Over the past three seasons, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors enjoyed an unprecedented run of success.
The Warriors won two NBA titles and were injuries to Durant and Klay Thompson away from three-peating. The Dubs went 16-1 in the 2017 NBA playoffs and there was no ceiling to what they could accomplish with a core of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
But Durant chose to take his talents to Brooklyn this summer, signing with the Nets to play alongside his friend Kyrie Irving and hopefully lead a team that truly is his.
Durant later explained his decision to the Wall Street Journal, noting he never felt accepted as a member of the Warriors. Curry, Thompson and Green all are homegrown talents and he never felt he had the same cache as those three and Andre Iguodala.
For Curry, who counts Durant as one of his good friends, that was difficult to hear.
“I mean, that’s tough,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols about Durant’s comments. “There’s so many narratives that go on, especially when you’re at the top of the league. No matter how, you know, the full transition happens to Brooklyn, him separating himself from the Warriors — that’s gonna happen. I think he knows, you know, what we were about as teammates, what we were about as friends on and off the court. And again, nobody is gonna take away the accomplishments we had. But at the end of the day, whatever he, you know, needed to do to make that decision and however he wants to explain that — that’s just what’s gonna happen.”
As for Durant’s decision to leave, Curry holds no ill will toward the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
“At the end of the day, we live in an age where choice at the forefront, and K, you know, made a decision for himself and you can’t argue that,” Curry said. “I wish we could still play with K. He’s an unbelievable talent, unbelievable person. We accomplished a lot together. But — you know, things have changed a little bit. So you obviously wish him the best, obviously with his recovery first and foremost and things on and off the court. But we’re gonna have to battle down the road. So this should be a fun, new experience on that front, too.”
Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and likely will miss the upcoming season. Warriors owner Joe Lacob already has stated he plans to retire Durant’s No. 35 to honor the accomplishments and historic nature of the era of Warriors basketball.
Whenever KD makes his return to the Bay, he’s sure to get a rousing ovation from the fans and some love from Curry, who always accepted him as a co-star of one of the most impressive runs in NBA history.
Steph Curry fires back after Kevin Durant criticizes Warriors offense
Kevin Durant has sent some mixed messages about what he wants in his basketball situation.
He was the man in Oklahoma City, co-starring with Russell Westbrook in an offense heavily predicated on isolation basketball. In search of playing a more beautiful game, Durant left OKC in 2016 to join the Warriors and Steve Kerr’s ball-movement offense.
After three years and unparalleled success, Durant exited the Bay to head to Brooklyn, signing with the Nets in free agency in July. The two-time NBA Finals MVP discussed his exit from the Warriors in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, and he had some critiques of Kerr’s motion offense. Durant believes the system is limited, and there would come a time in the playoffs where he needed to “go into his bag” to get his own shot because the opposition had figured out how to slow down Kerr’s offense.
Curry, who has been almost unstoppable in the Warriors’ system, had something to say about Durant’s criticism.
“Well, I don’t care what plays we ran,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump.” “We won two championships. And at the end of the day, we had a lotta talent and there was an expectation of us figuring out how to balance all that. And we talked a lot about it throughout the three-year run. It wasn’t always perfect, but I think in terms of, you know, the results and what we were able to do on the floor, that kinda speaks for itself.
“We all wanna play iso-ball at the end of the day in some way, shape or form. But I’d rather have some championships, too.”
It’s hard to argue with either point of view. Durant is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history, and was a seamless fit in Kerr’s offense. But his isolation game almost is unguardable, so it’s understandable why he would want the ball in his hands more. Really, who wouldn’t want Durant to have the ball?
But as Curry said, the Warriors’ results over the past five seasons speak to the success and potency of their ball-movement offense, one of the reasons the Warriors almost were able to win the 2019 NBA Finals even after Durant ruptured his Achilles.
Just turn on the tape, and you can see how effective the offense is, both with and without Durant.
On Tuesday, the three time NBA champ posted a photo of himself wearing a blue custom-made Nipsey Hussle jersey, which has the late rapper’s Crenshaw logo on it. It also bears the No. 23 that James wore for much of his career.
The Ohio native also stated that he’d continue to represent Hussle’s name and mission on a global scale. Plus, he tagged Hussle’s girlfriend Lauren London in the post.
“I know you smiling down back at me my G! The Marathon will Always Continue all around the world with me! #TMC💙🏁@nipseyhussle@laurenlondon 🙏🏾 No 🧢,” wrote James in the caption.
Plenty of people said they wanted to know where they could get the jersey, even those who admitted they weren’t fans of James’ team the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Need that jersey asap 💪🏾 @kingjames,” someone wrote.
“That jersey is a must cop 🔥,” another person followed.
“Not a LAKERS FAN at all, but if these drop it’s a MUST COP🙌🏼🏁,” a third person stated.
There were also some folks who wondered if the Lakers would be wearing the Crenshaw jerseys in games next season. And if they didn’t plan to do it for multiple games, they should at least do it for a Nipsey Hussle tribute day.
“Is this a sign that these are official jerseys?????” someone asked.
“Lakers need that jersey this year it’s only right 🔥,” one of James’ followers wrote.
“@lakers should bust these jerseys out for tribute day,” wrote another.
In April, just days after the “Victory Lap” rapper was killed, James talked about what his murder meant to him and others.
“It’s so unfortunate when you look at a guy who believed in what he believed in, talked about how he wanted to give back to his own community, actually gave back to his community and actually stayed in his community,” James told CBS Los Angeles.
“To see his life taken away from him in his community by someone that comes from his community, it’s one of the most unfortunate events that has happened in American history.”
The retired Shaun Livingston was the last Warrior to wear No. 34. Will the next one be NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo?
While it sounds wild and surely would set NBA Twitter ablaze once again, crazier things have happened. The Warriors always will be a threat to sign a star, and the Greek Freak is no exception.
“The one team lurking out there — I don’t know how this would happen — but the Warriors have always been the big threat to go after Giannis,” ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne said Monday on “The Jump.”
The Bucks superstar shares the same agency as Warriors star Steph Curry and has the same agent as Steph’s brother Seth. He is friends with the Curry family, and the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported in February that the Warriors have “internally mused about a run at Giannis.”
“It would be a difficult construction to make happen, but that is the one looming threat,” Shelbourne said. “It comes down to what kind of guy is Giannis. What does he want his legacy to be? Is he the kind of guy who stays with one team his entire career and tries to bring a championship to Milwaukee or does he pull a Kevin Durant and go join a group of super friends?”
Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent after the 2020-21 season. Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all will be on the books at that time with contracts that total at least $100 million.
With a brand new arena and a hunger for more championships, the Warriors’ front office will do anything they can to bring Giannis to the Bay Area. The summer of 2021 could be a big one in San Francisco.
The 24-year-old Antetokounmpo took home the league’s highest honor last season when he posted 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He already is a three-time All-NBA selection, three-time All-Star and twice has been voted to the All-Defensive team.
SAN FRANCISCO – On a damp Monday morning, on a golf course a few inches east of the Pacific Ocean, Stephen Curry explains his desire to go where no man or woman has gone before.
To succeed where Tiger Woods, hindered by personal priorities, did not.
Curry is committed to making golf, despite its reputation as a refuge for the elite, accessible to all. To put a finer point on it, a basketball player wants to change the face of golf.
It’s a novel concept, that of an athlete – one of the greats in this instance – lifting his platform beyond the sport he identifies with and trying to make a tangible difference elsewhere. But Curry is not of a mind of waver. Even as he remains dedicated to remaining crucial to the fortunes of the Warriors, he is trying to speak his quest into existence while also financing it into reality.
“The game plan is forming as we go,” Curry said Monday. “But I just get so excited about the game that I hope other people will, too.”
Curry and scores of others were at TPC Harding Park for the inaugural Stephen Curry Charity Classic, presented by Workday. The goal of the event is to raise $1 million mostly for two causes: 1) PGA Reach, a charity with the stated purpose of increasing golf access to youth and military while also fostering diversity; and 2) Eat. Learn. Play., the foundation initiated by Curry and his wife, Ayesha.
The event carried enough weight to attract San Francisco Mayor London Breed, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – as well as former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala and the team’s CEO, Joe Lacob.
Curry’s love for golf is on display every chance he gets. That’s not enough. Upon signing a five-year contract worth $201 million two summers ago, Curry vowed to invest in specific charities and causes. He has made golf one such beneficiary.
When it announced last month that Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C., was resuming its golf program, which was disbanded in the 1970s, it simultaneously was announced that Curry was the man behind the game’s return. He’s making a seven-figure donation over the next six years.
“Basketball has been the best experience of my life in terms of (making) a career out of it, with all the things we’ve been able to do on the court,” Curry said. “But understanding how things I enjoy doing in life outside of basketball, growing the game of golf, there are a lot of different ways of going about that.
“But in terms of somebody outside the normal golf voice lending time and resources and opportunities to share how much the game means to me, the people you get to play with, the places it can take you, the things it teaches you about yourself. Reaching out to underrepresented communities and people that are just looking for access to the game, get them introduced to it early and, hopefully, through their competitive experience, if that’s what they want to do, provide opportunities for that.”
One of the constant themes in conversation with Curry is “growing the game.” And he’s not talking about basketball, which is immensely popular and is represented in some form, on every continent, by practically every racial and ethnic group. Golf, however, still is beyond the reach of many, partly for financial reasons and partly because it simply intimidates those unfamiliar with an environment that can feel quite exclusive.
“We’ve got four pillars: kids, veterans, inclusion and a place to play,” Waugh said. “We want to make a difference in all of that. Golf can be such an engine for good, and we are at the center of golf at every level, from the Ryder Cup to the PGA Championship. We have the opportunity to touch the most people. We want to shepherd that into those pillars, which are needed to evolve the game and make it more relevant to the next generation. We need to make it a game for our kid’s kids, as opposed to protecting a game that our parents or grandparents played.”
“Our ability to do that, through making the game more welcoming and accessible and understandable – along with more fun – is what this is about. It can rehabilitate kids because this is a game that can be played for life.”
There was a time early in the millennium, when Tiger, with his brown face and dynamic game, was visualized as not only an ambassador but also the forerunner to many more that looked like him, even if they couldn’t play like him. He opened the door, so to speak, but made only occasional attempts to invite others behind him. The faces of golf haven’t changed much.
Nearly 20 years later, Curry is trying to fill that void.
He’s going grassroots to expose the game to those who barely know it, if at all. He has made a difference on the basketball court, and now one of his missions is to do so on the golf course.
“There are different measures that you can think about, like getting more kids involved in the game early,” he says. “Or leveraging the traditional golf verticals that hopefully will get more kids competitive in the game. More representation at the early ages.
“From there … this is a game for life. So, hopefully, my involvement in it will be for life.”
Michael Jordan agreed to sell a “large piece” of the Charlotte Hornets to a pair of New York-based investors on Saturday, though will retain majority control of the team, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Jordan is selling parts of the team to Melvin Capital founder Gabe Plotkin and DI Capital founder Daniel Sundheim. The two still need to be approved by the NBA before the sale can go through, though that is expected to be made official in the coming weeks, according to the Observer. It’s not yet clear how much of the team Jordan is selling.
Despite the sale, though, Jordan still plans to own and run the Hornets for “a good, long time,” per the report. He currently owns about 97 percent of the team, and “is attracted to adding investors with deep resources who might offer new ideas regarding technology advances,” according to the Observer.
The Hornets have struggled under Jordan’s leadership, however. Since the Hall of Famer took over in 2010, the team has made the playoffs just twice and has only compiled a winning record two times. The Bobcats won just seven games during the 2011-12 season, too, and lost the final 23 games of that shortened-season. That marked the worst finish in league history.
The Hornets finished last season with a 39-43 record, just narrowly missing the final spot in the playoffs.
Jordan, other NBA owners enter tequila business
Call it the transition game: Michael Jordan and three other NBA owners are getting into the liquor business.
They are creating a brand of tequila, a project that took root when they had dinner together a few years ago.
The ultra-premium brand comes from Mexico and is called Cincoro. Its crystal bottles are tilted at a 23-degree angle in a reference to Jordan’s number with the Chicago Bulls. Prices range from $70 to $1,600.
Klay Thompson is adding his name to the list of public figures stepping up to help The Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian — and he’s got a strong message for those in the White House who are unwilling to welcome those affected by the storm’s path stateside.
The Golden State star took to Instagram to announce that all proceeds from his upcoming celebrity golf tournament will go towards relief efforts in The Bahamas.
Thompson’s father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson, was born in Nassau and spent his formative years in the Caribbean nation before moving to Miami as a teenager. The Thompsons still have family in The Bahamas and continually return to the islands.
But the announcement of Klay’s charity efforts was only half of what the Warriors’ mainstay had to say.
Thompson ripped the Trump Administration for “not welcoming our Bahamian neighbors in their greatest time of need,” calling the White House’s decision not to grant temporary protected status to those fleeing the devastation inexcusable.
He went on to point out the shame in Americans using the islands as their “playground” before turning their backs on the nation that greets tourists with open arms.
“I am extremely saddened by the destruction of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas,” Thompson wrote in a post on his foundation’s website. “When my family and I started this foundation, a main goal was to support my father’s home country, a place that has many lasting memories for us. Now, they need our help more than ever. We will be focused on not only the short-term, but also the long-term relief, while working with local personnel to provide impactful support to the area and people in need.”
Among those who responded with support for Thompson’s Instagam post were NBA alums Baron Davis, Jermaine O’Neal, Festus Ezeli and MLB outfielder Dexter Fowler.
Thompson’s golf tournament is scheduled for Sept. 19-20 at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach, California.
After 15 NBA seasons, Shaun Livingston announced he was hanging up his sneakers Friday in an emotional Instagram post.
While Livingston never directly says he is retiring, it appears to be pretty clear that he has decided to call it a career. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarwoski confirmed the announcement shortly after the post.
Livingston was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He suffered a catastrophic knee injury in 2007, where he dislocated his left knee cap and caused his leg to snap laterally, injuring almost every ligament in that knee.
Livingston’s rehab and road back to the NBA took years, but he finally landed with the Nets in 2013 and after playing a season in Brooklyn, he signed with the Warriors and became a key cog in the Dubs’ dynastic run.
In five seasons with the Warriors, Livingston helped them win three titles while averaging 5.4 points per game on 52 percent shooting. The Warriors waived Livingston this offseason as they try to remake their roster after five consecutive runs to the NBA Finals.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has said he wants the guard to be a part of the organization after he decided to retire and it appears that time has come.
#RaiseAGlass to a Dubs legend.
Shaun Livingston’s perseverance constant throughout Warriors’ dynastic run
Shaun Livingston wasn’t supposed to make it to this point.
The 15-year veteran — who announced his retirement in an Instagram post on Friday — was supposed to be done 12 years ago when he sat on the Staples Center floor, seconds after simultaneously tearing three of his four major ligaments. He was supposed to quit after a trip to the D-League threatened to undermine a bid to return. He wasn’t supposed to show up with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 and change his career path. And he wasn’t supposed to see three titles in five seasons for arguably the best team in league history.
But Livingston’s perseverance most certainly saved the Warriors dynasty – but most importantly, it might have saved his life.
Growing up in Peoria, Ill., Livingston’s career trajectory was much different than its end two decades later.
At Peoria Central High school, 166 miles outside of Chicago, he led his team to two straight state titles averaging 18.5 points, six rebounds and six assists in his senior year. The plan was to attend Duke as Chris Duhon’s replacement, but a string of team workouts in Chicago changed his mind and he opted to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was selected fourth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Playing for LA’s “other” team, Livingston – a 6-foot-7 guard armed with a 6-foot-11 wingspan – Livingston invoked comparisons to Magic Johnson. His future looked bright as he helped the Clippers reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade, averaging 7.5 points, 4.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds in the postseason. In Game 5 of the Western Conference first round, he dished out 14 assists, helping the Clippers to their first series win since 1976, solidifying his spot as LA’s point guard of the future.
Then it happened.
During a home game against the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007, Livingston landed awkwardly following a layup attempt, causing his knee to contort on itself, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral meniscus, while dislocating his patella. While at an Inglewood hospital, doctors contemplated amputating his leg altogether.
“My leg was deformed. My knee joint was dislocated and out of place. It was painful. Ten seconds felt like an hour,” Livingston told ESPN’s The Undefeated in 2016. “It was only like 10-15 seconds. But until they put my knee back into place, it was excruciating for sure.”
“It’s probably the most serious injury you can have to the knee,” Clippers physician Dr. Tony Daly added in the week following the injury.
A year later, LA didn’t tender a qualifying offer, making Livingston a free agent. A brief with the Miami Heat stint gave way to another brief stint in Miami, giving way to stints with the Wizards, Bobcats, Bucks, Thunder and Oklahoma’s G-League affiliate, providing a collage of failed reclamation projects. Then, with the Brooklyn Nets, he averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 76 games — then a career-high.
His performance in Brooklyn set the stage for his final act in Golden State. With the Warriors — featuring two of the best shooters in NBA history — Livingston was the perfect throwback complement to a seemingly futuristic team. While Golden State rewrote the three-point record book, Livingston finished a season with more than 12 attempts from behind the arc. Despite the contrast, Livingston was indispensable in the team’s biggest moments.
In 2016, with Stephen Curry out with a knee injury, Livingston averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds over a six-game stretch to keep Golden State’s back to back title hopes alive. Weeks later, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he scored 20 points in a win.
But Livingston’s influence with the Warriors was defined by his constant calm in an environment that was anything but. On the right side of the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena, Livingston and fellow veteran Andre Iguodala’s lockers were side by side, with Draymond Green and Kevin Durant sandwiched on either end of them. While Green and Durant, franchise pillars navigating the rigors of a superstar relationship, the pillars of wisdom made sure the two didn’t undermine the team’s fabric. All the while, Livingston’s knee — like the Warriors as we knew them — was on its last run.
Now, both are gone, but Livingston’s journey of perseverance — one that undermined countless negative medical diagnosis — will live on forever.
Shaun Livingston fought back to his dream, but it was time to say goodbye
Shaun Livingston spent a full year stealing glances at his hazy future, and the last three months he simply stared into it. Not until this week, though, did he have clear visibility.
His heart was whispering, urging him to play another year. In the NBA. Only the NBA.
His mind was doubting, questioning whether he had it in him.
His body? Well, it was barking and shouting, more than 12 years of agony and aches and constant maintenance blistering his ear and begging him to let it go, to devote himself for labors much less demanding than that of another eight or nine months and finally accept the life he knows is waiting.
So, on Friday, one day after his 34th birthday, with family and friends and folks in the media seeking resolution, Livingston took to Instagram to announce he was retiring.
His final season was a slog, as signs of physical decline surfaced. His lateral quickness was diminishing, hurting his defense. His offense came and went, fine one night and absent on another. His pregame routine required extended therapy, and still, he needed additional rest. He was one of the early examples of a load management program.
“It’s getting harder,” Livingston conceded after a shootaround in March in Houston. “The aches linger a little longer, but I’m still enjoying it. Can’t say that my body always does.”
It was after some postseason reflection and listening to his mind and body, and following both, that he was able to put a bow on a career once so dramatically altered there was rational fear it would end at the profoundly unfair age of 21.
Livingston, who spent 14 seasons in the NBA, walks away after the five best years of his career. He was a valuable reserve on a Warriors team that won three championships and made five consecutive trips to The Finals. After an eight-team journey during which he never spent more than three years with one employer, he landed on the free-agent market for the umpteenth time and found the Warriors in July 2014.
He signed a three-year contract and by its conclusion was calling Oakland “home.” After resurrecting and stabilizing his career, he became a free agent in 2017. Not for a moment did he consider shopping for a bigger role or a bigger contract with another team.
Minutes into free agency, Livingston agreed to re-sign with the Warriors. And when I texted him to ask why he didn’t consider going back on the market, his response spoke volumes.
“Can’t put a price on happiness.”
He was thrilled to finally find a successful franchise that understood his physical challenges and used him properly. Playing behind All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Livingston’s minutes were monitored. It became evident he produced best – and was most durable – when restricted to about 18 minutes per game. He could, in a pinch, go beyond that, but he’d feel it the next day.
His steady leadership was of value. Livingston and fellow Illinois native Andre Iguodala were the twins of wisdom in a locker room that ran the gamut of personalities. Iguodala, with his unflinching wit, could play “bad cop.” Livingston, with his breezy manner and unique perspective, was the “good cop.”
Now both are gone. Iguodala traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, Livingston opting to hang up his jersey.
Ten years earlier, Livingston began his career with hopes of becoming a transformational star. A 6-foot-7 point guard entering the NBA out of Peoria, Ill. at age 18, drafted fourth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, his game had elements of Penny Hardaway, Magic Johnson and, in today’s game, midrange scoring ace DeMar DeRozan.
The most dazzling elements of Livingston’s game perished on the Staples Center floor in February 2007 with a devastating injury to his left knee. He sustained tears to his ACL, MCL, PCL and lateral meniscus, along with a dislocated knee cap and a broken tibia and fibula. So demolished was his left leg, there briefly was fear amputation might be necessary.
Livingston fought back and forced his way back into his dream. It was never better than in the last five years, which surely made his decision a little easier.
It was time to go. It just took a few months to say goodbye.
Kevin Durant and Dennis Rodman don’t have too many things in common.
Let’s find three: They both are really good at basketball, each has won multiple NBA championships and each one joined legendary teams and helped them win more titles. That’s about it.
The last item is what’s most important, though.
When Rodman was traded to the Bulls before the 1995-96 season, it came after Chicago lost to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Durant signed with the Warriors in the summer of 2016 after Golden State blew a three-games-to-one lead to the Clevleland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
Rodman, for one, doesn’t understand why Durant left the Warriors in free agency and was so worried about fitting in.
“I think it’s very selfish of KD, seriously,” Rodman said Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Jump.”
Rodman’s comments come on the same day Durant spoke out about his three years with the Warriors. Despite winning two Finals MVP awards and going to the championship every season he played with Golden State, KD said he’ll “never be one of those guys” while referring to the Dubs’ core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
The Bulls already featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and other big-name players when Rodman came to Chicago. Despite being perhaps the wildest figure in NBA history, Rodman says he just wanted to win and didn’t care about who received the most adoration.
“I just don’t understand. I don’t understand why he would even come out and say something like that,” Rodman said. “I mean, embrace it. … I enjoyed it. I didn’t care who was the leader. I didn’t care who was the leading force, who was this and this, I just wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to win. I wanted to impact the city, I wanted to make people happy.”
In most cases, people don’t understand Rodman’s antics. In this case, ironically enough, it’s Durant who has the Hall of Famer questioning someone else’s quotes.