From Kobe tributes to Dunk Contest controversy and an All-Star Game for the ages, this was one weekend basketball fans will never forget.
Kobe Bryant committed his life to being the best—the best on the basketball court, the best in business and entertainment, and the best father. Simply… the best.
It was fitting, then, that as today’s best NBA players gathered in Chicago for the 2020 All-Star Weekend, the festivities were saturated with moving tributes to the great 2-guard, and that this All-Star Weekend was perhaps the best we’ve ever had.
Kobe redefined hard work. There will only ever be one Mamba. And his one-of-a-kind impact was omnipresent in Chicago this past weekend.
To kick off Sunday’s game, hometown favorite Jennifer Hudson offered a rousing tribute to the Mamba and Kawhi Leonard dedicated his All-Star Game MVP to the former Lower Merion guard. Kobe was the focus during Friday’s entertaining activities and Saturday’s exhilarating slate. He was the center of everything.
Plenty happened off-court at All-Star Weekend, too. At the Metro All-Access Purple Couch event on Saturday, Khris Middleton, Tyler Herro, and Jason Terry dished on the behind-the-scenes realities of NBA life and shared insights on their experiences in the league. READ MORE IN DEPTH COVERAGE
What are the odds the Warriors are back in the NBA Finals next season?
damn high, if you ask me, since there’s no reason to believe the
smartest, savviest franchise in the NBA won’t make the right moves this
off-season to keep the good times rolling.
Before the 2019 NBA
Finals kick off in Toronto Thursday night, one of the most popular
narratives surrounding the Warriors will be whether we’re witnessing the
end of their dynasty. And it’s legit, of course, since we all know the
Warriors could experience a seismic shift in fortunes when two of their
top four players become unrestricted free agents.
But as long as the Warriors retain the services of their homegrown sharp-shooting star and No. 1 priority Klay Thompson—and there have been zero reports or indications that Thompson and the Warriors won’t come to a lengthy and lucrative agreement—what makes you think Golden State still won’t be one of the best teams in the Western Conference next season? Even if they lose the game’s best player in Kevin Durant. Because keeping the core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Thompson intact, while allocating dollars to beef up the supporting cast, easily makes Golden State NBA Finals material, if not the favorites to win it all again. Yeah, the Warriors are undoubtedly better with Durant than not. Anyone making that argument is a clown. The Warriors would be fools not to try to retain him for another year or two. But with Thompson back, they’ll be just fine without KD—who reportedly has his sights set on other squads—and we’re not coming to a knee-jerk conclusion after watching the Warriors dispatch the Rockets and Blazers while Durant was sidelined with his calf strain. Real talk, Durant has always been a luxury item for Golden State. They know it. Basketball fans know it. So spreading the money that could go to Durant and instead dispersing it to a dynamic veteran or two while upgrading a bench that isn’t what it used to be is certainly the fiscally responsible thing to do. It also might be savvier than blindly re-signing KD. With at least two all-time greats ripping nets from long distance in Klay and Steph, and a motivated Green looking to cash in big time as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020, tell me how Golden State isn’t still going to be a beast. We didn’t even mention the widely respected front office, support staff, and coach that set the Warriors apart from everyone else. Culturally speaking, they are unlike any franchise in the NBA right now. Everyone wants to play for them. Maybe they can even entice DeMarcus Cousins to comeback on another team-friendly contract, since Cousins raved to us about how “first class” the Warriors are. The Warriors loved how he fit into the locker room, and we didn’t really get a great taste of the Boogie experiment as he worked his way back from the Achilles injury midway through the regular season and then went down with a quad injury in the first round of the playoffs. I’d easily contend that the hypothetical version of the 2019-20 Warriors outlined above would be just as formidable as any squad in the league and certainly in the Western Conference—unless maybe, just maybe, KD formed a new super squad with the Clippers. Of course, that’s a big if, and accurately predicting what Durant is going to do is an exercise in futility. Durant could end up in Los Angeles, he could end up in New York, or he could even return to Golden State, since the Warriors have actually planned for years to be able to fit him into their budget—even with Thompson’s significant raise on the immediate horizon. The opening of their new arena in San Francisco is projected to bring in tons of extra cash. They should be able to cover just about any cost they deem reasonable. READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/sports/2019/05/why-this-wont-be-the-warriors-last-dance
LAS VEGAS — As the sun set on another day at the N.B.A. Summer League this month, a group of 60-odd power brokers gathered at an upscale restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. They were among the league’s elite: executives who help engineer blockbuster trades, salary-cap gurus who devise contracts and scouts who identify prospects.
They sipped wine, nibbled hors d’oeuvres and made conversation; perhaps an unremarkable scene except for one thing: They were all women.
“This is the first time, to our knowledge, that this has ever happened,” said Liliahn Majeed, the N.B.A.’s vice president for diversity and inclusion.
Long known for its progressive approach toward social issues, the N.B.A. has emerged as an industry leader among men’s professional sports leagues when it comes to hiring and promoting women. Richard Lapchick, the director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, recently released a study that found that the N.B.A. had the highest percentage of women working at the league office and with individual teams, outpacing the N.F.L. and Major League Baseball. Women hold 31.6 percent of team management positions in the N.B.A., according to the study.
In an absolutely stunning defeat, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had led for much of the second half, fell apart in the closing seconds of Game 3 of the N.B.A. finals and ended up losing to the Golden State Warriors, 118-113. Golden State, after an 11-0 run at the end of the game, now has a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
In the final 3 minutes and 10 seconds of Game 3, the Cavaliers saw their chances of an upset in these finals essentially evaporate. The Warriors closed the game on a huge run that was all Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, with Durant’s 26-foot 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining putting the team on top to stay, 114-113.
The run seemed to come out of nowhere, with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving dominating for much of the second half, combining for 77 points in the game. The two-man dominance was simply not enough, even with a solid effort from J.R. Smith, thanks to the Warriors’ stacked lineup. Klay Thompson, Durant and Curry combined for 87 points, with Durant leading the way with 31 and Curry improbably tying Kevin Love as the game’s top rebounder with 13.
With the win, the Warriors have now extended their postseason record to 15 consecutive games, and in Friday’s Game 4 have a chance to be the first team to complete a postseason undefeated. Needless to say, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the N.B.A. finals. But if there is a glimmer of hope for the stunned Cavaliers, no team had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit until last year when Cleveland did that against Golden State.