Storyline: Wizards Front Office

163 rumors in this storyline

And because of that, even describing his role can seem vague and nebulous. When it comes to the Wizards in particular, the bottom-line is that general manager Tommy Sheppard makes the basketball decisions while Brown and his staff do whatever they can to help make those decisions better reasoned and informed. “I provide Tommy and [head coach Scott Brooks] and [assistant GM] Brett Greenberg and the rest of that staff as much support as we can through a player development and engagement function. Also, team operation as well and then certainly on the research and strategy side. They really could operate on their own if they absolutely needed to. We’re here to supplement and enhance,” Brown said.

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Much of what Brown will do to lift Monumental Basketball’s teams is still in the works, he says. The Wizards, for instance, have made strides with analytics including with the hiring of assistant coach Dean Oliver. But more can be done both for them and the other franchises. Brown said there are plans to build out a more robust analytics operation for the defending-champion Mystics. “Having data be part of the information that we consider when we are making these really important decisions and complex decisions, is I think a wise practice and something we fully embrace from Ted Leonsis and his partnership group all the way on down,” Brown said.

Leonsis didn’t stop with Silver. Over the next 3 ½ months, Leonsis said he spoke to 78 people in professional sports and beyond, seeking to learn where he had erred and how he should reconstruct the Wizards into a modern sports organization. He picked the brains of the youngest general manager in the history of major league baseball, a former NFL executive of the year who led his franchise to a Super Bowl win and even the 44th president of the United States. He allowed significant offseason events, including the Wizards’ lottery pick in June’s draft and July’s free agency frenzy, to pass without a hire as speculation and misinformation about potential candidates filled the void. But behind the scenes, Leonsis kept asking questions.

Leonsis also reached out to someone he considers a friend: former president Barack Obama. Obama has apparently never been shy about giving Leonsis his opinion of the NBA, according to someone with personal insights into their relationship. The two spoke in late April about the importance of building the right culture for the Wizards. Obama championed the “beauty of the game, teamwork, sacrifice” and surrounding franchise stars with complementary pieces. Obama, who has taken on a role with the NBA-backed Basketball Africa League, also encouraged Leonsis to invest in scouting in Africa.

Leonsis also reached out to Popovich. “I talked to Gregg Popovich for 90 minutes. Not about the job. About, ‘Tell me what you’re seeing in the league, tell me about the candidates that I’m talking to, tell me about how you built excellence in your team without breaching any confidence,’ ” Leonsis said. “It was like getting an MBA.” But at no time, according to Leonsis and Forde, did he try to get an audience with Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri.

The Washington Wizards announced today that they have named Johnny Rogers vice president of pro personnel. “Johnny brings tremendous global experience, vast NBA knowledge and great basketball relationships to our franchise,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “He is universally respected as a player and executive.” Rogers comes to Washington after spending the last three seasons as director of pro personnel for the Los Angeles Clippers. In this new role, he will oversee NBA and NBA G League scouting as well as the team’s international scouting efforts. Prior to joining the Clippers, Rogers served as a scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Sports Director for Valencia Basket in Spain.

Sashi Brown understands how he gets to be labeled “the football guy” in Washington Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis’ unorthodox, revamped front office that features three basketball lifers and a longtime soccer trainer who most recently worked in the NBA. After all, Brown’s highest-profile and most recent job before joining the Wizards was serving as either the visionary or overmatched executive vice president of the Cleveland Browns. While Brown isn’t running from and takes pride in his past, attaching an all-encompassing label isn’t all that fair to someone who used his smarts and a lifelong passion for sports to make a remarkable and rapid rise up an NFL that kept providing impossible-to-resist opportunities. It doesn’t fully capture a 43-year-old Harvard law alum who didn’t grow up in Boston limiting his love to just one game — he wanted to be both Darrell Green and Isiah Thomas.

“He’s done a lot of things in the NFL, sure, but the pursuit of putting a team together and having to make decisions on personnel, those are great things,” Leonsis said of Brown. “I think his area of expertise for us won’t necessarily be in personnel or in the basketball decisions, as much as bigger (picture), being a great resource certainly legally and all the other things that he’s done but helping us with technology, helping us with facility management. Those things are going to be humongous. The Cleveland Browns, their practice facility is fantastic, and it wasn’t always that way. He was in there for a great deal of the change, but his intelligence is absolutely something I look forward to partnering with. He’s a great guy to bounce stuff off of. I think you just get a whole room full of really smart people; you can really start to see this energy created.”

And yet, gaming kind of is his day job now. Sheppard, a 50-year-old hoops lifer, was tapped this week to run an esports franchise. In the recent creation of Monumental Basketball, under which the four basketball-related properties owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment will operate, Sheppard has been tasked as the general manager of the Wizards, their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, and most curiously, Wizards District Gaming of the NBA 2K League. Though Sheppard is in discovery mode about his role with the esports franchise, which recently completed its second season in a video game league that has drawn more than 293 million video views across social media platforms, his attention will be mostly focused outside the virtual world.

“The opportunity with basketball with the Wizards, the Go-Go, District Gaming is fantastic to me because if you think about the explosion of esports, that’s something I’m getting my arms around, I can’t wait to be part of it,” Sheppard said of the NBA 2K League, the first professional esports operation run by one of the four major American sports leagues. “But my focus is the Washington Wizards and the Go-Go right now because that is our core business that needs the most help.”

The Wizards have bucked convention by hiring Sashi Brown as their chief operations and planning officer, as he comes from outside the basketball world. He has served as top executive but in the NFL, not in the NBA. Brown and Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis, though, believe there are plenty of skills that will translate. After all, there are many commonalities in running the front office of professional sports teams. They are constructed similarly with executives, scouts, and medical staffs. And the same principles apply to contract negotiations and pitching free agents.

Brown admits it will take some time for him to acclimate to working in a new league, but is confident his experience as a sports executive, in business and as a lawyer will help the Wizards right away. “There is far more that will transfer than I think people would imagine,” he told NBC Sports Washington. “When you have sat in that seat as a GM, the job is so big. These are now billion-dollar enterprises. We’ve got a lot of things that we want to accomplish and you really just can’t have enough talent. That’s what it feels like a lot of days. From technology to strategy to contract and negotiation and league initiatives, but also just operational support; things that we would like to get done day-to-day to be world-class.”

“I didn’t spend a lot of time with Tommy because of the hierarchy, but I told him: Let me see how you work,” Leonsis told ESPN. “Let me see how you handle the draft. Let me see a strategy document and a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. He came back and said he needed assets and young players, and that we needed to connect the draft to free agency. Our big goal was to get more coachable players that fit a system that the coaches wanted to play, that would get us younger, hungrier players that would be helped by our development coaches. “And Tommy is also a big believer — like us in ownership — that the world is a big place. He’s very fluent in the global view of basketball.”

Eventually, Leonsis didn’t see Sheppard as the extension of an outdated regime that he ousted, but the unleashing of a progressive mind who understood that the modern duties of a GM required the supporting cast that Leonsis has invested to bring to the franchise. “I like [Sheppard’s] dexterity to be able to deal with the existing NBA, but to also really look at it as a global enterprise,” Leonsis said. “My belief is that you can you do things fast. We have the wherewithal and resources and facilities and technology.

Wizards’ top spot: Team executive after executive had the same question when the Washington Wizards’ unresolved top front-office job opening came up. “Why not just give Tommy the job?” Tommy is Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ longtime exec, who has been running basketball operations since owner Ted Leonsis decided not to bring Ernie Grunfeld back. Sheppard ran the draft, free agency and the Wizards’ Summer League team, but he doesn’t have the full-time job.

On Tuesday, Ted Leonsis released a statement to The Washington Post in which he shared the plan to take his time in forming the franchise’s new leadership team. Leonsis also denied reports that the Wizards pursued Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri, who constructed the roster that won the NBA championship last week. Tommy Sheppard, who has led the Wizards’ basketball operations on an interim basis for the past 11 weeks, will continue in the role through Thursday’s NBA draft and the start of free agency, which begins June 30.

The Wizards are preparing a six-year, $60 million offer for Raptors president Masai Ujiri, sources tell The Athletic’s Fred Katz and David Aldridge. Washington has been waiting on Ujiri since mid-May and did not want to make an official run at him until the Raptors’ playoff run ended. Owner Ted Leonsis plans to request permission from Toronto sometime soon. The Raptors won their first title in franchise history when they defeated the Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

Michael Grange: MLSE owner Larry Tanenbaum when asked about @wojespn report that Wizards owner @TedLeonsis is attempting to recruit Masai Ujiri with a $10-million a year offer and an ownership stake:

The Washington Wizards are preparing to offer Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a deal that could approach $10 million annually and deliver him the opportunity for ownership equity, league sources tell ESPN. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is expected to reach out to Toronto ownership soon to request formal permission to meet with Ujiri and offer a staggering financial package that would include running the Wizards basketball operations and, perhaps, taking on a larger leadership role in the Monumental Sports and Entertainment company that oversees the Wizards and NHL’s Capitals, league sources said.

Earlier this spring, Forde was also the search-firm consultant for the Pelicans, who ended up hiring David Griffin in April to run their front office. Two of the other finalists in New Orleans were Langdon and Harris. Both interviewed. The Pels loved Langdon, according to sources at the time, and those sources must’ve known what they were talking about since the Pels eventually hired him as Griffin’s No. 2. Harris also apparently impressed during his interview. Forde was there guiding the Pels through all of it. And so comes a logical follow-up question: Why were Langdon and Harris viable candidates for the actual job in New Orleans but not ones for interviews in Washington? The Wizards haven’t hit up either for interviews, according to sources. Maybe they didn’t like the fit. Maybe Leonsis wasn’t as impressed, for whatever reason.

Josh Kroenke on why the Nuggets allowed Connelly to interview with the Wizards: That’s part of Tim and my relationship. To say you trust someone is one thing, but to actually trust someone is a different thing. Tim and I had private conversations as part of our contract-extension talks several months ago. Just because Tim was signing a contract extension with us didn’t mean his thoughts from his childhood and different thoughts from earlier in his career would simply go away.

While they have yet to formally agree to a new contract, Kroenke told Connelly that he was “willing to do what it takes to keep you,” said a person with details of the communication. If Connelly had left, the Nuggets were planning to turn over the franchise to General Manager Artūras Karnišovas and felt confident doing so, but they are “thrilled” and “breathing a sigh of relief” that it didn’t come to that, according to a person who shared details of Denver’s thinking.

Tim Connelly will not take over as the Washington Wizards’ president of basketball operations, as many league insiders had expected. He will instead remain with the Denver Nuggets, according to a person with knowledge of his thinking. Connelly was in Washington on Friday to meet with majority owner Ted Leonsis. As the president of the Nuggets’ basketball operations, Connelly did not want to formally interview. He did not visit Capital One Arena or the team’s practice facility in Southeast Washington, several people with knowledge of the meeting said. Connelly instead discussed the Wizards’ job at Leonsis’s residence.
1 year ago via t.co

Tim Connelly, the Denver Nuggets’ president of basketball operations, is also in Chicago this week and has been linked to the Wizards opening. He’s even spoken with Mike Forde, the adviser assisting Leonsis with the franchise reset, according to a person close to the situation. Forde is integral to the hiring process, sitting in on interviews alongside the Wizards owner. Connelly has not met with Leonsis, however, and there is no interview scheduled. Connelly’s ties to the organization are intricate. He’s from West Baltimore and got his start with the Wizards under Grunfeld. While people close to Connelly said Washington is the only job that could lure the 41-year-old out of Denver — a fact even known by Nuggets team executive Josh Kroenke — those who know Connelly also indicate he does not wish to interview for the position.
1 year ago via t.co

On Wednesday, Danny Ferry had a second audition for the job with majority team owner Ted Leonsis, according to people familiar with the team’s actions. Ferry, a 52-year-old former NBA player and longtime league executive who grew up in Bowie, Md., remains in the mix as the potential replacement with the most experience after serving as the head of several other organizations. Ferry’s father, Bob, was also the Washington Bullets’ general manager from 1973 to 1990 and guided the franchise to its only NBA championship in 1978.

Arenas was right. Although the fine slip went to Ernie Grunfeld, the former Wizards president of the basketball operations who had the final say on such matters, no financial punishment was taken. This was not an isolated incident. For the past decade, the Wizards have not always held players accountable, a problem the next president of basketball operations might find difficult to uproot. “When I was there, the culture really wasn’t set,” said Brendan Haywood, who played the first 8½ years of his NBA career in Washington, from 2001-10. “There was never a set place [or] plan of: ‘Listen, this is what we do here. This is how we go about things here,’ that you sometimes see in other organizations.”

Over several months, The Washington Post conducted interviews with 23 people closely associated with the Wizards franchise: current and former players, team staffers who have spent years in Washington and high-level executives across the NBA. They were asked for their interpretation of the Wizards’ team culture, and in those interviews, a revealing portrait came into focus, offering possible insight into Washington’s struggles to build a contender. Grunfeld, who spent 16 years as team president before being fired April 2, was described as clever and precise but also a pushover, allowing players to dictate their own rules. In seeking to create freedom for his players, particularly stars, he overlooked slight transgressions with the same patience that had been afforded to him by two tolerant owners.

Ted Leonsis, the founder of Monumental Sports & Entertainment which owns the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, is regarded as a savvy and respected businessman in NBA ownership circles and even described as a “top-tier” owner by one peer. However, Leonsis also is viewed as waiting too long to step in and make significant changes while also spending too much money on trying to form a “big three” with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. when he should have recognized personality conflicts that undermined that plan.

Several people with knowledge of the Wizards’ front office said that if a player broke one of the team rules, a fine or suspension would be recommended to Grunfeld, but they said they believe Grunfeld did not approve many of the punishments issued at Arenas while most of the fines directed at other players went through. Even lesser lights received star treatment. Haywood recalled a time when Andray Blatche, who played in Washington from 2005-2012, refused to lift weights. Grunfeld’s solution: deputize the strength coach to force Blatche into the weight room. Haywood, who witnessed this interaction, said such enforcement should be Grunfeld’s job. “I said: ‘That’s where you come in,’” Haywood said. Grunfeld “didn’t like the fact that I said that and kind of thought I was abrasive at the time and didn’t like it.” “[A player] basically gets to do whatever he wants to without any repercussions,” Haywood said of the Wizards. “That’s the culture.”

Windhorst went on to say that the new Wizards’ GM will work in an ideal environment under majority owner, Ted Leonsis. “I think one of the things I could say about Ted Leonsis that would be the highest praise for him, he’s a curious owner. What I mean by that is that he’s willing to invest in new opportunities, invest in new strategies and technologies, but he’s not an overbearing owner. He’s shown great willingness to give his front office space to work,” Windhorst said. “That’s the ideal owner in today’s NBA: Someone who will invest but someone who will not stare over your shoulder, and that’s one of the reasons why it’s an attractive job.”

Consider Ujiri a significant long shot despite his attraction to the market, which comes in part to viewing Washington as a larger platform for the “Basketball Without Borders” program. Ujiri serves as director of the program that sponsors various basketball camps and coaching clinics in his native Africa. His wife also grew up in the D.C. area. Ujiri, 48, joined Toronto in 2013 and signed an extension in 2016. The Raptors are unlikely to let Ujiri interview for any current opening, including the Lakers’, according to a league source. The Los Angeles position opened when Magic Johnson abruptly resigned during the final week of the regular season, but the Lakers are not expected to fill the vacancy.

Sources tell NBC Sports Washington that personal considerations make the idea of returning to the area attractive for Connelly. One source described Connelly’s interest with the Wizards’ opening as his “dream job,” but also cautioned a possible change of heart considering the Nuggets’ contender status and positioning in the Western Conference going forward. Ferry, the former DeMatha star and 13-year NBA veteran previously served as general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks. Ferry’s father, Bob, served as general manager for the Washington Bullets’ 1978 NBA championship team.

Beal would be eligible for a “super-max” extension — a projected four-year, $194 million deal that would add onto the two years he has remaining on his current contract — if he makes an All-NBA team following this season. Whether he would accept it or not is the question of the moment, given the 32-49 Wizards’ uncertain management and current standing. And thus, the question for Beal, who has already made $90 million in his career and will earn plenty more whether he makes All-NBA or not, isn’t about the dollars. It’s about the future. “It’s, what are we gonna do here moving forward?” he said. “It starts with getting a new GM and building up our team this summer. I’ll definitely give it a lot of thought. It’s not an easy decision. It’s not a simple one, either. So, (it’s a) game of chess this summer.”

Ferry, who is currently the Pelicans’ interim GM, wants the Wizards job, according to multiple sources with knowledge of his thought process. And why wouldn’t he? He’s from Washington and is a DeMatha alum. His father, Bob, was a two-time Executive of the Year who built the Bullets’ 1978 championship team. Ferry ran the Cavaliers for half a decade and — aside from Griffin — might have the strongest on-paper résumé of anyone else on this list. He can take credit for that ‘starless,’ 2015 Hawks team that won 60 games and downed the Wizards in the second round of the playoffs. But he hasn’t been able to find a full-time GM gig after his stint with the Hawks ended because of racially insensitive comments he made about Luol Deng on a conference call.
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May 24, 2020 | 7:24 pm EDT Update
We were able to get our hands on a few minutes of Rivers’ presentation to the Colts team, which you can watch in its entirety above. But here’s what he had to say in full about what he’s learned over the years about championship teams: » “I don’t think people understand that … I think people think champions don’t get hit. Like, you know, I always use boxing, because boxing, for whatever reason, my dad was a big boxing fan, and so I grew up watching boxing matches, and the biggest misnomer is that champions only hit. It’s just not true. Champions get hit all the time. And then it comes to a point — how many times are you willing to get hit and keep moving forward and still punch, so you can win? That’s what it’s gonna come down to: you are going to get hit. You just are. Alright? But you have to be willing to take the punches, you have to be willing to keep moving forward and keep going.”
May 24, 2020 | 5:32 pm EDT Update
After the Warriors moved on from Mark Jackson as head coach in 2014, the search narrowed on two final candidates: former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and then-TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr. Former Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk was part of the team that interviewed both contenders and says the front office at one point wasn’t sure they’d even get a chance to sit down with Kerr during the process.
“Steve was being courted very hard by Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks,” Schlenk said on 95.7 The Game last week. “And at one point during the process, it felt like that’s where he was going to go. And so we didn’t think that we were going to even have an opportunity to really sit down and talk with Steve. And I believe it was while we were meeting with Stan down in Orlando, that Steve called Bob and said he kinda had a change of heart and he wanted to meet with us.”
While most of the responses have been incredibly positive, Michael’s 27-year-old daughter, Jasmine Jordan, exclusively tells ET that her dad “hasn’t paid any attention” to what people are saying about it on social media, including “all the new memes/gifs being created.” In addition to Jasmine, Michael shares two sons, Jeffrey, 31, and Marcus, 29, with ex-wife Juanita Vanoy, and 6-year-old twins Victoria and Isabel with Yvette Prieto, whom he married in 2013.
Storyline: Michael Jordan Documentary
“We are all very happy to see how successful the doc has been and to see athletes, fans, new fans etcetera,” Jasmine says. “Obviously with the coronavirus, we all watched separately versus watching together, but we had a running group text thread.” “We would talk about what was happening, laugh at seeing our younger selves in some of the episodes and ask my dad any questions we might’ve had,” she adds.
One person that was noticeably absent from the 10-part docuseries was Jasmine’s mother, Juanita. Jasmine tells ET that her mom was not in it “simply because she already lived it, of course.” “The doc’s focus was on the team as a whole and their last season,” she said, referencing her dad’s sixth NBA championship with the Bulls in 1998. “My dad is a major focal point, obviously, but it still was about the team as a whole in their final run together, so that’s why she wasn’t in it.”
May 24, 2020 | 4:28 pm EDT Update
Storyline: Season Resuming?
May 24, 2020 | 1:01 pm EDT Update
Caboclo admits he used Fraschila’s quote as motivation for a period, but ESPN’s international basketball guru wasn’t exactly wrong. Caboclo spent most of the next four years developing with Toronto’s D League affiliate, helping that squad win a D League title in ’17 but playing just 25 games for an ascending Raptors team over the course of his rookie contract. “When I got on the Raptors, Coach [Dwane] Casey was playing 7 or 8 players a game. They weren’t looking to me very much,” Caboclo told Sports Illustrated over a recent Zoom call. “They said I was going to play every season, but I really didn’t play most of the time. I could see how it was going.”
After Memphis signed him away from Rio Grande in January, Caboclo played in 34 games (19 starts) and averaged 8.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 36.9% from three-point range in 23.5 minutes per contest—all career-high marks. “They welcomed me from the first day. Marc Gasol was there, he treated me very well before he was traded,” Caboclo said. “The coaches were amazing and always supported players with everything we needed. Memphis was a great place for me.”
“With my journey, not everyone can understand how it’s been,” Caboclo said. “The first time I played in the NBA, I felt good. I felt like I belonged there. But you need to gain respect. They don’t pass to you very much at first. But after you start making some buckets, they start to give it to you more. … In my first Summer League, I was playing maybe 30 minutes and got the ball in my hand four times. The thing I learned was to be patient and not change how I play even if I’m not getting the ball—to always play hard.”
“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said. “I believe sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”
May 24, 2020 | 12:47 pm EDT Update
In his “All the Smoke” podcast last week, Barnes revealed (around the 1:09:00 mark) the ring is still sitting in the office of Golden State vice president of communications Raymond Ridder. “I came in when (Kevin Durant) went down, playing a consistent 20-25 minutes. The game KD comes back, I get hurt maybe a week before the playoffs and I’m out of it,” Barnes said. “I got a free ride, I got a free ring.”
Barnes averaged 5.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 20.5 minutes per game in the 20 regular-season games he played with the Warriors that year. But it was a different story in the playoffs. “I didn’t sweat … I didn’t get to guard LeBron (James),” he said. With Durant fully recovered, Barnes played just 61 minutes in 12 playoff games. And for that reason, he concluded: “I don’t count that as a championship.”
When Chucky Atkins retired after 11 seasons in the NBA, he found himself directionless. He was accustomed to the regimented schedule that comes with being a professional athlete, jostling nonstop between games, practices, workouts, flights and other engagements. With more time on his hands than he knew what to do with, he found himself playing golf and drinking every day in retirement. Eventually, his drinking became problematic. “I decided the best thing for me to do at that particular time was to step away from it and get myself together, because at the end of the day I did realize I was a role model, and that I was doing the wrong thing,” Atkins said.
After paying his legal fees, finishing his DUI classes and completing his community service, Atkins landed a new head coaching job in the AAU ranks. Now, he’s hoping to climb the coaching ladder once again. Atkins, who played for the Pistons from 2000-04 and in 2009-10, is one of 14 members in the NBA’s Assistant Coaches Program. Since 1988, the program has assisted former players in developing the tools to enter the NBA, G League and college coaching ranks. His goal is to “go to the top,” and become a head coach.
Atkins played for several coaches who have reputations as being among the best in the NBA — Doc Rivers, Mike Fratello and former Pistons coaches Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown. His goal is to take a little bit from each and mix it with his own style. “Ultimately, a coach is only as good as the guys on his team,” Atkins said. “It would be my job to guide and direct them. But ultimately, each guy would have to be a personal contractor to get themselves as good as they can possibly be, but also put it in a team concept. … I would take a little bit from all of those guys’ style and come up with my own formula that would be successful.”
May 24, 2020 | 11:27 am EDT Update
Hall of Fame CEO John Doleva emphasized they are not just going to roll this class into the 2021 class (which has yet to be elected). “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
After eliminating the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 NBA playoffs, the “We Believe” Warriors etched their names into Golden State lore. The underdog band of Warriors could be getting treatment similar to The Last Dance. Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes recently joined The Bill Simmons Podcast to talk about the 2006-07 Warriors. While the rest of the details are still unclear, Barnes mentioned a documentary about the We Believe group could be on the way.
May 24, 2020 | 8:05 am EDT Update

Israel an option for Ante Zizic?

Ante Zizic will be emerging as a candidate for Maccabi Tel Aviv if the player decides to leave the NBA and return to Europe, according to Israeli website One. The Croatian center will hit the upcoming offseason as an unrestricted free agent since the Cleveland Cavaliers have declined the 2020-2021 option in his contract. Another reason why Maccabi is reported to be quite interested in Zizic is the recent departure of center Tarik Black. From the frontline players of the Israeli powerhouse, only center Othello Hunter is bound with a contract for the next season.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 4 more rumors
During a recent appearance on ESPN, Johnson had some high praise for James, as he said that the Lakers forward was probably the best “all-around” player of all time. However, Johnson said that when it comes to the greatest player ever, he’s still going with Jordan. “First of all, let’s not take anything away from LeBron James,” Johnson said. “Because LeBron James is a great basketball player, one of the all-time greatest that’s ever played the game. LeBron James to me, when you think about all-around basketball players, he’s probably the best of all time. An all-around basketball player. But when you want to say ‘who’s the greatest ever’ it’s still Michael Jordan.”
While Johnson currently has Jordan ranked ahead of James on his own all-time list, he did leave the door open for James to potentially pass Jordan down the road, as James is still in the midst of his playing days. “LeBron James’ chapter is not closed yet,” Johnson added. “He still has some basketball to play, so maybe he has a chance to catch [Jordan] later on if he can get some more championships under his belt. But at the end of the day, they’re both great and they play they game the right way. They made their teammates better, they won championships, and thank god for LeBron because right now that’s what we’re watching. It’s his time. It’s his era, and he’s dominating his era.”
Storyline: GOAT Debate
On Wireside Chat with Houston Rockets broadcaster Craig Ackerman, seven-time champion Robert Horry said The Last Dance documentary reminded him how much Bryant mimicked His Airness: “It’s so weird, getting a chance to really watch Michael Jordan in The Last Dance and hear the words that he used, it’s almost like Kobe just took everything he said and did — his mannerisms, his language, his lingo — and just copied it. “It’s like watching a ghost now. I hate to use those terms, but to watch Michael Jordan, it’s like ‘Man, how did Kobe learn everything this dude did to a T?’ And then he made it a little better in some areas.”
Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last January was a devastating blow for one of his main business partners, BodyArmor founder Mike Repole, who cites the NBA legend’s early investment and creative vision as critical factors in the sports drink brand’s current success. At the time of his death, Bryant was BodyArmor’s fourth-largest shareholder. Only Repole, Coca-Cola and Keurig Dr. Pepper owned larger equity shares. Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and his children inherited control over his stake, the BodyArmor founder told FOX Business.
Bryant’s early belief in the BodyArmor brand paid off in 2018, when Repole sold a significant equity stake to Coca-Cola in a deal that valued his company at $2 billion. When the transaction closed, Bryant’s stake was worth $200 million – a massive increase compared to his initial investment. “For me, this has always been a journey, the last seven or eight years, with Kobe, and now I feel like this is a journey for Kobe,” Repole added.