HOOP HANGOUT • NBA GAMEDAY POST • February 28th 2019

USA Today Sports

James Harden scores 58 points, Rockets beat Heat 121-118

Associated Press

HOUSTON — James Harden had 58 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and the Houston Rockets overcame a 21-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Miami Heat 121-118 on Thursday night.

Harden made 8 of 18 3-pointers and was 16 of 32 overall from the field and 18 of 18 on free throws. He fell three points short of his career high set at New York on Jan. 23, and had the most point ever against the Heat — breaking Willie Burton‘s mark of 53 for Philadelphia on Dec. 13, 1994.

Austin Rivers scored 17 points, and Chris Paul and Gary Clark each had 14 to help Houston win its fourth straight game. The Rockets shot 49 percent, including 19 of 46 on 3-pointers.

Kelly Olynyk and Goran Dragic each had 21 points for Miami, Justise Winslow added 19 points and eight assists, and Josh Richardson had 18 points. The Heat shot 52 percent, making 15 of 28 3-pointers.

Miami was coming off a home victory over Golden State on Wednesday night on Dwyane Wade‘s banked 3-pointer at the buzzer. Houston played at Charlotte on Wednesday night.

76ERS 108, THUNDER 104

OKLAHOMA CITY — Tobias Harris scored 32 points and Ben Simmons had a triple-double to help Philadelphia beat Oklahoma City.

Harris had his highest point total in eight games with Philadelphia since coming off in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Simmons had 11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his ninth triple-double of the season.

Star center Joel Embiid missed his fourth straight game because of left knee soreness.

Russell Westbrook had his 25th triple-double of the season for Oklahoma City, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Thunder forward Paul George sat out with soreness in his right shoulder.

MAGIC 103, WARRIORS 96

ORLANDO, Fla. — Aaron Gordon had 22 points and 15 rebounds, Terrence Ross added 16 points and Orlando rallied in the final three minutes to beat Golden State.

A night after they were stunned in Miami by Dwyane Wade’s buzzer-beater, the Warriors blew an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost for the fourth time in six games.

D.J. Augustin scored 14 points and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 13 rebounds to help Orlando end an 11-game losing streak to the Warriors. Orlando’s last win over Golden State was on Dec. 14, 2012.

JAZZ 111, NUGGETS 104

DENVER — Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points, including six in the final two minutes, and short-handed Utah ended Denver’s nine-game home win streak.

Kyle Korver added 22 as the Jazz showed plenty of energy despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back and with two of their guards out of the lineup. Utah led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, only to see the lead trimmed to five with 8:41 remaining. Korver helped the Jazz on a 13-0 run to gain some separation and send them to their third straight victory.

Jamal Murray and Will Barton each had 21 points for Denver. All-Star big man Nikola Jokic dealt with foul trouble but still finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

PACERS 122, TIMBERWOLVES 115

INDIANAPOLIS — Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 35 points and Indiana overcame Karl-Anthony Towns‘ big night for Minnesota.

Towns had 42 points and 17 rebounds, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first quarter.

Tied at 107, the Pacers closed with a 15-8 run, with Bogdanovic scoring 11 points.

CAVALIERS 125, KNICKS 118

NEW YORK — Kevin Love scored 26 points, Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton each had 22 and Cleveland overcame a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat New York.

Allonzo Trier scored 22 points for the Knicks.

Stephen A. on Kyrie Irving: “Come July 1, he’s gone” – Who’s to blame for this Celtics season?

Kyrie Irving gives dead-eye stare from bench during Celtics 20-point loss

Chris Cwik | Yahoo Sports

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving didn’t seem to be having much fun Tuesday. During the Celtics 20-point loss against the Toronto Raptors, a picture of Irving giving a dead-eye stare from the bench picked up steam on social media.

For those who saw the end of Irving’s run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it looked familiar.

While the 26-year-old Irving can’t force a trade from the Celtics, he can leave after the season. Irving is set to hit free agency, and he’s backpedalled from his initial stance that he would remain with the Celtics. It doesn’t help that Irving and LeBron James have reconciled after a falling out when Irving was traded from the Cavaliers.

https://sports.yahoo.com/kyrie-irving-gives-deadeye-stare-from-bench-during-celtics-20-point-loss-042450233.html

Who’s to blame for this Celtics season?

Nate Scott | USA TODAY SPORTS

The Boston Celtics lost again on Tuesday night, this time an embarrassing shellacking at the hands of a (very good) Toronto Raptors team. It was one of those losses that had the Celtics players walking around by the fourth quarter looking dazed – you could almost see the thought bubbles floating above their heads with the words: What the hell is going on this year?

The Celtics are a perfectly respectable 37-24 and should comfortably make the playoffs, even though they’re currently sitting in the fifth seed. For a team that was slated win a ton of games, however (their over/under was 59 wins at most sports books), this can’t be how they imagined this season going.

So let’s figure out why! Here I will assign blame for this disappointing season, based on very scientific numbers I just made up a few minutes ago. If you disagree, just remember, I came up with these numbers to personally offend you. Let’s get to it:

Kyrie Irving 17%

Kyrie Irving missed out on the end of last season for the Celtics due to injury, and his return was meant to give the Celtics that needed scorer who could close out games, plus provide more veteran leadership for a team that was very young.

Irving has at times been that proven scorer and veteran leader. Emphasis on at times. He’s also dangled the thought of leaving Boston to join the New York Knicks once he becomes a free agent, called out teammates multiple times, and been inconsistent on the floor. The Celtics needed Irving to step up and help bring together a team with a lot of talent (one could argue too much talent). He hasn’t done that.

Danny Ainge 8%

It’s hard to fault Ainge too much for what’s happened this year. His job is to assemble talent and he’s done that. Though there were a few things Ainge could have done before the season to head off some of the Celtics’ issues at the pass. Terry Rozier, for example, was obviously going to want playing time after his breakout season last year. Same for Semi Ojeleye, another promising young player who’s seen his playing time slashed this year. There wasn’t enough playing time to go around.

Ainge could have seen that coming and tried to deal some of these guys, but he viewed them as assets, and figured his head coach Brad Stevens could figure out the minutes thing. That was never going to work. You can’t have young guys be big parts of a playoff push and then shelve them and expect them to be happy. Speaking of which:

Too Many Young Guys Getting a Taste Last Year 40%

This is the big one. This was always going to be the issue with the Celtics this year, and while everyone thought coming in to the season that Stevens would be able to handle it, I’m not sure it was ever going to be handled.

The re-introduction of Gordon Hayward or Irving alone might have been enough for this Celtics team to handle, but both at the same time has proven to be too much for a young team that made a deep playoff push. There just aren’t enough shots to go around. Jayson Tatum went from being the team’s primary scorer to someone who’s trying to get shots off when he can. Jaylen Brown is in a funk, as is Terry Rozier. Marcus Smart, Rozier, Brown, Ojeleye have all seen minutes go down this year, as well as shots.

This was always going to be a problem. That crew rightfully will feel that they earned the right to be leaders for this franchise. Rozier, Brown, Tatum and Ojeleye are all playing for that next big contract. Telling them to defer to Irving and a getting-back-to-full-strength Hayward is a near impossible ask.

Gordon Hayward Struggling to Return from Injury 5%

Hayward was a legitimate star in Utah, but after suffering a horrifying broken leg last year, and working this year to figure out how to fit into this Celtics lineup, it’s not surprising that it’s taken some time. He’s looked sharper as of late, and producing well enough, but that integration took time.

Jaylen Brown’s Odd Slump 5%

In his second season last year Brown looked like he was ready to make the leap to the next level. A fearsome defender who was developing an outside shot, Brown looked like the future of the Celtics franchise, along with Jayson Tatum.

This year … not so much. He’s shooting 32% from deep, after shooting just shy of 40% from 3 last season. We expect a takeoff. We got a regression.

Brad Stevens 5%

I personally think Stevens was given a near impossible task this season, asked to balance a minutes load for a bloated roster with too many players expecting to play. I suppose he could have handled some of it better, and more clearly defined roles, but I don’t know.

The East Improving 20%

This is an underrated part of why the Celtics are struggling this year: The East just flat out got better. Yes, the top of the conference is stacked, with really good Bucks, Raptors, Pacers and Sixers teams, but the rest of the conference has filled out with talent as well.

The Pistons and Hornets aren’t easy wins, the Magic look frisky and present matchup problems, and the Heat have enough talent to push teams most nights. The Celtics should be winning games, but this isn’t the same Eastern Conference they stormed through the last two years. The conference is getting better, and they’re suffering as a result.

Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/02/boston-celtics-blame-game

Vince Carter floated through the air for a stunning bucket and Twitter was in awe

Andy Nesbitt | USA TODAY SPORTS

Vince Carter is 42 years old and by now should just be considered a national treasure for what he’s still able to do against the best basketball players in the world.

Because he can still do jaw-dropping type things like it’s no big deal. And it looks like he could just play for the next 10 years and continue to just make things look easy.

His latest awe-inspiring moment came in the Hawks’ win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night when he floated through the air, avoided getting blocked by a much younger player, and then casually dropped in this beautiful bucket:

Just incredible.

Twitter loved it:

Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/02/vince-carter-hawks-hangtime

WATCH: Dwyane Wade hitting ridiculous buzzer beater & giving awesome interview moments afterwards

Andy Nesbitt | USA TODAY SPORTS

Dwyane Wade is nearing the end of the final season of his legendary career but he still has plenty of game left in the tank.

The future Hall of Famer and three-time NBA champion showed just that in the Miami Heat’s wild win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, as he hit an incredible buzzer-beater to give Miami a 1-point win.

Wade’s first attempt at the 3-pointer was actually blocked by Golden State’s Jordan Bell. But Wade was quickly able to regain possession and fire off a shot all in basically the same movement.

And the shot went in:

He spoke afterward about what that shot meant for him:

It’s not the first time he’s done something like that:

He and Steph Curry shared a nice moment after the shot:

Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/02/dwyane-wade-heat-warriors-buzzer

Who is to blame for the Lakers’ rough season? Stephen A. says Lebron & time to stop calling him the best player in the world

Amin Elhassan of The Jump divides up blame for the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles this season, boiling it down to the health of the team, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, the trade talks for New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and everyone else in the world. Rachel Nichols and Tracy McGrady react.

6 and 3 years ago today… Steph Curry’s shooting abilities ‘will never be seen again’ in the NBA

Steph Curry has done special things on Feb. 27

Ali Thanawalla | NBC Sports

Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is?

Yes, it’s hump day. But it’s also Feb. 27.

Why is that date significant? Because two of Steph Curry’s most iconic performances have come on Feb. 27.

Back in 2013, Curry had his Broadway moment as he hit 11 3-pointers and dropped a career-high 54 points in a loss to the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK • MSG – FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates a sublime 54 point performance

Three years later, during the Warriors’ 73-9 season, Curry authored arguably the signature performance of his legendary career. You probably remember where you were.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after hitting the game winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 27, 2016 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Curry hit 12 3-pointers and helped the Warriors rally to beat Kevin Durant and the Thunder in Oklahoma City. His final 3-point was the dagger in the Thunder’s heart. With the game tied 118-118 and the clock running down in overtime, Curry launched a shot from 35 feet out and nailed it. A stunned crowd in OKC watched Curry dance all over the court.

https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/warriors/steph-curry-has-done-special-things-feb-27-so-watch-out-heat

On “1 Big Thing,” Scott Van Pelt dives into the amazing shooting abilities of Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry. SVP brings up other great NBA shooters, such as Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird and the most efficient 3-point marksman in NBA history, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Tim Legler joins SVP on set to discuss how unique Curry’s shooting abilities are and how we will never see another player like him again.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar auctions off his memorabilia for charity

Oh, how the mighty rise: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar auctions off his memorabilia for charity

Cassandra Negley | Yahoo Sports

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows exactly what everyone is thinking right about now upon learning he is auctioning off his championship rings.

In announcing the news on his website, he wrote:

“‘Oh, how the mighty have fallen,’ the fans will wail with some mixture of sadness and the knowing nod of inevitability. ‘Well, it happens to the best of ’em.’”

Abdul-Jabbar is the best of them and is auctioning off the prized collector’s items to support his charity, the Skyhook Foundation, not to avoid bankruptcy or settle debts.

The winter auction includes championship rings, game-worn jerseys, award plaques, trophies, playbooks and even watches, bags and player contracts.

Four of six title rings at auction

Abdul-Jabbar, 71, won six titles as a player over his 20-year career. Four of the six championship rings are available at the online auction.

The rings from his first two titles, first with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and then with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982, are not listed. The Lakers’ title rings from 1980, ’87 and ’88 began with a starting bid of $60,000 and sat at a current bid of $70,000 as of early Tuesday afternoon.

The 1985 ring from his NBA Finals MVP performance reached $85,000 as of the same time.

He’s auctioning off eight of his All-Star rings and 15 trophies ranging from his 1964 Catholic High School Athletic All City title to his NBA MVP trophies and the 1999 Player of the Century honor.

“When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room, or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple. Sell it all,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

There’s also a major throwback: a VHS tape of his 1996 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony. There are even oddities, such as the glass ice bucket the New Jersey Nets presented to the 7-foot-2 superstar for his retirement in 1988.

Skyhook Foundation supports kids

Abdul-Jabbar founded the Skyhook Foundation in the early 2010s as a way to “give kids a shot that can’t be blocked.” It provides STEM opportunities to students in underserved communities and gives fourth- and fifth-graders the chance for an “immersive, hands-on” learning experience in the outdoors.

“Looking back on what I have done with my life,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future. That’s a history that has no price.”

The foundation, through Abdul-Jabbar, has served more than 4,000 children so far, according to the foundation’s website. NPR reported in July 2017 that there’s a five-year waiting list in Los Angeles schools for children to attend the outdoor experience called “Camp Skyhook” in the Angeles National Forest.

Only a couple of days into the auction, which closes March 2, it’s clear the money he brings in will serve hundreds more and give them a good shot at a better future. And even the appreciation to pass the giving on.

https://sports.yahoo.com/kareem-abdul-jabbar-auctions-memorabilia-championship-rings-trophies-los-angeles-lakers-chairty-skyhook-foundation-202530914.html

Comeback season in full effect for Victor Oladipo as trainer posts inspiring rehab video

Victor Oladipo’s trainer posts video of Pacers star working on ball handling

Ameer Tyree | Sporting News

Victor Oladipo is still working on his handle.

The Pacers guard suffered a season-ending quad injury in January. Although he’s in a leg brace, his trainer posted a video of Oladipo dribbling Sunday.

Oladipo, 26, averaged 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 2018-19. He was selected as an NBA All-Star for the second consecutive season, but was replaced by Nets guard D’Angelo Russell after suffering the injury.​ Oladipo was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2017-18.

The Pacers have won their last two games and sit in third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Source: http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nba/news/pacers-star-victor-oladipos-trainer-posts-workout-video-after-season-ending-leg-injury/1xg07cy6jp1o51ia5tpxdiefv1

HOOP HANGOUT • NBA GAMEDAY POST • February 27th 2019

USA Today Sports

Dwyane Wade banks in 3-pointer to lift Heat past Warriors

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade banked in a straightaway 3-pointer as time expired and the Miami Heat wasted a 24-point lead before rallying to beat the Golden State Warriors 126-125 on Wednesday night.

Wade scored 25 points to help Miami snap a six-game home losing streak. Wade took a victory lap, waving a towel as the fans roared and “This Is My House” was displayed on the video boards.

Goran Dragic led the Heat with 27 points. Josh Richardson added 21, and Miami made 18 3-pointers.

Klay Thompson scored 36 points for the Warriors. Kevin Durantadded 29, but missed a free throw with 14 seconds left that kept the Heat within two points. Durant made the second of two on that trip, and Wade delivered on the ensuing possession for the biggest win of Miami’s season.

Stephen Curry had 24 points for the Warriors, a half-game ahead of Denver for the Western Conference lead.

LAKERS 125, PELICANS 119

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James scored 33 points, Brandon Ingramadded 23 and Los Angeles weathered strong performances by Anthony Davis and Julius Randle for a victory over New Orleans.

Davis had 22 points and eight rebounds in the first three quarters after getting a warm pregame reception from Lakers fans who eagerly followed Los Angeles’ fruitless pursuit of a trade for the superstar forward earlier this season.

Randle scored 35 points against his former team, but couldn’t finish a comeback against James and the Lakers’ new core during New Orleans’ fifth loss in seven games.

ROCKETS 118, HORNETS 113

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — James Harden scored 30 points, Clint Capela had 23 points and a career-high 17 rebounds and Houston beat Charlotte for its third straight victory.

In his first game since his streak of 30-point games ended at 32, Harden struggled from the field, missing his first eight shots from 3-point range — even having one blocked by Nic Batum. Harden finished 10 of 29 from the field and 1 of 11 from 3-point range, but made two free throws with 14.6 seconds left to put it away.

Chris Paul heated up in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points and 10 assists. Kemba Walker had 35 points for Charlotte, 27 in the first half. He was 3 of 12 from the floor in the second half.

HAWKS 131, TIMBERWOLVES 123, OT

ATLANTA — Trae Young matched the career high he set earlier in the week with 36 points, John Collins had 34 and Atlanta beat Minnesota in overtime.

Collins scored 18 points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta, which trailed by 13 points late in the third period, rallied to force the extra period.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 37 points and 17 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins had 21 points.

DeAndre Bembry scored six of his 16 points in overtime for Atlanta.

TRAIL BLAZERS 97, CELTICS 92

BOSTON — Damian Lillard scored 21 of his 33 points in the second half and Portland handed Boston its fourth straight loss.

Maurice Harkless had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Jusef Nurkic scored 16 points, and CJ McCollum finished with 14 points for the Blazers. They have won a season-best five straight.

The struggling Celtics are winless since the All-Star break. Kyrie Irving scored 31 points to lead Boston.

Kyrie Irving scored 31 points for Boston. The Celtics are winless since the All-Star break.

SPURS 105, PISTONS 93

SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points, DeMar DeRozan had 17 points and 13 points, and San Antonio returned home after a 25-day absence to beat Detroit and snap a three-game skid.

The Spurs returned to the AT&T Center for the first time since Feb. 2 after going 1-7 on their rodeo trip, the worst they have fared on their annual excursion.

Reggie Jackson scored 22 points for Detroit.

BUCKS 141, KINGS 140, OT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eric Bledsoe scored five of his 26 points in overtime when Milwaukee played all but the final 12 seconds without Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks beat Sacramento.

Bledsoe added 13 assists and 12 rebounds to help the Bucks to their sixth straight win. Malcolm Brogdon had 25 points, including a 3-pointer late in overtime, while Khris Middleton and Nikola Miroticscored 21 points apiece as Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 47-14.

Antetokounmpo scored 17 points and made a pair of key baskets for Milwaukee late in the fourth quarter but spent nearly all of overtime on the bench with a grey towel wrapped around his shoulders in his first game back from a sore knee.

Buddy Hield had 32 points and six rebounds for Sacramento.

MAVERICKS 110, PACERS 101

DALLAS — Luka Doncic had 26 points and 10 rebounds in his final game as a teenager, fellow rookie Jalen Brunson scored a season-high 24 points and Dallas beat Indiana to ended a five-game losing streak.

Doncic, the only teenager in NBA history with multiple triple-doubles, didn’t have a shot at his fifth late. But the first-year sensation who turns 20 Thursday had two of his seven assists on a pair of key 3-pointers while getting one from Brunson on a deep 3 to help Dallas hang on.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Pacers with 22 points.

JAZZ 111, CLIPPERS 105

SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points, Rudy Goberthad 20 points and 13 rebounds and Utah beat Los Angeles.

Derrick Favors and Ricky Rubio added 13 points apiece. Utah won its fourth straight home game by overcoming early shooting struggles.

Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari scored 18 points each for the Clippers.

WIZARDS 125, NETS 116

NEW YORK — Bradley Bealscored 31 points, Trevor Ariza had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Washington beat Brooklyn.

Reserve Thomas Bryantadded 18 points. Washington had lost four straight and nine out of 12.

D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points for the Nets. They had won two in a row.

BULLS 109, GRIZZLIES 107

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Zach LaVine scored 12 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to help Chicago beat Memphis for its fourth victory in five games.

Lauri Markkanen added with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Otto Porter Jr. had 20 points. Avery Bradley led Memphis with 23 points and seven assists.

Steph Curry joins Barack Obama for My Brother’s Keeper event

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of minority boys on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place.

Obama was in Oakland to mark the fifth anniversary of My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative he started after the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The death of the African-American teen sparked protests over racial profiling.

The initiative was a call to communities to close opportunity gaps for minority boys, especially African-American, Latino and Native American boys, Obama said to roughly 100 boys attending the alliance’s first national gathering. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is part of the Obama Foundation.

“We had to be able to say to them, ‘You matter, we care about you, we believe in you and we are going to make sure that you have the opportunities and chances to move forward just like everybody else,”’ Obama said.

Obama, who left office in 2017, was joined by basketball star Curry. The men spoke for about an hour, answering questions from the audience and joking around. They talked about lacking confidence or being aimless as teens.

Obama praised single mothers, including his own. He advised the boys to look for a mentor and to find opportunities to guide others.

Curry joined the former president in praising the value of teamwork.

“What we do on the court and the joy that comes out of that is second to none,” Curry said, “because nothing great is done by yourself.”

The former president cracked up the audience — and Curry — when asked a question about being a man.

Obama said that being a man is about being a good person, someone who is responsible, reliable, hard-working and compassionate. Being a man, he said, is not about life as portrayed in some rap or hip-hop music.

“If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking,” Obama said to applause. “‘Cause I’ve got one woman who I’m very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.”

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/26033766/steph-curry-joins-barack-obama-my-brother-keeper-event

Obama and Curry join together for My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

A new program, MBK Rising!, is set to ‘bring opportunity for youth and community leaders to connect, learn, and share’

MARC J. SPEARS | THE UNDEFEATED

OAKLAND, California – Former President Barack Obama sat on a stage next to 23 young men of color, looked toward the audience and said solemnly, “Trayvon [Martin] could have been my son.”

Obama spoke those words Tuesday afternoon as part of a town hall discussion at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center in the first national meeting of the Obama Foundation program MBK Rising! Obama and Golden State Warriors all-star Stephen Curry participated in the event, discussing the importance of mentoring, being a role model and their personal influences before taking questions from the young men on stage.

My Brother’s Keeper was an initiative started by the Obama Foundation following the death of teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. Martin was a 17-year-old African-American fatally shot on Feb. 5, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Martin’s death led to national protests over racial profiling.

“Every single day there were young men of color who were being shot and killed … Every single day there were young men who were dropping out of school. Every single day there were men who were more likely to go to prison than college,” Obama said. “The requirement was for society to wake up and find ways where we can come together and say to all of our young people, but particularly young men of color who, according to a whole lot of educators, were having a more difficult time in society for a whole range of historical reasons, we have to be able say to them that, ‘You matter, we care about you, we believe in you and we’re going to make sure you have the opportunity and the chances to move forward just like everybody else.’ And through out of that, we decided to start My Brother’s Keeper.”

To kick off MBK Rising!, a national convening hosted by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, participants attend a Day of Service at MLK Elementary School in Oakland, California, on Feb. 18.

The goal of MBK Rising! is to “bring opportunity for youth and community leaders to connect, learn, and share.” The MBK Alliance, now part of the Obama Foundation, also is focused on encouraging mentorship and reducing youth violence for young men of color.

Obama and Curry also talked about fatherly influence — or the lack thereof. The questions from the young men on stage were about the large incarceration of people of color, receiving and giving support to women, police issues, the influence of music, high school discipline, masculinity and expectations for greatness and respect.

“From the moment I was elected president I was constantly thinking about how we make sure that everyone in this country has an opportunity and every child is valued,” Obama said. “This is the greatest country on Earth. And there are still people who are able to rise despite disadvantages. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of late bloomers who are still left behind and a lot of young people who sadly don’t have the resources, don’t have the support, don’t have the attention that other humans have.”

Curry once wore a pair of customized My Brother’s Keeper Under Armor Curry 4 sneakers during a road game against the Washington Wizards for charity. The hand-painted and autographed shoes were auctioned off for $28,000, according to EBONY.com. Curry also spoke about the importance of mentoring and said he and his Warriors teammates believe it is necessary to make an impact in the Bay Area and in their hometowns.

“How I carry myself, how I speak, what I am educated on, my willingness to try to meet people where they are, can make a huge difference whether it is five seconds, 10 minutes, multiple run-ins. We all have the platform and the responsibility to shape somebody’s perspective,” Curry said. “That one moment can be a difference-maker for a lifetime. I can speak for my teammates and a lot of people in this league that we have a social responsibility to take a stand for things that we believe in and look out for the next generation.”

To kick off MBK Rising!, a national convening hosted by My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, participants attend a Day of Service at MLK Elementary School in Oakland, California, on Feb. 18.

Curry’s conversation with Obama came two days after the two-time NBA MVP played in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. Curry and Obama, a huge basketball fan, have built a friendship that has led them to playing golf together several times and have dinner in San Francisco on Saturday night. Curry and the Warriors also celebrated their 2015 NBA championship with Obama in the White House but didn’t celebrate 2017 and 2018 titles with President Donald J. Trump.

The crowd booed when Obama mentioned a high school initiative changed by Trump administration. Obama responded by saying, “Don’t boo. What do I always say?”

The crowd responded, “Don’t boo. Vote.”

The friendship between Obama and Curry was easily visible as they opened their session in lighthearted fashion and had some fun along the way while talking about serious subjects.

Obama introduced himself as “Michelle’s husband” and Curry as “Ayesha’s husband.” Obama joked that he “lost his job” as president and is now retired and focusing on the Obama Foundation. Obama also said he helped Curry become the greatest shooter in NBA history, but “no one wanted to see my jump shot.” They also debated about who was better rapper: Drake or Kendrick Lamar.

“Even a Bulls fan has to acknowledge that he has been fun to watch with the Warriors,” Obama said of Curry. “He’s the greatest shooter of all time because I gave him some tips about five seasons ago.”

Former President Obama surprises participants in the Young Leaders Track for a class photo during MBK Rising! in Oakland, California, on Feb. 19.

Curry would later get a laugh from joking about Obama’s age. But Obama got the loudest roar after joking about Curry’s past injury woes.

“Why don’t we tell the kids about some of the struggles with your ankles?” Obama said.

Before the Obama-Curry conversation, Grammy award-winning singer John Legend led a discussion with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin; Rev. Wanda Johnson, the mother of Oscar Grant; and Rep. Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. All three mothers lost their sons to gun violence. McBath said all three women are fighting against injustice to help the nation. Fulton added that the three women have to be “the voice for the voiceless.”

“We continue to champion and fight with every breath of our being because we know it matters,” McBath said.

Said Fulton: “It’s not about Trayvon anymore. It is about everyone is in here.”

The event concludes on Wednesday with panel discussions that includes former NFL receiver Victor Cruz, Black Panther filmmaker and Oakland native Ryan Coogler, actor/producer Michael B. Jordan, actress and activist MJ Rodriguez and Queer Eye star Karamo Brown.

Original article: https://theundefeated.com/features/obama-and-curry-join-together-for-my-brothers-keeper-alliance/

Barack Obama spends President’s Day at Ayesha Curry’s restaurant

Dalton Johnson | NBC Sports

Where were you on President’s Day this year?

If you’re Barack Obama, you were in San Francisco seen at Ayesha Curry’s restaurant, International Smoke. 

Celebrity chef Michael Mina shared a picture on Instagram of himself with Obama, plus Steph and Ayesha at the restaurant.

Obama is in town for a three-day national convention in Oakland, hosted by his foundation, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Curry will be joining him at a town hall as part of the conference.

Curry and the Warriors spent time with Obama in Washington, D.C., before their game against the Wizards in late January, thanks to a players-only meeting set up by Curry.

https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/warriors/barack-obama-spends-presidents-day-ayesha-currys-restaurant