The omnipresent bluster of Stephen A Smith is crystal clear even through a zoom call. Smith seems particularly nonplussed this morning as he waits for First Take host, Molly Querim Rose, to deliver the next talking point.
Querim, gets things started with a question: What would it take for Damian Lillard to win a championship?
In his signature style, Smith has an answer locked and loaded before the line of questioning is even completed:
“He needs to leave Portland”
While Smith’s statement seems alarmist, particularly for a squad that made a surprise western conference finals run last season, he isn’t the first media member who has questioned Portland’s end game. While Blazer management has done a fine job building around their star, the Blazers still feel a notch below the true contenders with little to no room for improvement. …
Giving a Tomatometer Esque rating to some of Michael Jordans best Commercials
ESPN’s “Last Dance” Series has given basketball fans, everything they hoped for: nostalgic fits, throwback music, and of course heaping helpings of Michael Jordan. However, what stood out to me the most was something that only took up roughly a minute of screentime, the Be Like Mike Commercial.
In a way that commercial, paired with his stellar play, of course, catapulted Jordan into another stratosphere. Making him the biggest, best, and most marketable player in the association that everyone wanted to emulate.
Amidst the nostalgic glory, I got to thinking about the pantheon of great NBA commercials. Where would the “Like Mike” commercial rank? Would it still stand the test of time? A million questions that no one had ever taken the time, or cared deeply enough, to try and answer. …
“The cool kids are back.”
The disembodied voice of Lonzo Ball calls out to his teammate, Brandon Ingram, from a spot just out of the reach of his iPhone’s camera. Ingram, outlined by the careful dimensions of an Instagram story, laughs in agreement as he glides towards Ball’s spot on the practice arena floor.
Before the two teammates’ paths can converge, the video cuts. “Social distancers” wait with bated breath for Ingram’s response, but it never comes. The story, like the season, simply ends without any regard for structure or completion-ism.
A few hours later the NBA announced that players’ access to practice facilities will be revoked indefinitely, as the country grapples with an ongoing pandemic. …
The current status of Zion Williamson's health has been quite a lesson in internet mania. The vague nature of Woj’s initial injury tweet essentially sent out a Bat signal for anyone with “MD” in their Twitter handle to chime in on what could be ailing the promising rookie.
Within the weeds of those tweets, an ugly rumor was given inception: Zion’s injury was an ACL tear.
After an MRI and a Woj update later, the flames of the hottest take were dowsed. …
The natural tendency for most sports fans, is to immortalize “Player X” as they existed when we were first introduced to them.
Blake Griffin arrived on the scene with the ability to leap over a Kia in a single bound. So, he was immediately branded as a “dunker.” The hasty characterization remained immune to his fervent playmaking and burgeoning shooting ability, long past its best by date. Even as Griffin evolved into a rare high volume, high-efficiency breed of three-pointer shooter, the residual effects of our fascination with his high-flying antics lingered.
So, when the shiny new sports car arrived on the scene, in the form of 6’5 Zach LaVine, the public was quick to throw more labels at the wall. …
“Not only do you get free tickets to the game, but you get to watch me shoot probably 22 threes.”
Before the words can even finish rolling off the lips of Wardell Stephen Curry II, raucous cheers have already broken out amongst the pious listeners. Alongside his wife, Curry knows how to play to the crowd. His boyish grin making it nearly impossible to ascertain how tongue in cheek the statement is.
While Curry’s estimate is likely glib, it’s in line with the general buzz around him leading into this particular NBA season.
With Kevin Durant now on the opposite coast and his “Splash” sibling on the mend, Curry is going to be unprecedentedly featured in the Golden State Warriors offense. …
Barrett’s spectacular highs and uncanny lows were on full display once again in Las Vegas Summer League. A position change may be the key to unlocking more consistency from the potential laden young player.
By Abou Kamara|08/9/2019
The past year has been a whirlwind for RJ Barrett.
When he signed to play at Duke, he had no idea that he was saying goodbye to his chance at being the number one overall selection in that year’s draft. That the Grizzlies would deem him a passable prospect. Or that his summer league performances would trend on scary before trending scarily optimistic.
And now, leading into his first regular season, he has no idea which position he’ll be playing at the NBA level. …
The term “small ball” has now become so ingrained into the basketball lexicon that even a toddler might be able to use it in a sentence.
As the Association has become more position-less, we’ve seen tweeners like Draymond Green jump the center, while 6’10" gazelles like Ben Simmons orchestrate the offense from the top of the key. This lineup Tetris is made possible by players increasingly versatile skill sets. The more tools a player has in his bag, the more valuable he is to a team. …
Kawhi Leonard took the blueprint of player mobility that James invented and used it to shock, not only the league but Bron himself. In the process, he may have become the most powerful being in the association.
By Abou Kamara |07/10/2019
I’ve never had more respect for Kawhi Leonard than I do in this very moment.
Not to say that I didn’t respect him before, but the feelings I’m feeling now are the far more talented older brother.
Kawhi flexed on a whole different level this summer.
He giggled at the absurdity of the league trying to control his free agency. Made them wait till he was good and ready and his machinations long plotted. …
For the first time in his career, Kawhi Leonard has a choice in where he would like to play basketball. His choice and the cost and benefits that accompany it will tell us what matters most to the man who’s so often let his actions do all the talking.
By Abou Kamara| 07/02/2019
Kawhi Leonard has the right to play basketball wherever he wants next season.
Wherever. He. Wants
I imagine that you read those opening lines again, to make sure you didn’t miss some hidden double meaning. But it truly is as simple as it seems.
A young multimillionaire decides where he wants to spend his millions, while Nicki Minaj starts another petty beef. …