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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Basketball

Jeff Van Gundy shares funny story about ‘brat’ Richard Pitino

Richard Pitino

Jeff Van Gundy shared a funny story on Wednesday about the time he had to take care of Rick Pitino’s son, Richard, whom he termed a “brat.”

Van Gundy was broadcasting the Spurs-Warriors game for ESPN when announcer Mike Breen talked about how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spent time learning under Don Nelson in Golden State before becoming a head coach. Among other things, Nelson forced Pop to go golfing. That led to Van Gundy being asked to share a story about a time he was forced to do something for a great coach when he was an assistant.

Here’s the story:

Van Gundy says he was asked by Rick Pitino to take Richard, who is now the Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach, to a carnival. He was given $10 to let Richard play with, and the kid went through it quickly and expected Van Gundy to pitch in with some more funds.

“Richard Pitino, you were a brat that night!” Van Gundy joked.

Van Gundy thinks Pitino was around 7 or 8 years old at the time, which just puts everything into perspective considering Richard is now 34 and a head coach. Funny story.

Lamar Odom: Cocaine helped end my NBA career

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom says that cocaine helped end his NBA career.

Odom “cheated death” in his words by recovering from 12 strokes and two heart attacks suffered in 2015 after a drug overdose. Now that he’s recovered, he is opening up about his issues and looking to make a docuseries and sell an autobiography. That’s why he opened up to US Weekly for an interview in which he talked about many of his issues over the past several years.

Odom said of the infamous Oct. 2015 brothel incident that left him in a coma, “I cheated death. The line between life and death is really thin.”

He credits ex-wife Khloe Kardashian for helping him to recover from the medical scare, saying she helped him get his memory back.

Odom says he doesn’t regret getting involved with the Kardashians, even though his life seemed to spiral negatively after his marriage to Khloe. He does say he regrets having multiple affairs while married.

After Khloe filed for divorce in 2013 for the first time, Odom says he kicked his drug use up to an alarming level. He believes that killed his NBA career, which ended after the 2012-2013 season he spent with the Clippers.

“I was in a very dark place and very confrontational. I wasn’t trying to repair my marriage; I was just trying to get high. My life was all about drugs at that point. It probably helped the end of my career come along a little faster because drugs killed my drive to want to train and be in shape,” Odom told US.

Odom says he went to rehab in January after his daughter gave him an ultimatum. He says he has been clean and drug-free since.

Kris Bryant’s father criticizes conduct of LaVar Ball

LaVar Ball

Much like LaVar Ball, Mike Bryant — the father of Chicago Cubs MVP third baseman Kris — has been his son’s biggest fan from day one.

Bryant, too, has been a bit too outspoken in the past, but seeing how Ball behaves around his son Lonzo has not met his approval.

“The guy is going to ruin it for his kids,” Mike Bryant told ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN. “I mean that in a sympathetic/empathetic way. Let his kids go out there and play and let the rest happen. But to compare him to Michael Jordan and better than Steph Curry, c’mon, that’s disrespecting those guys. If I had five minutes with him and I could get him to listen for two of them I think I could get him to think a little bit.”

Mike was concerned that LaVar Ball’s comments would make it harder for Lonzo to enjoy himself while playing.

“How can you have fun when you’re worried about your old man making a fool of himself,” Bryant said. “There’s ways to do it. I’m not trying to be judgmental. I feel for the kid in this situation. There are too many stories out there that don’t turn out well because of stuff like this.”

Mike’s advice for LaVar would be to cut it out and enjoy how good his son is.

“Just let your kid play and enjoy it,” Bryant said. “You have to enjoy it. If you sit back and zip it, don’t run your mouth and watch him do what he does you will be amazed at how good he is. If you’re too busy talking you’re going to miss the moments.

“The spotlight is on him and all for the wrong reasons. It’s too bad. I wonder if it’s a tragedy waiting to happen or if something good can come out of it. It makes my skin crawl. My wife would smack me upside the head if I acted like that.”

We know that a lot of people — including some in the media — have had it with LaVar’s antics, but it’s interesting to hear the perspective of another father of a high-profile athlete.

James Michael McAdoo shares photo of stitched-up face after collision with Trevor Ariza

James Michael McAdoo took one heck of a shot on Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, and the aftermath wasn’t much prettier either.

The Golden State Warriors forward was injured late in the first quarter of the 113-106 win over Houston when Rockets forward Trevor Ariza fell on his head in a fight for a loose ball. He was forced to leave the game and did not return.

On Wednesday, McAdoo shared a photo of his stitched-up face to Twitter.

The 24-year-old has been seeing some slightly increased playing time lately with the continued absence of Kevin Durant but is still at just 8.6 minutes per game on the season. That being said, McAdoo is actually listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, so it sounds like he’s determined to get his money’s worth no matter what.

Image via Golden State Warriors on YouTube

Kyrie Irving takes blame for Cavs’ recent skid: ‘I need to demand more out of myself’

Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving think it’s his fault that the team has been playing rather flat lately.

Addressing the media after practice on Wednesday, Irving took responsibility for the recent stretch that has seen the Cavs drop four of their last six games.

“I had to face it, had to face the music,” said the former No. 1 overall pick, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “I think we all had to do it. But me more importantly, I had to look in the mirror and just wasn’t doing enough. I need to demand more out of myself and do it at a high level.

“I have to do my best as a point guard to integrate J.R. [Smith] and [Kevin] Love and get our starting five back to having the continuity. It hasn’t been perfect, to say the least,” Irving continued. “There’s definitely been some ups and downs and disagreements. But as adults and professionals we just have to figure it out. I think it just starts with our practice habits and what we demand out of each other. Just holding each other accountable.”

Irving was singing a different tune just this past weekend, but consecutive losses to the Washington Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs by a combined 41 points (with the latter seeing Irving go 4-of-13 for eight points, tying a season-low) likely changed his perspective. Some of his teammates have been expressing similar frustration lately, so urgency beckons, especially now that the Cavs have fallen to second in the East behind the Boston Celtics.

Steve Kerr: Mike D’Antoni has ‘earned’ Coach of the Year Award

Steve Kerr

He may have the best record in the NBA for the third consecutive season, but Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is lobbying for somebody else as the 2016-17 Coach of the Year.

After the Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, Kerr proclaimed Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni as his Coach of the Year pick.

“I think the fit with the roster and Mike’s philosophy has been perfect,” said Kerr, per ESPN. “What he’s so good at is really giving his players confidence and belief. They’re obviously having an amazing year. My guess is that he’ll get the trophy. He’s earned it.”

D’Antoni is a popular pick for the award as he has transformed a Rockets team that won just 41 games in 2015-16 into a 51-win steamroller (with eight games still remaining) and put together a historically great offense that has smashed records left and right all year for three-pointers made and attempted. With Kerr taking home Coach of the Year honors last season, he’s about as strong of an endorsement as D’Antoni can get.

Report: Frank Vogel wants David West to join his coaching staff upon retirement

With Lance Stephenson reuniting with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, we may soon be getting another throwback to that 2013 era team.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports that Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel would like Golden State Warriors big man David West, whom he coached on the Pacers for four seasons, to join his coaching staff upon retirement.

The 36-year-old West is firmly in the ring-chasing phase of his NBA career and is only playing on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, making retirement seem not that far off at all. Neither West nor Vogel saw their time in Indiana end on friendly terms, so it might be fun to see them band together again for some revenge of sorts on an up-and-coming Eastern Conference foe.

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