Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death

1,097 rumors in this storyline

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom opened up about a number of topics during an appearance on REVOLT TV’s Drink Champs: Happy Hour airing Thursday. One of those was Kobe Bryant’s death, along with eight others, in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. “That s–t was so shocking,” he said. “That s–t took the breath out of me, man. That s–t f–ked me up for real.”

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Zach Lowe wondered how World Peace coped with Bryant’s death. He recalled being on a plane to Europe with his wife on Feb. 26. The in-flight movie ended with someone’s death. Suddenly, he was overcome with tears. “I couldn’t control my crying because I’ve been suppressing it,” World Peace said. “It comes in waves. On the plane, I’m like, ‘What am I crying for?’ It’s something you don’t cope with. I’m not trying to make it better. I don’t want it to get better. Time heals all wounds.”

The family of Kobe Bryant visited a mural honoring the late NBA icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The mural in Los Angeles depicts Bryant kissing Gianna on the head, with a halo hovering over them. Bryant and Gianna were among the nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. On Sunday, Bryant’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old Natalia, posed for a photo in front of the mural.

In the days following Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash, fans all over the world mourned the NBA all-star’s death. And some were also motivated to protect their own families if something terrible happened to them. The volume of life insurance application requests and submissions spiked in the days after the 41-year-old’s death on Jan. 26, 2020, according to True Blue Life Insurance, an online aggregator and comparison site for life insurance.

Bryant’s death shook Tatum. When the news broke, he was spending time with his dad, Justin Tatum, in New Orleans before the Celtics’ team bus was scheduled to leave for the arena. “We were in our jolly moment, sitting there munching on our Popeyes sandwiches, talking about things back home,” Tatum’s father recalled. Then Jayson checked his phone notifications and his jaw dropped. No words were spoken for the rest of their meal or walk home to the hotel. “I kind of got sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe it,” Tatum said. “It didn’t seem real at the time. It still doesn’t seem real.”

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has paid tribute to his idol, Kobe Bryant, with a tattoo. The tattoo which Booker showed on his Instagram Tuesday, simply says “Be Legendary” in cursive writing on one of his forearms. But it has a story behind it. Bryant wrote those words on a shoe of his that he gave to Booker after playing in a game against the Suns in 2016, Bryant’s final year in the NBA. Booker had Bryant’s writing on the shoe used for his tattoo.

After The Times disclosed last week that the deputies shared the photos, Villanueva said he would launch an investigation. But now there are mounting demands for an independent inquiry into the matter, the latest in a series of scandals to afflict the nation’s largest sheriff’s department in recent years. Patti Giggans, chair of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, said she expects Villanueva to find out what happened in a timely way, but that the destruction of photos “looks like a cover-up of misconduct.” She added, “I’m hoping that that’s not the case.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight deputies allegedly took or shared graphic photos of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene, but he ordered them deleted. “That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist,” Villanueva told NBC News for a story Monday. “We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”

The widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant is “absolutely devastated” by allegations that deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, her lawyer said in a statement Saturday. The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that a public safety source with knowledge of the events had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the investigation of the crash. He said the photos showed the scene and victims’ remains. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the allegations.

Vanessa Bryant’s lawyer, Gary Robb, said that she went to the sheriff’s office on Jan. 26, the day of the crash, “and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers.” “This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests,” Robb said.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, multiple L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the crash scene took photos that included remains. We’re told one of the deputies — a trainee — took photos and at some point went to a bar and, as one source put it, “He tried to impress a girl by showing her the photos.” We’re told the bartender overheard the conversation and filed an online complaint with the Sheriff’s Dept. We’re also told the cell phone photos were passed around at the Lost Hills Sheriff’s substation — the first responders to the crash. Sources say deputies from other substations around L.A. County also took cell phone photos.

The rush to monetize the death of Kobe Bryant started in the hours after the helicopter carrying the retired Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others slammed into a hillside in Calabasas on a foggy morning last month. As first responders picked through the wreckage, anonymous speculators registered scores of web domains connected to the tragedy. The address lovekobebryant.com, created about three hours after the crash, went on sale for a buy-now price of $99,999. Among the scores of the site registrations that followed within an hour or two were kobebryanthelicopter.com ($50,000), kobebryanthalloffame.com ($20,000) and kobedead.com ($5,000).

Sometimes, his players Google things. When Kobe Bryant died, “a sad moment,” Wallace said. “Some of the guys were on their little TVs — call them phones — and they saw the [Nike] commercial I did some years back. ‘Oh, Coach, I didn’t know you were in a commercial with Kobe.’ “ “I knew he was an NBA champion,” said Joaquin Davis, a senior forward who has signed a letter of intent to play Division I football at North Carolina Central. “Already knew that off the rip. He was a legend at UNC, so I already knew that. I also knew that he got known for a lot of techs …”

But, we noticed multiple listings had disappeared from eBay over the past 24 hours — so we reached out to eBay to find out what’s up. Turns out, eBay has a policy that prohibits sellers from profiting off of “human tragedy or suffering.” In fact, eBay sent an email to one seller explaining their position — “Please note, due to sudden and tragic passing of Kobe Bryant – eBay has made the decision to prohibit the sale of merchandise, images and mugs relating to their passing.” “We do not allow listings that attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering.”

Sources familiar with Island Express tell TMZ, the company had liability insurance coverage totaling $50 million. Our sources say that’s not an unusual figure, but given the number of people Island Express transports on a single helicopter and the fact rich celebrities used the service … the number is low. Our sources say a more appropriate amount of coverage for the company would have been closer to $100 million. As we reported, Kylie Jenner — a 22-year-old billionaire — also recently took the same Island Express helicopter that crashed.

Bryant was not an active player like Munson when he died, but he remained as synonymous with the Lakers as anyone who had ever worn the purple and gold. I asked Jackson, still a special adviser to the Yankees, for any counsel he would offer if a current Laker were to ask him. “You can’t,” Jackson said. “There’s no giving advice on this. It’s too emotional, too personal. It’s with you every day in L.A.” Jackson would say only that it’s “very important” for a team soaked in sorrow “to have a leader there.” For his Yankees, it was Murcer. For the Lakers, the pillars have been Coach Frank Vogel, General Manager Rob Pelinka (Bryant’s former agent and Gianna Bryant’s godfather) and LeBron.

Steve Nash: Thank you, Kobe! We came in the league together and went out around the same time. Glad we got to be teammates but really cherish the competition. A TON of battles but game 6, 2010 Western Conference Finals you were truly unplayable. It wasn’t always easy and we didn’t always see eye to eye but the respect between us means more than all the numbers and accolades stacked on top of each other. Looking back I draw a lot of inspiration from the way you attacked everything you did and even more admiration from the father you were and family you grew. Gone way way way too soon but never ever forgotten. Rest In Peace old friend with your Angel, Gigi. 2/24♾

The complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was “negligent.” “Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit accuses Zobayan, Bryant’s longtime pilot, of several acts of negligence including failing to abort the flight, failing to monitor and assess the weather, and failure to keep a safe distance between natural obstacles and the helicopter. “On information and belief, Defendant Island Express Helicopters employed Defendant Zobayan with conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others and authorized or ratified his wrong conduct, and itself engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud,” the complaint said.

Since his death at age 41, the nation has mourned the loss of the NBA Hall of Famer, who was an 18-time All-Star and 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. Bryant, Collins said, was one of his favorite professional basketball players. “I loved what he brought to the game,” he said. Collins, who has built customized designer caskets for roughly a decade over his 47 years, said social media led to what he called this humbling assignment. Through social networking, he said, a friend of Bryant’s family reached out to ask if Collins could create some type of memorial art to honor Kobe and the other victims.

“This is nothing people have ever seen. This is something I created,” Collins said from his work site off Collins Place on the edge of Elizabethtown. “And the whole vision behind it – I cannot take the pain away. I try to capture moments to bring back life, energy and the inspiration of the loved ones and their legacy.” The casket, which he said cost $13,000, was built over 3½ days. Donations helped cover the cost, and the names of those donors have been added to a picture of Bryant’s jersey that is meant to be part of the tribute memorial set.

Pelinka did not seem surprised with how Bryant transitioned from his NBA career. “I knew that Kobe’s life after basketball would be driven by one word – curiosity,” Pelinka wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports as part of an interview last month about Bryant’s post-NBA career. “Like most utter geniuses, Kobe has an insatiable desire to learn, grow and conquer. I knew that in whatever endeavor that manifested itself, Kobe would find incredible achievement.”

Pelinka has declined interviews. James has declined to talk in-depth about Bryant out of respect for his family. And Davis declined to answer how Pelinka has helped the team handle a difficult month. Accounts suggest, though, that Pelinka has become a source of comfort within the organization. “His way of helping is coming in and being positive every single day,” forward Avery Bradley told USA TODAY Sports. “With him being positive, it makes us a little happier. It helps us be comfortable about everything going on when we’re seeing a smile on Rob’s face.”

On Monday morning, about 20,000 people — celebrities, athletes, family members, fans and friends — will fill Staples Center to honor Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 near Calabasas, Calif. The public memorial, called “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant,” is expected to run from about 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pacific time, Zeidman said, followed by several invitation-only receptions. An undisclosed number of tickets were sold to the general public through a lottery. Those who were unable to purchase tickets will not be permitted access to L.A. Live, the entertainment complex adjacent to Staples Center. Officials are discouraging people from trying to congregate near the arena.

Los Angeles will come to a stop Monday to publicly memorialize Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center. When Vanessa Bryant announced the pubic service on Instagram earlier this month, she pointed out the symbolism in the date: 2/24/20. Two for the number Gianna, aka “Mambacita,” wore. Twenty-four for the number Kobe wore during the second half of his career. And twenty, for the years Kobe and Vanessa spent together. Kobe and Gianna were buried in a private ceremony on Feb. 7, according to records.

It will be difficult to sum up the former Lakers star’s impact as the team prepares a memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday at Staples Center. “It’s hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything he meant to the world, to the NBA and to basketball fans. He’s bigger than life,” Johnson said before the Lakers’ 114-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday at Staples Center. “And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well.”

Arn Tellem: In high school, Kobe trained with the Philadelphia 76ers. By his senior campaign, the big question was, would Kobe attend a college like La Salle, where Joe was an assistant coach, or turn pro. During the previous three decades, only six U.S. players had joined the NBA without playing college ball, and all of them had been big men: Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins, Bill Willoughby, Shawn Kemp, Thomas Hamilton and Kevin Garnett. Kobe was a 6-foot-6 guard. I asked Kobe what he wanted to do. He didn’t hesitate. “I’m going to the NBA,” he said. “I want to be the next Michael Jordan.”

I remember Kobe telling me that a defining moment in his brilliant 20-year NBA career was the infamous air ball game against Utah in the 1997 Western Conference semifinals. With the Lakers’ season on the line, he took four shots — one in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, three in the final minute of overtime — none of which came close to going in the basket. The Lakers lost in five games, and Kobe was left with a humbling rookie moment. “It was an early turning point for me in being able to deal with adversity, deal with public scrutiny and self-doubt,” he said.

Designer Philipp Plein is facing backlash over his Milan Fashion Week show, after a tribute to Kobe Bryant rubbed some the wrong way. Plein’s show Saturday night in Italy concluded with a nod to the late Los Angeles Lakers star, featuring models (including former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo and “Red Table Talk” host Jada Pinkett Smith) wearing bedazzled purple 24 jerseys. The background featured a number of gold-coated vehicles, including two helicopters.

Following the show, Plein’s website now features a limited edition “Plein 24” collection, which features a $2,070 bedazzled purple jersey with the number 24 and Plein’s name in place of the Lakers and NBA logos. A purple and yellow sweatshirt version of the jersey is also sold for $3,150. “Philipp Plein is proud to support MAMBA & MAMBACITA FOUNDATION. A tribute to a legend,” the site reads. It is not immediately clear if or how much of the proceeds go toward the foundation. USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Plein and the foundation for more information.

More from Johnson: “Kobe was living his best life after basketball. His relationship with his kids, with his wife, the the work in the community. He was about women’s athletics, the WNBA. He worked out with everybody. The list of players that this man worked out with, Kawhi, Kyrie Irving, Tatum of the Celtics, on and on and on. I mean, he would give his time and his knowledge of the game to all these young players. And I just loved his relationship with his girls and his wife. I mean, they were coming to the LA Sparks games. And last, but not least, he loved the Laker organization, he loved Jeanie, he loved Dr. Buss. It’s going to be hard for the city to move on.”

The loyal high school teammate often spent a significant part of his work day handling interview inquiries about Kobe Bryant. Lately, Doug Young has helped alumni, colleagues and visitors grieve Bryant’s death. “I’m sad, but strong,” Young told USA TODAY Sports. “There’s undeniable sadness. But I think the strength is from thinking what Kobe might have wanted.” For most of Bryant’s 20-year NBA career, Young served as the communications director for their alma mater, Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia. Two years ago, Young left the post to work with professional athletes on various storytelling platforms. But after Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash a month ago, Young assumed a familiar role with Lower Merion.

According to Young, Bryant talked trash about the school’s rivals with current coaches and players. Bryant often bantered that his 1996 state title team would beat Lower Merion’s 2013 title team. Bryant gave players feedback about their performances. A few years ago, Bryant consoled one player over his father’s recent death. “We always felt like he put us first,” Young said. “I know how special those moments were for our players, for me and for Coach Downer. They were rare. He was a major public figure and knew you wouldn’t get a ton of quality time. That’s just the nature of being the greatest basketball player in the world. You’re being pulled in a thousand directions. But when he was with us, he was 110 percent with us.”

“You sit there thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ ” Young said. “But you also want to be respectful they upended their lives to show up at your doorstep.” Downer conducted a few practices with the Chinese basketball team, and the team’s translator eventually met Bryant during one of his trips to China. The French students were too old to enroll at Lower Merion, but Downer trained them for a session. Lower Merion declined to sell any Bryant gear to the Ireland student, but it gave him a used jersey and invited him to its summer camp. “We were never in the business of profiting off of Kobe Bryant,” Young said. “He was our brother, our teammate and friend. That didn’t change.”

Wayne Ellington: “When I finally got a chance to be around him, learn from him and watch him closely, it was unbelievable to me. He accepted me with open arms during that time I was with the Lakers, and obviously … tragedy happened to me when my father was killed. [Bryant] was one of the main guys that was just in constant contact with me, making sure I was OK. … He meant a whole lot to me. I was all eyes on Kobe. As a kid, like I said, I tried to be Kobe.”

Ellington admitted he was surprised by the depth of counseling and support Bryant offered him after his father was shot and killed more than five years ago. “Obviously there was a ton of people reaching out initially, but I was surprised that he was one of the guys that was consistently hitting me up and checking on me and giving me advice and having conversations about ways to cope with such a tragedy,” Ellington said. “One thing he always talked to me about was using the game of basketball as a safe haven, and using that to get away from all the outside noise and all the outside trauma that I had going in. That really, really resonated with me and stuck with me. I was in a dark place when that happened to me and my family. He and his conversations are actually what brought me back to the court at that time.”
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April 3, 2020 | 7:43 am EDT Update
Paul talked about his mindset heading into his first season with the Thunder with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on All The Smoke: “The thing as a hooper is confidence…so when I went to Oklahoma, I had already started my training, so when the trade happened, I wasn’t tripping… I was more pissed about being away from the family,” Chris Paul said. “When I got to Oklahoma, I had to prove myself…Whether that’s the case or not, if the media puts you out there as somewhat washed, then people start to think that. I had to prove myself to my Thunder teammates, to my coaches, to everybody in the organization. I had to show that I could stay healthy. I had to prove all this stuff.”
However, Paul now admits that he “appreciated” Griffin more after he left the Clippers in the summer of 2017. The future Hall of Famer talked to Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the All The Smoke Podcast about his stint with the Clippers: “It’s seriously one of those things you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone,” Chris Paul said. “I think about it at times. And me and Blake Griffin absolutely had our issues here and there, but I actually appreciated Blake probably a lot more after I left.”
In a message left on Clippers’ social media, Paul George stressed fans stay strong in this difficult period. George also mentioned that the Clippers have a priority to be the team that’s in the best shape when the season returns. Here is the message in full: “Clipper Nation, what’s good? Just wanted to share some light, keep everybody positive, and their mood right. I know this is a hard time we’re going through right now, but we will get through it. As we’ve been preaching and saying around our team, amongst coach, we want to win the wait. When this thing gets back going, we want to be the team that’s in the best shape and ready to go.
Storyline: Coronavirus
“Oh, I love watching him,” Jamal Crawford said about Derrick Rose. “He’s someone who was written off, someone who was — I think people didn’t give him the proper respect on his name. From different places, different situations. “He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s unbelievable. He’s fun to watch. He’s such a genuine person. I’ll always root for him. I’m like his biggest fan to be honest with you. I love watching him. “Think about that, he knew he was this D-Rose all along, whether he was in Cleveland, whether he was in Minnesota, whatever. Getting waived from Utah…But he knew he was this same guy all along.”
Did Nathan Spencer (the team’s head strength and conditioning coach) drop off some equipment to you right before the practice facility closed? Jonathan Isaac: Yes. They were super-mindful of what was going on and they brought me a bike, they brought me weights. They brought me everything that I need to be able to do my rehab. That’s why it works so well. So I have a little impromptu gym in my living room. Every day I get up and I start knocking out what I’ve got to do for the day. Do the rehab specialists watch you via Zoom or FaceTime as you’re working out, or do they speak to you afterward? Jonathan Isaac: They speak to me afterward always, and they took me through all my exercises the day before (the facility closed). So I know what I have to do. And then if I have any questions, I FaceTime them.
Storyline: Jonathan Isaac Injury
Chris Broussard & Rob Parker disputed a fan-voted bracket that put Michael Jordan & Larry Bird as the greatest college basketball player of all time. According to Broussard, Michael Jordan is not the greatest college basketball player of all time. “It is clearly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And after him it’s probably Bill Walton. I don’t think Michael Jordan is even in the discussion of the greatest college player of all time,” he said.
Adidas AG is seeking more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in German government aid as it grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the matter said. The sporting goods maker is in talks with German state-owned bank KfW about a financing package, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Adidas has been discussing a range of around 1 billion euros to 2 billion euros in loans, though the final amount and timing haven’t been decided, the people said.
Growing up in Berwyn Heights, John Beckham spent hours upon hours playing basketball. He never attracted scholarship interest from any of the local Division I schools, but when the 1996 Parkdale High graduate and filmmaker would join pickup games in other parts of the country in later years, he often found he was the best player in the gym. “That didn’t happen very often back home,” Beckham said in a phone interview. “And then every year there was someone else from [Prince George’s County] getting drafted in the NBA. It’s like, what the f— is going on here?” That’s the question Beckham set out to answer in his documentary, “Basketball County: In the Water,” a collaboration with Prince George’s County legend and NBA star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures that will premiere on Showtime on May 15 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
In October, the Los Angeles Lakers invited magician, illusionist and self-proclaimed “endurance artist” David Blaine for a “Genius Talk,” something the team started doing in 2018 to give their players an opportunity to get advice from people that are accomplished in a variety of industries. After their talk with Blaine, the Lakers were scheduled to have practice, but Frank Vogel decided to give his players the day off, and on Wednesday night, we got an idea as to why that was. On Wednesday, ABC aired Blaine’s new special, “The Magic Way,” and it included a few segments of the Lakers having their minds blown by card tricks, which probably sounds silly, but these weren’t your every day card tricks. Who were Blaine’s first volunteers, you might ask? LeBron James and Anthony Davis, of course — with a sprinkle of JaVale McGee.
Dr. Fauci Was a Basketball Captain. Now He’s America’s Point Guard. His teammates in high school looked to Dr. Anthony Fauci for leadership. They’re still doing it more than 60 years later. The basketball team at Regis High School had a 1-16 record as the players entered a rival’s gym in the winter of 1958 fully expecting to leave with yet another loss. The other team’s star was a future NBA coach who would one day run the New York Knicks. Regis was led by a diminutive future doctor who would one day run the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Storyline: Coronavirus
April 2, 2020 | 9:36 pm EDT Update
For the time being, and likely for weeks or months to come, basketball is no longer the team’s primary public concern. “We’re trying to get ahead of the game as best we can,” Tellem said. “As part of that, it’s changing our whole public face. Usually we’re talking about upcoming games, the draft, free agency, all those things in our advertising and content online and obviously we’re now changing that content.”
The league has not made public any plans for the remainder of the season or playoffs, which were supposed to start April 18. Per a contract agreement with the league, players received paychecks April 1 despite the suspended season, but the NBA has yet to reach a long-term agreement, ESPN reported. “There will be a time, when we flatten the curve and we’re on the significant down side of the curve, that professional sports and all sports will play an important role in the healing of this country,” Tellem said.
April 2, 2020 | 8:15 pm EDT Update
P.J. Tucker will release a new limited-edition collection of clothing items next week to help promote awareness of coronavirus safety measures and raise funds for the Houston Food Bank and local businesses and vendors. Tucker announced that he and The Better Generation will make items available for a preorder through the weekend or while supplies last. The items will include long and short sleeve shirts, shorts and a baseball cap and feature COVID-19 awareness graphics.
“We all came together and said we wanted to do something positive,” Tucker said. “With so much negativity and so much stuff going on right now in the world, we wanted to do something to give back and help out. We’re doing three different shirts, three different shorts and a hat. There is a social distancing logo and messaging on the back with the logo for the store.”
April 2, 2020 | 5:36 pm EDT Update
Porter, who spent one season at Missouri, said he’s got a private gym that he can access whenever he wants. “I’ve literally been in the gym just as much as I was in Denver, which has been really good,” Porter said on Altitude’s digital show. “I feel like I haven’t really lost a lot. And it’s been good for my ankle, too, because you know my ankle was still kind of sore.”
In his downtime, he said he’s been preparing for the NBA 2K tournament that will air Friday night on ESPN. Porter, a No. 12 seed, drew No. 5 seed Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns. Booker’s a notorious gamer, but Porter liked his chances. “I’m just naturally good at 2K,” he said. “It’s kind of weird. 2K, if you’re good at actual basketball, like it translates.”
The Atlanta Hawks, through the Hawks Foundation and State Farm, are funding the preparation of 4,000 meals weekly to be delivered to the more than 1,000 frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients at Emory Healthcare through a four-week pilot that is part of the newly-formed Atlanta Healthcare Heroes inaugural program. The meals are provided in partnership with two local Atlanta restaurants, which are now able to re-employ “hundreds” of workers who were recently laid off or furloughed due to the financial effects of the crisis, according to Hawks CEO Steve Koonin.
April 2, 2020 | 5:11 pm EDT Update
Although it launched last October, the Utah Jazz is using their Utah Jazz Podcast Network as an outlet for players to broaden their off-the-court reach and skills. “Our players have obviously been focused on keeping themselves healthy and making sure that their family and those close to them are healthy,” Bart Sharp, the Jazz’s senior vice president of marketing, said. “But they’ve also expressed a desire to try and provide some sense of normalcy and entertainment to our fan base during this time and wanted to find ways in which they can help people during this unique period.”
Already, some of the Jazz’s most well-known players are lending a hand to help produce content for the team. Utah rolled out its first player-specific podcast series, Ingles Insight, centered around Jazz shooting guard Joe Ingles, on March 21. The fifth-year player out of Adelaide, South Australia, is accompanied on Ingles Insight by his wife, Renae Ingles. The inaugural episode had more than 11,000 downloads in the first week, over 200 five-star reviews, and was the second-most popular basketball podcast in the United States on Apple Music, Sharp said.
Another new video podcast series hosted by Utah power forward Georges Niang, Drive and Dish, launched its first episode on Tuesday, March 31. Filmed out of Niang’s home and recorded through Zoom, Drive And Dish is described by Sharp as an “interview-style” podcast. The first episode saw Niang talk with teammate Jordan Clarkson about what is going on right now in a basketball-less world: what Clarkson is doing during the quarantine, his various tattoos, his distinct fashion taste, and other topics. After the debut of Drive And Dish, Sharp and the Jazz are preparing for another podcast series starring both Niang and Donovan Mitchell.
April 2, 2020 | 4:36 pm EDT Update
Doc Rivers wasn’t immediately impressed with Williams when the Clippers acquired him from the Houston Rockets. On Thursday’s episode of The Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman Podcast, Rivers spoke about his first impressions of Williams. “When we traded for Lou, I was not having Lou,” Rivers said. “I saw a guy that kept getting traded. And I appreciated his offense, but not nearly, never thought it was this good… When he finally showed up three days before training camp, I was not having him. I was like, ‘We’re not gonna work’, you know?”
“I brought him up in the office and I told him my feelings,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Lou, you’re one of these guys that wanna do whatever you wanna do, and you don’t want to buy-in. We asked everybody to come in. Everyone did except for you… I don’t know how this is gonna work.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been traded five years in a row. Why would I buy-in to you?’, and I didn’t have an answer.”