Popovich: ‘It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan’

Former longtime Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died on Friday. He was 78.

Sloan had been battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, and he died from complications of the conditions. Before his coaching career, Sloan played 11 seasons in the NBA with the Bullets and Bulls, and he would retire from the NBA in 1976.

After retiring from the NBA, Sloan would coach the Bulls from 1979-1982, and in 1988, Sloan would coach the Utah Jazz, where he had a lot of success, including two NBA Finals appearances.  Both times in the Finals, the Jazz would lose to Jordan and the Bulls.

He would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Sloan resigned from the Jazz and ended his coaching career in 2011. After 26 years of coaching(23 with the Jazz), he finished with 1221 wins. 

A man who looked up to Sloan was Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and on Friday, Popovich issued the following statement regarding the passing of Jerry Sloan:

 “It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true. And that is rare.

 “He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools, he possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big as the prairie.”  

Advertisements

Ex-76er Ish Smith talks Sam Hinkie, ‘The Process,’ Philly fans, how playing in Philly helped his career(VIDEO)

 

From 2013-2016, the Philadelphia 76ers were basically put together to lose. The rosters that were constructed by then-GM Sam Hinkie were not very good, and the goal was to lose as many games as possible so that the team could get the best possible picks in the NBA Draft.

In the 2015-16 season, the 76ers were very bad. After 18 games that season, Philadelphia was 0-18, and after 31 games, the 76ers were 1-30, which was perfect for Hinkie and “The Process,” which the 76ers’ rebuilding efforts were called during Hinkie’s time as the team’s general manager. 

With the 76ers struggling at point guard during that 2015-16 season, the team made a move as they acquired PG Ish Smith from the New Orleans Pelicans, who played with Philadelphia the previous season before signing with the Pelicans in 2015.

Smith came in and immediately was a factor for the team. In his first game with the 76ers, Smith led Philadelphia to a road win in Phoenix against the Suns, and in Smith’s first six games with the 76ers, Philadelphia went 3-3, which had some fans concerned. According to Smith, Philly fans were getting mad at him for doing what many fans love, which is winning.

“Everybody was heated,” Smith recently told goforitradio. ‘We got rolling because we had lost so many close games, I remember. We had lost so many close games because we had started off rolling, and all of sudden, we had won like four in a row.”

Even though the 76ers were not a very good team and finished the 2015-16 season 10-72, Smith loved the way the fans supported the team.

“One thing I loved about the Philly fans is they still came out,” Smith said.

Philadelphia would get the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, and they would get Ben Simmons, who has paid dividends, including being a two-time All-Star and winning Rookie of the Year.

“The Process” has worked to a degree, Philadelphia has won over 50 games the past two seasons, but they have not won a title. However, their two big stars, who were products of “The Process,” Joel Embiid and Simmons, are still young, so they have time.

In terms of Smith, his career has flourished. He signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Pistons in 2016 before signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Wizards last offseason. Before the season was suspended, Smith started 19 games for the Wizards and averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. 

Unfortunately for Hinkie, he would not see “The Process” through, as he resigned during the 2015-16 season after the team brought in Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations. To date, Hinkie has not gotten another job as a team executive in the NBA.

Hate it or love it, the 76ers’ success today, and Smith’s opportunities in the league may not have been possible without “The Process.”

Devin Booker named Special Olympics Global Ambassador

(Courtesy: Phoenix Suns)

Devin Booker continues to prove that he is not only a star on the court, but off of it as well. After earning his first NBA All-Star selection this year, Booker is being honored with another achievement beyond the hardwood, being announced as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador.

From the “Devin Booker Starting Five,” an unprecedented initiative to donate $500,000 a year over the next five years ($2.5 million total) to Phoenix Suns Charities in support of Arizona children and families in need, to his continual outreach in the city of Phoenix and throughout The Valley, these philanthropic efforts reflect how Booker lives his life.

He tipped-off the Starting Five campaign in November as he personally surprised five local non-profits each with $100,000, including, naturally, the Special Olympics Arizona, who will use the funds to build their own facility for the first time ever. The facility will be completed with a Suns branded multipurpose room engaging coaches and athletes with everything from art to shooting hoops.

The NBA recognized Booker’s game-changing impact, as the 23-year-old received the November NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

“I hope the way I perform on the court can inspire people, but the things I do off the court is what I want people to take away from me,” Booker said.

The local community and beyond has also taken notice.

“Everywhere I go in Phoenix, I see Booker uniforms,” Head Coach Monty Williams said. “That says a lot about what this community and what children in general feel about Devin and his impact here. You feel it when you’re around town, when I’m at my kids’ school. Young kids around this town say ‘Book.’ They don’t say ‘Devin Booker’ they say ‘Book.’ That means a lot to this organization, but it certainly means a lot to these kids who look up to him.”

Booker’s benevolence can be attributed to his family and, more specifically, his younger sister Mya.

Mya was born 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, also known as DiGeorge syndrome, which is caused by a missing piece of chromosome 22. The deletion causes poor development of several body systems, which can result in mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. Witnessing Mya overcome these challenges, all while exuding more positivity than anyone else in the room, inspires Booker each and every day.

“Growing up with a sister that has to face new challenges every day has given me a new perspective for life,” Booker said. “I always wanted her to be the best at everything she did. She wanted to be a singer, artist, everything she did, I feel as an older brother, was to support to the best of my ability.”

The two share an unbreakable bond because to Booker, she is more than just a sister, she’s his best friend.

“That’s my heart,” Booker said. “That’s my love. That’s my best friend. I think just the way she approaches life every day. She deals with her challenges. She comes in with a smile every day, every situation that she’s in. She just finds the positive in it and that has just helped me throughout my whole career, my whole life.”

Due to his sister’s condition and his ever-continuing push for equality in the world, the Special Olympics has always been something near and dear to Booker’s heart.

“When it comes to Special Olympics I feel right at home,” Booker said. “I feel like I’m taking care of one of my little brothers or little sisters.”

Just as he supports his sister, Booker shares that same support for others dealing with intellectual disabilities through his involvement with Special Olympics. Since being drafted to the Phoenix Suns in 2015, Booker has been closely connected with Special Olympics Arizona through clinics across the Valley and developing friendship with local athletes.

“I’ve celebrated the accomplishments and witnessed the challenges my sister Mya has experienced as a person with intellectual disabilities,” Booker said. “She motivates me every day, and I’m humbled to be part of Special Olympics, a global organization with a mission to help spread awareness about the abilities of people with ID.”

Booker continues to grow these connections every day as he strives to grow closer with his community and while supporting those with ID.

In 2016, Booker invited his number one fan Jenna Warren, who has down syndrome, to join him on a trip to New York City for the Draft Lottery. He then followed that up the next year by surprising Special Olympic Arizona athlete Noah Smith with that same opportunity in 2017. In November of 2019, Booker announced Special Olympics Arizona as one of the organizations awarded $100,000 as part of the “Devin Booker Starting Five” initiative.

And now Booker and Special Olympics are taking it a step further, as Special Olympics International announced Devin Booker as their newest Special Olympics Global Ambassador on Thursday.

As a Special Olympics Global Ambassador, Booker will promote inclusion through sport, especially opportunities involving basketball while utilizing his reach with younger audiences through social media. He will continue to be involved with local and global opportunities as he has in the past, through activations with Special Olympics International, Special Olympics China, Special Olympics North America and Special Olympics Arizona.

“Special Olympics is honored to name Devin Booker as our newest Global Ambassador,” said Special Olympics International CEO, Mary Davis. “People like Devin who have a sibling with intellectual disabilities possess inherent empathy for the population we serve. We are lucky to leverage his passion to inspire others around the world to join our all-out effort to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.”

Booker joins a star-studded list of Special Olympics Global Ambassadors, including his teammate Ricky Rubio as well as Andre Drummond, Damian Lillard, Elena Delle Donne, Dikembe Mutombo, Sam Perkins and Yao Ming.

“I’m proud that Devin was an All-Star this year, but being named Global Ambassador makes me feel super proud to be his teammate,” Rubio said. “This shows how much he impacts people’s lives beyond a basketball court. Congratulations and let’s make a big impact in this world. I’m with you!”

Tune-in today at 3pm ET / 12pm PT to #NBATogetherLive on NBA’s Instagram as Booker will join ESPN’s Maria Taylor to talk about his new Global Ambassador role with Special Olympics, his relationship with his sister and how he’s staying busy during the NBA hiatus.

Trae Young, Chris Paul headline NBA Horse Challenge

ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced that 10-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2020 NBA All-Star Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of eight NBA and WNBA players and legends who will participate in the new NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN and streamed via the ESPN App. 

Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET, Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr. and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce will match shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones will serve as the official host.

 State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. This donation builds on the more than $74 million that has been contributed by the NBA Family to date to support coronavirus relief efforts through its NBA Together campaign.

NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants will be divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals.  The winner from each group will move on to the championship round.  ESPN will present the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

A coin toss at the start of each game will determine who shoots first, with the more senior player calling heads or tails.  Players must describe each shot attempt, specifying the type of score they intend to make before taking a shot, such as a bank shot or swish. Dunking is prohibited. The first player in each game to accumulate the letters “H-O-R-S-E” after failing to match five shots is eliminated.

 

NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm participants: 

Group 1:

Group 2:

Chauncey Billups

NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst

Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls

Tamika Catchings

WNBA Legend

Chris Paul

Oklahoma City Thunder

Mike Conley Jr.

Utah Jazz

Paul Pierce

NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst

Trae Young

Atlanta Hawks

Allie Quigley

Chicago Sky

 

ESPN NBA HORSE Challenge presented by State Farm schedule:

 

Date

Time (ET)

NBA HORSE Challenge

Sun, Apr. 12

7-9 p.m.

Quarterfinals Group 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups

 

 

Quarterfinals Group 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.

 

 

Quarterfinals Group 2: Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce

 

 

Quarterfinals Group 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley

 

9-11 p.m.

Quarterfinals Encore Presentations

Thu, Apr. 16

7-9 p.m.

Quarterfinals Encore Presentations

 

9-11 p.m.

Group 1: Semifinals

 

 

Group 2: Semifinals

 

 

HORSE Championship Game

 

Tim Duncan reacts to making Hall of Fame(VIDEO)

On Saturday, it became official. The greatest Hall of Fame class in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame history was finally assembled.

The late Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and six others were selected to the Hall and will be enshrined in August at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

This is a great class, which many have had circled on their calendar for years. Sadly, Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who, along with seven others, died in a helicopter accident in January, will not be there.

Here is the complete list of the class of 2020:

KOBE BRYANT 

TIM DUNCAN 

KEVIN GARNETT 

EDDIE SUTTON [Coach]

RUDY TOMJANOVICH [Coach] 

TAMIKA CATCHINGS

KIM MULKEY [Coach] 

BARBARA STEVENS [Coach]

PATRICK BAUMANN

After the announcement, Duncan, a 15-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA champion reacted to making the Hall of Fame.

Here is what he had to say:

 

Cuban, Doncic, Powell donate $500K to healthcare workers

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that proprietor Mark Cuban, guard Luka Dončić and center Dwight Powell have teamed up with the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to donate $500,000 to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. Funds will be allocated to support childcare for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort during this unprecedented time.

“We can’t thank our healthcare workers enough for putting their patients’ well-being before their own,” said Cuban. “I am thankful to Luka and Dwight as we partner up to support healthcare workers who are doing everything they can to keep our community healthy.”

“We are deeply grateful to the entire Dallas Mavericks organization, and especially to Mark, Dwight and Luka, for their incredible generosity in providing emergency childcare funding benefitting the frontline healthcare workers of UT Southwestern and Parkland,” said Daniel K. Podolsky, MD, president of UT Southwestern. “This will alleviate a tremendous burden faced by so many nurses, physicians, lab technicians and other care team members working nonstop on our COVID-19 response. Having support for childcare will be one less thing they have to worry about.”

UT Southwestern and Parkland frontline caregiving staff include inpatient intensivists, advanced practice practitioners, physicians, nurses, phlebotomists, sonographers, radiology technicians, transporters, lab technicians and pharmacists. Additionally, support staff includes front desk staff, medical assistants and janitorial staff who are critical to the functioning of an urgent care environment. Allocation of the funds to individual staff will be made as expeditiously as possible.

“Thank you to our amazing healthcare workers,” said Dončić. “They are sacrificing so much to care for others, and I am honored to help.”

“We are extremely grateful for the amazing bravery shown by our health professionals during this difficult time,” said Powell. “We feel it’s our duty to do whatever we can to support their efforts. We continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, while hoping this fund helps prevent families from further hardship as a result of their sacrifice.”

 

 

 

Philadelphia 76ers: ‘Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19’

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of their organization have tested positive for COVID-19. The team did not announce who the three people were that tested positive for the coronavirus.

At this point, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including the Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood, who played against the 76ers on March 11, which was the day the NBA decided to suspend the season.

Also, on February 20, the 76ers played against the Brooklyn Nets, who had four players test positive for COVID-19, including Kevin Durant.

Here is a statement from the 76ers on the announcement that three members of their organization have tested positive for the coronavirus:

“The Philadelphia 76ers, in consultation with medical experts and the NBA, received the recommendation that certain individuals from the organization, including players, coaches and specific basketball operations support staff, be tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately.

“Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19. All other tests results are currently negative. We have reported this information to state and local health authorities as required.

“Pursuant to CDC guidelines, the individuals are in self-isolation and will be monitored closely by medical professionals.

“The health of our players, staff, fans and community is paramount, and we continue to be guided by medical experts at this time.

“We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the public health and medical communities for their tireless efforts during these challenging times, as well as to our fans and partners for their support.”

 

Devin Booker donates $100,000 to COVID-19 relief

Given the unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on our community and beyond, Devin Booker, in partnership with Phoenix Suns Charities, will raise money through livestreaming on Twitch to support non-profits that best serve the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. An avid gamer and NBA All-Star, Booker pledged $100,000 to tip off the giving campaign on Twitch and Phoenix Suns Charities will match that initial donation.

Funds will benefit non-profits like the Arizona Food Bank Network, which is providing hunger-relief for children, families and seniors, the Foundation for Senior Living, which provides affordable housing, meals and caregiver support to seniors, and Banner Health Foundation to support community testing, including potential new approaches such as drive-through clinics. As the enormous impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Booker and the Phoenix Suns Charities Board of Directors will continue to coordinate with public health experts, local officials and other community partners to determine where support is needed most.

“With countless people around the globe turning to streaming to get their mind off things, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring people together, raise awareness and help those in need at the same time,” said Booker. “These are trying times that transcend basketball and I would like to call on everyone to be good teammates as we deal with this challenge together.”

Additional donations can be made through Devin’s Twitch Channel: Twitch.tv/DBook

The new social giving campaign is an extension of Booker’s Starting Five initiative and adds to the bench of non-profits he has directly supported. Last year, Booker made an unprecedented $2.5 million dollar commitment to Phoenix Suns Charities by pledging to donate $500,000 annually for five years.  Through the Devin Booker Starting Five initiative, Special Olympics Arizona, Ability 360, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UMOM New Day Centers and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center became the first recipients of the Starting Five grants last November and received $100,000 each to better the lives of children and families in Arizona.

The NBA has temporarily suspended its season in response to COVID-19 and Commissioner Adam Silver advised in his recent letter to all NBA fans that this hiatus will last at least 30 days and that the intent is to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned.

Mavericks to pay hourly employees during league shut down

In a lovely gesture, the Dallas Mavericks will pay hourly employees who work game nights at American Airlines Arena, which is the home of the team.

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league will be shut down for at least 30 days because of the coronavirus.

Here is a statement from the Mavericks on their decision to pay hourly employees:

“The Dallas Mavericks issued the following statement today regarding the continued payment of hourly staff who work Mavericks’ game nights at American Airlines Center:

“In light of the postponement of the NBA season, it is of utmost importance to Dallas Mavericks’ management and ownership that we do what we can to minimize the adverse financial impact that will be felt by staff who would otherwise be working our games at American Airlines Center. As such, the organization, along with American Airlines Center leadership, is currently making arrangements to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30-day NBA hiatus. As part of its mission to provide financial piece of mind, Mavericks jersey sponsor Chime, the leader in U.S. challenger banking, has also allocated funds to support this effort.

“Staff includes security, police, parking attendants, housekeeping, in-arena entertainers, and guest services staff, among others. It is our hope that this will allow our valued team members to satisfy their economic needs during this unprecedented time.

“In addition, the Mavericks and Chime share a commitment to their local communities and are working with our current nonprofit partners to identify support and service opportunities throughout North Texas during this time.”

Philadelphia 76ers statement on suspension of NBA season

After Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19(coronavirus), the NBA announced that they had suspended the season on Wednesday. At this point, there is no timetable on when the season will resume.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers put their support behind the league’s decision to suspend the season:

“The Philadelphia 76ers are supportive of the NBA’s decision to suspend the season. The health and well-being of our fans, players, staff members, partners, and communities are of the utmost importance, and we remain in close communication with the NBA, public health, state and local officials in charting a path forward.

“As we navigate the coming weeks, we recognize that our staff members are family and the heartbeat of the organization. As such, we are committed to assisting our arena associates through this period.

“In this time of need, we need to band together and take care of people,” Managing Partner Josh Harris stated. “Our teams, our cities, and the leagues in which we operate are a family, and we are committed to looking out for one another.”

“The 76ers also extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the many talented doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and emergency services personnel who are working tirelessly to address this matter of public health.

“We will provide further updates as soon as possible.”