Muhammad Ali Gave Dirk Nowitzki Boxing Glove Signed ‘You Are the Greatest’

Like any team would do in their situation, the Dallas Mavericks enjoyed plenty of special moments after winning their first NBA title in franchise history last month. Dirk and the boys went on a drinking binge that was quite the opposite of the one they subjected themselves to five years ago.  Mark Cuban treated his players to a $100,000 celebration in South Beach and took the Larry O’Brien Trophy with him everywhere he went — no, really.

Amidst all the partying and sleepless nights, Dirk Nowitzki received probably the most humbling gift an athlete in any sport could ever receive.  According to I Am GM via Spiegel, Muhammad Ali sent Dirk a boxing glove with the inscription: “You are the greatest.”  Although Dirk asked that he not be pressured into explaining the political meaning of the gift, it is easy to understand why something like that would be so special.

From Larry Legend saying he was honored to be compared to Dirk to the most conceited athlete of all-time calling him the greatest, I think it’s safe to say the Hall of Famer has reached the highest point in his sensational career.  People can argue until their blue in the face about LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan, but as far as we’re concerned the debate has been put to rest by Cassius Clay.

Gilbert Arenas Thinks Orlando Magic Didn’t Let Him be His Best

Gilbert Arenas has gone from franchise player to benchwarmer in a few short years. Multiple knee surgeries sapped his biggest strength — his quickness — and with that went his confidence. Now he’s an overpaid player trying to figure out his role with the Orlando Magic. Dwight Howard thinks the team didn’t use him properly last year. Neither does Gil. He went off on a twitter rant Saturday as IamaGM.com pointed out, and said the biggest problem was his lack of freedom on the court:

Imma do my part this summer And hopefully I do get a fair shot..don’t wanna feel or look like last year..

I like the ppl who use stats to argue..I played with 100 percent green light for entire career..last year I had 0 percent freedom

Now u hav a scorer who is scared to shot the ball becuz if he miss he starts lookin over his shoulder. No player can play like that

The 3 best games I had..was when I knew I couldn’t get pulled..so miss shots and mistakes wasn’t on my mind..just gettn buckets..

But I was a killer in practice tho…lmaoo omg I could shot any shot..I wanted..I was a practice all star..lol

The points he made are understandable and it’s fair to say he’s not a good fit in Orlando. Stan Van Gundy frequently complained that Gilbert wasn’t fitting the team’s system (on either end of the court). I’m not ready to write the rest of Gilbert’s career off, but it’s hard to envision him ever getting back to All-Star levels. One thing does look certain: if he does get back to his old scoring self, it probably will be with a team that has a looser structure.

Delonte West Denies Sleeping with Gloria James in Unconvincing Fashion

Delonte West denied sleeping with LeBron James’ mom, Gloria James, in a casual interview with World Star Hip Hop. Go about 30 seconds into this video to hear the pertinent part and be warned, the language is offensive and NSFW:

Not only did the interviewer sound sloshed (as did West), but West wouldn’t even look at the camera when he said stuff. OK I know Rafael Palmeiro sounded convincing when he finger-wagged at congress and turned out to be guilty, so that tells us body language isn’t everything. Still, West was not very convincing in the video. On the other hand, when a rumor sparked this year about Rashard Lewis and Gloria James, the Wizards forward came out right away to dispel it.

I don’t know, between the Cavs trading West immediately after the playoffs ended and all the speculation, something doesn’t seem right. Even the hug LeBron and West shared this postseason doesn’t end the questions.

Head nod to Sports Feeder 1 for the story

NBA Lockout: Why it Won’t Work Out Well for Anybody

The NBA began its lockout Friday morning at 12:01 a.m. to great fanfare and widespread acclaim. Just kidding. Everybody hates it.

And rightfully so.

Lockouts are never fun, but this one in particular couldn’t have come at a worse time. Not only was the 2011 Finals the most compelling NBA championship of the past 10 years, it was also the highest rated championship series since 2004. Fans haven’t been this interested in the NBA since Shaq was in his prime and Kobe had a mini afro. Yes, kids. It’s true. Kobe once had hair like Buckwheat.

Even the 2011 draft, one of the weakest and least entertaining drafts in recent memory, earned excellent ratings. Sure, 22 of 30 NBA were reportedly losing money, but the league as a whole was peaking like Lil Wayne on Tha Carter III. Popularity-wise, everything was going its way.

All that ended Friday at midnight plus one.

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LeBron James Dunks on Small Kid During Game of Knockout (Video)

Considering LeBron James has developed a reputation as a perennial playoff choker, it would stand to reason that the Queen is tired of losing.  Apparently that goes for all things basketball.  LeBron offered to speak to young basketball players at the Nothing But Net camp at Richard Stockton College this week, and then entertained them by taking part in a friendly game of knockout.  Needless to say, LeBron wasn’t about to lose to a bunch of amateurs.  Check out the video of LeBron dunking on a little kid during knockout, courtesy of Deadspin:

Relax, we aren’t going to dog on Queen James for trucking a little kid.  We know he was just having fun and the kid was probably pumped he can tell all his friends LeBron dunked on him.  If nothing else, Heat fans should be relieved that James didn’t turtle in a big moment.

NBA.com Undergoes Lockout Makeover, Now Promoting the WNBA

We told you earlier in the week that NBA.com was working towards removing all videos and images of players due to the imminent lockout. They weren’t playing around. As soon as the lockout hit at midnight, NBA.com switched over to this extremely rudimentary version of the site:

I think I had a personal AOL page back in ’95 that had a similar layout. Maybe we should sue for copyright violation. But hey, if there’s any winner in all this, it’s the WNBA!

UPDATE: NBA.com has undergone another makeover and this time the site looks respectable! Here’s how it looks:

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Sacramento Kings Overpaid for J.J. Hickson by Giving up Omri Casspi, Pick

The Kings and Cavaliers snuck a trade in before the NBA lockout was announced Thursday, exchanging Omri Casspi and a lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick for J.J. Hickson.

Other than losing the support of Jewish fans everywhere, I thought it was a pretty good trade for the Kings. My initial reaction was sweet, Geoff Petrie finally managed to pull off a trade without getting reamed.

Considering he got killed in the Beno Udrih-John Salmons trade and has a track record of being on the losing end of one-sided deals, getting Hickson seemed like a major coup. Remember, Petrie is the guy who essentially traded Kevin Martin for 27 games of Marcus Thornton.

Looking more closely at Hickson’s numbers last season, though, I’m not so convinced. I’m beginning to think the Kings overpaid for him.

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