With Lebron James Present, CA Gov. Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes to Make Money, Setting Up Clash With NCAA


Daryl Nelson | ATLANTA BLACK STAR 

College athletes in the state of California have a big reason to celebrate, because a controversial bill was recently signed by the state’s Gov. Gavin Newsom. And he did it right in front of LeBron James.

Earlier this month, Senate Bill 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, was passed in the California State Assembly before making its way to Newsom.

And now that he’s signed it, college students in the state will be allowed to make money of their names, images and likenesses without being penalized for it. They’ll also be able to hire agents and secure business deals.

Additionally, colleges and universities won’t be allowed to take away a student’s scholarship for taking such actions.

Prior to the bill, and as it stands in other states, players who have their own jersey or posters, for example, couldn’t make anything — while the school, the store and everyone else involved cashed in.

The NCAA gave major opposition to the bill along the way, because they felt if passed it would blur the line between pro and college athletes.

James tweeted about the bill on Sept. 5 and encouraged everyone to call their politicians to support it. He also had Newsom on his HBO show “The Shop” to sign it, and Newsom explained why it’ll be such a game-changer.

“[Signing the bill] is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation,” he said before putting pen to paper. “And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests, finally, of the athletes, on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement.”

James also spoke about the bill on his show.

“This is the No. 1 reason why we’ve created this platform,” he explained. “To be able to have moments like this where we’ve got the governor of California signing a bill to allow athletes [to earn money].”

Plus, James posted a clip of the bill being signed to his Twitter page and wrote about its potential impact.

“I’m so incredibly proud to share this moment with all of you,” he wrote on Monday. “@gavinnewsom came to The Shop to do something that will change the lives for countless athletes who deserve it! @uninterrupted hosted the formal signing for SB 206 allowing college athletes to responsibly get paid.”

Related:

WATCH: Draymond Green likens the NCAA to a dictatorship

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving sending mixed messages on Warriors experience

Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS 

The world on Friday was given its first glimpse of the friendship between Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Both spoke during Nets Media Day in Brooklyn and well, they were spreading very different messages.

Durant took sole responsibility for his return to the court for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, during which he sustained a torn right Achilles’ tendon.

Speaking before KD, Irving basically waved off that notion and pointed fingers elsewhere.

Whether this was a coordinated plot or two friends expressing diametrically different opinions, it’s enough to suggest there will be drama among the Nets – just as it was last season when the two men were on different teams, Durant with the Warriors and Irving with the Celtics.

Addressing a mass audience for the first time since May, Durant was informed of Irving’s comments and still reiterated his previous statements related to his final weeks with the Warriors, specifically decisions made regarding his return for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors in Toronto, when he sustained a torn right Achilles early in the second quarter.

“When I went down, it felt like everybody wanted to put their arms of protection around me, from people I didn’t know, to my best friend, Kyrie,” he said. “I feel like everybody was real protective of me around this time. And I feel like they will continue to be that way, especially involving my health.

“But I make my own decisions.”

Durant’s new teammate had gone the other way. Asked about Durant’s possible availability this season in Brooklyn – one he is expected to miss while rehabbing – Kyrie insinuated KD isn’t telling the whole truth about his time with the Warriors and his return in The Finals.

“We all know K wasn’t ready to play in that environment,” Irving said. “We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage in The Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin.

“And now I’m here to protect that. I’m going to be a protector of that all throughout the year and not allow anyone to infiltrate that circle. ‘Hey, K, do you. Get right. We’ll be fine.’ We have expectations for our team. We obviously know he’s an integral part. But we’ll wait for that. I’m, very patient. I’m going to be over-patient with Kevin because I don’t want anything like that to happen to anyone again, especially on that type of stage, with him having to answer questions about whether or not he’s coming back.

“I’m here to dispel that. You’ll never hear me say ‘He’s coming back here.’ ‘I think he’s coming.’ I want him to be 101 percent healthy.”

Irving, in essence, contended that KD was a commodity being exploited by larger forces and that his return was dictated by others.

How juicy. But it’s Kyrie, who has a reputation for developing his own theories that sometimes deviate from conventional wisdom and even fact. Was he blaming the NBA? The Warriors? Coach Steve Kerr and his staff? The players? The front office? Dr. Rick Celebrini, the team’s medical/training chief?

If any of these components were Irving’s target, he missed.

All updates on Durant in the wake of his initial injury, described as a right calf strain, were met with vague responses from all parties employed by the Warriors. Kerr consistently said he had no idea when, or if, KD would return. The media relations staff issued weekly updates but never once projected a timetable.

It wasn’t until the afternoon of June 10, hours before tipoff of Game 5, that it was confirmed KD would make his return.

Durant, in an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes last month, backhanded the idea of the Warriors pressuring him to return.

“Hell no,” he said. “How can you blame them? Hell no,” he said. “I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back. It was only me and Rick working out every day.

Durant said he targeted Game 5, adding that there are risks to playing basketball and nobody was responsible for the injury.

“We just need to move on from that (expletive),” he said.

Irving surely was aware of these comments but clearly has not moved on.

The world eventually will know if the comments Friday exposed a fissure in the Durant-Irving friendship. Or if Irving went off-script. Or if both men actually planned this dissonance, Kyrie embracing the role of the heavy and shielding his friend from more of the scrutiny he detests.

NBA fans sound off on ‘one foul shot’ rule change in G League

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

In an effort to speed up games in the G League, the NBA is introducing a wild new rule that will cut down the number of foul shots by awarding players multiple points for hitting a single attempt.

According to a report from ESPN, the G League will have players shoot a single foul shot, regardless of whether the shooting foul would have normally resulted in an and-1 opportunity, a two-shot foul or a three-shot foul. If a player hits their single shot, they’re awarded either one, two or three points, depending on the situation. For example, if a shooter is fouled behind the arc, he’d only need to hit one free throw to score three points. In the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime periods, the foul shot format will revert to the traditional model.

The change should certainly accomplish the goal of improving the pace of play – but the impact to strategies involving intentional fouling, or the idea of a single foul shot being worth three points in some cases, has some fans revolting on Twitter.

Ron Artest Keeps It Real With Darius Miles and QRich

It’s Thursday and you know what that means: Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles is back for Episode 2. Ron Artest — aka “Ron Ron,” aka “Metta World Peace” — joins the fellas to talk about everything from growing up in Queens, to playing on one of the greatest AAU teams ever, to winning an NBA championship.

Ron keeps it real about growing up in the hood and explains why he is a true New Yorker at heart. He also discusses his two years at St. John’s before talking with Darius about what could have been if Darius hadn’t skipped college and instead played for the Red Storm.

Artest then divulges how upset he became after he accidentally broke Michael Jordan’s ribs the first time the two met. Funny enough, the same week he met MJ in summer league, Artest also knocked down a 14-year-old LeBron James when he drove in the paint.

The three then reminisce about Artest’s time with the Pacers, and why he thinks the Indiana team he was on with Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal was the best he ever played for — and why he feels responsible for not getting Reggie a title.

Artest then talks about going from small-market teams to big-market teams and why he felt so mentally clear once he got to the Lakers. He then talks about winning the championship in 2010, and explains the feelings he had getting on the podium.

The show wraps up with the three men talking about New York, and Ron shares his thoughts on the Melo situation. Ron Artest, one of the toughest defenders to ever do it, is the focus of another can’t-miss episode.

Steve Kerr responds to Kevin Durant’s comments about Warriors’ offense

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

A couple of weeks ago, former Warriors star Kevin Durant made headlines when he said the following about the Golden State offense:

“The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point,” the Brooklyn Nets forward told J.R. Moehringer of The Wall Street Journal. “We can totally rely on our system for maybe the first two rounds.

“Then the next two rounds we’re going to have to mix in individual play. We’ve got to throw teams off, because they’re smarter in that round of playoffs. 

“So now I have to dive into my bag, deep, to create stuff on my own, off the dribble, isos, pick-and-rolls, more so than let the offense create points for me.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr recently was asked about the two-time NBA Finals MVP’s comments, and his answer might surprise you.

“I wasn’t at all offended by what Kevin said because it’s basically the truth,” Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “You look at any system, I mean, I played the triangle with Michael Jordan. The offense ran a lot smoother all regular season and the first couple rounds of the playoffs than it did in the conference finals and Finals. It just did.

“That’s why guys like Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are who they are. They can transcend any defense. But defenses in the playoffs, deep in the playoffs, combined with the physicality of the game — where refs can’t possibly call a foul every time — means that superstars have to take over.

“No system is just going to dice a Finals defense up. You have to rely on individual play. I didn’t look at (his comment) as offensive. I look at that as fact.”

If you were hoping Kerr would say something inflammatory, you definitely are disappointed right now.

Also, he’s spot on.

No drama here!

LaMelo Ball is now a real No. 1 pick contender in 2020 NBA draft

ESPN releases glowing scouting report for LaMelo Ball

Christian Rivas | USA TODAY SPORTS

This past weekend, LaMelo Ball and Illawarra Hawks showed out in front of at least 27 NBA scouts and some national media at the NBL Blitz in Tasmania.

Among the people that flew from the United States to Australia to watch Ball play was ESPN NBA Draft analyst and reporter Jonathan Givony. Givony had Ball going No. 24 overall to the Brooklyn Nets in his 2020 NBA mock draft from June, but there’s reason to believe he’ll be considerably higher on ESPN’s next mock draft.

On Friday, Givony posted a glowing scouting report for Ball, citing Ball’s mature game, vision and 3-point range as the reasons to buy into him as a prospect:

Granted, scouting reports don’t mean everything, but the more Ball is talked about leading up to the 2020 NBA Draft, the higher his chances are of getting drafted in the lottery. Ball has said previously that his goal is to be drafted No. 1 overall, and everyone from Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young to his oldest brother, Lonzo, thinks he can do it.

Ball will have another chance to generate buzz next month, when he and the Hawks will have four of their games broadcast on ESPN. If he puts on a show with a national audience watching, it will only be a matter of time until he’s in the conversation as one of the best prospects in the draft.

Andre Iguodala finding it difficult to move on from time with Warriors

Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS 

LAGUNA SECA — Standing in a quiet space away from the roar of IndyCar engines, Andre Iguodala is willing to share some of the stories and thoughts that have transpired in the 12 weeks since the Warriors traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies.

For example: There are times, he admits, when he forgets he no longer is a Warrior, the voice of wisdom among former teammates Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney, as well as coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers.

Another example: There have been conversations with his new team — a buyout is not inconceivable — though he has yet to go to Memphis.

Iguodala explains that his presence at the racetrack festivities Sunday probably goes back to childhood, when his father, a NASCAR fan, would hijack the TV on Sundays and leave his sons and everyone else to pick up a book or watch along with him.

Iguodala relishes telling one Warriors story in particular, which developed in the days before and after the trade. He finds it funny. In a dark and surreal way, it is.

“Yo, I got this crazy story,” Iguodala tells NBC Sports Bay Area. “No one knows. No one knows this story. But I have a sense that something is going down; Bob Myers and I are pretty cool. We have our conversations, so we’re on the same page. It was, ‘It might happen, but it might not. Most likely, it will. So, we’ll see.’

“So, I’m texting my wife, telling her I’ll probably get traded because I think it’s 100 percent sure, even though everyone else is saying, it’s only a chance. Then, once KD (Kevin Durant) left, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ll probably get traded. They’re probably going to do a sign-and-trade, so they can get something back, to at least get assets for him.’ No one was thinking that. But I was thinking they’ll want to get assets back because they can’t just let him go. And they’ll probably move me as well. So, she asked me where I thought I would go. I said, ‘I don’t know, I’ll probably end up in Memphis or some s–t.’

“She says, ‘For real?’ I was like, ‘Maybe. But probably not. I don’t know.’

“The next day, I got the message. It was Memphis. I fell out laughing.”

A massive grin crosses Iguodala’s face. He likes this story and still has the text exchange with his wife, Christina, on his phone.

Citing the business of basketball and insisting he’s always aware of that aspect, he says he was not surprised by the trade. But it’s evident he’s not exactly eager to join the Grizzlies.

“We’ll see,” he says. “OK, maybe I shouldn’t say we’ll see. But we’re trying to figure out things on both sides. They’re trying to figure out some things, and I’m trying to figure out some things. As of today, we’re on the same page. Camp opens the next week. We’ll see. We’re on the same page, though.”

Is Iguodala ready to move on? Not quite. Too soon.

Iguodala spent most of the summer in the Bay Area, where he was a Warrior for six seasons, reaching the NBA Finals in the last five and winning three championships during the run. He also plans to live in the Bay Area for at least the next five or six years, no matter which jersey he wears when the NBA season begins next month.

There has been talk of a buyout deal with the Grizzlies. There also have been reports that Memphis does not plan to go that route. Asked if a buyout still is possible, Iguodala neither confirms nor denies the likelihood. Rather, he states his position on the matter.

“At this point, the only buyout that makes sense — if I’m speaking on someone else’s behalf, thinking as an agent — is you don’t leave money on the table,” he says. “Especially in this league. Because you’ll never get it back, no matter what people say. Negotiations are a tactic, so you’ve got to be careful how you approach it, or how you verbalize what you would do going forward. But you can’t leave anything on the table.”

This is the man who left $4 million on the table six years ago, when he joined the Warriors. The Sacramento Kings had presented an offer sheet worth $52 million over four years. The Nuggets and Warriors reached a sign-and-trade agreement, with Iguodala signing a four-year contract worth $48 million.

This indicates Iguodala is willing to make concessions — if he believes it’s worth it.

He chose the Warriors and enjoyed six seasons. From starter to Sixth Man to occasional starter — see the 2015 NBA Finals, for which he was named MVP — and always a coach on the floor and at practice, Iguodala accepted his roles and thrived.

“It was something special,” he says. “But I’m not the type to really reflect and enjoy because right now everything is about what’s next. I know it means more than I realize right now. I just haven’t been to sit back and say, ‘Yo, this was amazing.’ Everything has been focused on what’s next. There are so many things I want to accomplish that I haven’t been able to. But I know in 10 or 15 years, I can look back and say, ‘Yo, that was crazy.’

“But the relationships, with Steph and Klay and Draymond and KD and Shaun and Steve, the front office. Those things are special.”

When Iguodala saw Curry last Monday at TPC Harding Park for Curry’s benefit golf tournament, they talked about the usual things. The Warriors. The future. Upcoming practices. Until Iguodala caught himself.

“It was like I forget that I’m not on the same team,” he said. “I was texting with Loon and asking him what he was eating and talking about Jiu-Jitsu training. And then, it’s like, ‘Oh, I forgot. We’re not even on the same team anymore.’ I laugh about that all the time.”

Training camps open next week. The regular season begins on Oct. 22. Iguodala says he hasn’t bothered to look at the schedule, which he always does, partly to designate certain days, home or away, for golf possibilities.

Not interested. Not yet.

If you get the feeling that Iguodala is not ready move on, especially to Memphis, credit your powers of perception.

WATCH: Kobe Bryant’s Come Up with Darius Miles and QRich

Knuckleheads with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles returns in a huge way, with Kobe Bryant, aka “the Mamba,” joining the fellas. The three get right down to business, with Kobe talking about being the first guard to jump to the NBA straight out of high school, as well as about draft night — specifically how the Hornets pissed him off before trading him to the Lakers.

He then describes what it was like to be a teenager in a “grown man’s” league and how, in the long run, that was crucial to his success. The guys then ask him about his first All-Star Game, when he went up against MJ, and when Western Conference coach George Karl benched him for the entire fourth quarter. Kobe would go on to use Karl’s snub for years as a motivator whenever L.A. faced the Nuggets in the playoffs.

“The Black Bruce Wayne” also explains how he developed his arsenal of basketball weapons, and how he matured into “the baddest man on the planet.”

Kobe then discusses why he switched from wearing number 8 to number 24 — and why it was so important to him. And remember the time Kobe had 61 at the Garden? Well, it didn’t just happen. He says there was a reason he needed to go off like that, and divulges how that performance was crucial to the Lakers’ success the rest of that season.

He then talks about teaching his daughter the game, and how cool it has been for him to coach her team.

Finally, Kobe touches on battling through injuries and gives advice to anyone going through physical rehab. You won’t hear a more unfiltered version of Kobe anywhere!

Magic Johnson on Kevin Durant: ‘I hope he finds happiness’… KD responds (then deletes) on social media

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

Kevin Durant likely won’t play in the upcoming NBA season as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles, but he’s managed to remain one of the most talked about players in the league this offseason following his departure from Golden State. Durant elected to leave the Warriors after three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, and since landing in Brooklyn, Durant has been outspoken about his stops in Oklahoma City and Oakland, while also battling fans on Twitter.

In a revealing profile by WSJ. Magazine, Durant admitted that he hates the NBA at times, and reflected on his messy exit from a “toxic” Thunder organization. In the same piece, Durant made some interesting comments on how he fit in Golden State, where he believes “nobody could get a full acceptance of” him.

Stephen Curry recently responded to Durant’s comments on Steve Kerr’s offense, which Durant said “only works to a certain point.” According to Curry, the Warriors’ record is proof that the system works:

“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.”

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Durant’s relationship with Kerr was “not good at all,” which contributed to Durant’s decision to leave. On Friday, NBA legend Magic Johnson said he hopes Durant finds happiness in his career, but isn’t sure where Durant will be content.

“I hope that he finds happiness. If you can’t find happiness at Golden State, where are you going to find it at?

First of all, give Steph Curry a lot of credit for saying ‘you know what, I’m a two-time MVP, I’m willing to take a backseat because I want to win. Give Klay Thompson a lot of credit – because you know whose game suffered the most? [It] was Klay Thompson.

…. Kevin, if you won back-to-back titles, you’re the MVP of the Finals as well. Where are you going to find happiness at?”

UPDATE: Kevin Durant responded to the segment on Twitter, but later deleted his tweet.