While lounging in the pool a few weeks ago, Payne unexpectedly received a call from Williams. “I jumped out of that pool so fast,” Payne recently recalled with a smile. They spoke about their time together in Oklahoma City, and about how much Williams values consistency, maturity and practicing gratitude. The Suns offered Payne a two-year contract, which covers the Orlando restart and includes a $2 million team option for the 2020-21 season (per HoopsHype’s database). “It was almost like a weight lifted off my back,” Payne said, “because the only thing I wanted to do is be back in the NBA. … “I don’t know what it is, but (Williams) always has the right things to say to me. And for whatever reason, it triggers me to just turn into a different mode. I appreciate that (phone call) from him.”
January 19, 2021 | 4:16 pm EST Update
TNT’s MLK Day primetime doubleheader coverage – highlighted by the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers – averaged 2.1 million viewers for an increase of 31% vs. last year’s comparable MLK Day coverage, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. The doubleheader increase was fueled by Warriors/Lakers at 10 p.m. ET, which netted an 84% increase based on an average of 2.2 million viewers vs. last year’s same telecast window.
Overall, TNT’s MLK Day tripleheader, which also included the Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies, averaged 1.6 million viewers across TNT and TV Everywhere platforms, up 26% over last year’s coverage. TNT’s live NBA regular season game coverage is averaging 1.7 million viewers, up 21% vs. the same number of games last year (1.4 million viewers through 12 telecasts).
The Detroit Pistons announced today they are partnering with the Detroit Police Department to launch the Advancing African American Teens Mentoring Program. The program will include a series of monthly mentorship virtual meetings created to engage Detroit-area teenagers through positive dialogue, enrichment philosophies and life strategies to help them realize their power in reaching their goals.
The Charlotte Hornets last reached the playoffs five years ago and are a couple of games below .500 so far this season. But a revamped roster, including splashy draft pick LaMelo Ball, and a new mint-green alternate jersey have jump-started the NBA team’s merchandise sales.
“When we really started to see a lot of energy is when we rebranded from the Bobcats to the Hornets,” team President Fred Whitfield told CBJ. “Clearly, with the excitement around us bringing that brand back and the colors and all the history, we started to see some growth in that area.”
Jersey sales have been spurred by four players: Ball, free-agent signee Gordon Hayward and returning players Devonte Graham and P.J. Washington. Whitfield and Bennett credited Jordan Brand, the Nike division that resulted from the Hornets owner’s Air Jordan shoes and apparel, with boosting interest through the creation of the City Edition uniforms. The colors, which also include gold and granite, play off of the region’s role as a gold rush site and a financial center dating back to Charlotte’s status as home to the first branch location of the U.S. Mint.