LeBron James, Pat Riley put legacies on the line in NBA Finals – Sportsnet.ca

Decades of NBA lore are built on rivalries — epic, titanic, ego-driven clashes that lend context, subtext and the weight of history to what are otherwise just games.

People pay for that stuff, and the league and its players have cashed in, with money spilling in so quickly that it can barely be counted, let alone spent.

It’s good versus evil; pride and prejudice, and pride going before the fall. It’s Celtics-Lakers; Bird-Magic; Michael vs. the Pistons, Shaq vs. Kobe, KD vs. the Warriors and LeBron over everyone.

Some of it is straight out of the Vince McMahon playbook: storylines that keep the plot twisting through never-ending winters until games that matter finally arrive, at which point the hype machine kicks it up another notch.

If there is a podcasting odd couple, this might be it. Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis don’t agree on much, but you’ll agree this is the best Toronto Raptors podcast going.

But some of it is real. Some of it is based on men of giant accomplishments and massive, never-satiated ambitions coming together and pulling apart like tectonic plates on ephedrine, the league’s foundations quaking along the way.

So yeah, the Miami Heat facing the Los Angeles Lakers has some juice to it.

This time it’s not an on-court rivalry that lends the final series of the NBA’s most unusual season its weight — though on paper the young, upstart Heat testing themselves against LeBron James and his insta-dynasty Lakers has all the ingredients to make it suitably delicious.

But what could make it memorable and a new plot point in the league’s decades-long drama is the way it pits two of sport’s most significant, preening, powerful, proud and successful figures against one another.

Heat president Pat Riley is 75 and his Goodfellas-inspired, slicked-back hair has long gone gray. But even in the bubble and wearing a mask, behind a glass partition, he has a presence. When current Heat star Jimmy Butler is looking for approval, he looks up into the stands, devoid of fans, for a post-game thumbs up from Riley. The Heat figurehead is the former Lakers role player turned coach turned executive turned living legend, the one who rode shotgun for Jerry West on the floor; earned Magic Johnson’s trust from the bench before pushing him too far and losing that war of wills after five championships.

Cast out from L.A., Riley perfected bully ball with the New York Knicks in the 90s, very nearly toppling Jordan in the process, before bolting for Miami, where he has somehow fused L.A. cool with New York edge, South Florida weather and no state income tax to create an NBA destination out of almost nothing.

It was Riley’s presence that attracted James after the kid from Akron was all grown up and looking to leave home. Riley plunked down a bag with the nine championships he’d won as a player, coach and executive and promised James he’d win a bunch more if they joined forces in Miami. James, without a title to show for seven years as a good soldier in Cleveland, followed the sun.

It was a perfect union – the world’s gr

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Giannis wins second straight MVP – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic year earned him a historic awards sweep.

The Milwaukee forward is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, receiving that award Friday. He got the Defensive Player of the Year award earlier in these NBA playoffs.

The 25-year-old Antetokounmpo becomes just the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

“Michael Jordan, one of the best players who’s ever done it, if not the best,” Antetokounmpo said. “Hakeem, a guy that I look up to, he came from where I’m from, Nigeria, where I have roots. … Just being in the same sentence with them, that means a lot to me.”

Antetokounmpo — who was in his native Athens, Greece, with his family when the award was announced — received 85 votes from the 100-person panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, plus the one additional vote granted by winning fan balloting.

“It feels good to get this award announced when I’m back home,” Antetokounmpo said, after telling NBA Commissioner Adam Silver — who was in possession of the trophy Friday — to hang on to the hardware until he returns to the U.S.

“I’m going to ship it to Greece,” Silver said during the televised announcement show on NBA TV.

“No, don’t do that,” Antetokounmpo replied. “I’ll come get it when the season starts.”

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers got the other 15

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Beats Solo Pro Review: More Than a Fashion Statement

Beats Solo Pro Review: More Than a Fashion Statement

The only thing I dislike about the Beats Solo Pro—the company’s new noise-canceling on-ear headphones—is how they require a lightning cable to charge.

That’s a big deal, not because this Android user keeps forgetting the proprietary cable, but because it’s a critique that would have been buried in most other Beats reviews I’ve ever written.

Early Beats headphones were plasticky, overpriced, and had so much bass they could rattle themselves off a table. But people bought them—as fashion statements. However, ever since Apple bought the company—earning Beats’ founders $3 billion in the process—the products have improved considerably. Five years later, the Beats Solo Pro are some of my favorite headphones of 2019.

It makes me happy the new Beats are so much better than its predecessors. Even though I didn’t always like the products, it was hard to not root for the company’s success from the get-go. When Beats launched, the audio world was dominated by old white men. Watching Dr. Dre, Lebron James, and other prominent early Beats backers disrupt the industry (and its previously drab branding) was exciting, even if the products weren’t. Finally, the excellent branding now matches the goods.

Clean Lines

Photograph: Beats

It may seem odd given Beats’ past design strategy, but I like the Solo Pro because of its inconspicuous nature. Sure, you can still order them in Pharrell-endorsed schemes like orangey-red and bright blue, but in the sleek all-black colorway of my review unit, they’re some of the most elegant looking headphones I’ve tested in months.

Apple’s minimalist design aesthetic has leaked over in all the right ways. The sleek, round earcups feature only a single visible button (to turn the noise canceling on and off). Instead of using small, hard to distinguish controls like other headphones, the outside of the right cup covers up a three-way rocker that does everything else. Press the middle of the earcup to play and pause music or change songs, whereas the top or bottom will adjust the volume. Quick double presses will even change tracks. If only all headphones were this simple.

There’s no power switch, too. The headphones have sensors that turn them on and off when you unfold and fold them, so they’re

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