Stephen A. says his “money is on” Kawhi signing with the Clippers & thinks Lebron needs to stop KD from doing the same

Stephen A. Smith can envision Kawhi Leonard exercising his option and staying put with the Toronto Raptors for 2019-20 NBA season, but he also bets on a “confident” Jerry West to eventually land Leonard with the LA Clippers in free agency.

Stephen A. Smith says LeBron James should focus on recruiting Kevin Durant to the Los Angeles Lakers over Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker because adding Durant would help the Lakers vie for a championship and prevent him from joining the LA Clippers.

The 6 best moments from Manu Ginobili’s emotional jersey retirement ceremony


The San Antonio Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers at home on Thursday and then the franchise and its fans did something special: they celebrated Manu Ginobili’s career in an emotional ceremony that saw his jersey get raised to the rafters.

Ginobili spent all 16 years of his career with the Spurs, winning four NBA titles with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich and countless others.

He was absolutely beloved by fans during his playing days and they showed their love throughout this ceremony.

Let’s take a look at the six best moments from the night:

6. Tim Duncan’s funny story about when the Spurs drafted Manu:

5. Tony Parker talking about Manu’s once flowing locks:

4. Manu calling Gregg Popovich a “mad man”:

3. Popovich’s fun story about how different and important Manu was:

2. The fans showing their love

1. Manu looks at his family as his number gets retired:


Fan in Boston banned for calling DeMarcus Cousins the n-word

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS

Sometime during the last week, Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins revealed to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes that he had been the target of the n-word while playing in certain road cities.

[See related story here …]

Cousins didn’t name cities, but now, Haynes is reporting that an incident happened on Jan. 26 in Boston.

“I was told by league sources that the incident occurred while the Warriors were in Boston,” Haynes said on The Spin. “During that game, there was a fan that muttered the n-word at DeMarcus Cousins. And I was told DeMarcus informed one of the team security guys, and they got a hold of the security team at TD Garden, they took care of the fan. And I was told, ultimately, that that fan was banned for the rest of this season and next year. So, he received a two-year ban.”

Cousins’ revelation came in the wake of Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook getting into a heated argument with a fan in Utah. Westbrook was fined by the NBA, and the fan in question was given a lifetime ban from Jazz games.

The incident led to a broader discussion on how fans treat visiting players in arenas, which is how the topic came up during the interview between Cousins and Haynes.

The incident in Boston happened over two months ago, but according to Haynes, Cousins and the Warriors were just made aware of the punishment for the fan in Boston.

“I was told that DeMarcus and the Warriors were just informed about that recently,” Haynes said.

No word yet on how Cousins and the Warriors are reacting to this news.

Celtics didn’t go far enough in banning fan who made racist remark to DeMarcus Cousins


This week Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that the Boston Celtics had banned a fan for two seasons after the fan called DeMarcus Cousins the n-word during the Warriors’ sole visit to Boston this season.

The incident happened on January 26 when the Warriors played the Celtics, a game the Warriors ended up winning, 115-111. It was during this matchup that a Celtics fan in attendance reportedly said the slur to Cousins. According to Hayes, Cousins immediately reported the incident to an arena security person, who removed the fan.

It’s unclear when the two-year ban by the Celtics was enacted – if the decision was just made this week, or if this is just the first time it is being reported – but whenever it was, it wasn’t enough.

The fan should have been banned for life.

The NBA always has an uneasy relationship with its customers and their behavior toward the league’s players. The fact that Cousins was able to hear this person and report him to security suggests that the fan was pretty close to courtside.

In no other sport can fans get this close to players, and with that comes a responsibility of the league and its teams to protect them from harassment and physical harm.

After an incident with Russell Westbrook and a Jazz fan earlier this season, Jazz ownership drew a line in the sand, banning the fan for life and sending a clear message to its supporters that this type of behavior would not be tolerated. They made the decision loudly and publicly, then went as far as having their owner step onto the court during a game to speak with fans, making it clear that this would no longer be a part of the organization or its fan culture.

That decision was tough, but the Jazz realized it was worth it for their fanbase to be painted badly for a few days to try and root the problem out and confront it head on.

The Celtics … did not do this. They didn’t ban the fan for life. They banned him for two years, and they did so quietly.

This isn’t the action of an organization that wants to address a problem in its fan culture. (And sorry, Boston, I say this as someone who grew up in New England, but it is a problem in your fan culture. It may be overstated at time, but it’s a problem.) It’s the action of an organization who wants to quietly make something go away. Paint the fan as a bad egg, give him a suspension that seems harsh but not too harsh, then hope no one talks about it.

This isn’t how things change. Utah had to deal with a few bad days of press, but they understood a part of their fanbase, however small, was making their games a terrible experience for visiting players. They confronted it head on, banned the fan for life, and did their best to make a change. The Celtics, on the other hand, did not.


Charles Barkley on Jussie Smollett charges being dropped: ‘I think that we all lose’

Charles Curtis | USA TODAY SPORTS

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley had already weighed in on the Jussie Smollett case back in February after the Empire actor was accused of staging an attack on himself.

On Inside the NBA, he declared — with his co-hosts on TNT laughing after he said it — “Do not commit crimes with checks. If you’re going to break the law, do not write a check … get cash, man!”

But while appearing on The Late Show Wednesday night, Barkley was a lot more serious when Stephen Colbert asked him about his feelings on Smollett’s charges being dropped.

Here’s what Barkley had to say to Colbert:

“I think that we all lose. I think my black friends, my gay black friends, I think they lose, because there’s all repercussions when you’re a minority.  there’s always a double standard. You have to understand that and accept that. For every black, gay person out there, we lost. And it’s unfortunate. I don’t know that kid, I wish him nothing but the best.

“But you have to understand, you have to always look at the big picture. Like, you know, there’s a lot of gay kids out there who are struggling. They’re getting beat up, they’re getting bullied, and things like that. And that’s not good. And then you see there’s this tenuous relationship between the black community and the cops, and we made the cops look really bad in this scenario. And there’s probably going to be some resentment. So the bottom line is everybody lost in this scenario. It’s not good.”

Barkley also made a bet with Colbert over North Carolina and Barkley’s Auburn, who are playing each other in the Sweet 16.


After the most efficient game of his career, Steven A. Smith says KD is now the best player in the NBA… Agree or nah?

Stephen A. Smith proclaims Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant as the best player in the NBA, and says 2018-19 MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks isn’t even in the same class offensively as KD.

(AP) MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant turned in the most efficient offensive performance of his career on Wednesday night, going 12-for-13 from the field in a 118-103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “The game’s easy for Kevin,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It just is. I don’t think there’s ever been anybody as skilled at his size in the history of the league, so he just does whatever he wants.”

Durant repeatedly did whatever he wanted against the Grizzlies, hitting from all over the floor, while adding nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 35 minutes of play. He finished with a game-high +30 and is now 17-for-19 from the field over his past two games.

Durant acknowledged that Wednesday was the best shooting performance of his career while noting that efficiency became his focus during the second year of his career as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant’s efficiency left both his teammates and coaches in awe Wednesday. “It’s unbelievable,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “He made all the right decisions. I know we had a couple turnovers as a team but just reading the situation, letting the game come to him. We obviously know he can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court, but just picking and choosing his spots, knocking down shots, it’s what he does.”

After taking just six shots in Sunday’s win over the Detroit Pistons, Durant picked his spots throughout Wednesday’s game and found a rhythm early, going 7-for-7 in the first half and helping the Warriors close out the game late. “He does whatever he wants each game,” Kerr said. “I felt like he could have been 24-for-25 if he wanted, but he was distributing the ball and trying to get everybody involved. He was brilliant. … Kevin is who he is. He’s one of the most efficient players ever. He can get any shot he wants against any defense. So regardless of how somebody is playing us he can go get a shot and it’s a good shot.”

Durant’s only miss came in the fourth quarter on a play during which he thought he was fouled. He voiced his displeasure to the officials for a few moments, but after the game conceded that he could have been a better look. “I talked to [official] Kenny [Mauer] about that,” Durant said. “He said the guy was just standing there. He probably was, but I should have shot a better shot.”

Durant’s performance offers another reminder of just how dominant the Warriors can be when the offense is clicking. “When you’re a scorer like that, an all-time great scorer, it opens up a lot of things,” Curry said. “Because there’s a lot of attention on you on the floor. With the weapons we have on this team, him being able to just never be in a rush, finding the open guy and trust that we’re going to get an open shot, and on the back end we can try to create for him as well. That chemistry when we’re all the way dialed in, it’s hard to stop. Over the last couple weeks his game has changed from night to night just on what he sees and how he feels, and it’s been impactful.”

Everything about Chris Bosh’s Heat jersey retirement ceremony was perfect

Miami pulled out all the stops the celebrate Chris Bosh’s career. This is why Pat Riley is the best.

Kristian Winfield | SB NATION

The Miami Heat officially retired the jersey of 11-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh on Tuesday. It was a heartfelt, emotional, and exciting ceremony that honored one of the three stars who led the Heat to back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

Heat president Pat Riley pulled out every single stop to celebrate Bosh’s career, which came to a screeching halt after blood clots in his calf traveled to his lung, causing pulmonary embolism that could have killed him had he not sought medical attention and immediately ended his basketball career.

The ceremony, which highlighted almost every moment of Bosh’s Heat tenure, was the icing on the cake for one of the most likable All-Stars to step foot onto an NBA court.

The Heat changed their logo on social media

Look familiar?

Yeah, everything checks out.

They strung together a highlight reel pre-game

This was just a teaser.

Of course they had a blooper reel

Because as good as Bosh was on the court, he was so much better off of it.

They pronounced Tuesday, March 26, 2019 as Chris Bosh Day

The man now has his own day in the history of Miami. Unbelievable.

THEN, they showed the official tribute to his Heat career

The introduction — chills

Here’s how they welcomed Bosh to the crowd.

Pat Riley uttered some nice words

Of course Bosh was gushing with emotion.

“It was one of the most fun times, best times that this franchise has ever had,” Riley said. “We are honoring tonight, up there with Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, and with Shaquille O’Neal, one of those Big 3. I am honored, blessed and just so fortunate that in my career, I have been around people like Chris Bosh.”

Bosh’s jersey was officially retired


Bosh spoke for 10 minutes

And he got some jokes off along the way.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but Pat first met me when I was a scrawny 19-year-old kid fresh out of Hutchins, Texas.,” he said. “And unfortunately for him, he had the fifth pick, and I went fourth, so he had to settle for this kid named D-Wade.

And D, I’ve gotta tell you, man. Sorry for beating you to this jersey retirement thing. I had to beat you at something, dude, I’m just gonna keep it serious.”

And he got the fans riled up one last time

Lebron James weighed in — not once, but twice

James, Bosh’s former teammate, would have flown into Miami to celebrate had his Lakers not had a game against the Wizards Tuesday night. Instead, he checked in once before the game:

“Congratulations to my man C-Bosh, CB,” James said. “Listen, I don’t win my championships in Miami without him — without you. He meant enough to that team in Miami, when I was down there my four years, even the couple years after when I was gone. He’s just the true definition of what being a professional is all about. It was never about him, it was always about the team. I wish I could be there, man, to see that No. 1 go into the rafters.”

And again after the game:

“Man Chris Bosh is a brother to me. I love everything about him,” James said. “Obviously we all in this league have seen the player out of Georgia Tech, what he turned into. But more importantly, the man that he is. His family, what he stands for, what he preaches. It’s just an honor to be with him for four years. It’s an honor for me to come in the league in ‘03 with him. And it’s an honor to still be a brother of his and to be able to send a text to him before we played tonight. I let him know how proud I am of him, and how well-deserved it is to see his jersey go up in the rafters in South Beach.”

James also joked that he thought about skipping the Lakers game to go to Miami, but didn’t because “the NBA has been on my ass” about missing games.

Dwyane Wade also weighed in after the game

It was his day,” he said.”It was his moment, so whatever he said, we were going to roll with it.”

And of course, Bosh checked out at the end of the night

Once it was all said and done, the man of the hour had his final words.

“Incredible night, man,” he said, unable to find the words to describe his emotions. “Yo, it’s crazy. I’d rather feel it more than say it, so thank you to everybody. I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me make it, and gave me the perseverance I needed to keep doing what I needed to do to get up there. So thank you.”

This is how you celebrate your legends

The Miami Heat did this beautifully. THEY LEGALLY GAVE CHRIS BOSH HIS OWN DAY. They pulled out every stop to immortalize an All-Star who helped lead that franchise to repeat championships. Bosh will always be welcome in South Beach. He’s royalty everywhere in Florida.

This is one of the reasons why the Heat are and will always be a premier destination for marquee free agents. The city of Miami helps, but the franchise also knows how to take care of their own. You can’t say that about every franchise. You can about Pat Riley.

Everything the Heat did for Bosh was thought-out, planned and executed perfectly. There wasn’t a single misstep.

And it was the perfect end to Chris Bosh’s career, one everyone can agree ended way too early.


?NEW • Woj interviews Giannis Antetokounmpo on money, motivation, the MVP and more?

Milwaukee Bucks star and 2018-19 NBA MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo sits down with Adrian Wojnarowski for a lengthy interview about about his family, his work ethic, being both Greek and Nigerian, not spending too much money, the MVP race, not being close to fellow competitors (the way Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Michael Jordan weren’t), coach Mike Budenholzer’s strategy, and more.

Queen Latifah: Baller or nah?

We checked out whether the ‘Girls Trip’ actress really could ball in high school


From singer Brian McKnight to actress Gabrielle Union to rapper Master P, singers, actors and rappers have often bragged about their athletic accomplishments. #ShowMeTheReceipts, a bimonthly feature at The Undefeated, will authenticate those declarations. In this month’s installment, we verified rapper Queen Latifah’s receipts.

Nine years after winning her first state title with Irvington High School, Dana Owens asked everyone to clear out space on the floor so she might ask Seattle SuperSonic Shawn Kemp if he would have this dance with her.

She waved everyone off. She was feeling confident she could handle the NBA All-Star forward all by her lonesome and didn’t need any backup for this one.

Just before halftime of the 1994 MTV Rock N’ Jock B-Ball Jam, Owens, also known as Queen Latifah, called out Kemp and implored him to take her on one-0n-one. Kemp was more than happy to oblige. (Fast-forward to 6:56 through 8:04 in the video above.)

He wiped his hands along his shorts and down his jersey before dribbling the ball between his legs a few times. As Kemp started to make his move toward the basket, Owens pickpocketed the SuperSonic. She took several dribbles toward her basket as the 6-foot-10 forward pursued her. Owens took off from mid-paint and sent up a layup that rattled against the backboard and around the rim before sinking to the bottom of the net.

Triumphant and defiant, Owens lifted her arms in victory, and the crowd, announcers and her teammates erupted into cheers.

“I don’t fear nobody out here! Nobody,” Owens said into the camera.

Said her former high school coach Vinny Smith, who was watching the game: “We saw it. She had the athletic ability, and she could do things like that.”‘

These days, Queen Latifah is gracing the cover of Essence magazine and starring in the new movie Girls Trip, which hit theaters on July 21. She earned an Emmy nomination for her lead actress role in HBO’s Bessie in 2015All of that, along with her career as a rapper and TV host, comes after the time when she was running wild on the hardcourts and blacktops in New Jersey.

When Smith met Owens as a sophomore transfer in 1985, he already knew she was going to be a key member of his soon-to-be championship team.

After spending her freshman year at a Catholic school, Owens moved on to Irvington, where she was immediately added to a stacked varsity team.

“My first thought of her when she came was, ‘This is going to be a good player,’ ” said Smith, who worked with Owens’ mother, also a teacher at Irvington. “She had two sides: She had a desire … a vision, and she was fun.”

Smith, who coached Irvington’s girls’ basketball team for four years and led it to back-to-back state championships in 1985 and 1986, recalled one game in which Owens’ personality as an entertainer shined through.

The team was playing a game on TV, and the coach called a timeout. The starters took a seat on a bench, and people who weren’t in the game made a semicircle behind Smith. As he was coaching up the starters, Owens heard the song the band was playing in the gym, so she started dancing behind the coach.

She turned around looking at the band and began to dance and sing along with the band, paying the coach’s instruction no mind at all. But while Smith was in the midst of coaching, he wasn’t aware any of this was happening because he had his back to her. It wasn’t until Smith got home that night and saw the game on TV that he realized what was taking place.

“Oh, boy, we had some fun with her,” Smith said as he chuckled. “We just harassed her the next day in practice. We said, ‘We want a replay!’ ”

But that kind of energy often came in handy for the team. If the players were having a hard practice and got stressed out, then Smith would give the team a break, have the girls form a circle and ask Owens to hop in the middle and drop a beat.

“All the way back then, she was outstanding,” Smith said of Owens’ability to beatbox and perform. “She could sing, she could dance, but she would do that beatbox thing, and we’d all just relax and enjoy it and have a lot of fun and laugh at her and with her. And it just broke our practice for us, and then we went back to work.”

While Owens’ reputation as a jokester preceded her, on the court she was no one to mess around with. Smith often inserted Owens into the rotation as a sophomore to defend the better players on the other team.

“What she did for us all the time was the opposite of what you would think her personality was,” said the retired educator. “She was my enforcer.

“That was her key part of the game. I mean [it] would be unfortunate if I had an opponent that was like maybe getting too many rebounds. I’d call Dana over off the bench, and say, ‘Dana, 23 is getting too many’ … 23 didn’t get any more rebounds after that.

“She was physically tough. She was a strong player. She had a nice shot. She could ball.”

The only problem was Owens was playing behind an upperclassman — the No. 1 recruit in the nation, Tammy Hammond — who would go on to star for USC the season after Cheryl Miller graduated. Hammond finished her career the semester before Lisa Leslie joined the Trojans. Owens described Hammond as her best friend in her biography Queen Latifah.

Smith said Owens helped out in every way she could. She hustled all the time and always did her best to help with team morale. She worked hard, and when she played, she played a lot and she played well.

Queen Latifah, formerly known as Dana Owens (third from top right) with her 1985 championship team.

Where Owens needed to improve was in handling the ball, which she wasn’t expected to do a lot of as a forward.

Smith recalled Owens’ junior year, in which the team was playing East Orange in the county championship. The coach put Dana in — Hammond got into foul trouble — during a full-court press, and she came up with three steals in a row. It turned the tide for Irvington, which ran away with the game after that.

“She was a good-size girl — height, weight, shoulder width and strength — who was not overweight,” Smith said. “None of them were overweight, because I ran the hell out of them. None of them was out of shape. They were just ready to play. And she had the athletic ability. So that’s why I did not hesitate to use her as a sophomore or a junior — and much, much more as a junior.”

Of the two championships Irvington won, Smith explained that the first one was the more challenging title because the team had to overcome heartbreak before the beginning of the state tournament.

In the last three seconds of the county championship, Irvington lost the game because of a controversial call, Smith said. But he wouldn’t give the girls a break to feel sorry for themselves, as the team still qualified for the state playoffs. The players were put through rigorous practices to keep them focused on the task at hand and not looking back at what had happened.

“What we did then is that I said, ‘Today is a new day. Today is a new tournament. The state tournament. We start all over. We have six games to win the state champs. Let’s work on that. Now, we may not be good candidates because we lost with three seconds, but we can be the state champ and be better than a team that beat us because we know we are so good together,’ ” he recalled of the pep talk he gave the team as they started practice for their first state championship.

Irvington’s second championship season ended with a 71-61 win over Hightstown in the New Jersey state final.

Our conclusion? She’s legit. Queen Latifah’s receipts get a passing grade from us.


?FIGHT FLASHBACK: Kareem Abdul Jabbar Punches Kent Benson!

Kareem not having any of Benson’s B.S. during the 1977-78 NBA Season Opening Game – Bucks vs Lakers…

[1977] Kareem Abdul Jabbar breaks hand after sucker-punching Kent Benson


The Lakers’ first game of the season was against the Bucks. Milwaukee had the first pick in the 1977 NBA draft. They selected Indiana big-man Kent Benson.

Before his first game in the league Benson spoke about how he would try to defend Abdul-Jabbar: “I’m going to try and push and shove. But how much I can get by with, I don’t know.” It turned out, very little. In the second minute of the game Benson shot an elbow at Kareem’s gut. Kareem began to jog up the court as if nothing had happened, then turned and sucker punched Benson in the mouth. Needless to say, Kareem was ejected from the game.

Following the game, Benson took the altercation remarkably well considering his rough introduction to the league saying he was “sorry the whole thing had to happen.” Kareem was less conciliatory saying that he didn’t regret the punch and he’d do it again. The refs didn’t like Kareem, so he was pushed around in the post and cheapshotted constantly with no whistles. The punch was a statement that he wouldn’t be taking it this season. The statement cost him $5,000 (of a reported $500,000 salary), the largest fine in league history at that time.

The greater cost, though, was that Kareem had broken his hand on Kent Benson’s face. The reigning MVP was kept out for two months missing 20 games.

“I received an elbow in the stomach, and when I retaliated, I got a $5,000 fine and the other guy got nothing,” Abdul-Jabbar said.


Lonzo Ball has BBB tattoo covered & Charles Barkley says his ‘big mouth, jackass dad’ is piggybacking on his success

Charles Barkley beautifully sums up the Big Baller Brand debacle

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

The Big Baller Brand experiment appears to be over, with majority owner Lonzo Ball going as far as to cover up his BBB tattoo after it was reported that the company’s co-founder, Alan Foster, is alleged to have siphoned $1.5 million from the Ball family brand. Lonzo Ball’s manager even released a video of himself throwing a pair of Big Baller Brand shoes down a trash chute.

Lonzo and LaMelo Ball appear to be headed for Nike, according to a not-so-subtle Instagram post. NBA on TNT’s Charles Barkley discussed the downfall of Big Baller Brand on Wednesday during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, and the NBA legend didn’t mince words.

“[Lonzo] should have been his own man from the beginning. You can’t let your family members try to piggyback on your success. This is his time. He’s a nice kid, he’s a good player. I’d like to see him healthy. But this thing has been a disaster from Day 1.

It was never going to work, and I feel bad, because this ol’ big mouth, jackass dad has put his kid in an awkward situation all year. Like I said, I don’t want to see anything bad happen to the kid, but I don’t like his dad at all, and this thing has been a joke from the beginning.”

Barkley has been consistent in his criticism of LaVar Ball over the years. In 2017, Barkley said that LaVar “has no foreseeable talent” and has been exploiting his children.

“He represents everything that’s bad about sports. It’s all about him. You know I just feel bad for those kids because everybody’s talking about ‘he might be a good father,’ this and that. No he’s not. He’s just exploiting his kids. I love the kid playing for the Lakers. I don’t know the other kids. He’s all about Big Baller Brand. He has no foreseeable talent. He’s trying to make money on his kids. I just feel sadness for those kids because they’re going to do whatever they tell him to do and I just don’t like the guy at all, plain and simple.”


Lonzo Ball gets his Big Baller Brand tattoo permanently covered up with new ink


Lonzo Ball’s split from the Big Baller Brand apparently took an even more permanent step Tuesday when he had his BBB tattoo on his arm permanently covered by a new tattoo by his regular tattoo artist.

There’s no turning back once you do that.

If you’ve been living under a rock this week, the end of Lavar Ball’s Big Baller Brand seemed eminent after ESPN reported cofounder Alan Foster allegedly embezzled Lonzo Ball out of $1.5 million.

Since that news broke, Lonzo has scrubbed all mentions of BBB off his social media, his manager threw shoes away, and Foster was booted from the Ball’s reality show.

And now… the tattoo is gone, covered up with some dice:

That’s some pretty solid work by Herchell Carrasco, who recently posted this video of a session with Lonzo last week:

So yeah, it looks like this thing is gonna be all over soon.