Storyline: Social Justice Messages

157 rumors in this storyline

Brad Townsend: Doc Rivers reacts to President Trump’s statement today that he won’t watch NBA games due to players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem. In short, “So, what? We lost one.” … “We know that justice is on our side, right? And this hat that I’m wearing -VOTE- is what our President is trying to get us to not do.”

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Donovan Mitchell: I think working with Adidas, we were able to do that, especially through my shoe and also as a brand and myself as a whole. The NBA as a league has been doing a great job of it. I think you have to understand that the only way change is going to come is by having those uncomfortable conversations. It’s not going to be an easy one for myself. It’s not going to be an easy one for my fellow white counterparts, white people in general. I think the conversation just needs to be had because we’ve been crying for change for so many years. This is a time where we need to act on it and honestly, it’s not even just African Americans, it’s really white people as well, being able to understand and accept that there is social injustice and systemic racism as well.

Donald Trump calls NBA players kneeling during anthem 'disgraceful'

In a Wednesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump was asked about his take on the state of the league, which has seen the majority of its players and coaches kneel during the anthem in support of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. Two players — the Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard and the Orlando Magic’s Jonathan Isaac — have stood during the anthem since 22 teams resumed their season in Orlando, Florida. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a vocal critic of racial injustice, and assistant Becky Hammon have also chosen to stand during the national anthem. “When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game,” Trump said in the phone interview.

“The ratings for the basketball are way down, as you know,” Trump said. “I hear some others are way down, including baseball. We have stand up for our flag, stand up for our country. A lot of people agree with me. If I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election. That’s okay with me. I will always stand for our flag.” Trump also addressed Black Lives Matter, comparing himself to former president Abraham Lincoln. “Black Lives Matter,” he said. “Nobody has done better for our Black community than me. Nobody. With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln; it’s true. Criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, best employment numbers in history. Again, nobody has done for the black community – by far. I’ll give the one exception: Abraham Lincoln.”

Caruso, who is white, has chosen to wear “Black Lives Matter” on his jersey in Orlando, Florida, to support the fight for racial equality. “This is something that Black people can’t do on their own,” Caruso told The Undefeated. “This isn’t something where they can wake up and say, ‘You know what? I’m just grinding, being an activist and talking to so many people and it’s going to get done.’ … “Being in the NBA has actually taught me how important it is to talk about these things. Being in LA this last year, my life has changed because everyone knows what I am doing. Anytime I saw something or tweeted something, it is not just me and my small group of friends. There are people that are watching. I just think it is important for people to know what is right from wrong. In its simplest form, everyone should be treated equal.”

Redick says he has received backlash for calling out racism as he sees it. But don’t expect the 14-year NBA veteran to shy away from the criticism. “Nobody likes to be called a racist,” Redick said. “Nobody likes to be accused of thinking like a racist. I get why people would be sensitive to that. But there is always pushback. Anytime I saw something about Trump, there was pushback about that. And again, I’m going to go back to that word, empathy. “If you have that, there really isn’t pushback. You can empathize the political situation. You can empathize the social situation. The justice system. All that stuff. And I don’t really f—— care, to be honest with you.”

Haslem is now 40, with three sons ranging in age from 9 to 21, and they’ve had a much different life experience given the lifestyle an NBA paycheck has afforded him. But Haslem still fears for his children because they exist in a place where they often look different than the people in their circle. “It’s even more scary,” Haslem said. “When you’re growing up in the inner city and you hear about police brutality and violence and things like that, you kind of feel like – and this is a terrible way to look at it – but you kind of be like, ‘It happens all the time.’ The police always messing with somebody. Or White people are always messing with us. You just kind of feel like that’s the norm. “And as you get older, you start to realize, that’s not normal and it’s not OK. And when you start to get out of your surroundings, which you were so confined in at that young age, you start to see the world at a different angle and different eyes and you realize there’s no way you should’ve been treated like that growing up. There’s no way your friends should’ve got harassed like that. There’s no way they went into your pockets and questioned you. But at that age, you just think that’s what it is.”

“This movement has grown in such a way where frankly, it’s irresistible,” Alicia Garza, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, said in a telephone interview. She added that seeing those words on NBA courts, in Major League Baseball stadiums and on T-shirts worn by athletes near and far, including those in European soccer leagues, “blows me away. It’s incredibly amazing. “I think that this moment reflects the ongoing organizing and activism of people who have been toiling for so long in the shadows,” she said. “This movement is not new. The fight for racial equality. The fight for human rights and civil rights is as old as the history of enslavement in this country, and every generation – as John Lewis would say – is responsible for carrying that torch forward to make sure that we achieve the goal of making Black Lives Matter in our democracy, in our economy and in our society. I think what this moment represents is a real reckoning.”

Although Black Lives Matter continues to get resistance from disingenuous people seeking to distort and diminish its purpose, the meaning in the message has remained consistent: the fight for equality should transcend partisan politics. The league doesn’t fear a backlash for embracing the phrase, believing that anyone upset enough to stop watching its games would be alienating themselves. Equality isn’t up for debate. “We didn’t view ‘Black Lives Matter’ as a political matter. We viewed this as a broader movement. This is a human rights issue,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in a telephone interview with The Athletic. “Black Lives Matter has come to represent a broader movement around racial inequality and we support our players, our coaches, our staff, our teams, in speaking out on these critically important issues.”

While approved protests — such as kneeling — could easily be misconstrued, Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney who has handled several high-profile cases, from Martin to Floyd, believes the influence of subliminal messaging over the next three months — such as the Black Lives Matter signage on the court and on T-shirts — cannot be overstated. “Symbols and images matter,” Crump said in a telephone interview with The Athletic. “There is a reason the NAACP has the Image Awards, because as the psychologists say, ‘Once you observe an image, even if it’s just for a few seconds, it literally left an indelible mark on your brain, on your subconscious.’ For every NBA fan to have to see that image every game really helps put in their subconscious mind, Black Lives Matter.”

All Sixers players and coaches kneeled Saturday night during the national anthem ahead of the team’s first game at Disney World. Indiana Pacers players and coaches also kneeled, in addition to the game’s referees. The team decided to protest racial injustice after a tumultuous stretch of over four months since their last game that featured protests around the country after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others at the hands of police. The majority of players from other NBA teams have done the same ahead of their opening seeding games.

Wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt over a jersey that he ordered to say “Equality,” and as all other coaches and players around him knelt, Leonard stood for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Saturday before the Heat re-opened their season by facing the Denver Nuggets at Walt Disney World. “Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” Leonard told The Associated Press prior to the game. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement and I love and support the military and my brother and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”

Marc Stein: NBA spokesman on Jimmy Butler: “Displaying no name or message on the back of a player’s jersey was not an option among the social justice messages agreed upon by the Players Association and the NBA as modifications to the rules regarding uniforms.” NBA spokesman (continued) on Miami’s Jimmy Butler being asked to take off a jersey with no name and replace it with a jersey bearing BUTLER: ”Per league rules, the uniform may not be otherwise altered and anyone wearing an altered jersey will not be permitted to enter the game.”

The protest wasn’t unexpected: Players had been talking about using games to amplify their social justice message for months. Still, the symbolism was powerful. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, wiped away tears. Several NBA personnel members clapped for the players after the anthem ended. And following the game, players made it clear that they plan to continue kneeling. “The ‘stick to sports’ crowd, ‘keep politics out of sports’ — all those things, they’re meaningless now,” Pelicans guard JJ Redick said. “You can’t. Politics and sports coexist now. And the league has recognized that.”

Gasol was asked about the potential for the re-start of meaningful games to mitigate some of the attention the drive for social change is getting from the NBA players. “I don’t worry too much about diluting the message because it’s really strong and it goes beyond sports,” Gasol said. “I’m sure we will do a great job of continuing to enforce it.” … Gasol made another good point about the lack of a cheering crowd during these games. While the preference would be — pandemic permitting — to have 20,000 screaming Raptors fans backing him and his teammates each night, he says he has found some advantages to a less noisy playing atmosphere. “When it comes to basketball it’s pretty pure,” he said of the arenas on campus. “You can hear everything. You can communicate easily with all your teammates and so it has its good things too. During a timeout you can hear everything really clear.”

Players, coaches and teams have made it clear that shutting up and dribbling is not an option this season. The Hawks, Pistons and Kings have each worked out deals with their respective cities that their arenas will be used as polling places for the Nov. 3 general election; the Hornets and Wizards are working on similar arrangements. Each of those teams has already announced all of their employees will be given Election Day off with pay to make it easier for them to vote. “Black Lives Matter” is decaled on all of the courts in Florida that will host NBA and WNBA games this season.

“I think basketball is secondary,” said Portland guard CJ McCollum, a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. “It’s our job,” he said. “Obviously we have a responsibility to fulfill those obligations. But it’s also our job to fulfill and protect our neighborhoods, and protect the people who look like us, and come from places like us, and don’t exactly have the same voices that we do. I think that that’s something that’s been on all of our minds. We’ve been very proactive about it. And me, a person who’s big on education, education reform, I’ve continued to try to have those conversations with like-minded people, people who care about education.

“We continue to figure out ways to collectively make an impact and making change. But there are people who are involved in prison reform. There are people involved in police reform, and so many other different things that are moreso up their alley. We continue to try to have those discussions, conversations. And the biggest thing for us is education. You want to be educated on the matters you’re speaking on, and really have a passion, and make sure that it’s a point of focus for you individually.”

“I think we’ve all bought in,” Malone said. “Obviously we’re basketball coaches, we’re basketball players. We get paid to do that. That’s our livelihood. But we also have off-court interests. We all want to be active participants in what’s going on. As I’ve said many times, I do not want to be sitting on the sideline during this movement. I want to help. I want to educate myself, help our players educate themselves, so we can approach this the best way possible. … Us starting off practice today talking about the life and legacy of a guy like John Lewis, to make sure it’s not just about, ‘Hey, our pick-and-roll defense; our offensive execution.’ That is important as we get closer to playing games. But I know we are dedicated as an organization to make sure we’re doing as much as we can to continue to keep that education and that light where it needs to be. … To me, I think it’s an easy balance.”

Josh Robbins: (1/2) These are the phrases and words Magic players have chosen to wear on their jerseys, per the team’s Twitter account: D.J. Augustin: Equality Mo Bamba: Black Lives Matter Michael Carter-Williams: Liberation Gary Clark: Respect Us James Ennis: Justice Now

NBA players had discussed the possibility of placing the names of the victims of police brutality on the backs of their jerseys, but instead were told that they could choose from a list of 29 social justice messages that were approved by the league. Roberts explained that the decision not to go with individual names was, in part, because, “My personal fears, there are a lot of brothers and sisters who have been killed. What if we exclude someone who was killed? George Floyd but not Tamir Rice?” Instead of offending the families that might be omitted, the NBA chose to remove the option. Baker was fine with that decision. “I kind of like that they didn’t do it,” she said. “As I said on the WNBA call, since that was their initial idea, let them have that, and let them be recognized that it’s Black women, because otherwise, they would’ve been overshadowed if the NBA decided to do that. So, let the women have that.”

WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson pitched the idea to the union’s executive committee and they all supported the effort. Jackson then sought permission from Palmer to use Taylor’s name on jerseys and T-shirts, a gesture that endeared the WNBA’s plans with the family. They agreed proceeds from sales of the shirts could go toward a newly-established Breonna Taylor foundation. “It was just an idea that really took off,” McCoughtry said. “It was one of those things, you heard Dwight Howard, some other NBA players, say, ‘Oh, it’s a distraction,’ and that kind of stuff. And I was like, ‘It’s not a distraction. We can use our platform, to play. People look up to us, they listen, they’re fans. We can use this.’ You see (Dwight’s) out there now, playing. It goes to show, our platforms are powerful. We have to use them. And we have to be grateful that we have jobs and go out there and perform.”

Will the NBA’s health and safety protocols be enough to ensure a coronavirus outbreak does not occur? To what extent will the NBA and the players continue to speak out on social justice issues? “I don’t know if you can really tell the story of the NBA restart without telling the story about how active these players, coaches and the league have been with the various causes and the social justice push,” Harlan said. “Their voices are enormous in this. Not only will we have ‘Black Lives Matter’ in bold print on the floor. We’ll have names, causes, feelings and thoughts on uniforms that these players want to portray and show. It is every bit as much the story as the teams reassembling, trying to stay healthy and getting back on the floor.”

“I think basketball is secondary,” said Portland guard CJ McCollum, a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. “It’s our job,” he said. “Obviously we have a responsibility to fulfill those obligations. But it’s also our job to fulfill and protect our neighborhoods, and protect the people who look like us, and come from places like us, and don’t exactly have the same voices that we do. I think that that’s something that’s been on all of our minds. We’ve been very proactive about it. And me, a person who’s big on education, education reform, I’ve continued to try to have those conversations with like-minded people, people who care about education. We continue to figure out ways to collectively make an impact and making change. But there are people who are involved in prison reform. There are people involved in police reform, and so many other different things that are moreso up their alley. We continue to try to have those discussions, conversations. And the biggest thing for us is education. You want to be educated on the matters you’re speaking on, and really have a passion, and make sure that it’s a point of focus for you individually.”

For the restart of the NBA season, however, Morris is taking his name off the back of his jersey. Instead, he will display a social justice message: “Education Reform.” “This is bigger,” Morris told The Undefeated last week after practicing with the Clippers, who resume their season Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. “Obviously, all our purposes are bigger. Guys know who I am. The world knows who I am. I just want to address some social issues. … “Black Lives Matter. That’s first. People have lost their lives to senseless cop actions. That is first. I just wanted to do something deeper in the community. I am from that. So, I understand the transition. As a community, we can start there [with education reform] in doing some things.”

The social justice message will be placed over the number on the back of the players’ jerseys during the first four days of the resumed season. After that, a player who still wants to use a social justice message can have it above his jersey number on the back, while adding their last name on the bottom of the jersey. “I am going to continue to use it,” Morris said. “Four days, that is nothing. Everybody can tune in every other day and see that. As this message continues to get pushed and gets bigger, I’m just willing to wear it the entire season.”

Green: You have on your bus Black Lives Matter. As a Canadian team, it doesn’t directly impact your team, because you’re in an entire different country. What made you guys take the stand and put it on your bus? I think one of 22 teams that actually went through with it. Where did that idea come from, and why did you guys feel the need to push that through? Ujiri: Thanks, Draymond. You’ve been unbelieve on this and what you’re speaking on, and I think the league is proud of you. For us, we said we were going to use the bubble as a statement, right? We said we’re going to use this place as a platform. And we thought that, coming in here, you have to make a statement. You have to, for me, you have to create awareness. What you guys are doing over there is creating awareness. You’re talking about this. And we have to continue to do that. And we thought, what greater way than to ride through Florida for three hours and show people? We know what’s going on in the country, and we’re heading to the bubble.

The other question I could ask Lowry was this: With everything that’s going on, from living in a bubble, to the pandemic at large, to the ongoing push for social justice in which so many in the NBA have become so involved, could Lowry focus on and pursue the basketball goals he would normally have if none of these other things were going on? Here is what he said. “I think the social injustice is the message we are trying to send,” he began. “The Breonna Taylor situation, we want those cops arrested for the murder of her. But the basketball part is our salvation, and if we can go out there and use our message to make sure that we continue to push for that. Yes, we’re here to do our job, but we are also here to do another job and help our communities. If we’re going to be here, and I’m going to be here, then we’re going to focus on both things. I can say honestly that I’m going to focus on winning a championship and doing my postseason job, but I’m also going to focus on the things we’re down here for — voter suppression, education reform. I’m going to do both as best as I can.”
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August 7, 2020 | 1:25 pm EDT Update
August 7, 2020 | 12:17 pm EDT Update
On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut: Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association. How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn’t mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it’s a non-starter for her.
The league’s attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you’d also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL. And I don’t think that’s dead, but there’s certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it’s fluid, and there’s nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams.
I’ve heard from players that the lack of a crowd feels awkward. The normal energy isn’t there. That stinks. But the quiet has benefits for TV viewers: We hear every “Hell no!” from bench players mocking opponent shooters. Those shooters hear it, too; the bubble is producing record levels of mean-mugging and bad words directed at bench jokesters. A reminder for refs: Shooters who return taunts at yappy benches should be immune from technical fouls.
August 7, 2020 | 9:23 am EDT Update
Durant believes Crawford can add a lot to a team even in a limited role. “You need people like that on your roster, even if they’re the 15th, 14th man,” he said. “I think Jamal can provide a lot for you in that role, you know what I’m saying? If you can throw somebody like him out there, end of a playoff game or end of a game, he can definitely win you a game, hit some shots. “And you minimize his role? Give him a few minutes with the third unit or the second unit? He’ll get buckets. He can swing a game, be an x-factor still.”
LeBron gave a weird answer about this. He agreed that he and the Lakers were looking for a rhythm on offense. And then he said: “It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.” What did he mean? The food? The fishing? Tee times not abundant enough? I wrote down on a piece of paper what I thought he meant and showed it to him, and his answer was “Hell, nah.” So, whatever. It was an interesting thing to hear and there is obviously something on LeBron’s mind beyond Davis and his other teammates bending the rim with the bricks they’re throwing up there.
In 20 minutes against the Mavericks, Zubac put up a perfect: 21 points and 15 rebounds on 10/10 FGs. His play earned massive praise from his teammates. “Zu is like a little brother,” Paul George said. “He’s got a ton of upside. He really has tons of potential. He can do a lot of things. I’ve seen it. I’ve been on the other end when he was with the Lakers and he dominated.”
How did how does the knee feel right now? And as you project forward to the playoffs? Do you see it being any kind of, you know, inhibition to your ability? Kemba Walker: Well, it feels good man. That’s me being completely honest. You know, the whole reason I’m only stretching is to see how it reacts after every game. And it’s been it’s been doing well and it’s me feeling better and better after every game, so I’m definitely trending upwards. I think I’m gonna be fine. I think I’ll be fine.
Storyline: Kemba Walker Injury
Obviously the physical aspect of recovering from an Achilles tear and then an ACL tear is intense. When I saw you around the Lakers this year you looked like you were in great shape. How hard is the mental aspect of the recovery? DeMarcus Cousins: It’s tough, no lie. I’d be lying to say it’s been an easy journey or it hasn’t been tough. It’s definitely been a rough journey. But that’s the nature of this business. That’s what separates the guys that last 15 years in the league to the guys that have a short stint. The thing that I preach to a lot of young players and the younger generation in general, when it comes to being successful or being the best you can be in the business, whatever the field may be, it’s going to take a commitment. There’s going to be ups and downs but as long as you’re committed to whatever you’re doing in life, that’s what it’s going to take. I accept this is part of the business. All I can do is work my tail off to get back to where I want to be.
Do you feel like you’re missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience by deciding not to play? DeMarcus Cousins: I miss basketball in general. I’ve been playing this game since I was a kid, and I’ve never been away from it for this long, so I’m missing it more than ever. But due to the circumstances, it’s a different game right now. Nothing but respect to the guys who went out there to the bubble and are doing what they’re doing. For me, it just wasn’t the right situation or the right time to be trying to force myself. It’s already me battling to get healthy and the obstacles in front of me. On top of that to add the different elements that are amongst us, it wasn’t the right time for me. I look forward to next season.
August 7, 2020 | 1:39 am EDT Update

Kemba Walker seriously considered the Knicks

Kemba Walker, the four-time All-Star point guard who joined the Boston Celtics in 2019 after eight years with the Charlotte Hornets, said the Knicks were “very serious” contenders for his services: “To be honest, yes. Yes, very serious. Very,” Walker said on The Ringer’s R2C2 podcast with Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia. “… Before Boston actually came along, the Knicks was one of my top priorities, actually, because I was thinking they were gonna get another player, but it didn’t work out.”
Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the supposed hierarchy system has somewhat been ignored, as concerned parties deemed that their pleas will be addressed quickly if they cut off the middleman. Instead of using the so-called “snitch hotline”, players are reaching out directly to Commissioner Adam Silver. “Much has been said about the anonymous tip hotline intended for players and staff to report violations inside the bubble. But what I found out was that players have been circumventing that process. Multiple players are personally calling Commissioner Adam Silver to issue their complaints about things they’re seeing in the bubble,” Haynes revealed during the third quarter of the Clippers-Mavericks game on Thursday.

Mo Bamba had coronavirus in June

In the last several months, Mo Bamba has employed his platform as a professional athlete to encourage children to stay in school, urge adults to vote in the upcoming election and ask people to donate money to provide food for children, the elderly and frontline workers in need. And now, he’s imploring you to do something else. Something he has learned from painful experience. He wants you to take precautions against the coronavirus. On Thursday, Bamba revealed to The Athletic that he suffered from COVID-19 in June.
The illness temporarily robbed him of his senses of smell and taste, made him unusually fatigued and caused muscle soreness. “I think the lesson is to take it seriously, to take it as seriously as possible,” said Bamba, who added he doesn’t know how he contracted the coronavirus. “I think we all play a part in making sure that we all stay safe. It’s going to take everyone.”
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
After pausing, and then listing the five teams behind Milwaukee in the standings — Toronto, Boston, Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia — the NBA’s reigning and presumptive Most Valuable Player made his choice for who has the best chance of stopping the Bucks: Themselves. “I think the biggest challenge for us is ourselves,” Antetokounmpo said. “How are we going to play? How hard are we going to play? Are we going to play for one another? Are we going to defend hard? Are we going to be able to rebound the ball? Are we going to be able to make the extra effort? Are we going to dive on the floor? “It’s all about us. It’s all about us.”
“When it comes to the whole ‘all eyes are on me,’ I feel like a lot of eyes have been on me since high school, so that feeling was nothing new. I don’t consider it being thrown in the fire because I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. But it was definitely a dream come true to finally get thrown out there and enjoy the moment,” recalls Williamson. “If I’m being honest with you, it was very frustrating at first. I’m in the game and I feel like I could maybe change the outcome and you hear the horn go off. You know it ain’t for nobody but you because your time is up. It’s one of those sickening feelings, because I’m one of those players that if I could do anything to help my team win, I want to do it. So it was very frustrating at first from that perspective. But outside of that, it was a blast.”
12 hours ago via SLAM
“I have social media but I don’t let social media dictate my life. I will never let that happen,” he says. “But as far as winning Rookie of the Year and competing in that race, I’m a competitor. If there’s a chance that I could win it, I’m going to go after it. I’m not going to doubt that. Ja [Morant] has had an incredible season and he is the current front-runner, but it’s not over until they announce who it is, so, I’m going to keep battling for it. [A few weeks after our shoot, the NBA announced that performance in Orlando would not be taken into consideration for the player awards.—Ed.] But my top priority is getting into the playoffs first.”
12 hours ago via SLAM
Warren didn’t work on his three-point shot during the pandemic. Like many, he couldn’t find a gym. At the parks he went to, the rims weren’t ten feet high. The work, Warren says, came mentally. He watched a lot of film. He “locked in” on his weaknesses. Pacers coach Nate McMillan has encouraged Warren to be aggressive, and Warren has embraced it. “I’ve always been the underdog,” Warren said. “I’m comfortable with that. I just have to keep getting better day by day.”
On a day that felt a lot like the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament, with 12 teams playing in games that spanned almost 12 hours, Booker felt like the biggest star, the leader of the bubble’s Cinderella team running through upset after upset, beating the Indiana Pacers, previously unbeaten in the restart, 114-99. “I mean it’s fun, it’s everything I could ask for. … It’s the winning part that most excited me,” Booker said on a videoconference while wearing a Kobe Bryant shirt. “I’ve been in the NBA five years now and haven’t had that much success. But I’m working hard every day to turn that narrative, to change that narrative. We have a good bunch in here to do it.”

Brown said the Sixers should know within the next 24 hours what the next steps for Simmons will be. The team said in its statement Thursday that treatment options were being considered. Simmons has already been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. “Yeah, it’s a little frustrating sometimes,” guard Josh Richardson said of losing Simmons. “But that’s the way the game goes. So we’re going to just have to have a next-man-up mentality like we’ve had all year. Guys will pick up the slack, and when we get him back, he’ll fit back in seamlessly.
Communication exchanges between the NBA and Congress over the association’s relationship with the Chinese are growing more tense. In the most recent correspondence, two U.S. senators purport that the NBA deceived Congressional members about its involvement in a youth basketball academy based in a controversial region of China. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are “deeply concerned” about reports of abuse at the league’s youth-development program in Xinjiang and suggests that an NBA executive fabricated the timeline of its dealings with the academy, according to a two-page letter that lawmakers sent Thursday to commissioner Adam Silver. Sports Illustrated obtained a copy of the letter.
In a July 21 letter to Blackburn and first reported by SI, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum wrote that the NBA had ended its relationship with the Xinjiang basketball academy more than a year ago. However, ESPN and the New York Times have both reported that the NBA’s Xinjiang academy was operational as recently as last summer. The ESPN story, citing anonymous sources, characterized the league’s original statement to Blackburn as “completely inaccurate.” “Therefore, it is our understanding that the NBA has not been forthcoming with members of the Senate,” Blackburn and Rubio’s letter says. “If true, this is unacceptable.”