This happens so often that you’d think celebrities would talk to one another and warn each other off of this kind of thing but here we are again.
LeBron James apparently posted a photographer’s picture of himself to social media and he’s now getting sued because, of course, he didn’t own the rights to the photo.
The lawsuit totals some $USD 150,000 and was filed by photographer Steve Miller. Interestingly enough, the photograph in question is still up on LeBron’s social media and you can only imagine what kinds of comments it is generating.
Some of the choicer statements revolve around questions of whether or not the photographer h
Marbury has arrangements with a company in China that’s willing to supply New York with the masks for $2.75 each, Calder notes, roughly five dollars below what many retailers have been quoting around the state.
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury said. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.
“I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time.”
Fatherhood just hits differently in quarantine apparently, because Drake is opening up about his son Adonis like never before.
The Toronto-born rapper shared his first photo of his 2-year-old on Monday in a touching post on Instagram about his family.
The photos show Drake holding the adorable curly-haired, blonde and blue-eyed toddler he shares with French artist and former adult film star Sophie Brussaux. She gave birth to the baby boy back in 2017.
In one snap, the trio pose together like one happy family, even though the rapper has in the past candidly referred to their hardships. He also shared a photo of his own parents, Dennis Graham and Sandi Graham, to spread the intergenerational love.
“Remember that you are never alone, and if you need to be reminded of that ask for support and it will show up,” Drake wrote alongside the photos. “I love and miss my beautiful family and friends and I can’t wait for the joyful day when we are all able to reunite. Until then please keep your lights on.”
The rapper, who spent the weekend trying to flirt with Rihanna over Instagram Live, seemed to suggest he isn’t with his son in isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak, which likely prompted the heartfelt post.
Drake, in his lengthy caption, encouraged his fans to “connect to your own inner light” and surround themselves with “people and things that bring you a lot of joy.”
He added: “It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past or what is happening around us now, you can always make the choice to break free of the wheel
When NBA 2K16 depicted the tattoos of LeBron James, Kenyon Martin, and Eric Bledsoe on its in-game models, it led to a lawsuit from the original tattoo artists. Tattoo company Solid Oak Sketches filed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts, claiming the companies didn’t license the tattoo designs owned by Solid Oak.
A federal judge has now ruled in favor of the developers, saying that the tattoos make such a minor appearance in the game that copyright can’t be claimed, and that an implied license was granted via the players, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
After a judge refused to dismiss the case initially, James himself testified. “My understanding is that [my] tattoos are a part of my body and my likeness, and I have the right to have my tattoos visible when people or companies depict what I look like. I always thought that I had the right to license what I look like to other people for various merchandise, television appearances, and other types of creative works, like video games,” James said, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain has agreed with this statement, writing “the undisputed factual record clearly supports the reasonable inference that the tattooists necessarily granted the Players nonexclusive licenses to use the tattoos as part of their likenesses, and did so prior to any grant of rights in the tattoos to Plaintiff.”
Also taken into account is the degree to which the tattoo designs appear in the game. “The tattoos only appear on the players upon whom they are inked, which is just three out of over 400 available players,” Judge Swain wrote. “The undisputed factual record shows that average game play is unlikely to include the players with the Tattoos and that, even when such players are included, the display of the tattoos is small and indistinct, appearing as rapidly moving visual features of rapidly moving figures in groups of player figures. Furthermore, the tattoos are not featured on any of the game’s marketing materials.”
Ultimately the ruling has declared this use of the tattoo designs to constitute fair use as a transformative work. “Here, the undisputed evidence demonstrates that Defendants’ use of the tattoos is transformative,” Swain wrote. “First, while NBA 2K features exact copies of the tattoo designs, its purpose in displaying the tattoos is entirely different from the purpose for which the tattoos were originally created. The tattoos were originally created as a means for the Players to express themselves through body art. Defendants reproduced the tattoos in the video game in order to most accurately depict the Players, and the particulars of the tattoos are not observable.”
This ruling will have an impact on other cases of the same kind–such as a lawsuit also involving Take-Two Interactive and Visual Concepts regarding the depiction of tattoos in WWE 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18. While a judge refused to dismiss this case on March 18, the NBA 2K16 ruling now provides a strong precedent for the defendants.
LeBron James is undeniably one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, and one of the reasons why is his genius basketball IQ. But what, exactly, does that mean? And how is the King able to consistently translate intellectual understanding into flawless practical action over and over again?
Thanks to the NBA’s recent hiatus, LeBron’s had some time to think and talk, and recently he and numerous current and former colleagues spoke to Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated about how James perceives basketball.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said “there’s nobody in the NBA with his brain,” while Los Angeles Lakers teammate Quinn Cook stated that “[James] knows everybody…he could be last guy on the bench on the team, but he knows he’s left-handed, he’s a shooter, don’t go under him, he’s a driver, stuff like that.”
As for LeBron himself? Interestingly enough, he doesn’t have a ton of insight into why he’s so
Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony revealed in an Instagram Live video chat with Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union that Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James once saved him from drowning in the Bahamas.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
“Bron jumps off the boat like he’s MacGyver.”
@carmeloanthony and @DwyaneWade with an unreal Banana Boat story from the Bahamas 😭 *NSFW* https://t.co/FGXQ1VveZ3
Union asked Anthony to relay the story for viewers at home, and husband Wade encouraged it as well.
Anthony obliged, noting that the group jumped off the boat and swam to a grotto. Melo held back a bit to watch barracudas in action, but a current
Los Angeles Lakers superstar big man Anthony Davis is making a significant donation to benefit L.A.-area hospital workers who are aiding in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Davis is teaming up with Lineage Logistics and has pledged to match up to $250,000 in donations in order to provide hospital workers with meals from local restaurants.
McMenamin added that Lineage Logistics is looking to fill 260 jobs with Staples Center workers who are currently out of work because of the NBA and NHL season suspensions.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the 2019-20 season being put on hold, and it isn’t yet known when or if it will resume. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that NBA owners and executives are bracing for the po
In a previous article I discussed how supermodel, Bella Hadid, was being sued for posting pictures of herself on Instagram. I also talked about how this is seemingly becoming quite a frequent occurrence. I believe this is mostly due to the fact that most people don’t seem to understand how copyright laws work.
NBA superstar LeBron James is facing a $150,000 lawsuit for posting a picture of himself on his social media sites. Photographer Steve Miller fill
About The Herd with Colin Cowherd: The Herd with Colin Cowherd is a three-hour sports television and radio show on FS1 and iHeartRadio. Every day, Colin will give you his authentic, unfiltered opinion on the day’s biggest sports topics.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke about some of the issues facing the NBA if it tries to resume the 2019-20 season later this year.
Appearing on the Road Trippin’ podcast (h/t ESPN’s Dave McMenamin), James expressed practical concerns for players going up against someone who was diagnosed with the coronavirus: “So what happens when a guy who is tested positive for corona and you’re out there on the floor with him and it’s a loose ball?”
James also addressed the idea of potentially having to play games without fans in the stands:
“What is the word ‘sport’ without ‘fan’? There’s no excitement. There’s no crying. There’s no joy. There’s no back-and-forth. There’s no rhyme or reason that you want to go on the road and just dethrone the home team because of their fans and vice versa.
“Like, that’s what also brings out the competitive side of the players to know that you’re going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you’re playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans’ ass too.
In the spirit of social media-focused holidays throughout the course of the year, Nike’s “Air Max Day” on Thursday saw a host of its highest-profile endorsers and sneakerheads sharing their pairs across Instagram and Twitter, honoring the original March 26, 1987, release date of the company’s first Air Max sneaker.
Originally designed in the mid-1980s by Nike campus architect Tinker Hatfield, the premise of exposing the company’s decade-old Air cushioning technology became a turning point for the Swoosh.
Hatfield was inspired during a trip to Paris, where he encountered the controversial Centre Georges Pompidou, a massive museum highlighted by its inside-out design, fully exposing its structure in varying colors.
“To see this large, almost machinelike building, sort of spilling its guts out into the world, you could just see everything,” Hatfield said.
Once back in Beaverton, Oregon, Hatfield sketched up the Air Max 1 sneaker, boasting a visible heel window to highlight the brand’s Nike Air system for the very first time.
Slated for release in 1987, the running shoe would go on to help turn the tide for Nike, which had posted less than $10 million in profits amid a slowing stretch just before Hatfield penned the Air Max 1.
“The Air Max, Air Revolution, Air Safari and Air Sock were done under that same time, and oh by the way, the third Air Jordan, too,” he said years ago, with a laugh.
By 1989, company profits topped $167 million, with the turn of the decade and launch of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign taking the brand to another stratosphere during the 1990s. The Air Max franchise became an annual launch of new editions ever since, with the series now dwarfing that 1989 company profit figure all on its own.
“That entire Air pack of shoes, including the Air Max, was probably pretty pivotal in changing around Nike’s direction,” Hatfield said.
To celebrate the iconic series Thursday, Nike athletes took to Instagram to show off their favorite pairs.
With an “Atmos” edition of the Air Max 1 on his feet, LeBron James hosted an Instagram Live session for his 62 million followers on his @KingJames account, guiding fans through a handful of Air Max 1, 90, 95 and 97s in his sneaker closet. At one point, the tour included the 6-foot-9 small forward stepping onto a ladder to reach up for even more pairs.
The short-form service, which launches on April 6, recently unveiled around 50 shows for its launch including Liam Hemsworth’s Most Dangerous Game and Sophie Turner’s Survive.
I Promise and Memory Hole will also launch April 6. I Promise, which is produced by SpringHill Entertainment, in association with RYOT Films and Blowback Productions, follows James’ I Promise School, a partnership between the James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools.
Memory Hole, featuring the Arrested Development star, is an archive show that looks at the most cringe-worthy events in pop culture. It was created by Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj writer Scott Vrooman and is produced by Shout! Studios, Vrooman’s Do Things! Inc and Arnett?
The latest coronavirus information shows that, as of March 11, the virus has infected over 121,000 people and killed more than 4,300 worldwide. Many cities and organizations are canceling events that call for a lot of people to gather in person. Here’s how the major sports leagues and organizations are handling the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The NCAA released a statement outlining that the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, aka March Madness, will take place without fans. Only “essential staff and limited family” will be permitted at games, according to NCAA president Mark Emmert.
So far, the Ivy League canceled its conference basketball tournaments over coronavirus fears. The Mid-American Conference and the Big West Conference have banned fans from attending their men’s and women’s basketball end-of-season tournaments.
Many colleges across the U.S. have moved classes online, and in some cases, canceled classes altogether.
“If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing.”
Those were the words of Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James on March 6 when asked if he would play in an empty stadium if the NBA banned fans from attending games over fear of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. James has since re-addressed the issue, saying he would “listen to the people that’s keeping track of what’s going on.”
The NBA has had multiple league-wide conference calls where teams were told to prepare for the possibility of playing games this season in empty arenas, or neutral site locations where there is less of a coronavirus threat, according to ESPN DIS, -6.28%
The NBA also sent out a memo stating that the league will curb locker room access to all non-essential personnel, including media. It’s unclear how long such policies will be in place.
Also in the memo, the league informed players to limit signing autographs, and give fist bum
After Gigi and Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Ariana Grande – NBA superstar LeBron James is also being sued for posting a photo of himself to Instagram. One would think that it was an expected move from the photographer, right? Well, comments from LeBron’s fans, are angry with the photographer, show that this isn’t really the case.
As The Blast writes, the photographer who filed the lawsuit is Steven Mitchell. He is a photojournalist who licenses his images, and his lawsuit claims “unauthorized use” of his image of LeBron dunking in a game against the Miami Heat. So, Mitchell reportedly suing LeBron James and his companies Uninterrupted Digital Ventures and LRMR Ventures, LLC. for $150,000. The photo was posted to LeBron’s Instagram and Facebook back in December 2019, and surprisingly enough – it’s still there.
Since the photo is still on Instagram, you can see how LeBron’s fans have reacted to the news that he was sued over it. As I mentioned, it seems expected to get sued if you use a copyrighted photo with
Standing at approximately 17 cm tall, the figure sees James dressed in the classic gold and purple Los Angeles Lakers jersey, matched with a monochromatic pair of LeBron 17s on his feet. The set also includes two intercha
Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, who is 21 years old, was asked on Twitter to rank his top five NBA players of all time, and LeBron James came in at No. 1:
Trae Young @TheTraeYoung
MY TOP 5…
5. Steve Nash
Don’t @ me https://t.co/abT5FeumYC
For reference, James’ NBA debut on Oct. 29, 2003, came when Young was just five years old.
Young’s admiration for James is evident in his game. The 2018 fifth overall pick mimicked a King James celebration after sinking a game-winner last year:
House of Highlights @HoHighlights
TRAE YOUNG FOR THE WIN AND DOES THE LEBRON CELEBRATION. 🔥😤🔥 https://t.co/JsDexS5Hdp
However, Young placing James at No. 1 shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a slight toward the other four players on the list.
After Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people on Jan. 26, Young was one of countless people in and around the league to show his deep respect for the five-time NBA champion:
Trae Young @TheTraeYoung
…This S*** can’t be real… this the first moment I was able to meet Gianna Maria, she’s been to only 3 games this year… 2 of them were mine… She told me I was her favorite pl
I don’t have a ballot for the NBA’s year-end awards. If I did, though—and if we had to vote based on the roughly 80 percent of the season that we actually got to see—here’s how I’d have filled it out. We’ll run through all of the awards, one post at a time this week, because we all must do our part right now, and the least I can do is give all of you the opportunity to roast me for my choices.
So, without further ado, let’s hand out some hypothetical hardware. (For reference, here’s my first-,second-, and third-quarter awards this season.) First up: the big one.
Most Valuable Player
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks 2. LeBron James, Lakers 3. James Harden, Rockets 4. Anthony Davis, Lakers 5. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers
What LeBron did this season has no precedent in the annals of NBA history. No one in Year 17 or beyond has ever posted a higher value over replacement player—even though James played only 60 games—or more win shares per 48 minutes. No player age 35 or older has ever turned in a better box plus-minus. Only five players ever have averaged at least 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game past 35; James topped them all in scoring (25.7 points per game) and assists (10.6), leading the league in dimes for the first time in his career while propelling the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference.
James has been the best player on the best team in his conference, and renewed his commitment to defense to help spark the Lakers’ transformation into one of the league’s toughest units. And as he showed on more than one occasion—most notably during a four-game stretch just before the shutdown in which he powered signature wins over Zion Williamson’s Pelicans, Antetokounmpo’s Bucks, and Leonard’s Clippers—his best can still be better than anyone else’s. (I’m not sure I’d have picked anybody over a healthy LeBron-AD combo in a seven-game series.) He absolutely deserves to be in the MVP conversation; it’s just that, as I wrote a couple of weeks back, that conversation is going to be pretty short.
Only 11 players have won back-to-back MVP awards, and all of them are or will be Hall of Famers; it is a mark of all-time excellence. Giannis earned his place on that list this season. LeBron’s performance was historically good for a player his age and at this stage in his career; Giannis was historically great, period. It’s absolutely crushing to consider that he won’t get the chance to put a cherry on top with his first championship. Alas.
It’s funny: I spent way more time thinking about the back half of this vote than the top of it. I considered a bunch of players for the final three spots on the ballot—about 25 or so; I have a stat-diving sickness and addiction to due diligence—and there were, as ever, a ton of worthy candidates.
Chris Paul served as the cool-as-a-cucumber pulse of a Thunder team that wa
Even with the NBA on hiatus, Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard is finding ways to rack up wins.
The latest came via one of the more unconventional team-ups as Slam set up a six-on-six Call of Duty tournament that streamed live on Twitch.
Late addition: Bronny James.
6v6 Call of Duty STREAMING LIVE at 7PM EST: https://t.co/0ADlUVO6lA https://t.co/lPxIKMrxQl
Leonard led a team featuring Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Mario Hezonja, pro gamer Fatality and Bronny James—son of LeBron James. They went head-to-head with Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale, Josh Hart, Kentucky basketball recruit Terrence Clarke, and gamers Zeno and Tahj.
In a five-match series, this one went the distance, with Leonard and Simmons providing the best matchup between the basketball stars. Ultimately, Leonard’s team notched the series-clinching victory. The tournament used multiple formats, switching from Search and Destroy to Domination, Headquarters, Capture the Flag and a custom round.
The Heat center led his team in kills in each match, finishing with a 9-5 kill-death ratio. Leonard has been a member of FaZe Clan since 2019 and has honed his skills as a streaming gamer as muc
The Los Angeles Lakers are the most glamorous franchise in the NBA. As such, L.A. has become a prime destination for free agents over the years. Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James are just some of the biggest names to come to the Lakers via free agency, and it is indeed understandable why players are so attracted to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
Nonetheless, the Lakers have also had their fair share of great players coming via the draft. After all, even if you’re the Los Angeles Lakers, you still can’t build your entire team via trades (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was acquired in a trade) and free agency.
Before we get started, though, we will need to make it clear that Kobe Bryant won’t be part of this brief list due to a technicality. Although L.A. acquired him during the 1996 NBA Draft, it was actually the Charlotte Hornets that officially drafted him before trading him to the Lakers.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed with the Lakers’ best draft picks in franchise history.
The fact that the NBA’s logo was literally crafted out of his own image speaks volumes of the greatness of Jerry West. The 6-
Before the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic, LeBron James posted his best weekend of the 2019-20 season. He put up 37 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and followed that with a 28-point, 8-rebound, 9-assist game in a win over the LA Clippers and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. It was enough to raise the question: Could James, a four-time MVP winner himself, overcome Antetokounmpo in this season’s MVP race?
The answer, as of now, appears to be no.
In a survey of 70 media members who cover the league, Antetokounmpo was the clear leader in MVP balloting, earning 60 of the 70 possible first-place votes to open a commanding lead over James, who had an equally commanding lead over the rest of the field.
To make the balloting process realistic, ESPN sought to mimic the league’s official voting process as closely as possible. Our MVP voting panel includes a mixture of local beat writers from across the league, as well as national and international reporters, just as the NBA’s does at the conclusion of the regular season. And, to conform to the NBA’s voting system, every first-place vote is worth 10 points, followed by seven for second place, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth.
Using that rubric, Antetokounmpo led the way with 670 of a possible 700 points, as he was listed in second place behind James on the 10 ballots where he wasn’t listed first. James, meanwhile, was second with 514 points, and was either first or second on 68 of the 70 submitted ballots, finishing third on one and fourth on another.
They also were the only players named on every ballot.
Sometimes in the NBA award landscape, there is simply no need for debate. When one preeminent superstar soars above his contemporaries in such a convincing manner, those covering the league aren’t required to spend March and April fabricating a close battle.
The talking point of an “MVP race” appeals to the audience that’s tuning into national broadcasts, such as Lakers-Pelicans on Sunday night primetime or the countless debate shows with journalists and former players. So, it’s at least understandable why the discussion is squeezed into a segment on the air, with millions of fans watching.
In reality, the last five years have shown how rare it is to have a down-to-the-wire campaign for MVP.
Looking back to 2016, the only argument worth having was determining second-place. Stephen Curry completed an unprecedented season, winning 89.9% of the games he appeared in (71-8) while averaging 30 points and joining the 50-40-90 club. It led to the first unanimous decision. This was after Curry already breezed through the 2014-15 season, capturing his first MVP in another blowout vote.
What followed in 2017 was actually the closest battle in recent memory, as three players had legitimate cases over each other. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard were all deserving choices, but Westbrook still took it by a significant margin. He received over 68% of the first-place votes, leaving 22% for Harden and 10% for Leonard.
The next two years were clear-cut victories by the general logic of “best player on the best regular season team,” which is often the most accurate guideline for handing out the award. James Harden had his most complete year in 2017-18 while leading the Rockets to the No. 1 offense and playing acceptable defense (Houston was No. 6). He collected 85% of the first-place votes. Then, in 2018-19, Giannis Antetokounmpo used the most aggressive two-way impact since Miami’s version of LeBron James to cruise to his first MVP. It was another landslide, as he earned 77% of the top votes.
Overall, the outside perception of a close race hasn’t mattered in the end. There is usually one candidate that separates himself, whether that’s in January or during a late-season push. Take a look at the voting breakdown since 2013-14:
2013-14: Kevin Durant earned 119 of 125 first-place votes, winning by 341 total points over LeBron James
2014-15: Stephen Curry earned 100 of the 125 first-place votes, winning by 262 total points over James Harden
2015-16: Stephen Curry earned 131 of the 131 first-place votes, winning by 676 total points over Kawhi Leonard
2016-17: Russell Westbrook earned 69 of the 101 first-place votes, winning by 135 total points over James Harden
LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant offered a poignant portrait of her NBA superstar husband and their daughter Monday at a sold-out memorial service for the two, who were among nine people killed last month in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles.
Speaking at times through tears, Vanessa praised Kobe Bryant’s devotion — calling him “the MVP of girl dads” — as she addressed the 20,0000 fans gathered at Staples Center to remember Bryant and Gianna, who was 13.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other,” she said. “He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi.”
The service took place at the downtown arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 17 seasons of his two-decade NBA career.
The ceremony began with Beyonce performing her songs “XO” and “Halo.”
After Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the crowd, Vanessa Bryant remembered the family’s life with Gianna, describing her as a sweet, thoughtful soul who loved always kissing her mother good morning and goodnight.
“Her smile was like sunshine,” Vanessa said. “Her smile took up her entire face. Like me. Kobe always said she was like me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine.”
Vanessa said Gianna loved swimming, singing along with hit songs, baking cookies, and watching “Survivor” and NBA games with her father. She says her daughter loved basketball so much she even offered her school’s boys’ team advice.
Vanessa predicted that Gianna could have become “the best player in the WNBA.”
She then eulogized the man she had been with since 1999, saying they had planned to renew their vows and often talked about how they looked forward to becoming the “cool grandparents” after their kids have
Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League issued a joint statement Monday afternoon announcing all four leagues are limiting access to clubhouses and locker rooms as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.
The full statement can be read below:
“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.
“These temporary changes will be effective beginning with [Tuesday’s] games and practices. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”
This development in American sports was preceded by Japan’s top baseball league and Italy’s top soccer league suspending play earlier Monday:
Jeff Passan @JeffPassan
Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s top league, has postponed the beginning of its season after its commissioner said the spread of coronavirus made the delay “unavoidable,” @JballAllen reports. Opening day was set
LOS ANGELES – Jayson Tatum shared a court Sunday afternoon with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The thing is, Tatum was the best player who touched it.
Tatum was a dominant force while matching his career high of 41 points during a 114-112 defeat to the Lakers in LA. He took over during the second and third quarters, scoring 36 combined points during those periods despite the long list of defenders and defensive tactics the Lakers threw at him.
Tatum was so impressive that James, who scored 29 points himself, held a long embrace with Tatum after the game, and then publicly endorsed Tatum in his postgame comments and in an Instagram post.
“The kid is special,” James said after the contest. “Obviously that’s a reason he’s a first-time All-Star, and he’s been special all year.”
Within a few hours of the game ending, James then took to Instagram to show the world the respect he has for Boston’s budding superstar.
“That boi to the left of me is an ABSOLUTE PROBLEM!!” James wrote in his post.
Tatum posted the same photo shortly thereafter, along with the caption, “Moments you live for! Just a kid from St. Louis.”
Tatum chose not to reveal what James said to him during their postgame embrace on the court, which lasted 13 seconds, when he was asked about it in the locker room.
As the world copes with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has suspended the 2019-20 season for a minimum of one month. That was always going to be the right call, and it became unavoidable once Rudy Gobert, followed by Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for COVID-19.
Resuming play at some point, in some form, remains the goal. But basketball operations will invariably take a backseat to more pressing concerns, most of all the safety and well-being of people around the globe, not just players, coaches, league employees and anyone tangentially linked to the Association.
Still, sports matter. They are, if nothing else, a temporary escape from harsh realities for many. That much is clear during times of crisis, including now.
Bigger things are at stake, but the prospect of losing what remains of this season is both real and a shame. It doesn’t matter that more than three-quarters of the schedule is in the books, or that so much about this year, and how it will end, is already known.
Plenty about this season has yet to be written—questions that remain unanswered, storylines and races left unfinished. The hope should be that the league is already navigating the worst-case scenario and that life outside the margins sniffs the sense of normalcy required to redeem what can still be salvaged from the 2019-20 campaign.
But if this is it, if the NBA has played its last game until the 2020-21 season tips off, we’ll be left wondering what could have been. That sense of incompleteness would begin here, with the biggest, most important matters still awaiting resolution.
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Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Would the Philadelphia 76ers Be Scarier in the Playoffs?
Philly’s 10-24 record on the road and 8-18 showing against teams above .500 implies “no.” Ben Simmons’ timetable for recovery from a pinched nerve in his lower back wouldn’t help matters—though the season’s suspension could.
Even then, the Sixers would have to navigate a clumpy offense and Al Horford’s (potentially injury-related) decline. They don’t have the look or feel of a team that can get through the first round, let alone beat the Milwaukee Bucks four times in seven tries.
This group has the bandwidth to turn a series (or four) into a painful slog. Opponents are mustering just 97.5 points per 100 possessions (99th percentile) when the Sixers’ five best players are on the court. The ceiling on their defense alone is enough to elevate their collective peak. No team in the league would have a higher variance of possible postseason outcomes.
Who’d Get the Eastern Conference No. 8 Seed?
The Washington Wizards have almost no time to make up the 5.5-game chasm separating them from the East’s final playoff spot. They’ll have even less if the NBA plays out a partial version of the remaining schedule.
But Bradley Beal is terrifying. And both the Brooklyn Nets (injuries, no more Kenny Atkinson) and Orlando Magic (is their recent offensive uptick for real?) are weird. Anything is possible.
Would There Be Any Tanking Shenanigans?
Bottoming out for a better draft spot isn’t as interesting anymore. The three worst teams have the same odds of landing the No. 1 pick, and the squads that come after them have a better chance at slingshotting up the draft order.
Perhaps the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks would get into a tank-off for two of those top three lottery slots. (The Golden State Warriors have one of them on lock.) Big whoop.
Tanking—or angling—for postseason matchups is more interesting. At least one team is bound to pull some shenanigans to get a better head-to-head in the first round. And that squad is most definitely coming from the Western Conference.
The race for sixth and seventh place figures to invite some funny business. Facing the Los Angeles Clippers is a lot different than sparring with the Denver Nuggets, who are very good but don’t have postseason slayer Kawhi Leonard.
If some combination of the Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks decide they’re better off going up against the Nuggets than the Clippers, there could be a mad dash for sixth or seventh place, depending on how the race for No. 2 unfolds.
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There won’t be a lot of awards and All-NBA talk in this space. Enough of the regular season was played to hand out all the necessary distinctions (this take is subject to self-destruct if the league decides to suspend year-end awards and All-NBA selections).
Rookie of the Year is different. It has turned into a head-to-head race. Everything else either includes a wider field or is already decided. (Giannis Antetokounmpo is the MVP. Let’s move on.)
Ja Morant vs. Zion Williamson has turned into a debate. This is not to be confused with an easy one. It is hard enough working Zion’s name into the conversation when he’s on course to play no more than 37 games. It becomes near impossible to argue in his favor if the rest of the season gets kiboshed and he finishes with fewer than 20 appearances and doesn’t have the added boost of potentially spearheading a New Orleans Pelicans playoff surge.
Make no mistake, this is more about Morant. People have conflated Williamson’s rise with his surrender. Morant hasn’t waived the white flag. He has slumped neither hard nor long enough to forfeit any ground.
Voting for Williamson would be tough in the first place. Rookie of the Year isn’t supposed to be a reflection of the best career arc. It is, as its name in
Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo downplayed the significance of defending his 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player Award during the final stages of the current campaign.
“It’s not important at all,” Antetokounmpo told reporters Monday.
He was then asked whether he cared about the award and replied, “I really don’t.”
Antetokounmpo is having another terrific season. He’s averaging 29.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.5 threes, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per game across 55 appearances. He leads all NBA players in both player efficiency rating (31.92) and ESPN’s real plus-minus (7.87).