NBA News Today …

The NBA regular season has begun – – in case you had not noticed or cared.  You will be enticed into caring about early season games by the inaugural “In-Season Tournament” that will take place in November and December.  Far too many NBA regular season games have no energy; the players are trying to win, but they are not TRYING TO WIN all the time.  There is a completely different “vibe” in the regular season as opposed to the playoffs.  So, here is my criterion for getting seriously interested in the “In-Season Tournament”:

  • If the players care enough about it to create that “playoff urgency” in their participation, then I will pay “playoff attention” and I will invest “playoff interest” in the event.

If not …

I would like to post a list of five NBA players here and ask a question about the list:

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  2. Luka Doncic
  3. Joel Embid
  4. Nikola Jocic
  5. Victor Wembanyama

What is striking about this list?  For me, the striking thing is that the first four entries on the list are certainly four of the Top Ten players in the league and the fifth player surely looks as if he will achieve that status soon.  AND all five of those players are foreign-born.  The reality in the world of basketball is that the US no longer has a monopoly on producing the best players.

Granted, the basketball talent pool here in the US is much deeper than in Europe or Africa where the five guys on my list come from, but the gap is narrowing as time goes on.  Consider the fate of this year’s US Men’s Team in the World Cup:

  • The US lost to Lithuania, Germany and finally to Canada in the “Bronze Medal Game”.

The World Cup Team this year featured NBA players; these were not college kids representing the USA.  Compare these results with those of the Dream Team in their foray into international basketball competition:

  • The Dream Team was 8-0 in their games
  • The average margin of victory was 44 points
  • The closest final score in that run was US 103 and Croatia 70.

The world is catching up with the US in basketball; that is not a lamentation; that is not a call to action; that is simply a fact.

Sticking with basketball items up for discussion, there was a surprising report earlier this week that Dwight Howard as part of a defense in a lawsuit against him admitted to “consensual sex” with a man but denied having another man dressed as a woman join them in a “forced threesome”.  Howard is just famous enough and the allegations here are just salacious enough to suggest that this story has legs – – and might provide more surprise headlines down the road.

I want to go on record here with my personal feelings about sexual activities and encounters.  I have done this before, but I want to be clear about my personal views in case this matter gets outrageous.  I have no problem with anyone engaging in sexual relations so long as five criteria are met:

  1. The act(s) are mutually consensual.
  2. The actors are both adults.
  3. The actors are not closely related.
  4. The actors are both alive.
  5. The actors are both of the same species.

In another ongoing saga involving a star NBA player, there have been reports that Ja Morant had been a “bad boy” more than once prior to his two gun toting incidents that got him an 8-game suspension for the first one and then a 25-game suspension that he is currently serving.  This report at says that Morant has been somewhat of a “problem child” since he was signed by the Grizzlies.  Earlier incidents were “swept under the rug” by the team because of Morant’s value on the court.  Rather than trying to summarize the incidents, let me suggest you read the report for yourself; it is about a 5 minute read.

Two things in that report made me shake my head:

  1. The report is that Morant’s father took Ja Morant out drinking when Morant was still underage after he had signed with the Grizzlies.  I was never nominated for “Father of the Year”, but that seems way over the line to me.
  2. People have – supposedly – tried to use the stories of Allen Iverson and Steve Francis as cautionary tales in speaking with Morant.  And some folks say he was dismissive …

Ja Morant is an outstanding basketball talent.  However, he is now at a point where his off-the-court behavior has become a cautionary tale.  It just may not end well …

Finally, these words from former middleweight boxing champion, Rocky Graziano:

“I quit school in the sixth grade because of pneumonia. Not because I had it, but because I couldn’t spell it.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



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