to discuss whether to restart the league on March 29th, but decided to cancel the season.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee leaders said, “It’s more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising,” after surveying more than 1,780 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls about the coronavirus’ impact on their training and, potentially, the Tokyo Games.
“We are now confident that we have heard a wide range of viewpoints and understand the diversity of challenges our athletes face,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland and Chair Susanne Lyons said in a joint statement accompanying the survey results. “We regret that there is no outcome that can solve all the concerns we face. Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner.”
The survey, sent to about 4,000 athletes with a 45 percent response rate, yielded results that included: Nearly 65 percent of athletes said their training has been severely impacted, or they can’t train at all. Nearly two-thirds of athletes feel that continuing to train would either put their health at risk or aren’t sure if it would put their health at risk. Nearly 70 percent of athletes said they would feel comfortable competing if the World Health Organization deemed it safe. 68 percent said they did not think the Games could be fairly competed if continued as scheduled. Nearly 93 percent reported a preference for postponing the Games versus canceling them outright.
In collaboration with the Portland Trail Blazers organizationand players, the Trail Blazers Foundation is establishing a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support local nonprofits serving the community. The funds raised will go to nonprofits who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, including supporting the Oregon Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Pooled Fund, which is rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations at the front lines of the outbreak in Oregon.
New Orleans Pelicans veteran J.J. Redick was preparing to take the floor against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Mar. 11, the night the NBA suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On a recent episode of his podcast, Redick detailed the players’ perspective on how the night unfolded leading up to the Association’s landmark decision to suspend play.
Arriving at the arena and going about business as usual, Redick and the rest of the team saw the situation with the Jazz-Oklahoma City game unfold on TV about an hour before their own game was to tip off. “The other ESPN game was on in the locker room — all of a sudden it flips to whatever’s going on with OKC-Jazz, and there’s the byline of, you know, there’s a player quarantined or they’re testing a player,” Redick continued. “And then it comes out a few minutes later that it’s Rudy Gobert. He’s tested positive. I was standing next to our PR guy, Will, and within like three minutes, he had a memo from the league that the league had been suspended.”
“We’re getting ready to go out finally to the hallway, to do our prayer, go out for warmups, and Aaron Nelson sprints through the locker room to try to find David Griffin. And that’s when we found out Courtney Kirkland had reffed the Jazz game,” Redick said. “So, then we were having a conversation in the locker room like, you know, ‘I don’t think it’s safe to play.’ No one felt like it was safe to play. Had the NBA made us play, we would have hooped, but I know a lot of guys expressed concern that they didn’t feel like it was safe to go out and play. Not just for us, but for anyone — anyone that was in that arena that night.”
Do you have any thoughts on how you think the league should proceed or how they might proceed once the outbreak is contained? CJ McCollum: "I think as long as they’re doing what’s right from a health standpoint for all parties involved — fans, players, ownership, coaching staff — I think as long as they follow the rules, guidelines and regulations that are issued by the government, I think we’re in a good place and I think the NBA has been at the front of the line in terms of making decisions that are health-based and not based on finances. I think as long as we continue to follow those guidelines, we’ll be in a great spot to return at some point. “
CJ McCollum: "I’m good. I’m staying in the house, just got some kettlebells in, ordering some more products to workout in the house and some more products for my new puppy. I think people should definitely take this seriously. Obviously you have the age gaps to where you’ve got kids of spring break wildin’ out, you got a lot of different stuff you’re seeing and that’s just part of that generation and culture of not taking things seriously. But then you have the people who are following protocol, are staying in the house, especially the people who are more mature. I’ve left the house four times in the last 15 days now. Once was to get my puppy, one was to get some gas and then I went on two walks. I’ve basically been in the house for almost two and a half weeks.”
Mark Cuban is maintaining optimism that the NBA could return sooner than most would've thought. "Hopefully by the middle of May, we're starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games," Cuban said. "Maybe not with fans, but we're playing it because sports plays such an important role. you know, people want something to cheer for people want something to rally around, people want something to be excited about."
"I'm proud of Adam Silver," Cuban said. "I'm proud of the NBA and the way we've reacted. I think we've led the way, and hopefully will lead the way out of this. I mean you know no one has perfect information right now, and so all decisions are tough. But, you know, if I had to guess based off the people I've talked to at the CDC and other places -- I would say that the over under would be June 1, and I'm taking the under."
Storyline: Coronavirus
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July 7, 2020 | 9:37 pm EDT Update

July 7, 2020 | 8:13 pm EDT Update
The Los Angeles Lakers plan to reward guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the NBA’s restart, with a championship ring this season if the franchise is able to capture its 17th NBA title. “Yes, [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka made me aware of the Lakers offering me a ring if they win the championship,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports via phone Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very kind gesture on their part.”
Alex English is certainly not one to tip-toe around tough topics. Since retiring from the NBA as an 8-time All Star in 1991, he has stood up for his legacy with the Denver Nuggets and for players as a crucial member of the NBA Players Association. He has now turned his attention to fighting for WNBA equality as a member of the WNBA PA Board of Advocates. “I want to see them get the respect they deserve,” explained English, the NBA’s leading scorer for the 1980s. “I know that there’s always gonna be those naysayers that say ‘well you know, they don’t make the kind of money in advertising and TV rights as the NBA Guys do.’ Yeah, but that took decades of the NBA to get to that level and the WNBA has done a great job with the PA of building that same type of support.”
English has gravitated towards the women’s game more in recent years because of how pure the basketball is. “The purity of the game and the quality of the game is what drew me to [the WNBA]. In some instances, their game is even more pure to me than what you see from the men,” said the 8-time NBA All-Star. “[WNBA players] have picked up on the technical part of the game that the NBA used to have. And, now as the game has progressed, you see a lot of guys that aren’t as true to form or true to techniques as the women are.”
The WNBA’s plan is largely unknown, but we do know that it will be very different from the NBA’s. Players will earn their full salaries and some will be able to bring family or caretakers with them. But, they will also have to share rooms, travel off-site for games, and have only some meals provided. English believes the inequality in player experience is simply illogical. “You’re asking the same thing from [WNBA players as you are from NBA players]: to risk their lives to give you a product that’s going to be that you sell on TV and radio and merchandise,” said English. “You are asking the same thing from the two then why not treat them the same?”
July 7, 2020 | 7:28 pm EDT Update
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’re planning on life without Jonathan,’’ Jeff Weltman said. “Jonathan is with the team because it benefits him to be with the team and he wants to be with the team. The same could be said with (Aminu), but Jonathan is at a different stage of his rehab and most of the work that he needs to get done it would benefit him to be around our performance staff. Obviously, he’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff. Beyond that, we want to keep him attached to the team and he wants to support his teammates, but I wouldn’t read anything into that.’’
Weltman believes that the strong collective character of the Magic’s roster will help the squad battle through any potential adversity that could come in the days, weeks and months ahead. “We’re always talking about it a lot and I always say it – we’re not just betting on the player; we’re betting on the person and I believe in our guys,’’ Weltman said via a Zoom call from the Disney campus on Tuesday afternoon. “I believe that we have high-character group of players and that spreads down to all of our coaches, our performance staff and all of our support staff. (The players) have worked hard, they’ve stayed together, they’ve communicated, and they’ve remained optimistic at points where there was more uncertainty. As the plans have come into clearer focus, they’ve united, and there’s a feeling of togetherness and comradery.’’
Weltman said he has no concerns about the status of Fultz, who has evolved into one of the true feel-good stories of the season with his triumphant return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this season. In 64 games with the Magic (59 starts), Fultz has averaged 12.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. Said Weltman: “I don’t have a timeline (on Fultz’s return), but as I said Markelle just has some personal matters that he is handling. He’s on top of everything and hopefully he’ll be out here (at Disney) shortly. He’s looking very much forward to joining up with his team once he handles his business.’’
Prince’s ability to recover and reach optimum playing shape became a more difficult proposition given the time he would be losing with protocols needed to return to the floor in Orlando. The ramp-up in practice time needed once he had satisfied testing protocols on negative tests, traveled separately to Florida, quarantined for several days and only then resumed workouts made his participation even prohibitive for a July 30 tip-off on a roster already decimated with injuries.
July 7, 2020 | 6:52 pm EDT Update
Nurse knows family time is precious. “It’s really another part of the puzzle, and it’s a big one,” the Raptors coach said on a Zoom call Tuesday from Naples, Fla. “It starts with conversation, when you’re bumping into Fred [VanVleet] or Kyle [Lowry], and you’re asking them how are the wife and kids, and what are they doing, and when was the last time you talked to them. There’s a lot more of that going on than I would say normally would happen… a lot more now because we’re all showing pictures and whatever. It’s another one of those things you’d be more lenient on. We’re getting ready to start a meeting and somebody says ‘Oh, man, my kid’s FaceTiming me,’ and you say ‘Take it, go out in the hall and take it, and we’ll wait for you.”‘
When Nurse left his Toronto house for Florida, his three-year-old son Leo said he’d wait for him by the door. “He didn’t quite understand how long I’m going to be gone,” said Nurse, who has another son Rocky born during last year’s thrilling post-season run. “I told him I’m going to coach some games, and he said ‘Well, I’m going to wait right here for ya.’ I hope he’s moved from that spot because it’s going to be a while.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Nurse said he feels safe with the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. “We are going a long ways out of our way to make it extra safe as we should. We really are in the hotel. We are confined. We are away from everything. There is cleaning all over the place. Everyone is wearing masks. We go to the gym and there’s cleaning and we come back. It feels really safe,” Nurse said. “I think the early stages or days of the Disney thing are critical. Getting a whole bunch of testing done and getting kind of to a point there. I think it will all be done at a really high level and remain fairly safe. I hope I’m right.”
With the NBA season set to resume at the end of July, the Mavericks have a plan. Rather than let their return to play be a distraction from the movement encompassing the nation, they’re working on a unified message. Rather than stay silent on the injustice in the country, they’re using their platform when play resumes at the Walt Disney World Resort to amplify their voices. “I think, first and foremost, as a team, we just have to make sure we’re on the same page to see what we’re going to do when we get to Orlando,” Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said in a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “I’m happy that the season is starting and I’m happy that it’s happening at this time so we can use our platform to express ourselves.”
“That’s what being an athlete and being on one of the biggest stages is all about: expressing yourself,” Hardaway said. “I’m happy that we’re going to be able to so that as a team. I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about that as the days go on, but for now, I’m happy that we’re going to start the season around this time. We want to make sure we use that platform to get our voices heard.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
July 7, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
The Thunder, with CAA Sports, has created the Thunder Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization designed to unlock opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area, the team announced Tuesday. The program, guided by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, will be comprised of two groups of students: Fellows, Black students from regional colleges and universities, and Young Leaders, Black students in the Tulsa area from grades 8 to 12.
The Thunder Fellows Program will be located in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 when white mobs killed hundreds of Black people and destroyed homes and businesses in what was known as Black Wall Street. “Our organization is deeply committed to social justice and the actions that are necessary to create better opportunities for the Black community, now and in the future,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in release. “We will work tirelessly to make this a program that will create change for generations to come.”
Shaquille O’Neal isn’t just one of the best centers to ever play basketball, he’s also a successful businessman, actor and platinum selling DJ. In fact, music was his life before it got hijacked by basketball. “I have been DJing since the eighties,” Shaq tells Maxim. “Music has always been in my blood. I was that guy spinning at frat parties after my basketball games, in the locker room, and making mixtapes.”
Draymond Green said his championship Warriors would beat your Lakers. Any thoughts on that? Shaquille O’Neal: I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time, plus me and Kobe, wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang. Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not.
What is your fondest memory of Kobe Bryant? Shaquille O’Neal: I really cherish the time I had with Kobe. We helped each other win the championship for the first time. That says it all. Without Kobe I would have never maximized my true potential. I like to think the same for him. But if I had to choose one moment it would be Kobe’s final game at the Staples Center. He looked so at peace while on the court. He was a free man with no pressure at all to score or deliver. He dropped 60 that game and I was there courtside to cheer him on.
Storyline: Bryant-Shaq Dynamic
July 7, 2020 | 6:16 pm EDT Update
Peyton Siva is currently back in Florida as well, taking some time off with his family as he celebrates the Basketball Bundesliga League title he and his Alba Berlin teammates won in late June. And while cases have risen lately in the Sunshine State and around the U.S., the top German basketball league reopened the right way last month, Siva said — over the course of three weeks in Munich, none of the players, coaches or hotel staff involved with the 10-team tournament tested positive at any time.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
The stakes were high, Siva said, just like they’ll be high when NBA players return to the court later this month. But a successful restart, he added, can send a message to the world. “This is a chance to show that basketball can survive through this time — whether that’s with spectators or not,” he told The Courier Journal last Thursday, the day after his plane landed back in the U.S.
It was a winning strategy — he came back to the U.S. as a BBL champion, starting at point guard for title-winning Alba Berlin — but he advised NBA players preparing for Orlando to enjoy their time outside the bubble now. Life is different once you’re inside. “I feel like it’s going to be a lot tougher for them, since it’s a lot longer season that they’re going to be playing than we had,” Siva said. “… Try to get out and do stuff as much as you can because you can get cabin fever staying in a place so long. But I feel like they’ll have a lot more things to do with going outside, going golfing, more entertainment — and plus they can have family come later on. I think that’ll help a lot of the guys.”
NBA champion, Hall of Famer and cannabis entrepreneur Isiah Thomas was recently appointed CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the publicly traded, Colombian hemp and cannabis producer One World Pharma, replacing the company’s founder, Craig Ellins. The basketball legend isn’t new to business or investing. In fact, his holding company, Isiah International Inc., has a diverse portfolio that includes cannabis oil and CBD companies, as well as the legendary Cheurlin Champagne, which he acquired in 2015.
As Thomas explains, a series of tragedies in his own family would enhance his interest in medical cannabis. “I had one of my brothers pass away from cancer, then my mother died, and finally my father died from cancer. And I remember, at the end, all of them were struggling with their appetite,” said Thomas. “And not eating was hurting them terribly.” When his mom got sick, her appetite just wasn’t there and the doctors who were trying to get her to eat wanted to prescribe cannabis. However, as many others in her generation, Mrs. Thomas still thought of the plant as a dangerous drug — and her response was to succinctly decline the prescription. “Well, I’m not smoking no reefer!,” Thomas recalls his mother’s stern response to the doctor’s offer.
In 1994, the NBA entrusted him to essentially start the globalization of the basketball business in Canada with the Toronto Raptors franchise. That, Thomas says, was his first international business experience, and it was game changing. “For someone who had just left the playing floor, for the NBA to really give you that major responsibility of going to Canada and introducing their first franchise outside of the United States… it was a huge responsibility, but it was also a huge compliment.” Today, Thomas is especially proud of being Co-Founder of the Raptors. Twenty-five years later, the Toronto Raptors became the first international franchise to be crowned NBA Champions. “It warms my heart to know that the proper foundation was laid by the work that we did there early on,” said Thomas.
July 7, 2020 | 6:02 pm EDT Update
It was mildly surprising to hear second-year guard Shake Milton take the strongest stance when it came to the NBA’s decision to resume the season. “I don’t really think we should be playing,” Milton said in a video conference call with reporters Tuesday, “but I think the NBA is doing all that they can to make the environment as safe as possible. My teammates want to play so we’re going to go down there and try to win.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
When asked why specifically he thought the league shouldn’t resume play, he provided a poignant response. “I think [the spread of the virus], and then also I feel like there’s a lot of other stuff going on,” Milton said. “There are issues going on right now in the world that are way bigger than a sport, way bigger than the game of basketball. I feel like we’re on the cusp of finally having people tune in and really try to listen and try to understand more about the things that are happening in our country. I feel like the moment is too big right now and I don’t want the game of basketball to overshadow it.”
The sports “bubbles” are also home to experimental new tech and trials of new ways of testing for COVID-19. They might also tell us more about how the virus spreads. “There’s a lot of interest in sports coming back, and they could also be a plan for how we bring back universities, colleges and school safely. It’s the same concept, with a lot of people in close proximity to each other,” says Priya Sampathkumar, an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic who’s working on an NBA antibody study. “It’s trying it out — if we can’t keep them safe, maybe it’s not safe to open up.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
The closed-off NBA bubble is dedicated to basketball, but it’s also a makeshift COVID-19 research laboratory. The league is helping trial a saliva-based COVID-19 test, and any players who opt in will help the Yale School of Public Health validate their testing method. Players in Orlando will be tested almost every day using the typical method: having a swab shoved deep inside their nose. Players who enroll in the Yale study, though, will also give a saliva sample along with each test. The team will compare the two types of tests and check if the saliva test is as accurate as the nose and throat swab.
The league is putting together a group of experts to think through research approaches to the bubble, Sampathkumar says. “They’re willing to share the data that they come up with, and are asking for input on the type of data they should collect,” she says. The information is important for the league itself because it helps it manage the health and safety of its employees. But learning more about the virus and how it spreads is useful for everyone, not just professional athletes holed up at Disney World. “That could be really valuable information,” Rasmussen says. “And that could be extrapolated to the larger population.”