Why hasn’t there been more of a concerted public relations effort on the part of some of the bigger stars to get out front and emphasize the need to be vaccinated? “It’s a great question, and it’s one that amplifies, puts a spotlight on the fact that we all come from somewhere, and we’re all kind of products of our environment, in terms of just how we see the world, and how we operate, and where you fit, certain conversations in terms of social justice, public health, things that involve just sports,” Curry said. “As players, we’ve been very vocal and outspoken on a lot of different things, especially in the last couple of years around racial justice and police brutality and things that are impacting our societies, our communities. And we understand COVID falls into that category, for sure. But it’s been one within the NBA circles that’s always been a little confusing, I would say, for the general collective to truly understand how it’s affecting each one of us, in real-time. And I think that started back in February, March of 2020, and it’s continued to go, because there’s a nuance to the data and the research.
May 19, 2022 | 9:06 am EDT Update
The Orlando Magic won the lottery this week and will have the opportunity to add to their frontcourt as the top of the draft is dominated by a trio of power forwards in Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero. “This is the draft lottery of the power forwards and three very different players,” said Adrian Wojnarowski. “We’ll see how this shakes out, but certainly I think Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga and Jabari Smith of Auburn… I think the consensus right now is those are really the two players competing for No. 1 with the Magic.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder targeted Evan Mobley in last year’s draft, but were unsuccessful in trading up from No. 6. “Last year they tried to move up, tried to get up to three for Evan Mobley,” said Adrian Wojnarowski. “I think if the Thunder had the No. 1 pick last year, they would have taken Mobley. He was there at three, but they could not pry him out of Cleveland.
“I think Oklahoma City has learned and most teams have learned, like, every year they’re going to say… there will be teams at one, two and three, and I’ll say because teams will tell me, ‘Hey, we’re going to see what the pick is worth in the marketplace. We’re going to listen. We’re going to see how people value it.’ “But it’s rare when somebody trades out of there. For all the picks the Thunder have… Koby Altman knew what he had [in Mobley]. I don’t think Sam Presti could have offered him enough to get him out.”
Just as the Thompsons believed their best route to the NBA went through Overtime Elite, the league was founded on a conviction that millions of Gen Z, cord-cutter and cord-never users — and the brands that covet that demographic — would follow those journeys through social media, one post at a time. Overtime chief executive Dan Porter wouldn’t say how much it cost to get the league up and running. “I can say,” he added, “it cost us a gallon of blood, two gallons of sweat and three gallons of tears.”
Along with the two-year-old G League Ignite, the NBA-sponsored team that signs high school graduates and tutors them for one year before they become eligible for the draft, Overtime has shown it can be a “disruptor” to the NCAA, said Jay Bilas, the ESPN college basketball analyst. “I wouldn’t call them any sort of existential threat to the NCAA system because they’re not going to be taking all of the players,” Bilas said. “But they’ll be taking some of the top players, and that is certainly going to impact the college game.” Because Overtime has yet to sell its live media rights for game broadcasts, wanting to first build its social following, it registers most with its young fans. On TikTok, Overtime’s general account has 19 million followers and Overtime Elite’s account surpassed 1 million in May — more than 25 NBA teams.
Viewers might also see the dining area, splashed with Gatorade logos, the basket stanchions wrapped in State Farm’s logo, the winter dunk competition that was broadcast in virtual reality within Meta Quest, Facebook’s virtual-reality headsets, and the Topps trading cards with players’ images. They are the result of “brand partnerships” Leavitt helped orchestrate that he called multiyear, multimillion-dollar deals. “We make money the same way other sports leagues do — we build a robust sponsorship pipeline, group licensing around trading cards and more,” Porter said. “We also build media rights and grow those over time starting with an already engaged Overtime audience.”
Overall, Dosunmu averaged 8.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 0.8 steals over 77 games, including 40 starts. He averaged 27.4 minutes and shot 52 percent overall, including 37.6 percent from 3-point range. “I would say I had a pretty good season,” Dosunmu said in late April. “Definitely more work to be done, more to accomplish, more room for improvement.”
Along those lines, Dosunmu cited a desire to get stronger this offseason and to improve his shot and his closeouts defensively. This is the attention to detail that veterans and coach Billy Donovan cited early in training camp regarding Dosunmu, who multiple people said constantly asked questions in his desire to learn. “Coming in, it was hard to really put expectations on yourself because you never know,” Dosunmu said. “For example, if I had an expectation and I limited myself to playing maybe five or 10 minutes a game, that’s hindering yourself and hindering your growth. If you put the work in, you never know.”