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Friday, August 23, 2019


Ex-NBA referee Steve Javie is now an ordained deacon

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After 25 years in the NBA, Steve Javie has now transitioned to a very different line of work.

Frank Fitzpatrick reported this week that the former NBA referee is now an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church. Javie was officially ordained this summer at a Philadelphia, Pa. cathedral after a seven-year-long process. In addition to a master’s in theology, the 64-year-old also now has the right to deliver homilies, wear a collar, and perform traditional priestly duties such as marriages and baptisms.

Fitzpatrick notes that former colleague Joey Crawford was in attendance for Javie’s ordination ceremony as well.

“It’s a calling,” Javie was quoted as saying. “It’s nothing I aspired to. I knew I was getting near the end of my career because my knees were failing. That realization makes you think about what you’re going to do afterwards … I thought, ‘I’ve got to be doing something more with my life than blowing whistles against basketball players.’

“People ask me if there are similarities between being a deacon and a referee,” he went on. “It’s funny because people used to think they could tell me how to do my old job. That hasn’t changed, except now people are telling me how to preach.”

Javie officiated games in the NBA from 1986 to 2011. He has since maintained a prominent role as a rules analyst for league broadcasts on ESPN.

The new gig is certainly a change of pace for Javie, but it is not the first time we have seen some overlap between basketball and the Catholic Church.

Watch: Ben Simmons working on his jumpshot during pickup games

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons is a highly-talented player whose abilities helped him become the No. 1 draft pick and eventually earn a max contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite the things he does well — pass, rebound and defend at the point guard position — he has a glaring weakness when it comes to his outside shooting.

Simmons almost refuses to take outside shots in games. Even though we’re in an age in the NBA where big men are stretching the floor and outside shooting is a valued skill, Simmons has only attempted 17 3-pointers during his entire two seasons in the league. The lack of a threat of an outside shot from him makes him and the Sixers easier to defend, especially in the playoffs.

But this video shows the work Simmons is doing on his shot this offseason:

Last year there was talk about Simmons possibly switching to shooting with his right hand rather than his left. He seems to be sticking with his left and potentially improving.

If Simmons can integrate an outside shot and improve his free throw shooting, he would be on a pathway to being dominant.

Jimmer Fredette: Joining Greek team was ‘tough decision’

Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette returned to the NBA toward the end of last season and was hoping to generate more interest from teams this summer, but he instead decided to sign with Greek team Panathinaikos. As you might expect, the decision to go back overseas was not an easy one.

Fredette arrived in Greece this week and said he is “excited” to be joining a great organization. However, he admitted leaving the NBA to sign with Panathinaikos was a “tough decision.”

“It was a tough decision. Panathinaikos has been calling and trying to get me a part of their team for a couple of years,” Fredette said, via Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops.net. “It just hadn’t worked out up to this point. But at this point, we decided that it’s the right opportunity for myself, my family and the team to be joined together and hopefully be able to have a great season.”

Fredette had been with the Golden State Warriors during the Summer League, but he left to sign a two-year deal with Panathinaikos. The team has won six EuroLeague Championships and 37 Greek Championships and is the same one Rick Pitino coached last season, so the reputation speaks for itself.

After he was drafted with the No. 10 overall pick in 2011 out of BYU, Fredette played with the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans and Knicks before heading overseas to play in China. He was a three-time All-Star in the Chinese Basketball Association and won the league’s MVP in 2017. The 30-year-old has never played in the EuroLeague, but he should find success.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander says he is not trying to fill Russell Westbrook’s shoes

Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s predecessor in Oklahoma City was kind of a big deal, and he knows his place as he enters his first season with the Thunder.

In an interview this week, the second-year point guard said that he was not trying to fill the shoes of Russell Westbrook.

“I am not Russell Westbrook,” said Gilgeous-Alexander, per the Associated Press. “We don’t have the same name, the same body type, nothing like that. So I’m going to try to be myself and be the best me, and everything else will take care of itself.

“Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game,” he added. “I know that eventually it will come out and things like that. I don’t worry about starting. I don’t worry about accolades or anything like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and be true to who I am.”

The 21-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander, who was averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 assists per game as a rookie for the LA Clippers last season, was acquired by the Thunder this offseason as part of the Paul George blockbuster trade.

As for Westbrook, who was the face of the Thunder for much of his 11 years in OKC before this summer’s move to Houston, who knows if he will develop a rivalry with his successor like he did with another opposing point guard.

Trevor Booker working out for multiple top contenders

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Veteran forward Trevor Booker has been out of the NBA for a year, but he is now attracting interest from some of the top teams in the league.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reported this week that the 31-year-old recently worked out for the Denver Nuggets and has additional workouts scheduled with the Milwaukee Bucks and the LA Clippers.

Booker last played for the Indiana Pacers during the 2017-18 season, putting up 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game on the year as a whole. He spent part of last season overseas with the Shanxi Braves Dragons of the CBA, but his stint with them ended early due to foot surgery.

Though he is a bit undersized at 6-foot-8, Booker brings some interior energy and toughness that could prove useful to one of the aforementioned teams. There are however some others available who can offer that same skillset.