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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Stories by Larry Brown:

DeMarcus Cousins: Warriors are ‘most hated team in sports’

DeMarcus Cousins

The Golden State Warriors are already starting to turn things on, and now they’ll be adding DeMarcus Cousins to the fold.

Cousins is set to return on Friday after missing nearly a year recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon. Ahead of his return to action, Cousins spoke with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols for an interview. He says that the Warriors, who were already a target due to their success, will be even more of one thanks to his return.

“I don’t really pay attention to storylines,” Cousins told ESPN. “I mean, they’re gonna say what they have to say. They’re gonna add their opinions. We’re the most hated team in sports.”

Nichols pressed Cousins further on that point, asking if he was exaggerating about the Warriors being the most hated team. He asked who else would top them, and she mentioned the Yankees or Cowboys.

“Well, put us up there. I would say the Warriors are for sure. You know they hate Kevin (Durant). They hate me. I think the only guy they really like is Stephen (Curry). Actually, they may hate him as well. They hate Draymond Green. But I mean, it is what it is. I can’t worry about that.”

People dislike the Warriors because they’re too good. They’re probably not the most hated team in sports though. That likely belongs to another team we can think of.

Kyrie Irving called LeBron James to apologize over leadership issues

LeBron James Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving is showing tremendous growth as a player and as a leader. His latest anecdote expresses that fact.

Irving said after his Boston Celtics’ 117-108 that he recently called LeBron James to apologize for not having a better understanding of how leadership works on a championship-contending NBA team.

“I had to call (LeBron James) and tell him I apologize for being that young player wanted everything at his fingertips,” Irving said. “I wanted everything to be at my threshold. I wanted to be the guy that led us to the championship. I wanted to be the leader, I wanted to be all that. The responsibility of being the best player in the world and leading a team is something that’s not meant for many people. What that brought me back to is: how do I get the best out of this group and helping them realize what it takes to win a championship.”

Irving forced his way out of Cleveland prior to last season because he was frustrated over being second-in-command to LeBron. LeBron said he was ready to turn things over to Irving, but it was too late. Kyrie’s trade to Boston gave him the chance to be a leader on a talented team, but now he’s seeing just how hard it is to get teammates on that championship level.

Understanding that he was foolish for getting frustrated with LeBron over the matter and trying to relay that message to his current teammates shows tremendous recognition.

Kyrie Irving has funny quote about Celtics drama

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics made a statement in a win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, one that had Irving addressing the drama surrounding the team.

Irving scored 27 points and dished out 18 assists in the 117-108 victory. He also delivered the knockout punch — a huge 3-pointer from deep to help seal the game.

Afterwards, Irving was interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters, who asked about some of the recent headlines surrounding the team.

“What’s the NBA without a little drama?” Irving said in response. “For us, it’s literally about growing. That’s all. Maturing as a group, maturing as individuals and coming together at a time like this. It’s great to see that we can still smile and still compete at a very high level against the best. We just gotta become more consistent. Once that happens we’ll run over everybody in this league, I can guarantee.”

He’s right. There is always drama in the NBA, and that’s some of the fun. It’s part of the path for many competitive teams. This season’s Warriors squad has endured plenty of drama, while past LeBron teams always seem to have had it.

The drama with the Celtics began after a loss on Saturday when Irving visibly reprimanded Gordon Hayward for a pass on the final play of the game and culminated with Irving saying the team’s young players don’t understand what it takes to win a championship. While some understood his remarks, at least one teammate took issue with it.

Bill Belichick lookalike fan gets booed at Grizzlies game

Bill Belichick

Memphis Grizzlies fans had no love for a Bill Belichick lookalike fan who attended Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

During the first half of the game at the FedEx Forum, Peyton Manning, who played his college ball at Tennessee, was shown on the jumbotron and got a big applause.

According to radio host Chris Vernon, a Belichick lookalike was shown afterwards. Grizzlies reporter Sharon Brown says the fan got booed.

The fan really did look like Belichick with his hairstyle and cutoff hoodie. He ranks pretty highly on our list of lookalike fans — and there are lots of them out there.

QB Shane Buechele reportedly tells Texas coaches he intends to transfer

Shane Buechele

Sam Ehlinger has established himself as the quarterback of the present and future for the Texas Longhorns. Other quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart are acting accordingly.

According to OrangeBloods’ Anwar Richardson, Shane Buechele told Texas coaches he intends to transfer.

Richardson says Buechele was told he could remain on scholarship through the spring semester so he could graduate and then transfer.

Buechele was highly-recruited when he entered Texas, known for his trick throws, and started as a freshman in 2016. He dealt with injuries as a sophomore, which gave Ehlinger a chance to start. Ehlinger eventually took over the starting job and had a great season in 2018, helping the Longhorns to a 10-4 record.

Buechele has passed for 4,636 yards, 30 touchdowns and 16 interceptions during his college career. He has one year left of eligibility.

In addition to Buechele, freshman quarterback Cameron Rising is transferring and so fellow freshman QB Casey Thompson is already in the transfer portal.

Adrien Broner refuses to take questions from Al Bernstein at press conference

Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner got personal at his press conference on Wednesday and refused to take questions from a specific boxing commentator.

Broner and Manny Pacquiao met with the media ahead of their fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday in Las Vegas. Al Bernstein, a veteran boxing commentator who serves as an analyst for Showtime, was serving as a moderator of sorts. He stood at the podium asking some questions, but was rebuffed when he tried asking Broner some questions.

Broner repeatedly told Bernstein “I don’t f— with you.” He said Bernstein talked too much s— about him on Twitter.

“I already feel like you against me. I’d rather Roy Jones or Stephen A. Smith ask me some questions,” Broner said.

The behavior from Broner was unprofessional, but within character. The 29-year-old fighter has constantly been in trouble with the law, though he’s always good at generating attention and publicity, which helps sell fights. Acts like this help create more buzz and is part of the show for him.

As for what Berstein has said about him – nothing too bad seems to stick out, though he’s been critical of Broner’s behavior in the past when necessary.

Bernstein, who works for the network that is televising the fight on pay-per-view, seemed to take things in stride like a pro.

Alabama DC Tosh Lupoi leaving for job with Cleveland Browns

Tosh Lupoi

The Alabama Crimson Tide will be in the market for two new coordinators this offseason.

In addition to seeing offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and his seeming replacement Dan Enos leave for other jobs, Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi is leaving. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman says Lupoi will be taking a job coaching Cleveland’s defensive line.

Though Lupoi served as defensive coordinator, the area this will hurt the program the most is probably in recruiting. Lupoi has been recognized as an excellent recruiter for several years, though he has gotten in trouble in the past for making improper payments. Seeing him leave for the NFL where perhaps his greatest skill will not be utilized is a surprise.

Alabama has numerous coaching vacancies to fill, though they reportedly have their next offensive coordinator in place.

Mavericks say Dennis Smith Jr is still sick amid trade rumors

Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith Jr remains “sick” as the Dallas Mavericks explore trade options for the second-year player.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told reporters on Wednesday that Smith is sick and would not be available for the team’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Just on Monday, a report said the Mavs were trying hard to trade Smith. Then on Tuesday, a report said Smith missed practice after calling in sick.

Seeing a player miss action amid trade rumors is nothing new. Teams often hold players out of action to avoid injuries while they’re trying to strike a deal.