Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

In an effort to broaden the scope of the sport of basketball across the world, the NBA and FIBA announced today that they are planning to launch a basketball league featuring 12 club teams across Africa. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the creation of the league during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

The league will reportedly feature 12 franchises that will begin play in January 2020, with existing African club teams having a chance to qualify for the league. The new league will be called the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and will be based on already existing team competitions that FIBA has organized throughout Africa.

“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” Silver said in a statement (via ESPN). “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”

The NBA and FIBA also announced that they are planning on conducting qualification tournaments later this year in order to find the 12 best teams to represent countries including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. According to the statement, there will be no more than two teams from any single country in the league.

Along with the announcement of the league, the NBA also announced that by the start of the 2019-2020, a revamped direct-to-consumers offering of NBA games will be available for fans in Africa, along with FIBA also promising to dedicate financial support and resources toward the development of the sport in Africa, which will include money that goes to training players, coaches, referees, and infrastructure.

There are currently 12 players from African countries on NBA rosters. Joel EmbiidLuc Mbah a Moute and Pascal Siakam are from Cameroon; Bismack Biyombo and Emmanuel Mudiay are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Abdel Nader is from Egypt; Cheick Diallo is from Mali; Josh Okogie is from Nigeria; Serge Ibaka is from the Republic of the Congo; Luol Deng and Thon Maker are from South Sudan; and Salah Mejri is from Tunisia.

 

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Things haven’t gone super smoothly for the Celtics this season, and there are apparently some underlying issues within the organization involving All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. According to a report from ESPN.com’s Tim Bontemps, members of the Celtics have been “frustrated” and “disappointed” with Irving throughout the season.

From ESPN:

“But while Irving said all the right things before this season began, things haven’t gone according to plan during it, as virtually everyone involved with the Celtics has been some combination of disappointed and frustrated by how this season has played out so far. That has been especially true with regard to Irving, multiple sources said, due to a variety of factors.

Irving is undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his career — but it hasn’t translated to wins. The Celtics are, in theory, more talented than the team that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals without Irving and Gordon Hayward last season. But Boston is in fourth place in the East, getting there only after Friday’s win thanks in part to the Indiana Pacers plummeting after losing Victor Oladipo for the season because of a torn quad tendon.

Irving’s frustrations have spilled over to other members of the team. He has repeatedly aired his grievances with Boston’s young players — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier — through the media, including after a loss in Orlando last month. It was after that same loss that Irving confronted coach Brad Stevens in the huddle for not calling the potential game-deciding shot for him, and Hayward on the court afterward for passing the ball to Tatum instead of him… The young players have, in turn, been frustrated with Irving.” 

After publicly declaring that he planned to re-sign with the Celtics last October, Irving has since back-tracked on those comments, leading many to speculate that he could be interested in leaving Boston to sign elsewhere when he hits free agency this summer.

“At the end of the day, like I said, I’ve spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms [of] making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, anybody in this business,” Irving said regarding his upcoming free agency. “I don’t owe anybody s**t.”

When asked if his mindset has changed regarding re-signing with Boston, Irving said: “Ask me July 1.”

While the Celtics are a legitimate contender in the East this season, the long-term future of their most productive player seems increasingly uncertain.

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The 2019 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, with some major players swapping teams. Anthony Davis is still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, however, and it appears that several teams are trying to position themselves for the coming summer.

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One of those teams is the Los Angeles Clippers, who moved off of the contract of Blake Griffin a year ago. The Clippers are going to be a team in play for several big-time free agents, one of which is Kawhi Leonard.

But according to one report, LA also has its eyes on another star. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Clippers are looking to pair Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant with Leonard next season.

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Kevin Durant’s desire to be mentioned with the GOATs might result in him leaving the comfort of the Warriors’ super team and embark on a quest to win a title on his own.

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According to The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss, Durant “believed” beating the Cavaliers during the 2017 Finals would allow him to dethrone King James and become the new face of the NBA. Yet, although Warriors won the championship, KD was still in LeBron’s shadow. This is because despite Durant gaining the Final’s MVP, James averaged a triple-double and was still seen as the series best player. To add insult to ego, Durant’s second place standing didn’t change even after sweeping the Cavs in the finals the following year.

The reason for this is rooted in his teammates. While his controversial decision to join an already stacked Golden State Warriors team proved fruitful in terms of championships, it has been detrimental to Durant’s legacy. He needs to start building with another team before being considered a GOAT. Jordan is still and forever will be the Goat. END OF STORY!

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Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid felt he was targeted by the NFL for random drug testing that was not truly random during the regular season, but it does not appear his complaint is going to get him anywhere.

Back in November, Reid revealed that he had been selected for random drug testing for the fifth time since he signed with the Panthers on Sept. 27. That led him to conclude that the system “doesn’t feel very random,” which was basically an accusation that the NFL was trying to railroad him. On Tuesday, the NFL and NFL Players Association released a statement insisting there is no evidence of that.

 

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Vince Carter turns 42 years old on January 26th. He is the definition of a veteran, a man who has changed his game so much from his younger days in order to stay in the NBA. Carter has played for eight teams during his career, but many remember him primarily as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

Carter played it the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Canada, and he was one of the defining players of a young generation entering the league at the end of the 1990s. Carter left Toronto after a tumultuous final run that saw him benched at times, butting heads with Raptors management and coaching.

Fans in Toronto have come to re-embrace Carter in the years since his departure, and many seem to hold a soft spot for him.

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What’s a catch? Better yet, what’s a recovery? And what happens when there is no recovery?

That controversy briefly reared its ugly head early Sunday in the wild-card playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears.

The good news is that the call on the field, ultimately, was correct. The bad news is that the sequence was confusing to viewers as it was unfolding.

In the moment, game officials were left to sort out a situation in which Mitchell Trubiskyhit receiver Anthony Miller with a pass just before halftime. Miller took a few steps before losing possession as Eagles defensive back Cre’von LeBlanc grabbed hold. The play was ruled an incomplete pass, but replays showed Miller securing and then losing possession of the ball, apparently making it a completion followed by a fumble. Here’s the kicker: No one recovered the ball, which was picked up by an official.

So often, defensive players scoop up a dead ball and run with it, not giving officials a chance to interfere. Better to suffer the momentary embarrassment of a touchdown or return that doesn’t count than to violate Coaching 101 and fail to play on until you’re certain the action is over. In the earlier Chargers-Ravens wild-card game, the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey did just that, returning a Melvin Gordon fumble more than 100 yards, only to have officials determine that Gordon was down and that Humphrey’s return never happened.

Back to the Eagles-Bears situation. Because neither team gained possession, officials (correctly) stuck with their (incorrect) initial ruling, which was later explained by Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating.