Storyline: Coronavirus

1,509 rumors in this storyline

He is one of professional sports most-outgoing and charismatic owners, and Mark Cuban doesn’t shy away from offering his thoughts on a wide-variety of topics. The Mt. Lebanon native and owner of the Dallas Mavericks told the PM Team he believes professional sports could have games being played in two months. “If things really go our way, it’s not inconceivable to me–and this is me being hopeful and not being scientific–that we could potentially play games in early June,” Cuban said.

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But Cuban’s optimism is rooted in science and medicine. “I think we’re coming back,” Cuban said. “I can’t tell you exactly when, but this is purely a science and doctors thing. My attitude always is it’s not about if the glass is half empty or half full, it’s who’s pouring the water. In this particular case, it’s the scientists pouring the water. All I know from all the science and everything that I’m reading, I think we’re making enough advances that several of them will come through so we can start planning what a comeback would look like. I’m a big believer in American exceptionalism, and everything I’m starting to hear in terms of the science is coming along and the medical advances that we’re making to fight this thing makes me very positive. If I had to bet, and this is more a guess than a bet, I’d say early June is when you see teams start to take the field and maybe play games just for television.”

The NBA has considered a similar setup in Las Vegas. Lakers star LeBron James initially voiced his displeasure about playing games without fans but has since softened his stance. “LeBron is right. It’s hard to play without fans,” said Johnson, who stepped down as Lakers president of basketball operations in 2019. “You play one game, you’ll adjust to not having fans there. We’ve all played our whole life on the playgrounds and in pickup games without fans being there. Basketball players will know how to adjust.”

Even if Johnson admitted he is “looking forward to see if the Lakers are going to win the championship,” he seemed more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic than worried if sports will resume. “I hope that happens. But first the players have to be safe,” Johnson said. “The numbers have to be stabilized. America and all of us who live in this great country we live in need sports, especially in a time like this. But only if everybody is safe.”

Pelicans director of mental health and wellness Jenna Rosen has been working with players twice a day with a Zoom of mental exercises and stress-relieving exercises according to Griffin. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can to have constant contact with people and make them understand that we’re still part of the same family, and family matters vitally to this group,” Griffin said. “I think our players are very close individually. I think organizationally, I think if you talk to most of the people in it, they would tell you that ‘family’ is a big focus of what we’ve brought to this, so we’re trying as best we can to connect with as many people on as many different levels as possible.”

Nonetheless, Johnson still drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities regarding the misconceptions about the respective viruses, the inadequate testing, the lack of available drugs and how the pandemic has hurt the black community. “African Americans are leading in terms of dying from the coronavirus and most of them in the hospital are African American,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job as African Americans to follow social distancing, stay at home and make sure we educate our loved ones and our family members and do what we’re supposed to do to keep safe and healthy. Then when you add that up, we don’t have access to health care, quality health care. So many of us are uninsured. That also creates a problem, too. Just like it did with HIV and AIDS.”

Consider the common perception about HIV when Johnson learned he first had it. “When I announced, it was considered a white, gay man’s disease,” Johnson said. “People were wrong. Black people didn’t think they could get HIV and AIDS.” That partly explains why Johnson went public with his diagnosis. It also partly explains why Johnson eventually raised more than $10 million for HIV/AIDs research and charities through his foundation. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2018 black people accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses. USA TODAY recently reported that black people are dying of coronavirus at much higher rates compared to other Americans in major cities. Johnson offered varying reasons that explain such a troubling trend.

As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic. As announced on March 25, our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting with food storage for hunger relief, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.

Moving forward, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, will be utilizing the United Center as a satellite storage facility in response to the increased need for food. By alleviating space in the food bank’s warehouse, the Food Depository can bring additional volunteers into their facility to build more family food boxes in an environment that adheres to social distancing protocols. These boxes will continue to be distributed to those in need by the Food Depository’s partner network throughout Chicago and Cook County.

NBA star DeMarcus Cousins first hired Noordin Said to be his personal security guard in 2015 during All-Star weekend in New York. From there, the two hit it off, and Said worked the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 All-Star weekend in New Orleans at Cousins’ side. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green hired Said to be his personal security guard during the 2018 playoffs, and Said worked this season with Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at most home games.

Shelby Delaney of the Summit Medical Center in Oakland was one of the first nurses to volunteer to help coronavirus patients at the hospital. Curry made sure the 27-year-old knew how important that was. “I can’t thank God enough for what you’re doing and just the sacrifice, the selflessness and the way everybody’s coming together,” Curry told her on the call. “Thank you so much for just what you do, your heart and the inspiration you provide for everybody.”

Eric Gordon works out at home without knowing when to ramp up for a return that is in question. But he is unwilling to allow himself to fret over what a season lost to the coronavirus crisis would mean for him and the veteran, win-now Rockets considering the far greater concerns. “It’s hard to explain how I feel because of the situation we’re all dealing with,” Gordon said. “That’s the real concern. Just try to stay away from everybody, keep healthy.”

As the NBA considers options for a potential return, Matisse Thybulle put the suspension of his rookie season amid the coronavirus pandemic into perspective. “As much as I want to say basketball is the most important thing in the world, it’s not when you are talking about people’s lives and people’s health,” the 76ers reserve guard said Wednesday. “The small amount of control that we see that we have is scary. So I think trying to focus on controlling what we can control as most people are doing, self-quarantining, I think that has been like my number one focus and I hope it is for most people because, NBA season or not, it doesn’t matter unless you are healthy.”

“Even though it may come at a high price, how do you respond to those adverse times that define you?” Gasol said. “You can respond with anger, bitterness, frustration, resentful or you can respond positively with a sense of being grateful and with a perspective of how can I be better prepared next time and how can I grow and be a stronger human being, family, community, country and world? How can this unite us and bring us closer instead of dividing us more? I hope this is an opportunity for us to figure things out together instead of pointing fingers and the tension building and leading to bigger problems.”

Porzingis’ current team, the Dallas Mavericks, were in the No. 7 playoff position in the Western Conference — 10 games clear of the playoff cutoff — when play was suspended March 11 after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert first tested positive for COVID-19. “At the end, this is much bigger than an NBA season or sports in general,” Porzingis told SiriusXM NBA Radio. “So, of course I would’ve loved — and hopefully we still do it — to get that first playoff experience. Whatever happens, I still have a lot of time in my career to still achieve that.”


They had about four minutes. The phone call, from an official with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to a member of the Utah Jazz, was unambiguous: Rudy Gobert, the Jazz’s All-Star center, had tested positive for the coronavirus, the rapidly-spreading precursor to the condition known as COVID-19. An extremely contagious virus for which there is no vaccine, COVID-19 had already killed thousands of people in China, and was quickly working its way through Italy, where it would kill thousands more. Yet on March 11, the United States was, relatively speaking, still open for business.

As player introductions for the home team concluded, an official of the Jazz called an official of the Thunder. The two had been in regular contact for the last 24 hours, since Gobert had started showing signs of fever that weren’t dissipating. Now, there was no doubt. Even though Gobert had been kept out of Chesapeake as a precaution that night, and was still at the team’s hotel in town, he’d obviously been in close contact with several of his Jazz teammates – who were now taking the floor, along with the Thunder. There was no more time.

Fortunately, an OKC official was close enough to Donnie Strack, the Thunder’s Vice President of Human and Player Performance, to get his attention. Get the refs, Strack was told. Tell them to stop the tipoff. As Strack ran onto the court, Rob Hennigan, OKC’s VP of Insight and Foresight, started corralling the Thunder’s players and coaches. He then joined the huddle near midcourt with Strack and the referees – crew chief Pat Fraher, Mark Lindsay and Ben Taylor. The officials soon called over the respective head coaches, Quin Snyder and Billy Donovan. Seconds later, they contacted the NBA, through its Digital Operations Center, where the league monitors every game played. Usually, the biggest issue on a given night at the DOC is to help referees determine whether or not to instant replay. This was different.

“We weren’t the chief health office that night; the state and OSDH was,” Holt said. “We were trying to figure out what to do with the 21c hotel, which is where Rudy Gobert was sitting, in his room … people were coming to the lobby asking, ‘Is Rudy Gobert at this hotel?’ “I’ve got calls rolling in from the NBA, from Sam Presti. They were trying to figure out a variety of issues, including where would the Jazz sleep tonight if they couldn’t get out? Because they needed about 50 rooms, and they had checked out already … And also finding a hotel who could take in people that might have COVID-19.”

NBA star DeMarcus Cousins first hired Noordin Said to be his personal security guard in 2015 during All-Star weekend in New York. From there, the two hit it off, and Said worked the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 All-Star weekend in New Orleans at Cousins’ side. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green hired Said to be his personal security guard during the 2018 playoffs, and Said worked this season with Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at most home games. Said was not employed by the teams, but worked for the players individually.

Shams Charania: There’s definitely a lot of optimism. A lot of the owners, GMs, players, they all want to have a season. And in conversations behind the scenes, whether it’s with the league or the NBPA with their players, etc, everyone understands how much money is at stake and again, this isn’t done for the money. At the end of the day, they can’t throw these guys out there if there are health risks at stake, and they won’t. But the understanding of how much money still is on the line for the season, for to crown a champion in an abbreviated season, I think that will always keep the hope alive for trying to have a season.

He also walked back comments he made on the “Road Trippin’ Podcast” on March 26 when hosts Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Allie Clifton suggested the league could restart if all essential personnel — players, coaches, training staff, medical staff, referees, broadcasters, etc. — were quarantined together in the same location for the duration of the games left on the schedule and he dismissed that scenario, saying, “I ain’t going for that s—.” “I believe once [the pandemic is] under control and they allow us to resume some type of activity, I would love to get the season back going,” James said Wednesday. “I feel like we’re in a position where we can get back and start to compete for a championship, get back to doing what we love to do, making our Laker faithful proud of us, of being back on the floor. And if it’s in one single, isolated destination … if it’s Las Vegas or somewhere else that can hold us and keep us in the best possible chance to be safe — not only on the floor, but also off the floor, as well — then those conversations will be had. Just figuring out a way.”

This isn’t the time to write the Lakers’ season in review just yet. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Monday that the league will not make any decisions this month, and it remains unclear if next month will bring any clarity. “I’m always pretty optimistic about everything,” James said. “I feel like it’s always greener on the other side of the fence. I believe that this is a roadblock for all of us, not only as Americans, but for the world … It’s a test of our mental side, our spiritual side, it’s a test for everything. We had grown so comfortable with how we live our life and everyday life that it’s now time to take a pause. I’m very optimistic about not only just basketball, but sport. It’s not just about the Lakers. It’s not just about the NBA, but it’s everything.”

If the NBA season can’t resume, it will be left incomplete for James and his teammates, but not without special moments. “I will have some satisfaction of being with my brothers, being with my guys, thinking about some of the road trips that we had, thinking about some of the games we lost, some of the games we won, some of the games we overcame, and then everything we’ve been going through this season,” James said. “Just the ups and downs not only on the floor but off the floor, everything that we’ve had to endure as Laker faithful, us as players and coaching staff and an organization. “Closure? No, but to be proud of what we were able to accomplish to this point, I’ll be able to look back and say we did something special in that small period of time.”

Although Lakers players were placed into a 14-day, self-isolation period after two unnamed players tested positive for COVID-19 and the team continues to practice social distancing through the government-mandated April 30 time frame, it’s no surprise they’re trying to come together while being physically apart. “For the guys, we work hard with our strength and conditioning staff to make sure they have fitness bundles delivered to them where we can do Zoom workouts,” Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. “This is a team that just loved being together, whether it was on the bench, on the bus, in the locker room. These guys just have a great chemistry of being together. So they’ve tried to stay as connected as possible in the ways they can, working out together virtually.”

If returning to the court to salvage the 2019-20 season proves to be impossible, Pelinka said he will still feel some sense of accomplishment regarding the Lakers’ campaign. “It’s almost like I look at our season like a series of tests, and we got a lot of As. And we got some A-pluses and some A-minuses. And I think there has been a lot of success in that,” he said. “We haven’t had the chance to take a final exam yet. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to celebrate the As that we’ve gotten so far.”

The fight to defeat COVID-19 is one that will only be won together. The Miami HEAT store and Refried Apparel are partnering together to turn $100k in unsold jerseys into over 7,000 masks to be donated to local medical facilities in need. “I remembered we were sitting on some former players’ jerseys and T-shirts and I thought to myself, ‘Let’s recycle these into something useful and donate them to those brave folks on the front lines of this pandemic,'” said Andy Montero, Vice President of Retail Business & Development for the Miami HEAT. “We’re stuck in our houses, but I’m so happy we are finding ways to help!”

Knicks superfan Fred Klein, a longtime Garden courtside fixture, died Saturday from coronavirus, his wife Terry told the Daily News. He was 85. Klein, who also once co-owned the iconic Carnegie Deli, was a season ticket holder for longer than Spike Lee, having purchased his first seat in 1959. He boasted of missing only 43 home games over about 55 years before Alzheimer’s left him unable to attend. Klein died inside a Manhattan nursing home, according to Terry, after treatments for pneumonia were unsuccessful. “He was a legend,” she said. “He really was.”

“Even professional athletes who test negative for COVID-19 with regular testing could be false positives and could get sick,” said Summer Johnson McGee, dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. The risk is amplified by the nature of athletic competition. There is no room for social distancing amid constant physical contact in football and basketball. Baseball has its tradition of players spitting and managers arguing, nose-to-nose, with umpires. “It’s not just the games,” Chang said. “Every practice is a high-risk transmission event.”

Josh Lewenberg: Serge is hosting a talent show on IG Live right now. His foundation will donate $20K to COVID-19 relief in the winner’s city (the winner also gets a signed Ibaka jersey). DeMar just crashed it and said he’ll match Serge’s $20K donation. Good stuff from a couple Raptor greats. pic.twitter.com/SMu9epIifg

The National Basketball Players Association stressed during Tuesday’s conference call with NBA agents that no decision has been made about resuming the season, a league source confirmed. The agents were also informed that there hasn’t been a consensus on a cutoff date to make a decision. However, the NBPA did reiterate how owners could withhold 25% of players’ remaining salary if the season is canceled. Predraft guidelines along with the uncertainties with this season’s revenue sharing and next season’s salary cap were among other topics.

Karl-Anthony Towns is in the throes of the crisis with his mother, who has been hospitalized and on a ventilator since being diagnosed with COVID-19 weeks ago. The bond between Saunders and Towns was forged years ago, and it has never been more important. “I’ll just say that his strength and the strength that he’s shown for his teammates and just for him being able to share is not just admirable, but it’s something that he should be commended for, the way he was able to bring attention … to safe practices and social distancing and doing the right things right now and being ultimately part of a solution,” Saunders said.

Since the news of the NBA’s hiatus nearly four weeks ago, the Sixers’ staff has been committed to helping the team’s players through all facets of this crisis. “From Day 1, we were ready to take care of our players,” said Lorena Torres, the team’s Performance Director, who was creating individualized workout plans the night the NBA announced its suspension. “We were prepared … and we are a team that believes in individualization, covering individualized needs,” Torres said. “But it’s more than just physical plans, it’s also about the mental and nutritional side of it.”

Torres worked closely with JaeHee Cho, the Sixers’ Executive Chef. “It was actually really incredible to see all the different talented people, and people at the top of their field, all working for the Sixers,” Cho said, “and all of a sudden the goal wasn’t how do we win basketball games anymore, it was how do we keep everyone healthy and fed properly during a pandemic? What does that actually mean? “It was an incredible amount of information being exchanged, and from a professional development point of view, it was pretty cool to see how fast we could mobilize actions and get things done.”

There was no word of an update on how Towns’ mom, Jacqueline Cruz, had been doing since then until Monday, when John Calipari, Towns’ college coach at Kentucky, said she is still in the hospital. Calipari held a Facebook Live chat and said he has been getting updates from Towns’ father, Karl Sr., on Cruz’s condition in a New Jersey hospital. “She’s fighting. She’s there …” Calipari said. “Keep praying for her. Send her unbelievably positive thoughts, and I just can’t wait until she gets out of that hospital.”

“Ms. Jackie, Karl-Anthony Towns’ mother, is still in that hospital fighting. She’s there,” Calipari said in a Facebook Live video stream Monday evening. “We get updates, every single day we get an update from Karl Sr. about how she’s doing from the nurses at the ICU.” Most importantly, Calipari asked fans to continue to pray for her and send positive thoughts her way during this difficult time. “Keep praying for her, send her unbelievably positive thoughts,” the Kentucky head coach said. “I can’t wait until she gets out of that hospital. It’s been a tough road.”

The Mavericks are set to Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey at the start of next season. During the ceremony, taking place during the team’s second game, the hope was to also unveil the model a Nowitzki statue—no doubt in his signature one-legged jumper pose—that will eventually stand outside the American Airlines Center. Now, that might not happen. “You know, this obviously slowed it down,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told me in a recent interview. “The hope was to have a model ready to show the second game of this coming season when we retire his jersey. We’ll have to see how everything plays out.”

The writings were on the wall and FIBA Europe confirmed today the obvious. No basketball tournaments will be held this summer and the fate of Eurobasket 2021 will be decided on Thursday. Per the press release: The FIBA Europe Board convened on Tuesday to discuss and take decisions about upcoming events. The meeting, which took place via video conference, was chaired by FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel, with FIBA President Hamane Niang, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis and FIBA Executive Director Europe Kamil Novak also in attendance.

With the coronavirus pandemic gripping much of society and four Nets having tested positive for COVID-19, Joe Harris reassured fans he is healthy — albeit stuck in quarantine and having to find creative ways to do what he’s best known for: shoot the rock. “Yeah, everybody is good health-wise thankfully,” Harris said Monday in an Instagram Live session on the NBA account. “Obviously crazy times for everybody, but definitely fortunate on my side of things that everything is going well.”

“I feel like they need our help right now,” Bogdanovic told The Athletic. “It doesn’t matter where you donate, where you’re trying to help, I feel like the whole world needs some kind help. So it’s good to be there (to help), especially in this tough time. I’m just following the example of others I saw and I hope I will be an example for someone else.” According to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, there are 2,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths as of Monday. Commercial flights in and out of Serbia have been suspended indefinitely.

Bogdanovic plans to continue to monitor the happenings around the world and how he might be able to help. He also believes players can begin to look at their lives from a bigger perspective and what they might want to pursue after basketball. “I feel like everyone should see what is going on and what it might be like when you’re retired,” Bogdanovic said. “That’s what you can learn from this situation, and follow the rules that the government is giving us, the World Health Organization as well, for this pandemic to go away as quickly as it can.”
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April 10, 2020 | 7:25 am EDT Update

Wizards keeping Shabazz Napier?

John Wall’s return significantly elevates expectations surrounding the Wizards next season and will make the team’s offseason decision-making process that much more important. In the case of Napier and Bertans, Washington’s general manager Tommy Sheppard talked highly of both in a Q&A with Dave Johnson Thursday. “I think with [Napier and Bertans], when we acquired them not as rentals we acquired them to stay here,” Sheppard said. “I think the players that we acquired, they’re here to show that they can be here for the future. With Davis and Shabazz, they showed enough to us that certainly we would love to retain them. We plan to.”
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Napier started eight games and averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 43.1% from the field and 38.1% from three. Based on production alone, it’s not that surprising Sheppard wants to bring the former UConn star back. However, if the Wizards can re-sign Napier this summer, they’d have quite a lot of viable point guards on their roster going into next season. Wall will be back and Ish Smith will be in the final year of his two-year contract.
He is one of professional sports most-outgoing and charismatic owners, and Mark Cuban doesn’t shy away from offering his thoughts on a wide-variety of topics. The Mt. Lebanon native and owner of the Dallas Mavericks told the PM Team he believes professional sports could have games being played in two months. “If things really go our way, it’s not inconceivable to me–and this is me being hopeful and not being scientific–that we could potentially play games in early June,” Cuban said.
But Cuban’s optimism is rooted in science and medicine. “I think we’re coming back,” Cuban said. “I can’t tell you exactly when, but this is purely a science and doctors thing. My attitude always is it’s not about if the glass is half empty or half full, it’s who’s pouring the water. In this particular case, it’s the scientists pouring the water. All I know from all the science and everything that I’m reading, I think we’re making enough advances that several of them will come through so we can start planning what a comeback would look like. I’m a big believer in American exceptionalism, and everything I’m starting to hear in terms of the science is coming along and the medical advances that we’re making to fight this thing makes me very positive. If I had to bet, and this is more a guess than a bet, I’d say early June is when you see teams start to take the field and maybe play games just for television.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
The NBA has considered a similar setup in Las Vegas. Lakers star LeBron James initially voiced his displeasure about playing games without fans but has since softened his stance. “LeBron is right. It’s hard to play without fans,” said Johnson, who stepped down as Lakers president of basketball operations in 2019. “You play one game, you’ll adjust to not having fans there. We’ve all played our whole life on the playgrounds and in pickup games without fans being there. Basketball players will know how to adjust.”
Even if Johnson admitted he is “looking forward to see if the Lakers are going to win the championship,” he seemed more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic than worried if sports will resume. “I hope that happens. But first the players have to be safe,” Johnson said. “The numbers have to be stabilized. America and all of us who live in this great country we live in need sports, especially in a time like this. But only if everybody is safe.”
Pelicans director of mental health and wellness Jenna Rosen has been working with players twice a day with a Zoom of mental exercises and stress-relieving exercises according to Griffin. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can to have constant contact with people and make them understand that we’re still part of the same family, and family matters vitally to this group,” Griffin said. “I think our players are very close individually. I think organizationally, I think if you talk to most of the people in it, they would tell you that ‘family’ is a big focus of what we’ve brought to this, so we’re trying as best we can to connect with as many people on as many different levels as possible.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
When Thursday night’s quarterfinals action in the NBA 2K Players Tournament wrapped up, the four players remaining come from just two NBA teams — the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. Young guns DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker, both from the Suns, won their matchups, while Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell of the Clippers each emerged victorious.
Storyline: eSports
The semifinals begin Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The matchups are Ayton vs. Beverley and Booker vs. Harrell, providing Suns-Clippers undercurrents in both games. Interestingly enough, both pairs were the only tournament participants from the same team among the original field of 16. Ayton faced the toughest test among the semifinalists on Thursday during his battle with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Booker cruised by Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) in the first game and Harrell took out No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr., who defeated top seed Kevin Durant during the opening game of the tournament.
“I was 26 at the time, number three pick [in the 2006 NBA draft], a really low point in my life, and I got a text from Robert Lara, the Lakers security and one of Kobe’s best friends. He said ‘Hey, what’s your address, I’ve got something in the mail for you.’” Morrison assumed he was getting a magazine from Lara, whom he had a friendship with during his time with the Lakers. “I get the package, and it’s an autographed jersey from Didier Drogba, who was my favorite player,” Morrison said. “I’m a Chelsea fan. It was from Kobe. A game-worn jersey, signed by Didier Drogba, ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’”
“The night he passed, I’m scrolling through, reading everything, and I’m emotional,” Morrison said. “And on Chelsea’s Instagram page, it’s him with Didier Drogba holding up a jersey and it says ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’ So he went up to my favorite player, got it signed for me without me even asking, and sent it to me when he knew I was low. It’s unbelievable. I still have the jersey. That’s what Kobe Bryant was, man. He was just one of those dudes who understood his own aura and could sense when people were down.” Morrison said he was lucky to play alongside Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP and one-time regular season MVP. Bryant was posthumously elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Johnson still drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities regarding the misconceptions about the respective viruses, the inadequate testing, the lack of available drugs and how the pandemic has hurt the black community. “African Americans are leading in terms of dying from the coronavirus and most of them in the hospital are African American,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job as African Americans to follow social distancing, stay at home and make sure we educate our loved ones and our family members and do what we’re supposed to do to keep safe and healthy. Then when you add that up, we don’t have access to health care, quality health care. So many of us are uninsured. That also creates a problem, too. Just like it did with HIV and AIDS.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Consider the common perception about HIV when Johnson learned he first had it. “When I announced, it was considered a white, gay man’s disease,” Johnson said. “People were wrong. Black people didn’t think they could get HIV and AIDS.” That partly explains why Johnson went public with his diagnosis. It also partly explains why Johnson eventually raised more than $10 million for HIV/AIDs research and charities through his foundation. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2018 black people accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses. USA TODAY recently reported that black people are dying of coronavirus at much higher rates compared to other Americans in major cities. Johnson offered varying reasons that explain such a troubling trend.
April 9, 2020 | 9:12 pm EDT Update
Will the NBA’s indefinite suspension limit what the Warriors do with the checkbook in the offseason? “We’re looking at all of those questions and the possible answers. But I don’t really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out,” Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Thursday morning. “We don’t know what the salary cap is gonna be, we don’t know what the luxury tax is gonna be. We don’t really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios. That’s what we’re doing right now. It could make a huge difference, it might make no difference.”
Storyline: Season Suspension
As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic. As announced on March 25, our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting with food storage for hunger relief, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.

Moving forward, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, will be utilizing the United Center as a satellite storage facility in response to the increased need for food. By alleviating space in the food bank’s warehouse, the Food Depository can bring additional volunteers into their facility to build more family food boxes in an environment that adheres to social distancing protocols. These boxes will continue to be distributed to those in need by the Food Depository’s partner network throughout Chicago and Cook County.
Storyline: Coronavirus

April 9, 2020 | 7:56 pm EDT Update

Pau Gasol contemplating retirement

With the league’s current campaign suspended indefinitely due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Gasol, who will turn 40 years old in July, is contemplating retirement at this point of his career. “With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement,” Gasol said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, via NBC Sports. “Also, taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So, [retirement] is definitely on my mind.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 14 more rumors
“It’s something that will come one time, sooner or later,” Gasol said of retirement. “We hope that time hasn’t come yet. But I also take the opportunity to focus on the Gasol Foundation and other off-court projects. And also think of what my next professional stage may be, my next challenges. All this while I’m still recovering, trying to give myself a chance to keep playing. Now, the priority is to overcome this pandemic among all. Everything else is completely secondary.”
In 2011, Jacob Hamilton was a 26-year-old cinematographer looking to expand his portfolio by directing a documentary. He came across a two-minute interview online titled, “The Man Who Invented the Jump Shot.” Four years later, Hamilton was screening his short film in Kevin Durant’s backyard, shocked to see one of the NBA’s best-ever jump shooters geek out over footage he’d gathered of Kenny Sailors from the 1940s. The film was still only halfway to the finish line. “Jump Shot” premiered at South by Southwest in 2019, but still hasn’t been released to the public. That will change next week, when the feature-length documentary will be available online April 16-18. Pre-order is underway at jumpshotmovie.com.
“Jump Shot” got two of its most important assists from NBA superstars Steph Curry and Durant. Hamilton had simply hoped for an interview when, through a connection between an executive producer and a chaplain for USA Basketball, the former Golden State Warriors teammates were introduced to Sailors’ legacy. The crew flew to Oakland and were invited to Durant’s home. Partway through the screening, KD asked for the film to be paused. Hamilton feared the worst, a bored millennial. In reality, the former Longhorns star was mesmerized. “These are moves that I’m doing today,” Hamilton recalls Durant telling them. “I was literally working on this in practice this week, and Kenny was doing this 60-70 years ago? This is unbelievable.”
Curry took his adoration a step further when he told Hamilton he was not only up for an interview, but wanted to get more involved. That’s how basketball’s greatest jump shooter became an executive producer. Both players are interviewed in the film, along with a lineup of basketball legends — from Dirk Nowitzki to Bob Knight, Nancy Lieberman and Clark Kellogg. Their astonishment at Sailors’ pioneering shot, particularly a photograph that appeared in Life magazine in 1946, will resonate with basketball fans.
April 9, 2020 | 6:35 pm EDT Update
When this all ends, whenever that is, what’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to doing on that first day? Dion Waiters: Just trying to hoop. Just vibe out and hoop. I’ve had damn near the whole season off. I’m trying to get back and hoop. I got something to prove at the end of the day. During this quarantine I’ve been dieting, getting my weight down, getting in shape. For me, it’s just playing basketball.
“I am in such debt to the people who worked so incredibly hard on the technical side to make what I believe is still magic — there might be some elves involved, it is Disney after all,” ‘The Jump” host Rachel Nichols told Insider. “I can’t believe that they were able to figure out a way to produce an entire television show with everybody at home, not a single person in our television facility.”
April 9, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
If nothing else at a time when the Clippers have more questions than answers amid the NBA’s hiatus because of COVID-19, the team is confident in at least one thing to be true. Should the season resume, the same roster that had been dogged by injuries since last summer is on track to be the healthiest it has been. “The Kawhi [Leonard] we’ll see will be in phenomenal shape,” coach Doc Rivers said, adding that Paul George “is another guy that’s goig to be in phenomenal shape. Reggie [Jackson], who was injured when we got him, will now be healthy.”
Since there is a pause on all roster transactions across the league, the 10-day contract Noah signed remains in effect one month later. That has left the former defensive player of the year able to work into shape under the supervision of the team’s medical and performance staffs. “It’s been great for him,” Rivers said. “There are certain individuals who this rest period, or whatever this is called, has been a benefit, and Jo is one of them for sure because he’s got a chance now to get healthy, and to get in shape and that will be a factor for him. He will be a guy that will be able to help us.”
A whopping 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus. The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%.
Storyline: Coronavirus
NBA star DeMarcus Cousins first hired Noordin Said to be his personal security guard in 2015 during All-Star weekend in New York. From there, the two hit it off, and Said worked the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 All-Star weekend in New Orleans at Cousins’ side. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green hired Said to be his personal security guard during the 2018 playoffs, and Said worked this season with Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at most home games.
Storyline: Coronavirus
April 9, 2020 | 5:21 pm EDT Update
As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, NBA owners are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. The league plans to keep all options to resume the season available for the time being, sources told ESPN, but the financial realities of the situation demand near immediate action. That has become clear in talks between the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and player agents, sources told ESPN, as the league tries to get its finances in order in the event the rest of the season must be canceled.
Storyline: Salary Reductions
The league’s CBA includes a force majeure clause, enabling owners to cancel games and recover salary in the event of a pandemic. This clause also gives the league a 60-day window within which it can rip up the CBA entirely — effectively beginning a work stoppage. No one wants to do that. But it underscores the gravity of the situation. Still, in recent years the two sides have worked as well together as ever, and the CBA isn’t set to expire until 2024.
The agreement between owners and players in the last CBA calls for roughly splitting revenue 50/50 and also splitting the coming losses. So, the owners want to hold back a percentage of players’ checks going forward — both giving them extra money they can use now, if needed, and also to help balance the books in the event some, or all, of the remainder of the season is canceled. From an economic standpoint, both sides would prefer to limit the pain of the shutdown to only this season and not start next season with IOUs on the ledger. Setting the money aside now would help do that.
Karnisovas will have full decision making over basketball operations, including the futures of Forman, head coach Jim Boylen, and the entire coaching staff. He was even asked about Paxson, and had the option of having the organization move on from the long-time Bulls executive if that’s what he desired. However, a source indicated that Karnisovas had no issues with the Reinsdorfs keeping Paxson around.