New blood bring life to weary Warriors

UNTV News   •   November 1, 2017   •   4354

FILE PHOTO: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) moves the ball as center JaVale McGee (1) provides the screen against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half at Staples Center, October 30, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports 

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With each passing trip to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors add to the championship miles that threaten to stall their run.

The price of continued excellence in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the grind of long seasons and the challenge of sustaining concentration throughout.

Having reached the last three NBA Finals, winning two, the Warriors have shown signs of such weariness during their inconsistent 5-3 start to the campaign.

But helping to balance the redundancy of another Golden State regular season is the insertion of new faces.

Reserves like Omri Casspi of Israel, Nick Young and rookie Jordan Bell will not steal any headlines from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant this season but their arrival is invaluable to the Warriors’ long journey.

“It’s always important to add some new guys, new blood to a championship team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Reuters following his team’s 141-113 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

“I think that’s where Omri, and Nick and Jordan Bell come into play. They will help us through the year for sure.”

When the Warriors enter each off-season to target acquisitions it is not just to retool, but to refresh.

Last season, veteran pick ups like David West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee renewed the team’s spirit and helped propel another title run.

The Warriors are counting on the same effect from this year’s fresh faces.

Chemistry and good vibes aside, Casspi brings versatility at 6-foot-9 as a ball handler and passer; Young is a fun-loving streak shooter and Bell is a spry athlete.

“I think they’re better when you look at all the stuff they’ve added,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I think they had a great summer.”

The Warriors were a unit in command of all their weapons against Los Angeles on Monday, shooting and passing the Clippers out of the arena.

“Great teams have that balance where every night, no matter what lineup is out there you know what your identity is and how you’re going to get a win,” Curry said.

This year’s version of the Warriors are still finding that identity, and Kerr knows the season will include letdowns like the team’s blown lead defeats to Houston and Detroit this month.

Kerr remembers playing for the two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls who began their 1997-98 campaign with a lackluster 8-7 mark.

“There’s a mental fatigue (after winning championships) more than anything. You feel it after a number of years,” Kerr said.

“I can tell this year is going to be a lot harder than that first year (in 2014).”

Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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