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Saturday, November 18, 2017

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Nerlens Noel will wear No. 5 to remind himself of how many teams passed on him

Nerlens-Noel-draftFormer Kentucky Nerlens Noel was one of the most highly-touted recruits in the nation when he committed to the Wildcats last year. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by a torn ACL he suffered against Florida on Feb. 12.

Prior to the injury, many believed Noel would be the top player taken in the 2013 NBA Draft. Instead, he slipped all the way to No. 6 where he was taken by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Earlier this week, we learned that Noel used his draft day slide to help him pick his jersey number with the Sixers.

As Ball Don’t Lie reminded us, the move is not unprecedented. Gilbert Arenas chose to wear jersey No. 0 in the NBA because critics said he would get zero minutes at Arizona in college.

Noel is also from Massachusetts, so his decision may have been made easier when considering Kevin Garnett — a fellow power forward — wore No. 5 for the Boston Celtics. Whatever the case, the Sixers probably don’t care where their rookie draws motivation from. If Noel comes back healthy and his surgically-repaired knee presents no problems, he could end up being a steal outside the top five of the draft.

H/T SLAM Online

Boston Celtics take out full-page ad thanking Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

Celtics-thank-Paul-Pierce-Kevin-Garnett

When Paul Pierce retires from the NBA, his No. 34 Boston Celtics jersey will be hanging in the rafters at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 could very well be right next to it. Pierce spent the first 15 seasons of his NBA career in Boston and is one of the most beloved players in team history. Garnett helped the Celtics win their 17th championship the first season he began bleeding green.

The Celtics have begun their inevitable rebuilding project, which started with Pierce and Garnett being shipped to the Brooklyn Nets. On Friday, the team took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe thanking its future Hall of Famers.

Expect a deafening ovation for Pierce and Garnett when they return to Boston as visitors next season. They deserve every second of it.

Photo via Twitter/Dave Cutler

JT Snow: All the marketing could be distracting Giants

tim-lincecum-champagneThe San Francisco Giants have won two World Series titles in the past three years, but they do not look like a championship contender this season. A win on Thursday night against the San Diego Padres was only their third in the last 17 games, leaving them with a record of 41-50. Former Giants first baseman JT Snow has an interesting take on where the problems may be stemming from.

Snow, who now works as an assistant to the general manager in San Francisco, worries that the team has gone too mainstream.

“What I see sometimes is the Giants have a great marketing train and these guys are well-marketed and they’re out there in commercials and they’re selling hats and books and we’re seeing them in all kinds of different things,” Snow said, via CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Steinmetz. “But you need to re-focus and baseball comes first. These guys are baseball players, and they’re not media stars.”

More specifically, Snow feels that social media plays a role in distracting players of this generation.

“The blogging, the texting, the tweeting … that stuff wasn’t around when I played, and we were concerned about showing up to the ballpark and playing hard for three hours and giving everything we had – going home and coming back the next day,” he said. “Now there are so many other distractions. There’s so much media, there’s the internet, there’s every channel and talk show.

“You have to say ‘No’ sometimes and you have to remember why you’re there and the reason you’re in the big leagues.”

Snow could be right. We know sites like Twitter can get players into trouble and serve as a distraction, but my guess is the issue with the Giants is more about complacency. It’s hard enough to stay hungry after winning your first World Series ring, let alone doing it again two years later. The Giants may not have as much talent as they had in past years, or they may simply not want it as much.

PS: Chad Gaudin’s recent Las Vegas debacle probably hasn’t helped.

Torii Hunter gives funny interview after Tigers-White Sox brawl (Video)

Torii-HunterDetroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was as angry as you will ever see him during his team’s bench-clearing brawl against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. For those who missed it, you can see video of the melee here.

It all started in the bottom of the fifth when Chicago pitcher Chris Sale threw a pitch that went up under Prince Fielder’s chin after Miguel Cabrera belted a solo home run. The next inning, White Sox rookie catcher Josh Phegly hit a grand slam and Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen responded by throwing behind Alexei Ramirez, who then started toward the mound and the benches cleared.

After the game, Torii Hunter was asked about the brawl. He responded with several entertaining sound effects and refused to comment.

“The game was tough, man,” Hunter said with a sarcastic look on his face. “We lost the game and we’ll try to bounce back tomorrow.”

When reporters pressed on, Hunter made it clear he wasn’t going to get into detail about what happened.

“Is that the phone I hear ringing?” he joked. “It’s tough, man. You guys got tough questions today. That’s something we try to stay away from. We just play the game. The game polices itself. That’s all I got to say.”

There’s a reason Hunter has a reputation for being a great clubhouse guy. He could have fueled the fire, but instead he kept it vague and gave reporters nothing to write about. That’s the mark of a veteran and a leader.

Alleged attack victim suing Scottie Pippen for $4 million

Scottie PippenScottie Pippen was accused of assaulting a man outside a restaurant in Malibu and sending him to the hospital last month, but the former Chicago Bulls star was not arrested. A story later came out claiming that Pippen acted in self-defense and was being harassed by the alleged victim while he was eating dinner with friends and family. Now, the victim is suing Pippen.

Attorneys for 49-year-old Camran Shafighi filed a $4 million lawsuit against Pippen on Thursday claiming he suffers from headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing and other medical issues stemming from Pippen’s alleged attack on him.

“This has been pretty devastating to him,” Shafighi’s lawyer Lee Boyd told the LA times on Thursday. “This was not the result of some drunken barroom brawl. This is a guy who wanted to take a picture with a cellphone.”

Boyd claims Shafighi simply requested a photo with Pippen for his girlfriend’s 12-year-old son when he was knocked to the ground with a single punch and kicked while he was unconscious.

Police continue to investigate the alleged assault. Pippen was sought out for a possible arrest shortly after the incident occurred, but he voluntarily spoke with investigators who decided an arrest was not warranted. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said witnesses told police the other man involved in the altercation with Pippen appeared to be intoxicated.

Even if Shafighi wins the lawsuit, $4 million might be aiming a bit high. Pippen works as a special advisor to the Bulls’ president and chief operating officer, but he is not as wealthy as you would expect a six-time NBA champion to be. He was reportedly in a ton of debt several years ago when he was flirting with the idea of an NBA comeback, so I doubt Pippen has millions of dollars lying around to shell out in a settlement.

Jay-Z: I’m a problem for sports agents

Jay-ZJay-Z entered the sports agency business recently and has already had a big impact on the industry. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports partnered with Creative Arts Agency and already stole client Robinson Cano from Scott Boras, signed Kevin Durant, Skylar Diggins, and NFL players Victor Cruz and Geno Smith. Jay-Z even recently boasted about taking Cano from Boras in a rap song.

Hova’s presence in the sports agency business has caused some panic among agents, and the rap star/business mogul says that’s for good reason.

“So me coming, that’s a problem for [sports agents] because now they have to go to work,” Jay-Z told Power 105.1 during an interview this week. “Now they have to wake up. Now they have to do things. So they don’t want me to be around because now they have to do something for these athletes.

“And my whole thing is, for the most part, I’m going to do more for the athlete than they’re going to do for me, like, at the end of the day. But I do these because it’s an extension of the bigger goal. The bigger goal is for all artists to get their just due. Not to get half-assed agents or people who rob them, or people who don’t care about their finances. They don’t even care about them. That’s why those guys go broke in four years.”

Though Jay-Z talked about having a greater purpose for entering the sports agency business, he still recognizes that it is a business and he will be making money.

“Not that it’s all like this philanthropic thing. It’s a business as well. But, again, I’m going to contribute just as much or more to an athletes career than they can ever give me.”

Five clients in and business is just getting going for Jay-Z. He even became a certified NBA and MLB agent in June.

H/T Thunder Rumblings

Marshall Henderson reportedly in possession of cocaine, marijuana

Marshall HendersonMarshall Henderson reportedly was in possession of cocaine and marijuana when he was pulled over by police in May, which could have led to his suspension by the Ole Miss basketball team.

Ole Miss announced on Wednesday that Henderson was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. According to a report, Henderson’s violation was a failed a drug test. Now we’re learning what may have prompted the test (if it wasn’t randomly administered).

The Wall Street Journal reports that Henderson was pulled over by Oxford police in May on suspicion of speeding. The officer noticed a smell of marijuana in the car and says Henderson handed him a bag that contained a small nugget of marijuana. A search by a police dog also turned up a clear plastic bag that appeared to contain a small amount of cocaine.

Henderson was cited for having no proof of insurance, but not charged with anything else.

Henderson has a long history with drugs. In 2009, he was busted for trying to buy 57 grams of marijuana with counterfeit money. He spent some time in jail in 2012 for violating his probation by testing positive for alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.

Based on all this information, is anyone really surprised by the May events?

Ronda Rousey: Gina Carano had a fantastic rack

Gina CaranoESPN The Magazine released its “Body Issue” this week, which features numerous athletes posing nude. Female MMA fighter Miesha Tate was one of the athletes who posed for the magazine, following the lead of nemesis Ronda Rousey, who posed the previous year. In a companion piece for the Body Issue, Amanda Hess wrote an interesting article about how breasts impact female athletes.

[Photos: Miesha Tate poses nude in Body Issue]

Hess says a typical A-cup boob weighs 0.43 pounds, and that a woman with D-cup breasts could be carrying around four extra pounds compared to someone with smaller breasts. The extra weight can cause neck and back pain, among other problems. Some female athletes get breast reductions to reduce the interference caused by their chest.

For the article, Rousey described the difficulties of fighting and grappling in the octagon while worrying about keeping her breasts covered. She had a particularly tough time concealing her breasts while struggling with Liz Carmouche in her last fight because of a wardrobe issue. Rousey also offered some pretty interesting quotes on the matter, specifically saying that large breasts are not very common among elite female athletes.

“Gina Carano was an amazing fighter, and she had a fantastic rack,” Rousey told ESPNW, but “You don’t see big titties in the Olympics, and I think that’s for a reason.”

Carano, 31, went 12-1-1 in her Muay Thai career, and 7-1 in MMA. Carano lost to Cyborg Santos in 2009 for her lone MMA loss and has not returned to the cage since. Instead, she has pursued an acting career and has acted in movies like “Fast & Furious 6” and “Haywire.”

Carano became extremely popular because of a combination of her good looks and excellent fighting abilities. Rousey has taken over her spot as the face of women’s MMA.

Rousey’s point about not seeing many large-breasted women in the Olympics is probably accurate. Elite athletes who are curvy like Carano or Serena Williams seem to be rare.

(more…)

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Jim Leyland ejected in Tigers-White Sox bench-clearing brawl (Video)

Jim Leyland was ejected after going pretty nuts on the umpires during a bench-clearing brawl between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox on Thursday at Comerica Park.

The issues between the teams began in the bottom of the fifth when Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw at Prince Fielder following a Miguel Cabrera home run that made it 3-1 Detroit. Unless Sale is a really good actor, his body language indicated that he missed his target on the pitch. The next inning, rookie catcher Josh Phegly hit a grand slam to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead. Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen responded by throwing behind Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez two batters later.

Jim Leyland Chad FairchildAn angered Ramirez took a few steps towards the mound and pointed at Putkonen for throwing behind him, leading to the benches clearing. Leyland came out of the dugout, raged on the umpires, and was ejected. After initially going to the clubhouse, he came back out to complain that he and Putkonen were tossed while no White Sox were — namely Ramirez.

Alexei ended up getting a single in his at-bat. I’ve never seen Leyland get so heated. Did he run out of cigarettes this morning or something?

Andrei Kirilenko to sign with Brooklyn Nets for mini mid-level exception

Andrei Kirilenko

The Brooklyn Nets already beefed up their roster by making a big trade with the Boston Celtics, and they are not done making moves.

According to NBA reporter Peter Vecsey, the Nets have agreed to sign Andrei Kirilenko for the mini mid-level exception, which is $3.1 million.

The Nets are getting a darn good defensive player for very little money. AK47 was set to earn $10.2 million this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he opted out of the deal in search of a bigger contract. Minnesota GM Flip Saunders was not accommodating when it came to dealing Kirilenko in potential sign-and-trades to San Antonio or Oklahoma City, so the Russian forward ended up with Brooklyn on a discounted deal.

Kirilenko, 32, probably thought he could get one last multi-year contract and guessed wrong. He will add depth to the Nets, who already have Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez.

Because of the luxury tax, the Nets could end up paying around $15 million just to sign AK47.

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