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Chandler Parsons broke up with girlfriend Robyn Crowley

Chandler Parsons Robyn Crowley

Chandler Parsons and Robyn Crowley are no longer dating. The Dallas Mavericks forward had dated Crowley for quite some time (see: Parsons birthday pictures), but there have been several indications recently that Parsons is single. He confirmed his relationship status during an entertaining interview Chelsea Handler last week.

“I do not have a girlfriend,” Parsons said.

While that means Parsons is no longer going out with Crowley, it also means he is not dating 18-year-old Kendall Jenner. The two were spotted having dinner together recently, but Parsons said it was a group activity and not a date.

“It’s kind of a long story. I train with Gunnar Peterson here in L.A. She works out before me, so I kind of just got to know her, and then we had dinner,” he explained. “And the next thing I know I was on TMZ. It was more of a group activity.”

Parsons was also exposed earlier this week by a wanna-be social media model who decided to go public with some direct messages she exchanged with the 25-year-old at the end of June. She claims to have a reason for calling out Parsons and said she would reveal it if she got 500 retweets. However, the young lady’s Twitter account has been suspended. You can see more pictures of her here.

In any event, we now understand why Parsons appears to be playing the field.

Kobe Bryant takes over 1995 high school playoff game (Video)

Kobe-Bryant-high-schoolAny NBA fan has seen highlights of Kobe Bryant taking over a game. The five-time NBA champion scored 81 points in a single game once, and he has scored 50 or more in a game 25 times in his career. But have you ever seen Kobe dominate in high school? We have you covered.

In 1995, Kobe put Lower Merion High School on his back during a state tournament game against Norristown. Bryant, who wore No. 33 as a teenager, knocked down three 3-pointers in the third quarter and rallied his team back to tie the game heading into the fourth. He then completely took over.

Kobe hit shots from inside the paint and beyond the arc en route to 18 points in the fourth quarter alone. He finished with 35 points (just 6 in the first half) and 12 rebounds to send Lower Merion to the semifinals.

“We came out in the second half and were like, ‘This is our half. We’re not gonna lose this,’” a young Kobe said after the win. “I sort of felt a personal challenge because I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself … There was no way I was going down without a fight. I put my best on the floor.”

Different year, same Kobe.

Derrick Rose wants to become better leader

Derrick RoseDerrick Rose has a lot of obstacles to overcome as he returns from multiple knee injuries/surgeries that have limited him over the past three seasons. Rose says he “has no fears” when it comes to his knee injuries, and Team USA personnel such as Coach K and Tom Thibodeau have praised his game.

Rose may be returning to form physically and unconcerned about that part of his game, but there is one area he’d like to improve.

“Right now, that mental part is my part of the game that I’m missing. That leadership being on the court, getting guys together, just knowing that it’s us against everyone when we’re on the floor,” Rose said Friday in Chicago where he was practicing with Team USA ahead of a game against Brazil via ESPN Chicago.

“For me, this is my chance to actually become a better leader. Being more vocal in the locker room. Being more vocal on the floor. [Saturday] starts all that. It’s a huge journey for me. I’m not trying to shy away from it. I think it’s going to help me with the Bulls next season, and it’s going to help me have a better relationship with my teammates. Because I always have a good relationship, but being vocal and always talking to them I think it should be even better so I’m excited about it.”

This is noteworthy because Rose has always come across as a lead by example type of player. He’s not the kind of guy who will get involved in actively recruiting players to join the Bulls, which is something you’d expect out of a team leader. He still might not do that, but at least he wants to work on his leadership going forward. That can help make him a better overall player and make his teams even more difficult.

John Calipari: I wouldn’t have gone to Cavs even for LeBron James

John CalipariA little over two months ago, a report surfaced that indicated John Calipari was in “deep discussions” with the Cleveland Cavaliers before he finalized a new contract extension with Kentucky. That was before LeBron James shocked the world by announcing he was heading home to Cleveland.

In hindsight, Calipari was probably using the Cavs and any other NBA team as leverage to get more money from Kentucky. But what if he knew that taking a job in the NBA would mean getting a chance to coach the greatest player on the planet? Would Calipari have left the Wildcats for King James?

“No. No. I don’t think so. Because he and I have a great relationship (with LeBron), but it’s not based on me coaching him,” Calipari told Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal. “We’ve got a relationship. I’ve known him for years and years. We’ve always been friends. But it was never based on that. I’ve said that. I’ve had a chance to coach Derrick Rose, John Wall and DeMarcus (Cousins), Anthony Davis and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist). And I’m leaving names off, but I’ve coached some of the best players in basketball, and it is a thrill. There’s nothing better than that. Especially when those guys are all good guys.

“Well, LeBron is also that kind of player and that kind of person. But again, leaving guys who made decisions based on what’s right for their career was something I couldn’t have gotten by anyway.”

Once the Harrison twins — Aaron and Andrew — decided to stay at Kentucky along with Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson, Calipari said there is no way he was going to leave. Kentucky gave him a $52.1 million extension through 2021 just to be sure.

“They came back because it was good for them and their careers and they knew they needed more developing and coachingm” Calipari explained. “That was by me. That’s what they wanted. So that made it a tough deal to say, ‘I’m just going to leave these guys here.’ With who? It may be somebody I don’t know that wouldn’t do the things for them that they needed to do.”

Somehow, I find that hard to believe. The potential to make $8 million per season as an NBA head coach and president of basketball operations while coaching the best player in the league probably would have intrigued Calipari more than the thought of inheriting a rebuilding project. He’s only human, after all.

Team USA wears shooting shirts to honor Paul George

paul-george-stretcher-smallPaul George was unable to participate in Saturday’s exhibition game between Team USA and Brazil, but he was still prominently featured.

When Anthony Davis, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and company took the floor at United Center in Chicago, they did so wearing special shooting shirts which honored their injured teammate.

The shirts displayed the phrase “United We Stand” and George’s initials.

During the broadcast, ESPN’s Mark Jones and Fran Fraschilla interviewed George via telephone. Among the topics of discussion was the two-time All-Star reiterating his desire to play for the 2016 Olympic team.

Jay-Z to blame for Kevin Durant quitting Team USA?

Kevin Durant Jay-Z

Kevin Durant pulled out of Team USA two weeks ago much to the shock of USA Basketball coaches, players and executives. Durant cited mental and physical fatigue as his reason for quitting the team during the middle of training camp, only weeks away from the start of the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint,” Durant said in a statement. “I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season.”

Though many took Durant for his word — and he certainly has earned the benefit of the doubt — there has been a lot of skepticism about KD’s reason for quitting the team.

USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo said Durant pulled out because of contractual obligations, but he later issued one of those “clarifications.”

We speculated that Durant pulled out because he’s concerned with his next big shoe/apparel endorsement contract. It sounds like that is the case.

In a long, rambling, and at times incoherent opinion piece, Chris Sheridan says Jay-Z, who is the man behind Durant’s new agency Roc Nation Sports, is to blame for KD withdrawing from the team.

Though Sheridan never explicitly states what Jay-Z did, he says Durant’s agent is behind the surprising decision.

And what I have discovered in talking to members of the U.S. federation over the past two days is this: Durant and his agency, Roc Nation, are more interested in cashing in on his MVP award and his expiring Nike deal than they are in having Durant keep his word to the people who were with him in 2010 in Turkey at the World Championship and in 2012 in London at the Olympics.

Sheridan points out that since signing with Jay-Z, Durant has ended many of his previous business relationships. He ended his endorsement deal with Gatorade in favor of Sparkling Ice. He is now shopping around shoe/apparel companies even though he’s been with Nike since entering the NBA.

The implication is that Durant/Jay-Z/Roc Nation are more concerned with setting up his business deals than having him participate with Team USA.

For instance, Durant spent the day at Under Armour’s headquarters on Wednesday. UA is a Maryland-based company and reportedly was preparing a monster offer for the reigning NBA MVP. Sheridan also says adidas is preparing a big offer for Durant and that the Thunder forward re-signing with Nike is still a possibility.

Sheridan mentions that Durant may not have wanted to spend several weeks around Nike people (Nike sponsors USA Basketball) while he is shopping for a new deal.

Overall, it comes across as though Sheridan has more inside information on the subject than he can share, but he feels strongly enough to write a very opinionated piece on the matter.

The bottom line is this: participation on USA Basketball is voluntary. Durant is well within his right not to play for the team. He just handled the timing of his leave very poorly.

Jabari Parker doesn’t want to join list of second overall pick busts

jabari-parker-bucksAfter a standout freshman season at Duke, Jabari Parker was selected with the second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks aren’t expected to be very good this season. However, in Parker the organization feels they have someone who can be the face of the franchise. That, along with being the No. 2 pick in the draft, means expectations for the 19-year-old are high.

Aware of it takes to get where he wants, Parker seems to have the right frame of mind heading into his rookie season. He also knows there have been several chosen in the same position he was in the draft who didn’t fulfill the promise expected from them.

Brett Pollakoff from Pro Basketball Talk spoke with Parker, who emphasized he doesn’t want to join the list of players we commonly refer to as busts.

There’s been a lot of second pick busts,” Parker said Saturday morning, at the grand opening of the redesigned Jordan space inside Nike Chicago. “I’m just trying not to be that bust. Everyday that I step on the court, I just remind myself that I have a long ways to go. If I want to be one of those guys in the first tier of the NBA, like a LeBron, like a Kobe, like a [Blake Griffin], then I have to have that mentality starting off from the ground, and work my way up.”

Some players go on to become stars. Others evolve into solid role players. Then, there are the ones who never pan out. It’s the crap shoot that is the NBA Draft.

Hasheem Thabeet, Darko Milicic, and Derrick Williams were each selected second overall. All three left the teams who drafted them wanting more. Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge were picked No. 2 overall as well. To go back a little further, so was Jason Kidd.

With Jabari Parker’s career just getting underway, we will have to wait a few years to determine which end of the spectrum he falls into. The Bucks, and Parker, are certainly hoping for the positive end.