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Adam Silver shows pro-LGBT efforts to be disingenuous after returning All-Star Game to North Carolina 05.24.17 at 5:16 pm ET
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Adam Silver announced Wednesday the NBA will host the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C.  (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Silver announced Wednesday the NBA will host the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C. (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver receives a lot of credit in liberal circles for championing progressive causes. One of his signature moments came last summer, when he announced the league was pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from North Carolina due to the state’s anti-LGBT ordinance, known as House Bill 2. Prior to the relocation, Silver said a “change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event.”

But as it turns out, Silver was being disingenuous. The league announced Wednesday the 2019 All-Star Game will be hosted in Charlotte, despite the fact that LGBT people in North Carolina still face more oppression than they did prior to HB2’s passing.

While it’s true that Democratic governor Roy Cooper and the GOP-controlled state house repealed the bill earlier this year, the changes were perfunctory at best. Only the legislation’s most controversial provision, which prohibited transgender individuals from using the bathrooms or locker rooms of their identified gender in schools or government buildings, was struck down. Other discriminatory edicts in the bill were largely left unchanged.

For starters, local governments and schools can’t create any laws to protect transgender bathroom rights without approval from the state legislature, which is still dominated by Republicans. City and county governments also can’t pass their own LGBT ordinances until at least 2020. The state legislature is free to push that date back at any time.

The passage of HB2 last year brought great economic harm to North Carolina. More than 65 corporations, including Apple, General Electric and NIKE, signed an amicus brief to block the bill. Wired estimates the state lost nearly $400 million in the months after it was signed into law.

Much like Indiana two years ago, when then-Governor Mike Pence backtracked on portions of a stringent religious freedom bill after corporate pressure, the economic downturn in North Carolina forced the state government to act. Cooper, desperate to fulfill one of his signature campaign promises, quickly reached an agreement with the state legislature to repeal the most scrutinized aspect of the bill. The window dressing worked, with the NCAA announcing in April it will once again host championship tournaments in the state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam Silver, NBA,
Tinder might be a reason why NBA teams now win on the road more often 03.22.17 at 12:22 pm ET
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The Celtics are 21-17 on the road this season. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics are 21-17 on the road this season. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

NBA teams win on the road more often than they used to. The advent of Tinder and other messaging apps might be one of the reasons why.

In an ESPN the Magazine feature, Tom Haberstroh examines the success clubs have enjoyed away from home in recent years. In the 1987-88 season, for example, the home team won 67.9 percent of games. Ten years later, that number dropped to 57.5 percent, before rising up around the 60 percent threshold for the bulk of the 2000’s.

So far this season, home teams have been victorious 57.4 percent of the time, which is an all-time low. According to one former All-Star, players are now more rested when they’re traveling, because they can line up their hookups from the comfort of their hotel room. There’s no longer a need to troll the clubs until the wee hours of the morning.

“It’s absolutely true that you get at least two hours more sleep getting laid on the road today versus 15 years ago,” the player said. “No schmoozing. No going out to the club. No having to get something to eat after the club but before the hotel.”

There are other possible explanations for this phenomenon, of course. Teams now fly charter instead of commercial, meaning players always travel in luxury. There also isn’t a lot of boozing on flights anymore. Players take much better care of their bodies.

The road lifestyle is far less taxing than it used to be. Even the act of lining up a hot date doesn’t take any more effort than just typing a couple of messages with your thumb.

Read More: NBA,
Suns begin search for coach after firing Jeff Hornacek 02.02.16 at 9:11 am ET
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Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek

In the midst of a disastrous season, the Suns have fired coach Jeff Hornacek and promoted Earl Watson to interim coach. General manager Ryan McDonough (a former Celtics executive) made the decision official with a team statement Monday morning announcing that Hornacek was out after 2 1/2 seasons at the helm.

While Hornacek found success in his first year with the Suns, improving their record by 23 games, the team’s recent struggles could not be overlooked. Phoenix had lost 10 of 11 games, and 19 of its last 21. The Suns’ overall record of 14-35 ties them for fourth worst in the NBA.

While coaching may have been partially to blame for the Suns’ abysmal 2015-16 campaign, it is worth noting that they have some significant personnel issues as well. Star point guard Eric Bledsoe tore knee cartilage a month ago and will not play again this season. Backup point guard Brandon Knight has been out with a groin injury. Offseason acquisition Tyson Chandler has been battling multiple injuries, and forward Markieff Morris asked to be traded after his twin brother Marcus was dealt to the Pistons.

Assuming Watson, who retired from his NBA playing days two years ago, is not the permanent solution in Phoenix, some names that have been tossed around locally and nationally as potential candidates include former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni, recently fired Cavaliers coach (and Framingham native) David Blatt, Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton and former Celtics assistant and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.

ESPN also reported the team was interested in former Suns point guard Steve Nash, but he apparently made it clear he has no interest in the position.

Read More: David Blatt, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Tom Thibodeau
NBA says Donald Sterling’s wife will lose share of Clippers if husband voted out 05.12.14 at 12:18 pm ET
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Despite claims from Shelly Sterling, the wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, that she would fight to maintain her ownership of the franchise even if her husband was forced to sell the team, the NBA has quickly shot down any such potential scenario.

In a statement released on Sunday night, NBA officials stated that if Donald Sterling, who has been banned for life from any association with the Clippers and the NBA for making racially insensitive comments, is indeed ousted from the NBA, all of his ownership partners, including his wife, will also been shown the door.

“Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner’€™s interested is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team’€™s owners’€™ interests are automatically terminated as well,” said NBA spokesman Mike Bass in the statement. “It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.”

Shelly Sterling’€™s camp was quick to reply to the NBA’€™s statement.

“We do not agree with the league’s self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances,” attorney Pierce O’€™Donnell said. “We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation.”

Read More: Donald Sterling, los angeles clippers, NBA, Shelly Sterling
Warriors reportedly show interest in Steve Kerr after firing Mark Jackson 05.07.14 at 12:06 pm ET
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Despite leading the Warriors to some of their most successful playoff runs in years, NBA coach Mark Jackson was fired on Tuesday after three seasons in Oakland.

On paper, it seemed like Jackson was doing an excellent job reviving a franchise that had only made the playoffs once in the 17 years prior to Jackson’s hiring.

After a rough first season that saw Jackson lead the Warriors to 23-36 record during the labor-shortened 2011-12 season, the former NBA point guard led his team to a combined 98-66 record over the next two years with appearances in the Western Conference semifinals during both campaigns. It was the first time that Golden State has made the postseason in consecutive years since 1991-92.

As a whole, Jackson boasted a 121-109 record with Golden State.

Despite the success that Jackson enjoyed on the court, the same can’t be said off the hardwood as Jackson often clashed with management over personnel decisions.

“Obviously [the decision] was not made exclusively on wins and losses,” said Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who compared his decision to fire Jackson to his prior experience as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley.

“There’s a different CEO that may be required to achieve success at different stages of an organization’s development,” Lacob said. “When you’re a start-up company it’s one thing, when you’re a small-growth company it’s one thing and when you’re a mature company that’s trying to reach a billion in sales — or in this case win an NBA championship — perhaps that’s a different person. And we just felt overall we needed a different person.”

The Warriors reportedly are focused on former NBA guard and current TV analyst Steve Kerr as a top pick for the job. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the team also was looking at Stan Van Gundy as a possible option.

Kerr has received attention from multiple teams looking for a coach, with the Knicks currently believed to be the front runner for his services thanks to Kerr’s close relationship with the team’s president, Phil Jackson.

Read More: Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson, NBA, Phil Jackson
Lakers star Kobe Bryant likely to miss NBA All-Star Game due to lingering knee issue 01.29.14 at 9:22 am ET
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Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is likely to miss the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16 as he continues to deal with a knee issue. Bryant fractured a bone in his left knee on Dec. 17 and has not played since. The 16-time NBA All-Star tore his left Achilles tendon last April and returned for six games before the knee break.

The initial prognosis on the knee was that it would keep Bryant out for six weeks. According to a recent tweet from the Lakers, it appears Bryant will miss more time. Tweeted the Lakers: INJURY UPDATE: Kobe Bryant was examined tonight & still has pain and swelling in his left knee. Examined again in approximately 3 weeks. 

ESPN Los Angeles quoted Bryant as saying that he felt he didn’t deserve the All-Star honor because of his lack of playing time.

“With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you got to do the right thing as well,” Bryant said. “€œMy fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they’ve been putting in.”

If Bryant does miss the All-Star Game, a replacement from the Western conference will be chosen by the West All-Star coach.

The Lakers have lost 17 of their last 20 games.

Read More: kobe bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA,
Nets hold players-only meeting after suffering another disappointing loss 11.19.13 at 11:47 am ET
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The Nets‘ latest game against the Trail Blazers on Monday was perhaps the best representation of their season so far, as it was marked by inconsistency and ultimately disappointment.

After hitting 14 of their first 19 shots and scoring 40 points in the first quarter, the Nets completely fell apart, finishing 3-of-18 from the field in the third quarter before ultimately falling, 108-98.

After the game, Brooklyn’s locker room remained closed for 25 minutes, as the team held a players-only meeting. When the doors finally opened, a majority of the team had left, including former Celtics Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, leaving only Mason PlumeeJason Terry and Shaun Livingston available to answer for the team’s tough defeat.

After acquiring Pierce and Garnett from the Celtics on June 28 and constructing a team with a $100 million payroll, the Nets entered the 2013-14 season as one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. However, Brooklyn has failed to live up to expectations, as the Nets are last in the Atlantic Division with a 3-7 record and have lost five of their last six games.

Injuries have played a big part of the team’s struggles so far, as Deron WilliamsAndrei Kirilenko and Brook Lopez all missed Monday’s contest, while Garnett and Pierce have missed games as well.

Garnett and Pierce contributed to the Nets’ shooting woes against Portland. Garnett started off strong, scoring 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the first quarter, but he cooled off considerably, finishing the game with 16 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Pierce could not get anything going all night, as he scored 11 points on 2-0f-12 shooting.

Pierce and Garnett have struggled this season, as Pierce is on pace to post the lowest scoring average of his career (13.2 points per game) while Garnett only shot 30 percent from the field over the first eight games. Monday’s game was the first time this season that Garnett had scored in double figures.

The Nets’ attempt to turn their season around will not get any easier, as they are set to play five of their next seven games on the road to close out the month. Brooklyn is 1-5 in games outside Brooklyn.

‘€œWe’€™ve got to just get it done, man,’€ said guard Alan Anderson. ‘€œWe can’€™t keep saying it. We just have to do it.’€

Read More: Brooklyn Nets, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, kevin garnett
Pacers’ Roy Hibbert fined $75K for using gay slur, swearing in news conference 06.03.13 at 9:21 am ET
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The NBA fined Pacers center Roy Hibbert $75,000 Sunday for using a gay slur and cursing during his news conference following Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Hibbert ended a response to a question with the phrase ‘€œno homo’€ before calling reporters an offensive term Saturday. He apologized for his comments in a statement Sunday.

“They were disrespectful and offensive and not a reflection of my personal views,” Hibbert said in an apology. “I used a slang term that is not appropriate in any setting, private or public, and the language I used definitely has no place in a public forum, especially over live television.”

He also tweeted at openly gay NBA player Jason Collins looking to speak with him.

While NBA commissioner David Stern said he had no doubts that Hibbert’€™s apology was sincere, the fine was needed to prevent these types of comments from being made again.

Hibbert and the Pacers will return to action against the Heat on Monday night in Miami for a series-deciding Game 7.

Read More: Jason Collins, NBA, Roy Hibbert,
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announces plan to keep Kings in town 03.01.13 at 9:30 am ET
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Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced Thursday that two investors are prepared to buy the Kings and build a new arena for them in Sacramento, and that the bid will be submitted to the NBA on Friday.

Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24 Hour Fitness, is the investor hoping to buy the team and prevent it from moving to Seattle. Ron Burkle, the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, will lead the effort to build a new downtown arena that will increase the Kings’ chances of staying in town, Johnson said.

“With all due respect to Seattle, I do hope they get a team someday, but let me be perfectly clear, it is not going to be this team,” said Johnson, a former NBA All-Star. “Not our team. No way.”

Johnson has rallied local support for the Kings over the last few months, with 20 local investors each committing $1 million. Those investors, including former Kings star Mitch Richmond, aim to buy the 7 percent share of the team that is under control of a federal bankruptcy court.

“He will undoubtedly bring credibility to our efforts,” Johnson said of Richmond.

Read More: NBA, Sacramento Kings,
Bulls’ Derrick Rose says he has no date set to return this season 02.13.13 at 10:07 am ET
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Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said in an interview with USA Today posted Tuesday that he has no target date for his return to the court, and indicated he might miss the rest of the season.

Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season in the playoffs against the 76ers and has missed the entire 2012-13 season.

“I don’t have a set date,” Rose told USA Today. “I’m not coming back until I’m 110 percent. Who knows when that can be? It can be within a couple of weeks. It could be next year. It could be any day. It could be any time. It’s just that I’m not coming back until I’m ready.”

Rose said that right now he’s “probably in the high 80s. Far, far away.”

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said there has never been a specific date when Rose was expected back in the game.

“To me, it’s why we’ve taken the approach that we have,” Thibodeau said. There’s no timetable. It’s when he’s ready. We’re not measuring it against someone else’s timetable. It’s just this is Derrick. When he’s ready, he will go.”

Read More: Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, NBA,