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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021


Twitter reacts to LaMelo Ball talking with Jay-Z

LaMelo Ball and Jay-Z talking

Jay-Z was dropping platinum bars well before LaMelo Ball was even born, but that did not stop the two of them from linking up on Sunday.

The rap mogul and Brooklyn Nets fan Jay-Z caught up with the Charlotte Hornets star Ball during halftime of the two teams’ contest. Take a look.

Fans were quick to react with funny tweets about what the two might have been talking about. Here were some of the best ones.

Though he used to be a minority owner of the Nets, Jay-Z has since sold his stake in the team. For the record, Ball is also already a client of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports. That means that the two had the all clear from a tampering standpoint, making this conversation no different than one between, say, Drake and Kevin Durant.

The most likely scenario is that Jay-Z was talking to Ball about linking up on a new clothing line after seeing Ball’s elite postgame fit from the other day.

LeBron James takes aim at trolls dissing Dwyane Wade’s son

LeBron James in his Lakers uniform

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are family, having won two NBA titles in addition to posing on a banana boat together. Now James is going after the trolls targeting Wade’s son Zaire.

The Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s G League affiliate, selected the 19-year-old Zaire in the G League draft this weekend. While the pick made for a cool moment, many trolls clowned the move because Zaire was only a three-star prospect and because his father is a part-owner of the Jazz.

James responded to the haters via his Instagram Story on Saturday.

“Proud of you nephew,” wrote James of Zaire. “Keep going and F the haters. They ain’t [poop emoji] anyway.”

“Love to see it,” James wrote in a subsequent post. “Proud of my nephew journey because he traveled it his way. Happy as hell for my brother DWade cause I know how much he want to see it happen 4 him on his own terms! Black excellence you haters!!”

Zaire will play this season for the Stars in the hopes of improving his game as well as his NBA draft stock for 2022.

Of course, it is not surprising to see James come out in Zaire’s defense. Zaire and James’ son Bronny are close friends and even teamed up in high school.

Photo: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Pro-Kyrie Irving protestors converge on Barclays Center

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

The Brooklyn Nets held their home opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday but not without experiencing some unexpected commotion first.

Prior to the afternoon tip-off at Barclays Center, a large group of protestors gathered outside of the arena to protest New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who is ineligible to play in home games due to the mandates, became a rallying cry for the group. They could be heard chanting, “Let Kyrie play.”

You can see video of the chaotic scene outside of the arena here but beware of foul language.

The protestors then began jumping barricades and pushing toward the front entrance. Barbara Barker of Newsday shared video from inside the arena.

Arena personnel eventually got the situation under control, and the game was able to proceed as scheduled.

The last that we heard of the Irving situation was from the seven-time All-Star himself. He took to Instagram Live to address his decision to remain unvaccinated as well as the speculation over his future. But it looks like Irving still has plenty of New Yorkers who are sympathetic to his cause.

Photo: Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Garnett finally makes public acknowledgement of Ray Allen

Kevin Garnett during warmups

Against all odds, the basketball world is witnessing its own version of the Peace of Westphalia.

Retired Basketball Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett took a major step this week in ending his longstanding feud with former Boston Celtics teammate Ray Allen. Garnett publicly acknowledged Allen by name in an Instagram post this week after the two of them along with Paul Pierce all made the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team. Allen reposted Garnett’s congratulatory message to his own Instagram page, and Garnett replied with a heart emoji.

Garnett, Pierce, and Allen won an NBA title together in 2008 as the part of the Celtics’ memorable “Big Three” era. But when Allen left to sign with the rival Miami Heat in 2012, Garnett never seemed to forgive him. Even as recently as a few months ago, Garnett was still taking petty shots at Allen.

But signs of a thawing-out were visible at Pierce’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in September. Now it sounds like Garnett and Allen may have finally made their peace once and for all.

Photo: Dec 21, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett (21) prior to the start of a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Video: LeBron James dissed Suns player during blowout loss

LeBron James

LeBron James was not having any bit of the trash talk that a Phoenix Suns player sent his way during Friday’s blowout loss.

A clip of James chirping at Suns guard Cam Payne from the bench went viral this weekend. In the video, which you can see here, James told Payne, “Stay humble. You was at home a year-and-a-half ago, now you wanna pop off?”

The clip appears to have been from the third quarter, in which the Lakers fell behind by as many as 32 points. James still had a team-high 25 points in the loss, which dropped the Lakers to 0-2 on the season. Meanwhile, Payne finished with just four points in 19 minutes off the bench.

While the Lakers got charbroiled on Friday, you certainly can’t accuse James of not knowing his stuff. Payne was indeed out of the NBA playing in the G League a year-and-a-half ago before signing with the Suns. Thus, this has to be James’ best clapback since the one we saw in Chicago a couple years ago.

Photo: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Magic Johnson had incredulous reaction to Lakers bench altercation

Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard have a bench altercation

Magic Johnson sounded like a disappointed dad after witnessing the incident on the Los Angeles Lakers bench during Friday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Johnson reacted on Twitter to the altercation between Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard during a timeout in the first half of their 115-105 defeat (video here).

“Dwight Howard and AD got into a physical altercation on the bench,” the retired Lakers legend tweeted. “In my 42 years of being associated with the Lakers organization, I’ve never seen something like that smh.”

Johnson, who was drafted by the Lakers in 1979, summed up the reactions of many to the shocking incident. Teammates get into each other’s faces all the time. But it was very surprising to see the altercation between Davis and Howard turn physical, in a nationally-televised game no less.

The Lakers are now 0-2 to start the regular season after going 0-6 during the preseason. The microscope will only intensify further if they continue to lose. At least the Lakers succeeded in getting Johnson to show more emotion than he usually does on Twitter.

Ex-Kings announcer Grant Napear suing radio company over ‘all lives matter’ firing

Grant Napear Kings

Former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear, who was fired last year after telling DeMarcus Cousins that “all lives matter,” is now suing the parent company of KHTK-AM 1140, which serves as the radio home of the Kings.

Napear is seeking in excess of “$75,000 in damages for wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation,” reports The Sacramento Bee.

“Over the course of a 26-year broadcasting career (on KHTK) Grant Napear became a prominent member of the media industry,” says the complaint filed by the Ruggles Law Firm of Fair Oaks in a document filed in the Eastern District of California.

“In 2017, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded Napear his second Emmy Award for his broadcasting of Sacramento Kings games. … Napear alleges he was terminated because he is a Caucasian man who published a phrase on social media that (Bonneville International) contends violated the company’s ad hoc (and unpublished) policy supporting Black Lives Matter.”

The tweet in question came amid tense protests and demonstrations in Sacramento following the police-involved death of George Floyd.

Cousins, who had a history with Napear, tweeted the announcer and asked his thoughts on “Black Live Matter,” a social movement that aims to call attention to perceived police brutality against the African American community. Napear responded with a tweet that included the phrase, “all lives matter,” which some view as the antithesis to “Black Lives Matter.”

Napear later apologized for his tweet and admitted it came across as “dumb.”

At the time of his firing, Napear told The Sacramento Bee that he was unaware the phrase “all lives matter” was sometimes used as an anti-BLM rallying cry. He insists he meant it in the literal context.

Napear’s lawyer, Matthew J. Ruggles, is seeking a jury trial in federal court.

Video: Rajon Rondo gets courtside fan ejected in bizarre sequence

Rajon Rondo points at a fan sitting courtside

Friday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns was a bizarre one, and Lakers guard Rajon Rondo added to the bedlam.

During a stoppage in play in the third quarter, Rondo went up to a fan sitting courtside and pointed his fingers right in the fan’s face, doing a mock gun-shooting motion. The fan responded by smacking Rondo’s hand away and was promptly ejected by security at Staples Center. Have a look.

The Lakers were getting blown out by the Suns at the time to bring them to their second straight loss to start the new NBA season. Lakers teammates Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard also had an altercation of their own in the first half of the game (video here).

It is unclear what, if anything, the fan said to Rondo to trigger the exchange. While there will obviously be zero tolerance whatsoever for a fan touching a player, Rondo certainly seemed to provoke the smack by getting in the fan’s face with the gun gesture. In any case, Friday night’s incident brought to mind a similar episode in Golden State from a couple of years ago.

Video: Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard have altercation on Lakers bench

Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard have a bench altercation

It took all of two games for the new-look Los Angeles Lakers to have their first public episode.

The Lakers fell behind by double digits to the Phoenix Suns in the first half on Friday. During a timeout, teammates Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into an altercation on the bench. Davis yelled at the seated Howard, who stood up to confront him. As Howard did so, Davis put his hands on him, and the two had to be separated by teammates. Take a look.

The Lakers lost their season opener to the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week. As for Davis and Howard, they were already teammates during the Lakers’ championship season in 2019-20. Howard then left the Lakers to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers but returned this past offseason.

Bench disagreements between teammates are nothing new in the NBA. But it is rare to see such disagreements turn physical and will only add to the scrutiny facing the Lakers amid their flat start to the season.

Tobias Harris offers passionate defense of Ben Simmons

Tobias Harris

Ben Simmons has been criticized by many Philadelphia 76ers fans and even some within the organization. On Friday, however, Simmons received a strong defense from one of his teammates.

After Philadelphia’s 114-109 loss to Brooklyn on Friday, forward Tobias Harris urged both fans and the media to support Simmons. Harris emphasized that Simmons is human, and he “needs more support than neglect.”

“I think we just have to really understand that he’s a human first,” Harris said of Simmons. “If he’s going through something, we have to respect that, and we need to be there for him as a team, organization, fans, all the way down the line. When he’s in here putting on a show and helping us get wins, everybody’s cheering and praising. But we live in a what have you done for me lately type world, and when that’s not the case, it’s easy to turn it around. I think at this time he needs more support than neglect, and I think we just got to be there for him as a team.”

Simmons also urged fans and the media to be mindful of Simmons and to try to support him.

“We’re talking about a person that has a family, has emotions,” Harris said. “He’s a great person as well. So we got to really respect that and just don’t do everything for the clicks.”

Harris has been vocally supportive of Simmons in recent days. It makes him something of an outlier among 76ers players, who have generally stuck to a script of saying they would welcome Simmons back because he makes them a better team.

Simmons reportedly told the 76ers he does not feel mentally ready to play right now. There have been reports that the Sixers don’t even buy Simmons’ mental health explanation, but Harris clearly isn’t on board with that.